The San Francisco Chronicle’s headline over a story about the California Republican state convention was correct: “California GOP Sees Hope On the Horizon.” But they missed what may be the most important quote about the prospect of Republican prospects in all 50 states:
California Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth urged party members to reach out to supporters of the anti-tax, anti-government tea parties that have been held across the country over the past several months.
“Here’s the challenge: They’re angry at everyone,” Hollingsworth said. “We have to make sure to earn their trust. These folks have to realize that their natural home is the Republican Party.”
During a recent friendly debate, a liberal friend told me the Republicans should ignore the tea-party types. “Those people are going to vote for Republicans anyway,” he reasoned. Hollingsworth isn’t so sure, though – and he has it right.
Hollingsworth’s decision to take nothing granted is reminiscent of an old political legend. Tip O’Neill, former Speaker of the U.S. House and one of the most powerful politicians in the country, allegedly ran into an old acquaintance on Election Day one year. This acquaintance, a little old lady who had known the Speaker for decades, mentioned that she had not voted for him; when the incredulous O’Neill asked why, she supposedly answered, “because you never asked me.”