This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
Three things for the GOP to consider in California:
1.) Learn to choose better battles. Every cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee tells us that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is among the nation's most vulnerable House Democrats; every cycle, he proves otherwise. In 2008, with a 1-point voter registration disadvantage, he won by 10 percentage points; in 2010, with a .32-point voter-registration disadvantage, he won by 1.1 percentage points; and this year, with a 12-point voter-registration edge, he won by 8 percentage points. Instead of pouring resources into the campaign of a 25-year-old with no job experience, perhaps the GOP should've looked for greener pastures.
2.) Your navel-gazing is nearsighted. California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro's statement last night indicates he believes Romney and Republicans failed to "make the case, at every level, for tax reform and to successfully articulate that a welfare state can't succeed and the true engine of growth is a vigorous free enterprise system." I'm sure some Democrats will disagree with the philosophical underpinnings of that argument, and that's not a debate I'll get into here. But what Del Beccaro failed to address was that the GOP clearly lost big among Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and young voters -- that is, most of this nation's future electorate. If his party can't find a platform that appeals to these blocs, and an effective way of explaining it to them, it'll continue to wane even further. Already I see some GOPers sniffing that Obama won without a mandate, but the fact is, he won the popular vote by at least about 2.7 million and -- if Florida were to stop counting votes now (and where have I heard THAT before?) -- he'd win there too, meaning he carried every battleground state except North Carolina.
3.) Who has the mandate? Gov. Jerry Brown has the mandate. He won it in 2010 when he beat out the candidate who spent a record $142 million of her money to no avail. He won it again last night with a resounding 8-point victory for Prop. 30, his tax hike for K-12 and higher education. And it seems voters are tired enough of gridlock in Sacramento that they may have handed Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature -- another mandate, of sorts, for Brown's agenda. The moral of this story: Don't mess with Jerry.
I attended a surprise retirement party this morning at KQED in San Francisco for Belva Davis, whose last episode of "This Week In Northern California" will air at 7:30 tonight.
I'll not recount her long, storied career here; we've already carried a great story this week about her amazing contributions to journalism. But I'll tell you what I told her today: Whatever I've done so far in my career, and whatever I do in the future, having worked with Belva Davis will always be among the honors and privileges of which I'm proudest.
Calling her a trailblazer -- while certainly true -- doesn't adequately describe the honesty, integrity, professionalism and kindness she has brought to her work every day over these many decades. As some speakers at today's party said, she embodies the "afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted" credo of journalism, but never in a mean-spirited way -- she has had a keen sense of the right questions to ask, and the unerring bravery to ask them.
Her retirement, while so very well-deserved, will be a loss felt by so very many journalists and viewers all over Northern California. She can be succeeded, but never replaced.