Report from Ventura County and the Reagan Library
Although I've visited the Reagan Library on many occassions, last night was my first opportunity to be a speaker at this revered site.
The Republican Party of Ventura County (Mike Osborn, Chairman) conducts regular events at the library, and last night's reception drew a standing room only crowd for some insightful discussion on the 2008 campaign with Dan Schnur, Chairman Osborn and myself under the watchful eye of dozens of presidents whose portraits were displayed around the room.
During the discussion, we recognized the Ventura County party for outstanding leadership in supporting the election of Republicans to local offices. Most recently, the party played a key role in the election of Republican Peter Foy to the county Board of Supervisors, further driving Republican influence in important local government decisionmaking.
Later this year, Ventura County will be the site of an important State Senate campaign as respected Republican Sen. Tom McClintock is termed out. Former Assemblyman and State Controller candidate Tony Strickland has declared his candidacy and will post an impressive cash on hand figure for this filing period. (Note: The party supports the winner of the June primary in the general election).
Congratulations to the Republican Party of Ventura County for a first class event last night, and for building a strong campaign organization in this important part of Southern California.
Thoughts on the Tahoe Fires
When I see what's happening in the Tahoe area with the current fires, I can't help but remember what it was like being in a similar situation nearly four years ago when my part of San Diego County burned to the ground in the Cedar Fire, including my own neighborhood.
Although we're constantly reminded that we're now dealing with year-round fire season in California, that warning does not mitigate the feeling that hits you when you see that orange glow over the hills at night, or a plume of smoke blocking out the sun midday as a wildfire sweeps through the community.
Califorina adopted new regulations for brush clearance following the Cedar Fire, with 100 ft of "defensible space" around homes now mandatory throughout the state. The rules are "performance based," not presciptive, meaning compliance with the rules is measured by the effect on protecting the building, rather than strict compliance with a long, micromanaging checklist.
While we pray for and support those who are victims of the latest fires, as well as those fighting them, let's also take this opportunity to be sure to take a look around our homes to be sure we've done what we can to protect them. Learn more here.
Welcome, Bill Christiansen
This afternoon we named Bill Christiansen to the top staff position at the CRP.
I've known Bill for over ten years as someone whose enthusiasm for our party is matched by a first class campaign skillset. (Bill will serve as COO (Interim) while a full search is conducted to fill the term.)
I first met Bill when he was the Executive Director of the Republican Party of Orange County, long a model county party organization. When I was Chairman of our party in San Diego County, many of our most successful programs were based on models established in "the OC."
Bill took the opportunity to serve as the ED for the Arizona state party before returning to California to direct the CRP's V6 program last year. His extensive knowledge at both the state and county levels means Bill has the background necessary to continue the party building programs we've initiated over the last several months.
As we go forward, the role of our volunteers in the counties is key to victory. The thousands of Republican volunteers who go door to door in our precinct organizations help to make the Republican Party "personal" for hundreds of thousands of Republicans who would otherwise have little connection to the party beyond what is on the TV or radio. They make the party real, and it shows at the ballot box.
Moving forward, our county party organizations are essential to success. Precinct organizations and voter registration programs are most effectively directed locally, with support from the state party and campaigns where those divisions of labor make sense.
Please join me in welcoming Bill Christiansen back to the California Republican Party!
Report from Alameda County's Committee Meeting
Earlier this week we discussed the 2008 campaign with members of the Alameda County Republican Committee at their monthly meeting, led by Chairman Dick Spees.
In March, the committee's African American outreach efforts caught the attention of the Oakland Tribune and other local media (read the story here
), and the CRP recognized those efforts with the presentation of an award to the committee which was presented last Tuesday night.
Alameda County will garner particular attention in 2008 due in part to the fact that the 11th congressional district, momentarily held by the Democrats, crosses into the county.
Congratulations to Chairman Spees and the members of the Alameda County committee for moving the ball forward in a challenging part of the Golden State.
Report from Fresno County's Big Lincoln-Reagan Dinner
Chairman Ken May is doing a great job in Fresno County, as demonstrated by the packed room at Pardini's Restaurant last night for the party's annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.
Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines served as emcee while Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner served as the headline speaker, delivering a strong speech that focused mainly on the competitive challenges California faces in the next decade.
Perhaps the loudest applause of the evening came when former Senator Chuck Poochigian was introduced along with Debbie. (Chuck is a fantastic Republican leader whom I hope we see in public office again soon so we can continue to benefit from his principled leadership.)
In appreciation for the great work the Republican Party of Fresno County performed in hosting the CRP's Leadership Conference in May, we presented Chairman May and the party with the CRP's "Chairman's Republican Leadership Award."
