It seems that whenever I am talking about the state of politics today, the term Principles over Politics pops up. Over and over again, “I wish so and so would remember their Conservative Principles over Politics,” or “I’m so tired of these politicians nowadays who have forgotten about their Principles over Politics.”
Now, I’m fully aware that Politicians usually use politics over principles to STAY in office, but it just aggravates me that they touted those principles to GET into office and as soon as they got there … then crazy unfunded pension liabilities occur … or crazy examples of self-indulgent decadence are built using hundreds of millions of debt.
Where did that term really take root for me? Well, it just happens that decades ago, the late great former Assemblyman Gil Ferguson started up his newsletter and a monthly breakfast appropriately called Principles over Politics. The Group ran past Gil’s death in 2007 officially ending (hopefully temporarily) well before Anita Ferguson’s passing in 2010. The group was good, but it seemed like it took lots of effort to keep the ball rolling, especially after Gil’s passing.
I mention all this because this past weekend, Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Emeritus Tom Fuentes made a special, and surprise, appearance at the California Republican Party Convention to personally receive his Lifetime Achievement Award. He came out guns blazing, going after those Politicians who have forgotten their Principles, and wealthy business leaders who only “play” politics because they have tons and tons of money to burn.
Here is the speech he gave:
Mr. Chairman, honorable and distinguished guests, fellow Republicans, all,
Thank you very much for this honor. I am humbled and flattered by your recognition.
It has been more than 50 years since I walked my first precinct, in Los Angeles – this, the city of my birth – for our Republican nominees in 1960. Ever since, Orange County has been home.
Since that time, I have come to know you; to love our party; and to share wonderful times of work and victories with you. By your kindness, I have enjoyed roles of leadership, along side of you.
Today, as I come to bid you a fond farewell, I ask you to continue your good efforts. Continue to work as we have worked for so many years, together, to foster the noble and wholesome ideals of our conservative cause.
Be not afraid, my friends.
When next you see the likes of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, do not be afraid to reject him. He and his circle were a cancer in our party – a cancer far worse than mine – for which we will long pay a price.
When next you see a candidate who thinks that only money is the way to win, like Meg Whitman, do not be afraid to tell her and her paid henchmen so. Remind her that ideas are demanded by the people. Not platitudes.
When next you see a legislator who is worried only about his re-election or his next move, rather than the growth of our party to a majority, do not be afraid to challenge him to engage in truly building our party.
And, most especially, at this unique moment in time when moneyed special interests are set to gut our party’s traditional conservative platform, do not be afraid to stand firm and tell them that we are not just a party of big business and special interests. We are a party of people, with values and principles that must be defended.
California has become a failed place. The vulgarity and violence that pours out of Hollywood goes unchallenged by our civic leaders. Crime is rampant in the streets. The adulterous conduct of ranking elected officials is common place. Our children are left without heroes and role models. These are social issues that, too, are a part of what must be addressed by a party of leadership.
Do not abandon the unborn and the elderly. Be Republicans.
The Silicon Valley and its selfish sentiments are not what we want as a culture for California. Our party is not just for the rich or elite.
Yes, our numbers are in the minority in Sacramento, today. But, our elected Republican legislators and office holders, across the state, must each and all become vibrant and vocal in their Bully Pulpits. And, we must be there to support them in their vital role of Loyal Opposition. We Republicans have to offer the people real ideas and solutions if they are to join us in victory.
Again, I thank you, for this honor, today.
I ask you to not sell out our party to the highest cash bidder.
My friend,s be not afraid.
Remind Mr. Munger that he has only one vote in the ballot box, just like you and I do. Sustain our platform as a true conservative Republican platform.
Thank you very much.
God bless you all.
And God bless you, too, Tom.