California Republican Party Convention: Monday Afternoon Quarterbacking

I was in the Bay Area this weekend to check out the California Republican Party Convention. So were a great many other journos — especially on Saturday, when presidential hopeless Newt Gingrich got into town, and the Hyatt filled up with national media and reporters from the big California newspapers. 

The result: lots of double-bylined stories telling readers what Newt Gingrich said in a speech that was video-recorded by dozens of sources and is readily available in full to anybody with a connection to the internet. 

There were also some interesting bits of coverage, many of those collected by Jon Fleischman’s Flash Report blog, the indispensable resource for Golden State Republican news. Here are some samples. 

Fox & Hounds Managing Editor Ashley Hemkin wishes Ron Paul supporters would take their energy, enthusiasm and organizational skills and go bother somebody else

As California Republican Party’s spring convention Saturday’s lunch was about to commence, featuring presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, hundreds of Ron Paul supporters stormed into the Hyatt. Paul’s supporters took over the main display area at the hotel, and crammed into balconies and stairways. Their chanting could be heard throughout the hotel, halting conversations, committee meetings and luncheon attendees... 

Sure, these outbursts get press (obviously I am helping his campaign by writing this) but is it helping Paul get closer to clinching the nomination? The cost and coordination of hundreds of people is expensive and laborious.

Why not take those resources and energy to blanket nearby neighborhoods and identify supporters. Knocking on doors can change election results up to 8% experts say.  Maybe these campaign supporters could even join us at the CRP convention and educate attendees on why Ron Paul is the best candidate using reason and intelligence.

Jerry Roberts of CalBuzz interviews Newt Gingrich on immigration, women and why the state with the most voters in it has almost no impact on the primaries: 

Do you think California’s going to matter in the end?

Yes. I think Texas and California coming late virtually guarantees that nobody’s going to have a majority before. Listen, I came to this convention to literally outline why I think California will be in play this fall. I’m going to talk about energy, I’m going to talk about Afghanistan and I’m going to talk about putting California in play.

Tireless Sacramento Bee reporter Torey van Oot has plenty of minutiae about insurance regulations and oil-drilling royalties, as well as a good play-by-play of the convention floor fight

Conservative activist Mike Spence created the Conservative Republicans of California in the aftermath of a divisive leadership fight at the California Republican Assembly, a 75-year-old group that bills itself as the "conscience of the Republican Party." The charter allows the new group, which includes several GOP legislators, to use the party's insurance policy, reserve space at the convention at a lower cost and assign one delegate to vote on party matters.

Spence's effort to place a vote to charter his new organization on Sunday's general session agenda stalled in a committee earlier in the weekend. CRP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro initially tried to block his move to bring up the issue on the floor as the end of the session neared. A voice vote on whether to take up Spence's motion was too close to call, leading Del Beccaro to ask opposing camps to congregate in different areas of the hotel banquet room so the votes could be counted without a roll call. Del Beccaro, who had argued that the procedural issue should be worked out in a committee, was out-voted by delegates and the charter was approved after continued debate on the merits of the group.

Flash himself is happy with the way that floor fight turned out

This go around, there was a major run at the platform by party moderates, seeking to water down the platform by reducing its length and making it far less specific in many policy areas, and eliminating some areas at all.  The well-funded effort (by Charles Munger, Jr., son of Warren Buffet’s business partner, and now the Chairman of the Santa Clara County GOP) to water-down/moderate the platform was defeated in a rather high-profile platform committee meeting at the CRP’s Fall ’11 convention in Los Angeles.  At this convention the critics of a conservative party platform did not choose to engage in what would have been a public drubbing, and the conservative draft platform was adopted without any meaningful opposition.

I want to thank the many conservative activists who played some role in this victory.'s David Carini notes that Tim Pawlenty was as encouraging to the anemic Golden State GOP as you'd expect a Jim Nabors lookalike from the Gopher state to be: 

“If I can be a conservative governor in Minnesota, we can do it anywhere,” he said, noting that Minnesota has elected liberal politicians such as Al Franken and Walter Mondale.

He told Californians that they live in the most entrepreneurial and innovative state in the country, and they must fight to keep it that way, arguing that only lower taxes and less government intervention will stimulate the economy.

San Francisco Chronicle culture blogger Beth Spotswood objects to the lack of food for reporters

Having had enough of that, we headed down to the ‘banquet’ which was held in the ballroom. As “press” we weren’t actually allowed to dine at the banquet. The press was escorted through a separate door and seated along the wall. We were expected to simply watch Republicans eat.

I was unexpectedly impressed by Pawlenty’s quiet but on-target comments to the California GOP; heartened by the brief signs of life Ron Paul supporters and the convention's Liberty Caucus brought to the convention; and pessimistic about the California Republicans’ ability to admit they have a problem.

This last part remains a topic of dismal consideration. I’m not a Republican or a conservative, but nothing good can come of the Democrats’ tight and tightening grip on nearly all areas of California politics. Most states need a third party. California needs a second. 

