To give some background to this issue, the conservatives in the California Republican Party have taken the position that we were successful in the Recall election of 2003, and previously, because we presented a platform of fiscal responsibility. A core principal of the Republican Party is fiscal conservatism.
There are many in the Party who feel that some of the Governor’s policies are imprudent. They wanted to show support for the Governor, but they wanted to have the body pass resolutions that restated Party principles.
One resolution had to do with stating that the Party was in favor of a balanced budget, and a reduction of the accumulated deficit. The resolution was a clear statement of Republican fiscal prudency – core principal of the Party since its formation.
Another had to do with the proposed $68 Million bond issue the Governor is proposing for infrastructure. While everyone agrees that funds are needed to be spent for highways, roads, water projects, schools, levees and hospitals, the controversy is over how to pay for it. Conservatives feel that additional bonded indebtedness would put an undue burden on the State and the taxpayers. The recommendation of the Resolution was to find alternative sources of funding for the infrastructure, for example using revenue bonds rather than general obligation bonds. The resistance to incurring additional debt with general obligation bonds is also fiscally prudent.
Another issue had to do with minimum wage. California already has one of the highest minimum wages in the country. The Governor is proposing an increase in the minimum wage by $1.00 per hour over the next two years. There are numerous studies which show that raising the minimum wage has an immediate effect of eliminating jobs, and adversely affecting the very poorest workers – the very people that well-meaning advocates of minimum wage think they are benefiting. It also has the effect of hurting small businesses and driving them out of the State, or in encouraging an underground economy as employers attempt to circumvent the punitive law.
All of these issues are core Republican fiscal responsibility issues.
They were rejected by a majority of the members of the California Republican Party. The members felt that by passing the resolutions it would be considered a rebuke of the Governor and demonstrate that his Party was not supportive – possibly causing him to lose in the November election.
I think that if it were coupled with a statement of support for the Governor and was merely a statement by the Party of its opposition to certain policies proposed by the Governor, it would have not been misconstrued. I guess I must be somewhat naive politically, because the body at the convention did not agree with me.
As I reported in a previous post, Tom McClintock, at the Saturday lunch stated, “When we have stood by our principles we have won. In the end, if we don’t stand by our principles, what have we won?”
Of course I support the Governor and I definitely want him to be re-elected, but if we don’t state clearly what our principles are, what do we stand for? How can we not indicate our displeasure with fiscally irresponsible policy? How do the policies advocated by the Governor differ from the policies that would be advocated by Angelides or Westly? Shouldn’t the Party state publicly that it stands for fiscal conservatism, or should we just avert our eyes and not take a stand for our core principles? If we do, how do we say to those we want to recruit to our Party that we have principles and we stand behind them?
I am a political novice, and have only been involved in California Republican Party politics for less than a year, so there may be political strategy that I haven’t considered, but from where I sit, I am disappointed that the Party did not stand up for Republican principles.