Commentary: California's GOP is its own worst enemy

The Republican tsunami could inundate California.

Maybe Republican Meg Whitman will defy the latest polls and defeat Democrat Jerry Brown for governor. Republican Carly Fiorina could catch Sen. Barbara Boxer. Some Republican candidates on down the ballot might win office.

But if the Republican ticket ekes out wins, it won't be because of the California Republican Party. The party that produced two presidents in the second half of the 20th century is in deep trouble now by any measure.

Public attitudes: Dim.

Registration: Sliding downhill.

Fundraising: The party would face foreclosure if it weren't for a billionaire angel or two.

Intraparty splits are everywhere. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stung activists three years ago when he told a GOP convention in Palm Springs that "we're dying at the box office."

Rather than take to heart a message from a guy who knows a thing or two about marketing, the party all but disowned him – as it has done with others who fail to follow the orthodoxy.

Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove, whose endorsement is coveted among California Republicans, refuses to bless Whitman's candidacy for governor. He thinks she is too squishy on important issues, like Proposition 23.

McClintock and the California Republican Party endorsed Proposition 23, the initiative funded by out-of-state oil and coal companies that would overturn California's climate change law, AB 32.

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