There are those on this earth who never change their minds. Then there are the intelligent ones who, though having committed themselves to a position, listen, learn, and act on the new information provided.
The old saying is that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind. I saw the video of my speech on the national popular vote proposal from five years ago. Before that speech was given by me, no one had spoken to me, (either in favor or against) about the idea. It was a great speech, even though it was made with with partial information. Today, I would make a new speech to replace it, as eloquent, and in favor of the idea, now that I have all the information.
Over the years, I have changed my mind on several issues. I have changed my mind on term limits. I started out thinking they were a good thing. Now that I have seen their full force and effect, I think they are a horrible idea, that has cemented the power of the unions, legislative staff, and the bureaucracy. I changed my mind on the two thirds vote requirement for budgets. When I came to the conclusion it hurt Republicans, based on the evidence before me, I changed my mind.
Five years ago, I was uninformed about National Popular Vote. I had my prejudices, and my preconceived ideas. As I said in my speech, I believe that political candidates are better if they speak to people, if they reach out and touch them. I thought incorrectly before that National Popular Vote would work counter to that.
About a year ago, at the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in San Diego, I began speaking to the NPV people. I spoke to them, and I spoke to the opponents. I began to question my ideas on the concept. Jason Roe, who lives in San Diego, and who is, in my estimation, a smart Republican political operative, came to talk to me about it. I still had constitutional and policy questions, but I listened.
The NPV folks talked to me off and on for the next six months. Finally, Jim Brulte, who is, without question, the best political mind for Republicans in California, came to me and talked to me about the political benefits of the concept.. Brulte’s political analysis was logical, factual, and compelling. I still had constitutional and policy questions, but this time, given Brulte’s analysis, I researched. My constitutional and policy questions were answered. I came to the conclusion that my previous opinion had been uninformed, and that any California Republican who opposed NPV would similarly be uninformed. I believed it my obligation to rectify that problem, and to educate Republicans in California about the project. NO ONE, I thought, should continue in ignorance about the benefits of NPV for California Republicans.
It is too bad that some of my Republican friends choose to continue in that ignorance. It is not for lack of trying to inform them. Those who continue to oppose NPV, after I inform them, choose to stay in ignorance and in denial. The benefits of the idea are many: (1) California Republicans donate about $70 million to the Republican presidential candidates, yet those candidates simply refuse to campaign in California because they don’t need to. NPV would change that; (2) National organizations like the NRA, National Right to Life, and the anti-tax groups, focus all of their grass roots energy on the battleground states, NPV would have those groups focus time and energy on California conservatives, because it would make a difference in the presidential election; (3) Having the RNC commit resources to GOTV in a presidential campaign to California would have a huge effect on down ticket races, we will see more Republicans elected if NPV were in effect in California; and (4) California will no longer be ignored in a presidential election if NPV becomes the law, it is just too big to be ignored.
Many saw the wisdom of this idea in February (including Jon Fleischman), when I first started talking about it. Today, some of those who thought it a good idea now oppose it for illogical reasons. They saw the benefits, but base their opposition today on phantom constitutional arguments, or political arguments that, quite frankly make no sense. My favorite is the argument that says that it will cause Democrats to cheat more in elections. Since a school board or a city council, or even a Governor, has more impact on Democrats and their constituency groups, Democrats already cheat to the maximum that they can, to affect those elections. It is hard to see how they can cheat more. Yet many who profess to be intelligent about politics make the arguments that the Democrats don’t maximize their cheating already because the presidency is not at stake. That is absurd, yet it put out there as a basis for opposing NPV.
I believe in education about the issues. I don’t believe in wallowing in ignorance. And once I have been educated, I believe in passing it on to my friends. I will continue to press the case for NPV, now that I have been educated about its benefits to California Republicans. A few of my friends and former colleagues can decide to wallow in ignorance about the substantial benefits of NPV to California Republicans, if they choose. They can continue in their foolish consistency today, but I can say this. When NPV passes (and it will pass), they will see I was right. NPV will bring power and financial contributions to California’s Republican party and this will enlighten those who are choosing to stay closed minded about NPV, which is in our best interest as a party and a state. After I became enlightened on the subject, I changed my mind, and have been working to get it passed. Those who choose to stay unenlightened now will be glad I took the actions I am taking now.