Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cali Election Results: Thanks for nothing, Ah-nold

Well, it's been over a week since the last elections, and it is time to stop mourning.

Actually, on a national / federal government level, I really DIDN'T mourn. I fully accepted the fact that some of the "conservatives" we sent to Congress in 1994 became bloated, corrupt, earmarking, tone-deaf toads by 2006. They thought they could do whatever they wanted, regardless of what their constituents think, and now they have been reminded of just who is working for whom.

Moreover, the Presidential leadership didn't help, and in fact made matters worse. It is appalling how out of touch Karl Rove and Mr. Bush have been on such issues as immigration and the expansion of entitlement programs (what kind of "conservative" president gives us a further entrenchment of the federalized education mess?)

As for the War in Iraq, I stand with the President, but he hasn't articulated to the nation why we must carry on, even though anyone with half a brain on the matter knows we must.

On the state level, however, I do despair. Tom McClintock, perhaps the Last Totally Honest Politician, has failed, albeit narrowly. Stick a fork in California and turn it over, we're done for....

How did Tom fail? I fear we Republican patriots have been had. We were conned by Governator Ah-nold, who we thought would save our party. Alas, Ah-nold easily sells us out. Ah-nold is only out for Ah-nold. And yes, given that the California Republican Party went all out for Ah-nold in 2003, he owed the party some payback, big time.

Democrat operatives feared that Ah-nold would have a "coat-tails" effect, helping out other Republican candidates who would bask in the glow of his popularity. They need not have worried; Ah-nold tucked in his coattails and hogged the limelight.

The RINOs of the party, and even a good many conservative stalwarts like Hugh Hewitt, sold us on the idea of what a "Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal" Ah-nold was back in 2003.

Well, what a fraud that has proven to be. Ah-nold campaigned hard for the bonds, even utterly reckless and stupid bond propositions like 1C, 1D, and 84. All of them passed, even the "bait and switch" Prop. 84 that gives the Legislature the right to spend on anything as long as they say it is "water supply related", even though it is really about more parks and wildlife area acquisition.

Ah-nold was also very disappointing when it came to two other ballot initiatives. It is very sad to see parents giving up their rights to the government in California (Proposition 85). This wasn’t about abortion; the ballot initiative was written to avoid any pro-life construction. It was about parents having the right to raise their children. Gee, how about voting for a Prop. that allows minors to use medical marijuana without parents knowing? Ah-nold also worked to stop the passage of Prop. 90, which would have stopped the uncontrolled abuse of eminent domain.

Ah-nold wouldn't help embattled Republican congresscritters in California either. While in Stockton a week before Election Day, Ah-nold was asked if he supported Congressman Richard Pombo for re-election, and he said "that is a Federal issue" and "I am only concentrating on State issues." Pombo lost narrowly. With his loss, the effort to return the Endangered Species Act to common sense has ended. Pombo was defeated by the national "environmental" (i.e., property seizure) community which poured money and people-power into his Stockton area district. Then again, these are the same eco-fiend people that cheered the Governor for his leadership in the passage of AB 32, the utterly bogus "global warming" bill.

But worst of all, Ah-nold was no help at the state level! In the past, GOP candidates for Governor have nearly always campaigned with the statewide ticket and openly for fellow state-level Republican legislative candidates. Yet, Ah-nold did not make a single TV or radio ad for any of his fellow Republicans, nor did he have rallies and public appearances with the rest of the California Republican slate as media events. Sadly, McClintock, Poochigian, Parrish and Strickland lost, McClintock quite narrowly. Even the man he appointed as Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, narrowly lost— to a complete nobody like Debra Bowen. None of the five losing Republicans were allowed any public connection to the Schwarzenegger for Governor effort. Given the Governator's popularity, the narrow Republican losses of McClintock and McPherson, and Phil Angelides' weasely attitude, all it would have taken would have been a public arm around the shoulder on a TV ad to have helped!

