Category Archives: California

The Great Speakers and the Failure of Nancy Pelosi by Gregory Hilton

The Republican Party did not realize it then, but they were about to give up power in the House of Representatives for 60 of the next 64 years. On March 4, 1931, Speaker Nicholas Longworth (R-OH) approached the rostrum for the last time. The first person on his feet was Jack Garner (D-TX) who would be his successor. Then every Democrat and Republican stood up and the applause was thunderous. Continue reading

Radical Right: The Constitution Party and the Strange Case of Chelene Nightingale by Gregory Hilton

Chelene Nightingale was the 2010 American Independent Party (AIP) candidate for Governor of California. AIP is the state affiliate of the Constitution Party.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill

I definitely have enemies in both the Libertarian and Constitution Parties, and I deserve them. I have challenged them and I will continue to do so. I am not looking for a fight, but both parties are spreading blatant lies, and they are having a significant impact with young people.
Far too many Republicans are ignoring them. Conservatives who have bolted to the Libertarians have already cost the GOP three seats in the U.S. Senate, a Governorship, seven House seats and two states (Indiana and North Carolina) in the 2008 presidential election.
Isolationist sentiments are increasing in the GOP, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the 1988 Libertarian presidential candidate, was able to raise $36 million for his 2008 GOP campaign. His son has since been elected to the Senate, and they have a number of allies in the House.
Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, and came within one vote of winning at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. 2012 is certain to be the most successful year ever for the Libertarians, and in a close race, they are capable of providing the margin of victory for the re-election of President Obama.
The Libertarian and Constitution Party platforms are similar and they often make cross endorsements. Members of both parties claim to be strong conservatives, but they advocate a defense and foreign policy which is well to the left of Speaker Pelosi, and an economic agenda which would plunge America into a depression. Both groups complain about RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only), but they are truly the real RINO’s.

  • A major advocate of the Constitution Party and its defeated gubernatorial candidate is Larry Hobson. Last night he made this post on his Facebook Wall: “If you have Gregory Hilton as a Facebook friend hes a troll. Delete this guy. Make sure you help get the word out. He is on Facebook bad mouthing Chelene Nightingale.”
  • Heinz Von Ruff says “Wow Greg you have no proof of anything. You are a giant ASSHOLE.”
  • John Heida called me an “idiot” and a “real jerk” because “I call people names but without proof.”

I do not have a lot of time for research but they deserve some proof, and that is why I have written this article. On my Wall, Larry wrote: “I know Chelene well. . . The Republican Party is just mad at her for running against the lunatic Meg Whitman. . . Chelene is a true conservative the only one that was running for Governor. Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown are about the same.” My original post was:

I am embarrassed to say that I have 363 mutual friends with Chelene Nightingale, who is a complete and total lunatic. About 98% of them are men. The list includes a classmate I really respect, so I had to ask him why he is part of Chelene’s tribe. I received the typical guy response. He knew nothing about her. He just looked at the photos and thought she was attractive. I have a feeling the other guys are also clueless about Chelene.

Who is Chelene Nightingale?
She has been both a Democrat and a Republican, and in March of 2009 she joined the Constitution Party. She was their 2010 gubernatorial candidate, and raised less than $25,000. Her campaign website lists no college education. Larry Hobson keeps bragging that Chelene “set a record” in her campaign. He is referring to the 1.7% of the vote she received in the general election.
Nightingale, 44, claims to have been an actress until 1998. She appeared in the low budget HBO movie “Girl Crazy,” and was an extra on “The Nanny,” “Northern Exposure” and “Days of Our Lives.” Her last job was handing out cheese in a supermarket, and her resume also includes:

