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Crazy stuff, crazy stuff, what-all the Republican Party is going through. Out in Washington, having held their breath till their faces turned blue and still failing to kill Obamacare, the Teabag Republicans are now swearing they will stand in the way of any immigration reform this year, just out of spite.
This will make it even more difficult for California and OC Republicans to do what they know they need to do to keep above rump party status – appeal to Latino voters around here. Reminds me of a couple things I’ve seen recently…
Last week I was strolling down Lincoln Avenue and this copy of the Excelsior caught my eye (that’s the Spanish-language paper the Register puts out.) I had to grab a copy because the front page story was about the OC GOP’s attempts at “outreach” to Latinos in Santa Ana, and the Spanish was rudimentary enough that even I could understand it:
“HOLA.” Eso es lo primero que dice Scott Baugh. No se introduce como presidente del Partido Repulicano del Condado de Orange. Solo se aparece como un hombre vesitdo en shorts, una camiseta de manga corta y sandalias, para dejar literatura en espanol a los residentes de un vecindario en Santa Ana.
In short that means: “‘HOLA.’ That’s the first thing Scott Baugh says, not bothering to mention he’s the OC GOP Chairman – he seems to be simply any man in shorts and sandals, handing out literature in a SanTana barrio.”
It’s good that Scott didn’t say any more than “HOLA.” This is the same OC GOP chairman who showed up earlier this year at Los Amigos, trying to convince the nonpartisan Latinos there that the Republican Party had a lot more to offer them than the Democrats… and then started babbling about “illegals” – he couldn’t help himself, it was such an ingrained habit. When a few Amigos raised their voices in protest at that insulting term, Scott showed surprise and remorse and vowed to be more sensitive in the future.
Baugh’s remorse turned out to be THIS kind of remorse: He whined shortly thereafter to the Weekly‘s credulous R. Scott Moxley (who dutifully passed on the claim): “I was speaking at Los Amigos, and I used the term ‘undocumented workers,’ and people got upset with me. I honestly didn’t know that was an offensive term.” As I wrote to the Weekly in a letter they never printed, “‘Undocumented workers’ is NOT what Scott said, and nobody would have taken offense to THAT innocent phrase.” (Payasos. God forbid the Weekly would contact Los Amigos, OR print a letter that showed Vern correcting St. Moxley. But I digress … back to the Excelsior story.)
Teresa Hernandez, una lider del grupo conservador Lincoln Club of Orange County, tiene una meta identica, pero usa una tactica diferente mientras toca la puerta de votantes democratas latinos … Pregunta “Tiene hijos en la escuela? Acaba de aprobarse una ley horrible. Los niños pueden entrar a los baños de las niñas. Y las niñas pueden entrar a los baños de los niños.”
In other words, this bleach-blonde Hispanic Lincoln Club matron’s pitch to a Latina Democrat is: “Do you have kids in school? They’re about to pass a law that is HORRIBLE! Boys will be able to go into the girls’ bathroom. And girls will be able to go into the boys’ bathroom!”
This kindergarten reading of AB 1266, the transgender school opportunities act, shows Teresa’s opinion of the average Latina voter’s intelligence, and her estimation of what will best yank their chain and get them to switch to the Party that has traditionally deported, jailed, and kept them down. It reminds me of what Carly Fiorina tried in her senatorial run three years ago – sending out a huge “Vota Tus Valores” bus staffed lightly with a half-dozen homophobic Latinos (a bus this blog did its part in chasing around the OC) to convince other Latinos that ONLY the GOP and their candidate stood between them and the terror of GAY MARRIAGE.
And it’s also another sign – along with Young Kim‘s recent bleatings and the speeches I heard Friday night at Tim Donnelly’s shindig described below – that AB 1266 is shaping up to be the main issue California Republicans plan to exploit this election season. (And how embarrassing is that?) This makes it imperative that we explain the transgender bill well to people in coming months, as not some bathroom-ogling conspiracy.
Oh, the punchline? The title of that Excelsior story is “Somos Iguales” – we are equal. Yeah, sure, as long as we can find someone else we can make LESS equal – gays, say, or the transgendered.
So I thought it made a nice contrast with Baugh’s “outreach” when I heard that Republican gubernatorial candidate and Minuteman leader Tim Donnelly was being hosted by some local Republican and Tea Party groups, at the Newport Beach Tennis Club Friday night. (What says grass roots, salt of the earth, and rebel, better than a Newport Beach Tennis Club?)
I’d first met Tim when me and Paco Barragan crashed the Arpaio fundraiser for Bill Hunt back in 2010 – remember that? (2010 was the high-water mark of Republicans hating on Mexicans.) Tim handed me his card, told me he was running for assembly, and bragged that he was the founder of the San Bernardino Minutemen. I said good luck – maybe I shouldn’t have – little did I expect that, in a crowded field of Republicans, Tim would prevail as the craziest!
