A Cold-Eyed Look at California

Posted: Mar 01, 2010 10:18 PM
The New York Times profiles the struggle for the Republican nomination in the California Senate race here.

Carly Fiorina will be vulnerable in a general election to the kind of attacks launched at her in the linked piece by conservative stalwart Chuck DeVore:

She has some personal wealth — but she was fired from Hewett-Packard,” [DeVore] said. “She only voted six times in her life. She has a condo in Georgetown at the Ritz-Carlton that is 13,000 square feet bigger than my house — and she confessed she got it with the golden parachute money she got when she was fired.

The problem with a DeVore candidacy?  It will be fought on grounds that will give Barbara Boxer -- who is otherwise struggling -- a foothold with the large chunk of Californians who are socially moderate but fiscally conservative.  The only way Boxer has managed to hold onto her seat all these years is by turning every election into a referendum on the socially conservative views of her opponents, especially abortion.  She's an extremist, but unfortunately, most California voters will choose left-wing extremism over what they perceive, rightly or wrongly, as right-wing extremism.  And with an $11 million war chest (as the article notes), she'll have plenty of money with which to smear her opponent and distort his (or her) views.

Ultimately, Boxer is vulnerable, but -- for better or worse (I think worse) -- not to a social conservative.  I do not always agree 100% with Tom Campbell, but when I worked for him in 2000, I found him to be a thoughtful, conscientious, gracious, intelligent guy.  Yes, he's a moderate -- but he's not a prima donna or a preener about it.  He's not doing it to win favor with The New York Times.

And he can beat Boxer.

The rest of the field?  Not so much.

So it's up to California's Republicans.  Do we want to beat Boxer and stall the Obama agenda, or not?
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