Meet me in the Middle
Posted by Brenda McCune on April 22, 2014
This is a quote from one of my favorite politicians, Bill Clinton. Not because I stand with him ideologically, but because he was effective in creating consensus and getting things done. Bill Clinton’s biggest fan is Bill Clinton, and he certainly would never let any ideology stand in his way of making a deal. Not saying we should adopt that approach, but certainly something we could learn from.
The OCGOP held its monthly meeting last night, and the agenda included a variety of important endorsements for state and local offices. Clearly the big events of the evening were consideration of the application from Tim Donnelly to obtain the county party endorsement in his race for California Governor, and Carlos Vasquez, seeking an endorsement from the party in his effort to unseat Loretta Sanchez.
Neither candidate was successful.
Mr. Vasquez is sorely underfunded for a race against a behemoth of a politician like Loretta Sanchez. While everyone appreciated his sincerity and courage, he seemed unprepared to deal with this crowd. Both Mr. Vasquez and his opponent who was in attendance were give an opportunity to respond to questions. (Jim Collum is a candidate endorsed by the American Independent party and did not seek the endorsement of the OCGOP, he complained that some glitch in getting his paperwork in on time prevented him from seeking this endorsement) When asked why we should give them our endorsement, the candidates both dodged the question and gave their stump speech about why they are running. Two more committee members asked similar questions, and it was only after Chairman Baugh pointed out their non-responsiveness, and Kermit Marsh asked them directly about endorsements and funds, did they finally get to the point of how viable they are that they should have the important endorsement of this particular body. It was practically comical at times, with the lack of direct and concise responses and the effort to sidestep and obfuscate the issues that were clearly important to this body. Can you really take this on? Are you a serious candidate or is this just a haphazard game?
Loretta Sanchez is a serious contender. Agreeably, a serious problem that the GOP would love to eliminate. Are you the guy to get this job done? That was the topic of discussion. Did they really think we were interested in their high gloss, soft shoe, sales pitch?
Andrew Blount is the mayor of Laguna Hills. He is a nice man, with seemingly good intentions. He has even less money than Tim Donnelly and does not have the cheerleading section, the “boots on the ground” that Donnelly has. I am not sure why he is running. He has $7,000.00 in his campaign that he has self funded. He is a nice man and should save himself the grief of this race and just stay home.
Tim Donnelly came flanked by what appeared to be about 50 enthusiastic supporters. The same rhetorical question should be posed to those people. Did you really think, the elected OCGOP Central Committee members in this room were interested in your signs, or T-shirts, or your Whooping and hollering? Next time the Tea Party desires to bring a candidate for the support of this group, please feel free to exercise some, or any, restraint and someone please take a lesson on decorum. This is a room of politicos of varying experience, but certainly all committed to pursuing what is best for the party, our county and the state and federal governments overall. The cheering and the interruptions were not only not persuasive, they were uncalled for and lended strength to the arguments against their candidate, in that this may not be the right time or the right candidate.
One thing that would have made Donnelly’s presentation more effective, is for all of those supporters present, to make some immediate financial contributions. They could have gotten on phones earlier in the day and worked on raising him some immediate money, rather than spending all the time they must have spent coordinating their T-shirts and signs. Donnelly would have been more persuasive if he had come by himself, professional and dignified, just like every one of the many candidates we did endorse that evening. With nearly 50 people there, it is impossible not to wonder why or if, they have done or given anything at all to give this campaign some financial credibility, and prepare or strategize for this meeting, rather than just have an obvious plan to be disruptive. Donnelly told us he had $11,000.00 in the bank. If every enthusiastic supporter there put in $50.00 RIGHT THEN, he could certainly have boasted that he raised $2,500.00 THIS EVENING. That would have been impressive and might have helped to convert some believers to their arguments about all the faith they have in their grassroots and ground swell.
I get it, Meg Whitman, blah, blah, blah, money doesn’t win races, blah, blah.
