This past weekend in Sacramento, an Embassy Suites room full of Republican activists, elected officials, and donors gathered to draft the 2012-2016 Platform for the California Republican Party.
Within a few hours, we emerged with a platform titled, “The Platform for California’s Future” which was supported by an overwhelming majority (25-2) of those on the Drafting Committee. Why the 2 “No” votes? Because two members feel that our party should continue to be pigeon-holed, maligned, divisive, and defined before our candidates across the state even have a chance to present their ideas to the voters.
Mike Spence, former President of the California Republican Assembly, wrote a scathing piece on FlashReport this morning blasting the new proposed platform because it stands for, as Mr. Spence puts it, “nothing.” Nothing… really? Have you read the proposed platform Mr. Spence?
He also retweeted his story at 9:15am on Twitter from his account @Mike_Spence. Why is that relevant? He serves as Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Curt Hagman. I’m not sure tweeting on the taxpayer’s dime is a “conservative” principle, but maybe we can address that in the platform come September.
Also, I will note for the record that Mr. Spence arrived at the meeting over 30 minutes late despite having fair warning in advance of when and where the meeting was going to be held. Yours truly was the only member representing San Diego County and got there early.
Okay, okay… enough Spence smashing.
The platform, does it hold true to our core values as Republicans? Yes. Does it address pension, government, and immigration reform? Yes. Is this platform conservative? Yes.
Our current platform, although also conservative, was mentioned as one member of the Drafting Committee as, “having been written with 10 too many lawyers in the room.” A hearty laugh from all in attendance was had.
The problem with our current platform is that it overly defines like a legal document, as opposed to embracing a more broad-based approach when it comes to free market economic ideals and conservative principles. The current platform is 8 pages, the one proposed is 6. Aren’t republicans supposed to be in favor of the idea “less is more?”
On the issue of abortion? “We believe in the sacredness of life.” According to the proposed platform, we as republicans support those positions that strengthen opportunities for families — economic, and otherwise — to offer a helping hand, not an unending hand-out.
So, why is Spence so up in arms about the proposed platform? Because he supports the position of over-defining what we as republicans should be and stand for, as opposing to letting our candidates define that role.
It has been said that we live in a candidate-centered political world. We are not Europe and other areas of the world where the parties define the candidates. Here in America, we let our individual candidates define the party.
If California voters don’t like our candidates, they shouldn’t vote for them. And clearly, on a statewide level, they haven’t. But they haven’t won, not because as Mr. Spence claims they “weren’t conservative enough,” our candidates don’t receive the votes they need to win because of the stigma of the overall party image.
California is not Iowa. We have conservative areas of the state, yes, and that’s awesome. But in areas were we need to win, suburban Los Angeles, San Diego, the Central Valley, and the outer areas of the Bay Area… we aren’t winning because we’re seen as the boogeyman at the ballot box.
This platform gives us a chance for the next four years to give our candidates definition without being divisive against the lock-step, tax-raising, job-killing Democrats we need to defeat.
In a two party system, it should be us versus them, and we need the opportunity, nay… the chance, to take them on in a new political world in California without first defeating ourselves in the process.