October 7, 2003, California had a choice to make; continue the leftist drooling of Governor Gray Davis, pick another leftist equally as bad, or try to find a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan to pick up the pieces.
The two candidates conservatives in California had to choose from were Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Tom McClintock.
The choice for Schwarzenegger was largely made on his perceived electability; famous movie star (Reagan was a movie star, after all), and he sounded conservative. Tom McClintock was and is a staunch conservative, and I think would've been the best choice, as I myself heard him argue on local LA radio; "Forget electability, pick the conservative and California will follow." Or words to that effect.
I fell for it, and voted for Ah-nold. I am to blame. In truth, I also voted for Perot, and so brought you Bill Clinton. More shame upon me.
I now vote as if my vote will be the deciding one, in which I take more time to hopefully make better choices. Unfortunately, that mantra wasn't taken up by me until 2004, a tad late to stop the GOP carnage of late, but not too late for this cycle. I studied candidates, found the ones I thought were the most conservative, and ignored the GOP pushing others on me.
I actually read the old Reagan speeches, and was astounded at how nothing has changed in all these years. Different GOP establishment, but the same establishment mistakes are being foisted on us again today.
In his 1975 speech to CPAC, Reagan said;
Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election. It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.
Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached "the gospel," in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.
Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own.
But then he warned;
But let's not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means.
And history repeats itself yet again, Democrats who sound like lifelong conservatives, business people looking for new meaning in their lives after being CEOs of major corporations. They all sound conservative, and claim based on their past business experience they are proven conservatives. By that logic, we may as well vote for George Soros.
Of these "convenient conservatives", Reagan said;
I don't know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, "We must broaden the base of our party"--when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.
It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?
Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third-party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?
Tomorrow California Republicans have yet another choice to make; a choice between a real proven conservative in Chuck DeVore, or yet another businessperson with sparse voting record who claims to be "A true conservative", but who supported Cap and Trade; before she didn't. The old guard GOP establishment is pushing hard for Fiorina, even sending Lindsey Graham to campaign for her. She's McCain's choice, and by extension Sarah Palin, who feels she still owes some debt to McCain it seems.
Chuck DeVore while in the California Assembly fought hard for conservative principles, and has taken the California Constitution in hand as he argued against an unconstitutional tax increase on behalf of the people. He walked the walk, unlike others who seem to think talking the walk is enough.
Some mention should be made of Tom Campbell, who threw in the towel in the California Governor's race against Poizner and Whitman when the waters in the Senate race looked better to him. That's the story, anyway.
I'm not saying Chuck DeVore is the second coming of Ronald Reagan, but I am saying in this race, he's the closest you can get.
Before you go off in the comments about "He can't beat Boxer", read what Pat Buchanan said on Reagan's death in 2004 about taking chances;
In the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, Reagan's speech of blazing defiance vaulted him into the leadership of the conservative movement. And after Watergate and the loss of Vietnam, with the Soviet Empire rampant and America held hostage, the country, unready for Ronald Reagan or conservatism in 1964, took a chance in 1980. And when she did, America won the lottery.
Whatever you may say about Pat Buchanan in general, he was right in that America took a chance on a candidate the establishment GOP didn't really think could win, but did so anyway by standing on his conservative principles.
I believe Tom McClintock this time; he says Chuck DeVore can win. This Tuesday I'm not going to make the mistake again of not listening to him.
Think about it; will it be the "bold colors" of real conservationism? Or possibly the "pale pastels" of a Lindsey Graham/Olympia Snowe Republican? And yeah, I know this is California, I know the last GOP Senator was years ago.
I also know in my heart that to vote based on "electability" is to surrender our principles to yet more "Hope", and these aren't the times to think of surrender, but rather victory.