November 23, 2009
In a story yesterday in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper, the new chair of the San Bernardino County Republican Party, Robert Rego, blames the party’s serious woes on, who else? Bill Postmus.
Now everyone knows that Bill Postmus, who served as chair of the county party from 2004-2007, is currently facing legal challenges, and earlier this year battled a damaging drugs addiction. Ouch!
Although Postmus maintains his innocence, his name nonetheless has become synonymous with political trouble.
Therefore it is easy to blame big bad Bill Postmus for the San Bernardino County Republican Party’s present dreadful condition.
But assigning blame on Postmus ignores simple reality. First, Postmus left the chairmanship nearly two-and-a-half years ago. In politics, that’s not merely a “long time,” that’s an eternity. Since Postmus has been gone, San Bernardino County has had five elections.
What Bill Postmus and his team of political professionals brought to the table for San Bernardino County was an effective Republican Party that was loved by GOP candidates and voters and feared by Democrats. Under Postmus’ helm, the county’s voter rolls swelled to a peak of 30,000 more Republicans than Democrats.
These results made San Bernardino County the envy of many GOP operations statewide. Longtime and aspiring Republican politicos courted Postmus’ support and that of his team.
Fundraising records were shattered by the party, and the results were astounding. In 2004, 85 percent of GOP-endorsed candidates won their election contests.
Today, not much is left. Postmus and his professionals are gone, and so is the strength, heart and soul of the local party. The two individuals who had the best chance of bringing back the party’s good fortunes were hounded out several months ago. (Chairman Anthony Adams and Executive Director Matt Schumsky). So all that’s left for the local Republican Party to do is bake a blame cake. And the “leaders” of the party – and I use that term loosely – are taking the easy way out and blaming Postmus and the economic recession.
Yet the recession hasn’t affected local Democrats’ ability to organize efficiently. Nor has it diminished voter enthusiasm at a time when voters nationwide are asking serious questions about the policies of the Democratic Party.
Perhaps Mr. Rego was right that Postmus wasn’t good at coddling certain embers of the Central Committee. But Postmus got results, unlike any chair before or since. Every successful local political party has a strong leader and executive; Postmus ensured that the San Bernardino County Republican Party had both.
It is too early to issue a verdict on Robert Rego’s chairmanship of the party. But if he were serious about rebuilding the party, he could start by looking towards the future and not dwelling on imaginary causes of the party’s current woes.