While what’s said before the TV cameras at a political convention is important, just as important is what goes on behind the scenes in the meeting rooms. That’s where policymakers of all stripes meet and hammer out a political party’s future. That’s what’s going on this week in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention and next week in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.
I saw that first hand at the one national convention I attended, that of the Democrats in 2000 in Los Angeles, which nominated Al Gore to be Supreme Leader. While other reporters were more concerned about the main speakers, I wandered around and listened to the gatherings in the smaller rooms.
The one I remember in particular was Bobby Kennedy Jr. speaking before about 100 Democratic worthies about an aggressive environmentalist agenda that basically would shut down much of American industry. And that’s what has happened, although not to the extent he wished.
One thing happened in an unusual way. In 2003, California recalled Gov. Gray Davis, who actually was a moderate on environmentalism because he had presidential ambitions. In his place deluded California voters, especially Republicans, pumped Arnold Schwarzenegger into the governor’s chair. After governing semi-reasonably for two years, in 2005 he lost a slate of reform initiatives, turned left, and according to biographer Ian Helperin, got bored and turned his administration over to his wife, Maria Shriver Kennedy.
Schwarzenegger quickly signed into law Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which has shut down more industries in the once Golden State than NAFTA, the WTO and TPP combined. The auto industry, once thriving here, has left entirely (except for heavily subsidized Tesla). So has much of the aircraft industry. The state “prospers” only because Silicon Valley companies have dominated the Internet boom.
It came out a year later, in 2007, that AB 32 actually was crafted by Maria’s cousin, Bobby Jr.
More recently, Hillary has ordered, “We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
So what has happened at the Republican convention includes things that might no pay off for years or decades, one hopes in the opposite direction of what the Democrats have done since 2000.