Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bob McDonnell Provides Winning Formula for GOP

When I announced my call the other day for "Bob McDonnell For Governor - of California!," I was hardly joking. I mean, if the dude was out West, his conservative message and policy pragmatism would work wonders for what's ailing the Golden State. In what's become an annual ritual, Sacramento's facing a $21 billion budget defict for 2010-2011. With the governor's race next year, California voters need someone willing tackle the tough fiscal issues - someone who'll save this state, frankly.

So far both Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, the two top prospects for the GOP nomination, have avoided talking deficit politics like it's some kind of budgetary H1N1. (See, "Poor California: No Money and No leadership.") And Attorney General Jerry Brown, so far all alone in the Democratic field, not only ignores the budget crisis, he certainly won't do anything to fix it if elected. The Brown family politicos (father Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr., in the 1960s, Governor Moonbeam in the 1970s, and failed 1994 gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Brown), are big government liberals. It's their legacy, along with the disfunctional government-by-initiative process in this state, that needs undoing.

I'm betting that a man (or woman, but Carly Fiorina's running for Senate, not governor) like Bob McConnell has the skills and vision to lead the state back to greatness -- and that's saying a lot, since polls show voters seeing California's best days long past (see, "
California's Best Years Have Passed, Voters Say").

In any case, maybe I should be doing some consulting for the GOP's national party elites. It turns out that the top honchos are looking to the McDonnell model as a winning formula for future elections. From the Politico, "
GOP Eyes McDonnell Strategy" (via Memeorandum):
After four years of grappling with how to appeal to voters, a group of top Republicans believe they’ve found a winning formula for 2010. Call it the McDonnell Strategy.

The shorthand: run on economic policy, downplay divisive cultural issues, present an upbeat tone, target independent voters and focus on Democratic-controlled Washington—all without attacking President Barack Obama personally.

It’s an approach that elected Bob McDonnell to the Virginia governorship earlier this month.

While Republicans posted two hard-fought gubernatorial victories on Nov. 3, McDonnell’s path to victory is the one that most encourages the GOP, a remarkable case of a social conservative who made his name in politics as an abortion opponent yet managed to reverse a Democratic trend in Virginia and shellack his opponent by nearly 18 percent while largely steering clear of cultural issues.

As rejuvenated GOP governors gathered at a resort outside Austin for their annual strategy session there was little doubt who they wanted to spotlight. McDonnell was shown off at nearly every public event, paraded before the reporters, consultants and lobbyists here as the example of how Republicans can find swing state success in the Obama era.

New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie was also offered as a reminder of the party’s twin triumphs this month, but it was McDonnell who was in demand. Swarmed by new friends, some of them with business interests in Virginia, the commonwealth’s next governor was usually the last official to leave the mix of cook-outs and plenary sessions that marked the Republican Governors Association (RGA) conference.

“McDonnell’s stock was very high already and he found a way to get it even higher,” said Nick Ayers, the RGA’s executive director.

That was in part because Ayers’ boss—and a man who is seen among the establishment Republicans here as something close to the GOP’s de facto national leader–made sure to hold up McDonnell as a model.
Interestingly, looking at Memeorandum's thread, so far it's mostly hardened leftist radicals who're responding Politico's piece on this McDonnell formula for the GOP -- Digby's Hullabaloo and Howie Klein's DownWithTyranny! (ironically, if not ominously, these two are all about tyranny, and if the left's candidate is elected California governor in 2010, don't be surprised if we see John Steinbeck conditions across the land, and actually a reverse Grapes of Wrath exodus out of the state as voters flee disfunction and an impending multi-culti, high-tax, and affirmative action meltdown on the Left Coast).

Photo Credit: Regent University's Flickr photostream.