Oh the Tumult of Trying to Prove You’re a Real Republican

In the Democratic primary, there’s really not much conversation to speak of. Basically, you have Gavin Newsom running around trying to increase name ID by conducting town halls and the like. Jerry Brown is just patiently waiting back for the spring, or so it seems.

But that is hardly the case on the Republican side. The three candidates have been lobbing hand grenades at each other for several months now. Two of them, Poizner and Whitman, are former CEOs who have given money to, gasp, Democrats.  The other, Tom Campbell, is a self-described champion of bipartisanship.

But how do you show the right-wingers of the party, ie the party base, that you are the Real Republican. Well, if you’re Tom Campbell, you don’t try, and just call yourself bipartisan. I know that might work to pull in 20% in early polls, but that strategy seems like quite the longshot in a Republican primary that tends to skew hard right.

Meanwhile, as Poizner and Whitman go for the “conservative” mantle, they have to deal with their Democratic skeletons in the closet:

Whitman gave $4,000 to Boxer in November 2003 and an additional $4,000 to Boxer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that same month, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Whitman also endorsed Boxer in 2003 as a member of the group Technology Leaders for Boxer. In a joint letter publicized by the Boxer campaign, Whitman wrote, “Barbara Boxer is a courageous leader and friend of California’s technology industry.”

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Poizner has faced similar questions about his contributions to Gore and the Gore/Lieberman Recount Committee, which funded the Democratic candidate’s unsuccessful legal efforts in the aftermath of the 2000 election. (SacBee 10/26/09)

Of course, that they each have these issues takes out much of the teeth out of this fight. Unless Tom McClintock is somehow lured into this race, Whitman and Poizner are only judged on a curve defined by the other.  If a longtime Republican conservative enters the race, the complexion changes markedly. However, at this point the field seems to have solidified.  McClintock is really the only name conservative that would be able to have a major impact on the race.

So, press releases are tossed back and forth on who is the Real Republican, and still the phrase has no meaning and no value to the bulk of California voters.

2 thoughts on “Oh the Tumult of Trying to Prove You’re a Real Republican”

  1. I’m often glad my party doesn’t require blood oaths with threats of hit squads to enforce doctrinaire purity. But just sometimes, I wish Democrats would require candidates to ante up their bona fides. There’s been a movement in California to require any candidate seeking endorsement of the state party to say they’ve at least read the state party platform. Not agreed to or endorsed it. Just read it. So far no joy that I know of. Still, it seems like a good step.

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