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Obama at Selma: “Our March Is Not Yet Finished”

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

obamaselmaPresident Obama delivered a bravura speech in Selma, Alabama on Saturday, at ceremonies honoring the 50th anniversary of the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a landmark in the civil right struggle. Here is the text of his address.

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes.  And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind.  A day like this was not on his mind.  Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about.  Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked.  A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones.  The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear.  They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;

Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government – all you need for a night behind bars – John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

“A clash of wills.” President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:

There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided.  Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg.  Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character – Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher – met on this bridge.

It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America.

obamalewis2And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America – that idea ultimately triumphed.

“Rejoice in hope.” As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation.  The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.

We gather here to celebrate them.  We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.

They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  And in the days to come, they went back again and again.  When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came – black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope.  A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing.  To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.

In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson.  And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear:

“We shall overcome.”

What enormous faith these men and women had.  Faith in God – but also faith in America.

john-lewis-selma-march“Courage to millions.” The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing.  But they gave courage to millions.  They held no elected office.  But they led a nation.  They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities – but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages.  Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.

As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them.  Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them.  Their faith was questioned.  Their lives were threatened.  Their patriotism was challenged.

And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place?

Selma Bridge KKK Leader-2What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many – coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience.  That’s why it’s not a museum or static monument to behold from a distance.  It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents:

“We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

These are not just words.  They are a living thing, a call to action, a road map for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny.  For founders like Franklin and Jefferson, for leaders like Lincoln and FDR, the success of our experiment in self-government rested on engaging all our citizens in this work.  That’s what we celebrate here in Selma.  That’s what this movement was all about, one leg in our long journey toward freedom.

AP_selma_50th_anniversary_8_obama_boynton_jt_150307_4x3_992“Beacon of opportunity.” The American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny.  It’s the same instinct that drew immigrants from across oceans and the Rio Grande; the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot and workers to organize against an unjust status quo; the same instinct that led us to plant a flag at Iwo Jima and on the surface of the Moon.

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths.  It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

That’s what makes us unique, and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity.  Young people behind the Iron Curtain would see Selma and eventually tear down a wall.  Young people in Soweto would hear Bobby Kennedy talk about ripples of hope and eventually banish the scourge of apartheid.  Young people in Burma went to prison rather than submit to military rule.  From the streets of Tunis to the Maidan in Ukraine, this generation of young people can draw strength from this place, where the powerless could change the world’s greatest superpower, and push their leaders to expand the boundaries of freedom.

They saw that idea made real in Selma, Alabama.  They saw it made real in America.

Because of campaigns like this, a Voting Rights Act was passed.  Political, economic, and social barriers came down, and the change these men and women wrought is visible here today in the presence of African-Americans who run boardrooms, who sit on the bench, who serve in elected office from small towns to big cities; from the Congressional Black Caucus to the Oval Office.

Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American.  Women marched through those doors.  Latinos marched through those doors.  Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors.  Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past.

dr-martin-luther-king-jr-5What a glorious thing, Dr. King might say.

What a solemn debt we owe.

“Neither complacency nor despair.” Which leads us to ask, just how might we repay that debt?

First and foremost, we have to recognize that one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough.  If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done – the American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation.

Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism.  For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair.

Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country.  I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar.  It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement.  But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed.  What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.

We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America.  If you think nothing’s changed in the past fifty years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties.  Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed.  Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago.  To deny this progress – our progress – would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.

Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes.  We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true.  We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.  We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character – requires admitting as much.

jamesbaldwin“We are capable of bearing a great burden,” James Baldwin wrote, “once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.”

“The right to vote.” This is work for all Americans, and not just some.  Not just whites.  Not just blacks.  If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination.  All of us will need to feel, as they did, the fierce urgency of now.  All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children.  And if we make such effort, no matter how hard it may seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

With such effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some.  Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on – the idea that police officers are members of the communities they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland just want the same thing young people here marched for – the protection of the law.  Together, we can address unfair sentencing, and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and workers, and neighbors.

