Tony Blankley

But after having a good laugh, one would hope that serious commentators would take the election seriously. Whatever the past electoral mistakes made by California voters, our fellow citizens are now in need of sober decision-making and good government. I don't understand Mr. Will's reference to "plebiscitary cynicism." It is an election authorized by the state constitution. Californians always directly elect their governors. There is nothing radically democratic about the process; nor anything more cynical than one always finds in elections.

It has come about because the regular four-year election cycle failed. Gray Davis was, justifiably, a vastly unpopular governor who had the good fortune to have as his Republican opponent in the last election the most incompetent major party candidate in living memory. The public had been poised to defeat Davis last November, but Mr. Simon kicked away the opportunity. The California electorate, in its solid, good judgment is going to correct that on Oct. 7.

Most curious of all Mr. Will's belittling observations was his charge that California's Republican Party is frivolous and opportunistic. That is a cruel and unfair charge coming from a principled conservative such as Mr. Will. The plight of that party is precisely that they are not opportunistic. As the state has moved steadily to the left over the last two decades (due in part to massive illegal immigration), the state Republican Party has stood heroically by its values and convictions. It has seen its numbers in state and local government diminish precisely because it would not endorse abortion on demand, liberal social welfare programs, radical environmental provisions, nanny state hectoring, higher taxes and bountiful welfare for illegal immigrants. I can't believe that Mr. Will truly believes that standing on principle makes a party frivolous. I seem to recall us conservatives ridiculing politicians who sought "relevance" over principle.

Finally, Mr. Will claims that conservatism's hope for the recall should be "ruin all around." That is not this conservative's hope. I hope Californians elect a solid Republican who can convert his election into a mandate for leadership that will help Californians recover their historic prosperity and joy of life. Since the gold rush days of 1849, a wealthy, invigorating California culture has been one of the great engines of American progress. The "ruined" California for which Mr. Will awaits will not yield solid conservative values. Such a condition would be a breeding ground from which the foulest political and cultural creatures would wriggle into the larger American culture. Californians: There are some of us here in Washington's own la-la land who wish you well.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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