2006, campaign manager for the Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate.
2007, she was the managing director of the anti-immigration organization Save Our State (SOS), which was described as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. While practically everyone is opposed to illegal immigration, Nightingale’s group worked with vigilantes.
Nightingale was too extreme for even the Minuteman Project. Their founder, Jim Gilchrist, says her “associate, Robert Crooks, produced and distributed a video portraying the shooting of illegal aliens to death, and covertly burying their bullet–ridden bodies in the Campo, Ca. desert. . . Shawna Forde was one of her associates and allies.” Forde is now awaiting trial for the murder of a 9 year old migrant worker girl and her father.
2007, Under her leadership, SOS membership declined 90% and the group went out of business. Davi Rodrigues worked for Nightingale and says: “It soon became apparent it was all about Chelene instead of our agenda. I was there since the beginning and became one of the administrators, but I’m a stickler for legalities. . . I have zero respect for Nightingale. . . She is a manipulative lying drama queen. As far as I’m concerned, she should be tarred, feathered, and run out of the conservative movement as a poser.”
2008, she met with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and endorsed his presidential campaign. One of the major reasons she sited for opposing John McCain was because of his membership in the Council on Foreign Relations.
2009, files for personal bankruptcy and loses her home to foreclosure. She was asking the federal government for protection from her state debts, while also claiming as a candidate that she would stand up to the government on issues such as water rights and immigration.
2010, is nominated for governor and receives endorsements from former Reps. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Virgil Goode (R-VA).

What Else Does She Believe?

Nightingale says she was motivated to seek office in part because we have “a serving president without a birth certificate.” In her video interview with, she expresses concerns about the New World Order, the Bilderbergs, and the Rockefeller brothers. She previously spoke of conspiracy theories concerning the Council on Foreign Relations. She says her political beliefs changed on 9/11, which she describes as an “inside job”:

But along came the tragic day on 9/11. Like millions around the world, I watched the news in horror, yet something did not seem truthful. I am no rocket scientist or engineer, but the way the buildings collapsed did not seem right. And how did everyone escape the Pentagon? Why did that scene look not so tragic? I could not put the pieces together, but questions were raised and it forced me to pay some attention to politics. . .
I wondered how those planes barreled into those buildings that were supposed to have been built for such catastrophes; and watch them all collapse at different times, different ways, different methods. So when you have professionals in their fields coming out and saying ‘well this just doesn’t add up’, and you think back to the day when you were watching the news yourself and you have questions.

She believes there are government airplanes dispersing chemicals to poison us, which she calls chemtrails. She discusses this in her video interview and says “very blue” sky and cloud vapor “chemtrails” may be stratospheric aerosol geo-engineering.
At SOS she organized a march to the Federal Building in Westwood in opposition to the fictitious North American Union (NAU) which she claims is the pending merger of Mexico, Canada and the United States. An NAU has never existed and no official of the U.S. government has ever advocated it. Nightingale spoke of a new Amero currency and a NAFTA superhighway, neither of which has ever existed.
Michael Williams at summarized her candidacy by saying: “A vote for Nightingale is a vote for stupidity. She is an unemployed uneducated dolt! She ran around with xenophobes and border vigilantes for six years. She can’t run her own finances, and thinks that 9-11 was planned by our government (all online in her own words). She is unstable.”

After Seven Years the Schwarzenegger Era Comes to an End by Gregory Hilton

Maria Shriver, 7, is shown on July 28, 1963 on the Presidential yacht Honey Fitz. This photo does not make her look old or heavy! On the left is her uncle Stephen Smith who is smoking one of the many cigarettes that killed him at age 62.

First Lady Maria Shriver: The Aftermath of the Golden State’s Power Couple
The outgoing California First Lady has always been considered a great beauty. In 2009, Glamour magazine named her a “Woman of the Year,” and a few months ago she was described as a trend setter when she had a front row seat during Fashion Week in Paris. If she has an ounce of fat it certainly is not apparent, but now Maria Shriver hates looking at photos of herself. Continue reading

TV Ads From Defenders of Wildlife Thrown Out: Group Called False and Misleading by Gregory Hilton

KOAT-TV in New Mexico has removed an ad sponsored by the liberal environmental group Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. The ad began airing last Thursday, and similar to 2008, its target is former Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM). The TV station acted after receiving documentation that many accusations in the ad were false. According to the group New Mexico Watchdog: “The ad cited a report by CREW, which later admitted it botched its investigation. Continue reading

Why is Illinois the Worst Credit Risk in the Nation? by Gregory Hilton

Illinois is the worst credit risk in the nation. A quick way to generate an immediate $400 million/year is to lift the ban on smoking in casinos.

