As the entire national and international affairs desks of Calbuzz (pictured here interviewing a leader of the GOP platform committee), newly repatriated after exhaustive voter studies in Santiago, Ushuaia and Buenos Aires, prepare to relocate to Burlingame for the California Republican Party convention this weekend, one question looms above all others:
Will Tim Donnelly come armed?
For those who were sleeping during the movie, Donnelly is the Tea Party Republican Assemblyman from San Bernardino, who was caught trying to carry a loaded Colt Mark IV pistol onto an airplane at Ontario “International” Airport in January 2012.
He is now running for governor. Of California. Naturally.
Or at least he was, until his campaign manager, Jennifer Kerns, quit on Wednesday just before the GOP convention where the anti-immigrant Minuteman has been planning a Sábado Gigante reception featuring actress, singer and song writer Maria Conchita Alonso (better known as Lucía, the mother of Gabrielle Solis, on ABC’s Desperate Housewives).
No Great Divide The notion that the pro-life, anti-gay marriage Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, the pro-choice, pro-gay rights “free market” Republican candidate for governor represent a “great divide” within the California GOP is, as Jerry Brown might say, nihil ad rem.
If past were prologue, and the California Republicans gathering this weekend could align themselves with one camp or the other, you’d have to bet they’d pick Donnelly, whose right-wing world view reflects the thinking of most GOP conventioneer types.
Luckily for them, party rules won’t permit an endorsement. But even if they did, it wouldn’t matter, because (barring some catastrophe) Democratic Gov. Brown is going to be re-elected in a landslide next November. Take the incumbent and give the points.
In other words, there is no authentic “battle for the future” going on inside the California Republican Party: there are ideological angels dancing on pinheads.
We Want to Know… Which is not to say there aren’t some potentially noteworthy questions to be explored at the GOP confab:
— Will libertarian Republicans be smoking dope? Will the party stop harping on gay marriage? Will there be any guys with Mohawks?
— Will Party Chairman Jim Brulte’s head explode? He left a lucrative position as a Sacramento consultant for this? “I didn’t give anything up,” he told Calbuzz. “I just took a job that pays nothing.”
— How will Kashkari handle himself on his maiden voyage among the
responsible wingnut community GOP faithful?
— How drunk will delegates get if they play a drinking game where they have to take a shot every time U.S. Thug Rep. Darryl Issa (R-LoJack) mentions Benghazi or the IRS?
— Will the GOP offer any event that will outshine the Saturday night Dr. P.J. Hackenflack Dinner?
Calbuzz has spent considerable energy already outlining steps the California Republican Party could take to become competitive again.
Of course, our advice has been roundly ignored by the party that is determined to drive its share of the electorate below 25% (from the 29% it’s at now). But actual facts support the Calbuzz Plan for GOP Recovery in California. For example:
“In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 56 percent of Republicans under age 45 indicated support for same-sex marriage rights, compared with just 29 percent among older Republicans,” the NYT reported the other day.
According to the Field Poll, support for abortion rights has grown among California Republicans from about 50% in 1975 to 55% by 2009 and likely even higher today.
When Will They Ever Learn? What the Republicans don’t seem to get is that younger voters – the ones they’d like to bring into the party to avoid sinking further into irrelevancy – are increasingly in favor of abortion rights and gay marriage, not to mention concerned about climate change, immigrant rights and gun violence.
Jim Brulte, the GOP chairman, is focused on three things: maintaining the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, eliminating the Democrats’ super-majorities in the California Legislature, and building up a grass-roots Republican base.
These are smart goals because they’re things that the GOP might actually accomplish. Note, there’s no mention of capturing any statewide offices, re-taking control of the Legislature or building the party’s voting strength. But hey, Brulte was handed a steaming pile of elephant dung. You gotta start shoveling somewhere.