With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity.  Americans don’t accept a free ride for anyone, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes.  But we do expect equal opportunity, and if we really mean it, if we’re willing to sacrifice for it, then we can make sure every child gets an education suitable to this new century, one that expands imaginations and lifts their sights and gives them skills. We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on that ladder into the middle class.

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge – and that is the right to vote.  Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote.  As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed.  Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

lyndonjohnsonHow can that be?  The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort.  President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office.  President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office.  One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects.  If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

“The imperative of citizenship.” Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone.  If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples.  Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap.  It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life.  What is our excuse today for not voting?  How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought?  How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in fifty years.  We’ve endured war, and fashioned peace.  We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine.  But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America.  That’s what it means to believe in America.  That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

For we were born of change.  We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.  We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people.  That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction, because we know our efforts matter.  We know America is what we make of it.

“That’s what America is.” We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea – pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, entrepreneurs and hucksters.  That’s our spirit.

Sojourner-Truth-2173036xWe are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some; and we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth.  That’s our character.

We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan.  We are the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because they want their kids to know a better life.  That’s how we came to be.

We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South.  We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.

We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent, and we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, Navajo code-talkers, and Japanese-Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied.  We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, and the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We are the gay Americans whose blood ran on the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, and artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

We are the inventors of gospel and jazz and the blues, bluegrass and country, hip-hop and rock and roll, our very own sounds with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.

We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of, who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.”

We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

That’s what America is.  Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others.  We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it.  We don’t fear the future; we grab for it.  America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes.  We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit.  That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

“The single most powerful word.” And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day.  You are America.  Unconstrained by habits and convention.  Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be.  For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed.  And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.

Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.”  We The People.  We Shall Overcome.  Yes We Can.  It is owned by no one.  It belongs to everyone.  Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

pettus2Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished.  But we are getting closer.  Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect.  But we are getting closer.  Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile.  Somebody already got us over that bridge.  When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example, and hold firmly the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not be faint.”

We honor those who walked so we could run.  We must run so our children soar.  And we will not grow weary.  For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and we believe in this country’s sacred promise.

May He bless those warriors of justice no longer with us, and bless the United States of America.

Gay Old Party: Reflections on the Log Cabin Vote

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

republicanBy Hank Plante
Special to Calbuzz

Suddenly, the California Republican Party is as gay as IKEA on Super Bowl Sunday. Okay, not exactly.

Still, it was a momentous vote, when the California Republican Convention last weekend officially recognized its gay wing, the Log Cabin Republicans with “charter status.”

It’s a huge victory for conservative gay activists like state Log Cabin President Charles T. Moran, who told me after the vote, “I’m excited.  Really, more than anything what this means is the Republican Party realizes and has affirmed the work we do to take our conservative message to disaffected Independents and Democrats to let them know they have a home in the Republican Party.”

Acceptance by the party’s base of activists comes after years of work by people like Ritch Colbert, former head of the Los Angeles Log Cabin chapter, who remembers how tough it was:

“People were always very curious about Log Cabin, but invariably we would encounter resistance — people who thought we weren’t really Republicans or that we didn’t belong,” Colbert says. “But it’s also fair to say there were supporters and people who encouraged us. . . It’s just that we never had supporters in sufficient numbers to become sanctioned and chartered.”

frankHow GOP-gay marriage went bad: The Republican alienation of gays and lesbians never had to happen, says Frank Ricchiazzi, who co-founded the national Log Cabin Republicans in 1977*. Speaking from his Laguna Beach home, Ricchiazzi recalls that at one time in California, “gays and lesbians were registering Republican” at the same percentage as the population.

Ricchiazzi blames the conservative activist group, the California Republican Assembly, for alienating gays. “We watched the state Republican party diminish in Republican registered voters because of the intolerance of the CRA and poison in the state Republican Party,” Ricchiazzi says.

