Former US Senator Norm Coleman told Republican delegates that he still believes he won the 2008 election despite a recount and a district court election contest ruling that says he did not.
Coleman was speaking to the Minnesota Republican State Central Committee which elected new leadership on Saturday after the party suffered more losses in the 2008 legislative elections. Tony Sutton will replace outgoing chair Ron Carey and Michael Brodkorb was elected Deputy Chair.
Sometimes thanks seems inadequate. You wish you could get up here and just give everybody a big hug. My family and I are deeply appreciative of all the support. People ask ‘how you doing in the race that never ends’. I tell them I’ve been counting and recounting my blessings since November.
But there are a lot of people who come up to me in this room, but I gotta tell you around the country if not around the world, say ‘Senator we’re praying for you’. And I really appreciate that. I’m not wringing my hands. I’m not anxious. In the end I have great trust in the people of this state. And I’m confident when all the votes are counted I’m going to be returning to the United States Senate.
Let me first, before I get started acknowledge the leadership of our great Governor Tim Pawlenty. We are blessed with a great Governor.
I want to thank Ron (Carey) for his leadership and I know we had a… here we are on a beautiful Saturday. It’s about as good as it gets and you’re here. There’s no sunroof bringing the sun in and you’re here doing important work. And I appreciate that. And it was a tough battle, the state party chair and I want to congratulate Dave (Thompson) and I want to congratulate Carrie (Ruud) and I want to congratulate Tony Sutton for his victory. We can all come together in victory. And we need to come together. And thank you for being here and being part of that. Give yourself a round of applause.
I want to do two things in the time I have. First very briefly let me just talk about the race. Where are we at? Reality is we got more votes that were legally cast and counted on election day. That happened. No question about that. Now since that time, we still got over a hundred, net a hundred votes in Minneapolis they’ve been double counted and have not been dealt with. And that’s kind of out there. Frustrating but it’s out there.
But more important, the lead that Al Franken has been based on absentee ballots that were not counted on election day and that have been counted since. And our message is very clear that whether your vote counts and your absentee ballot counts shouldn’t depend upon where you live. That there are over 4,400 MInnesotans who if they had lived, almost all of them, if they had lived … their votes have not yet been counted. Their still disenfranchised. And by the way until we began this process they didn’t know they were disenfranchised.
And I’ll be very very blunt. Most of them come from heavily Republican areas. That’s because the votes in Minneapolis and the votes in Duluth and St. Paul have all been counted… essentially. And those 4,400 almost all of them, if they had lived in Minneapolis, Duluth or St. Paul the votes would have been counted on election day. And we don’t think that’s fair. We don’t think the Constitution allows that. And in the end that’s what this is about. It’s about enfranchising voters. It’s about having the same standard for their vote is counted in Chaska or Plymouth as it is in Minneapolis or Duluth. And that’s all we’re asking for and that’s the path to victory.
But winning isn’t about me. It isn’t about me or even us as Republicans. It’s really about this country and about the future of the country. One vote in the United States Senate… one vote is the difference between possibly losing the right to a secret ballot in a union election or not. One vote. One vote. If I’m in the US Senate, folks are not going to lose the right to a secret ballot in a union election. One vote!
One vote between a the potentially of a slippery slide into the path of government controlled health care. If I am in the US Senate we’re not going to have government controlled health care. It’s not going to happen.
But in the few moments I have today I want to talk to you not about what we’re going to stop, but what we’re against. We really need and that’s the challenge and the opportunity is to talk about what we’re for. What it is that we’re going to do to unleash energy in each and every American to be the very best they can. That’s what we’re about. That’s our vision. That’s our path.
This election, by the way, was about change. No question about that. But the American people didn’t want to change America, they wanted America to change Washington. That’s what they wanted. And no more fiscal irresponsibility. No more unresponsive gov… that’s the change people wanted. They didn’t want to change America. America is a great country. It’s God’s.. it’s a gift. And we want to keep it strong. And people now are frustrated. Listen there’s no doubt we got to increase the reach of our party. We’ve got to reach out to new Americans. We’ve got to reach out to young… that’s there’s no question about … reach out to conservative blue-collar Democrats. That’s our challenge and part of it… I’m just going to very briefly… part of it is about tone.
You know in a time when I say the culture has been “Oprahsized” . At times we’re seen as being scolding or intolerant. And that’s not what America wants. The American people agree with us. They do like the President. Ronald Reagan, William Buckley, Jack Kemp, I call them “Happy warriors”. They had a vision for America. It may sound trite, but I got to tell you we have to find more ways to be more likable and win people over to vote for people who actually do what they the people believe in.
That’s what we’re about. People believe in our vision.
But in the end it’s about ideas and our ideas will win the day. And what we have developing in America is an irresistible collision.. be it a collision between the irresistible force of Barack Obama’s personality and the immovable object of world history. Let me use education as an example.
A lot of public school teachers come up to me and they tell me that one of the hardest parts of their jobs is what they call ‘innovation fatigue’. Every couple of years a new idea comes along, a new magic bullet solution. Everyone goes into seminars and preaches change. We pour a ton of money in it . We dealt with this mostly in Minnesota with ‘profiles in learning’. Remember that? Remember that?
Within a year of implementation all the laws flaws become obvious and it’s junk. Teachers await the next great idea with skepticism and disgust with the way we continue to spend money on things that don’t matter.
