CRA Convention Draws Republican Leaders
Last weekend's CRA convention in Orange County drew numerous Republican leaders from throughout California. On Friday night I was pleased to be joined by Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, BOE Member Michelle Steel, and incoming National Committeeman Shawn Steel.
The CRP's volunteer organizations -- including the CRA, CFRW, CCR's, YR's, CR's, etc -- serve a critical role in our party by keeping volunteers active and engaged between elections, and helping to bring those volunteers into the campaign organization in the general election.
While some Republican groups may take sides in primaries, it's important that we keep our eye on the ultimate goal of putting Republican ideas into action by mobilizing in full force in the general election, supporting whichever candidates our members choose to nominate.
Congratulations to Mike Spence, Karl Heft, Scott Voights, and everyone else who helped organize the convention.
Getting to Know John McCain
Karl Rove's column in today's Wall Street Journal tells us a lot about Senator McCain, his character, and what he will bring to the Oval Office. This column goes to the top of the "must read" list for California Republicans. Take a moment to read this insightful piece.WSJ: Getting to Know John McCain
Dreier Slams Dems Over Broken Promise to Ease Gas Pain
Whittier Daily News, April 23, 2008: "Rep. David Dreier challenged the Democratic leadership to find solutions to high gas prices on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. The San Dimas Republican said in an interview that he called for a vote on a measure for House members to discuss and vote on energy proposals from any representative. The measure was voted down along party lines, with Democrats voting against it, he said. 'Two years ago Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi said she had a 'common sense plan' for reducing gas prices,' said Dreier. 'We're still waiting to hear it."
"On Tuesday, the Republican leadership, including Dreier, who is the ranking Republican on the House Rules Committee, sent a letter to Pelosi asking for action on gas prices. Dreier said the group would like to see increased oil exploration, new oil refineries and coal liquefaction to expand U.S. energy sources ... According to government figures, a gallon of gas in California costs an average of $3.85, up 53 cents a gallon from this time last year."
GOP: Stay on Offense in Global War on Terror
America's offensive in the global war on terror continues to demonstrate important signs of success, and Al Queda's number two provides the latest evidence.
An AFP story
(Al Queda Chief Slams Muslims for Lack of Support, AFP) cites Al Queda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri complaining publicly about Muslims "failing to support Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and elsewhere in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet."
Translation: "We're feeling pretty isolated because no one else is coming to help us
Here's a direct quote from Bin Laden's junior partner:"I call upon the Muslim Nation to fear Allah's question (at judgement day) about its failure to support its brothers of the Mujahedeen (holy Warriors), and (urge it) not to withhold men and money, which is the mainstay of a war."
Translation: "We're out of people, and money, and we're pretty upset about it
In the same tape, Bin Laden's "mini-me" complains about Iran attempting to undermine Al Queda with...rumors. Specifically, he's upset that Iran may be trying to diminish Al Queda's reputation among terrorists by circulating a theory that it was an internal conspiracy, and not Al Queda, that attacked America on 9/11.
This is a new tact for al-Zawahiri, who would rarely mention Iran in previous tapes, according to the AP story
These are all further signs not of a growing terrorist movement against America. Instead, they are key indicators that relentless pressure from the United States and our allies is continuing to isolate and fracture the enemy
-- all the more reason why it is critical for America to remain on offense and keep the pressure on.
McCain: Drop the Federal Gas Tax This Summer
Senator McCain is committed to helping Americans suffering from high fuel prices. He's proposed suspending the federal gas tax this summer, and other measures aimed squarely at helping families enduring high fuel and food prices.
For more information on his plan, and to sign a petition in support of this tax relief and Senator McCain's economic plan, click here
Video: Pope Benedict Prays for Victims at Ground Zero
It was very touching to see Pope Benedict pray for and pay tribute to the victims of 9/11 at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan during his historic visit last week. Watch the Fox News video
Additionally, the City of New York maintains this website
as an online dedication to the men and women at the World Trade Center.
