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California GOP governor's race I -- Tom Campbell

September 28, 2009 |  6:00 am

California's State Capitol in Sacramento

As the nation's most populous state, California has even more voters than the new Obama White House has policy czars.

The state's politics and personalities have often been harbingers of trends, policies, tax revolts, etc. that eventually work their way across the country and draw international attention.

This weekend, California's Republican Party held its state convention, a prime podium for its major gubernatorial hopefuls to address party faithful and lay out their initial profile and policy declarations. This included former Rep. Tom Campbell, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and businesswoman Meg Whitman.

They've each been raising money and endorsements for months, of course, with varying degrees of success. But since this is the de facto public campaign start, The Ticket decided to run the unfiltered speech text given by each declared candidate and provided by their staff so that readers can get a feel for who's coming, how they choose to describe themselves at the outset and what to watch for.

We'll publish them here this morning about two hours apart in last-name alphabetical order and add links to each when all are posted.

Campbell's campaign website is here.

As always, feel free to leave your civil Comments at the bottom.

-- Andrew Malcolm

But first, click here for Twitter alerts on each new Ticket item. Or follow us  @latimestot

Remarks by ex-Rep. Tom Campbell to the California Republican State Convention Sept. 25:

What we Republicans all share is a commitment to less government, more freedom and individual liberty. Those are the undying principles of our party and, I believe, the strong ties that unite us more strongly than any primary battle can divide us.

I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself, because there are many new members of our party present – some who weren’t even born when I attended my first....

...California Republican Convention, twenty-two years ago. And it has been a few years since I have been asked to address the State Party Convention; the last time was in 2000, when I was the nominee of our party for U.S. Senate.

I served in the Administration of President Ronald Reagan during his first term. I worked for his White House Counsel, Fred Fielding, then for the Deputy Attorney General, and then as Director of the Bureau of Competition. I left President Reagan’s Administration in 1983.

Six years later, I had the tremendous honor to return to Washington as a Member of Congress. Because the Congress is sworn in on January 3, and the President on January 20, I actually get to say that I entered Congress when Ronald Reagan was President. We honor President Reagan especially tonight, as our state party celebrates the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

I served five terms as a Republican member of Congress.

In my last term as a Congressman, I had to vote on whether to impeach President Clinton for having testified falsely under oath in a federal criminal investigation. My district was strongly for President Clinton, but I did not hesitate to vote my conscience, and to impeach him. One of the House impeachment managers, then Congressman Jim Rogan, spoke to this Republican State Convention in 2000, and told the Convention that my decision to vote to impeach was the linchpin, because so many other moderate Republicans had been holding back.

After my vote, he said, they had the courage to vote their consciences too. Jim Rogan paid with his own seat in Congress for having been one of the impeachment managers, though many in this room worked their hardest for him in 2000. Jim Rogan is a hero. Here’s what he said about me: “Tom Campbell [is] one of the finest public servants I have ever known. I’ll always be proud to have been [his] colleague, and to count myself as a friend.”

Before entering Congress, I was a Professor of Law at Stanford. I was asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Robert Bork to be a Supreme Court Justice. I supported Judge Bork. Sen. Kennedy, God rest his soul, expressed surprise that a Stanford Law Professor would testify IN FAVOR of Judge Bork, when so many other Professors had testified against him. The next year, I ran for Congress, and my Democratic opponent sent out potholders to women voters emblazoned with the caption: “Tom Campbell Testified for Robert Bork.” (I still have one of those potholders to this day.)

Then State Senator, now Congressman Tom McClintock, had this to say about my service as California’s State Finance Director, in 2004-2005.

“Mr. Campbell commanded absolute respect from all sides because he was clear, straight-forward and honest — at times painfully honest — in representing the financial condition of the state. If the state was deficit spending, he would say so; if a measure created a short-term savings at long term expense, he would say so. He recognized that although he was appointed by the governor, he occupied an office of trust that owed a higher allegiance to the people of California. And because of that, he did an exemplary job both of representing the governor and serving the people.