Here's Fleischman interviewed a while back by

Here are Ron Paul supporters halting conversations, committee meetings and luncheon comments — most of which were focused on the problem of lack of enthusiasm among Republican voters: 

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  • Mother Nature||

    Do you think California’s going to matter in the end?

    In the end, California’s going to dark matter.

  • ||


  • ||

    Unless it is a star it is dark matter...

    So technically California, the planet earth, and all the planets of the solar system are already dark matter.

  • California||

    Weird, man.

  • Juice||

    Unless it is a star it is dark matter...

    Not really. Any normal matter above absolute zero (and that's all normal matter) radiates electromagnetically. /pedantry

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Not pedantry. Just being not completely wrong.

  • us||

    I am bi, i want to seek a bilover. I am 23 years old,slender,sexy,and beautiful. I am a member of __D a t e b i.c/0/M. there are hundreds of thousands of open-minded singles & couples looking to explore their bisexuality. I am also a member here, I think u will be the most attractive one there, lol~ just check it out, nothing lose if you don't like. Best wishes.

  • whoa man||

    clearly it wasn't worth typing in two backslashes. unix FTW

  • Jerry Sandusky||

    I like em' real thick and juicy.

  • rectal||

    My black boyfriends fill me with dark matter

  • Geotpf||

    There are too many non-white people in California (and too many well-educated ones, and too many gays, and too many with passports, and...) for the Republican Party to be viable statewide. And all of these Democratic-leaning groups are increasing in percentage of California voters (as well as nationwide).

    For instance, Obama overperformed here. He won the state by a whopping 14.1%. He won both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. He only lost Orange County by 2.5%.

    Other than Arnie, there hasn't be a newly elected Republican elected statewide (in any position) in two decades or so.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The Collective can be segmented and viewed in any number of ways: the gender, the economic class, the race, the religion, the community, etc. It is the most useful and accurate measure available to political science. We all know this.

    But there are some scientists who posit another...entity. A unit of measure smaller than a statistical margin of error. Smaller than a city block. Smaller even than a household.

    These theorists are positing a new fundamental particle in the political ontology. If this new unit were to be confirmed, identified, understood, it could rock the very foundations of our political system, and the Holy Writ of Statistics upon which it is based.

    Subsequently, and in the interest of stability, it is imperative that we identify these scientists and have them promptly burned at the stake.

  • ||


  • ||

    Other than Arnie, there hasn't be a newly elected Republican elected statewide (in any position) in two decades or so.

    Bruce McPherson, Steve Poizner

  • Geotpf||

    I forgot about Poizner. Bruce McPherson doesn't count, since he was appointed to the office by Arnie and lost when he came up for election.

  • ||

    As long as California doesn't take anyone else with them, I couldn't give less of a shit what happens to it.

  • Geotpf||

    The demographic trends that have turned California from Red to Purple to Blue to really, really Blue are being mirrored nationwide. Basically, fewer white people in terms of percentage of the voting population overall.

    And the Republican Party is going out of their way to piss off every ethnic minority in the country. The only exception I can think of is Cuban-Americans, who only really matter in Florida.

  • ||

    Dude, your TEAM BLUE erection is throbbing, I see. Has it been that way for more than four hours?

  • ||

    The demographic trends that have turned California from Red to Purple to Blue to really, really Blue are being mirrored nationwide.

    The 2010 election disagrees with you....the 2004 and 2002 and 2000 elections also disagree with you.

  • ||

    Also this book disagree with you:

  • ||

    In fact i would say the abrupt swings of 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections also disagree with you.

  • ||

    If California were worth a shit anymore, they'd give Paul a win. Just to screw with America.

  • Paul||

    California has screwed with America enough.

  • Geotpf||

    The type of people who vote Democratic (young, poor, minorities) are fair-weather voters. They tend to not vote in midterm elections. In fact, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats win the Presidential elections and lose the midterms for a couple election cycles, until nationwide demographics become more pronounced in favor of the Democrats.

    As for 2004, John Kerry was simply an idiot. That, combined with the power of incumbency, allowed Bush to squeak by with a win.

    As for 2000, Gore got more actual votes than Bush, and Gore + Nader got a lot more votes than Bush.

    But, by 2020 or so, Democrats will have a firm grip on the national political landscape-unless the Republicans adjust their policies (to the left). Considering they are going the other way right now, that adjustment seems unlikely.

  • ||

    Yes, because the left has done such a stellar job. And their ideas are so compelling.

  • Paul||

    Yes, because the left has done such a stellar job. And their ideas are so compelling.

    There are still republicans in California. As long as one Republican sits breathing in that state, the true progressive agenda cannot be fulfilled.

  • ||

    I love when partisan TEAM morons like you keep telling yourself (and us, unfortunately) that your TEAM is going to dominate in a few years. It's fucking hilarious, never happens, and then you sweep your idiotic predictions under the rug as the TEAMS stay 50/50, because they wouldn't work any other way.

    TEAM RED did this during the early Bush years. Go look in the mirror, dipshit, and realize you're looking straight at them.

  • logic||

    But is it dumber than all the Reason articles prior to every primary about how Ron Paul is going to massively outperform expectations and then the articles following each of them about how his brilliant manipulation of the delegate selection process will cause him to get all the delegates from states in which he finished third or fourth?

