Insight from the California republican Convention. And from Kansas

California’s republican party held it’s convention this past weekend, and discord and disunity were the overriding themes, beginning with the opening keynote when the party’s candidate viewed as having the best chance to win the party a statewide office declined to support the party’s nominee for the the state’s highest office.

Current Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, the gop nominee for state controller, who despite currently trailing Democrat Betty Yee by 14 points in the latest Field Poll, is seen as the party’s best bet to win a statewide race in several years and the party’s choice to open their convention, vividly displayed the party’s disunity when she indicated that she could vote to re-elect Democrat Jerry Brown to his fourth overall term as governor.

Whether this is based on an honest belief that the gop candidate Neel Kashkari, former president george w bush's choice to administer the TARP bailout program, is unqualified for the office, or whether personal bias enters into it is up for speculation. The fact is, however, that Swearengin has had a personal issue with Kashkari since the stunt he pulled a few months ago, spending a few
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days in Fresno’s underbelly, posing as a homeless person, and seeking publicity afterward, without first informing the mayor or her staff of what he was up to.

A second gop statewide candidate, Pete Peterson, the nominee for Secretary of State, also failed to endorse Kashkari, who currently trails Brown by 21 points, saying that he did not plan on voting for every republican on the statewide ballot. But, he refused to actually endorse a candidate for any statewide office, and his reasoning is really worth examining. The duties of Secretary of State include overseeing elections, and Peterson has said that as a candidate for that office, and as the holder of that office, one should be “an independent administrator of California elections”.

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Contrast this with such gop national "heros" as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who has been in the spotlight for several days for his partisan actions undertaken under guise of his official duties but which have been undertaken solely to help the republican party retain the US Senate seat of Pat Roberts. Throughout his tenure in office
Kobach has led an effort at voter suppression that has resulted in, as of now, Kansas having a two-tiered system where significant numbers of the state’s voters who qualify to vote for federal offices do not posses the draconian documentation now required to vote in state elections and thus cannot now vote for state and local candidates and issues. Despite similar efforts in gop-dominated state governments around the country, the rules now in effect in Kansas have been called the most restrictive of any state.

Regarding the Kansas senate race, when the Democratic candidate dropped out of the race, giving an independent candidate a good chance of unseating the republican incumbent Roberts, Kobach refused to remove the Democrat from the ballot. He was then ordered to do just that by the state Supreme Court, but Kobach then “ordered” the state Democratic party to pick a new candidate, a power that his office does not posses. He also argued to the Supreme Court that ballots had to be printed by an absolute, federally-

mandated Sep 20 deadline, but he thereafter said he would extend the deadline more than a week so the Democrats would have time to choose a new candidate. When that also failed, he ended up preparing a "disclaimer" to be sent out with ballots telling voters that they may have a second chance to fill out a later second ballot and to change their vote. It should also be noted that Kobach is on Robert's re-election committee.
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But, back to California and the gop convention: Reacting to the party’s candidates’ failures at unity, some powerful state republicans such as former state chairman Ron Nehring were outraged, while others, such as current vice-chair Harmeet Dhillon, tried to downplay any significance of the discord.

The convention also featured a luncheon speech from soon-to-be presidential candidate, Sen Rand Paul, who told the throngs of republicans gathered that if the party was to become successful, that they had to become more inclusive. Perhaps he should send Kobach a copy of that speech.

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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