LOS ANGELES, October 7, 2013 — The California Republican Party (CRP) is climbing back from the abyss, and the birth of the Tea Party California Caucus has the Tea Party as influential as it has ever been.
The 2013 California GOP Fall Convention was held this past weekend at the Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, within walking distance of all things Disney. Yet the party that had been demoted to Mickey Mouse status in California is now successfully regrouping. Approximately 1,000 activists showed up for various political activities reflecting the party’s desire to grow to what it was during its heyday.
Chairman Jim Brulte and Vice Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon announced that the CAGOP’s debt has been completely erased. Santa Clara GOP Chair Charles Munger played a major role in helping get the GOP back in the black.
Workshops on broadening the party featured tons of activists from the Latino and black communities. The Log Cabin Republicans were present, as were traditional values groups. Women were very well represented as the California Federation of Republican Women showed up in advance of their own state convention later in the month. Former CFRW President Kathy Brugger was celebrated as the new chair of the National Federation of Republican Women.
One group that does not seem to be part of the outreach includes the Jewish community. Several Republican Jews expressed frustration not with the CAGOP, but with their own community for not doing more. Showing up would be a good start.
Notable speakers included supply-side economist Arthur Laffer. The keynote speaker at the Saturday night dinner was Texas Governor Rick Perry. Governor Perry is the second greatest creator of Texas jobs in history, behind California Governor Jerry Brown. Perry’s message was simple, and very well-received: Texas conservatism creates jobs; California liberalism destroys them.
Yet the true stars at this convention were the Tea Party California Caucus. Their meeting was standing room only and packed to capacity. The TPCC was founded by Tea Party leaders Randall Jordan and Lydia and Norm Thompson. San Diego Eagle Forum President Woody Woodrum and Central Valley Tea Party leader Steve Brandau also played major roles. Other leaders told stories about fighting back from everything from IRS abuses to other forms of government harassment. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler, Norcal Tea Party leader Ginny Rapini, and South-Central Tea Party leader Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson had the crowd cheering.
The TPCC message was simple: Fighting back worked in 2010, and everybody on the right needs to be united in 2014 to prevent the government from trying to suppress their freedom of speech and citizen activism.
In addition to their meeting, the TPCC hosted a hospitality suite where gubernatorial candidates Tim Donnelly and Barry Goldwater Jr. met with enthusiastic supporters. Evan Sayet provided conservative comedy.
The Republican Liberty Caucus hosted a successful casino night hospitality suite. The Young Republicans and College Republicans danced the night away as a hard rock band played ACDC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and Journey. “Wheel in the Sky” closed out the party.
The main take-away from the convention is that the Tea Party is not interested in being told that moderating and compromising on core principles is the best path to electoral success. That strategy failed in California and nationally. Former President Ronald Reagan was a conservative, and the TPCC wants true fiscal conservatives, not Republicans who raise taxes and chase away job creators.
The California GOP is a conservative party, and the TPCC, Governor Perry, and the CFRW provided necessary reminders. Because of them and a determined leadership, this CRP convention was a success.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
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