It's Not Your Mother's GOP Anymore



Republicans vote. Indeed, the maddening dependability of GOP voters has struck fear in the hearts of Democrats in nearly every election. Liberals and progressives have always had to get out the vote to counteract the droves of conservatives who consistently go to the polls. But are those days over? If the current Republican leadership is any indication, it looks as if they could be. It turns out that both the leading GOP candidates for governor and United States senator, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, don't vote, or more accurately, have voted rarely in their adult lives.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, never voted before she moved to California and registered to vote in Santa Clara County in 2000. The 54-year-old didn't vote when she lived in New Jersey or Maryland. The eye-opening report came on the heels of one in June that revealed that once Fiorina moved to the Golden State, she only voted in about one in four elections in which she was eligible to cast ballots. What gives? Her spokeswoman said sheepishly: "She thinks it's wrong not to vote and she regrets not voting."

As for Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, she didn't register to vote in California until 2002 and then after that, she only voted in about half of the elections for which she was eligible. Plus, she didn't even register as a Republican until 2007 - hardly the proven conservative track record that would make veteran GOP voters proud. And her response to this troubling revelation? "Meg makes no excuses," her spokeswoman said. "She should have made the time to vote in the past."

So let's get this straight. The two candidates that GOP leaders have pinned their hopes on not only don't vote, but they readily admit that they don't and acknowledge that they were wrong. That's not the Republican playbook we're used to. It's usually deny, deny, deny, and then blame the radical left-wing for their troubles. The only way to explain the fact that Fiorina and Whitman remain frontrunners is that Republicans must be star struck with the two rich female CEOs. After all, both have strong name recognition and will have plenty of money to spend against their Dem opponents.

But Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown, and Gavin Newsom have to be licking their chops. A sitting senator like Boxer will be especially tough to beat, particularly by someone who hasn't taken her citizenship responsibilities seriously. And both Brown and Newsom, regardless of who is the Democratic Party nominee, will be able to score big points off of Whitman's miserable voting record. At this point, Brown appears to have the best shot. Not only do the polls show the former Oakland mayor with a commanding lead throughout the state, but a recent poll revealed that the attorney general is even winning by double digits in Newsom's home town of San Francisco.