McNerney Among Weakest Incumbents in Congress
Democrat Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-11) may be on track to becoming one of those "one term wonders" in Congress, a new report on the competitiveness of Congressional races around the country shows.
Analyst Stuart Rothenberg just released his latest rankings of House races. A total of 15 are considered "pure toss ups," including California's own District 11, held by incumbent McNerney. This makes McNerney among the weakest incumbents in Congress
And with good reason.
McNerney is the only Democrat in California currently representing a Republican Congressional district, having won the seat less than two years ago after leftist groups waged a relentless four year campaign against former Republican Congressman Richard Pombo, who drew the ire of the far left for his strong stance in favor of protecting private property rights.
Enter Dean Andal, the rock solid Republican challenging McNerney. Dean is no stranger to politics, having personally contributed enormously to building the Republican Party in the Central Valley over the course of many years as a member of the Assembly and later the state Board of Equalization. He is sharp, tenacious, and extremely capable.
Normally, the Democrat leadership in the House would see how vulnerable McNerney is and give him a "pass" to break with the party leadership on some token votes so he can claim to be "independent." Yet, on one vote after another, McNerney proves he has far more in common with Nancy Pelosi than his own constituents.
Having known Dean for many years, I wonder if the Democrats have any idea of who they are up against.
Republican Women Gather at the Capitol
California's well organized Federation of Republican Women gathered in Sacramento for several days of meetings this week. I appreciated the opportunity to attend and discuss the current political landscape, as well as the pathway for building our party over the long term.
Our volunteer groups, and especially the CFRW, are critical for keeping our volunteers active between elections. Given the wonderful state we live in, it's easy for first time volunteers to leave political activism after one election because, well, there are just so many other things for anyone to do in California.
Building the ranks of CFRW and other volunteer groups is critical to expanding and sustaining the ranks of the volunteers who provide such critical support to all of our candidates in general elections, as well as those special elections that arise, such as the current misguided attempt by hyper-partisan Democrats in the Capitol to recall Senator Jeff Denham (R). I was particularly impressed to see the determination of so many CFRW members to join the fight in supporting Jeff.
CFRW members are engaged in every facet of building our party, from voter registration to helping set up groups for teenage Republicans. Congratulations to CFRW on yet another successful event.
College Republicans, Key to our Future, Convene This Weekend
Twenty years ago this September, I joined my campus College Republicans as a college freshman. Tonight, I'll address the California College Republican state convention. The CR's are key to our present, and future, success.
Supporting the growth of our College Republicans is an important priority for the California Republican Party. CR's contribute greatly to the success of today's Republican candidates by carrying the Republican message both on campus and off. They also form the future of our party: many of those who will lead our party in the coming years and decades, as elected officials and party leaders, are members of today's California College Republicans.
I encourage Republican elected officials and candidates to make an active effort to engage local College Republicans in their campaigns directly, or in their offices through internships and other opportunities. Doing so improves our opportunities for victory today, and for the future.
You can learn more about the California College Republicans through their very high quality website here
. Congratulations to CCR Chairman Ryan Clumpner, Co-Chairman Jerad Ferguson, Administrative Vice Chair Kelly Hayes, Secretary Leigh Wolf, Treasurer Ryan Burris, Executive Director Caroline Beason, the entire CCR leadership team, and all our campus leaders, for continuing to promote Republican ideas and candidates in the target-rich environment of California's college campuses.
Iranian President Revises 9/11 History - 'Negotiate with THIS guy?"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the guy who Barack Obama and his friends amateurishly say we should negotiate with, once again attempted to cast doubt on the 9/11 death toll, and who committed the attacks. Here's what he said in this
AP article:"Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names," Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom.Under this pretext, the U.S. "attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then a million people have been killed only in Iraq," Ahmadinejad said in the speech broadcast live on state-run television.
"A building collapsed?" That's a bit like saying the Titanic sinking was the rearrangement of a set of deck chairs on a boat. The entire world knows what really happened that day. Diminishing the loss, and obscuring the issue, is just the latest example of how there are people in this world whose ambitions need to be defeated, not rewarded through "negotiation."
