In November, voters put a Democratic super-majority in charge of legislature. Now, with its share of registered voters at around 30 percent and dropping, the California GOP appears to be circling the drain.
Even so, someone has to lead it, and now a former longtime Sacramento pol, Jim Brulte, has announced he is running for chairman of the state party. Since no one in his or her right mind would want the job, that makes him the state party’s new de facto leader.
Brulte is not talking to the press, but CalBuzz has the scoop — and what they have learned appears to be good news for everyone who wants California to continue to recover and prosper. To wit, Brulte ain’t gonna change a thing. His chairmanship of the state GOP promises more of the same old unpopular teabaggery and retrograde religiosity that has been slowly poisoning the party for nearly 20 years:
Calbuzz wanted to discuss with Brulte his personal views on immigration, abortion, the split roll, gay marriage and the whole concept of compromise and deal making. But alas, Brulte won’t go there. Not yet anyway.
Of course, his legislative record in the 14 years he served in the Assembly and Senate on these kinds of issues is fairly unambiguous: he’s pro-life (ahough since he doesn’t endorse shooting abortion doctors he’s something of a moderate in the California GOP on this issue), he’s tough on illegal immigration (although we have no idea if he’d support a pathway to citizenship); he’s anti-tax and pro-Prop. 13 and he doesn’t like gay marriage.
But what is most telling, according to Calbuzz, is what Brulte has been telling his supporters he will do when he takes the reigns — his first goal is especially telling:
1. Get the party out of its half-million-dollar debt and build a fundraising infrastructure that can sustain the GOP and finance the programs Brulte believes are necessary. The California GOP is down to three full-time staffers, two of whom work from home. It’s a pathetic, bush league operation.
2. Rebuild the grassroots party organizations in targeted districts where the GOP has, or could have, an advantage. In the last election, for example, the party was so short-staffed at the grassroots level, it could even mount efforts to challenge provisional ballots in some very close races.
3. Recruit quality local candidates for school board, water board, weed-abatement board, city council, county supervisor, whatever – Republicans who can grow into jobs in public service so that in future years they can run for Assembly, state Senate and Constitutional offices statewide. To the extent possible, he wants the California GOP to provide technical support to those candidates – people who should represent the diversity and complexity of their neighborhoods, districts and regions, not just ideological clones.
But just as the national party attributes its losses in November to poor messaging and lousy messengers — not the fact that its policy positions are unpopular with regular voters — there is, thankfully, no chance the state party will change in any fundamental way under Brulte. Says Calbuzz:
[The] California GOP’s problem isn’t just a failure to communicate – it’s the underlying message that’s being communicated that’s a problem. The GOP brand is poison – among most white voters but especially among Latinos, Asians and black voters. Oh, and women. This is because as long as the Republican federal and state officeholders and candidates espouse misogynistic, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, no-tax-ever ideology, no amount of lipstick will gussie up that pig.
We’re sure no offense to pigs was intended.