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Jon Fleischman

Jon is the elected Vice Chairman, South of the California Republican Party.

 

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Today's Commentary on the News

 

Tom McClintock's Blow-Out Win Over Doug Ose Is A Big Deal

 

by Jon Fleischman - Publisher (bio) (email)

 
6-4-2008 8:11 am

Without a doubt, the Republican primary for California's Fourth Congressional District was the highest profile legislative race taking place in yesterday's statewide elections in California.  Whether you look at how the race shaped up locally, or how it was covered Inside The Beltway, the battle between conservative State Senator Tom McClintock and moderate former U.S. Representative Doug Ose was truly looked to as an election-day indicator of where the heart and soul of the GOP was, and whether Republicans want to see change in direction that their party has taken in the United States Capitol.

Despite the massive financial advantage of Doug Ose, who cracked open the family's platinum piggy-bank to spend a staggering some of personal money, well over $3 million, McClintock was victorious last night.  Not only did McClintock win, he won in what can only be characterized as a blow-out, with the conservative icon grabbing the nomination with a 15 percentage point lead over Ose.

Of course Tom McClintock's name is well known to Republican primary voters, as he has run for statewide office as the Republican nominee numerous times, and was also a high-profile candidate in the 2003 recall election of Gray Davis that catapulted the politically ambiguous Arnold Schwarzenegger into the Governorship.  McClintock established credibility with conservatives for his principled and forceful articulation of the great principles of the Republican Party, and has been an unwavering and unabashed defender of freedom and liberty.  McClintock's popularity and message garnered him a massive amount of grassroots support in his candidacy, with a record amount of small donations coming in from supporters in the district, around California, and from across the country.

McClintock, with the help of conservative organizations like the Club for Growth, was able to easily define the primary as a contrast between McClintock's brand of fiery, principled conservatism, and the track record of Doug Ose when he was in Congress.  Ose was a leader among House moderates in Washington, and served as a board member of the Main Street Partnership, which was and continues to be the GOP weak sister organization, opposing most meaningful efforts to truly shrink the size and scope of the federal government.  Ose had a healthy appetite at the pork trough while in the House, as contrasted with McClintock who has pledged that he will not carry nor support earmarks as a Member of Congress.

Already there is a lot of buzz coming out of beltway conservatives with McClintock's victory, and we can only hope that the large margin he has posted will serve as a harbinger of the popularity of his message when he becomes a member of the House Republican Conference.  The first step will hopefully be the full support of California's Republican Congressional Delegation, who for the most part endorsed their former colleague, with a few notable exceptions.  McClintock won his primary with the endorsement and support of California's other likely new Republican Congressman, Duncan D. Hunter, who took nearly three-quarters of the Republican vote yesterday in a conservative San Diego County seat held by Hunter's father since 1980.

In the meantime, it may take some time to figure out exactly what happened with the campaign of ex-Congressman Ose.  Since McClintock's entry into the race, word has been that all of the various tracking surveys that insiders have taken in hot races like this one all demonstrated his strong double-digit frontrunner status.  Ose, who has a reputation of being tight with his money, certainly has blown a hole in that theory.  One new story that is sure to come from Ose's staggering defeat will be the role of his consultants, McNally-Temple, in that loss.  This becomes extremely important because Richard Temple is the primary consultant for the Republican challenger, Dean Andal, in neighboring Congressional District Eleven, which is a top target for House Republicans.  I would imagine that the free-market of politics is going to put a lot of pressure on Andal to make a switch, and Temple is going to really have to lay out there what happened with Ose, and why his lopsided defeat should not be laid at his front door.

This summer, State Senator McClintock will have an important role to play as a leader in what will be one of the most high-profile state budget battles in California history.  Undoubtedly he will serve as an important leader for Senate and Assembly Republicans who will be under a great deal of pressure when the budget stalemate inevitably devolves into a full-court press to raise taxes on Californians to solve our state's chronic overspending program. 

That said, McClintock's entire legislative career, and his decades of leadership in California's conservative movement now seem to have been in preparation for the awesome challenge ahead of him.  There is no place where the promise of freedom for America and liberty for its people is more under assault than under the dome of the United States Capitol.  McClintock's leadership will be needed to unify conservatives as a massive change in direction for House Republicans will be necessary if the GOP is going ever be known again as the party of limited government.

This shout-out to former President Reagan in McClintock's victory speech last night to his supporters is telling of his readiness to rally House Republicans in a contrast-campaign against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her hard-left agenda:

Long ago, Ronald Reagan urged us to paint our positions in bold colors and not hide them in pale pastels.  Now is the time to come together; to unite around our traditional  Republican principles; and to take them to everyone who will listen -- especially those legions of voters who have never thought of themselves as Republicans - but who believe as we believe and who share our values, our dreams and our vision for the future of our nation.

McClintock's focus this Summer and Fall will necessarily be on Democrat Charlie Brown, his opponent in this November's general election.  Given the chaotic political atmosphere this election cycle, McClintock will have to work hard to ensure a victory for the Republican Party in the fourth.  But a hard campaign-ethic is a staple of McClintock's leadership, and given that McClintock alone received more votes than Brown, and that Republican turnout was close to double that of Fourth District Democrats, McClintock is well on his way to being "Congressman McClintock" -- that has a nice, and welcome ring to it.

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