“Integrity is not something that can be proclaimed; it must be demonstrated. And respect cannot be demanded; it must be earned. That’s the fine point of it. Tom Campbell knew that and lived it during his service as finance director. …

“Tom Campbell was assiduous in rising above the political debates that are inherent in the budget process, knowing that his moral authority and credibility as state finance director would be completely undermined if he allowed himself to be used as a political pawn. … He was an honest broker to all who consulted him and as a result he earned universal respect on both sides of the aisle.” (Letter August 17, 2007)

After I had left Congress, Ron Paul, Republican and Libertarian, kindly wrote that I was much missed:

“I must tell you that I miss your presence here as a voice of reason. Unfortunately, the void left by the absence of one as knowledgeable about and committed to the Constitution as you is not easily filled.” (Letter May 21, 2002)

Ward Connerly and I worked together on Prop. 209, to end racial preferences in state government. At this very state Convention, in 1996, I made the motion to endorse Proposition 209, and we carried it from there to victory. Ward Connerly recently had this to say about me:

“There are few individuals in the public arena for whom I have greater admiration and respect than you. For as long as I live, I will remember the principled support that you gave me with respect to Proposition 209. While other Republicans and virtually all Democrats were afraid to stick their necks out in defense of a principle that goes to the heart of American citizenship, namely, equal treatment for all, you were by my side from the outset and your support never wavered. …

"More than anyone else who formed my ‘brain trust’ on this issue, you understood the history of civil rights in America and always articulated the fact that equal treatment for all was a defining characteristic of what it means to be an American.” (Email from Ward Connerly, 8/21/2009)

In 1992, I ran for US Senate, but I lost the primary 38 to 36. Here is what Lou Cannon, Ronald Reagan’s foremost biographer, had to say about that race,

“Mr. Campbell … nearly became a U.S. Senator. In 1992, he narrowly lost the Republican nomination for an open Senate seat . . . . Speaking as someone who covered that campaign for The Washington Post, I believe Mr. Campbell would have won the election had [he been nominated].” (September 27, 2005, introduction by Lou Cannon of Tom Campbell, Santa Barbara.)

As everyone in this room knows, Barbara Boxer won the election that November, and is still in office, 17 years later.

California Republican giubernatorial candidate Tom CampbellRonald Reagan, Tom McClintock, Ron Paul, Ward Connerly, Jim Rogan, Robert Bork, all have stated that I stood with them on behalf of the principles we share. Less government, more freedom, individual liberty.

This year, we are called upon once again to help our state, and our country, by re-energizing those core Republican principles; and nowhere is that demand greater than in the area of fiscal responsibility. We have failed to balance our budget, once again.

Indeed, we have done better. When I was Finance Director, we balanced the state budget, without increasing taxes, without increasing borrowing, and without accounting gimmicks.

I was lucky: when I was Finance Director, we had an excellent economy in California, and our balanced budget was due to the unusually high inflow of revenue, rather than anything I did.

Nevertheless, it was my job to advise the Governor on using his line-item veto; and I did a whole lot of advising. If I am honored to be our state’s next Governor, I would use that tool again, and again.

I would veto each budget down to the level under the old Paul Gann Initiative limits, which used to be our state’s constitutional law. We would not

be spending any more in one year than the previous year, plus only the percentage growth of population and inflation.

When revenues fall, our expenditures would fall. We would create a real reserve, and build it up so that, eventually, and this will take a few years, we would collect taxes one year, let them earn interest, and not spend those dollars until the next year. That one simple shift would prevent us from getting into a budget deficit. We’d know exactly how much money we had to spend, and couldn’t make overly optimistic revenue projections the basis for spending more than we had.

A Governor can do that, if he is willing to exercise the line-item veto. More than any other candidate running for this office, except Jerry Brown, who actually was Governor, I can say, I know what has to be done to pass a balanced budget in government. Because I was part of doing just that.