Illinois is the heartland of Blue America. They sent Barack Obama to the U.S. Senate with 70% of the vote in 2004 and they returned the Democratic Whip, Dick Durbin, with a thundering 68% in 2008. Obama won another statewide landslide that year. Continue reading

Carly Fiorina’s Strong Surge Will Result in GOP Senate Primary Victory on Tuesday by Gregory Hilton

PHOTO: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Sen. John McCain are shown during the 2008 campaign. Fiorina has a huge lead in the GOP Senate primary and is expected to receive the nomination on Tuesday to oppose Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who is seeking her 4th term.

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has clearly pulled ahead in the GOP primary for the nomination to oppose Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The ballotting is on Tuesday, and Fiorina has markedly outspent her primary rivals. This was especially true during the past month and Fiorina has loaned her campaign $5.5 million.
Fiorina’s TV ad campaign has resulted in a significant surge of support. Former Congressman Tom Campbell held the lead for several months, but his campaign collapsed in late May. Fiorina and Campbell were in a statistical tie on May 10th, but by the 24th a KABC/SurveyUSA poll had Fiorina at 46%, Campbell 23% and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore at 11%. Continue reading

Behavior of Senior Democratic Lawmakers is Not Appropriate by Gregory Hilton

Several prominent liberal activists are upset about allegedly inappropriate remarks made by some tea party protesters who visited the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. Ironically, these same left wing activists have often overlooked outrageous remarks by the senior leadership of the Democratic Party.
Many observers doubt the offensive tea party comments were made, and videotape of the incidents does not support the allegations of the liberals. Nevertheless, the House Republican leadership earlier today released a statement criticizing the alleged comments of a few demonstrators. If offensive comments were made, there is no excusing them. No matter how heated a debate may be, no one has the right to bring into question a person’s race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation, and personal attacks are not permitted on the floor of Congress.
That has never stopped Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). He said President George W. Bush was sending troops to Iraq to get their “heads blown off for his amusement.” In a debate on national health insurance, he said Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, the then HHS Secretary, was “a disgrace to his race.” Lawmakers such as Rep. Craig Washington (D-TX) supported Stark. He called Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) “a whore,” Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO) “a little fruitcake,” and Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) was a “fascist.” He falsely accused Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) of having children born out of wedlock.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called Bush a “loser” and a “liar.” When Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) did that he immediately apologized, and said “This evening I let my emotions get the best of me. While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.” President Obama accepted the apology but Wilson was still censured. That has not happened to any recent Democratic party lawmaker.

Have They Forgotten 9/11? Five Republicans and Chuck DeVore Want Us Out of Afghanistan by Gregory Hilton

By a vote of 356-65, the House of Representatives last night rejected a resolution to begin troop withdrawals from Afghanistan within the next 30 days, and to have all troops out by the end of the year. The sponsor was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) of the Progressive Caucus, and five isolationist Republicans crossed over to join the liberals.
The GOP cut-and-run crowd includes Congressmen Ron Paul (TX), John Duncan, Jr, (TN), Tim Johnson (IL), John Campbell (CA) and Walter Jones (NC). Afghanistan is the central front against extremism, but Rep. Paul said Americans were engaged in “nothing more than empire building. The Taliban didn’t launch an attack against the United States. The Government of Afghanistan didn’t launch it.” He called the U.S. liberation of Afghanistan, “illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and illegitimate”. He said the war is nothing more than a foreign occupation.
One of the most prominent Republicans in the 2010 elections is Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. He is seeking the GOP U.S. Senate nomination to oppose ultra-liberal Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). He also claims to be “very conservative,” but says he has been greatly influenced by the views of Ron Paul and the libertarians. DeVore and Boxer are firm opponents of the Obama surge, and DeVore says the plan is a “a recipe for strategic failure.” DeVore believes it is not necessary to “employ conventional forces” in Afghanistan.
These lawmakers have apparently forgotten what happened to America on 9/11. It was the Taliban who gave Osama bin Laden the safe haven which allowed him to plan the attacks. If we pulled out now it would allow the Taliban to regain control and al Qaeda would have carte blanche to once again run terrorist training camps and plan new attacks against the United States and our allies.
This would pose a significant and grave risk to our national security, and all Americans would be in danger. No enemy was ever vanquished, and no victory was ever secured by running away. Those who wish to destroy the United States would surely follow us. If we are beaten in Afghanistan they would be eager to attack us wherever we go. The cut-and-run crowd does not understand if we retreat unilaterally and quit, the war will not be over.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine who served in Afghanistan, said last night,