On taxes, which party is in touch with Americans?
A Gallup poll released this week showed that 52% of Americans believe their taxes are too high, and only 2% believe they are too low. (We suspect the 2% are entirely confined to the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley, plus Alec Baldwin. We're tracking that down.) The important issue, though, is which party is in touch with the American people when it comes to taxes.
The Democrats in Sacramento and Washington continue falling all over themselves to try to raise taxes, and they always have a reason. They should. Lots of groups in their big-government coalition are dependent on more money from the government, so they no doubt put lots of thought into reasons why taxes should be higher, and by extension, why their piece of the pie gets bigger.
Some of the most common reasons Democrats throw around to justify (another) tax increase include:
- Making the tax code "fairer."
This was Bill Clinton's big justification for the largest tax hike in history, passed in 1993. I was in Washington at the time and read the Clinton Treasury Department summary of the tax hike plan, with the increases refered to as "measures to improve the fairness of the tax code." Fairness, of course, means that someone needs to pay more, not that anyone needs to pay less.
- "The budget deficit."
The Federal Government has been accumulating debt for most of its existence. There's always a budget deficit because government's interest in doing this or that pretty consistently outstrips available resources. Rosy revenue forecasts are used to spike spending, and then when the revenues fail to materialize, viola!
, we need a tax increase.
- The government needs to do more of (insert lofty program here).
Setting priorities is difficult, particularly for many in political office, because it means someone's program is going to be a high priority, and someone else's is going to be deemed as low priority (the California Tomato Board comes to mind). And the advocate for the low priority program is going to be upset, and their PAC will look for someone to run against you in the primary, or in the general election, etc. The risk to taxpayers is the political path of least resistance can lead to a tax increase so everyone's government program can continue to grow.
- "We" need to "fully fund" (name of program).
This is the classic moving target used to argue concurrently for higher spending and against any kind of tax relief. Liberals consistently use the term to justify more spending on whatever program is on the agenda that day. (Interestingly, I can't recall hearing a liberal ever apply the term to "fully funding" our troops in the field, or the Defense Department). The hypocrisy of the "fully fund" argument is exposed when it's clear that the term is never, ever accompanied by a dollar amount. So, how many billions would "fully fund" (name of program)? You're not likely to get an answer, because the term is simply used to justify "more."
In Washington, President Bush deserves enormous credit for making any kind of tax increase the House or Senate Democrats can dream up DOA. President John McCain has similarly committed to not only opposing tax increases, but to vetoing any bill with earmarks, recognizing the need to get federal spending under control.
Here in California, Governor Schwarzenegger and our Republican legislators have been similarly correct for focusing on bringing spending in line, instead of heeding the special interests' call for even higher taxes.
Finally, there's the issue of reforming the way government operates in order to do more without further burdening the taxpayer. Anyone who has seen government procurement or personnel management in action knows that government must be one of the least efficient organizations ever conceived, meaning there is often plenty of room for improvement. In Washington, for example, President Bush's "Management Agenda
" is leading federal agencies to improve service while cutting costs. Governor Schwarznegger's 2004 California Performance Review simialrly lists ways California government can be improved.
Republicans Recognize Longtime Voter Registration Volunteer
San Diego Republicans tonight recognized longtime Republican volunteer Trinie Bowling, and made her the first recipient of a new award created in her name -- the Trinie Bowling Award for Leadership in Voter Registration.
Trinie is an immigrant from the Phillipines who came to this country 55 years ago. For decades she has consistently attended the new citizen swearing in ceremonies in San Diego to encourage the newest American citizens to register and join the Republican Party. When I was the San Diego County Chairman, Trinie was a tremendous example of Republican volunteerism in action.
Trinie is facing a health challenge now, and our prayers are with her as she wages that battle.
Demonstrating that the Republican Party truly is a party of immigrants, Trinie was presented with her award tonight by county Republican Chairman Tony Krvaric, who is not only an immigrant himself, but was registered to vote by Trinie when he took his citizenship oath.
