You moderate! No, I'm not!

The Republican gubernatorial race, epitomized by last night’s debate between Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay executive Meg Whitman, reached a new level of absurdity. Both candidates, whatever their many pros and cons, come from the moderate wing of the party. Both are trying to appeal to a generally conservative GOP primary voter. Both keep accusing each other of being moderates. It doesn’t help that Whitman had supported Barbara Boxer in the past and that Poizner gave money to Al Gore. Whitman claimed that she supported the leftist Boxer because Boxer was against Internet taxes, but, as the Sacramento Bee reported, “After the debate, she dismissed a questioner who pointed out that Boxer’s opponent, conservative Republican Bill Jones, also opposed Internet taxes in 2004. Poizner blames his wife (a joint account) for the Gore donation. But Poizner had run previously for Assembly as a moderate and had previously supported an intiative to make it easier to raise taxes for education. Whitman has supported every sort of environmental legislation. Poizner makes a more credible conservative and seems to actually have changed his views on some things. Whitman is the front-runner, so she can’t go too far right — or else she risks having a tougher time in the general election.

The GOP has become so marginalized in California these days, that the party has to depend on wealthy self-funded candidates. It’s strange to me that it cannot find candidates with any history of actually embracing Republican positions. Note the word history. I oppose many GOP positions given that I am a libertarian. But why can’t the GOP come up with more credible candidates? I really am interested in answers!

–Steven Greenhut

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  1. Admin
    Admin Author 3 May, 2010, 10:34

    We could have had McClintock as governor, but the GOP establishment didn’t like him, and so didn’t support him enough in his three statewide races, so he narrowly lost.

    — John Seiler

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  2. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 3 May, 2010, 11:09

    Anyone who isn’t 100 percent ideologically right-wing has his or her “head (put) on a stick.” You drive anyone who isn’t a ditto-head out of the party.
    You demonize anyone who dares work with others with differing points of view to help solve our state’s problems. And then you complain because the Republican party doesn’t have any good candidates who can win in November.

    Give me a break!

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  3. Admin
    Admin Author 3 May, 2010, 11:42

    It’s McClintock whose head was “put on a stick” by the GOP moderate ideologues. He would have saved the state. But the moderates preferred to wreck the state with Schwarzenegger rather than lose control of their shrinking party.

    — John Seiler

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  4. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 3 May, 2010, 12:45

    John, if you truly believe that a hyper-partisan like McClintock could have saved the state, there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

    “Moderate ideologue” is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp. A moderate is not locked in to an ideological position; that’s the whole point. He or she is willing to work with people with differing points of view to solve problems. The few Republican moderates, like Abel Maldonado, Tom Campbell, and Assemblyman Anthony Adams, have been constantly attacked by the Rabid Right.

    Your party is shrinking because moderates are leaving. It’s as simple as that.

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  5. Admin
    Admin Author 3 May, 2010, 13:14


    1. It’s not “my party.” I’m “decline to state” or, sometimes, Libertarian.

    2. A “moderate ideologue” is someone obsessed with being moderate. The “whole point” is that he always sells out. You can trust him 100% — to betray you. I’d rather have a leftist like the late Teddy Kennedy in office than a “moderate” like Arnold. At least I know where I stand.

    3. McClintock would have brought back the Gann Limit, so there would have been no budget problem these past 7 years, and no deficit today.

    But, have it your way. Republicans soon will be even more irrelevant than they already are. Democrats will run everything, and Republicans will be cast into the oblivion they deserve.

    — John Seiler

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  6. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 3 May, 2010, 14:20

    OK, fair enough. You’re not a Republican (I don’t blame you!)

    As to Kennedy, he may have been a “leftist”, but the reason he was loved in the Senate was his willingness to work across the aisle with, for example, Orrin Hatch.

    Cooperation and compromise and reasonableness are not “selling out.” They are what make our system work. It is when ideologues on the Left and Right think that their views are more important than the common good that we get the kind of warfare and gridlock we have today. I want my representatives to solve problems, not to serve as martyrs.

    I get very angry with my brothers and sisters on the Left as well as on the Right on this. I can’t buy the argument that when Republicans throw people out of their party who don’t agree with them they are partisan ideologues, but when Democrats do it, they are “progressives.”

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  7. Admin
    Admin Author 3 May, 2010, 15:26

    Thanks for the comments. I would say that it’s more often conservatives-libertarians get thrown out of the GOP, or at least ostracized. Look at how Ron Paul has been treated. And the Moderate Establishment is ganging up against his son, Rand, in KY. Back in 64, the moderates, especially Romney and Rockefeller, trashed Goldwater after his nomination.

    The Tea Partiers did not arise because of Obama, as many believe, but when in September-October 2008 the Bush-McCain moderates sold out Main Street to Wall Street with the infamous bailout.

    — John Seiler

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  8. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 3 May, 2010, 16:00

    Well said, John. Although I don’t think you can blame “moderates” per se, I appreciate your making the point it was Bush–not Obama–who instigated the bailout. Of course it was also Bush whose gutting of many of the oversight safeguards led to the collapse in the first place.

    Further, I actually have some areas–like the War in Iraq–where I agree with Ron Paul. Maybe I have some Libertarian in me as well. I know it bugs the hell out of me when so-called “small government” politicians have no qualms about the government trying to force religious doctrines into the law of the land (see Terri Schiavo, etc.)

    Nevertheless, I really think in most cases it is the moderates who are being attacked and forced out. Look at what is happening to Charlie Crist in Florida.

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  9. Admin
    Admin Author 3 May, 2010, 16:53

    Interesting. From what I hear, it’s the Jeb Bush machine that’s behind Rubio, so Crist got pushed out. Rubio will do what they tell him.

    And the Bushes are moderates. Actually, maybe I shouldn’t taint moderates with anything associated with the thuggish Bushes. I’ve opposed their family for 30 years now, from when Bush I ran against Reagan back in 80. They’re in it for themselves.

    — John Seiler

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