LOS ANGELES, California — Amidst growing alarm at low Republican affiliation in California, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tried to rally party members to unify at the state GOP convention last weekend.
“We climb in the boat together, we row together. I don’t care where you come from in the [Republican] party, we all row in the same direction,” said McCarthy in an address that struck a different, less controversial note than that of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who had delivered a ‘presidential-style’ speech just hours before.
Walking in to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,'” McCarthy reflected on his 2006 election and Time magazine’s report of a dismal Republican Party image in 2007. He then said, “In four years we won the majority. Four years later become Majority leader. This November we’re probably going to take the Senate.”
Transitioning to California’s downtrodden state, he continued, “I tell you that because that same thing can happen here in California.”
He singled out the governor’s race, derided incumbent Democrat Governor Jerry Brown and plans for high-speed rail, then stated, “So If you ask me who I’m voting, I’m votin’ Neel.” Neel Kashkari is the Republican candidate opposing Brown in the November election.
McCarthy continued: “[W]e’ve got ’em [California Democrats] right where we want ’em. The idea that they think they have everything.” He said, “I’ll make an argument, this isn’t a debate so much about Republicans and Democrats, it’s what this country is gonna be able to do.”
Paul’s noontime speech Saturday had punched home criticism of Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi scandal, as well as President Obama’s recent actions regarding ISIS.
McCarthy, by contrast, looked to history, speaking at length of the significance of three paintings of Lincoln, Reagan and Washington in his office. He reflected, “There’s many nights I’m there late and when I look up I wonder what advice would these two men [Lincoln and Reagan] give us today?”
“If you want to know the question of the day of what we need from you is that we join together, we climb in the boat together, we row together. I don’t care where you come from in the party, we all row in the same direction.”
“I think the climate is right, think the opportunities are there.” He continued, “Just as in 2010 they questioned whether we could do it. If we just don’t stop believin we’ll make it happen,” McCarthy said.