Tony Quinn argued here yesterday that Steve Poizner‘s campaign was wrong in tying itself to Congressman Tom McClintock because McClintock’s philosophy has failed to win him a statewide race in four attempts.

The Steve Poizner of today is not the same Steve Poizner of yesterday. That may not necessarily be a bad thing depending on why Poizner changed directions. As Benjamin Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention, he changed opinions even on important subjects with “better information and fuller consideration.” However, the Tom McClintock of today is the Tom McClintock of yesterday and that consistency throughout his public life and has set him up as a measuring stick for others to stand by.

McClintock’s conservative line may not move the majority or be enough to capture statewide elections from an electorate that may not want to take bitter medicine, but his analysis of fiscal issues very often has been right on the mark. Remember too, that a couple of his statewide electoral efforts went into overtime, with the final count declaring his opponent victorious coming days after all the other elections on the ballot were decided.

By being the conscious of the legislature as it dealt with the people’s money, McClintock made fellow legislators more cognizant of their actions and that was a service to the body politic.

When McClintock served in the state legislature, on his office wall he always displayed a framed magazine cover portrait of Winston Churchill. Churchill spent years in the political hinterland, his voice and warnings ignored. Like Churchill, who once criticized leadership that relied on the results of a Gallup poll, McClintock cut his own path and does not take his direction from the vagaries of shifting public sentiment.

Which may be a reason he has not captured a statewide office.

However, measuring the value of an endorsement by the number of elections won, I think misses the point. Abraham Lincoln lost many elections, including the fabled battle for the U. S. Senate with Stephen Douglas, before he was victorious.

Someday history will record if McClintock had the ability to win an election larger than a region of the state. Until then, his philosophical standards set him up as a symbol of certain values. Seeking his endorsement is not the kiss of death for a campaign.