Convention time: How badly off is the CA GOP?

July 25, 2012

By John Seiler

Just ahead of its “fall” convention in beautiful downtown Burbank on Aug. 10-12, the CA GOP is in a tiff with the New York Times over the status of the party in the Pyrite State. I have little faith in anything the Times writes. But the author of the article, Adam Nagourney, actually is a decent reporter. He wrote:

“LOS ANGELES — This would seem a moment of great opportunity for California Republicans. The state has become a national symbol of fiscal turmoil and dysfunction, the Legislature is nearly as unpopular as Congress and Democrats control every branch of government.

“But instead, the state party — once a symbol of Republican hope and geographical reach and which gave the nation Ronald Reagan (and Richard M. Nixon) — is caught in a cycle of relentless decline, and appears in danger of shrinking to the rank of a minor party.”

That’s pretty accurate. But he also wrote:

“The slide began in 1994, when Republicans rallied around a voter initiative, Proposition 187, that would have made it illegal for the government to provide services for undocumented aliens. That campaign created a political rupture with Hispanics at the very moment when their numbers were exploding.”

That’s not accurate. In fact, Hispanics have voted 70 percent Democratic for decades. They did so before Prop. 187, and have done so since then. They do so in other states that never heard of 187. That’s just a fact of life that won’t change. Moreover, on the “social issues” — such as abortion and same-sex “marriage,” on which the GOP is more in tune with Hispanics — the party’s moderate bosses refuse to engage. So, the party is toast with salsa among Hispanics.

CA GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro responded to the Times article:

“The New York Times piece is grossly inaccurate. It reads like someone who wrote it by doing minimal surface research and calling the usual suspects/detractors. At the start of this year, we were told that Republicans would lose seats in the Congress, Senate and Assembly – that Armageddon was around the corner. However, independent analysts without an ax to grind now see the Republicans holding serve in Congress, possibly picking up seats in Congress and holding on to their Senate seats. This November, Prop. 32 could well pass bring reforms to our system including barring direct contributions from corporations and unions and paycheck protection. When that passes, California will have a more level playing field, Republicans will have a new day and be rather competitive statewide.”

Prop. 32, which I wrote about yesterday, is a good idea. But it probably won’t pass. The unions rigged the election by getting the Legislature to push the initiative from the June election to November, when more far-left Democrats will be voting. Even if it does pass, the CA GOP still won’t be helped much, if at all. Moderate Democrats would be helped most by being less in thrall to the powerful unions.

Bad candidates

Aside from demographics, the CA GOP’s real problem is that, at the federal and state levels, it has coughed up horrible candidates. Since 1988, the national party has won the presidential popular vote once, in 2004, when George W. Bush still could stoke fears just three years after 9/11. Bush became president in 2000, of course, because of the electoral college and that chad problem in Florida; but he still lost the popular vote.

Look at the party’s nominees. In 1992, George H.W. Bush lost because he broke his “Read my lips!!! No new taxes!!!” pledge of 1988. In Parade Magazine just this month, the old lying tax increaser still was defending his actions by attacking Grover Norquist, the one who holds mendacious pols to their word when they pledge not to increase taxes. Bush said:

“The rigidity of those pledges is something I don’t like. The circumstances change and you can’t be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It’s—who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?”

Reagan showed Bush I how to win, but he never learned, any more than did the others I’ll bring up.

Dole and Bush II

In 1996, it was Bob “Tax Collector for the Welfare State” Dole, who in the U.S. Senate pushed through $900 billion in tax increases.

Then we got George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, who has become such an embarrassment to the party that he’s ashamed to appear at their convention in Tampa next month. He also didn’t appear at the 2008 convention, although he did beam himself in with a telecast. Compare that to how Ronald Reagan was greeted at the 1988 and 1992 GOP conventions — as a conquering hero. Reagan didn’t appear at the 1996 and 2000 conventions only because he was suffering from alzheimer’s.

In 2008, the party nominated nutty Sen. John McCain, who panicked during the September financial crisis that year and suspended his campaign for a week.

Now it’s Mitt Romney, a liberal son of a liberal governor, by name George Romney of Michigan. According to the Intrade betting service, which has a high prediction record, just 40.4 percent of bets are on Romney to win. That’s despite an economy nosediving back into recession. The GOP sure can pick ’em.