A campaign is not a religious exercise requiring a vow of poverty either. Money is necessary. Money is required. Donnelly also acknowledged that more than $100k is still needed. I do not recall if that is debt from past expenditures or is needed for future printing projects, but clearly the campaign is not even realizing it’s own goals. If there were more effort in this energetic group, put behind fund raising, coupled with their enthusiasm, certainly committee members like me, who came with a truly open mind, could be persuaded to get on the band wagon. There is an enormous problem with credibility when there is such a disparity between reality and necessity.
Chairman Baugh confirmed that Jerry Brown has a war chest of $20million. Twenty-million dollars.
The probation thing also doesn’t help, and Donnelly never even mentioned it. It is out there, it will have to be addressed. Ignoring the elephant in the room will not make it go away.
Although Mr. Donnelly, was polished and articulate, he was condescending and played to his crowd. He was there to seek the endorsement of the committee, and frankly, it appeared he planned on not getting it. Donnelly and his followers left the room as soon as the votes pertaining to him were complete. They were indignant and noisy, and continued to make noise and commotion as they exited a meeting that was still in progress. The meeting was in progress in fact, to honor the hard work of our great volunteers. Well played Donnelly camp. Disrespect is not usually the way to win anyone’s support. Volunteers are the heart of what we do, and in general the volunteers who are honored at this meeting are not people who just discovered the conservative movement last week, but generally have long histories of service. Shame on you for such glaring disrespect of these people and the process.
The chronic defensiveness of the Tea Party continues to hurt their message. Their premise is that they are right about all of their platforms and disenfranchised from the “establishment” without any access or appreciation for their enormous “grassroots” efforts. They came to the “establishment” and acted like jerks. That is not inviting or attractive in anyway. Rodney Dangerfield got no respect because he went around saying it all the time. You get what you give usually.
I WANT to support Tim Donnelly. I WANT to believe that there is a tremendous ground swell effort in play, that grassroots are taking hold, that voters are fed up and they want change, BUT, if the captains of the grassroots ship, keep coming to the party with a chip on their shoulder about how disenfranchised they are, this movement will sink itself AND the party. I hope that doesn’t happen, but based upon the display last night, I can’t help but feel we are all doomed, to eventually live in a completely and hopelessly blue state, in a completely and hopelessly blue nation. We all remember where that one party experiment was last tried and failed.
Meet me in the middle, was about compromise, it was about reaching out, and if Bill Clinton was anything, it was persuasive. We need people from the base and the Tea Party to develop attitudes of meeting in the middle. The ideaologues and dogma are a problem, the obvious one, but what was evidenced last night is both greater and easier to fix. It was about respect. Donnelly fans showed up, moderately hostile, anticipating to be disrespected and not to gain the endorsement they alleged to seek. They left, fulfilling their negative self prophecy, not more enlightened in how their own behavior contributed to this. I came with an open mind. I want to believe that there is a David who can kill Jerry Brown’s Goliath. In the course of the meeting, though, they lost me. Misguided efforts and the prevailing attitude were too prevalent to overlook.
Republican party voter registration is now down to 28%. The increase in No Party Preference voters continues, with no end in sight. We are almost tied, the GOP and NPP for voter registration. Sad. Our platform is that limited government would provide increased economic freedom to all, and as such, increased liberty to all. Is that really so hard? Is there any concept or ideal that is more important than that? That is our middle. It is our foundation. It is right. It works. If we can not figure out how to meet THERE, we continue to jeopardize our future. I sincerely hope that both Tim Donnelly and Carlos Vasquez continue to work hard, step up and clean up their game, so that we see viable candidates to carry our message in November after the June primary.
If the Donnelly supporters are serious about truly helping him get this endorsement prior to November, it would behoove them to put a proverbial shoulder to the plow in good faith. There are always openings for Volunteers in the GOTV efforts at OCGOP. Join us.