Reagan's 11th Commandment

Thursday, June 10, 2010
by Patrick Dorinson

“Our 11th Commandment is perhaps more profound than we realize.  “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican.”  To do so means we are inhibited in the support we can give that Republican if he should become the nominee of our party.  Certainly our task is harder if we must challenge and refute charges made by our opponents if those charges were first uttered by us….”

“Fight as hard in the coming primary as you can for your candidate, but be against only those we must defeat in November of 1968.  Let no opposition candidate quote your words in the general election to advance statism or the philosophy of those who have lost confidence in man’s capacity for self-rule.”

Ronald Reagan in a Speech to the California Republican Assembly, April 1967

During the 2010 Primary Election in California Steve Poizner not only ignored Reagan’s commandment, he shattered it on the ground as Moses did to the tablets containing the other Ten Commandments in days of yore.

He ran a scorched earth media campaign right up until the end even though I am quite sure he and his handlers knew weeks ago that their effort had fallen short.

Then in his graceless speech conceding defeat on Election Night he sounded like a bitter, petulant little boy who had just had his head handed to him by a girl in the race for student body president not a man who had been soundly defeated by the better candidate.

Poizner came onstage in a sour mood and it showed. I guess after spending $25 million of his own money and getting beat like an old army mule by Meg Whitman it is understandable.

But from the first time you enter the public arena to the last hurrah, one must demonstrate the capacity to not only celebrate a hard earned victory but to accept bitter defeat with grace and dignity congratulating the victor and pledging your unqualified support to defeat the common foe.

Steve Poizner has handed the Democrats words and images that they most assuredly will use in the general election campaign to try to defeat Meg Whitman. Good job Steve.

Early in his quest to be Governor of California, he assiduously courted the conservative activists in the party to shore up a perceived weakness because of his past comments and associations with Democrats like Al Gore. Nothing wrong with that.

But in the process of this campaign he seemed to change from a pragmatic problem solver to a fire breathing, take no-prisoners demagogue.

When the Arizona law on immigration was passed Steve saw an issue to exploit to stir up conservatives. And he went all in making it the number one issue in his campaign.

I happen to agree with Arizona’s decision as I have been to the border with rancher friends and seen for myself the tragedy of our porous border.

But right now the main issues concerning Californians is 12.6% unemployment, debt up to our eyeballs, crumbling infrastructure that connects our communities, environmentalists stopping water from reaching our farms and a disastrous overregulated business climate. Plenty there to chew on and campaign on.

Poizner had the opportunity of raising those issues but he chose the other path no doubt egged on by his high paid Washington-based consultants who know nothing of the day-to-day struggles of ordinary Californians. But I am sure for them the payday will more than make up for the loss.

In his desire for the holy grail of the governor’s office, he sold his political soul. And that is one commodity that is not easily regained.

Now we head to the “big casino”—the general election and Meg will have to once again refute claims first raised by Steve Poizner not Jerry Brown.

As for Steve, he told Meg the other night that he wanted to get to know her better, but I doubt   he and Meg will be sharing a meal anytime soon. And before that can happen Steve will need to eat a very large portion of crow.

And Steve, as the Cowboy Libertarian likes to say, when you have to eat crow it is better to eat it when it’s hot. The colder it gets the harder it is to swaller.

It’s your move Steve. Need some ketchup?