Dismal California candidates

Then there are the California gubernatorial candidates. In 1990, Pete Wilson ran as a small-government candidate. But once in office, he raised taxes $7 billion in 1991 to deal with a budget shortfall. I’ve talked to staff members since then, and they say he regrets it.

In 1994, he won partly because of Prop. 187, which I discussed earlier. But another big factor was that his Democratic opponent, Kathleen Brown, instead of pouncing on the tax-increase mistake, called for even higher taxes. That also was the year of the Republican congressional victory nationwide and the revolt against Clinton’s tax increases. (Clinton learned his lesson, and promptly cut capital gains taxes, sparking the boom of the late 1990s and his own 1996 re-election.)

In 1998, the GOP nominated Dan Lungren, who ran one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen. He tried to campaign as a “law and order” candidate, not realizing that Gray Davis, when he had been the Democrats’ state honcho earlier in the decade, had lured the cop unions to the Democrats with pledges of pension spiking. Davis won easily, then spiked the cops’ pensions, a major factor in the state’s current fiscal demise.

In 1992, Bill Simon actually was a decent candidate for governor. But the Davis machine chewed him up. In 1993, of course, Davis was recalled.

In the replacement election, the CA GOP bigshots backed Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of then-state Sen. Tom McClintock, who was the real conservative deal. “Arnold can win,” Republicans told me. I responded, “But he sponsored a spending initiative last year. And even he quips that he sleeps with a Kennedy,” meaning his wife, Democratic liberal Maria Shriver-Kennedy. That was before we knew that he also was sleeping with the family maid.

McClintock

This was part of the state party bosses’ continued shunning of McClintock, now a congressman in Washington, D.C., over three decades. Had the party bigshots given him even nominal support in his campaigns for state controller and lieutenant governor — and had they supported him, not Arnold, in 2003 — he would have been elected governor in the 2002-03 period, have solved the state’s budget problem by bringing back the Gann Limit, and so have burnished the CA GOP’s bona fides. They didn’t.

Arnold was so-so for his first two years in office, seemingly improving the tarnished GOP “brand” in the state. Then he lost his 2005 reform plank and turned hard Left, especially with AB 32, the jobs-slaughtering Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Yet the CA GOP that year still backed him heartily.

He then increased taxes a record $13 billion in 2009. The economy tanked, with California unemployment three points higher than the national rate. He left office in complete disgrace, taking the GOP down with him.

In 2008, the CA GOP nominated ex-Ebay CEO Meg Whitman and her billions. She wasted $180 million of her fortune on a ridiculous campaign, losing big time to a reanimated septuagenarian, Jerry Brown. Whitman now heads Hewlett-Packard, where she has caved in to leftist pressure and ended funding to the great nonpartisan research group, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

After so many bad candidates have been put before the voters at the national and state levels the pas 30 years, the wonder is that the GOP has survived at all. The secret to its success is that the Democrats have been almost as bad, descending from a party of working-class types into a party dominated by government union hacks and lifestyle leftists.

Democrats and Republicans are like two drunks getting into a bar fight during an electricity blackout. They draw the rest of us into it, blindly cracking pool cues over our heads.

And there’s no exit.

 

23 comments

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  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 25 July, 2012, 10:56

    Golf, crab and aeoli, chardonnay, Spanish ham, country clubs, gated communities, offshore mystical accounts…..the RAGWUS????

    Reply this comment
  2. RT
    RT 25 July, 2012, 10:57

    The fact is that the takers and their allies in California now outnumber the makers. The Democrat’s not only know this, they count on it each election cycle. California is tax addicted, and its people are addicted to Government Services. California will not hear the calls for it to get itself right. Like all addicts, they do not see they have a problem. California’s tax addiction has been ignored for too long. Now California is about to OD and the government is crying out for a new source of taxes for its addiction. However, the fact is that no matter how much of our taxes are coming in to the government, it will never be enough. They are addicted! I will miss California. Too bad that no one was willing to force it into rehab. Moreover, as California goes so goes the nation.

    Reply this comment
  3. Drake Taylor
    Drake Taylor 25 July, 2012, 10:58

    Your decade is off below. SHould be 2002 and 2003. Feel free to fix and delete my comment.

    “In 1992, Bill Simon actually was a decent candidate for governor. But the Davis machine chewed him up. In 1993, of course, Davis was recalled.”

    Reply this comment
  4. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 25 July, 2012, 11:12

    Recollect Simon was perceived as an out of touch rich guy thinking it would be nice to be governor…brings to mind Meg and Arnold and Carly and Huffington…major candidates with similar “want to be” ambitions.