Our enemies will continue to attack us whether or not we continue the battle against them. Our troops would return home with one question: Why? Why would you bring us home when victory was so close? Why did we fight so hard, make so many sacrifices, only to have those that believe in peace at any price say it’s time to quit? Now is not the time to retreat. This enemy is real and it must be defeated. Do the critics really want the return of a nightmarish tyranny? Although they have far to go, the Afghan people have made demonstrable progress.

If America pulled out now all of the improvements we have seen would disappear. Afghans would no longer be allowed to vote. The Taliban would rule by the edict of terror, and political dissidents would be murdered. Women would once again be non-citizens, young girls would be kicked out of school and they would be forbidden to read.
One of the principal reasons we have been spared a repeat of 9/11 is that U.S. forces quickly toppled the Taliban regime which was protecting the terrorists. The Taliban and al Qaeda were driven out of their safety zone and into the remote mountains. Years of constant U.S. military pressure have forced them to turn their attention from planning more attacks against our homeland to fighting for their own survival.
Afghanistan is today the epicenter of terrorism, and President Obama has wisely responded with a 34,000 troop surge. A new strategy was announced by General McChrystal, the commander of the U.S. and international forces, on December 1st. This strategy is effective and is already leading to key victories. It makes no sense to pick up and leave when we’re winning and crushing blows are being inflicted on the enemy.
Our armed forces have begun a 12- to 18-month campaign to defeat the Taliban. We are witnessing the first major joint NATO-Afghanistan military operation in southern Helmand province, which is considered a strategic fulcrum for ridding the nation of the Taliban. One third of the troops are from the Afghan National Army.
American troops are working side by side with their Afghan counterparts. They took back the city of Marja in three weeks. They are making the Afghan people their number one priority, which is the basis for this counterinsurgency strategy. Furthermore, Pakistan’s army is now engaged and they have 147,000 troops closing in on the terrorists.
Victory is close, but we have not obtained it yet. Abandonment and retreat — those are not strategies. We stay because it’s in our interest to stay and secure a victory against the enemies of the world. Listed below are statements from some prominent leaders regarding the importance of America’s role in Afghanistan.

“This is not the time to turn our backs on the Afghan people. This is no idle danger. No hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror, and this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards and al Qaeda can operate with impunity.
“We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region. . . . And if the Afghan Government falls to the Taliban or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged, that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” — President Barack Obama

“I was in Kandahar. It was in Kandahar that the 9/11 attacks were planned. It was in the training camps in eastern Afghanistan where the initial preparation of the attackers was carried out before they went to Hamburg and flight schools in the U.S.
“It is important to recall the seriousness of the mission and why it is that we are in Afghanistan in the first place and why we are still there after years and years of hard work and sacrifice that have passed. . . . We’ve got to show that we are in this; that we are going to provide sustained, substantial commitment.” — General David Patraeus, Central Command

“When I am in Afghanistan, I get the same question asked as when I am in Pakistan, which is, are you going to leave us again? Because they remember very well that we have in the past. And so there is a trust here. There is uncertainty through Afghanistan’s eyes as to whether or not we will stay.” — Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“A hasty withdrawal could lead to a national security disaster in the form of Taliban rule in Kabul and safe haven for Al-Qaeda. I am keenly aware that even if we remain in Afghanistan — and here I want to emphasize this — there is s no guarantee we will prevail in our fight against Al-Qaeda. But if we don’t try, we are guaranteed to fail.” — Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), House Foreign Affairs Committee

California’s Fiscal Collapse at Center Stage in U.S. Senate Contest by Gregory Hilton

