GOP convention yawner

I tried to stay away from the California Republican convention in Santa Clara this weekend, opting instead for my youngest daughter’s lacrosse tournament, but I couldn’t stay away. Like a magnet, the event drew me from the Sacramento area to Santa Clara. I showed up, figuring this would be an exciting event given the large number of competitive and increasingly nasty primary races, but it’s a really low-key affair. Conservative political activist Stephen Frank, of California Political News and Views, told me it was one of the most boring conventions he has been to — and he has been attending them since the 1960s. He said that if we removed all the paid consultants, student activists and candidates, that there would be about 22 people here. That’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

I caught Assemblyman Chuck DeVore’s press conference. He is waging a longshot U.S. Senate race against Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina. He’s the conservative in the race and he had some good things to say. For instance, he pointed out the real problems in the government — that the federal government is growing at a rate that can’t be sustained. He noted that the stimulus program did not jumo-start the economy and that the money “went overwhelmingly to protect existing government jobs.” He said he’s the only candidate who has been invited to more tea party events that he has time to attend, and believes that his positions can attract the Reagan Democrats and Decline to State voters who rejected the GOP because of its profligate spending, but who are no rejecting the Democrats (but don’t trust the GOP enough to embrace the party again). At least DeVore isn’t trying to parse things — he has taken the same conservative positions that he always has taken as an Assemblyman and political activist from Orange County.

DeVore does say some entertaining things. Explaining that he won’t run TV ads in his campaign, he said he is a big believer in Sun Tzu and the art of asymmetrical war. I asked (jokingly) DeVore, who is very conservative on defense issues, whether that meant that he was a terrorist sympathizer. Hey, we try to find our humor where we can at these dull affairs!

I will soon attend the dinner banquet. I bumped into gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, who promised me that he will touch on themes he learned in my book about public employee unions. Maybe it was worth attending after all!

–Steven Greenhut


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