    Running rich people isn’t working….the great unwashed 99% can see the Grey Poupon on their shirt and blouse sleeves!

    Reply this comment
  5. us citizen
    us citizen 25 July, 2012, 14:10

    ILLEGALS, ILLEGALS, ILLEGALS………how many times does this need to be said. They are ruining our schools….(when your kid loses interest at school because no one speaks English and they are held back because the kids in class dont care, what do you expect?) …our hospitals…….(over crowding emergency rooms and sucking the hospitals dry),… our natural resources….(using up limited amounts of gas, water and electricity and then being rationed for it and over charged) , and our infrastructure……(wear and tear of highways and over crowding traffic jams)………..what do you think is going to happen to this state. This has GOT TO STOP! And none of you repubs have the balls to do anything about it.

    Reply this comment
  6. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 25 July, 2012, 14:32

    Republicans are globalists…..cheap labor…you walk around in rags…globalists play golf at Pelican Hill for over $150.00 and eat $20.00 dollar steak sandwiches. You cannot afford a baloney slice for your week old bread!

    Reply this comment
  7. Lea
    Lea 25 July, 2012, 15:33

    When RT stated,”California is tax addicted, and its people are addicted to Government Services.” he was correct. The fact is that the takers and their allies in California do now outnumber the makers. Given this, all the
    Republicans can do is wait until California crashes and hope to clean up the mess.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 25 July, 2012, 15:48

    CRASH word is extremely popular on CWD!

    Reply this comment
  9. Randall May
    Randall May 25 July, 2012, 16:42

    As long as the CRP is in bed with the prohibitionist and those who benefit from prohibition, it will be difficult for the party to have credibility. Add a little immigrant bashing and touch of theocracy into the mix. It doesn’t look promising. What we need is to get the right-wing-whacko-nut-cases out of our party leadership before our party goes the way of the Whigs.

    Reply this comment
  10. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 25 July, 2012, 19:22

    If is gone….do the demographic math.

    Reply this comment
  11. BobA in San Diego
    BobA in San Diego 25 July, 2012, 19:41

    Lea:

    There are some in this forum who don’t think the state has a spending problem. They think the state’s problem is that ‘we the people’ aren’t taxed enough. They’re easy to spot: they’re the ones who refer to members of the Tea Party as “tea-baggers”.

    They are willfully ignorant of the fact the “Tea” in Tea party stands for “Taxed Enough Already.” They’ve been inculcated with the socialist ideology that all money belongs to the government and the government does you a favor by letting you keep some of “their” money.

    Want proof of what I’m saying?

    Why does the government when it says that they have to “pay for a tax cut”? The only rational interpretation of that statement is this: the money you worked for is not yours to keep and any extra money the government allows you to keep costs them because it comes out of their pocket.

    Reply this comment
  12. BobA in San Diego
    BobA in San Diego 25 July, 2012, 19:42

    Lea:

    There are some in this forum who don’t think the state has a spending problem. They think the state’s problem is that ‘we the people’ aren’t taxed enough. They’re easy to spot: they’re the ones who refer to members of the Tea Party as “tea-baggers”.

    They are willfully ignorant of the fact the “Tea” in Tea party stands for “Taxed Enough Already.” They’ve been inculcated with the socialist ideology that all money belongs to the government and the government does you a favor by letting you keep some of “their” money.

    Want proof of what I’m saying?

    Why does the government mean when it says that they have to “pay for a tax cut”? The only rational interpretation of that statement is this: the money you worked for is not yours to keep and any extra money the government allows you to keep costs them because it comes out of their pocket.

    Reply this comment
  13. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 25 July, 2012, 22:43

    Randy May–I agree with your post. And Bob A.—- This may surprise you but I think Calif dos spend too much….the problem is that neither of the two parties are clean in this mess……. Ted

    Reply this comment
  14. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 26 July, 2012, 00:08

    Teddy, you have never seen a gov that “spends too much”

    Reply this comment
  15. BobA in San Diego
    BobA in San Diego 26 July, 2012, 07:46

    Ted:

    That’s why I’m not a democrat or a republican. Both parties are responsible although I do blame the democrats more so since they have held power longer but that’s water under the bridge at this point.

    The power to spend is the power to destroy and we’re seeing that right now in California. Raising taxes is the equivalent of handing the politicians better weapons to maximize their destructive power.

