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I read a piece in Politico the other day about how the Republican Party is shrinking, in part because Republicans tend to be older than Democrats, etc., and older people tend to die before younger people. The GOP leadership, being reasonably astute, undoubtedly recognizes the problem and is likely taking steps to address it. Among the first things it will take is to change the membership oath to no longer require newbies to pledge allegiance to Fox News, the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove.
announcement, conference or political campaign

Locally, the party is taking a different approach to build up its muscle. Classified advertising.

The Salinas-based campaign management firm of Paramount Consulting, also known as Andrew Russo, is running ads in the Craigslist employment section seeking Republican candidates for everything from school boards to the state Senate.

Russo doesn’t require an oath but potential candidates “must be pro-business and fiscally conservative.”

“Some record of prior community involvement (is) highly desirable.”

Paramount lists a long list of previous clients who made it into office, including Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal, Congressman Jeff Denham, Salinas school board members Jim Reavis and Lila Cann, former Monterey County Supervisor Judy Pennycook and former Monterey City Councilman Jeff Haferman. That is quite a list but that’s all I’m going say about that.

Also going the Craigslist route is the Monterey County Republican Party, which has been looking for an executive director for quite some time now. That might be because of the compensation. At first I thought it was a typo: $2,500 to $3,000 per month depending on experience. Seems to me that no self-respecting, Democrat-disrespecting Republican would take a job in that range. Maybe it’s a test.

Despite the puny pay, it’s a big job. There are funds to be raised, an office to manage, reporters to be dealt with, interns and volunteers to be supervised, Facebook pages to be fed and a board to be interacted with. The successful candidate has to be skilled in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, DreamWeaver, Indesign, and Adobe Acrobat. Finally, he or she “should have a sense of humor.”

That last requirement is key. The executive director would be dealing with people such as Brandon Gesicki, who placed the ad, and businessman Paul Bruno, two of the most madcap merrymakers to ever try to stuff a ballot box for comic effect.

Brandon “Why Doesn’t Anyone Like Me” Gesicki is one of those campaign managers who will use every trick in the book, every type of deceptive advertising, phony front groups and various intimidation tactics and then tell you he is doing it to prevent the GOP from being taken over by unprincipled people.

Speaking of Gesicki, he’s also advertising on Craigslist for interns for his own office, Capitol Consulting.

He describes it as “an incredible opportunity for anyone wanting to break into public relations and politics.”

The positions are unpaid for three to six months but will turn into paid positions at some point. There is no mention of college credit but, hey, there might be a Republican president by the time the IRS comes around asking questions.

Gesicki says he is looking for someone with good technical skills but he doesn’t mention anything about working on a web site, which is kind of surprising considering that his company’s website is still soliciting clients for the 2013 election and doesn’t include last year’s sheriff’s race as one of his success stories.

On his website, he does make it clear, though, that politics is a “full contact sport” and that “winning is everything.” The part about public service and philosophy is missing from the pages, but that’s merely an oversight. There is a section for  testimonials and I’m sure it will be very interesting when it is no longer  “under construction.”

Come to think of it, maybe I should apply, if not for an internship, possibly the exec director’s job. I have a sense of humor, or at least I did before I became old enough to be a Republican.


blindYou might remember when people used to say, “I don’t vote for the party. I vote for the person” Well, your friendly GOP is trying its damnedest to change that. Apparently Republican politics at the local level is now all about party affiliation, to heck with the persons, their philosophies or their qualifications.

Exactly why they would want to do that is known only to them, but a good example of the practice and its shortcomings is the apparent election of Steve Bernal as Monterey County sheriff. About the only thing the young deputy brings to the job is that big R, as in Sheriff Steve Bernal, R-South County.

Now, new evidence of the grand Republican plan comes from Paramount Communications in Salinas, where veteran campaign manager Andrew Russo is beating the bushes, almost literally, for Republicans to run for local office.

In a news release, Russo said his company is launching a recruiting drive for Republicans who might be interested in running for city councils, school boards or boards of supervisors, and for Republicans donors who might want to see more of their money used locally.

“We see a huge new wave of momentum for Republicans as a result of the historic wins in last week’s elections. We need to bring those successes to the Central Coast,” Russo said.

“Many of our Republican candidates are running and losing because of a lack of funding, organization, and effective campaign management. We are really doing a poor job of building our ‘farm team’ of local candidates.”

Russo said he’s looking for “new blood.”

“We want to go fishing in deeper waters, cast out the net to look for individuals who would be great candidates, but either never gave it much thought or didn’t know how to get started or who to talk to.”

Nowhere does he mention anything about looking for people with an interest in or experience in public service or governance, an interest in addressing society’s ills, in helping to advance their communities or bring people together or solve problems or make the world a better place. Maybe those are solely Democratic traits, or perhaps it is simply true that none of that matters to local leaders of one of the mainstream parties.

You might be under the impression that most local offices are and should be non-partisan. Well, for several years now, the Republicans have been taking advantage of your naivete and have been on a mission to build up the number of mayors and city council members who don’t mind sticking a capital R behind their names.

It’s been written here before but it bears repeating. Monterey County’s GOP chairman, Peter Newman, approached Sheriff Scott Miller before the current political season and made him an offer. If Miller, a registered independent, would register as a Republican, the GOP would back him for re-election. If not, it would find others to run against him.

Miller said no deal, so Newman and associates cast about and found two or three Republicans to run against Miller in the primary. Unfortunately, the least qualified of the bunch, Bernal, came in second in the primary and seems to have edged out Miller in the Nov. 4 voting. The vote count continues.

A few years back, Newman was bursting with pride because most of the mayors in Monterey County were Republicans. I never heard of him bragging about anything any of them had accomplished, but who would care about trivialities when there were so many Rs on the score sheet.

By the way, some of you may wonder why a publication calling itself the Partisan would be bothered by these examples of partisan behavior. It would be a fair question. The best answer I can muster is that partisan has more than one definition. There is, of course, this one: one who adheres blindly to a party. Peter Newman, for example. And then there is the somewhat overblown one I prefer: a member of a band of detached, irregular troops acting behind enemy lines.

And by the way, yes, I would have written this if the Democrats were up to the same kind of nonsense.