The GOP Divide is Serious and Real

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By Stephen Frank

This is one time the pundits, generic strategists and activists are all on the same page and with the same view:  Republicans are divided and in trouble.  Issues like abortion and amnesty have so divided the Party, clinic that folks, on both sides of those issues; say if they lose, they walk.

At some point votes will be taken and victories and defeats will be counted. It will take a GOP that is open, transparent and allowing all segments of the Party to have a role in decisions and leadership.  Failure to represent the Republican principles, and just play power politics will cause more defeats and recriminations.  Will the GOP open itself, or close down for just a few to have a say in the policies and candidates of the Party.

Bob Dylan was right when he wrote, “When you ain’t got nothing you got nothing to lose.” At this point conservatives inside the GOP have nothing, not even trust in its leaders and many of its elected officials.

Both the National and the State GOP Platforms are clear, we oppose amnesty for illegal aliens, law breakers.  Yet Senator Lindsay Graham said this on TV, “We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

If the amnesty bill is passed you can be assured millions of pro-Rule of Law Republicans will sit on the sidelines in 2014. You can also be assured that many will re-register as independents. Sadly, even if we defeat the amnesty bill, pushed by Republicans, those in the Party that support amnesty will act like the conservatives.  For the GOP, this is a lose-lose issue and nothing can save us—the lines are not drawn in the sand, they are drawn in cement.

Adding 11 million new citizens, mostly without real background checks—does anybody trust Obama to do a serious job on this?  Or even the National Security Agency, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service?  Think “Fast and Furious.”  Finally think about the health care disaster called ObamaCare. Why would we believe President Obama would not waive the time needed for amnesty, fees and real background checks on this many people.  Plus, we now know, neither President Obama, Senators Rubio, McCain or Schumer want any added border security.

Then we have the issue of abortion.  Again the GOP Platforms are very clear; we support the sanctity of life.  Evangelicals are concerned we will not hold the line on this. In Politico.com, “If they want to just run on economic issues, you’re not going to get the church people,” said Bob West of Tallahassee, Fla., wearing a yellow tie with the words “Choose Life” on it. “That’s the bottom line.”

West said he knows social conservatives who stayed home last November because they did not believe Romney was one of them. He warned that incumbents like Florida Gov. Rick Scott need to demonstrate their pro-life bona fide to shore up support.”

Last year, the California Republican Party re-wrote its Platform, as mandated by the Bylaws every four years.  Charles Munger spent upwards of $100,000 to make the Platform more moderate and blur our beliefs about the sanctity of life.  The Pro-Life community spent $0—but by a narrow margin, we keep faith with the unborn.

The same Charles Munger spent $700,000 to defeat an incumbent conservative Assemblyman, trying to replace him with a liberal pro-tax Republican.  Again, Munger lost, but the message to other conservative candidates was clear; Munger would spend what it takes, so keep your head down.

Munger is now the chair of the Santa Clara Republican party.  That organization has endorsed and given money to a Democrat running for the Board of Supervisors (the other candidate is also a Democrat).  Munger has now been appointed to chair the California Republican Party Initiative Committee, to recommend to the Party where Republicans stand on statewide ballot measures.

Do conservatives trust the Republican Party in California or the nation?  Can Party leaders be counted to keep taxes down?  In California, half of the Republican Senate Caucus voted to raise car taxes and fees by $2.3 billion a year for 11 years.  Among the Yes votes was the Senate Minority Leader, Bob Huff—and the Initiative Committee Vice Chair Mimi Walters.

What will conservatives do?  I think they will, in California, work for ballot measures and local candidates for Board of Supervisors, city council and school board. If the GOP nominates another Meg Whitman, you can count on almost no help for the GOP candidates for partisan races.

This is a difficult time for Republicans in California and in Washington.  Graham is right; amnesty could cause a death spiral for the GOP—but not because of opposition, but because of support, especially if the State GOP does not take strong stands on issues or if the Munger wing continues its control of Republicans in California.

Stephen Frank writes California Political News and Views and lives in Simi Valley.

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