If the anonymous blogger cloaked behind the site www.mungergames.netever comes out from behind the curtain, perhaps we could have a public debate about Charles Munger, Jr., the donor who paid my filing fee here in San Francisco.
I was not “outed” as one of Munger Minions in the recent hit piece styled, “Whose Filing Fee Did Munger Pay?” so I thought I’d out myself. Should I feel pique that I am so inconsequential a candidate here in San Francisco that the blogger missed me?
The anonymous blogger won’t come out from behind the curtain, and though my SFGOP Chair—Harmeet Dhillon—tried to tear down the soiled drapes of anonymity, the courts weren’t having it. Dhillon lost her lawsuit to expose the blogger, and perhaps should have.
But Munger Games thinks that this beneficiary of $1,600 is kissing Munger’s ring or drinking the “liberal” Kool-Aid he/she is sorely mistaken.
I first met Charles Munger, Jr. when I was driving all over the state in my beat up station wagon fighting for conservatives against Munger’s Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Commission had been compromised by Democrats through Alphabet Groups; MALDEF, CAPAFR, AARC, CAUSE, NALEO, LULAC, APALC, NAACP, ACLU… the permanent non-profit army of progressives. Conservatives were getting hosed. We had no army, just a motely band of windmill tilting Tea Partiers and Central Committee foot-soldiers, playing catch-up on our own dime.
One day, Charles was at the Commission hearing in Sacramento, bow tie and all. I mumbled an introduction then retired to Motel 6 and spent a day surfing the Internet about him. Interesting—I thought—when I was about 40 links deep. We met again, and again. Each time we were wary of each other; the citizen-activist leading the pitchfork brigades and the deep-pockets-donor whose prize initiative was being attacked.
But over the course of the eight months that I made my political bones in redistricting, I began to realize that Charles Munger, Jr.—while not perfect—was nevertheless damned smart. And competent. And dedicated to the cause, the California Republican Party.
Charles is a physicist. It takes intellectual horsepower to get a job at the Stanford Linear Accelerator. But I say “not perfect” because no one is as smart as they think they are in politics. Politics is a team sport that requires many minds in sync, and lots of principled debate to bring the best ideas to the fore. But politics also requires Management. And Charles Munger Jr. is a damn good manager. Let’s look at what Munger has accomplished, with the backing of a broad-based coalition.
- Munger & Co. wiped out massive accumulated debt and is bringing in new donors.
- Munger & Co. got good people elected, and made sure a few bad candidates lost.
- Munger & Co. is building vital infrastructure; GrowElect, CA Trailblazers, etc.
- Munger & Co. is supporting viable candidates and staying out of losing battles like the governor’s race.
- Munger & Co. is financing “suicide” candidates (like me) who put pressure on the Dems
All in, the benefits Charles Munger, Jr. brings to the CRP far outweigh the errs like a ham-handed attempt to change the party platform or an ill-advised, losing lawsuit to out his political enemies.
Charles Munger is a new, de facto political commander because he is willing to spend his patrimony to build infrastructure for a California Republican Party he cares deeply about. The CRP needs people like him if it’s going to recover. If a deep pockets donor in Southern California would do the kind of careful, long-haul party-building work that Charles has done, we might be the better for it as a Big Tent, state-wide party.
If the anonymous blogger behind www.mungergames.net would come out from behind the curtain and engage like a grownup, he/she might ask important and legitimate questions like, “What are the dangers of having Managers or Bosses in politics? What are the dangers of one man putting in more money than anyone else? But also, what is gained? And, is there any other way forward for the CRP?”
I would welcome that debate, as would others. The bottom line:
I am not and will never be anyone’s lap dog in politics. Munger & Co. knew that when they cut my check because they watch people carefully. It is a credit to Charles that he donates to candidates like myself with an independent streak a mile wide.
Munger Games asks, “Can California Republicans – as individual candidates or collectively as a party — take advantage of Munger’s financial largesse without mortgaging their political souls to him.”
I would answer with a resounding, “Yes!”