Editorials

Reality aside, McClintock delights the Sandusky crowd

California delegate Shari Clark and Texas delegate David Covey bow their heads in prayer at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
California delegate Shari Clark and Texas delegate David Covey bow their heads in prayer at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Los Angeles Times

Rep. Tom McClintock brought ’em to their feet at the Kalahari resort in Sandusky, invoking Ronald Reagan’s name. Reflecting the tenor of the crowd, two-thirds of whom are new to national conventions, he proclaimed a new Republican Party.

“If the royal families of the Republican Party don’t like that, that’s tough,” McClintock, who endorsed Trump in May, told the 172-member delegation, plus alternates.

The remark was rich, given that the California Republican, who turned 60 last week, has been in the California Legislature or Congress for all but a short period since 1982, and has run for statewide office numerous times.

But never mind. There’s the truth, there’s the whole truth, and, perhaps following the lead of their presumptive nominee, there is the truth that people at national conventions tell themselves.

This Republican National Convention is unlike any before it, not least in its varying interpretations of reality. The blue state of California is front and center, even though it is housed 60 miles outside Cleveland in Sandusky. The convention crowd is supposedly loyal, though the proceedings had scarcely begun Monday before Trump opponents engaged in a noisy but short-lived parliamentary kerfuffle.

The California delegation is united behind Trump. Sacramento’s own Doug Ose, a Trump partisan and former Republican congressman, served as co-chairman of the rules committee, and used his knowledge of the rules in a series of votes last week to ensure that any challenge would be stymied. “United” is a strong word, though. Ose and McClintock, for instance, have a fraught relationship.

When Ose was elected to Congress in 1998, he promised to serve only three two-year terms. Unlike so many other politicians who claim to support term limits, McClintock included, Ose honored his pledge and stepped down at the end of his third term in 2004.

When a congressional seat opened up in 2008, Ose gave it another go. But then California state Sen. McClintock, who represented the Thousand Oaks area of Southern California, packed his carpet bag and headed north, vanquishing Ose in a muddy primary.

McClintock is embedded in a solid red congressional district that runs from Tahoe to south of Yosemite, even though he still lives in Elk Grove, which is represented by Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat. But never mind. Given the heavily Republican registration in the 4th Congressional District, McClintock is safe for years to come.

National conventions are, by nature, optimistic. The nominee is surrounded by supporters, and bold promises are made.

Sacramento-based consultant Tim Clark, Trump’s campaign manager in California, sat in a suite at the Kalahari, a pool table in the background, cold pizza on the kitchen counter, and said Trump promises to compete in California. He has contact information for more than 100,000 people who have promised to help. If only one in 10 comes through, Clark would have a formidable force to make calls, knock on doors and get out the vote.

Of course, Trump trails by 30 points in the latest Field Poll. But hey, it’s a party. Why let facts get in the way of hope?

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