A minimum standard

Seems the Orange County Republican Party is finally getting serious about public employee unions. I’ve always thought it hilarious that the party of Ronald Reagan, limited government and union-busting always seemed to cash big campaign checks from public employee PACs with the same gusto as the Democrats (you can check out my scrutiny of Republicans Bob Dutton and Tom Harman  here and here, respectively). But then I read this, OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh’s big Jan. 18, 2010 party speech, and was floored. Particularly, after reading this paragraph:

“The second item I want to propose tonight as a minimum standard for our support is that from this night forward, no candidate will be supported by this party who receives contributions and endorsements from public employee unions. If you have already taken their money we are not asking you to give it back, but we will look at you with a healthy dose of skepticism.”

What’s more, Baugh made such a promise after approvingly quoting from a recent San Francisco Chronicle column by former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown: “at some point, someone is going to have to get honest about the fact that 80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits [in California] are due to employee costs.”

You know the state is in bad, bad shape when Willie Brown and Scott Baugh are holding hands in pension reform solidarity. It will be fascinating to see how Baugh intends to enforce his prohibition, as well as whether other county GOP leaders adopt similar guidelines.

-Anthony Pignataro

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