Republican donors are pumping new life into a proposed ballot initiative, considered all but dead by Democrats a month ago, that would alter the way electoral votes are apportioned in California to the benefit of Republican presidential candidates.
Though the financing remains uncertain, the measure's leaders said Friday that they were confident they would get the signatures required by the Nov. 29 deadline to qualify the initiative for a statewide vote next June. The effort, begun in the summer by a prominent Republican lawyer, lay in peril in October after its top proponents quit over questions about its financing.
And guess which presidential candidate is (once again) closely related to the people behind this campaign to disenfranchise California's voters and rig the 2008 presidential election for the Republicans?
Last week, a new organization began raising the roughly $2 million thought to be needed to get the initiative on the ballot. The new effort is being spearheaded by David Gilliard, a Republican consultant in Sacramento, aided by Anne Dunsmore, a prolific fund-raiser who recently resigned from the presidential campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Well, that's no surprise given that Rudy's top fund-raiser was behind the creation of a front organization invented for the purpose of funneling cash to the initiative:
The initiative began under the aegis of Thomas W. Hiltachk, a lawyer and a Republican. Mr. Hiltachk quit in September after it was revealed that the effort's only donation at the time had come from a top fund-raiser for Mr. Giuliani, Paul E. Singer, via a remote group in Missouri run by a lawyer, Charles A. Hurth III, who had also donated to Mr. Giuliani's presidential campaign.
The good news for our side is that the polls show that this initiative is doomed to go down to a crushing defeat (as I confidently predict):
When voters are read the title and summary of the proposed initiative, a solid majority opposes the measure - 53 percent would vote NO if the election were held today and only one out of five voters (22%) support the initiative while a quarter of the electorate (25%) is currently undecided. This is one of the lowest levels of support we have ever seen in our polling for a statewide initiative in California.
So why squander a bunch of cash on an initiative that is guaranteed to lose? An editorial in the San Diego Tribune has a possible answer:
It seems plain to us that rather than being undertaken with the goal of siphoning 20 or so of the state's 55 electoral votes for the 2008 Republican nominee, the initiative actually is a calculated attempt to force Democrats to spend tens of millions of dollars or more to defeat it - money that would then not be available for the general election.
This really is the only possible explanation for what the Republicans are doing. This type of dirty trick is the sort of thing that we would expect in Pakistan or Zimbabwe, but not here in the US.
Nevertheless, we will follow this one every step of the way. And we will never tire of spreading the word that the Republicans want Californian votes for the presidency to be counted differently than the other 47 states (excluding Nebraska and Maine which have never split their electoral votes anyway). I can think of no better way to prove to the voters of California that the Republican Party doesn't want their voice to be heard.
Huffington Post has a good story providing the complete history of this dirty tricks campaign by the Republicans.
Go to the Courage Campaign's site: nodirtytricks.com to see how you can help.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!