Report from OC Party Meeting
Orange County's Republican Committee
, led by Chairman Scott Baugh
, continues to be a well organized political force that effectively propels Republicans into elective office so they can put our ideas into action.
Last night's meeting drew a packed crowd of activists and committeemembers, and was the first since last week's hugely successful Flag Day dinner that drew 1,104 guests.
In my comments to committee, I noted that Chairman Baugh is so successful in extracting financial support from people ($300K for Flag Day), Hillary Clinton might consider him for Director of the IRS (fortunately, she won't
have that chance).
Congratulations to Mary Young
, Secretary of the committee, on her recent appointment by Governor Schwarzenegger to the OC Fair Board.
Orange County recently returned to an all Republican county Board of Supervisors with the election of Janet Nguyen to the Board in a special election earlier this year. Congratulations to state YR Fed Chairman Matthew Harper
, who just joined Supervisor Nguyen's staff.
Republicans interested in promoting education reform and reform-minded candidates should look to Orange County's Education Alliance
, which is led by a number of OC Republican activists including Mark Bucher
, Treasurer of the OCGOP. The Education Alliance works to educate, train and support candidates for local school boards throughout the county. The group notes on its website that over time, "The Education Alliance began to become the organization committed solely to giving a voice to parents and teachers who support excellence for our children through means other than the liberal, self-serving policies of the teacher union leadership and their allies in the education establishment."
Congratulations to the members of the OC party, Chairman Baugh, and Executive Director George Andrews
, for putting Republican ideas into action in so many ways.
Pelosi faces rebellion for being too moderate?
As a further sign of just how far to the left the Democrats have gone, members of Nancy Pelosi's party are complaining that she's just been too gosh darn moderate in her role as Speaker.
Consider that since getting the big gavel the controversial Pelosi has: personally met with the dictator of Syria, undermining US foreign policy and our allies in the region; tried to impose an artificial deadline on US intervention in Iraq; consented to her party proposing, yet again, another record tax increase; and passed a bill to open the floodgates for labor offials to coerce non-union workers into labor unions.
Oh yeah, she's been a real squish.
Read more in Robert Novak's column
in the conservative weekly Human Events.
Governor's Absolutely Right On English -- Personal Experience
Governor Schwarzenegger's advice to Latinos that learning English is critical to success was absolutely spot on, if not politically correct. This is something I know first hand.
As immigrants, my parents spoke German at home for their first nearly 10 years in this country, so as I learned to speak, my first vocabulary was entirely German.
According to my father, my parents quickly realized that in order to succeed in America, my primary
langauge had to be English -- so they stopped speaking German (their native language) entirely when at home, ensuring I'd learn English as my primary language instead.
Learning English as one's primary language doesn't mean casting away one's culture or heritage -- or even ancestral language. People who can speak more than one language have a certain advantage, which is why we stress foreign language learning in our schools.
Yet, mastering the language is different than simplying "knowing" it, and one rarely masters a second language to the same degree as one's primary language. The Governor recognizes this, and should be commended for his courage in sharing his views on success to an audience of Latino journalists who clearly have a diversity of opinions on the issue.
Reforming California Health Care in the Legislature
In a post last month I noted that Governor Schwarzenegger has initiated an important discussion on health care, and launched that discussion with his own proposal as an alternative to the "single-payer"/socialized medicine proposal the Democrats have been pushing.
The Republican Party is a big party, with elected officials with different ideas on how we can improve health care in California based on the current private sector system
. Republicans in the legislature have put serious thought into bold, common sense proposals to improve the system.
Senate Republicans under the leadership of Senator Ackerman have put a very comprehensive health care proposal on the table: Cal Care
, which consists of numerous reforms designed to improve access, affordability, and choice.
Unfortuantely, Senate Democrats who would rather push their socialized medicine proposal have failed to advance CalCare.
The Assembly Republican caucus under the leadership of Mike Villines has launched a very impressive website highlighting their menu of 18 reform proposals. Each proposal is aimed at addressing a specific
issue with the health care or insurance markets. You can see the website and it's wealth of information here
.Assembly Republican health care proposalsTake the Assembly Republican survey of health care and insurance issuesSenate Republican Cal Care Plan
Democrats in the legislature should recognize their socialized medicine ideas will never make it past the Governor's veto pen, and instead take a serious look at the common sense propsoals Republicans in the legislature have put on the table.
Protecting Your Ballot Through Voter ID
Writing in this morning's Wall Street Journal, John Fund again makes the compelling case for voter ID laws to protect the integrity of our elections. One of President Bush's appointees to the Federal Election Commission is being attacked by liberal Senate Democrats for his past support for states enacting laws requiring voters to present identification when voting.