He kept up the anti-immigrant rhetoric in Sacramento for a year or so, but seems to have learned to tone that down, and has actually accomplished a few good things up there mostly in the civil-liberties arena where he can get Democratic support. (Although he may be best known as the assemblyman who was busted for trying to take a loaded gun onto a plane.)
So I went to Friday’s fundraiser expecting to hear lots of wild-eyed talk on immigration and illegals, and to see what GOP bigwigs and electeds I could identify in the crowd, the better to revel in and ponder on the Party’s contradictions. I was disappointed on both fronts: There was NEARLY no mention of “illegals” (except ONE sentence-fragment during Tim’s answer to a question – an accidental brain-fart or calculated dog-whistle? – “…will NEVER raise your taxes, especially as long as we’re giving freestufftoillegals.”)
Nor did I spy either of our immigrant-bashingest OC Congressmen, Rohrabacher or Royce; nor did I see OC assemblymen Mansoor, Wagner or Harkey, all of whom had stood with Tim two years ago in his quickly-fizzled move to bring Arizona-style papers-please legislation to this state. If the blond little hater Deborah Pauly was there, she was uncharacteristically stealthy. Actually the only person I recognized Friday night (besides Tim) was Rosie Avila, the anti-immigrant, anti-gay nutjob who ran against Loretta in 2008.
Here IS one thing I learned Friday night that I need to share with you:
Tea Partiers now call themselves “Constitutional Conservatives” instead.
There was absolutely no mention that night of the humiliating defeat Washington Teabaggers had just suffered the day before in their intemperate attempts to make Democrats buckle on anything. And not a word containing “tea” in it was uttered in the space all night – even though this was obviously the same crowd of elderly, flag-bedecked, nostalgic zealots from the far right of the GOP and beyond. I figured out after a while, that the memo must have gone out – they are now simply “constitutional conservatives”… and they also don’t talk about illegals any more, with strangers around.
This was in fact the first event of “Unite OC” which aims to unite EVERY Constitutional Conservative group in the county (who had previously been sometimes at odds?) and claims to have succeeded in bringing together “100 groups with 100 members each” for a total of 10,000 CC’s. (Maybe. Oh, you’re asking … I’d say there were a little over 100 old folks there – older than me that is – and half-a-dozen young zealous volunteers from UCI.)
I listened closely to discern what they meant by “Constitutional” – obviously they believe that a lot of what’s going on in the world around them is NOT Constitutional, and that maybe even most “conservatives” are not Constitutional. And I figured I might even agree with some of what they said – what Tim and the organizers said – and sure enough, I did!
One of Tim’s biggest criticisms of Governor Brown (whom, remember, he’s running against) is that even though he came into office promising to wield a heavy veto pen, he has now signed EIGHT-HUNDRED NEW LAWS. And each of those laws can lead to any number of new REGULATIONS, which are generally passed by 571 UNELECTED BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS. And as he started to name some of those off, I was with him, and I know you would be too –
- The Coastal Commission, which may well approve Poseidon despite all the damage to taxpayers, ratepayers and the environment because labor-loyal Jerry Brown’s appointees are under orders to only consider jobs jobs jobs; [my example not Tim's]
- The Air Quality Management Board, which recently united EVERYONE ACROSS THE SPECTRUM with their draconian and near-successful attempt to outlaw our beach fire pits; [my example not Tim's]
- The supremely arrogant Child Protective Services whose abuses I’ve been studying for a while, and whose decisions are nearly unappealable – until Tim took them on last year after a particularly egregious incident and, with overwhelming bipartisan support, has subjected the agency at long last to an audit.
This is why I’ll go ahead and say I’m glad Tim is in the legislature, as long as he stays in the super-minority and keeps his immigration views to himself. Yes, as long as his libertarian crusades are filtered through the consciences of his Democratic colleagues (whom in unguarded moments he refers to as “a super-majority of Marxist progressives”) he’s been accomplishing things in the realm of liberty that may very well not have happened without him.
- Along with San Francisco super-liberal Mark Leno, he passed a bill making it easier for those wrongly incarcerated in this state to collect damages. (He spoke of this Friday night, I haven’t found a link yet.)
- Somehow the topic of the War on Drugs didn’t come up, so I asked him about it and he said, “It’s been an abysmal failure.” Hm. Was that just words? Turns out he and fellow Republican Rocky Chavez of Oceanside cast the deciding votes last month to lower penalties for nonviolent drug possession, and he and Mansoor were the only Repubs to vote to legalize hemp. He doesn’t seem to have made any pro-medical marijuana votes, but Law Enforcement Against Prohibition head Diane Goldstein senses that he is “evolving” on that. Well, evolve fast, dude!
