The California GOP Thinks Dems Are “Lethargic.” Are You?

Carla Marinucci got her hands on a very interesting memo from the California Republican Party’s chairman Ron Nehring today laying out their 2010 strategy. In it, they call Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer “lazy” – perhaps because Republicans have forgotten what it’s like to have a full-time job:

This week Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, both of whom have clear shots at their party’s nomination and therefore no primary campaign, have experienced first hand what happens when your campaign gets lethargic.

Is laziness a campaign strategy?  Brown has not yet bothered to formally declare himself a candidate for Governor, and national Democrats are so concerned about his ‘campaign’ that the Democratic Governors Association is planning an independent expenditure campaign to bail him out.

What Nehring doesn’t mention is that Brown is the sitting Attorney General and Barbara Boxer is in the middle of some of the most important legislation considered by the Senate in some time (health care and climate change). So they do have other obligations.

Now that being said, Brown IS stupid to wait so long to launch his campaign, both formally and in practice. Meg Whitman has a ton of money to spend blanketing the state with ads; you’d think Brown would want to start introducing himself to a new generation of Californians, including my peers who were born during his last time in office, and espouse his vision for California’s future. Boxer, on the other hand, has been campaigning hard for her re-election for years now, so Nehring is just spewing bullshit there.

Nehring’s email does raise some of the questions we’ve been discussing here at Calitics for a few months now. As we see further and extremely alarming signs of anger and lack of motivation from Democratic voters, such as the stunning fact the special election to replace Ted Kennedy is a toss-up, California Democrats do need to take very seriously the possibility that their base may not show up in sufficient numbers this November.

Both Brown and Boxer will run very energetic campaigns. And Boxer, for her part, knows how to win in close elections in California, and has nearly 20 years of experience showing progressives that she is one of their most important allies. Boxer and activists alike will have to work hard to win, but I doubt there will be any problem getting that work to happen.

Brown has the much bigger problem with base motivation, as we’ve explained repeatedly here at Calitics. Right now, Brown doesn’t offer anything obvious to progressive voters to get them very excited about his campaign. As we’re witnessing in Massachusetts, or last November in New Jersey and Virginia, fear of a right-winger can only do so much to motivate the base to work to win. To put a Democrat over the top, both the activist base and the infrequent voters that were vital to Obama’s big 2008 win have to see something compelling in the candidate. Right now, Brown isn’t offering that. (And no, pictures of you when you were a kid in the 1940s don’t count.)

The Democrat who best deals with the growing frustration and alienation of the voters they need to win will be the Democrat to prove Nehring wrong.

15 thoughts on “The California GOP Thinks Dems Are “Lethargic.” Are You?”

  1. Neither Jerry Brown nor Barbara Boxer is a progressive.  The diarist seems to equate “progressive” with “liberal”.  I grant you that Boxer supports a woman’s right to choose and gay rights, two issues which have relatively recently become hallmarks of liberalism.  (I say “relatively recently” because liberals used to hate fags, whereas “conservatives” merely wished that they didn’t frighten the horses.)

    “Progressivism” has at its heart reform of government and the integrity of those in government.  Boxer has sent us some truly horrible people for the Federal bench and as U.S. Attorneys.  (It’s our Senators who recommend folks for those posts.)  Brown has spent his entire life trying to undo what his father attempted to put in place for California.  Jerry needs therapy, not another term in office.

    If you believe these hacks are liberal because of a few social issues, have at it.  Do not, though, besmirch progressivism by attempting to include them in its folds.

  2. I have heard it all now.  I have heard every single adjective ever invented applied to Barbara Boxer except lazy.  Some people think that she is genius; others think she is a moron. Some think that she is focused and committed; others think that she is unhinged.  I have never once heard that she was lazy.  Even those who hate her the most reluctantly admire her ability as a campaigner.  If the Republicans are planning on an easy go of it from Boxer, they will be quite disappointed.

    I have no idea what to say about Jerry Brown.  Although he has been a fixture in California Politics for 40 years, I don’t feel that I know who he is or what he believes in.  But I don’t think he is lazy.  

  3. I’m not lethargic…and I’m a member of the Progressive Base of the Democratic party.  You know…the Base that Mr. Obama and his corporatist Dems screwed with this giveaway to Big Insurance laughingly called health care “reform”.

    Come November I’ll be out there working to support my Progressive House Representative…and I’ll be out there working and donating money and voting against any Democrat who isn’t a Progressive and who votes for this HCR bill.

    Frankly, the Dems made a big mistake when they decided Progressives have no where to go except to vote for corporatist Dems.  Watch us remove a bunch of them from office.

    Barbara Boxer will keep her position..but without my vote.  Ms. Boxer Failed Californians when she voted for this HCR bill and she failed Californians when she failed to speak out and make HCR the solid, Progressive, real, health care reform bill it could have been.

    If Jerry Brown wants Progressive votes, he needs to start sounding like one quickly.

  4. I will vote for Boxer because she has been a good Senator. Some of her votes have frustrated me, but on the whole I think she has done a good job. Jerry, not so much. He has been a self-serving weasel for many years. Right now he is selling himself as a Republican-Lite. I won’t vote for the Republican but right now, I would not pull the lever for Brown.

  5. given that many are pretty burnt out on the DC circus that uses us like an ATM, thee;s an opening for CA dems to tap into CA dem activist energy and pound the GOP that’s been shock doctrining us for the past decade.

    granted, that rests on the unlikely proposition that CA dems will bother to tap into something like that, but it’s certainly possible. 2010 could be a weird mirror of 2006 and 2008, statewise.  

  6. I haven’t seen any sign that the California Democratic Party is anything but a status-quo organization. There are too many people in positions of authority who are too comfortable and have no fight left in them or are economically invested in the status-quo.  

  7. I think most sensible definitions of either “liberal” or “progressive” would include Senator Boxer.  She has been a force for good in the Senate.  Am I at all happy with the Senate’s Insurance Payoff bill?  No.  However, let’s lay the blame where it belongs, at the likes of Nelson and Weaselman for holding the bill hostage, and the weaknesses of Obama & Reid.  That particular pile of feldercarb was a failure of leadership.

    Brown is no way a progressive, or even much of a liberal.  As it stands now, I will not be voting for him.  I will go Green, or write in a Democrat I can believe in, but I’d as soon vote for Susan Kennedy as for Jerry Brown.

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