or: GOP candidates lack official record
or: Whitman only converted to Republicanity in 2007
or: The uber-rich only hope for GOP; Campbell scoffs
The California Republican Convention was this weekend, and the overall feelings about it were disappointment and outrage. The convention had three major undertones to it, first being Governor Schwarzenegger’s decisions over the past two years, especially with AB32 he signed three years ago and his stance on taxes and spending. Secondly was the voting record of Meg Whitman which was released recently by the Sacramento Bee showing she had not registered to vote until 2002, and lastly was Campbell finally getting in their with a few jabs of his own about his fellow GOP candidates. These odd year conventions are generally meant as a sort of high school pep rally for the coming year’s elections. The patrons and registered republicans get all dressed up in bedazzled red, white, and blue outfits as they dawn hats and buttons so outlandish they seems to have come straight from the drug-addled mind of Seuss himself. These outfits seemed a bit inappropriate when all was said and done as the Republican Party was forced to face the facts at hand after seeing what the future of their party holds for them…long odds.
Governor Schwarzenegger made an address to the convention speaking mostly in defense of his record as Governor and stating that despite the budget shortfalls he has cut spending over the years by billions and had to make some “tough decisions” in the past two years. He joked that his wife, a democrat, did not like the way he had been handling the California budget and that Arnold had spent many a night in his garage as a result. He did joke as well that with the three year anniversary of his environmental bill, AB32, this last week, he had finally gotten some good sleep back in the bedroom with his wife. The crowd did laugh at his jokes on the subject, but the fence mending he was trying to do, self defense as it were, had little effect despite the standing ovation he got when his 20 minute speech ended.
The problem with Arnold and the party is about his straying from the party values and conservative lines he seemed to have forgotten, or all out ignored over the years as time went on as Governor. His position on taxes, cutting them specifically, was not in line with GOP stances on cutting taxes. His work on trying to increase the economy and lower unemployment has failed in the state, overall, and the biggest problem was his environmental policies. Problem is that he chose environment over business, and this is no good for a party populated mostly by rich, white men, closet homophobes, and big business bed fellows.
The big item of the event was Meg Whitman’s voting record…the fact she has none. The information came from the Sacramento Bee, an adolescently named paper that dropped their report on the whitman camp just prior to the convention, that there was no evidence to show she had registered, let alone voted, before 2002. In fact, further in the report you find that in 2002 she had registered as ‘nonpartisan’. It was not until 2007 that she accepted Nixon as he personal savior and registered as a Republican. So, she is running on the GOP ticket with no political service record and no voting record to speak of. Her camp did not deny the accusations and Whitman herself simply stated she regretted it, was sorry, and that was all she was going to say. She in fact, earlier on before the report came out, stated that she regretted not having voted ‘on several occasions’, when in fact it was all occasions. Her backpedaling aside Poizner publicly called for her to step down from her candidacy, citing that not only did she not vote, she never registered, which meant she never even intended to vote. This he saw as a threat to California’s future with a leader that did not care enough about the simplest part of being in a democratic system.
Campbell did some slinging of his own. He did not comment on Whitman’s record, he felt he was not going to pander to the trench in fighting of the party, he instead focused on the candidates lack of service, and their rhetoric on fixing the economy. Whitman and Poizner spoke of tax cuts, though Poizner was the only one to give an actual number, 10% across the board, though he did not specify how he would not cut government spending in the process. Both he and Whitman spoke of fixing the California economy by eliminating ‘waste, fraud, and abuse’, though there were no specifics of any kind on this matter. Both Poizner and Whitman were clearly throwing around abstract concepts with no specific plan or data to back up their claims, which Campbell saw as a sign of inexperience, little knowledge, and only hastily throw together campaign ideas.
Campbell is the only one of the three with more than a year or two of experience behind him. He has history with California, though it also comes from Silicon Valley like his opponents. Campbell feels that whether the party is facing Newsom or Brown in the general election, both have a long list of qualifications and experience behind them, especially Brown who is the early odds on favorite to snag the nomination at this point, though he still has not officially gotten in the ring. Campbell feels that the candidates Whitman and Poizner are week opponents of the Democratic ticket possibilities and coupled with their lack of detailed plans and experience they would lose handily in an election. Campbell also separated himself from them in speaking out on behalf of the Governor saying that his decisions on spending and taxes were in a time of crisis and were necessary to weather the storm the state was in.
The party is simply in shambles right now no matter where you look in this state. Democrats are riding a high and mighty wave at the moment while the GOP is struggling to find even one candidate that can go round for round with even the possible Democratic candidates. Historically the GOP has not done well in California outside for Schwarzenegger getting in in 2003 after Gray Davis was ousted, and that was a special election situation. Campbell seems to be the guy right now with any chance at matching service records, but he is behind to the others, at least for now, since he has not been very vocal to date.
As example of another dire GOP situation, Carly Fiorina, another rich woman with no experience in government is putting together a team to run for Senate against the ever popular Barbara Boxer, the Democratic incumbent in California. Boxer is tough, and has experience, and Fiorina has little to throw at the race that Barbara can’t match, except massive amounts of cash. How much? Well, she used to run HP (Hewlett-Packard) so she has a few bucks laying around. Her opponent for the nomination in that race would be a state assemblyman, Chuck DeVore. He as well has come out against AB32 and chastised it as a ‘gigantic mistake’. And no wonder, in his years of service he has passed bills for slant drilling and nuclear power in California. The man should be the one to go toe to toe with boxer though. He as a long service with Cox, Reagan, and a long service in the military. He has the clout to with the senate seat, but Boxer will be tough even for him. Schwarzenegger has really put a strain on the Republican party with the public.
I think the real issue right now for the GOP is the fact that they are not putting up candidates with experience. The Convention was proof that they are putting up rich white people, right along party lines, to battle for a seat that is really in need of a more moderate leader. California is in dire straights and what is needed is someone who is willing to hear ideas from either party and field any and all inquiries without dismissing some just because of their source. Modern day issues as we are having are not democratic or republican problems, they are community problems. These are things affecting your neighbors, family, and friends.
I remember the idea of ‘rebranding’ the party started after the Presidential loss in the last general election, and I still have yet to see it at all. This is scary, this kind of change, for the millions of people that still hold fast to the puritanical views of the past and fear progress in most forms calling it communist or un-American. American as I see it is a culmination of many different views united for the common good coming together for something greater than it’s individual parts. That is a founding idea of our forefathers, and if this is the case then the un-American thing would be to just dismiss an idea that opposes yours for the simple fact that it isn’t your idea; if the GOP can be more American then I think they could make a run at offices, but, as the convention may have proven, they don’t really feel like budging from their tranches any time soon.