- Most dramatically, liberal Dems and an enthusiastic Governor Brown, cheered on by the ACLU, joined to pass his bill earlier this month that prohibits state agencies and members of the California National Guard from aiding any federal agency investigation that involves indefinite military detention without charge or public trial – basically a nullification of Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act – now THAT sounds Constitutional-Conservative to me! (Can they do something like that to protect our medical marijuana dispensaries from the Feds?)
Donnelly: “Let me tell you how to have lunch with someone you disagree with 80% of the time: While the other person is talking about the stuff you disagree with, THAT’S WHEN YOU EAT. And then when you’re done eating, you talk about the 20% of stuff you DO agree on.” (I kind of like that quote actually.)
True believer who can compromise, or Wily Demagogue?
Something seemed disciplined about the questions Tim was asked, so when I went up at the end to get that picture taken with him, I slipped in a couple of my own. After I asked about the Drug War, I continued, “You were a Minuteman, a leader of Minutemen, have you changed your position on immigration? Why did you say nothing about that issue tonight?” Tim responded, “It just didn’t seem GERMANE to this event.” At that point I was quickly escorted away by an aide.
Now I notice that his Wikipedia entry (and what politician doesn’t tend and massage his Wikipedia entry?) says he “stepped down from the Minutemen to return to private life in 2006.” Funny, the Minutemen were just getting big in 2006. And when he first proudly told me he was a Minuteman leader, it was 2010! Mid-2006 is actually when he starred in this awe-inspiring Colbert clip, is this really when he quit?
In any case, it doesn’t matter what you or I think, Tim Donnelly will certainly be our next Governor because of…
The Rob Schneider Effect!
That’s right, the comic genius responsible for Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick has come out in full-throated support of Tim, and Tim just loves to brag on that. He can’t get over the fact that a Hollywood star (of ANY magnitude) – and especially one who calls himself a “liberal Democrat” – would be in his corner, and hang out with him! In fact, that’s one of the weirdest things about Donnelly – how star-struck he is by this D-list comic (over whom Tim towers as I tower over Tim.) It’s actually the first thing you see on Tim’s campaign website, the Rob Schneider endorsement:
It’s not too hard to figure out: Rob Schneider was a “liberal Democrat” because he’s a conformist and lives in Hollywood. Now, at this point in his career, he complains that he hasn’t made a movie in seven years, and he thinks that’s because of Sacramento’s over-regulation of Hollywood. (Do YOU think that’s the reason?) So now he’s found himself an anti-regulation hero, who he thinks might help his personal situation. Sure sounds Republican to me. Just go ahead and make the switch, Rob – the water is nice and warm over there in the shallow end with Victoria Jackson and Dennis Miller.
And as for Tim – if the most talented and popular Hollywood figure who endorses you is Rob Schneider, JUST DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
Sorry. Where was I? Right – two final things:
The California GOP’s choice of gubernatorial candidates tragicomically illustrates its identity crisis – the choice between a tea-partier who can’t run away from his Minuteman past, right when the Party is needing to get some Latinos or die … and an actual Latino – Abel Maldonado – who’s been excoriated for years as a traitor by at least half the Party for helping Schwarzenegger pass a temporary tax in 2009, and then saddling us with open primaries. Hmm – which one will get to go up against the unbeatable Brown, and what damage will happen to the Party either way?
But at least they have AB 1266 to run on. The preacher that Donnelly (or the organizers) called in to give the invocation Friday night was so distraught over it – by the thought of boys going into the girls’ room to check out HIS DAUGHTERS – that it was all he could talk about, for MINUTES, before getting around to the prayer. And then when Tim came on he DID NOT NEGLECT to throw THAT red meat out again. In fact he claimed: The Bill has NOTHING to do with transgender kids; its ONLY PURPOSE is to let boys in to ogle your daughters.
I waited. Really, that’s what he was saying? Boys ogling girls is the PURPOSE of the bill? Not just a possible (and improbable) side-effect? I thought maybe he would explain WHY the legislature – those famously feminist “Marxist progressives,” many of them ladies – would be so eager to let boys ogle all the girls in California as they try to pee? Was this intended to be some mass humiliation of all the citizenry, to make us all feel too debased to fight back? Some sort of perverse variation of droit du seigneur?
It was actually dumber and more manipulative, what Tim said, than what Teresa Hernandez said above to that Santa Ana señora. So I think we’re going to have to go with “Wily Demagogue.”
Still, I’m glad you’re in the Assembly, Tim – as long as we can keep you in the superminority! Vern signing off…