California is a great place to live. Despite the debt, the traffic, the one-party rule, the taxes and the eagerness of politicians to overwhelm small businesses and large corporate job producers with red tape and unnecessary regulations, the Golden State is still the most beautiful place to live and work in the United States. But the political class is making life in California more difficult with every passing day.
The union mentality and the assault on the successful has overtaken Sacramento, where Democrats control the governor’s office, every state-wide office and have a legislative supermajority.
Most Republicans in California are tired of fighting the one-party rule from the left and have given up on state politics.
They think it’s wise to let the Democrats’ ideas fail without getting in the way. They believe the Democrats are like the PRI in Mexico, overplaying their hand and unable to blame anyone else for the state’s problems.
Other Republicans, like gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, are making the case to voters that there is still time to turn away from the spendthrift, debt-ridden entitlement policies bankrupting the state. Kashkari is an unapologetic, small government Republican who seems undeterred by Republican apathy.
Still other Republicans, like gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly, are strangely trying to embrace the left’s economic policies and draw a distinction with the left on social policies.
Failed economic policies combined with conservative social values are a double whammy for politicians in the most liberal state in America.
Donnelly’s record is a litany of failure, at best displaying incompetence and at worst bordering on corruption. He supports redevelopment agencies, an out of control, secret property redevelopment system that gives political appointees a firm grip on handing out favors and picking winners and losers to get campaign contributions in return.
He supports tax credits for Hollywood, too.
His criminal record, including larceny and campaign finance violations, is well-known. His was the lone ‘no’ vote on state assembly bills to help veterans find jobs and to stop prescription drug abuse. He further distinguished himself in the state assembly by using taxpayer funds to pay for gifts, cars, and holidays.
Donnelly is one of the most bizarre candidates in the history of California’s gubernatorial races, a state which has seen everything from action-film movie stars to pornographers.
Combined with his tough anti-immigrant stance and penchant for making offensive comments (he has compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler and accused Kashkari of supporting Shariah law), it’s unclear which California constituency Donnelly hopes to appeal to. And yet he leads Kashkari in the primary where mainly party activists pick the nominee.
California’s beleaguered Republicans need to unite around someone who has a shot at taking on the rarely seen but well-funded Jerry Brown.
A Donnelly nomination this week would further denigrate the Golden State’s long-suffering GOP. It’s been difficult enough for California Republicans to offer a compelling alternative to the Democrats’ hyper-liberal government agenda. Tarring their image by nominating an offensive, corrupt and amoral candidate like Donnelly will only make the party’s job harder than it already is.
According to Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Kashkari now trails Donnelly by five points.
The California GOP leadership must find a way to turn that around before Tuesday’s June 3 primary. If it can’t, Tim Donnelly may prove that the California GOP hasn’t quite hit bottom yet.
Richard Grenell is a Fox News Contributor. He served as the spokesman for four U.S. Ambassadors to the U.N. including John Negroponte, John Danforth, John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad. Follow him on Twitter@RichardGrenell.