Sacramento . . .
Brian Dahle, the new Assembly Republican leader, just thumbed his nose at grassroots party activists. He announced a leadership team that’s a who’s who of “Republicans In Name Only.” That’s his prerogative, of course, but the lesson the Assembly GOP learned from the ouster of former leader Chad Mayes is to double down on the same strategy of making nice with the Democratic leadership.
After Mayes and six of his Assembly colleagues voted to extend the governor’s cap-and-trade law by a decade, the Republican grassroots was furious. Prominent county party leaders called for Mayes’ ouster. Mayes not only went along with a deal that may increase the price of gasoline by 63 cents a gallon by 2021, but that he seemed so proud of what he had done.
Mayes bragged about his “bromance” with Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Los Angeles. He posed for photo ops with the governor. He lectured conservatives about how the party has to change. The Republicans finally yielded to political pressure and replaced Mayes with Dahle, from the Redding area. Then instead of ameliorating the rift with conservatives, Dahle made these leadership appointments that are likely to infuriate Mayes’ opponents.
For instance, Mayes is still a prominent part of the leadership team. He was appointed assistant Republican leader. The new deputy Republican leader is Rocky Chavez, the Oceanside Republican who voted for the governor’s deal and is probably the most liberal legislator in the GOP caucus. (Chavez, for instance, received a 75 percent rating out of 100 from Planned Parenthood and a 29-percent vote from the California Labor Federation.)
Dahle also named Heath Flora of Ripon as assistant Republican leader. Flora is closely allied with the state’s labor unions. The other choices won’t ruffle feathers (Frank Bigelow as deputy Republican leader, Phillip Chen as yet another assistant Republican leader, Jay Obernolte as Republican caucus chair and Marie Waldron as Republican floor leader).
I’m not sure the point of all these redundant titles, but I am sure of the point that the Assembly leaders are making. They are staying the course, and if the party’s activists don’t like it, it’s too bad.