My kids go to a school that focuses on classical education. They recognize that maybe we’ve learned something in about a thousand years about what really works. What really works. If it’s true in education. It’s also true in government. Conservative principles. The vision of our founding fathers have been tested over time. They work.
America would be better served if our kids studies American history and read the Federalist papers. We’d be better served.
The principles that have made America the greatest nation on the earth still hold today. Look at the Democrat obsession with increase taxes and spending. The President says we can tax and spend our way to prosperity. But world history says there’s always a day of reckoning when you spend money you don’t have and spend it willy nilly.
Debt as a percentage of GDP has increased ten-fold over Obama. The President trusts government and distrust private enterprise but world history shows that markets allocate resources best and government control always hurts productivity, innovation and growth.
The President says we can change ruthless dictators into model citizens if we just talk to them and make our case. But world history shows that you can only achieve peace through strength and evil is encouraged by anything less.
And history should tell our President that in your quest to be loved don’t toss our only democratic ally in the middle east Israel under the bus.
By the way, message to the President: America’s debate over glass ceilings or title nine violations do not equate with women being stoned for showing an ankle in Iran or (unintelligible) killings in Pakistan. They don’t equate. Not the same.
Now the fact is we find ourselves in a moment where we are questioning our purpose and trying to find our path back to be the majority party. But with great challenge is always opportunity. We can recapture the people because Obama is wrong on the issues. Domestic and international. Movement towards European style social democracy , greatly expanded government reach in health care and industry powered by dimatic spending increases will invariable lead to higher taxes, inflation and devaluation of the currency.
A foreign policy predicated on wanted to be liked rather than be respected will have serious consequences when dealing with (unintelligible ) nations like Korea, North Korea and Iran.
We need to say it before it happens.
You know in the end, in the end our challenge is to convert ideas into action. Thomas Edison once said ‘most people miss opportunity because it comes dressed up in overalls and is disguised as hard work.’
Barack Obama mobilized an army of thousands because they hated the war in Iraq. They put their businesses on hold, pulled up stakes and moved into Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina because they cared so deeply about the cause. You care deeply about the unborn. Are you to give up six months, six months of the movement your life to save them. Are you willing to do that? Do you care?
Do you care deeply about your kids and your grandkids? Are you willing to give this movement six months of your life to protect them against being saddled with debt that will suffocate their chance to seize the american dream? Are you willing to do that?
Do you care deeply about private property and economic freedom? Are you willing to give this movement six months of your life to secure them? Are you willing to do that?
I got to tell you, whoever wants this the most is going to prevail. Can you and I and thousands of conservatives across America summon the will to put our blood sweat and tears into the game? The answer literally writes the next chapter of American history.
Let me close with a story of a Minnesota icon many of you have heard of called Sister Elizabeth Kenny. She was an australian nurse, that’s how she got the sister she wasn’t a nun. When the world was under the plague of polio she invented the successful therapy that improved the lives of millions and millions around the world. But to do what she did she needed to overcome the opposition and scorn of the international medical establishment that was against her ideas. She ended up in South Minneapolis because the big shots in Chicago, New York and LA slammed their doors in her face.
Listen to her words at the time: ‘I am correct and the rest of the world is wrong. I cannot deny what my eyes see. I am engaged in a terrible struggle. I have to have the bulldog courage to hear the cries of the afflicted children. ‘
Let’s take a few lessons from Sister Kenny. Just because we are few doesn’t mean we’re wrong and they’re right. Most of the time it’s exactly the opposite. It takes bulldog courage to overcome obstacles. Bite hard and don’t let go.
And we can succeed if we keep our eyes on the people that we’re fighting for. Sister Kenny fought for the children. We fight for families, the people of faith, the small business owners and entrepreneur. People from all over the world who want the world to be more like America and not the other way around.
Members of the Minnesota Republican Party, listen to me carefully. The ancient jewish philosopher hermanities (sp?), and I’ve used this quote so many times and so many of you have heard it, once said that each of us should be ourselves if the world were held in balance and any single act of goodness on our part could tip the scales. We need a thousand, a hundred thousand million acts of goodness on this part on our part to tip the scales.
One more time I tell this story when I got into the US Senate and sat before John Roberts who came before me to be confirmed as chief justice and he thanked me for him being there. He said to me ‘Senator if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here’.
I said ‘John what do you mean by that?’
Well he had been nominated to be on the DC circuit court of appeals and at that time I was running 2002, Democrat majority 51-49. Robert’s nomination was put on the shelf. On the shelf and it wasn’t going forward. I got elected by 47,000 votes over Walter Mondale and I became the 51st Republican. His nomination was taken off the shelf. He then became confirmed as a judge on the DC circuit court of appeals and then stood before me to become chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Those acts of goodness on the part of the folks in this room of knocking on the doors and licking the envelopes and making the contributions changed the world. We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what our deeds will do. God knows that.
But I always tell you, I always said David McKeren (sp?) first prime minister said ‘anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist’. But miracles tend to start happening when we stop doing our part. So let’s do our part. It’s not going to take a miracle for me to win this race, it’s going to take justice on the part of the Supreme Court. We can do that.
But beyond winning my race, as I said before it’s not about me, it’s about what we stand for, what we represent, the love we have for this great nation. The love we have for our kids for small business for entrepreneur . Let’s unleash that power. Move America forward. Onward to victory this year. We’ll elect a Republican governor in 2010 and it starts right here in this room right now.
Thank you all very, very much.