    California is drowning in its own shit and to a greater or lesser degree, we’re all culpable for the mess we find ourselves in and there are no exceptions.

    Reply this comment
  16. Reagan Republican
    Reagan Republican 26 July, 2012, 11:01

    The problem is not as much our candidates as out California Republican Party State Committee…which has been run into the ground by incompetent leadership…especially the last two Chairmen, Nehring and DelBeccaro. They have no staff, no money, and no donors. The CAGOP would have a huge comeback if we would elect professional leaders as chairman as the Democrats seem to do.

    Reply this comment
  17. Steve Rider
    Steve Rider 26 July, 2012, 12:57

    Good article.

    Republicans need to connect with California voters on sensible issues. California is fiscally conservative illustrated by the last 8 tax increases being shot down by voters. We (republicans and fiscal conservatives) need to point out all of the fiscal waste the state has ranging from bloated pensions, high speed rail ideas, and secret park funds. Fiscal sanity should be an easy recruiting tool for sensible people to relate with, especially when Democrats continue to pilot the crazy train (no pun intended on HSR).

    Taxes and spending are driving California into the ground economically. It’s causing families to split as kids depart to other states for work. It causes people to have to retire later in life to make ends meet. It causes people to lose their homes because jobs are disappearing. These are real issues that are having major impact on people’s lives, and the Democrats are consistently on the wrong end of these issues.

    The San Diego Republican Party has done a great job recognizing this as they’ve advanced a real reform candidate for mayor and pushed excellent pro-taxpayer propositions. Hopefully the rest of the state will take note.

    Reply this comment
  18. Dave Roberts
    Dave Roberts 26 July, 2012, 13:39

    Anyone wondering about the fecklessness of the state GOP need only look at the candidate they endorsed to face DiFi: Elizabeth Emken, who came in fourth out of four candidates in a Republican Congressional primary two years ago.

    Reply this comment
  19. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 26 July, 2012, 15:45

    Does she do toni cocktail parties, golf clutches and sailing regattas?

    PERFECT REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE!

    Reply this comment
  20. BobA in San Diego
    BobA in San Diego 26 July, 2012, 17:45

    Reagan Republican:

    The problem with the Cal Republican state committee is that they are paid political hacks who are marginal republicans at best. It’s hard to articulate idea based on personal convictions when you’re only doing it for the money and personal gain.

    It is for that reason that I draw a distinction between a republican and a principled conservative. A principled conservative believes what they say and say what they believe based on principles and conviction without regard to political considerations.

    A republican, on the other hand, at best is a “fair weather conservative” who is at heart an opportunist with a conservative bent but is willing to compromise for the sake of political expediency and personal political gain.

    Reply this comment
  21. Ken C.
    Ken C. 28 July, 2012, 08:28

    Great analysis! I’ve been saying the same thing for years. The only failure is that the Democrats that control CA and the nation are truly communists. We need to start identifying them as such, dragging them kicking and screaming into the light. Their values and habits clearly reflect this. When Congressman Allen West said this, I thought they would have killed him for it (Pulling a Vince Foster, among others, on him).

    Reply this comment
  22. cynthia curran
    cynthia curran 15 September, 2012, 13:54

    Perot killed George H and George H is smarter than his son that lowered taxes but pushed like crazy to legalized Hispanics. BOb Dole was ok but Jack Kemp was another one that wanted the Republican party to pander to minorities. Lower taxes is not anything, Grover Norquist is the worst thing that happen with the republicans because the old jerk is always lowering taxes to the point that now he wants to massively cut defense. Some of the open borders right wingers including Reagan were why the Democratics got the state. Grover is also friendly with some Moselms of questionable background. Find a moderate that is to the right of the party on Immigration instead of the left and the party will win again like it did under Pete Wilson.

    Reply this comment
  23. cynthia curran
    cynthia curran 15 September, 2012, 14:04

    High Taxes makes the state stagnant but the immigration of the past 30 years didn’t help. In fact Texas beloved of a lot of Republicans has the tax policy down but is almost as worst on immigration-its number 2 in the nation and Rice University predicted that like California its student body will be poorer since it will be in 2040 66 percent Hispanic in the whole state and only 15 percent white. In fact, San Diego which still has a few Republicans in 1970 had a poverty rate of only 7 percent and now around 13 percent and its not the recession each decade San Diego has gotten poorer because of both the Democratic sand Republicans in the state supporting business interest that hire illegal Hispanics.

    Reply this comment

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