TOM FUENTES’ final days will be noisy and difficult.
I know nothing about his family life. I’m thinking only of his “public” life—his life as Tom Fuentes, Political Animal.
It appears that this animal is dying fast.
The local political machine he helped develop and maintain is in trouble.
Some of the Fuentesphere’s more prominent champions of rectitude have fallen spectacularly, leaving decent people to wonder just who would ally themselves with them in the first place?
And, during this endlessly-shocking post-Bell era, the system of mutually-supporting leech-leadership with which Tom is so closely associated is coming into public view. The public, still unclear about what it sees, is initially aghast.
But there’s more: Fuentes’s curious private affairs—his peculiar “consulting” gigs and their relation to public service, and even his private business (etc.) relationships—are themselves under scrutiny, revealing, well, disturbing darkness.
My guess is that the full Dark Serpent that is Tom will only become clear some time after his passing.
Today, I came across a little speech Tom made about a year ago during an event of the ultra-conservative Pacific Research Institute. It reveals one head of Thomas the Hydra.
(You remember PRI. Just a few years ago, Fuentes protégé, Raghu P. Mathur, invited PRI’s Lance Izumi to give an address during a Chancellor’s Opening Session. The address came after the prayer.)
|Leechleadership: writhing &|
thriving(?) in the Fuentesphere
How to Bring the Gold back to the Golden State
Saturday, March 20, 2010
690 Newport Center Drive
Moderator: Steven Hayward
Introductory Speaker: John Eastman
. . .
Keynote Lunch Speaker:
Short Discussion: Can the California GOP Regroup and Save the State?
Moderator: Tom Fuentes
Well, here are Tom’s remarks (listen to them yourself, starting at 6:04):
The bottom line is of course: we need to win elections.
Presently, Republican voter registration has reached a low of near 30% in California. Less than one out of three Californians declare themselves to be members of the GOP.
A party needs people.
We meet today in Orange County, where our neighbors include some 800,000 Hispanics, reflective of the ever-growing Latino population statewide. You know, we know, in Orange County, when we have many, many new Asian neighbors, we Latinos begin to buy car insurance. [Uncomfortable laughter?]
Nearly one out of three Orange Countians—some of you are little slow on [getting the joke]—nearly one out of every three Orange Countians is a Roman Catholic. Black and Hispanic voters voted “yes” on proposition 8 [i.e., the Eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry act of 2008]. Yet some suggest that our party should move way from the traditional, conservative social values so appealing to these communities and to the growing Asian population as well.
Earlier this week, in this same county, a few here attended the first debate by the two leading Republican candidates for governor. It was hosted in an invitation-only exclusive setting at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Samueli Theater, where the public and the general membership of our party was excluded. Members of the New Majority PAC, who pay $10,000 a year as dues, were invited to the exclusion of rank and file Republicans. [The New Majority is “Orange County's group of supposedly progressive millionaire and billionaire Republicans” (see) who have sought to moderate OC’s image. Starting in the 90s, they sought to unseat Fuentes as chair of the local party. By 2004, they succeeded.]
The state is in a fiscal and political crises as we come to the end of the failed Swarzen-Jaeger [sic] administration. [Fuentes has always hated the former Governator: See.] Unemployment is skyrocketing, businesses are leaving California every day. Multimillionaire candidates are vying to carry our party’s banner in November.
While the Tea Parties are growing in the streets, the old specter of a boardroom-controlled Republican Party of the rich is being raised again. And all of this is happening amid the deepest recession in our memory.
Moneyed special interests have ever-greater influence in the affair of our party. No debate between the top candidates for governor was presented at the California Republican Party convention. The control and direction of our party have left the floor of the convention, with its volunteers and activists, and founds its ways into the offices of a governor–a governor who has a liberal Democrat chief of staff. [Fuentes had his start as a grass-roots organizer, in the 60s, when OC was more notorious for its right-wing conservatism.]
He who controls the purse strings controls the party.
High paid consultants have their say. Outside PACs raise money from the business community and little of the money finds its way into the coffers of the official party. PAC directors collect large salaries while the candidates and the local party operations are under-funded. The Governors’s appointee for the Lieutenant Governor seeks to allow Democrats to select our Republican nominees.
So the question that we put to you gentlemen is: can the California GOP regroup and save the state?