- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2002

Former Reagan White House adviser Lyn Nofziger, in breaking with California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon, broadened his criticism Friday to include Republicans in general for a misguided political expediency that confuses breach of faith with voter outreach.
Mr. Nofziger, who was briefly an adviser to the Simon campaign, criticized what he called Mr. Simon's "stupidity" in executing a double flip-flop on homosexual issues.
Mr. Nofziger said he has a message for "my friend ah, former friend Bill Simon and my former friend Sal Russo," who is Mr. Simon's most trusted consultant and strategist in his beleaguered campaign for California governor.
"I have reached the point where I am sick and tired of Republicans who don't stand for anything or who say something on one day and the opposite the next day," Mr. Nofziger said.
"Why should I vote for [expletives] like these?" he said.
Mr. Simon had opposed virtually everything former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan stood for, including abortion and homosexual rights, in the Republican gubernatorial primary early this year.
But last week, in what Republican critics in California described as a desperate bid to enlarge his base of support, Mr. Simon said he would, as governor, proclaim a "gay pride day" and support recognizing "domestic partnerships," including between homosexuals.
When prominent traditional-values conservatives in the state hit the roof, he denied that he had changed his position. He said he never read a questionnaire that had been filled out, with his signature, and returned to the Log Cabin Club, a pro-homosexual Republican group.
Mr. Simon suggested his signature had been forged on the questionnaire but didn't say by whom. Mr. Russo then claimed responsibility.
However, Mr. Russo said Mr. Simon was simply enunciating support for rights for a domestic-partner law in general, which could include but did not specifically address homosexual unions and so was not really the departure from the original Simon position that critics thought it was.
"Simon is doing what Republicans from Nixon on did run to the right for the nomination and to the center for the general election," said Mr. Nofziger, a Washington-based consultant and California native. But the former aide and adviser to Ronald Reagan suggested that strategy has its limits.
"What my friends in the Republican Party don't understand is that they think us conservatives have no place to go, so they can abandon us," Mr. Nofziger said in breaking publicly with the Simon campaign. "But we do have a place to go, and it's spelled h-o-m-e."
In Mr. Simon's case, the advice from Mr. Russo to flip-flop on the homosexual issue was a "slap in the face" to religious conservatives, said Mr. Nofiziger, and was the last straw. He had kept quiet about earlier Simon missteps.
"What does Simon do with this kind of trick?" Mr. Nofziger said. "Yeah, he may pick up a few Log Cabin Republicans but he loses as many or more voters like me who say, 'Yeah, you betrayed us.'"
Earlier, Mr. Nofziger had written that California voters "can re-elect an inept, corrupt incumbent Democrat named Gray Davis. Or they can elect an inept, weak and not very bright Republican named Bill Simon. Take your pick. But be smart. Bet on Davis. Simon is too dumb to win, and his senior consultant, Sal Russo, isn't much better."
Mr. Nofziger said that Simon campaign chairman John Herrington who is now vacationing in Europe had asked him to advise the campaign. Mr. Nofziger spent a few days in July with the campaign but said he couldn't remain in California because his wife was not well. He returned to the Washington area and said he never got a call from the Simon campaign after that.
After winning the primary against Mr. Riordan and Bill Jones, the Republican secretary of state, Mr. Simon failed to make headway against Mr. Davis in a variety of polls over the last six months and has actually slipped in the latest Field Poll.
The Aug. 23-Sept. 3 poll of 765 likely California voters found Mr. Davis leading by 38 percent to Mr. Simon's 31 percent.


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