Then we had the Schwarzenegger statement that Senator McClintock was "totally wrong" on the bonds, and that Tom "would not support the rebuilding of California." Coming as it did in the last days of the race, as we now see, the statement stopped McClintock's momentum and gave opponent John Garamendi something to say. The last weekend of the race, Garamendi had recorded message phone calls all over the state. A lady gave the pitch claiming to be a lifelong Republican and then quoted the Governor and said, even though she is a Republican, she would vote for Garamendi.

I was very disappointed in the Governator not backing Mc Clintock; he could have said we have a difference of opinion on the bonds, but we’ll let the people decide and then we look forward to working together whatever the result.

If Schwazenegger’s attack on McClintock influenced only 5% of the voters in the 6 counties in which the MediaNews Group has influence, that translates to about 50% of McClintock’s margin of loss. Until Schwarzenegger attacked, McClintock had a documented lead (albeit within the margin of error). After the Governator’s attack was published, the bottom fell out.

The usually mild mannered Board of Equalization Member Bill Leonard got upset about this and wrote in his online newsletter the following:

As much as I want Governor Schwarzenegger to win the election, I have been hoping that he would not say something damaging in the closing days before the election. My hopes are dashed. He has attacked Senator Tom McClintock as "totally wrong" on the bonds, saying that if Tom got his way California would never be rebuilt. The Governor is the one who is wrong and on several counts.

First, it is not politically smart to attack your own running mate (at least before the election). Whatever political pain McClintock might inflict on the Governor with his principled positions will be trumped by the crassly partisan slashes that a Garamendi would do if he is elected.

Second, McClintock actually supported one of the bonds (Proposition 1F, on the grounds that Delta Levees affect the whole State Water Project and not just the local
farmers) and agrees with the Governor on setting aside highway tax dollars for highway construction and maintenance (Proposition 1A). The Governor should be thanking Tom for this support because a lot of the rest of us conservatives see the whole bond package as a fiscal disaster as inevitable as the next flood in Sacramento.

In the 30th Assembly District (Bakersfield area), Republican nominee Dan Gilmore lost to the incumbent Nicole Parra by 23,839 to 22,281. Do you think that a visit by the Governator or a radio or television ad from the Governator, or even signs with the names Schwarzenegger and Gilmore together would have helped? FYI, Arnold won Kern County by a three to one margin. And there were a few other narrow Republican State Senate or State Assembly losses where the Governator's star power would have made the difference.

Ah-nold had his re-election in the bag, why not help out the rest of his party, who went all-out for him back in 2003?

I think this is why not: Arnold has a pathetic need to be liked, and he would not risk one point of his ego boosting landslide by publicly supporting his Republican ticketmates.

He deserves all the grief he will get from the newly elected Democratic statewide officers. Of course, he can prevent this grief by governing 75 percent as a Democrat instead of 35 percent. And I fear this is where we in "Gollivornia" are heading....

Funny how we always hear from the RINOs that the "intolerant" social conservatives drive the "moderates" out. But in this election, RINO Ah-nold shunned the social conservatives, who said nothing but positive comments about him. Who really are not the team players here?

This year, with a strong Arnold and a weak, unattractive opponent like Phil Angelides, was a great opportunity to carry a conservative message to the public. The people would have been willing to elect serious conservatives (like McClintock, McPherson, Parrish and Strickland, McClintock and McPherson lost quite narrowly) because they knew Arnold was behind them. Arnold could have been the bridge between the (real) Republican party and the muddleheaded centrist voters. Instead, Ah-nold chose to avoid the slightest effort to persuade them of the value of the Republican party and its principles. His victory speech last night was a disgrace — no concern whatsoever for the GOP base, who went to bat for him back in 2003.

There are two Republican parties in CA. There is the genuine, California Republican Assembly / Tom McClintock party, which is not viable because it can’t get on the air because it doesn’t have any money. And then there is "Arnold Incorporated". I don’t see how any serious conservative can work for Arnold Incorporated, or care much about what’s coming next from these people.

This was not the CaGOP’s finest hour. A critical review of Duf Sundheim’s stewardship is in order, along with every other Republican Party leader who was seduced by Ah-nold's star power.

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