The congressman for California's 48th district wants you to think he's a supercool surf dude who feels your pain. He's actually a Russia-loving, Trump-worshiping coward who avoids his constituents as if they carried a deadly virus. Heck, try giving him a call. You'll never hear back (Unless you're pledging a big donation).
As more and more newspapers, magazines, websites, Tweets, Facebook posts discuss Dana Rohrabacher’s increasingly obvious ties to Russia, it seems wise for those running to replace him to ask (loudly) a fair question: Does the man do anything for OC?
I’m actually being serious, because I’m drawing a blank. As a congressman, his first priority is supposed to be the district he represents. But aside from attention ribbon cuttings and floppy chicken fundraisers, when’s the last time you hear Rohrabacher actually discuss the 48th district in any meaningful way?
Answer: It’s been a long time.
So, yes, Russia is important. His loyalty to Grand Master Trump is important. His disinterest in the environment is important. His nut job statements are important. But, at its core, the upcoming election might come down to a singular pointed question: What have you done for your constituents? Then, a follow-up (after he babbles and blathers): What, specifically, have you done?
It’s an attack line without a solution; a pin to his manure-stuffed bubble. If we can show the residents of our beautiful stretch of California that their congressman is an all-talk-no-action fraud, we take his legs out from under him and change the narrative of this thing.
It’s a winning strategy.
PS: In case you missed this. Dana held a $2,700-a-head fundraiser at the home of Fariborz Maseeh. Dude can’t hold a town hall, but this … hey!
I christened this website “Crazy Dana” because I consider many of Dana Rohrabacher’s policy decisions and stances to be crazy. Yet I am but one man, and many of our fellow District 48 residents seem to disagree. They like how Dana supports Trump; how he doesn’t believe in man-influenced climate change; how he mocks liberals and digs surfing.
In short, they find him sane and reasonable.
Because of this, one of the challenges for next year’s election comes in convincing those on the fence that Rohrabacher isn’t merely misguided, but three dimes short of a dollar. That, my friends, was made considerably easier earlier today …
During a Tuesday afternoon hearing before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rohrabacher asked a panel of space science experts (wait for it … wait for it) whether there was civilization on Mars in the past, and if life on Mars might be possible now.
I am not joking.
In particular, this was a gem:
Rohrabacher:“You have indicated that Mars had, was totally different thousands of years ago. Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?”
Kenneth Farley, project scientist for NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 Project: “So, the evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago. There is no evidence that I’m aware of.”
Rohrabacher:“Would you rule that out?”
Farley: “I would say that is extremely unlikely.”
Here, take a gander …
The reaction, as one would expect, was mass ridicule on social media. Rohrabacher was mocked on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram. It became the day’s running joke, and rightly so.
And here’s the thing: We need to use this. The opposition can’t merely run on Russia, on climate change, on Trump. Those are feed-the-base issues, and while they’re important, they don’t generally relocate voters from one side of the booth to the other.
What’s powerful, though, is the (very real) idea that the man representing us (you and me!) is a buffoon; a national cartoon character making us look like a gaggle of idiots.
As you read this, we have seven people officially running to unseat Dana Rohrabacher in the 2018 congressional election.
This is far too many.
Although a good number of our liberal/Democratic peers and colleagues live in a state of odd denial, unseating Rohrabacher in the 48th Congressional district is a major uphill battle. Can it happen? Certainly. Is it likely to happen? Honestly—no. As we speak, Republicans maintain an 11-percentage point advantage in the district’s voter registration. Although that’s down from 15.5 percent four years ago, it’s still sizable. And Rohrabacher—for his 854,422,453 flaws—remains both well-funded and relatively liked.
Again, this wouldn’t be an easy win were we to offer up a singular opponent.
With seven, we’re making things particularly difficult.
I’ve been following the district closely. I’m also unaffiliated, and work for no candidate. I believe, ultimately, we’re best served by a thinned-down roster of candidates. The more isn’t the merrier, but the messier.
Were I to rank the entrants thus far, on best-to-worst odds of pulling off the upset, it’d go thusly …
• 1. Harley Rouda: Definitely the most organized thus far, and he’s raised a chunky wad of cash. Is conservative enough to pull from Rohrabacher, but liberal enough to maintain the Democratic base. That said, there are a good number of grumblings about his past support of John Kasich, and his YouTube ads (while well done) aren’t being seen by many people. A mere 210 views here, a mere 810 views here.
• 2. Hans Keirstead: He’s a pioneering stem cell and multimillionaire businessman (aka: can fund his own campaign—a huge plus). He also knows more about health care than all the other candidates combined. That said, he A. Was born and raised in Canada; B. Is heavily science oriented in a race that probably won’t be won and lost on said issues; C. Has surprisingly low name recognition for a man who’s been here a long time.
