Pro-Arnold forces in the California Republican Party took a few more big steps toward tamping down the rebellion on the right this afternoon at the party’s state convention in San Jose. First, state Senator Tom McClintock, the party’s conservative favorite, delivered a very well-received luncheon address in which he extolled the virtues of his “running mate,” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. McClintock, who ran a respectably distant third in the 2003 recall election, is running for lieutenant governor.
Then conservative leaders found most of their resolutions criticizing Arnold’s policy positions shot down in the party resolutions committee. The rightists say they had an agreement for resolutions opposing Arnold’s infrastructure bond, budget policies, and minimum wage hike to move to the convention floor tomorrow with only a majority vote required for passage. Instead, the committee sent the resolutions to the floor with a negative recommendation, now requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. Only the rightists’ resolution urging the former action superstar to appoint more Republicans to judgeships moved forward to the floor needing only a majority vote.
“This was a fork in the road,” says ex-state Republican chairman Mike Schroeder as he and other angry conservative leaders expressed their displeasure and lack of support for Schwarzenegger. “He could have allowed a real debate here. He didn’t.”
Looking on with amusement was Democratic strategist Garry South, who quipped, “It seems every even numbered year the Republican Party turns into the Donner Party.”
Chairman Duf Sundheim sees the agreement differently, saying what he agreed to was only an open discussion and that he can’t control what the committee does.The resolutions chairman, he says, told him Wednesday there were not the votes to move the resolutions forward with a positive or neutral recommendation. “I agreed to have debate, it’s in the best interest of the party. That is what I agreed to.”