By Roz Rogoff
My Picks for the Republican PrimaryUploaded: May 31, 2010
I'm still a Republican, but I'm not happy with the direction the Republican Party has moved in the last 10 years. I switched parties in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected President; so that would make me a "Reagan Republican," but more on that below. I almost switched back to the Democrats after George W. Bush was elected, but the Democrats are too wacky for me. Yes, I actually find some people wackier than I am.
Even though I'm still a registered Republican, I'm a North-East Republican. Moderate Republicans are sometimes called "Rockefeller Republicans," after Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller was Governor of New York when I was in High School, and my father was a liberal Republican. That wasn't a dirty word back then, and I'd like to see it return. That's why I support Tom Campbell for Senator.
I supported Tom Campbell when he was running for Governor, and I was very annoyed when he switched his campaign to Senator. I don't like the choices for Governor on either side now.
I don't like rich people trying to buy their way into political office. I don't like it when Meg Whitman does it, or Carly Fiorina, or even Steve Poisner. At least Poisner has some experience and some good ideas, when he steps back from the mudslinging to explain them.
Whitman may have done a good job running eBay, but we've already seen that just because someone is successful in business it doesn't mean they can run a state government. Arnold Schwarzenegger came charging into Sacramento as the Governator, but he found out that running a state government isn't the same as making fantasy action movies. I don't want Meg Whitman to learn at our expense that she can't ax State Senators and Assemblymen the way she could fire ineffective employees at eBay.
Either Poisner or Brown would be my choice for Governor not a great choice, but at least a pair who might be able to handle the job. I didn't like Jerry Brown when he was Governor 35 years ago, but he's older, and we hope wiser, now. He's a very smart guy, and I like smart people.
That's another reason why I like Tom Campbell. He's a Professor of Economics what better experience for the financial mess we are in now. He has experience in Congress and can work with both parties. This has become a detriment to getting elected these days, but the polarization in Washington and Sacramento is one of the main reasons we are in the kind of trouble we are in.
I oppose Senator Barbara Boxer because she's polarizing. Senator Diane Feinstein isn't. Feinstein and Representative Richard Pombo collaborated to do a lot of good for this region. The problem with Pombo wasn't the false charges of corruption, but the kind of cockiness that long-term Congressmen and Senators get when they lose touch with the reasons they went to DC in the first place.
It's funny that so many Republicans call themselves "Reagan Republicans" now. Ronald Reagan was a conservative, but he wasn't mean. He wasn't device. He was able to work with Democrats and even Soviet leaders to bring about change.
President Reagan gave amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, who are now American citizens; yet the slogan of all the so-called Reagan Republicans is "No amnesty." Reagan kept Social Security solvent, so I could grow old enough to get it. "Reagan Republicans" want to get rid of Social Security.
The Soviet Union fell apart, not because President Reagan called it an "evil Empire," but because Ronald Reagan trusted Mikhail Gorbachev to have the best interests of his country at heart.
How many of our extreme right wing Republicans are willing to trust anyone with differing political views these days? It's just one attack after another.
We need to break away from these extreme, "My way or the highway," views, where everyone in the other Party is demonized. These Parties used to be cordial to each other and allow a spectrum of views. Now those who don't toe the Party line are kicked out. I'm as appalled by Democrats' treatment of Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln as I am by the Republicans' treatment of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. This isn't healthy, and it isn't a good way to run a government.
We need more moderate Senators who support their Party's principles without being so dogmatic and negative that they can't get anything done without cloning themselves. That's why I'm voting for Tom Campbell in the Republican Senatorial primary next week.
I haven't decided on which of the Republican Congressional candidates to vote for yet; so I have no recommendations there. I will probably vote for Jerry McNerney again in November anyway.