As the news comes in on the indictment of Series of Tubes Ted Stevens, it’s instructive to take a look back at who the Yacht Party in California allows to speak for them as “leaders”. First we have Sheriff Michael Carona, “America’s Sheriff,” who is apparently more than just a run-of-the-mill corrupt public official, but actually deeply vulgar, venal and unethical, even by the standards of the GOP – but also weirdly representative of a certain level of corruption in the OC.
His attorneys are asking a federal judge to prevent a future jury from hearing secretly recorded tapes of Carona snarling racial epithets, referring vulgarly to women and boasting of both sexual and political prowess.
“I mean, I’ve met millionaires, billionaires, and I’ve traveled on personal airplanes . . . drank great wine and, you know, had great booze and had some, you know, phenomenal [sex] along the way,” Carona told his longtime patron, an auto auction magnate who was wearing a wire. “I’m the most lethal [expletive] in politics in Orange County.”
The revelations have disappointed but not quite shocked Orange County, where the sensibility enshrined at Anaheim’s Disneyland long has informed local politics, as well. Each invests heavily in an idealized, lavishly financed and fervently polished vision of Americana that few appear to accept as entirely real in the first place […]
Before Carona’s public disgrace, a superior court judge last year was sentenced to 27 months for possession of child pornography. The founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, located behind white wrought-iron curlicues in Costa Mesa, paid $425,000 to suppress an account of an alleged homosexual encounter. The Orange County Register reported that the Justice Department is investigating the county treasurer for allegedly diverting funds from a bankrupt trucking company to pay for Botox.
(the party affiliations of these officials have been strangely expunged. Thanks Washington Post!)
And this behavior is not limited to Orange County (flip it)…
In San Bernardino, Bill Postmus was a young chair of the GOP who delivered a string of victories in the early part of the decade. Now he’s taking a conveniently timed leave of absence:
Last week, Postmus announced that he’s taking a leave of absence from his elected post as county assessor because of unspecified medical problems.
He’s been under scrutiny lately. A former top aide faces six felony charges, and a district attorney’s investigation is ongoing. The assessor’s office also was the subject of a critical grand jury report released last month.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party, which as recently as two years ago held a five-figure registration advantage over Democrats in San Bernardino County, is clinging to a one-half percentage point lead.
Leaders are working to distance themselves from the party as it was under Postmus — one critic said he ran it like a personal fiefdom focused on his own political goals. Fundraising, which slowed at the end of Postmus’ three-year stint, has flatlined.
From what I hear, the indictment is imminent.
Then there’s the bizarre case of Delecia Holt, a would-be challenger to Rep. Susan Davis.
(We could have a sidebar question about how Davis managed to be one of the only state Democrats to not get the Labor Fed endorsement, but snag the support of the progressive Jewish group J Street. But another time.)
Holt, who ended up not appearing on the ballot in June, may have been a phantom. She claimed support from the powerful Lincoln Club and $200,000 in contributions. But nothing materialized.
Holt, 46, ended up not filing to appear on the ballot. The Lincoln Club says she’s not a member in either Orange County or San Diego. The District Attorney’s Office is looking into her real estate dealings. She owes $32,000 in toll road penalties. Three nonprofits have complained about her use of their names for fundraisers in which they were not involved.
And the $216,000 she reported raising?
The Register wrote each of the 217 donors at the addresses listed on Holt’s federal financial filings, inquiring about their donations. Not a single one responded that they had supported the would-be candidate.
The Register heard back from eight of the listed donors – all said they had not given Holt money, and six said they’d never heard of her.
“We aren’t in a position to be giving money to anybody,” said Vista’s Jill Granquist, who is listed as having contributed $2,000, but whose financial straits led to losing her home to foreclosure in March. “I’ve never heard of her, but this makes me kind of curious.”
I’ll be fair and say that there are loony tune fringe candidates like this in every party. But given the sorry state of the GOP, what’s sad is that a con artist like Holt feels right at home. It’s almost sad to see how low these people have sunk. Except I then consider their agenda, and it’s not sad at all.