The fiscal outlook in California continues to be dire and economic issues will dominate the 2010 race for U.S. Senate race. The outlook in the Golden State is decidedly different from when Senator Barbara Boxer (D) last sought re-election in 2004. Boxer, 69, served a decade in the House before moving to the Senate in 1992, and is promising to raise $20 million for this year’s campaign. She has already raised $11 million and is going to need all of it in order to cope with considerable voter anger.
California’s sales, income and gasoline taxes are among the highest in the nation. Its corporate taxes are the highest in the West, and despite 1978’s Proposition 13, its property taxes are at about the national average.
The state has a 12.1% unemployment rate, housing prices have plunged, home foreclosures have skyrocketed and a drought is threatening the state’s dwindling water supply. The Senator’s massive support from public employee unions is becoming an issue.
The number of state employees grew 24% over the past decade, and they are now the nation’s most highly compensated. Survey research indicates voters are drawing a connection between generous compensation packages for public employees and the state’s huge budget deficit. The result is declining approval ratings for the Senator, and she is now being blamed for deficit spending on Capitol Hill and in Sacramento.
California is already technically bankrupt, and it’s collective deficit from all cities and towns is double the state government’s $20 billion budget gap. Many municipalities have been closing parks, firing teachers and police officers, and the tuition at state universities has gone up 30%. Of course, states can’t technically go bankrupt, but they can end up in federal receivership.
The primary is on June 5th and both parties have interesting contests. Boxer is expected to easily defeat journalist Mickey Kaus of Slate magazine for the Democratic nomination, but it will be difficult for the incumbent to answer the questions posed by the challenger. He points to the unified public school district in Los Angeles as an example of the state’s problems.
In the past decade, the school district has spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of their 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance. Only four of the seven were eventually fired, and each case lasted an average of five years. Kaus is saying Democrats should not be reluctant to take on teachers and other union. He says, “You can’t find a Democrat politician criticizing the teachers unions,” and Boxer has traditionally relied on organized labor for the bulk of her campaign cash.
A major problem is the revenue decline because of the recession, but the state is spending more than enough money to deliver services. It just spends the money poorly. For example, California is spending $11,600/pupil per year for K-12 education, or $371,000 for a classroom with 32 children.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has been trying to change the state’s priorities, but is often thwarted by the overwhelming Democratic control of the state legislature. Schwarzenegger came to office because of a 2003 recall election and then received a full term in 2006 with a landslide victory margin of 56% to 39%.
The Governor attempted to reduce the power of public employee unions and proposed a 2005 constitutional amendment to fix the budget permanently. It eventually became Prop. 76, but it was defeated when unions poured $100 million into effective TV ads. The Governor has also repeatedly requested across-the-board spending cuts, but this has also been denied by the state legislature. He is leaving office because of term limits.
The GOP primary includes former Rep. Tom Campbell, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. It is expected to be a bitter battle for the next three months. Campbell appears to be the most electable candidate, but he may not survive the primary. Syndicated columnist George Will recently wrote “If Campbell is nominated, he can win, but if Californians were sufficiently rational to nominate him, their state would not be shambolic.”
All of the Republican candidates want to be portrayed as fiscal conservatives. Fiorina was the front runner until Campbell entered the face and her “Demon Sheep” video had attracted considerable attention. It is 3.5 minutes long and was designed for Youtube.
The ad accuses Campbell of backing increases in state taxes when he served as Finance Director for Gov. Schwarzenegger. The ad advertises a web site: – — fiscal conservative in name only. The bizarre ad may end up backfiring on Fiorina, who had a spotty voting record prior to this campaign.
Campbell represented Silicon Valley in Congress for nine years, and served in the California Senate. In addition to his post as state budget director, he headed UC Berkeley’s business school. Currently he’s a law professor at conservative Chapman University in Orange County.
His amazing resume also includes a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, where his faculty adviser was Milton Friedman. Campbell also graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law and was a Stanford University law professor.
Campbell’s biography states, “During Tom’s tenure as State Finance Director, California’s budget was balanced with no tax increases, no new borrowing, and no accounting gimmicks.” The problem is that when Campbell was running for governor last year, he endorsed several temporary tax hikes as part of a broader package of spending cuts to balance the state’s books.
Among the tax measures Campbell endorsed was Proposition 1A which was on the May 2009 special election ballot, and was rejected by nearly two-thirds of voters. It would have extended a series of temporary taxes for an additional year and created a new “rainy day” fund to hedge against future downturns. Campbell also proposed a one-year, 32-cents-per-gallon increase in the state gasoline tax to help bridge the deficit.
He defends himself by saying the tax increases he backed were coupled with proposals for even deeper spending cuts and budget reform, and that California, unlike the federal government, is barred by law from running a deficit. He says there is no way to “avoid unfathomable cuts to public education” without generating some new revenue. Polls indicate voters want to erase the $20 billion state budget deficit with reductions in programs and services rather than tax increases. Fiorina signed a petition not to raise taxes but she has not proposed any concrete way of tackling the deficit.
Campbell is responding to Fiorina by highlighting his Congressional record, and the ratings of the National Taxpayers’ Union (NTU). In the 102nd Congress, Campbell was number 1 out of all 435 Members of the House, as the single “most fiscally responsible” Member according to the NTU. Then Rep. Barbara Boxer was 412. In the 106th Congress, he was once again number 1. Then-Sen. Boxer was ranked 95 out of 100 Senators. She has amassed one of the biggest spending records of any Member of the House or Senate in history. Campbell describes his mission by saying:
“I object to spending our children’s money. I object to borrowing so much from overseas that we give power to other countries who can threaten to “call our loans.” I object to printing money at such a rate that a high level of inflation is threatening as soon as the economy recovers.
My proposal for dealing with the deficit is set out in an alternative to the President’s budget. It’s on my website, at I cut the President’s deficit more than half: by almost 700 billion dollars. And, to hit zero deficit eventually, we need to restore Gramm Rudman. Because of Gramm Rudman, we actually balanced the federal budget when I was last in Congress.”

