This three day event had great activities for all of the more than 1,000 delegates, associate delegates and guests who attended. Jim Brulte, former California Republican Senate Majority leader under Governor Wilson, was elected the new Chair of the Party and Harmet Dhillion, Chair of the San Francisco Central Committee, was elected Vice Chair. They both shared their goals for the next two years. Jim stressed the need to get off the floor and fight to take back the California seats we lost in the Congress, the State Senate and the Assembly. He also said that we need to get out of our comfort zone to reach out to the groups of voters that we did not do well with in the last election. He pointed out the work that needed to be done in the Latino, Asian and African American voter communities and as well as with single women, who likely cost Mitt Romney his election. This latter group had the largest margin of victory for Obama over Romney.
Harmet also promised to work hard to reach out to minorities to increase the Republican vote in each group. Tom Del Becarro, the former Chair of the Party, had appointed her to work in this area in the last two years. While Del Becarro had focused on both Latino and African American voters, we still have a long way to go to win their support.
KARL ROVE’S INPUT
Karl Rove, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to President George W. Bush, was the featured speaker at the lunch on Saturday and he started the ball rolling for change at the Convention by saying if we are going to penetrate these groups it has to be through one-on-one outreach. Of course volunteers are key, but he said volunteers must be friends to the voters in these minority groups. We need Latino Republicans reaching out to Latino voters and Asian and African Americans Republicans reaching out to the Asian and African American voters. He came down hard on us when he said, “We need to get off our ass” to do the hard work to reach out to these groups and to reinvent ourselves. He also commented that we were starting from the bottom so we can reinvent ourselves without any prior restraints.
Ben Shapiro, editor at, talk radio show host, was the featured speaker Saturday night. He was very provocative in criticizing the Republican Party and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for causing their own defeat by not attacking the Democrats and President Obama for their political beliefs. In effect he was saying that Romney and others were too nice, telling the public that Obama was a good family man and a nice guy. Meanwhile Obama and his ads were attacking Romney as a rich man who didn’t care about the voters, drove around with a dog on his car, fired workers when he (Bain) took over companies, sent jobs overseas — just blasting him whenever they could. During exit polls on Election Day when voters were asked which candidate they thought was the nicest guy, Obama or Romney, 85% said Obama.
Ben went on to say the Republicans need to respond and attack back when the Democrats attack them. When someone is calling you a dirty name or saying you do not know what you’re talking about you don’t respond by changing the subject or not refuting an untrue or defamatory statement. He went through a number of examples that made his point. I would say we can’t just lie down and not respond to criticism.
I’m sure each delegate came away with their own impressions from the Convention, but I came away believing that our cause is not hopeless, but we are all going to have to work harder than we have in the past building the Party. We will need to talk to non-Party voters rather than just to ourselves to get our message out. This and other efforts should turn the Party around in California, recapturing the seats that were lost and putting Republicans in office at all levels in the State