    I'm all for Reason promoting Ron Paul, but frankly, Libertarians display at least as much delusion about his chances of success as Teams Red and Blue do about their own.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Cool, can you provide some links to reason writers predicting ron paul will do better than expectations?

  • Geotpf||

    It's simple math. The percentage of voters who are non-white is increasing. Unless non-whites start voting Republican, Democrats will have a more or less permanent majority at some point soon.

  • robc||

    The GOP isnt going left?

    What the fuck have you been watching? The GOP is the mostly leftist party already, with the Dems being already there.

    Did you not watch Bush spend and spend?

  • ||

    It did that mostly a while back.

  • Paul||

    California always takes everyone else with them.

    Washington (as you're probably finding out) is California, 15 years ago.

  • This||

    This is like the worst chat room ever.

  • Anthony Weiner||

    How ya doin'?

  • rather||

    Hopeless?  Ye of little faith; doubting Tim

  • wef||

    The republican party must be destroyed.

    Except in California, of course, where the party is already destroyed.

    As the annoying kid in the Simpsons says: ha, ha!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Paulites, uncouth bastards.

    California goes away right, Nevada ends up with some beachfront property.

  • ||

    Wasn't that Lex Luthor's thinking in the original** Superman Movie?

    **The first one with Christopher Reeve, I mean

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Miss Tess-MACHER!

  • ||

    Lex Luthor: Everything west of this line is the richest, most expensive real estate in the world: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Everything on THIS side of the line is just hundreds and hundreds of miles of worthless desert land, which just so happens to be owned by...[Whaps Otis with his pointer]

    Otis: Uhh...Lex Luthor Incorporated.

    Lex Luthor: Now, call me foolish, call me irresponsible, but it occurs to me that a 500 megaton bomb planted at just the proper point would, uh...

    Superman: Would destroy most of California. Millions of innocent people would be killed. The west coast as we know it would...

    Lex Luthor: Fall into the sea.

    Lex Luthor: [Gives a little wave with his hand] Bye-bye, California. Hello, new west coast. My west coast.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "We all have our little faults. Mine's in California."

  • Sevo||

    Are you Bush?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Naw, dude. I trimmed day before yesterday.

  • A Serious Man||

    But Lex, my mother lives in Hackensack.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    [Checks watch, shakes head]

  • ||

    Cool. I am not the only Superman nerd.

  • Juice||

    Gingrich photo caption:

    "Are you not entertained?"

  • Ska||

    Gingrich seems more Commodus than Maximus.

  • el Commentariosa||

    he's nowhere near merciful enough

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Just found out where my first trip as a consultant will be. Pretty sweet, right?

    Wrong. Detroit.

  • ||


    Wow, that's pretty brutal. Bad is something like Rochester. But Detroit...

  • Fluffy||

    At least in Detroit you can go see a hockey game.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The only good thing is that I know a cute girl from undergrad that lives in Ann Arbor.

  • Murphy||

    Just stay out of Metro West and you'll be fine.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Have to go to Novi.

  • ||

    Sloopy promised he'd begin work immediately on preparing the Republican-held areas of the state for secession. The new Commonwealth of California will be awesome.

  • Hugh Akston||

  • ||


  • Tonio||

    Is it just me or does Callista look like the alien babe in Mars Attacks?

  • ||

    The one played by Lisa Marie? Yeah, I guess she sort of does. Wait, does that mean that Newt is an alien?!?

    Now I want to rewatch this.

  • Skip||

    Does Newt think that giving every speech next to his current wife is going to magically make people think he isn't gross and philandering anymore?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Every moment he is clothed and onstage is one moment he's not pegging some intern.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Depends how big the podium is.

  • ||

    wait, if pegging is involved, wouldn't Newt be on the receiving end?

  • Monica Lewinsky.||

    NO WAY. Even I have some standards. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

  • Schempf||

    CA has always been an incubator. It was so when the state was a true example of western individualism and it's true today when it's the prime example of the grab bag of "give me my stuff."

    Watching the next decade will teach us all much.....

  • voxpo||

    I submit that if Newt Gingrich the candidate were a "car," he'd be a Winnebago. Lots of baggage and you never know what's going to come out of him. Also: 10 other analogies.

  • Robert||

    In my experience, shortening a document such as a platform nearly always makes it more to the point rather than watering it down.

  • underwear model||

    I was gonna go vote, but then I got high

  • Random Observation||

    One thing I've noticed from photos of Newt and McCain's wives is that homewrecking sluts don't seem to age well.


    a 75-year-old group that bills itself as the "conscience of the Republican Party."

    That's sort of how I envisioned it. The conscience of the GOP is an abandoned old man, sitting staring out the window all day, neglected and forgotten, the kids haven't called in years, he has all this sage advice and wisdom no one will ever listen to, so he spends his days watching daytime TV and occasionally heckling that 65yr old woman down the street who used to be a hippy back in the 'ol Goldwater days, when being a 'conservative' meant something

    The modern GOP has no use for or interest in a conscience


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