I was a member of the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress, when the federal budget balanced in the year 2000. I was a member of the Budget Committee of the California State Senate, when we balanced under Governor Pete Wilson. And I did it as the Director of Finance for the State of California, under the leadership of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We must demand that our leaders be specific about paying for government programs, and specific about the cuts they’d make to balance our budget. President Obama recently proposed a health care plan that would cost, by his own admission, $900 billion a year. He said he would find that money by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.

That phrase, “I’ll pay for government by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse,” has also come up in approaches to the state budget. We should never accept that phrase as a substitute for actual numbers. When the President proposes a 900 billion dollar program, we should demand to know what he will cut, specifically, to pay for it. And when one is running for Governor, one should be required to identify exactly where the money needed to balance our current budget is coming from.

It’s no more acceptable to say, “We’ll just cut waste, fraud, and abuse,” in the one case, as in the other. It’s no more acceptable to say, “I’ll tell you once I’m Governor,” or “We’ll run the state like a business, and that will find us the money.”

Four months ago, on May 18, I announced specific plans for cutting $15.4 billion in state expenditures. Shortly thereafter, I identified an additional $2 billion in cuts, as the budget crisis got worse. That’s $17.4 billion in specific cuts, to balance our budget.

This week, one of my colleagues running for Governor announced that this candidate would identify $15 billion in cuts, AFTER the election. Four months after I put forward my specific plans, and two months after the Legislature and the Governor reached a budget agreement, and we still have no specifics about where this candidate’s $15 billion in cuts would come from: except one thing: fire state employees.

The other of my colleagues running for Governor hasn’t even agreed with that. This second candidate has not identified a single dollar of specific cuts. Not one dime!

By contrast, I put out a specific, line – by – line plan to cut from every aspect of state government, more than $17 billion in specific items I would cut; and you can see it today, as you could for the past four months, at Campbell.org.

It’s perfectly fair to criticize my plan: but at least I have a plan, and the courage to defend it, in specific terms. We shouldn’t respect a candidate who criticizes another candidate’s plan for balancing the budget unless they put forward their own plan. Just saying, “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse” won’t do. We should demand no less of the President on health care, we should demand no less from our candidates for Governor on the budget.

In the 32 years since leaving school, I’ve spent 17 in government. Some have tried to call me a career politician. You could more accurately call me a career teacher, because, in addition to the 15 years when I was teaching full time, I taught class even when I was in Congress, and in the State Senate.

The teaching was at Stanford, Cal, and now Chapman University in Orange County. I know government, and I know education. Five of those years in education was as Dean of the business school at Cal, the Haas School of Business. What we did at the School of Business got jobs for thousands of Californians.

We studied business, in our state, and in the states that compete with us. We analyzed how our students could be successful as entrepreneurs, as managers, as accountants, as CFO’s, and as CEO’s. I taught business law to our students, so they would know how to negotiate the many barriers our government imposes on those trying to create jobs in our state and our country.

And during the summers, I taught economics in Africa. I was given a tremendous gift as a young man, a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Chicago, to earn a Ph.D. in economics with Milton Friedman as my faculty advisor. I thought I should try to share that gift with students a continent away, where a free economy is not taken for granted. So I taught free-market economics in Ghana, Eritrea, and Rwanda, on six different occasions.

I have studied business with intensity because that is the job of a Dean of a great business school. I know the effect of job-killing regulations, imposed by government. I have published research on the negative effect that too many lawsuits have on economic growth. And I also have the experience of having been part of President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

He shattered all the norms in Washington by actually insisting that government regulations pass a cost-benefit test before they were imposed on our free enterprise system. That’s exactly what I’d do as Governor: appoint individuals to our state’s boards and commissions who would not let a new regulation take effect unless it passed a cost-benefit test.

And to curb lawsuit abuse, I’d back a law requiring that if you bring a lawsuit against someone else in our state, and you lose, you have to pay at least some portion of the other person’s attorneys’ fees. That will cause you to think twice about bringing a long-shot lawsuit; and that one change would turn businesses around at the state line, and bring jobs back into our state.