But the weekend vote puts the state party in line with what many have known for decades: there always have been gays and lesbians involved in Republican politics, both as organizers and as voters. The party’s vote for inclusion removes much of the hypocrisy that pretends gays don’t exist in big numbers in the Republican world.

Consider that George W. Bush got 25 percent of the gay and lesbian vote in 2000, according to exit polls compiled by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

And even in 2004, when Karl Rove led the way in putting anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballots of 11 states, Bush still got 23% of the gay vote. Four years later, when nominee John McCain came out against same-sex marriage, it was despite his own Senate chief-of-staff being a gay man.

Fast forward another four years to Mitt Romney, who also opposed marriage equality, without mentioning that he ran for Senate against Ted Kennedy saying, “I’ll be better than Ted for gay rights.”

Grindr_CPACGrindr conservatives: Times have changed.  At last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference annual convention,  any talk about gay marriage was “a non-starter,” reported Time Magazine. Much more interesting at CPAC were all the people who were using the app for Grindr, the gay hook-up and dating site.

Reporter Paul Detrick of Reason TV tracked Grindr usage at the convention, and he even managed to interview a few of the many Grindr Republicans on camera.

When Jeb Bush was asked about same-sex marriage at CPAC, he would only say, “I believe in traditional marriage.” He didn’t mention that he had just appointed an openly gay GOP operative as communications director for his upcoming campaign.

Bush has also called for “respect for the good people on all sides of the gay marriage issue.” The fact is, Bush and every other Republican knows what the future looks like – that future being as close as 2016.

The Washington Post reported last week on “The most surprising gay marriage poll we’ve seen in a long while.”  That’s the poll from NBC News and Marist College that shows half the voters in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina say opposition to gay marriage is “unacceptable” in a candidate.

rick300

Still a wedge issue? All of this theoretically might mean more LGBT voters could go Republican, especially since gay rights groups are clearly willing to support GOP allies.  Equality California, the state’s most powerful LGBT political organization, gave a 100% score on gay rights to Republican Assemblyman Brian Mainschein and State Senator Anthony Cannella in 2014.

EQCA’s executive director, Rick Zbur warns, however, that with “Other members of the Republican Party using antiquated, offensive terms like ‘gay lifestyle and agenda’ to describe their party’s embrace of LGBT people, clearly we must continue education about equality across California and beyond.”

Zbur adds, “We’ve also seen Republican candidates continue to use our community as a wedge issue in campaigns just last year, so our work at EQCA is far from over.”

HankPlante2That’s a good note of caution, given the Republicans’ history, as the state party comes out of the closet to court its gay and lesbian members.

Hank Plante is an Emmy and Peabody-winning reporter who has covered California politics for three decades.  He is also the Palm Springs Bureau Chief of Calbuzz.

* Calbuzz is informed by Christopher Bowman that Concerned Republicans for Individual Rights was founded Aug. 2, 1977 in San Francisco and Log Cabin Republicans in Los Angeles was founded later that month. These groups and CRIR chapters in San Diego and Orange County merged in 1987 to form what became known as the Log Cabin Republicans of California. In 1992 the Log Cabin Federation was formed, followed by the National Log Cabin office in 1994.

Pigs Fly: CA GOP OKs Gay Republicans Club

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

rainbowflagCalifornia’s Republican Party stepped into the 21st Century and onto the right side of history Sunday, with a landslide vote granting formal acceptance of the mostly gay Log Cabin Republican club within the state party.

After decades of excoriating gays and lesbians as moral degenerates, the California GOP approved a resolution at the Sacramento Convention Center to certify the long-embattled Log Cabin Republicans as an official volunteer arm of the party.

As a political matter, it was an important victory for state party chairman Jim Brulte’s efforts to rebuild, re-brand and restore the California GOP to relevance, by making its membership more diverse and breaking the political choke-hold long exercised by right-wing Republican advocates for inflammatory, out-of-the mainstream stances on social issues.

