Does volunteering for the GOP convention make you a Republican?

Considering that the Democratic convention in Denver has, so far, turned out to be a financial disaster and a logistical quagmire, Democrat big-shots have got to be kicking themselves for not picking St. Paul as the host city, beaten out by the Republicans.

St. Paul, Minneapolis and, therefore, the state of Minnesota is a Democratic state. There’s no real indication that the state is the swing state it was in 2004. Sure, we have a Republican governor. But Tim Pawlenty won re-election in 2006 by the skin of his teeth, partly because he was in a three-way race and his chief opponent — Mike Hatch — spooked voters in the last days of the campaign by sending his running mate to farm country with no apparent knowledge — at least on that day — of the number one issue (ethanol) and then capped it off with a tirade against a reporter, who he is alleged to have called “a Republican whore.”

Fast-forward to 2008. Republicans are due in St. Paul, and the region is having a hard time finding volunteers to help out.


Part of the answer comes in an e-mail today from my old Minnesota Fantasy Legislature friend George Linkert. It appears that people in this Democratic state don’t want to help Republicans put on a good show.

I don’t know how much you are following the upcoming RNC convention, and the push for volunteers, but I was involved with some interesting discussion this last week I thought you would find interesting.

I’m on the board for the Seward Concert Band, a community band based out of South Minneapolis. We were asked last week to perform on the stage at Civicfest , a non-partisan community event being held in conjunction with the RNC convention. I was in charge of polling our band members to see if we could have a viable band.

At first, responses were typically polite “yes” or “no.” Then someone exploring the site, found only RNC gear available at the shop, which raised her partisan flag. After this discovery, there was some e-mail discussion about whether this was truly a non-partisan event, and a couple people started to bow out. Some have tried to change this tone in our discussion, but I am doubtful at this point if we would be able to pull this off.

I know there was some news in the last week about recruiting volunteers, I wonder if other organizations like ours are having these sorts of difficulties?

Officials of both cities have tried to stress, basically, that volunteering to help St. Paul (and Minneapolis) put its best face(s) forward for Republicans doesn’t make you a Republican., but a lot of people aren’t buying it.

If you’re a volunteer,thinking about volunteering, or have decided not to volunteer, let’s hear from you.

  • Tyler Suter

    Thank you for bringing this topic up Mr. Collins! I am volunteering for the convention and I am not a Republican. It feels good to get that off my chest.

  • Tyler Suter

    Rather I just want to be involved in what is happening because regardless of my politics, I know that this will be positive for our city.

  • bsimon

    I have considered volunteering, mostly to get an up close view of how one of these things work. But I haven’t actually gotten so enthused as to find out what kind of time commitment is involved. So its probably not going to happen… (me volunteering) Oh yeah, I’m an independent voter.

  • Jeff Friedl

    Would I consider volunteering? Heck, no! No matter how you look at it, the Republican (and Democratic) conventions are partisan. People tend to volunteer for things they believe in—the Boy Scouts, the Red Cross, helping victims of floods. That isn’t to say that if a Republican was lost downtown and asked me for directions I wouldn’t help. I happily would, and even welcome them to our saintly city. But as far as volunteering to do Lord knows what so their convention looks splendid and runs like clockwork, nope.

  • Tyler Suter

    I think that is part of the problem with politics today Jeff. Everyone hwo is politically engaged in this nation tends to identify strongly with one side of the aisle or the other and therefore there is very little oppurtunity for non partisan efforts and dialogue across the aisle. Instead of focusing attention almost exclusively on our differences it is necessary, for the health and future prosperity of this nation, that we recognize what we share or hold in common. The reason for the two party system (two main parties at least) is to bring alternative perspective every issue facing our country. The existance of competing forces in this manor avoids short sided policy making and even raises issues that otherwise may be seen as irrelavent or unimportant.

    I am liberal in my political sentiment, but it is not the democratic party that I am proud to be a part of, I’m proud to be an American. We vote in Democrats and Republicans to represent us as a governing body, but it seems rediculous that such labels are carried past elections and into the political arena. Forget partisanship and open up a dialogue.

  • gml4

    I would appreciate the next time you cite me, include “Two time MFL Gold League Champion” Thanks! 😉

    I have a hard time understanding why people can’t rise above the politics of the event. My partisan friends cannot seem to see beyond their views. And I think this would fly either the same way if the Democratic Party convention was to be held here, the Republicans would would, by and large, not volunteer.

  • bob

    Very nice Tyler! I too tend to be of a more liberal sentiment politicaly as well these days, though that’s not always been the case. The key is and always has been seeing both sides of the story. Thanks for your thoughts. I wish more of us would feel more comfortable “walking the line” so to speak.


  • c

    I try to understand the philosophy and motives behind the Republican Party. I hear their ideas all the time but they sound self serving and based on fear of situations that haven’t happened.

    Godspeed Grasshopper on your upcoming experience. Walk softly and carry a big stick.

    (Grasshopper is really a sleeper cell for the liberal forces)

  • Tyler Suter

    Thank you Bob and thank you c.