• 3. Laura Oatman: Smart, savvy Laguna Beach-based architect. This is going to sound shallow and dumb, but there’s a weakness here that troubles me: To quote from her website bio—”I had started eating plant-based to regain my health naturally. When I saw my results, I wanted to help others, so I went back to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and California College of Ayurveda. I wrote the Amazon bestseller, Whole Earth Diet, and started my second business, Whole Earth Wellness, helping people across the country to help them get well and stay well naturally.”
Now, as a liberal and as a healthy eater, I love this. But—and it’s a big but in the world of perception politics—to win this election, our candidate will have to sell himself/herself to non-liberals; to folks who generally view us as climate-nutty, afraid-to-hurt-any-feelings granola “snowflakes” (a word I hate, for the record). Is it crap? Sure. Does it suck? Absolutely. Is it our regrettable reality in 2018 within a conservative district? Yes. And I’m not entirely sure that Laura’s bio (impressive as it is) flies across the spectrum.
• 4. Omar Siddiqui: The latest entrant has an interesting resume (attorney; son of Pakistani immigrants; Fullerton native) and it’s actually somewhat easy to imagine Rohrabacher uttering xenophobic slurs his way during debates (it’s a Dana speciality, and would probably help Siddiqui). That said, he’s REALLY conservative, and stands out (negatively) as a guy insisting the Democrats need to work with Donald Trump. I’ll give him points for originality, but anyone in favor of/sympathetic toward the 45th president is likely voting for Rohrabacher.
• 5. Tony Zardakes: He’s an American Airlines pilot and a former marine. Those make him very interesting. But (and, again, this probably sounds overly simplistic) his website is a WiX site, which one creates for free with a simple template. There’s a nonsensical photo gallery, including one image of Tony holding what appears to be a rifle and a dead duck. I’m not trying to be a jerk—but it just feels like a Class A ballplayer trying to break into the Majors.
• 6. Brandon Reiser: He’s actually running as a Libertarian, but his positions lean hard liberal. I just don’t see the traction here, and it’s not merely the 102 Twitter followers. If you’re going to make a dent as a third party candidate, you have to somehow leap off the page. I’m not sure he does.
• 7. Boyd Roberts: Your crazy uncle comes over for Christmas and says, “Guess what! I’m dating Halle Berry!” Everyone nods and returns to their lamb and potatoes.
By now everyone reading this is aware of Donald Trump’s Twitter assault on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. It was the news of the day, and his sexist, grotesque verbal barf bag was repudiated by dozens upon dozens of political leaders from both sides of the aisle.
And here, in his exact language, is what our congressman, the honorable Dana Rohrabacher, said:
Yes, that’s correct. He said nothing. Not one word. Not one grunt. Not one murmur. Nothing.
Know why? Because Dana Rohrabacher never, ever, ever stands up to Donald Trump, or stands up for what’s right if it means opposing his party. There are no stands based upon courage; no powerful righteous moments.
Dana Rohrabacher stayed quiet because that’s what he does.
Like you, I want Dana Rohrabacher to lose his job.
Like you, I find the man embarrassing, repulsive, sad, bitter, petty.
Like you, I am offended by his history with Russia; his limited interest in civil rights; his blind obedience to Donald Trump.
That all being said, I fear we anti-Dana activists are starting to trap ourselves in a hole that, come 2018, will be hard to escape from. Here’s what I mean …
We keep repeating the same things. Russia. No town halls. Loves Trump. Russia. No town halls. Loves Trump. Russia. No town halls. Loves Trump. Russia. No town halls. Loves Trump. Russia. No town halls. Loves Trump. Russia. No town halls. Loves Trump. And, yes, they excited/enrage us.
But I don’t actually think they’re enough to move the needle. Dana has his loyal supporters and Dana has his bitter detractors. In the middle there’s this enormous blob of District 48 voters who just … don’t … pay … that … much … attention. They’re dependable voters who come out and pull the lever the same way every single time.
Sadly, more of those folks vote for Dana than against him.
So here’s what we really need to do between not and Election Day 2018: Register young voters, and more young voters, and more young voters. I don’t exactly know how to go about this in a grand scale, but someone does, and he/she might wind up being the difference between another two years of Rohrabacher and a fresh progressive face.
We have to simultaneously increase our numbers and pump out the messages that make winning possible.
Received the above photo from a reader, along with this e-mail …
Just shared a flight with Dana from LAX to Dulles in DC. Didn’t speak with him but on the shuttle to baggage claim I grabbed this picture and also listened to him on the phone. He was proudly proclaiming, as if the person on the other end was highly skeptical, that he has been “Trump’s biggest supporter in the House”. I’m not sure of the context of his conversation, but he sounded incredulous that anyone had the gall to question his unwavering support to Trump.
Would rather not have my name associated with it, but feel free to use the photo or anecdote if helpful for your Crazy Dana site.
