Oh the tangled web of OC GOP politics

PhotobucketI can’t really purport to be an expert on Orange County politics, but the scandal that is going on now is really quite funny.  Well, funny as long as you don’t dig too deep into the racism of a member of the OC GOP central committee sending out an email to a big group of friends and acquaintances with a picture of President Obama’s on a chimpanzee body.

But the backlash, well, that’s where you see the long-standing feuds and how much these people are really out for themselves alone.  Sure they tolerate each other, but as soon as they get the chance, it’s every man for themselves.

Deborah Pauly, the first vice chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, said the controversial email sent by another elected member of the county GOP’s governing Central Committee was a matter that should have not been handled in the public eye.

County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh publicly called on the sender, Marilyn Davenport, to resign and Monday ordered the committee to launch an ethics review. The accompanying negative publicity could have been avoided, Pauly said.

“It should have been handled internally,” Pauly said. “What Scott should have done is pick up the phone and talked to Marilyn.”


Pauly said the image was “indefensible,” but said Davenport “wasn’t doing anything she thought was hurtful.” (OC Register)

Right, calling our first president of mixed race a chimp couldn’t possibly be hurtful.  It would take a master of human cognition for that, right?  You know, to see into people’s emotions and stuff.

But, seriously, the more interesting part in this is the reaction of county chairman Scott Baugh (seen with the patron saint to the right), who has apparently never really liked Ms. Davenport and decided that this would be a good chance to get rid of her.  He has called the email “unquestionably racist” and called on her to resign.  Not that Baugh is really the best judge of these sorts of things, but he did seem to get this one right, whatever his motivations might be.

But for the OC GOP, motivations matter.  I can’t really help at this point to see it as nothing but some sort of proxy fight between Baugh and his detractors (of which he has many.) Grab the popcorn, I suppose.

6 thoughts on “Oh the tangled web of OC GOP politics”

  1. It’s not at all clear what is going on in the Machiavellian world of Orange County politics.

    I suspect that Baugh, Schroeder, Righeimer, Bucher, and their Lincoln club friends are impatient with the fringe Tea Party supporters who have been elected to the Central committee.

    These people like Pauly and Davenport can’t keep up with the memos. This year’s OC GOP is supposed to stay on message with the only thing they have that polls well – attacking public employees unions as part of an ongoing plan to eliminate all of those annoying good government reforms. The real message is about outsourcing water production to Poseidon, selling the OC Fairgrounds to well-connected group,  and outsourcing government departments to private contractors.

    The Tea Party folks can’t stay on message, and instead provoke a lot of distraction. So they need to be tamped down before they get out of hand.

  2. The GOP has some issues to work through. Ironically its the same group that its struggling with that they stole away from the democrats when Nixon did his southern strategy. I think there is a lesson here.

    On another note I wanted to point out that The Economist came out with a special report on California. Not sure of how I send a link to you guys to report on it but here it is:


    I havent read it yet but its probably pretty good

  3. The OC (and San Diego) Republicans are a strange breed. Wasn’t there a bit of a tiff between the old guard of the California Republicans and the national party during the Bush presidency? Racism seems to motivate many of the Bob Dornan/Duke Cunningham types, while Bush & Rove realized that the GOP needs at least some support in the Hispanic community. Is Baugh in the Bush/Rove camp? That must be a hard row to hoe.

    Maybe what we’re seeing is a tug of war between money and bodies. Perhaps the GOP can succeed — despite their soaring unpopularity with youths and people of color — if they just throw enough money into politics. Goodness knows Orange County is a ripe proving ground for that theory. It’s just an assumption, but I’d bet there’s a solid correlation between wealth, GOP affiliation, and racism in the OC.

  4. but he’s no fool. He realizes the GOP has an image problem with people of color, and he has to take a strong stand whenever he sees something that exacerbates it.

    If Davenport were someone important in the party, he might figure out a way to sweep it under the rug. But she’s just an elected member of the central committee who probably isn’t making any significant contributions.

    However, you also make the point that there are factions. There’s an anti-Baugh faction headed by Tim Whitaker (who’s a bit of a nut and definitely part of the “Party of No”) and as you can see from Whitaker’s quotes about Davenport, Davenport is apparently someone who has sided with Whitaker in the past. So that’s another reason to throw her under the bus.

  5. I visited a lot of Democratic central committees around the state in 2009. And this sounds pretty familiar. I wouldn’t begin to try to guess why. But I see it pretty much everywhere that political volunteers interact with the professional machine.  

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