David Hill, director of Hill Research Consultants, a Texas-based firm that has polled for GOP candidates and causes since 1988, has a column posted on The Hill entitled "Overblown GOP apocalypse" in which he asserts the GOP isn't so bad off as the conservative bloggers and pundits would have you believe. Cases in point, he writes, are Florida and California.

"Consider Florida, where the newly elected Republican governor is already so popular that Floridians may forget about Jeb Bush. And the state legislature is dominated by the GOP. ... At the other end of the country, in California, you see a Republican Party that's bouncing back under the leadership of a suddenly stronger and more popular governor."

I've lived and worked in California (formerly as the communications director for the California Republican Party), and I can tell you things in the Golden State aren't all that rosy for the GOP. Consider that they lost Richard Pombo's congressional seat in a district where Republicans hold a registration advantage of 43%-37%. (In every other district, both congressional and legislative, in the state where Republicans hold at least 40% registration, they control the seat.) 

And Republican Congressman John Doolittle nearly lost his congressional seat last November, despite a registration advantage in that district of nearly 18 points.

The state party is $4.2 million in debt, and a fundraiser scheduled two weeks ago to be headlined by Gov. Schwarzenegger was canceled due to lack of interest.

The California state party is certainly better off today than five or six years ago, but it was on the comeback prior to Schwarzenegger. He put Republicans back on the map, but even his cult of personality hasn't been able to elect one single new Republican in the state. Not one. Not even the liberal Republican he appointed as secretary of state could get reelected last November.

All this is to say, don't look to California for signs of hope for Republicans nationally. It ain't there.The thundering horsemen draw nigh.