Struggling to resuscitate the beleaguered GOP’s fortunes and finances in a solidly blue state, California Republicans received blunt advice this weekend from Republican strategist Karl Rove: “Get off your ass…”
…Rove said Republicans have grown too “comfortable talking to each other,” and they have failed to grow the party beyond its core of older white voters. Nearly 70 percent of the nation’s two fastest-growing demographics – Latinos and Asian Americans – supported Democrats in 2012.
What Rove wants – and the Tea Party bubbas reject – is coming up with more and better lies. Not only the usual agitprop of fairy dust economics; but, plain and simple denial of racism and bigotry should be sufficient – he thinks – to fool American voters.
There is soul-searching going on in every corner of the convention, which drew more than 1,000 party activists. The party confronts historically low voter registration in California – just 29 percent of state voters are registered Republicans, compared with nearly 44 percent who are Democrats. An additional 1 in 5 California voters now registers with no party preference – a growing number that threatens to turn the GOP into a minor party. Republicans hold no major statewide offices in California and are the minority party in both chambers of the state Legislature. From this position of weakness, the state GOP is also saddled with a debt that incoming chair Jim Brulte said could be as high as $800,000…
Jerrie Libby, a party delegate from Sutter County and a Tea Party organizer, watched Rove’s address wearing a red Tea Party T-shirt, which she called “a silent protest” against Rove’s efforts to back establishment candidates over grassroots favorites…
“I want to tell him, ‘Karl, we are all conservatives. Stop bashing us,’ ” said Libby, a retired teacher and almond farmer. “We are eating our own in this party…”
…Joining the Tea Partiers in questioning Rove were gleeful California Democrats, who noted the strategist – nicknamed “Bush’s Brain” – shares responsibility for the party’s poor election record in California.
“Karl Rove symbolizes the archaic GOP of the 1950s – and that’s not going to work in California,” said Bob Mulholland, an adviser to the California Democratic Party who said that policies supported by Rove and Bush are key reasons the party has failed to appeal to minorities, women, youth and independents…
But even as party officials urged outreach to minority voters, the party was roiled last week by stories that the president of the San Bernardino County Federation of Republican Women posted a racist slur on Facebook attacking Harmeet Dhillon, a devout Sikh from San Francisco who is trying to become the party’s first female vice chair.
The post from Vera Eyzendooren suggested attorney Dhillon, an immigrant from India, was loyal to Muslim terrorists and “is not a real Republican.”
The Tea Party types – bless their pointy little heads – would rather continue to press on into oblivion on a platform advocating racist politics, reactionary laws, suppression of working class rights and dignity, rolling back the civil rights of the whole nation to the sole benefit of wealthy, powerful white males.
Poisonally, I’m willing to let the nutballs prevail in the Republican Party – and the rest of us keep pushing Democrats forward in the fight for civil rights, peace and jobs.