GOP and its 'war within', becoming irrelevant in CA?
Washington PostAlongside such chronic problems, the Adams fracas was simply cause for another Republican migraine, a troubling reminder that nothing so plagues the party nowadays as its schisms. The rifts carry potentially serious implications for the GOP's chances in the California gubernatorial race. Social conservatives have no candidate of their own in the contest for the Republican nomination, having grudgingly conceded the gubernatorial terrain to better-funded Republicans who support abortion rights. But not all of those contenders are kindly looked upon by fervent conservatives,
Amid the talk that nationally, the GOP is at war within, and splintering, and in disarray, there comes the news that the Republican Party is falling low in the state of California, becoming contentious and shadowy:
The story of the California candidate assemblyman Anthony Adams has become a microcosm of the chaos and the divisions within the party on a national level. Adams has vowed not to let the "party purists" wear him down.
"For now, all the two warring sides can agree on is that the Adams clash represents another firefight in an ongoing battle for the soul of the party in the state and around the country. But, in California especially, the brawl also serves as the latest evidence of a troubled party, one with a governor spurned by his fellow Republicans, and a conservative wing that, even in targeting its own, cannot seem to impose its will. It is a party adrift in California for the moment, its leaders acknowledge, rudderless." Michael Leahy, Washington Post, "The Republicans' War Within"
A Republican hasn't carried the state in a presidential contest since 1988. The last time a CaliforniaGOP candidate won a U.S. Senate election was in the same decade. Nowadays, Republicans' share of the state's registered voters has shrunk to 31 percent, a historic low.
"There are large parts of the state where the party is irrelevant," said Allan Hoffenblum, a well-known California political analyst who has been a campaign manager for Republicans in the state. "It's not even a statewide party, really."
But few stories better reflect the divisions and disarray among state Republicans than the saga of an obscure Southern California assemblyman.
He was unknown even by political junkies in the region until early this year. Then, with one vote, conservative Assembly member Anthony Adams became a symbol of California Republicans' chaos and destructive divisions. The story of the man who was once regarded as a loyal foot soldier exposed the toxic infighting that has come to define the party.
Now he became the latest straw dog in a fight much larger than anything about himself, an unlikely proxy in a broadening war for the heart of the Republican Party's, one engulfing Republicans nationwide. In New York, conservatives and more moderate party members fiercely contested a congressional seat that had drawnSarah Palin into the fray on behalf of the party's right. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a darling of conservatives, found himself in a political death match against fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, who had begun a primary challenge against him. The Adams skirmish was part of a pitched battle led by conservatives furious at those who, they thought, had not demonstrated loyalty to their principles.
When he cast an aye vote for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2009-2010 state budget, which included about $12.5 billion in tax increases, Adams instantly became a pariah in conservative GOP circles -- targeted for political extinction.
Criticism and threats of doom came from unusual sources. His irate mother-in-law, a devout conservative named Bonnie Ebright, called him to say he was betraying his party and country. A hugely popular Los Angeles radio show, hosted by a pair of commentators beloved by the right, responded to news of his vote by demanding his swift ouster. Conservative Rep. Tom McClintock called for Adams's immediate removal from office via California's recall process.
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