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In the Wake of the Kennedy
Turning Volunteers' Laments to Opportunity...

[Thomas G. Del Beccaro] 12/28/05

In 2005, Arnold identified the problems facing our State and courageously confronted those problems. Many of us worked tirelessly for those reforms because reform is sorely needed in this State. For the various reasons I explained in my column, “Why the CA Reform Bid Stumbled” the election was not successful.

The lack of success, however, did not mean that his ideas were wrong or to be shelved. Indeed, Reform is often a function of patient resolve not instant reception. For the volunteer, the truth still can be seen amidst the lingering smoke of doubt that blankets many a defeat. In the wake of the recent election, flush with loyalty to a purpose, many volunteers were bowed but not broken.

Thomas G. Del Beccaro

Thomas G. Del Beccaro is publisher of the website Political Vanguard. [go to Del Beccaro index]

It was during that sensitive period that the sincere look for Leadership and reassurance from their Leaders – a moment in time when they wonder which side of this adage upon which their efforts will fall: “There is no defeat except for those who give up."

In those hours, Arnold signaled a shift in tactics and/or policies – not in respect to the many who volunteered but, instead, seemingly in deference to those that opposed him – not for those who walked precincts but instead to those who long ago walked away.

That shift was recently highlighted by the hiring of a partisan Democrat to be his chief of staff. It can come as no surprise that I cannot abide by the nomination of Ms. Kennedy, a liberal Democrat who espouses political and social views that are an anathema to many Republicans.

In my role as President of all of the County Chairs of the California Republican Party, I can tell you definitively that the Kennedy pick has disheartened many County Chairs and not idly so. Their disappointment is real, ranging from professed near refusals to volunteer to outright withdrawals of support. Their disappointment, however, does not end with them – to the contrary, in many hours of phone calls in the last week, it is evident that it is a disappointment shared not only by their volunteers, but volunteers of Women’s Federated, the California Republican Assembly, and many other and sundry groups too numerous to recount.

Some of the disheartened are social conservatives. Many, however, indeed most, regard themselves neither moderate nor conservative on this issue. They are rank and file Republicans to whom her selection was not the needed reassurance - let alone reward.

Those moderates and conservatives, volunteers all, with more than a little justification, rhetorically wonder aloud: Why should the former executive director of the Democrat Party have her hands on the wheel of a Republican Administration? They wonder whether the Recall was real or whether they slept too long to find Davis’ cronies back in power.

Worse yet, those same volunteers sincerely question the direction of Arnold’s policies. Less than a month ago we were to live within our means yet now we are to believe we are free to spend beyond them in the form of transportation bonds. Such uncertainty, on the heals of the disappointment with Congressional spending, amidst voter fatigue, donor fatigue and volunteer fatigue, has compounded their frustration to levels not seen since Watergate.

That much we know. That much confronts us.

What we also must know is that we cannot think long of “today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow.”

That success begins when we recognize that political parties succeed by picking issues that unite their members, attract independents and divide the opposition. Thus, the beauty of the vote on the withdrawal from Iraq. Prior to that vote, Democrats controlled the debate and scored at will. With a single vote, their divisions arose, our unity was renewed and with it the President’s approval ratings began to rebound.

There simply is no reason that that cannot be accomplished in California. On issues from immigration, to Voter ID, taxes and more, we as a Party can unite, independents can be attracted, and Democrats can be divided.

It is not a question of a way, but of will. There is no time like the present to renew our calling. CRO

copyright 2005 Thomas G. Del Beccaro




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