Republicans Lay Low During Crisis As Democrats Take Heat : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

COMMENT: Both parties are going to have h**l to pay when everything collapses. Then again, probably not, I find most people never remember who did or said what once the smoke clears.

Republicans Lay Low During Crisis As Democrats Take Heat (AP) --

Republicans from the California Legislature to the White House are standing back as California's Democratic leaders, including Gov. Gray Davis, sweat out the power crisis.

"The last thing anybody would want to do is step onto the Titanic when it is sinking," said California GOP strategist Mike Madrid.

Neither President Bush nor Vice President Dick Cheney has visited the nation's largest state since taking office. State GOP lawmakers have voted against Davis' energy proposals, but have refused to offer their own solutions.

Even Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Jones, who has pledged to focus on energy in his campaign to unseat Davis next year, has not held a single public event since announcing his candidacy in March.

"We intend to let (Davis) do as much as he can to unravel himself," said Shawn Steel, chairman of the California Republican Party.

At all levels, GOP officials seem to be adhering to Woodrow Wilson's political advice: "Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide."

Some Republicans worry the Bush administration's long-term energy strategy offers little relief for California's blackouts and rising electricity rates.

But Chris Arterton, dean of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, said Republicans will do as little as possible to help save California and Davis -- a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.

"If you can keep him dangling on the horns of that dilemma that he is on as long as possible, it weakens him," Arterton said.

State GOP lawmakers have focused on attacking Democratic energy proposals rather than offering their own legislation. Assembly Republicans have held several news conferences accusing Davis of waiting too long to attack the power crisis.

This week, all but one of the 44 Republican state legislators voted against a $13.4 billion bond measure to repay the state treasury for power buys.

The measure passed, but not by the two-thirds majority it needed to go into effect immediately, leaving Davis and Democrats plucking from the budgets of other state programs to pay for power until at least August.

After Davis signed the bond bill, Assembly Republican Leader Dave Cox called it "a dangerous gamble for California -- a gamble Republicans couldn't support without a clear endgame."

Republicans have attacked Democratic energy proposals as "anti-capitalistic," including a proposed tax on windfall profits and potential criminal charges against power generators for alleged price gouging.

Garry South, Davis' chief campaign adviser, calls the GOP's hands-off approach "indefensible."

"This is not just some matter of political positioning. This is about the solvency and the economic future of the state of California," South said. "To be playing games with this just to make cheap political points is a very dangerous game."

Davis lashed out this week at Republicans after signing the law authorizing the revenue bonds.

"The people of California have every right to expect us to put aside this partisan affiliation and philosophy in solving this serious crisis. To date, the Republicans have miserably failed that test," Davis said.

Democrats also are quick to point out that President Clinton visited the state more than 60 times during his two terms, including 28 days after he first took office.

"If the eight years of Clinton/Gore is any indication, President Gore would have established residence in California until the problems were solved," said California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres.

-- PHO (, May 11, 2001


Let the Democrats twist in the wind. They created this crisis. Let them reap the fall-out.

-- Loner (, May 11, 2001.

Neither President Bush nor Vice President Dick Cheney has visited

the nation's largest state

since taking office.

Gee, I thought Alaska and Texas were bigger. Well certainly Alaska. ... Gonna go look that up. They must be largest in something .... :))

-- (, May 11, 2001.

Largest in population.

-- Andre Weltman (, May 14, 2001.

"Let the Democrats twist in the wind. They created this crisis. Let them reap the fall-out."

Governor Pete Wilson (Republican) promoted the "demand side" electricity deregulation in California and signed the bill which required it. Seems he and the Republicans forgot about the "supply side" of the problem. (Economics 101).

As far as the national problem goes, even the current President Bush was blaiming both the Clinton and his father's administration (Republican) for lack of development of a national energy policy. (Although, I must admit it is probably V.P. "Green" Gore who is more responsible than anyone for the current lack of energy nationally than anyone else.) This problem goes beyond politics, but both parties can't seem to have any vision beyond the next election.

-- PHO (, May 14, 2001.

Re: "both parties can't seem to have any vision beyond the next election"

I agree wholeheartedly. From what I see here in Sacramento, it's like the senior officers on the Titanic are fighting over who gets to be captain in the next election. Geez.

The first class passengers are "concerned" but sure that the crew will pull off a miracle and "save" everybody. The second class passengers are hearing ugly things from the third class passengers, so they are sidling toward the lifeboats. Me, I'm trying to learn how to swim.

The heater has been off since March and I still haven't turned on the A/C yet. It's not that I'm saving that many kw on my little house - I'm just trying to get prepared for the big blackouts to come.

-- Margaret J (, May 15, 2001.

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