Half my professional career has been in government. Half has been in education. Over all those years, I have gone on the record on every major issue facing us, nationally or in our state. I have cast over 5,000 recorded votes. One of the consequences of being on the record is that anyone can go through those votes and find a few, and highlight them, to make me sound like a liberal when I’m running in the Republican primary, and make me sound like a conservative when I’m running against a Democrat.

In 1995, the Democratic National Congressional Committee actually faked a photograph of me and Newt Gingrich smiling in front of a banner saying “Cut Social Security.” Really, it was entirely faked! And they mailed it out to thousands of seniors. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of that might arise even in this primary, especially by those who haven’t been active in the party as long as I have, who might not have demonstrated the loyalty to our party that I have over the twenty-two years since I first declared my candidacy for office. I wish to leave you simply with this thought: it’s not hard to distort anyone’s record, when that record is as long as mine.

I’d urge you instead to trust those who have known me the best, and whose words I quoted earlier in my remarks this evening. I’d urge you to trust the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, which, reviewing all bills and votes cast in the 102nd Congress, rated me the single least willing to spend money. Number 435 out of 435. (It was hard to beat Phil Crane and Bob Dornan, let me tell you. And I might not have won the contest if Ron Paul had been in Congress, but he didn’t return to Congress until the next year.)

I’d urge you to consider who has the best chance to beat the Democrat who will be nominated for governor this June. That Democrat will have a substantial amount of government experience on which to base a claim to governing ability. George Will recently wrote a column about this race, and he concluded “If Campbell is nominated, he can win, but if Californians were sufficiently rational to nominate him, their state would not be shambolic.” (I had to look it up, too. It means, in a state of shambles.)

For the race for Governor, I ask for your favorable consideration. I take nothing away from the two fine individuals, my colleagues, who are also seeking this office. I draw attention to my advantages, and expect them to do the same in their own right. In my case, those advantages are:

•seventeen years in public service, including eleven years as a legislator, and over 500 town hall meetings Probably no skill matters more for a successful Governor than knowing how to deal with the Legislature. Having been a legislator is a huge advantage. The Legislature are not your employees. They are not your board of directors. They are unlike anything you’ve experienced in the business world. (Indeed, they’re unlike anything you’ve experienced anywhere!).

•two and a half years in the Administration of Ronald Reagan.

•a Ph.D. in economics, at the center of conservative economic thought, the Economics Department of the University of Chicago, where my faculty advisor was Milton Friedman.

•service as state finance director, when we balanced the budget without new taxes, new borrowing, without taking money from the cities and counties, or using budget tricks.

•a teacher in the classroom, teaching at least one class a year, for twenty-three of the last twenty-six years, deeply committed to making our schools better by lowering class size, giving parents of modest means scholarships so they can send their children to schools of their choice, including private and parochial schools, and vigorously protecting the rights of parents to home school their children.

•having been the Dean of the University of California Haas School of Business for five years, and brought its ranking to number two in the entire US, according to the Wall Street Journal.

•and one last thing, that you can’t purchase, but must earn, by experience shown over years.

You do not have to guess how I will respond to pressure.

You know how I voted to impeach a President who failed to tell the truth under oath, though my district was against me on that.

You know how I voted to go to war against Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait, though my vote generated death threats against me.

You know how I went to court to try to stop the war President Clinton waged in Yugoslavia because he violated the Constitution in not having the approval of Congress.

You know how I changed the House of Representatives rules so that tax cuts would be scored not as revenue losers but as revenue gainers, when the dynamic economic modeling said so.

You know how I voted against racial preferences when they were sought to be extended in our state to favored groups, further splitting us apart along racial lines.

You know how, as a business school dean, I gave preference to no one seeking admission because they were wealthy, or well connected, or of a particular race or political view.

I have given a lifetime, not just a year or two, devoted to the classroom and to the service of the state and the country we love.

If I ask for your help now, it is because I believe you share that love of California and the United States of America, and join me in thanking God for the exceptional privilege of calling California our home.

Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America and the great state of California.   ###

Photos: California state Capitol, top, and Campbell. Credit: Associated Pres

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