So earlier today Bill McCarty, a resident of California’s 48th District, posted video on the Indivisible 48 Facebook page of a recent encounter he had with Dana Rohrabacher at something called the “world-record paddle-out event” in Huntington Beach. The congressman was posing for pictures along with a red, white and blue surfboard. McCarty decided to use the opportunity to speak up.
McCarty: “Good morning, Congressman, I certainly hope you’ll have a public town hall and very soon.”
Rohrabacher: “We’ve had thousands of people already [inaubible].”
McCarty: “Well, we’d like to have one in public for sure.”
It should be noted that Rohrabacher was polite and courteous. Then, out of nowhere, a woman steps forward and says, “OK, this is not the time.”
McCarty: “Well, actually we can’t ever talk to him so …”
Woman: “Make an appointment. Here—here’s my card.”
She then hands McCarty a business card and notices he’s filming Rohrabacher with his phone. She wags her finger and adds, “And I don’t consent to being filmed.”
McCarty: “Well, that’s alright. You’re in the public anyway so it’s not really …”
Rohrabacher then finishes posing, faces McCarty and says, “Thanks for being courteous. Across the country the people that have been demanding them haven’t been courteous. Thank you for being courteous.”
Now, this is interesting.
The woman’s name is Constance Towers. She’s a relatively recent UC-Riverside grad who has worked as Rohrabacher’s district representative since the later months of 2015. Here’s a big chunk of her resume …
I have no personal beef with Constance Towers. Hell, I don’t even have a political beef with Constance Towers. We don’t agree on issues. Hey, it happens.
What troubles me about the exchange is the nonsense “Call me to schedule an appointment” garbage. If we know one thing by now, it’s that Dana Rohrabacher doesn’t take appointments with people who disagree with his world view. He doesn’t meet with environmentalists, scientists, Democrats, liberals, Obamacare backers. He treats us (those who don’t share his beliefs) as lepers, to be kept at a far distance.
Towers knows this. I mean, damn, she’s out front. So don’t BS. Don’t deceive. Don’t say “Call us” when you know the call won’t result in anything fruitful.
Here’s a strange thing about Dana Rohrabacher: He runs as if he only needs Republicans to vote for him.
Seriously, it’s the damnedest thing. Most politicians—especially in local races—make certain to try and woo all potential voters. Sure, they play to the base. But there’s an awareness that you’ll need some crossover; that it’s almost impossible to win with solely the backing of one party.
Well, here’s Dana’s latest campaign letter. Why would any liberal or Democrat EVER support him? It’s clear what he thinks of us …
We don’t break much news here at crazydana.com, and I’m not even sure if this constitutes “breaking news” in the realm of Orange County politics. But it has been relayed by multiple sources that Hans Keirstead, a stem-cell biologist who worked at UC Irvine for nearly 1 1/2 decades and sold his Irvine-based California Stem Cell Inc. for $214 million, is entering the race to oppose Dana Rohrabacher in 2018.
This means we now have three serious candidates for next year’s election. There’s Harley Rouda, the local businessman who has the most momentum thus far. There’s Laura Oatman, the architect who entered a couple of months after Rouda.
And now there’s Keirstead.
I’ve dined with Harley, and I very much like/admire him. I’ve DMed with Laura and I very much like/admire her. But both suddenly have good reason to be concerned. Politics is about issues, yes. And politics is about making human connections, yes. And politics is about endorsements and rubber chicken dinners and handshakes and backslaps and resumes and appearances. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Sadly, what politics is mostly about (at least electoral politics) is money. Lots and lots and lots and lots of money. As I noted in my last post, Rohrabacher will soon be hosting a $2,700-per-head fundraiser. And while I find this distasteful and an indictment of our system, I can’t blame the man. Survival in Congress means an every-other-year battle of contrition. It’s soul sucking and spirit draining, and it means always holding a hand out and begging for seconds. I neither like nor admired Dana Rohrabacher, but I can sympathize with this specific task. In short, it sucks.
Well, Hans Keirstead won’t have to beg or grovel or devote the majority of his hours to fundraising. He can easily afford the $500,000 (or so) it takes to run a competent congressional campaign; he can purchase all the ads he needs, and focus squarely on taking down the hollowed tree that is Dana Rohrabacher.
Does this mean he winds up the candidate? No. Positions matter; personas matter; mojo matters. There’s a long journey, and many wealthier men (and women) have found themselves poorer and with nothing gained.
In case you’re wondering what we’re up against in 2018, Dana Rohrabacher is holding a fundraiser on June 25.
It costs $2,700 per person.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I don’t know, exactly, what the solution to this problem is, because most of us probably don’t have $2,700 to spend on a political campaign. But it’s worth noting that people who give such lavish amounts tend to expect stuff in return. Access. Deeds. Action.
Dana has been a puppet for wealthy conservatives for a long time.