GOP collapse in East Bay

The election of 2008 was the slaughter of the highest order. A large part of the Republican base in Contra Costa and America voted for Obama because they were tired of the disastrous Bush administration and the stupidity of elected republicans and their party leaders. In Contra Costa County the slaughter continued down ballot as well.  In congressional District 11 the hapless Dean Andal campaign which had the smell of Washington Republicans and leftovers from old Bill Baker campaigns was crushed by Jerry McNerney by thirteen points. And Mayor Abram Wilson of San Ramon gave a valiant effort but lost narrowly to Joan Buchanan.

Now we must survey the ruins that are the Republican Party. The wilderness years are now upon us. For years now I have written that we have been heading off of a cliff. Yet nobody seemed to be listening. Our local and statewide Republican leaders just wax on about Reagan or the crucible of the discussion.   I have been receiving email tombs lately from Tom Del Baccaro vice chair of the California state Republican Party about liberty and Thomas Jefferson. To me this just shows how Republicans are not living in the 21st century. It sounds like they want to look back to the 18th. If you have ever attended a local Republican event you are struck by the fact that the Contra Costa GOP is not interested in winning so much as they are in keeping the Contra Costa GOP a safe place for conservatives to play out their ideological fantasies.  Yes they did make tens of thousands of phone calls for Republican candidates this year and that was all well and good but the bottom line is Republican registration is in decline and we continue to lose partisan elections. The final blow came on November 4th when the so called “conservative district” fell to the Democrats. State Assembly District 15 lies in ashes as Joan Buchanan has vanquished the legacy of Baker-Leach conservatism. Even if proposition 11 brings relief and hope of a more competitive district it will be four long years before that happens.

The Republican Party needs to spend these wilderness years reevaluating its message and its leaders. Maybe we can start locally with the Contra Costa Republican party whose stock is currently on par with General Motors. Why don’t we elect a new leader in 2009. The current leader Greg Poulos is not going to get it done. He did not even get elected the last time the central committee had an election. We need a leader who will raise money and bring new people into the mix.

On a state level we should focus on a creating new message. The quaint emails coming from state party leaders about the founding fathers and liberty help them maintain their conservative support but do not connect with the growing parts of the electorate the GOP needs to attract, young people and Hispanics. What the Republican Party needs a makeover and an appealing message. We need to throw out the old leadership and start talking about opportunity. Unlike 1992 we are facing a much stronger and unified Democratic Party. The wilderness years will be long and hard but from the darkest hour where we sit today there is always the opportunity to change and reform and become an appealing party again to the American people.

Comments

  1. Renegade GOP says

    Oh Not from DB you are funny. No the cat does not have my tongue. I am just busy with other things. At this point I don’t have any answers or specific recommendations beyond the generic. It is early and the political landscape has been altered significantly. The Republican problems are systemic and will take a long while to work out. As I have said before we are in the wilderness and survival is the most important thing. I think BGR is on the right track. We need to develop a strong bench. I believe a change of leadership on a state and local level could improve things and a message emphasizing opportunity is essential. Beyond that we are in such bad shape that we will have to lick our wounds and wait until the change in government takes place.

    Not from DB if you have specifics please lay them out I would love to read them.

  2. Janine says

    I’ve got no problem with Ronald Reagan. He was a great Governor and a great President. However, when he was in power, the Republican Party had smarter, shrewder leaders. This party is lost. It is lost because they have no voice in the state or national debate anymore because we have no elected officials who can stand up for us. How they lost the Congressional seat in District 11 last year was due to Pombo’s not understanding his district and how it changes. Now, Wilson has lost so we are not part of the legislature. I think Wilson understood the people better (I live in San Ramon and voted for him), but when I saw the article in the SR Valley Times about how Republicans had lost six points in registration to the Democrats in only 2 years, I wondered what the heck was going on. The Republican party does not inspire anyone in the East Bay anymore. They are failures at the simplest of tasks.

  3. Dissolutioned Mousekekeer says

    BGR – you have some great ideas. The current power in the Contra Costa County GOP (Tom Del Beccaro) seems more interested in getting himself on the radio and tv instead of working on local issues that could build the local party and show what Republicans really do stand for. Would any of the city council members even know who he is? Could he find the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting room without a GPS unit? Has he ever signed a ballot argument against a costly local tax messure or rallied Republicans to help fight either for or against something local?

    You could add to your list of things the Contra Costa Republican party should be doing is to help Republicans gain the skills needed to run for local office or get appointed to a local committee or commission. Those positions could ready them to run for higher elected office.

    The Contra Costa Republican Party does need new leadership and a new game plan. It is sad that with the loss of Abram Wilson, the Bay Area does not have a single Republican in the state legislature. What does that say about the party? Beginning to focus on local issues is a good way to start rebuilding the local party. Let’s hope people listen to your practical suggestions instead of just complaining like Renegade Repubican.

  4. says

    My specific recommendation is this:

    The Republican Party of California generally, and the Contra Costa GOP specifically, should turn the triangle upside down and focus on LOCAL-LOCAL issues instead of state and national agendas that usually feather some nest rather than our own.

    Too many Republicans, especially conservatives, love to grumble and moan on their e-mail chains and grump clubs about issues. But it will take more than talk-talk-talk.

    The GOP should focus on rebuilding local Republican efforts and be a resource to party members and general public to help them learn how to articulate winning conservative principles concerning issues in their own back yard:

    – OPEB
    – County and Municipal government
    – Housing and Seciton 8
    – Development
    – Local measures

    Certainly there are some shining examples including Ken Hambrick’s wonderful and consistent analysis, as well as folks like Arne Simonsen who, if anything, walks the talk; Judy Lloyd and Abram Wilson also come to mind for their willingness to help push the rock up the hill. But these examples are by far the exception.

    The only way Republicans become a viable party again is to educate and grow the grass roots, and help local constituencies win battles first at the local level.

    Then, after possibly several cycles, those growing communities can start to articulate winning campaigns and attract a new generation of voters. A good side effect may be that eventually representatives rise out of that effort will have a much broader base of support based on making sense in helping to build and govern their own turf before wandering out the door to Sacramento or even D.C.

    workshops
    real strategy sessions
    real speakers instead of the drivel
    education
    local position papers and letters to editor
    sponsor and promote local panels
    reach out to young voters and hispanics and other minorities in our area
    picnics instead of dress up balls
    regular newsletter online at first then print
    teach teach teach conservative principles for local issues
    advocate advocate advocate conservative principles for local issues

    Change is tough. But it’s what we will add that will count. Not what some might want to take away. bgr

  5. Not from DB says

    Renegade: You still are not being specific. What do you mean by the old time religion? Do you mean getting the litmus test of abortion out of the way so that people will talk about the GOP’s economic ideas for a change? How would you have these new leaders focus their message. Details this time.

  6. Renegade GOP says

    We need to spend the wilderness years cleaning house. We need new leaders that are compelling and can galvinize the electorate. The current crowd has led us off a cliff. Nobody is buying the old time religon.

  7. Not from DB says

    Renegade – you are pulling an Obama on Republicans. You tell them to change, but you don’t get specific other than getting rid of Greg Poulos, the current county leader. So what should the Republicans do?