A TALE OF TWO WOMEN
by Mark Herrick, State President
California Republcan League
If McCain was set on choosing a VP candidate in the last election that was female and from one of our newer and smaller states, McCain should have picked Linda Lingle and not Sarah Palin. Linda Lingle is the type of woman that should be seen as the future of our party, not Sarah Palin. Linda Lingle became the first female Republican governor in the history of Hawaii. The Democrat party had a lock on the state since its founding in 1959, and she broke that lock. She could not get elected without a rash of Democrats and Independents voting for her. On the other hand, Pee-wee Herman could win the governorship of Alaska with the Republican nomination, but it took a very special woman to pull an upset for the Republicans in Hawaii. And Linda Lingle is a very special woman. She is a smart, well-educated woman who has a strong record of cleaning up corruption, reducing waste and fraud, and making government more efficient.
What social conservatives don’t understand is that you need more than the base to win a presidential election in this country. You need a candidate that appeals to people beyond the base. How many Democrats or Independents have you met that would vote for Sarah Palin? It’s like the social conservatives confuse the idea of wanting a candidate that scares the rank and file Democrat because of their policy positions with the idea of a candidate that scares the Democrat leadership because of their electability. Sarah Palin scares Democrat voters (and independents) because they would hate to see her in office. Sarah Palin may scare the average Democrat voter but most people in the Democrat leadership would sell their right arm to have Sarah Palin be the Republican nominee in 2012.
Nominating Sarah Palin would be like punting on first down. She would get almost zero Democrat and Independent votes thereby insuring her opponent’s victory. Democratic voters in Hawaii like Linda Lingle, and she scares the Democrat leadership because they know she could steal voters away from them. Sarah Palin becoming the Republican nominee in 2012 would be Obama’s greatest dream. Linda Lingle would be his worst nightmare.
In California we had a governor with the worst approval ratings in California history; Governor Gray Davis. During the Republican primary Gray Davis actually ran ads against the moderate Republican Los Angeles Mayor Riordan to insure that his opponent would be the socially conservative Simon in the general election. The social conservatives, who control the leadership of the California Republican Party, were sure Davis had made a mistake by helping Simon. Unfortunately the Democrat leadership in California is much more politically savvy than our own Republican leadership.
Not only did Simon scare Democrats and Independents, but he scared them so much that they chose the most unpopular governor in California history instead of Simon. Simon lost the un-losable race. Just nine months after Davis beat Simon by five points; there was a recall election where Arnold Schwarzenegger, who many social conservatives refused to support, crushed Gray Davis in one of the biggest landslides in history.
So the social conservative lost to Davis, and the socially moderate candidate crushed him by almost twenty points only nine months later. Any Republican that is interested in winning instead of just whining and being condemned to the minority should study those two elections and never forget them.
To win back the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate we need candidates that will appeal to Democrats and Independents. Not ones that will scare them. Linda Lingle was the first woman elected to the office of Maui County Mayor, at the age of 37. In 1994, Lingle easily won re-election. Under Lingle’s leadership, Maui County implemented performance-based budgeting. Its successful passage and execution earned for Lingle the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association.
As governor, Lingle has created a record surplus of $730 million, coming from the budget’s previous deficit of $250 million. Governor Lingle has signed a number of important bills into law, including the Three Strikes Law and Sex Offender Registry Website Law. On November 20, 2006, her approval rating stood at 71%, with only 24% disapproval. Those numbers are even more amazing when one realizes that the Democrats are the majority party in the state of Hawaii. Can you even name one positive legislative or executive accomplishment that Sarah Palin achieved in Alaska while she held elective office?
The Democrat leadership is sitting around hoping and praying that we choose candidates like Sarah Palin and Simon in 2010 and 2012, so no matter how badly the Democrats screw up, they can still get reelected. The Republican Party has a long and strong bench of potential female Republican candidates: Christine Todd Whitman, Susan Collins, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Linda Lingle etc. But former Governor Palin is not one of them. Let’s hope she remains in the dugout.