LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2013 — The skeletons in California’s political closet are beginning to rattle. Republicans are considered such a big bad wolf that not only must they not have any power in California, their influence must be completely obliterated. Control of the State Assembly is not enough for the Democratic Party. A supermajority in the legislature is not enough. Now the Democrats are mobilizing their propaganda machine to completely and totally destroy anything left (excuse the pun) of Republican credibility.
In an article written for the Los Angeles Times, columnist George Skelton - a leftist who recently said that a Democratic supermajority in California was preferable to majority Democrats having to argue with Republicans about anything - claimed that it would be nearly impossible for the GOP to make any sort of comeback in the Golden State. Rather than making the issue about politics, however, Skelton made the issue about race. Indeed, the article begins by quoting a Democrat strategist named David Townsend, saying “Too white, too right and too uptight. That’s why the Republican Party can’t come back in California.”
Now that’s the way you engage in sharp political discourse, isn’t it? Make the issue about race first and foremost - not just about race, but about your opponent’s race. Talk about race before you bring up political ideology, then segue into “uptight,” whatever that means, to make it about personality as well.
This is the sort of race-based politics that the Democrats have been playing for decades, now, and it has been hugely successful; the GOP was trounced by minorities in the last presidential election, who assume that the Party is racist when it runs white candidates, and engaged in tokenism when it doesn’t. The GOP is perfectly bracketed by race, racist by definition. Skelton’s article was written specifically to combat the GOP’s recent attempts to reach out to minority groups, and it is so blatantly dishonest that you wonder where the paper got the gall to run it.
At the recently passed California GOP convention, former White House chief strategist Karl Rove told the delegates present that – as Black conservatives such as myself have said for years now – the Republican Party in the state needs to reflect the state, and “If we do, we’ll succeed.” Other Republicans have made similar statements, saying that the GOP needs to embrace more of its libertarian members and ideals, that the Party should take a more moderate stance on social issues, and that the Party must reach out to minority voters.
Skelton attempts to erase the significance of any of that, attempting to paint the party as extremely out of touch with California’s constituents by falsely skewing statistics.
Skelton claims that “The Republican Party in this state is 82% white, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. That compares with 56% white for both Democrats and independents.” If we accept the PPI numbers as correct, that means that of 5.2 million Republicans registered in California, over a million are minorities. The percentage doesn’t reflect the overall composition of California voters, but it doesn’t illustrate a party that doesn’t want minorities in its ranks. If one fifth of your friends are members of minority groups, it’s a gross misrepresentation to claim that you dislike or are incapable of understanding minorities. Three out of five Democrats are white. What exactly does that prove?
Skelton writes, “For example, the Field Poll found last week that only 41% of whites favor granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But enough Latinos, blacks and Asian Americans favor it so that, overall, 52% of California voters support the idea.”
Skelton has done something clever. He showed the number among Whites, but then he aggregated all minorities into a single group – minority peas lined up in their pod. That’s propaganda reporting. Black people have been firmly opposed to almost all things relating to illegal immigrants, including driver’s licenses, welfare receipt, and voting rights. Skelton knows this; it has fueled the contention between Blacks and Latinos in both the Assembly and amongst the laity. Yet he assumed that all minorities in California are united with the same interests, and those interests are in opposition to white (read “GOP”) interests.
That’s propaganda. In fact, the PPI says on its site, “both non-Hispanic white and black Californians are slightly more likely to say that immigrants are a burden on the state (48%) rather than a benefit (44%).”
Skelton adds, “Among Republicans, according to the policy institute, 72% call themselves conservative. But only 17% of Democrats and 32% of independents do. This pushes the GOP far to the right of the rest of California in its opposition to gun control, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana and taking action against global warming, the Field Poll reports.”
Apparently, Skelton uses different things to make different points as part of a verbal slight-of-hand. First he quotes the PPI when it says what he wants it to, then moves away when it doesn’t. Let’s look at PPI on this topic: “Although California votes solidly Democratic, Californians (including non-voters) hold important elements of conservative belief in most parts of the state. On an ideological scale ranging from strong conservative to strong liberal, public opinion data show the average Californian falling in the middle and leaning slightly conservative.” Most Californians, in direct contradiction to what Skelton wrote in his article, are not strongly opposed to the positions that the GOP argues with regard to guns, gays, or ganja. Skelton’s propaganda is untrue.
Skelton quotes other Reupblicans saying things that we in the GOP have been saying for years. He reports that Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar claims, “We’ve got to figure out our highest priorities — such as the economy and jobs, public safety, efficient government, quality education — and focus on those.” At the same time Huff tells me, “Talking about other things turns people off. If people have other issues they want to talk about, they can go off and do it. But that can’t be the party.”
Notice the things that he quotes Huff as saying are important? The economy, jobs, public safety, efficient (i.e., smaller) government, education—these are all mainstays of the GOP, along with lower taxes and more personal responsibility. No one in the California GOP —every bit as moderate as the GOP in states such as Massachusetts or Illinois — is screaming about abortion or same-sex marriage. Before the hullabaloo over Proposition 8 — the California bill that limits marriage to one man and one woman — California had some of the strongest Civil Union laws in the nation. And those minorities that hate the GOP so much? 75 percent of Blacks voted “yes” on Prop 8.
Skelton is using that biggest of leftist rules: Tell a big enough lie enough times, and people will begin to believe it.
Any player knows that if you get caught in a lie, back up and tell half of the truth. Skelton is right in that the GOP needs to do a better job on its outreach to minorities and to women. He is right in that the GOP needs to take a more libertarian approach as opposed to a hard conservative one. He is wrong in thinking that the state is going to go completely Democratic. Indeed, he makes notes of these things in the article, and tries to spin them Democratic. For example, “Republican numbers have fallen to 29percent of registered voters. Independents have grown to 21 percent. Democrats are at 44 percent. At the current rate, independents will surpass Republicans before the end of the decade. And independents tend to vote and think a lot more like Democrats than Republicans.” Independents tend to think more like libertarians than like Democrats, and Democratic numbers are falling, too.
Skelton points out that the “GOP isn’t faring much better with voters under 30. The roundtable reports that 41% are registered Democrat, 37% independent and just 22% Republican.” He again ignores the elephant in the room: Independents — sick of the drama and drivel of both parties — are growing faster in the state than either party. And with the state being more center-right than he would like to admit — according to the PPI that he introduced into the data — that doesn’t bode as well for the Democrats as he’d like to think.
Skelton concludes his article by saying that politics is cyclical. But as far as the GOP is concerned, he says, it won’t matter unless “the GOP can become less white, less right, less uptight and younger.” This is the kind of racial, inflammatory, ridiculous rhetoric that the voters need to reject. Accept or reject the GOP based upon their policies, their ideals—and yes, their ability to get out the message to minorities and young people. But saying the group needs to get “less white?” So tacky. So propaganda-ish. And so typical of the Democratic Party. California deserves better.
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