New York Governor Andrew Cuomo believes that pro-life activists along with anti-gay activists, and supporters of the Second Amendment, are not welcome in his state.
During a radio interview on Friday, Cuomo pointed out that Republicans were in the midst of a schism, where conservatives worked against moderate Republicans.
“Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves,” he said. “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent disparaging comments towards conservative Republicans call up some disconcerting parallels to Charles Munger Jr.’s quest to re-make the California Republican Party in his more moderate, less partisan image.
The clear pattern of Munger’s political activity during the last few years has been to drive conservatives from positions of leadership and influence. His rhetoric may not be as blistering as Cuomo’s — Munger speaks more with his money than his mouth — but his contempt for conservatives equals the ferocity of Cuomo’s. Cuomo wants to kick conservatives out of New York, and Munger is working hard to kick them out of the California Republican Party. From his failed attempt to dilute the CRP platform to his support of the top-two primary to his heavy-handed campaign spending against conservatives in Republicans v. Republican general election match-ups, Munger’s goal is to remake the California Republican Party as if 1964 never happened.
New York State offers us a glimpse into the final destination of this road. Here in California, the challenge for Republicans is making the party strong enough to effectively support Republican candidates in statewide and legislative races. In New York State, the challenge is keeping Republican office-holders from endorsing liberal Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo:
Cuomo has been aggressively seeking to win endorsements of moderate Republicans from Long Island and Westchester districts with heavily Democratic electorates. Last week, Cox, in an unprecedented and seemingly desperate move, made public a letter to unnamed Republican officials urging them not to back Cuomo.
Cuomo has already been endorsed by former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, now a lobbyist with business before state government, and is hoping to win the endorsements of other Nassau County officials, including Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who is widely seen as a Cuomo political ally.
The GOP in California has its share of problems, but at least our state party chairman doesn’t have to spend time and energy keeping Republican officeholders from endorsing Jerry Brown for re-election.
But that’s the natural result of blurring the boundaries and smoothing out the differences between the two parties. When activist donors like Charles Munger Jr. work to drive principled conservatives out of the GOP and drain party affiliation from elections, then politicians will act less from partisan motives and more from personal political calculation.
Put another way, the net effect of the multi-front war being waged by Munger is to make the California Republican Party less Republican. The GOP in New York State has simply advanced further down that road than the California Republican Party. A competitive GOP can’t be built on such a foundation, because that’s a foundation of sand.
If Charles Munger Jr. succeeds in dragging our party further down that road, not only will it become even more difficult to regenerate the GOP in California, but continued Democratic dominance in the de-partisanized political environment of the top-two primary system will make the kind of party disloyalty we see in New York more common in California.
The warning signs are their for anyone to see; it’s only necessary to one’s eyes.