My last Sunday San Diego column at the FlashReport…
As Jon Fleischman hi-lited on the main FR page Saturday, the Union-Trib editorialized on the selection of Martin Garrick as the new Assembly minority leader, praising the decision, while asking a question in the headline:
Will he be the latest GOP leader to cave on taxes?
Clearly, the UT gets it, or the editorial board wouldn’t be asking the question. They get the power of the GOP to hold the line on increased taxes and bad budgets, as long as Republicans stick together. They get the travesty of past budget votes, in which just enough Republicans were somehow enticed into a “compromise,” thus leaving insignificant and meaningless the unifying clout of the rest of their fellow Senate and Assembly caucus members.
Even more clearly, the UT question is not meant as a question. It is meant as a challenge … to Garrick, hoping the result will be that the 74th District Assemblyman will always remember the headline, so he will dig in his heels and prove that the question never even needed to be asked.
Just as clearly, Martin Garrick knows this. And, as someone who knows him, I strongly believe that Garrick knows now — without a doubt — that the question didn’t need to be asked. He is a strong conservative leader that will hold the line.
Further, the Assemby GOP Caucus knows it too (likewise in the Senate), remembering well what happens when assumptions without assurances are made of its leaders. The last two respective caucus chiefs that compromised on the essential matter of taxes, lest we forget, didn’t last very long, one of them spiked right in the midst of the budget battle. No question the members in both houses remember this. No one wants a recurrunce … of any of it.
All that said, the advice to any Republican leader is quite simple, if needed. So simple, that it’s almost embarrassing to even note, but it is this: Always remember that you don’t represent the “Big 5” or whatever other entity or process is in place to lead to budget compromise. Obviously, you represent your constituents and the citizens of the State of California, but as a leader you represent your caucus members. It’s what they think and their wishes, not those of the Governor and the Democratic leadership.