Best Wishes for Speedy Recovery to CFRW Pres Kathy Brugger
CFRW President Kathy Brugger
is as solid a Republican volunteer as they come. Right now, Kathy is taking some time off from fighting Democrats in order to wage another battle, this one against breast cancer. News of her cancer challenge came to me at about the same time I learned one of my own closest relatives faces the same challenge.
I'm writing this blog entry from the Republican Party of San Diego County monthly meeting, seated with CFRW's Shirley Kaltenborn, who is filling in for Kathy right now as President Pro Tem. Shirley reports CFRW is moving ahead on behalf of our Republican candidates this fall.
Please join me in wishing Kathy the very best for a speedy recovery.
Republican Jewish Coalition Conference a Success
Congratulations to California's Republican Jewish Coalition for a successful statewide conference in San Francisco last week.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is at the center of growing Republican support in California's substantial Jewish community. Under the leadership of Chairman Joel Geiderman and Executive Director Larry Greenfield, the RJC continues to enjoy sustained growth in California, both in numbers and prominence. Chapters continue to spring up throughout the state, providing an important local connection to Jewish communities in cities throughout California with events, newsletters, commentary in local media, etc.
The RJC conference was covered in this article in Jewish News Weekly
New Republican Leader in San Francisco
Howard Epstein has stepped up to take the reins of the Republican Party of San Francisco. A sharp, first rate Republican leader, Howard is just the Chairman to move the party forward in America's most liberal city.
Central to Howard's vision is leveraging the Republican Party's resources in ways that can have a significant impact at the margins, either in San Francisco directly or in the wider Bay Area. We discussed a few of these at a meeting last week, and while I won't detail exactly what Howard and his team have planned in this public blog, I can say I'm confident the Republican Party of San Francisco will be making important contributions to the Republican cause in the Bay Area in the weeks and months ahead.
Congratulations go to immediate past chairs Christine Hughes and Mike DeNunzio for their hard work for the party over the last few years.
Even the SF Chronicle Opposes Denham Recall
One would hardly call the editorial page of the San Francisco Chronicle a bastion of conservative thought. The paper very consistently articulates liberal positions on many contemporary issues.It's for this reason that the paper's hard slam on Senator Perata's campaign to recall Republican State Senator Jeff Denham is particularly noteworthy.
The Chronicle this morning added its name to the growing list of newspapers in and near the district that are lining up solidly
against this recall campaign -- a product not of grassroots origin in the 12th Senate district, but one with its roots instead in the backrooms of the Capitol.
What's even more unusual about the Chroncile's editorial is its forcefullness, calling the recall "worse than an abuse of the recall process. It is an affront to the very principles of representative democracy."
Wow. That is some tough langauge. Read the full editorial here
Los Angeles Republicans Prepare Candidates for Victory
Saturday morning I had the pleasure of serving as a member of the faculty for the Republican Party of Los Angeles County's "RPLAC Academy," a full day training seminar for current and future Republican candidates that drew participation from well outside of LA County.
As someone who has spent a decade teaching campaign management and communications to Republican and conservative leaders and candidates, I see programs like the RPLAC Academy as central to expanding the number and effectiveness of our activists and candidates. Many candidates are drawn to seek public office because of their commitment to one or more issues or principles, yet being right in the sense of being philosophically correct or having the best ideas is not enough to win. Over time, the winner of a political contest is determined by the number and effectiveness of those on each side. Learning effective political technology is key to achieving this.
RPLAC's Matt Kauble has a detailed review of the program in his posting here on Red County
Republicans, the British, and the OC
Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Emeritus Tom Fuentes did a masterful job as the emcee for the British American Business Council dinner I attended Friday night in Costa Mesa. Congressman John Campbell, who chairs the US-UK Caucus in the House, was featured prominently and discussed the importance of maintaining the "Special Relationship" the United States and the United Kingdom enjoy.
