California's race for the Senate is easy for people all across the country to care about, but we're also going to elect a new Governor next year. Term limited or not, Governor Schwarzenegger has burned his bridges with most of the party and likely will never seek elective office again.
So it's an open seat, and an open field for both parties this time around. Let's start with the Democrats. It's less depressing that way.
The Democrats have only held the Governor's chair for five of the last twenty eight years. Before Gray Davis of the Recall won it, the previous Democrat to win was none other than Attorney General Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown . He is capping off his political comeback after losing for Senate and President (twice). In 1998 he became Mayor of Oakland (serving two terms), In 2006 he became Attorney General of California, and after one term of that he's taking another stab at the Big Chair. Having served two terms he's still not term-limited because he took and left office long before term limits.
Moonbeam would be a disaster for the state, of course. He's the wrong man for the wrong time. He's the one who began us down the path of economic ruin with his "environmental" policies which seek to drive out of state as much commerce (and as many jobs) as possible. He's a tax hiker who will add punitive taxation to businesses he feels are inappropriate under his "green" and red policies, as though we could afford to be picky in a recession.
Brown also picks hard-left judges who are soft on crime. He was the one who appointed Rose Bird to the California Supreme Court, who was so out of step with even California that she was voted off in a historic defeat for a California Judge. As Attorney General he has pledged to uphold the death penalty, because he at least respects the rule of law and has a duty as AG, but as Governor he will have no such obligation. Expect vicious murderers to get reprieves should Brown win.
The other declared Democrat is San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom . Think Moonbeam, only worse. His biggest failing is that he is a radical with no respect for the rule of law. He got nationwide attention when he unilaterally declared a new definition of marriage in San Francisco, and "married" a bunch of homosexual couples. He was shot down by the California Supreme Court of course, as was he when San Francisco's sweeping gun ban was overturned as an overstepping of city power. Imagine what he'd do as Governor, with no respect for the law or the Constitution, as he worked his far-left agenda.
As a conservative Republican I think our best chances lie with a Newsom upset in the primary, but I'd hate for him even to get that close. For what it's worth, the two most recent polls show Brown to be in good shape. An August Research 2000/Daily Kos poll of likely voters put Brown ahead of Newsom 29/20, barely within the 5% MOE. In the general the poll shows Brown trouncing all Republican comers, while Newsom trails one Republican and is within a point of the other two. As an aside, that same poll shows Boxer crushing Fiorina by 21 and DeVore by 24, putting both possible Senate Repubicans well within the 4% MOE of each other (Yes, the poll has a 5% MOE for primaries and 4% for the general).
The other poll, by J. Moore Methods, shows likely Democrat primary voters preferring Brown to Newsom 46-26, a total rout.
Why do I call those Democrats less depressing than the Republicans? Consider our frontrunner, political novice Meg Whitman.
And the best part: She is unequivocally, unabashedly, unapologetically "pro-choice." Zoom a head to 6:40 of this video to hear her say it to the applause of her supporters:
About the only good thing I can say about her is that she supported Proposition 8.
Next up is former US Representative Tom Campbell. Before his campaign for governor he came out strongly on two issues. First, he vociferously opposed Proposition 8 to restore marriage in California, making the absurd and insulting comparison with 'race' discrimination. Did you know you're on the side of hateful bigots if you favor marriage? Tom Campbell thinks so.
As if I needed to go on, the other proposal Campbell made lately was an 18 cent gas tax hike . The Democrats won't cut spending, so Campbell wants to raise taxes to fund that spending spree. Of course, he did this when gas prices were unnaturally low, but anyone could see that gas would rise back well above two dollars a gallon here, and now in fact it's back over three. But if Tom Campbell had his way, we'd all be paying the price of even more expensive gas used to ship everything sold in all our stores in California.
While he's against us on marriage, Campbell is hiding on the issue of abortion. He supports wishy-washy measures like parental notification laws, but I'm having a very hard time finding a firm position he's taken on the core of the issue. His website is absolutely silent on the issue, which I think says it all.
Lastly we have Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. I do not hide the fact that I'm partial to Poizner in this race, but it is only in a sighing, by-default sort of way that I prefer him to win the primary. Because he joins Whitman and Campbell as being to the extreme left on social issues. I don't know why we can't have a single candidate who's with us on abortion and marriage, but we don't. Poizner was with us on Proposition 8, but is "pro-choice", expecting to sell the base on himself by taking the John Kerry route of setting himself up as personally opposing abortion.
Poizner however is right on the issues of taxation and small government. He favors a part-time legislature, lowering tax rates to spur growth in the state and raise revenue, and plans to fight the pro-spending unions in the state by appealing to the members, bypassing the corrupt, socialist fatcats in charge of those unions. He also opposes a "carbon tax."
Plus in Poizner over Whitman we have a proven politican who has shown he knows how to win a statewide general election in this state. Whitman is a complete unknown. She may turn out to be a political goofball and self-destruct like a Creigh Deeds, especially when she's going to be up against the full brunt of the California Democrat-Union alliance, a high-pressure way for a total beginner to make her start running for elective office. Poizner has proven he can make it to election day without a total meltdown.
So, as I said up top, the choices are pretty depressing. The California Republican Party has apparently run out of conservatives willing to fight the tough fight and take a stand for values, character, and principle in this state. Instead we have the left fringe looking to drive a stake in the heart of the conservative base, dictating to us what's really important, and capitulate to the Democrats on anything possible in order to notch up some meaningless electoral victories.
I will vote for the Republican next November, but none of these people could entice more than that from me, like a Chuck DeVore or a Tom McClintock could.