(Updated – 07 August 2014; see below)

Former U.S. Representative Steve LaTourette served 18 years (1995-2013) in Congress as a center-right Republican from Ohio. Yesterday, he had an op/ed in Politico, entitled “The Grifting Wing vs. The Governing Wing”. In it, LaTourette describes the internal civil war facing the GOP, as a party today. Consider two grafs from it:

“The grifting wing of the party promises that you can have ideological purity—that you don’t have to compromise—and, of course, all you have to do is send them money to make it happen. The governing wing of the Republican Party knows that’s a damn lie. Our Founding Fathers set up a system of government that by its very nature excludes the possibility of one party or one ideological wing of one party getting everything it wants. Ted Cruz, who quotes the founders almost every chance he gets, ought to know this.

Even Ronald Reagan—who won in two of the biggest landslides in American history—was forced to compromise. It was President Reagan who cut deals with Democrats to extend the solvency of Social Security and put the federal budget on a sounder footing. It was Reagan who famously said that someone who votes with him 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally. Reagan’s record and rhetoric stands in marked contrast to the grifting win of the party today, even as the grifters invoke his memory in their disingenuous appeals.

That op/ed by LaTourette is exactly what’s happening in next Tuesday’s (12 Aug 14) GOP Primary for State House District 48B. Let’s take a closer look at that graphic, above, which is a screenshot from of Sheila Kihne’s blog (with “Reagan” entered into the search field):

Invoke Reagan? Invoke “Founding Fathers”? Kihne does it all the time, just like LaTourette spoke of, in this op/ed linked above. Ms. Kihne is challenging State Representative Jenifer Loon in the primary because, essentially, Kihne feels Loon isn’t conservative enough. So much for Reagan’s “80% and you’re my friend” for Ms. Kihne…

Ms. Kihne appears to be a political opportunist – a grifter, if you will – of the worst sort. Ms. Kihne’s main attack on Rep. Loon is a vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota; a vote Rep. Loon describes in a recent Minnesota Public Radio (“MPR”) story thusly:

“(Rep. Loon) said she voted for same-sex marriage after talking it over with constituents, noting that a majority in her district voted against the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012.

She didn’t regret the vote but added, “It was tough. I never had to make such a tough decision in the Legislature. I just think if people can understand the process, understand how much I wrestled with it, trying to be true to my own beliefs, to being true to what I felt my constituency was telling me. I did the best I could with a tough issue.”

In the same story Kihne is now on record for not – let me repeat that, “not” – supporting repeal of the marriage law. In short, Kihne is so upset about that vote – “the straw that broke the camel’s back” – she’s running for election but, if elected, she won’t do a thing about it: “Kihne says she won’t push to repeal the same-sex marriage law if elected” Kihne is running away from the reason she’s running – marriage restrictions.

But Kihne was more than happy to take the money from those that, one could easily assume, want to do exactly that.

If that isn’t opportunism, what is?

After you peel back Sheila Kihne’s facade of fiscal conservative views, she’s got one issue – making her yet again a “single issue candidate.” Michael Brodkorb summed up what Kihne’s challenge, Kihne’s “issue,” is really all about: “It’s all about Sheila”. From it:

“Loon is just the unfortunate person standing in the way of Kihne’s insatiable ego. The only mistake Loon made was living in the same district as Kihne. The analysis of this race isn’t complicated; this is about Kihne wanting to have a larger platform to promote her views, push her agenda and have the world function the way Kihne believes it should.”

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It’s all about Sheila selling Sheila, and then Sheila running from what she ran for. That’s her track record. Case in point – Sheila’s now running from what she’s written, calling what she’s written, like the post where she trashed military veterans, “facetious.” Sheila will tell you that keeping your word is important. Apparently, not so much with hers. Around the district I hear: “Is there anyone Sheila hasn’t turned on?”

Next Tuesday’s House District 48B Primary is a case in point for Republican Steve Tourette’s op/ed, “The Grifting Wing vs. The Governing Wing”.

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UPDATE – 07 August 2014
The Star Tribune newspaper published its endorsement today: “Endorsement: Loon over Kihne in GOP state House primary”. In it they note Kihne “declined to meet with a Star Tribune Editorial Board screening panel before the primary.” Bottom line? Rather than answer tough questions on policy and potentially tougher questions on her past writings, she chose to run away – she “declined” to articulate and defend her positions and writings.

This should not come as a surprise. Earlier this year (June 11th, 2014 to be exact) she announced on her “Sheila Kihne for House 48B Eden Prairie” that she wouldn’t be answering questions from the Chamber of Commerce: “I respectfully decline completing the questionnaire.”

Compare/contrast with Rep. Jenifer Loon, who, as far as I know, will talk to anyone. Undoubtedly, Ms. Kihne will defend her choices to run away from questions from the Strib and Chamber. These decisions are not the actions a confident candidate would make, but it does make Ms. Kihne, especially when combined with the original post, a candidate clearly earning the dubious distinction as “The Running Away Woman.”
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