I am attending the California Republican Assembly Endorsing Convention in, of all places, Bakersfield, California. I haven’t been to Bakersfield in probably 25 years, but it isn’t the sleepy agricultural/oil community it was then.
The CRA is the conservative wing of the Republican Party. As Ronald Reagan called it, “the conscience of the Republican Party.”
The morning session consisted primarily of statewide Republican candidates presenting their platforms and positions to the CRA for endorsement. There are a few contested offices where more than one Republican is running, such as Controller and Attorney General.
The candidate for Lt. Governor, running on the ticket with Gov. Schwarzenegger is Tom McClintock. Tom gave a rousing speech at the lunch today. He made some important points.
First, in the recall election of 2003 where Tom was running for Governor, as was Arnold Schwarzenegger, the two of them got 62% of the vote in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one. The reason, according to Tom, is that Republican principles resonate with the people of California, whether Republican or Democrat. He says that if you run on Republican principles, conservative and moderate Democrats will support you over liberal Democratic candidates.
He further said that Republicans didn’t come out in the 2005 Special Election because they saw that Republicans in Washington were not standing for Republican principles. The measures on the ballot should have won. They were basic Republican issues: 1) The State should live within its means, 2) politicians shouldn’t draw their own districts, 3) parents have a right to know when their minor children are having an abortion.
According to Tom, if we put our positions in “bold colors” and not pale pastels, we will succeed in the State of California because those who are not Republican also have our values. We have shared values with at least two-thirds of Californians.
In connection with the fact that some conservatives are not happy with some of Gov. Schwarzenneger’s fiscal policies, Tom quoted Ogden Nash,
“They have such refined and delicate palates
That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots,
And then when someone terrible gets elected!
They say, There, that’s just what I expected!”
He concluded with the statement that we can imagine better, but can we do better? We must act now to restore that Golden State of California that we once knew to our children and grandchildren.