November 9, 2002
THE RIORDAN CANARD:State Republicans See Light in 2006: Despite losses, slim margins bolster hopes of California GOP. (Shawn Steel, November 8 2002, LA Times)
Clearly, the Democratic sweep occurred primarily because of the fund-raising advantage, not the fantasy advanced by liberal pundits that California has morphed into a Democratic bastion. It's also worth noting that, despite being massively outspent, Republicans gained a state Senate seat and two Assembly seats, and they may yet pick up a third.
The usual suspects in the media and the Republican Party are resuscitating an equally false notion that Simon lost because he was "too conservative" for California. It's a variation on the canard that the Republican Party must move left to be viable in California -- a nostrum dispelled by looking at the election results.
For example, take the fates of Bruce McPherson and Tom McClintock, the most liberal and most conservative members, respectively, of the GOP ticket. McPherson perfectly fits the theoretical profile of the ideal GOP statewide candidate: pro-choice, strong moderate credentials, fawning press coverage, a comparably well-funded campaign and a compelling personal story. Yet he lost to gaffe-prone Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante by nine points. In stark contrast, the conservative McClintock, the GOP's nominee for controller, received more votes than any other statewide Republican candidate -- and may yet eke out a victory despite having been vastly outspent by the multimillionaire entrepreneur Steve Westly, whose ads attacking McClintock's pro-life stance had little effect.
CA, particularly Latino voters, should be the focus of the Bush '04 campaign and the Party should recruit some decent Senate candidate to take on Barbara Boxer. But it also has to get over the idea that Bill Simon "lost" this race. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2002 8:40 AM