The featured speaker was Dr. Liam Fox
, the British "Shadow" Minister of Defence. In the British parliamentary system, the minority party names a "would-be" minister for each department, thus preparing that person for ascension to full Minister status if and when the minority party wins the next election. Dr. Fox is a Conservative.
Dr. Fox gave an incredibly clear and compelling assessment of the current global security situation, touching on Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terror. Dr. Fox explained quite well that liberal claims that our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan are the causes of anti-Western terror are false, noting that the terrorists are not against us so much for what we do, but who we are -- our values, our traditions, our form of government, our culture, etc.
Congratulations to OC Republican leader Jo Ellen Allen, who did such a masterful job promoting the event among OC Republicans that the event could easily have been confused for a Republican committee meeting, with so many GOP leaders, including CRP Treasurer Keith Carlson, in attendance.
San Diego Dem Candidate: We're Undertaxed
Sometimes really can't make this stuff up when it comes to Democrats thinking we're undertaxed here in California.
Down in San Diego, liberal Democrat Marti Emerald, a former television news reporter, is running for a seat on the San Diego City Council in a closely divided district. Her opponent is Republican April Boling, a strong candidate and a CPA.
Emerald just went on the Roger Hedgecock show and claimed she opposes tax increases or levying a new "fee" for trash pickup. So far so good. Well, Roger, true to form, pulls out a tape of Emerald speaking to the local College Democrats where she said the following:San Diego is one of the most undertaxed major cities in the country. I think we are about number 157 or something like that on this big scale of ... we are the only major city in California where property owners, single family homeowners don't pay for trash pickup. That is $50 million dollars that the city has to find every year to cover the cost of just picking up trash."
She followed that statement up with: "I am with you I think we should be paying for trash pickup. Especially now, but as a politician I recognize that it is political suicide to go out and say elect me and I will raise your taxes."
Now, for any candidate in California (one of the most HEAVILY taxed states in the nation) to go around trying to convince voters they are not paying enough in taxes, shows a serious disconnect from reality, probably induced by spending far too much time listening to people from one special interest group after another that feeds at the public trough.
Emerald runs around talking about how we are one of the most "undertaxed" cities in the country as though that is something to be ashamed of, and we should perhaps strive to be "better" by raising the burden on taxpayers even more.
Newsflash: hundreds of thousands of Californians have packed up, left the Golden State behind, and taken up residence in the deserts of Arizona and Nevada not because we're "undertaxed," but because the same people who back Democrats like Emerald have driven the cost of government so high, their jobs have left and now they have too.
Plumas Republican Event Packs the House
I returned to the North State again this week for what turned out to be first class event put on by the Republican Party of Plumas County and Chair Leah West.
The clubhouse at the Graeagle Meadows Golf Course was absolutely packed
with enthusiastic Republican supporters from throughout the county, and the region. The long list of Republican leaders present included Assemblyman Rick Keene
, Lassen County Chairman Rocky Deal
, Butte County Chairman Steve Thompson
, and representatives of local Assembly and Congressional candidates, including Doug Ose
and Tom McClintock
, and even Paul Jackson
, the Nevada State Director of Senator McCain's campaign.
A hearty and well deserved congratulations to the Republican Party of Plumas County for an incredibly high quality event that drew local media attention while serving to organize and focus Republicans on winning this November!
Unions and Democrats Protect Pensions of Felons
Congratulations to Assembly Republicans for trying to put an end to the practice of allowing those who steal public funds to continue receiving their taxpayer funded retirement benefits. Here's the news release from our friend Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries:
Sacramento -Today Democrats in the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security (PERS) Committee voted against legislation that would have stripped the publicly funded pensions of public employees convicted of serious felonies. AB 1858 would have revoked the publicly funded pensions of a public employee convicted of any felony involving accepting or giving, or offering to give, any bribe, the embezzlement of public money, extortion or theft of public money, perjury, or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes arising directly out of his or her official duties as a public employee.
