New CA GOP seeks to stop Dem ‘recipe for disaster’

March 5, 2013

By Katy Grimes


SACRAMENTO — The 11th Commandment, according to the gospel of former President Ronald Reagan, is an unwritten rule in the Republican Party discouraging public attacks on other Republicans, particularly GOP candidates. “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican,” is not intended to discourage debate over ideology, philosophy or policy, but to prevent GOP candidates from launching into personal attacks on each other.

For the most part, the California Republican Party convention held last weekend in Sacramento may have started with an attack on one party candidate, but continued and ended on an upbeat, positive note.

A rousing convention — for CA Republicans

By the last day of the three-day convention, most of the women attendees — except the under-30 crowd — were worn out and had kicked off the killer high heels and slipped into sensible flat shoes. Jeans and Sperry’s replaced the men’s dark blue suits. But even on Sunday, after all-day working sessions and late-night parties and receptions, the 1,300 attendees were still enthusiastic and working hard.

The election of new party Chairman Jim Brulte ushered in a new, distinctive feeling of cohesiveness missing in the party for several years, along with a sense of a new era of leadership.

Brulte’s overwhelming election on Sunday, to loud cheers and visible relief, is a message to the state. Brulte isn’t just any CRP Chairman — he’s a former Assembly and Senate leader, and a well known down-to-business butt-kicker.

The state Republican Party has not only suffered devastating losses in recent years. There has been a glaring lack of cohesiveness, spotty communication, dismal voter registration and lackluster outreach and inclusiveness.

Who is Brulte?

A former assemblyman and state senator, Jim Brulte served 14 years in the California Legislature. He was in the Assembly from 1990-1996, and the Senate 1996-2004, term-limited out both times.

After the Republican Party election Sunday, Brulte promised to step up communications, make sincere connections with California voters and make the party more competitive in upcoming elections.

Brulte has a daunting job ahead.

“The Democrats are borrowing 46 cents of every dollar,” Brulte said. “This has to stop. We Republicans have to get outside of our comfort zone and deliver our message of individual liberty and responsibility.”

Nasty infighting

While there was plenty of support for Brulte and a new and much-needed cohesiveness, there were also problems in paradise.


The good news was San Francisco County Republican Party Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon was elected as the CRP Vice-Chairwoman — the first woman in the history of the California Republican Party to be elected to the office. But the bad news was her ascension was not without nasty party infighting.

Dhillon, a San Francisco attorney, was widely supported by many California Republican leaders for the vice-chairman’s seat. However, she was recently viciously slurred, and called a “Taj Mahal princess” and Muslim terrorist sympathizer — by a Republican.

“Vera Eyzendooren, the president of the San Bernardino County Federation of Republican Women— an official party group — slammed Dhillon in a recent Facebook post, which included a photo of an Islamic terrorist who beheaded two people,” Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“I was told by one of Harmeet’s friends that because of her religion, her loyalty is to the Muslim religion,” Eyzendooren wrote on Facebook. “So she will defend a Muslim beheading two men without any hesitation……she is not a Republican.”

Dhillon, a devout Sikh, immigrated from India when she was a child.

Fortunately, Eyzendooren’s outrageous and ignorant comments were vehemently denounced earlier in the week and again during the convention by Republican leaders. “Blatant racism has no place in the party of Lincoln,” said a joint statement from outgoing California GOP Chair Tom Del Beccaro, Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Minority leader Connie Conway. “We strongly denounce this hateful speech in this and any other venue.”

Brulte denounced the slur as well.

This is a teaching moment and an important opportunity for Brulte to put an end to the flame-throwing, ignorant, power-seeking faction of the state’s Republican Party. Far too often, this faction seeks opportunities for power, although most of them tend to be moderate crony capitalists. The infighting and vicious attacks have been a problem for many years, but have escalated in recent years through vociferous bloggers and local Republican groups. Perhaps under Brulte’s leadership this divisive faction will be exposed and marginalized.

Looking ahead

“We have to stop talking to each other,” Brulte said. “If we are going to be successful at winning elections, we have to get out of our comfort zone and stop only talking to the choir and going and talking to the people who don’t necessarily share our views, because if we share not only our head, but we share our heart, we will make converts.”

“Twenty-nine percent of California is Republican,” Brulte told delegates after his election. “But 100 percent of 29 percent does not get us to 51 percent.”

Brulte promised to help Republicans regain seats in the state Legislature, saying Democratic control of both houses and the governor’s office “is a recipe for disaster.” Brulte asked delegates to close their eyes and imagine the California they want to see 10, 15, 20 years from now, “And imagine the America you want to see. Is there anyone in this room that actually believes Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom can make that happen?”

“There is a fundamental difference between their vision and ours,” said Brulte. “Because the state run by Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom is a recipe for disaster.”

Related Articles

‘Eureka!’ California stinks!

July 16, 2012 By Katy Grimes I write this with a heavy heart, under duress, and with a longing for

CA Dems may finally have CTA vs. Latino showdown

As I’ve written many times over the years — here’s one example — the stability and durability of the California

FPPC Fights For Public Records

OCT. 21, 2010 When I was a reporter in Orange County a decade ago, calling the Fair Political Practices Commission