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