"I shake my head in disappointment at the fact that some legislators and union representatives feel that we should be protecting convicted felons at the expense of taxpayers," Mr. Jeffries said. "This bill is good policy that the general public strongly supports. It's too bad that union politics got in the way of good policy."
This bill was prompted by a series of incidents in which public employees stole and embezzled from the taxpayers and violated the public trust. Speakers from a variety of unions spoke against the bill arguing that felonious public employees should not be further punished for a "mistake."
"In my own district we recently had a school employee accused of stealing as much as $300,000 from the school lunch money funds, but under the current system, this person could still be eligible for taxpayer-funded retirement benefits for her service while she was ripping off taxpayers and children," Assemblyman Jeffries said. "That’s the real mistake."
"Unfortunately, the political leadership of the unions has once again proven that they care more about coddling the criminals in their membership than they do about promoting the rights and protecting the reputations of the overwhelming majority of their membership that would never dream of stealing from the communities they serve," Assemblyman Jeffries remarked.
Since AB 1858 was killed on a 2-5 party line vote (with Republicans voting 'Yes') the bill can not advance further. Mr. Jeffries plans to address the issue again next session.
William F. Buckley Papers Now Online
Hillsdale College has developed an online, searchable database of the complete writings of longtime conservative scholar, author and editor William F. Buckley. Incredibly worthwhile resource.William F. Buckley Database
McNerney Allows Wasteful Spending to Continue
Just in from the NRCC:McNerney Votes Again With Democrat Leaders to Block Reform of Earmarking Process
Washington- Jerry McNerney (CA-11) has staked out his position on allowing wasteful Washington spending to continue, despite constant pleas from hardworking taxpayers to bring more transparency and reform to the broken earmarking process.
McNerney voted again yesterday with his liberal Democrat leaders in Washington to block a Republican bill which would institute an immediate moratorium on all earmarks until the process is resolved (House Roll Call 154)
Democrats claimed on the campaign trail that they would bring change to Washington, but the only thing that’s changed is they've stuffed even more pork-barrel projects into appropriations bills since taking control of Congress:
"In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills. That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007." (Citizens Against Government Waste Press Release, 4/2/08)
"Jerry McNerney has made it loud and clear that he has no regard for making sure that California taxpayers' hard-earned dollars are spent wisely and not dolled out as pet projects by Washington politicians," said NRCC spokesman Ken Spain.
McNerney already had the opportunity to halt the earmarking process in February, but once again he voted in lock-step with his liberal Democrat leadership (House Roll Call 32)
. When will Jerry McNerney put the priorities of California taxpayers over his party’s political agenda in Washington?
Carly Fiorina On Sen. John McCain's Economic Policies
Carly Fiorina the RNC's national Victory chairwoman, understand the economy -- she is the former head of Hewlett-Packard (HP), and had this to say about Sen. McCain's economic policies on CNBC this morning:
Fiorina: "Well, first I think we shouldn't play politics with this issue, and I frankly think that when positions are mischaracterized, that's playing politics. This is too important to the American people, but the contrast between John McCain and the Republican Party and either of the Democratic candidates is stark
." (CNBC's "Power Lunch," 4/1/08)
Fiorina: "John McCain does believe there is a role for government. The role for government is to help the truly needy. The role of government is to enact necessary reforms. But he also believes that there is a distinction between bad actors in this crisis, speculators, investors who made bad bets, and good actors, who are cash-strapped, but credit-worthy homeowners."
(CNBC's "Power Lunch," 4/1/08)
Fiorina: "Well, I think John McCain would agree that the truly neediest should get government support. ... But, you cannot ask the American taxpayer to bail out people who were speculating and who were trying to make a quick buck." (CNBC's "Power Lunch," 4/1/08)
Fiorina: "What you need to do is make some distinctions between the role government should play, the role industry should play, and you also need to make some distinctions between investors who understand that a bet is a risk and a homeowner who truly is in a bad spot through no fault of their own." (CNBC's "Power Lunch," 4/1/08) Source: Republican National Committee