Now that Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul have signed up to speak to next month’s California Republican Party convention in Los Angeles, it’s time for Mitt Romney and Rick Perry to get in on the action. Here’s why:
1. Get some great free media. Los Angeles offers an enormous opportunity for free media exposure, not only in the city but throughout the Southern California region and, for that matter, nationwide. Speaking to a monster audience of Republicans and news media in Los Angeles (just after the debate at the Reagan Library) guarantees coverage that would cost many millions to buy.
2. California may actually matter. If, by June, the top tier remains Bachmann, Perry and Romney (and assuming that Paul is still in the game), then winning the California GOP presidential primary in June, with proportional representation by congressional district, could net a campaign an enormous cache of delegates – about 170 are at stake – that might prove pivotal in securing the nomination.
3. Don’t insult the troops. This is the largest state Republican Party in the United States. Some 1,000 members – many of them ferociously committed activists – will be attending. If #2 (above) proves to be true, presidential campaigns will need these folks in the field for them in June. But the candidates who don’t show up in Los Angeles will basically be telling this huge contingent of potential campaign volunteers to go fuck themselves.
As California GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro told Calbuzz (a bit more diplomatically): “A huge portion of the Republican volunteers and activists in the state will be there and they should be courted.” Exactly.
Remember, in 2008, Romney ran pretty well in California, pulling 35% of the GOP primary vote compared to John McCain, who took 42%. But Romney only won in three counties – Fresno, Sierra and Shasta. And he would up with just 12 delegates while McCain took 158.
A candidate with volunteers and organization spread around in a variety of congressional districts, might well pick up a lot more delegates.
In 2008, evangelical Christians made up about 1/3 of the electorate and a plurality of them supported Romney over McCain, according to exit polls. But with Bachmann and Perry in the race, that contingent of voters is genuinely up for grabs. Likewise, those who said illegal immigrants should be deported, who voted 2-1 for Romney, might also be in play.
This is an electorate that, over the years, has picked standard-bearers like Bruce Herschensohn, Dan Lungren and Carly Fiorina. To voters like these Perry and Bachmann could be viable options – which ought to suggest to Romney and Perry that they’d better not flip off all those activists.
We’re just sayin.’
It only seems like he’s been around forever: Abel Maldonado turned 44 yesterday (Happy, happy, bro) and while your favorite fossils at Calbuzz are in no position to talk, that certainly seems like an age that’s way too advanced to be characterized as a “young” anything.
Nonetheless, where do we find ole Abel, but halfway down the list of “Republican Young Guns,” the GOP establishment’s top picks for horses to back in open and competitive House races next year.
The sheer silliness of the label aside (and what a fine message to send Our Youth about the overweening importance of firearms in American politics!), the National Republican Congressional Committee elected two-thirds of its 92 designated YGers last fall.
With the GOP thus having succeeded in winning the House, Maldo is one of only 23 GOP contenders handpicked by the NRCC this time out. He’s trying to end the career of veteran Democratic Representative Lois Capps, who’s seen a once-comfortable voter registration edge in her Central Coast district whacked to single digits by redistricting.
Maldo’s Beltway backing makes it all but certain that the equally redistricting-challenged Republican state Senator Sam Blakeslee, who briefly sniffed around a possible congressional bid, won’t be jumping into this race which, as we’ve reported, is drawing national attention.
Among other things, Maldonado is backed by Karl Rove, with whom he has a longstanding relationship; Rove’s support showed up early when one of his secretly-funded independent committees paid for a substantial early TV buy attacking Capps. She’s also the only Californian among the NRCC’s Top 10 Democratic early targets, a distinction that last week generated a barrage of robo-calls into her district; financed by the GOP campaign committee, they blamed her for unemployment, higher gas and grocery prices and widespread home foreclosures.
No word yet on the guy with the umbrella near the grassy knoll.
How Obama’s playing in Santa Cruz: Longtime Calbuzzer Cliff Barney forwards this video report from a sylvan caucus of progressive activists in Santa Cruz last month that’s notable for at least two reasons: 1) the up-close-and-personal expressions of disappointment, anger and betrayal among lefties who feel Obama sold them out to Wall Street after they, as one puts it, “worked our hearts out” for him in 2008; 2) the bottom line reality that, despite their fond hope, there’ll be no primary challenge against the president, so they have nowhere else to go in 2012, a point that Obama adviser David Axelrod smugly made in response to a question from filmmaker Michael Moore on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
Maybe so, but after listening to these folks, it’s hard to imagine that either of two keys to Obama’s victory — voter intensity and the expansion of the electorate – are going to be easy to game this time. And that should be a scary thought to Axelrod and his fellow geniuses.
He didn’t really say that, did he? Much of the unhappiness with Obama on the left has to do with specific policies – single payer health care, higher taxes on the wealthy, offshore oil drilling. What’s more troubling for the less ideologically inclined are the political wimpiness, conflict aversion and flat-out weakness of the guy.
On that point, we found these quotes, filed by Maureen Dowd while trailing Obama around the Midwest for a couple days, more than a little telling:
In Cannon Falls, Minn., the president compared negotiating with House Republicans to negotiating with his wife.
“In my house,” Obama noted, “if I said, ‘You know, Michelle, honey, we got to cut back, so we’re going to have you stop shopping completely. You can’t buy shoes; you can’t buy dresses; but I’m keeping my golf clubs.’ You know, that wouldn’t go over so well.”
In Decorah, he said: “Everybody cannot get 100 percent of what they want. Now, for those of you who are married, there is an analogy here. I basically let Michelle have 90 percent of what she wants. But, at a certain point, I have to draw the line and say, ‘Give me my little 10 percent.’ ”
Really? No wonder the GOP keeps cleaning his clock.