Mr. Fund makes the case for why this is just more politics from the Democrats, and and in so doing points to the need to further protect the integrity of American elections. Read the story.
President Bush Gets Hero's Welcome in Eastern Europe
President Bush received a hero's welcome in Albania this week, one of his stops following the G8 summit in Germany. Parliament in Albania even renamed the street in front of their capitol building after the President. Read a short description of the President's welcome here
Report from RWF Southern Division Meeting Today
Our Republican Women's Federated Clubs continue to be a critical part of the volunteer backbone of the Republican Party in California.
RWF leaders from Southern California gathered today in Pomona for their regular meeting, which featured superstar Ward Connerly as the main speaker. Ward is promoting initiatives in several states to breaking down racial barriers in America.
Later this year, the National Federation of Republican Women
will hold its convention here in California, at the Palm Springs Convention Center: September 27 - 30. Several thousand Republican women volunteers will attend this important biennial gathering. Republican Presidential candidates are expected.
It's terrific to see the amount of dedication and skill that our California RWF leaders are committing to making the national convention a big success, and I'm looking forward to personally attending and being part of what will no doubt be another major success for the CFRW
Asm. Anderson's Iran Divestment Bill Passes Unanimously
From the office of Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R):
Yesterday, the California State Assembly unanimously passed Assemblyman Joel Anderson’s (R-El Cajon) Assembly Bill 221 to divest California’s public retirement funds from key foreign businesses that invest in Iran.
“I am gratified by my colleagues’ strong bi-partisan support for this legislation, which will end California taxpayers’ investment in key foreign companies that invest in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Anderson.
Democrat Majority Whip Fiona Ma, a primary co-author of AB 221, said, “When CalPERS and CalSTRS invest State retirement funds in Iran, they put these investments at risk.”
“California’s taxpayers should not be investing in a country which funds terrorism,” said Anderson. “Money is the mother’s milk of terrorism.”Congratulations to Assemblyman Anderson for his leadership, and securing unanimous support for this important bill.
Democrats' Poll Numbers Tank: ABC News Poll
ABC News is reporting that the public has turned against the Democrats running Congress. The 24 point advantage they held over the President as the stronger party in leadership has evaporated.
One might think that the public would have responded more positively to the Democrats' 100 days of blazing action on key issues such as extending the Thomas Alva Edison Commemorative Coin Act, renaming a bunch of post offices.
None of the Democrats' six big agenda items from the 2006 campaign have made it into law.
By contrast, when our team took control of Congress in January 1995, within 100 days all 10 items in the Contract With America had been voted on in the House, and most bills were awaiting action in the Senate.
(Not so) temporary government programs
"There is nothing as permanent as a temporary government program," observed Milton Friendman.
For example: The 3% federal excise tax on telephone service was first imposed in 1898 to pay for the Spanish-American War. It was considered a "luxury tax" because at the time only the extremely rich had telephones. Dick Armey once said, when advocating for the abolition of the tax, "I've spoken to the Spanish ambassador, they're not coming back."
The New US Embassy in Baghdad: Plans Appear Online, Why It Matters
The new US Embassy in Iraq is due to open in a few months. When I was in Baghdad as a trainer over Thanksgiving last year, the new buildings were just beginning to rise from behind the security wall.
Liberals have whined about the size of the compound: at 104 acres, it's slightly smaller than the Vatican.
Yesterday, plans for the completed embassy briefly appeared on the website of an architectual firm involved with the project. State Department officials were not amused.
The liberals who complain about the new embassy miss the point, as is often the case.
(These guys complain about just about anything this Administration is doing in Iraq, so none of this crying should surprise anyone.)
In reality, the State Department and the White House are doing exactly the right thing to protect the lives of the Americans -- mostly civilians -- who will staff the new embassy.
Given the security situation in Baghdad, it's in the interest of protecting American lives that embassy staff have access to an array of facilities within a secure embassy compound.
By contrast, the new US embassy in Berlin, which is also nearing completion, is an office building. That's all it needs to be. Berlin isn't Baghdad.
In Baghdad, it makes no sense to force embassy staff and their families to live outside of the embassy where they will be the targets of any nut with a grudge. Nor does it make sense to have apartments on the embassy grounds, but force personnel offsite for everything they might need to do during the day.
The State Department is doing exactly the right thing by constructing an embassy in Iraq that not only will serve as the focal point for reconstruction and diplomatic activity for years to come, but one that will also serve to maximize the protection of the American men and women who will work there.