Posted on 03 September 2011.
On August 26 – 27, 2011, I attended the California Young Republican Federation (CYRF) Inaugural Convention in San Francisco. My purpose in attending was to meet fellow conservatives who have taken an active interest in seeking to restore California to its lost conservative heritage. I also had the added objective of spreading the word about Organize4Palin’s activities in California. I achieved both goals. However, it was not the names of contacts I collected that weekend that stuck with me, but rather the crystallization of my beliefs that entrenched political operatives need to be rooted out of government and conservatives have to fight to achieve this end.
What made this convention different than other establishment political party events I have attended is the repetitive theme that overlapped the Saturday lunchtime speeches from three different speakers: California Republican Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, Hon. James Rogan, and Andrew Breitbart. All three speeches seemed to indicate that the time for playing politics for the sake of playing politics must be long gone, and now is the time to stand on conservative principles and fight for what is right. Since a San Francisco Chronicle reporter was in the room I feel that is safe to say that the comments of the speakers were not intended to stay in the room.
Since the passage of Proposition 11 and Proposition 20, Californians have been monitoring and petitioning the California Citizens’ Redistricting Commission to fairly and transparently redraw the California elected district lines. The result has been far from fair or transparent, and the California Republican Party and Watch Dog and Tea Party groups in California have criticized the conflicts of interests of commission members and the lack of transparency employed by the Commission, indicating it has allegedly violated state law, in particular the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, and possibly federal law. Under Tom Del Beccaro’s chairmanship, the California Republican Party has strongly petitioned against the wrongdoings of the Commission. One would think standing up for Californians in California would be a just and noble undertaking. Yet, Mr. Del Beccaro indicated to those gathered at the CYRF Convention that he was losing supporters in Sacramento because of his strong stand in pointing out alleged violations of California law perpetrated by the Commission for which he has a team of lawyers considering legal action. Why? Well, apparently, there are some political officials who feel that while the proposed redistricting lines are not favorable for conservatives and there are serious legal concerns regarding the redistricting process the Commission’s lines are better than what the California Legislature would have drawn if it still had the task and it may not be worth taking a stand to ensure the Commission abides by California law. Mr. Del Beccaro told the group at the CYRF Convention that he may not be as popular now in Sacramento because of his principled stand against the Commission’s actions, but he is going to fight for what is right for all Californians.
Hon. James Rogan also offered a similar tale of standing up and fighting for what is right and just in America. Judge Rogan was a United States Congressman who represented the 27th District of California from January 1997 until January 2001. In 1999, he was one of thirteen House Managers selected to prosecute the Impeachment Trial of President William Jefferson Clinton in the United States Senate. Judge Rogan recently released Catching Our Flag, which documents the public and closed door wranglings of America’s political leaders during the Clinton impeachment trials. Mr. Rogan’s story is for him to tell, but his message to the CYRF Convention attendees was clear: When party politicians put politics ahead of justice and fail to defend the laws of the United States, then all Americans suffer. According to Mr. Rogan, this is exactly what happened during the Senate Impeachment Trial of President Clinton. Public opinion polls apparently mattered more than upholding justice. Mr. Rogan’s Closing Argument in the Impeachment Trial of President William Jefferson Clinton (February 8, 1999) best summarizes what he strongly conveyed to the CYRF Convention attendees:
“The pundits keep telling me that my stand on this issue puts my political fortunes in jeopardy. So be it. That revelation produces from me no flinching. There is a simple reason why: I know that in life dreams come and dreams go, but conscience is forever. I can live with the concept of not serving in Congress. I cannot live with the idea of remaining in Congress at the expense of doing what I believe to be right.”
Those who have heard Andrew Breitbart speak know he is an impassioned and a no-holds-bar speaker. Last Saturday afternoon he was no exception. Mr. Breitbart lambasted establishment Republicans for their failure to stand up against the lies and smears perpetrated by the Left against conservatives in the Tea Party, particularly Sarah Palin who was maliciously libeled and slandered following the Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting in Tuscon, Arizona. He gave a full-throated defense of Governor Palin and her role in fighting to restore conservativism in America after she was picked to be the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee in 2008. He also chastised Republican elites for their snobbery regarding the Tea Party. Being on the frontlines of a conservative revolution in America, Mr. Breitbart bluntly warned CYRF members and California Republican Party leaders in the room that if they were not willing to embrace and work with the Tea Party then the Republican Party would be “nothing”. The purpose of his speech was to stick a stake in the heart of those Republican elites who continue to want to play politics for appearances’ sake rather than stand and fight for conservative principles.
On August 24, 2011, the day before I made the long drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco through the Central Valley, past the fallow farm fields resulting from misplaced government priorities, I read an interesting comment by Conservative Blogger Dan Riehl: “[I]f the [conservative] movement is to truly be re-energized and move forward from something it’s been for decades – something already bound up in Washington – it may take a Sarah Palin to move forward along that path.” Listening to Sarah Palin’s speech from Indianola, Iowa and reflecting upon the speeches I heard at the CYRF Convention, I am struck by the truth of Mr. Riehl’s statement: It will take a Sarah Palin – someone who is committed to fighting the status quo of entrenched politicians and the backroom deals between politicians, establishment powerbrokers and corporate lobbyists – to re-energize the conservative movement in California. But more than that, it will take Sarah Palin to be the leader of this movement. This is because everything I heard last weekend indicated to me that there are still those establishment types who do not seem to get it, as Sarah Palin has said, and they are only looking to determine what is in it for them.
The Undefeated, which was released on pay-per-view and movie-on-demand on September 1, 2011, documents Governor Palin’s record of fighting corporate cronyism, government corruption, and the entrenched party machinery in Alaska in order to achieve real government reform for her constituents. Throughout her time in public office Sarah Palin has proven that she “is not for sale” and she is willing to fight for the little guy. As Palin indicated, and we Californians know, “America is at a tipping point” and we have to be willing to stand up and fight for all that is good and right in America. We know in our gut that it is not “enough to just change up the uniform [because] [i]f we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country.” That is why we – California conservatives – must be willing to withstand the slanders, the slurs, and the insults, which are going to be thrown our way by the Left and the establishment elites, and continue to fight for the fundamental restoration of our state. We must continue to speak up for what is right and just in California and the United States regardless of the political pressures urging us to shut up. More importantly, we must support leaders who show courage and take principled stands to ensure conservative values are not tread upon.
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Rebecca is the Los Angeles City and County Coordinator of Organize4Palin, a national grassroots organization of volunteers who are supportive of Sarah Palin.