Connie Conway Treads Where Fools and Angels Dare Not Go

Not to be out done by President Obama’s claim that “you didn’t build that”, elected Republicans in California have made their own entry into the 2012 lexicon of stupid political statements.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway sent out a letter last week to people that had donated to the campaign of Andy Pugno. As a contributor to the Pugno campaign, I was a recipient of the letter. I almost didn’t open it but I did. Wow!

July 30, 2012
Dear William,

As a donor to one of the candidates running in California’s 6th Assembly district, I wanted to make sure you were updated with all the latest information from that campaign.

You may know that conservative Republican Assemblywoman Beth Gaines is running for reelection in the 6th district and she was challenged in the Primary by a Democrat and by another Republican, Andy Pugno.

The Republican Party officially endorsed incumbent Beth Gaines, as did our Republican Caucus. Beth is a valuable and effective member of our team, fighting for lower taxes, spending reductions and
upholding policies that promote strong families. For instance, Beth cast two key votes against SB 48, (the bill requiring the teaching of gay history in our public schools).
During the course of the Primary, Pugno made a written pledge to voters that he would not continue his campaign unless he was the top Republican vote-getter. As it turns out, he barely made it
into second place, far behind incumbent Assemblywoman Gaines.

Now, unfortunately, local newspapers report that Pugno is considering breaking his pledge and launching an expensive and counter-productive campaign against a fellow conservative. I and other
Republican Party leaders have asked him to keep his pledge, but so far he will not commit, and he continues to raise money for a campaign. He may have even asked you for money again.

As the Assembly Republican leader, I hope you will join me in urging Andy Pugno to keep his pledge and suspend his campaign, so we can all come together and concentrate on restoring
conservative leadership to the state.

Thanks for your support.


Connie Conway
Assembly Republican Leader

Several thoughts ran through my head.
• First, days before this letter was received, the media had widely reported that the California Republican Party was over $800,000 in debt. How could they be in debt? Conway and her crew never campaigned against a single Democrat during the June election. She only spent money protecting incumbent Republicans from more conservative Republican challengers.
• Second, much of that expense was borne by billionaire Charles Munger. What part of Conway’s soul that she had left to sell will never be publically known? It is safe to speculate that the price paid included a provision that CRP will not oppose Molly Munger’s tax hike proposal on the November ballot.
• Third, the whole premise that Beth Gaines was properly endorsed by the CRP is a sham. Gaines did not meet the requirements to receive the CRP endorsement and any claim to the contrary is a bald-faced lie. On this abuse of power alone, the state chair should be forced to resign.
• Fourth, Gaines rejected to offer that whoever came in second should endorse the top Republican and not campaign.
• Fifth, this was the stupidest thing that I have ever seen in politics. Trying to get Pugno’s donors to pressure him into doing anything is illustrative of Conway’s lack of principle and ignorance of people that are governed by principle. Andy Pugno is not another business as usual person. He is a man of great principle and cannot be bought. Politics is not his life. Andy cares about the future that his children will inherit. He wants California to be a petty place for the next generation. This makes him a statesman not a politician.

My first action after reading the letter was to scan it and send it to Andy and a few others that folks. I was mad and insulted. I thought I was done contributing this year but now I would gladly write another check to Pugno. Beth is clearly wounded and weak or Conway wouldn’t need to initiate this stupid pre-emptive strike.

Later, Andy passed my name to a reporter at the Sacramento Bee. I went thru the above reactions with the reporter but all he could do was try to relate this letter to the Boston mayor that slammed Chick-fil-A. (He interviewed me the afternoon of August first.) Personally, I didn’t see the connection. He pressed me on this point which was really peculiar. The only thing I could come up with was that in both cases the people in power thought they knew better. I told him all we need is leaders that follow the rules and treat everyone the same.  I said that the market (or voters as the case might be) should be trusted with the decision.

Almost none of what I said made it into the article that he wrote. Frankly, it was a poorly crafted hit on social conservatives and supporters of traditional marriage. He just wanted to spank Pugno for his support of Prop 8. “But if Pugno were to win the Assembly seat, Democrats would make regular use of him to remind voters that the Republican Party is exclusionary, which would push the once-Grand Old Party further into irrelevancy in this state.”
Read more here:

I disagree. The California Republican Party is finding irrelevancy due to leaders like Gaines and Conway.