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The Eve of Victory - A Plan for the GOP in California
Address by State Senator Tom McClintock to the CA Republican Party

2/25/2001

 

            I would like to begin tonight with a candid assessment of where the California Republican Party stands on February 23rd. 

The party is bitterly divided. 

·        We have a Democratic governor who is riding high in the opinion polls and who has an invincible campaign machine behind him.  He absolutely crushed the last Republican we put up against him.

·        The only constitutional office we hold is the Secretary of State.

·        Our presidential nominee lost California last November by over two million votes. 

·        We have suffered repeated setbacks in both houses of the state legislature. 

·        We have only 14 Republicans in the entire state Senate.

·        We have only 31 Republicans in the entire state Assembly.

            That was precisely the condition of the California Republican Party on February 23rd --- 1965.

            Think about that.  Gov. Pat Brown was invincible.  Two years before he had humiliated our candidate for governor, Richard Nixon.  The only Republican in constitutional office was Secretary of State Frank Jordan.  Barry Goldwater had just lost California by 20 points.  We had exactly the same number of state senators as we have tonight and almost the same number of Assembly members.

            And our party was bitterly divided between the Rockefeller Republicans and the Goldwater Republicans.

            Yet just 20 months later, we had permanently and decisively changed the entire political landscape of California.  We had elected Ronald Reagan governor.  Republicans swept every constitutional office except one.  We made dramatic gains in both houses of the legislature and two years later took back majority control.  We delivered majorities for the presidential ticket in the next six presidential elections in a row.

            And the point I want to make this evening is that our party is in an infinitely stronger position today than it was on that gloomy February evening in 1965.  The case we can make for fundamental political change is far clearer today than it was back then. 

If there was ever a time or a place where the pressures for political change are gathering to form a perfect political storm – it is here and it is now.

The lyrics of that old drinking song must haunt all the tortured fever dreams of (Democratic Party Chair) Bob Mulholland every night: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” 

When Ronald Reagan rallied the people of this state against the Democrats’ spending binge, they were taking six and a half dollars from every hundred you earned.  Gray Davis is taking more than nine dollars from every hundred dollars that you earn.  That’s more from your family’s earnings than any Governor has taken in the 150-year history of this state. 

            In just the last two years, Davis has increased state spending by more than all eight years of Pete Wilson’s administration combined.  The state budget is growing 2 ½ times faster than family budgets, and it is growing at the expense of those family budgets.

            Now, at least back then, the money we sent to Sacramento was buying a decent road system, decent schools, the state water project, plenty of electricity.  I think we’re entitled to ask, with the highest tax rate in the history of California, what are we getting?

            A Third World power system, a water system that stores less than one year’s water consumption, a highway system that was just ranked 47th in the nation, and a school system to match.

We’re the minority party.  There is only one way that a minority party becomes a majority party.  It has to offer a better vision of governance than the majority party, take that vision to the people, and convince them to make it the majority party for a while.

            Given the record of this administration, how hard can that be? 

Next page:  The Opposition - Tax and spend and regulate

Page 1     Page 2     Page 3

Senator McClintock's Home Page

E-mail Senator McClintock (Tell him who you think the next Governor of California should be)

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