California Republicans invite Democrat to assess state of GOP

March 14, 2013

The Sacramento Bee

In a bit of cognitive behavioral therapy — or masochism — leaders of the California Republican Party have invited a Democratic strategist to a retreat this weekend to tell them, more or less, how bad they are.

The strategist, Garry South, has been highly critical of the Republican Party’s inability to adapt to California’s changing demographics, among other failures. Republicans hold no statewide office, and party registration has fallen below 30 percent statewide.

“It’s a pretty depressing presentation if you’re a Republican,” South said. “So I may have a doctor on hand to issue Prozac prescriptions.”

South and former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, the new chairman of the state Republican Party, are colleagues at the government affairs firm California Strategies, and for several years they have made joint presentations to various groups about politics in California.

“For years, I’ve read and listened to Garry South’s diatribes against Republicans, sometimes when he was sitting at my elbow on panels,” Brulte said in an emailed statement. “I thought I would put him to the test and see if he would be willing to say the same things in a room full of Republicans, to their faces. To my surprise, he agreed.

“South said his presentation to CRP board members in Ontario on Saturday will include no advice about a potential recovery, only an account of how low the state Republican Party has fallen.”I don’t think it’s helping them,” South said. “It’s the same presentation I’ve given to everybody from the dentists to the insurance agents.

“South chuckled, said he’s looking forward to it and added, “I’m wearing my bulletproof vest.”