When the most bad ass of the Mountain Men, Jedediah Smith, crossed the Sierra Nevada in 1828 it was only a matter of time before some intrepid settlers would follow. California called. The Bartleson-Bidwell Party of 1841 were the first. By 1848 there were enough Americans to allow President Polk to seize California through war with Mexico. The Mexicans living here were called Californios, and they were of two minds about all this. Some wanted to kick all the Americans out and remain part of Mexico. Others, like Vallejo, saw the handwriting on the wall, and were ready to split from Mexico and become Americans. When the Americans, under General Kearny, promised to honor the title held by Mexican landowners, the deal was sealed. Kearny only had to fight one battle with the Californios, the battle of San Pascual. Californios became Mexican-Americans.
Today some of the descendants of the Californios, now called Chicanos, are aggressively asserting their Mexican heritage. But they don’t want to be part of Mexico. Like Vallejo 167 years ago, they know they’re better off being Americans.
The environmental leftists who run this state rely on Chicanos for votes. Very little is given in return. The historic drought we’re in the midst of should change all that. It’s killing the heavily Chicano Central Valley, and the left won’t lift a finger to help. 50% of our water is used to preserve the ecosystem, principally fish. That has to change, and the nutcase left will fight it to the death. The Chicanos are about to find out who their real friends are.
I was born and raised here, and understand Chicanos. When I was 14 a bunch of us decided to make some money doing field work. We hitchhiked out to the Valley and got hired to chop weeds — stoop labor. None of us lasted more than a few hours. When I drive down Highway 99 and see them working the fields I know how tough that work is. All blanco Californians that I know are sympathetic to them. They’re good people. Go see “McFarland, U.S.A.”
And they’re tough, they like to fight. In law school my buddy Tom Pitaro, from Brockton, Mass., home of Rocky Marciano, used to go to the Saturday night fights at the L.A. Sports Arena. The crowd, and the fighters, were all Chicano. We loved it. We even got to see the big showdown fight between Schoolboy Bobby Chacon and Little Red Lopez. He was called Schoolboy because he’d taken a couple classes at a junior college. Little Red was the younger brother of the great Indian Red Lopez. These guys were warriors.
Give a Chicano $30 an hour and you’ve got a Republican. That’s what we want. Once we convince the Chicanos of California that we’re for real, and we start to deliver, we’ll have them. Environmental whack jobs and Chicanos have nothing in common. They don’t belong in the same political coalition.
Representatives Devin Nunes and David Valadao understand that. They’re Republicans and conservatives, but they get overwhelmingly reelected by their Chicano constituents. They are the future of the Republican Party in California
Lew Uhler today told me about a guy who also figured out how to appeal to Chicanos, former Congressman George Radanovich. Like Kasich, he’s of Croatian descent, but he’s lived and labored with Chicanos his whole life. They like him. He had to leave office because of his wife’s cancer, but his district was very similar to those of Nunes and Valadao. He had big wins, easy wins. Lew thinks George wants to run for Governor. If this drought lasts, he’d have a great shot. There is opportunity in crisis, or so we’re told.
Lew talked to his partner in crime, Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute, about the Reagan Initiative. Peter’s staying in D. C. with Stephen Moore of Heritage. Two very bright guys. I’ll be interested in their take.
I’m a big Oakland A’s fan, and go to a lot of games. The crowds are heavily Chicano. When you’re a baseball guy, your fellow fans are your brothers. You high five strangers and whoop it up with everybody, black, white, brown and yellow.
It’s an American game.