“It’s a sea change,” said Brandon Gesicki, a GOP consultant from Monterey. “It’s huge.”

“It’s evidence they’re interested in increasing their voter base and moving in the right direction,” Kevin James, president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works and longtime Log Cabin member told Calbuzz later.

As a practical matter, the 861-293 vote by delegates, which set off a loud celebration by club members and their supporters in the hall, is largely symbolic – but no more so than past, bitter efforts by evangelical Christian Republicans to drive them out of the party; ex-Orange County congressman William Dannemeyer for years tormented Log Cabin at party conventions, once fighting for adoption of a platform that included references to “rimming,” “fisting” and “golden showers.”

logo-facebookOh never mind: To be sure, the GOP move was modest, if significant.

To win a formal charter, leaders of the 38-year old Log Cabin had to submit more than 100-pages of paperwork and to revise their club bylaws to ensure they focused exclusively on furthering the Republican cause and did not violate party bylaws prohibiting recognition of organization based on “lifestyle preferences.”

And many Republican anti-gay activists argued against Log Cabin, on the floor of the convention center, in the Hyatt Regency Hotel lobby and hallways and in blizzards of late-night emails to reporters; some of these arguments were made on procedural grounds, others in the familiar rhetoric of those who consider homosexuality a biblical abomination.

“This is the very definition of moral relativism,” implored a woman delegate from Placer County. “God has absolutes beyond man’s ideas.”

Most importantly for those seeking full acceptance within the state party, its platform still explicitly attacks gay people: “We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption,” the platform reads.

Because of party rules, changes in the platform can only be addressed at its fall conventions, one of two it holds each year. That fight likely lies ahead.

madhatterTea Party Blues: While the big story coming out of the convention was about political moderation and increased tolerance, those searching for good old fashioned, rabid right-wingers did not have to look far.

One of the convention’s best-attended panel discussions was titled “TPCC Panel: Lame Duck Blues,” a thinly disguised Tea-Party meeting where Bircher clones freely displayed their anger and paranoia.

The U.S. under President Obama, said panelist and Simi Valley delegate Steve Frank, “is like Nazi Germany in the 1930s – somebody is watching you.”

Obama “hates Israel,” Frank said a few minutes later, adding that the president “refuses to condemn terrorists.”

At one point, referencing recent comments by Republican has-been Rudy Giuliani, a Tea Party leader asked for a show of hands from those who believed that “Obama loves America.” Not a single hand went up.

The future lies ahead: As usual, the nonpareil social event of a convention weekend, and the toughest ticket in town, was the Dr. P.J. Hackenflack dinner, which once again featured a glittering collection of California’s top media hacks and political hacks, including such GOP luminaries as Bob White, Ruben Barrales, Bob and Linda Naylor. Chairman Jim even stopped by for a visit.

Dining at the fashionable Lucca on such delights as linguini and prawns, balanced with most of the alcohol west of Mississippi, guests participated in the closely watched Hackenflack Predictive Poll, a collection of the most astute future conventional wisdom from its most insightful practitioners and purveyors.

This season’s poll included three questions:

1-Who will finish second in the primary election for U.S. Senate in June 2016?
2-Who will be the Republican nominee for president in 2016?
3-Who will be the next governor of California?

The results:
1-Senate Second Place
Rocky Chavez 27%
Adam Schiff 20%
Loretta Sanchez 13%
Duf Sundheim 13%
Kamala Harris 13%
Jim Brulte 7%
Ron Nehring 7%

2-GOP President
Jeb Bush 83%
Scott Walker 17%

newsome_gavin_y76t3-California’s Next Governor
Gavin Newsom 63%
Antonio Villaraigosa 13%
John Chiang 13%
Eric Garcetti 6%
Condoleeza Rice 6%

Place your bets.