81st Annual California Republican Assembly Convention

I went to the Convention this past week-end. It was held at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.

I arrived about 2 p.m. and tried to check in to the hotel. This process took an hour, two calls to my bank and three trips thru the check-in line. As it turns out, the people at the front counter were not entering the transaction correctly and it was being refused on their end because they were trying to reuse a transaction number when running my card.

I went to my room, changed into swim attire and spent about half an hour in the pool. Then showered and went to the 4 p.m. CRA Board meeting. Much to my surprise, in attendance was John Briscoe and his partner in crime, Benita Gagne. I texted another person at the meeting and asked why Briscoe was there. His one word reply was “Spy”. Towards the end of the meeting, Briscoe asked the presiding officer for a copy of the final report for the committee investigating George and Aaron Park’s unethical activities during the prior year. Briscoe was told there was no written report, but it was read in its entirety at the Fall Board meeting—which he attended by the way. After witnessing this exchange, I thought that I might have seen the last of him, but he was in attendance for the remainder of the convention.

Benita had a cadre of ladies with her and was wearing a badge identifying her as a unit president. In response to their questions, she was instructing willing ladies how they should vote.

I had thought that maybe the presence of Briscoe and Gagne signaled that their experiment forming Impact Republicans was officially defunct. Today, I hear that they are trying to make another go at getting recognized by the California Republican Party at the upcoming Spring Convention. Clearly their identification as spies was the correct read on the situation. I guess my prediction of I.R. becoming a pay for endorsement racket is closer to reality.

The vendors at the Convention were few. Only two campaigns were present: Phil Wyman for US Senate and Ted Cruz for President. There was a booth by a group of crazy Christians from Orange County and some folks plugging some group for something else. I never heard of them before. I thought it strange that they had many books on their table by Phyllis Schlafly but it was not Eagle Forum. Also, there was a lady there selling a book on the conservative and Christian roots of America. There were a few other folks there but these made the biggest impression on me.

The focus of two booths was a rabid hatred for Common Core. Nobody can say why they hate Common Core, they just expect that you have to in order to be a conservative. One booth left me with the impression that you couldn’t be a Christian and support Common Core. It was God’s will that I oppose it. Echoes of Greg Hardcastle were going thru my head as I looked at their paraphernalia. Of course they have nothing to offer in its place.

Conservative hatred of Common Core and Obamacare in California is just stupid. Obamacare was the law in California before Obama was elected President—thanks Arnold—but nobody ever acknowledges this fact. Somehow, they always aim their disdain at Washington and not Sacramento. Ditto for Common Core. It was established as the law in California years ago but Conservatives direct their ire to the Department of Education—a federal agency—and somehow the State is off the hook. Truth is that Conservatives were asleep at the wheel and let this happen under their noses and did nothing to stop either.

Republicans have owned both Houses of Congress and so far have nothing to show for it. They can’t even pass an honest to goodness budget. Just a series of continuing resolutions and fights over the mythical budget ceiling.

The more I watched CRA in action, the lamer they seemed. The endorsement votes for President and US Senate were a joke. The job of nominating Trump fell to me because nobody even wanted to mention his name. CRA was so in the tank for Cruz it was amazing. No candidate got over twelve votes in a room of about 160 people. Cruz’s name came up last and the room went crazy (I’m using that word a lot in this blog). He got way over the required 2/3 vote for endorsement.

There were eight Republicans that spoke to the CRA Convention that were seeking their endorsement for US Senate. A few were legit but several were not ready to run for school board let alone a statewide election. I was amazed that Tom Del Baccaro got the CRA endorsement on the first ballot. Tom was on the record to stop Common Core and I guess that’s all it takes in this group. He never seems to say how he plans to do this. Tom has a record of platitudes but never quite seems to be able to back them up with deeds. My sources tell me he pile-drived the Contra Costa Republican Party into oblivion; but somehow he was able to leap from that job to CRP Chair.

My favorite part of the Convention was the time I spent with Dana Rohrbacher’s eleven year old daughter. She was pushing for Cruz every day in front of his booth. She’s the most extreme Type A kid you will ever meet. At a Cruz reception on Saturday night—non-believers like me were invited too—she stole the spotlight. My favorite exchanges were these:
Girl “Who are you supporting for President”
Me “Donald Trump”
Girl “Why?”
Me “Because he has nice hair.”
Girl “Yeah, I like his hair too.”

A few minutes later, Tom Del Baccaro walks into the room. The little girl points to Tom and says, “See that guy.” I then look at Tom, and she continues, “He’s evil.”

I did find it disturbing that she was demanding to watch Saturday Night Live when it came on. My son is the same age and he goes to bed between 8 and 9. He’s never even heard of the program.

CRA is recovering from the Park brothers but I don’t know how much more growth they will experience.

The last thing of note during the Convention was the talk by current CRP Chairman Jim Brulte. Brulte classified voter registration in California like this. First is Democrats with 43% registration, second is DTS and all others, and Republicans were in third place with 28%. Brulte has hopes of blocking the Dems from getting a 2/3 super majority in either house of the California legislature. At best maybe a one seat pickup.

I’m glad to be off the CRA Board and look forward to following Dave Ramsey’s advice to pay down my debts instead of spending the cash on long weekends tilting at windmills.