California’s Republican Party faithful wrapped up its twice-yearly convention today, another milestone in the party’s ongoing effort to organize, motivate and promote themselves as a political force.
To that end, the delegates took some predictable votes at their meeting in Indian Wells near Palm Springs.
Its members officially supported a controversial proposed initiative that would alter California’s winner-take-all Electoral College allocation system to one that awards votes by congressional district. If it had been in place in 2004, George Bush would have received 22 of California’s Electoral College votes, a number roughly equivalent to the state of Ohio.
The initiative is getting nationwide attention, particularly from the Democratic Party which views the effort as a serious threat to winning the presidency in 2008. If the proponent, a GOP lawyer, successfully gathers the necessary signatures to put it on the June 2008 ballots, expect massive amounts of cash to go into both sides.
The party also opposed the term limit initiative headed for the February ballot. It would reduce the amount of time a legislator could serve from 14 years to 12, but would permit a lawmaker to spend that time in either the Senate or the Assembly. The current law limits legislators to six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Assembly.
Republicans dislike it because it would allow incumbents to stay in office past the time they would have termed out, including Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, Oakland.
Once the voting concluded, many of the delegates began filing out of the convention hall at the very swanky Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa but several hundred waited to hear the final speech of the convention from conservative favorite, state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks.
McClintock took an obvious swipe at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who had warned the delegation on Friday night that to survive, it must move to the political center on issues such as global warming or universal health insurance.
It’s common for political parties to debate what constitutes their core values although one wonders how much time the average voter spends contemplating the precise point on the political spectrum a party ought to drive its flag.
But it was the first time that Schwarzenegger has so publicly stated his concerns about the direction of the Republican Party and his gravitas as a popular governor has certainly sparked considerable debate.
With Schwarzenegger’s entry into this debate, expect it to escalate as the party heads into its next convention scheduled for February and a platform vote in, of all places, the liberal bastion of downtown San Francisco. (Can you say, “Non-stop Protests?”)
Hey, I don’t mind going to San Francisco but couldn’t the party have done this the other way around? Palm Springs is lovely in February, or so I’ve been told … but that probably explains the relatively low hotel room rates in September when it was 106 degrees!