Now that. Is a line. It’s summer now. Time for. The sunglasses
** SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE. I am told that the California Republican Party’s chief operating officer, discussed below, has resigned. Interestingly enough, I have received nothing official from the party on this — and let me tell you that I get plenty of press releases from that operation, on all sorts of topics — but I am told by several sources that it is accurate. Intriguingly, the only statement to the press of which I am currently aware was from California Republican Chairman Ron Nehring to the very conservative New York Sun newspaper. The New York Sun, as you know, is not a California media outlet.
** WRONG TURN FOR THE RIGHT TURN REPUBLICANS. Speaking of lines … You’ll recall I was more bemused than outraged by a San Francisco Chronicle front page story week before last on the California Republican Party hiring a Canadian citizen as its deputy political director. Since I don’t actually know who has the equivalent post with the Democrats, it seemed small beer, barely a blog item, much less a front page story in one of the largest daily newspapers in America. Besides, my view is that leaders should be free to appoint whomever they like to various posts, so long as they are qualified. It’s not my role to micromanage someone else’s political party.
Today, there is a story worthy of the front page, how new California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring’s choice for the part’s chief operating officer, an Australian citizen, has an extraordinarily checkered past with US immigration authorities. That past includes his jailing for violating immigration law, his $5 million lawsuit against Homeland Security, and two marriages to American women helping him gain green card status.
While Nehring has described the individual as by far the best choice for the key staff job of running the state Republican Party, his resume, according to the article, is quite thin in this decade. I never heard of him before, nor of the deputy political director who according to Nehring played a key role in Schwarzenegger’s 2003 election. He reportedly worked at some clerk jobs and was an aspiring actor, although the Internet Movie DataBase reveals no Hollywood credits of any sort. Most recently, he was in the real estate business in the Caribbean, but his boss describes him as a poor employee. But in the 1990s, he worked along with Nehring for the very controversial, longtime Washington right-wing leader Grover Norquist.
When Nehring became California’s Republican Party chairman earlier this year, I asked him if he was still working for Norquist. He told me he is not, that he now has his own consulting firm. Subsequent to that, I learned that Norquist is one of Nehring’s clients.
Now sources tell me that the California Republican Party has a $3 million note coming due, and is struggling to pay it.
Norquist’s election, replacing moderate Republican Duf Sundheim, a Silicon Valley lawyer, was part of a general right-ward movement amongst the Republican Party apparatus that also saw the election of Contra Costa County Republican Chairman Tom Del Beccaro — who disastrously sought through a lawsuit to prevent the election of former Governor Jerry Brown as California’s new attorney general — as state party vice chairman and of conservative activist and Flash Report publisher Jon Fleischman as Southern California party vice chairman.
I wrote about the party’s rightward lurch in the wake of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s highly successful centrist re-election campaign in a long feature for the LA Weekly, pointing out that they are far out of step with not only the California mainstream on key economic and environmental issues, but also with most Republicans in the state. The folks I’ve mentioned didn’t like that much, to say the least.
Now they have some key questions about the management of the party apparatus to address.
** BIG DAY FOR JOHN EDWARDS IN NEVADA. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, tied with Barack Obama for a distant second in the second-in-the-nation contest behind Hillary Clinton, had a big day yesterday in Nevada. After wife Elizabeth Edwards christened the campaign’s state headquarters with a rally there in Las Vegas, Edwards himself held a town hall meeting with 1500 people at a high school in Reno, the state’s second largest city hundreds of miles to the north.
There he spoke of his familiar “Two Americas” theme, focusing on the very rich and everyone else, talked up his plans for universal health care and withdrawal from Iraq, and addressed the immigration controversy. He called for pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants now in the country, but said they should pay fines and should be required to learn English, drawing a huge round of applause.
Nevada has large Latino and labor constituencies, and both are of several minds on the immigration question.
** ARNOLD TO AUSTRIA. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who meets with new French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday at the Elysee Palace and his friend British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, visits his hometown of Graz in Austria today. This is only his second visit to his home country since his election as governor of California in the dramatic recall election of October 2003.
Schwarzenegger, who is very proud of his Austrian heritage, retains dual citizenship as both an American and an Austrian.
Yesterday, he wowed the US Conference of Mayors convention in Los Angeles with his call for American cities to become more involved in the movement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
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