Furthermore, Campbell was the lawmaker who took on the leadership of his own party when they broke the budget guidelines. He damaged his relationship with the Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) when he went public to denounce the GOP leader for breaking the budget and setting a bad example.

Is a GOP Upset Possible in California? by Gregory Hilton

California was a reliably Republican state in presidential politics from World War II through the 1980s, but now it is solidly in Blue America. Democrats have a 1.5 million advantage in voter registration. It has been a long time since a Reagan-style conservative has won statewide, and in presidential terms the GOP has written off California since 1992. Sen. John McCain received 37% of the vote in 2008 and George W. Bush’s total was 45% in 2004 and 42% in 2000. Sen. Bob Dole received 38% in 1996 and George H.W. Bush got 33% in 1992. Bush did defeat Michael Dukakis in California in 1988.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D) continues to hold the lead n her re-election race, but many factors indicate she may be vulnerable this year. The intensity of the primary campaign to secure the GOP Senate nomination also demonstrates usual enthusiasm to challenge her.
Boxer is one of the most liberal members of the Senate, and advocated a withdrawal from Iraq in 2005. She also joined Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) in backing a resolution to censure President George W. Bush.
The first GOP primary debate was held on Friday night, and the spotlight was on the two front runner’s. Former Rep. Tom Campbell had the most polished debating style while this was former Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Carly Fiorina first political debate.
Campbell is a former State Senator, sered nine years in the U.S. House and was the Budget Director for Gov. Schwarzenegger. Fiorina portrays herself as a successful business leader but HP stock fell 50% during her tenure, and she received a $21 million golden parachute when she was fired in 2005.
GOP Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John McCain and Jon Kyl of Arizona have all endorsed Fiorina, but this came before Campbell entered the primary. She contributed $2.5 million to her campaign but has also made rookie mistakes such as suggesting California file for bankruptcy which is not legally possible. Fiorina’s credibility was further damaged when it was revealed she had voted only six times in her adult life.
Campbell is in the mold of GOP Governors Pete Wilson, George Deukmejian and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is moderate on social issues (he supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage), but a fiscal conservative. This has been a winning formula for the California GOP in the past two decades.
The third candidate in the primary is Assemblyman Chuck DeVore but he is running well behind and has been largely ignored by the front runners. DeVore has been in the race for over a year but has not been able to raise significant money.
His cash of hand as of last month was a dismal $142,000. DeVore has a conservative voting record in Sacramento but he also has a libertarian outlook. DeVore and Senator Boxer are both in opposition to President Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan, and the Orange County Assemblyman has frequently attacked George W. Bush rather than Boxer. DeVore is firmly against Bush’s 2008 bank bailout legislation even though 82% of the money has been repaid with interest and it is difficult to think how our banking system would have survived without the Bush initiative.
The biggest boost to DeVore’s campaign was winning the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly, but some of his remarks to the group were unusual. He attacked Fiorina because she had been a top adviser to McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, and said she was a supporter of the Bush “Wall Street bailout.” DeVore has been endorsed by Sen. Jim DeMint (SC).
