Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gosh, he must be soooooo wise

     OC Register columnist Frank Mickadeit’s relationship to Tom Fuentes is, well, embarrassing. He hangs around ‘em like a puppy dog. He even genuflects.
     Today, he tells the heroic tale of Fuentes, the old soldier, guiding the local party to victory with his dying breath, more or less:

Fuentes plays kingmaker from bedside (OC Reg)
     For months, the remapping of the county's coastal Assembly seat, running from Huntington down to Laguna, has been a headache for conservative Republican leaders.
     Last week, Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Carchio announced he is running for the new 74 Assembly District seat. This brought to four the number of Republicans in the race. The others: former state-party officer Keith Carlson, Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, whose current district encompasses 20 percent of the new district.
     Even before Carchio announced, the conservatives were worried that Carlson and Mansoor would beat up each other in June's primary, burn through money and pave the way for a Daigle win in November. They don't consider her a conservative.
     Neither does Tom. You’ll recall that Tom was the guy who loved to label some of his colleagues in the GOP “RINOs” (Republicans in Name Only). I remember the time he called people "whores." He has no trouble judging who counts as a real Republican and who doesn't. And then he makes life difficult for those who don't measure up.
     Sweet guy.
     He seems to gravitate to felons, frauds, shysters, and creeps: Carona, Street, Rackauckas, Greer, Schroeder, et al.
     He's very pious.
     Mickadeit’s hagiography continues:
     Enter Tom Fuentes.
     As chairman of the Republican Party for two decades, he's had that talk a few times. I've had more than one politician tell me how angry – at least initially – they were when Fuentes told them not to challenge a more-experienced Republican….
     Now, chairman emeritus [of] the county GOP and hobbled with cancer, Fuentes last Friday summoned Carlson and Mansoor to his bedside at his Lake Forest home. Current Chairman Scott Baugh and GOP insider Jon Fleischman were also there.
     "It would be by the grace of God if I were around to vote for one or the other, so if I could offer a little counsel, that's about the best I can do at this point," Fuentes told me Tuesday.
      "We just closed the bedroom door here and had a heart-to-heart. I've been convinced from the beginning that Keith and Allan are more devoted to the cause, the conservative movement, than to their own careers, and I think somebody just needed to remind them of that. I offered my sober reflection as best I could offer it, (in order to) avoid wasting conservative dollars. I don't feel it took a lot of nudging, we just needed an opportunity to lay it out on the table, or the bedspread, as it were."
     In Fuentes' view, Mansoor, a former Costa Mesa mayor and sitting legislator, was clearly in a better position to take on Daigle than is Carlson, who has little name I.D. outside the party.
     "The old chairman was saying we need party unity, and so I decided, yeah, (I'll) step down," Carlson said. "He makes a compelling case. It was not a strong-arm thing; he just wanted unity."
     Yeah, whatever.
     For the sake of balance, check out this article from the LA Times:

 Guiding With an Iron Hand (LA Times; Dexter Filkins) July 11, 1996
     ...The list of people who accuse Fuentes of trying to arm-twist them into abandoning bids for public office includes a host of loyal Republicans: Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer (R-Irvine), former Newport Beach Mayor Evelyn R. Hart, former Superior Court Judge Judith Ryan and management consultant Nathan Rosenberg.
     All of them, at one time or another, sought the Republican nomination for public office. None heeded Fuentes' advice, but only Brewer won the nomination.
     "He said my business would be ruined, and that my husband's business would be ruined," said Ryan, a challenger to U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan for his seat in 1992. "I was taken aback."
     Fuentes calls Ryan's charges "ridiculous," but he does not deny that he tries to dissuade people from running against GOP officeholders.
     "I am staunchly loyal to incumbents," Fuentes said. "I make no excuses for that."....

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