Being a leader isn't about listening sessions, political correctness, or saying what people want to hear. Being a leader is about knowing what is the right course of action, and convincing others to follow you. While many think of military leadership as the general talking about grand strategy in the bunker at the rear of the battle, true leadership is most often seen in the young lieutenants and sergeants who lead from the front into the battle. The leader who leads by example and from the front are the most effective.
When I met Tom Emmer and every time I have talked with him since, I have recognized in him the type of leader that people inherently want to follow. Self assured yet not egotistical, and happy to make a joke at his own expense. Tom exudes the quality that the Army has been unable to quantify or qualify in any manual;that of the natural born leader. The best the Army can do in defining leadership is this-
Leadership is influencing people by providing purpose, motivation, and direction while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.
Purpose, motivation, and direction. Those three words need to be looked at in light of what we are trying to accomplish in November.
Purpose-our goal as conservatives is not to keep the governor's office in conservative hands. Our goal is to keep the governor's office and move the legislature at least to a point of parity with the DFL, if not taking back at least one house. Conservatives have been playing on defense for far too long in Minnesota (we even used our special teams in the unallottement fight), and it is time to get the offense on the field. Instead of simply slowing down the inevitable tide of progressivism, we need to be moving the state back towards conservative principles. We need to play to win, rather than playing not to lose.
Motivation- We need to go on offense, but in order to do that we need to not only keep the governor's seat, we need to have majorities (or at least slim minorities) in the legislature. Emmer is the man who can not only win his race, but can help get voters fired up for House and Senate candidates around the state. Because of the election politics sweeping the country in 2010, this will be our best chance in decades to seat a conservative majority in the legislature. The GOP governor candidate will have a big part to play in that. Yesterday was a perfect example. Most ordinary Minnesotans agree with the Arizona immigration law that actually tries to (gasp!) enforce the current federal immigration law. Emmer's unequivocal approval of Arizona enforcing the law is playing to win, rather than hedging your bets or playing not to lose.
Direction-the Tea Party wave has been sweeping across the country over this last year, and it is critically important to note that it is not a Republican wave. Rather, it is a wave in search of candidates who agree with tea party principles. Emmer is that candidate that can connect with the anger and frustration that so many Americans are feeling right now, and channel that emotion into helping his campaign. Emmer doesn't just agree with tea party principles, he lives them, and I suspect that if he were not involved in politics already, he would be a leader in the Tea Party movement.
Direction also means explaining your ideals and your plan for the state, rather than attacking others. There are two ways to win a race-you can faster and farther than anyone else, or you can make sure everyone else runs slower than you do. Negative campaigning and personal attacks are not what most Minnesotans want, and they are likely to backfire. Emmer's campaign has run a consistently positive race, and the only time they talk about the opponents is to defend Emmer against unprovoked attacks. That is the kind of direction that we need to chart for ourselves as a party in order to get to a victory in November.
Tom Emmer is the man we need to endorse tomorrow to help bring about a conservative victory for Minnesota in November.