All of the Republicans are running surprisingly well against Boxer, despite the fact they are largely unknown. Campbell switched from the Governor’s race to the Senate contest on January 14th, and the primary is on June 5th. The former Congressman has dominated the campaign since then, and came out swinging Friday night.
He said the “whispering campaign, that silent slander stops today.” He was talking about Fiorina’s charge he was anti-Israel. According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Campbell reiterated his support for Israel, noting that he consistently supported military aid to the nation and flew to Israel as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was launching Scud missiles at the country during the first Gulf War. He defended a vote against Jerusalem being the nation’s undivided capital, insisting it was part of a Democratic political maneuver to embarrass then-President George H.W. Bush. . .
“Fiorina also had to explain her record, specifically the actions of a Hewlett-Packard subsidiary that sold printers to Iran, which is subject to a trade embargo. . . DeVore and Fiorina continued to criticize Campbell’s ties to individuals who donated to a past campaign and, years later, pleaded guilty to or were accused of crimes. The most notable is Sami Al-Arian, a professor who received Campbell’s support when the University of South Florida tried to fire him for expressing unpopular views. DeVore called Campbell ‘a friend to our enemies.’
“‘I certainly wish that I had done a better job of finding out who he was at the time,’ Campbell said. ‘I do not think that I deserve the kind of attack, however, that has been launched, that somehow I am a jihadist. That is absurd.”
Fiorina claims Campbell voted to “cut aid to Israel.” He voted against increasing all foreign aid. He supported the full appropriation for Israel but he objected to an increase which was to be taken from funds set aside for the world’s neediest countries. There is also merit to his idea of having Jerusalem as a shared capital.
As far as the campaign contribution from Sami Al-Arian, Campbell said he knew nothing about his terrorist ties. The LA Times recently said:
“Is Campbell’s explanation credible? His opponents think not, but we’re inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was naive, perhaps, and gullible; he certainly shouldn’t have written the letter before gathering the facts. But we find it hard to believe he is a ‘friend to our foes’ who knowingly supported an Islamic Jihad operative.
This is an important subject, and no doubt more will come out in the days ahead. To those who are concerned we say: Ask him. Challenge him. His positions are fair game. So is his judgment. But let’s not allow innuendo, hyperbole and cheap politics to drown out reasonable debate. . . We abhor terrorism and don’t want our leaders palling around with those who engage in it. But we are also convinced that it is possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Zionist. We don’t believe that public officials must be rigidly loyal to a single playbook of ‘pro-Israel’ positions.”
California Republicans have nominated many admirable conservatives over the past two decades, but they lost in a landslide. Senator Boxer won her last campaign by 20 points over conservative Secretary of State Bill Jones, and at the same time, Gov. Gray Davis (D) was being re-elected by 19 points over conservative Attorney General Dan Lungren. Every Republican in recent years who has run statewide as a conservative has lost by double digits.
In scoring the debate, Joe Mathews of the New America Foundation said “To his credit, Campbell was clear and rational, and terrific at making Fiorina sound bad by asking pointed questions. But he seems entirely too reasonable to convince today’s Republican voters to cast their ballots for him.”
Survey data demonstrates nearly three-quarters of the electorate are “yellow-dog” partisans who always vote their parties. The other 25 percent are true independents. They include small numbers of people registered in both parties and the roughly 20 percent who aren’t registered with any party. This year Republicans are once again polling well with independents, and Sen. Boxer could have a hard time reaching moderates in the Fall.