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).
Sooooo … earlier today the San Francisco Chronicle published a profile of Dana Rohrabacher.
Here’s the link. Trust me—read it. This is new level stuff; the sort of material that, in the pre-Trump world, would serve to eliminate a candidate from any future public office. Back in the old days of, um, 2015, a human couldn’t be this outspokenly batshit insane and thrive in the political world.
But here we are, in September 2017, facing the potential 16th term of a man who …
A. Is convinced the violence in Charlottesville was caused by a former “Hillary and Bernie supporter” who got Civil War re-enactors to gather violently while pretending they were angry about a Robert E. Lee statue. “It was a setup for these dumb Civil War re-enactors,” Rohrabacher told Joe Garofoli, the writer. “It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation” and to “put our president on the spot.”
B. Thinks Russia had nothing—absolutely nothing—to do with our 2016 presidential election. “That story,” he said, “is a total fabrication in order to do one thing: To prevent Donald Trump from exercising the legitimate authority he was given by the voters in the last election.”
C. Is itching to cut a deal with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who he visited this past summer at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Is there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dana Rohrabacher since the inauguration of Donald Trump, it’s that he’s terrified of Daddy.
Rohrabacher won’t criticize Donald Trump.
He won’t speak up on issues that are important to Donald Trump.
He certainly won’t oppose Donald Trump.
That means, when the president officially announces tomorrow that he plans on ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Dana Rohrabacher won’t utter a peep. He won’t complain, he won’t gripe, he won’t rip, he won’t bemoan.
He’ll stay silent.
Why “fantastic”? Because, with the exception of his beloved Huntington Beach-based skinheads and wanna-be Nazis, most everyone in Southern California has empathy and understanding for people who were brought here as children. I’m being serious about this—I know many Republicans, but I know (literally) zero Republicans who think we should deport people who arrived (with no say) as children; who have never actually lived in the nations they’ll be deported to.
It’s a mean, vicious thing the president is about the do, and Dana Rohrabacher will—100-percent guaranteed—sit back and grimace.
Well, that grimace is a poster. It’s a commercial.
There are many questions I woke up knowing I’d ask myself in the course of the day.
For example …
Where are my car keys?
Is LeBron really leaving Cleveland after this season?
Can the kid next door please stop playing his saxophone?
Here’s one I didn’t see coming …
Why is my congressman posing with a white supremacist?
I mean, with Dana Rohrabacher nothing truly surprises. But this one did catch me off guard. See the above photograph? See the guy in the beige jacket? That’s Dana Rohrabacher, standing on the steps of the London-based Ecuadoran embassy (aka: Yet Another Place That Isn’t Southern California). See the guy in the gray suit with the Zach Galifianakis vibe? Yeah, that guy. He’s Chuck C. Johnson—better know as Chuckie (to his cousins) and (to the rest of society) as the racist alt-right blogger who was banned from Twitter in 2015 for soliciting donations to “take out” a black activist named DeRay McKesson. Back in the aftermath of the Garland, Texas shootings, Johnson bragged (on Twitter) about crossing the police line to take pictures because “I don’t like waiting behind caution tape.” He has said there are no rape victims until a rapist is convicted. He put out this …
And this …
And this …
On Twitter he linked to both anti-Semitic and white supremacist accounts.
Again, why is Dana Rohrabacher posing with this creature?
There is this thing Dana Rohrabacher does, and he’s ridiculously good at it. I’m going to use a hypothetical example to illustrate …
Reporter Jim: “Congressman, some people have said you’re blindly loyal to Donald Trump. Is there any truth to that?”
Rohrabacher: “You know, Jim, I’ve been doing this a long time. And it will never cease to amaze me, the depth liberals will go to discredit me. But here’s the thing—while I’m working hard for the good people of Orange County, they’re always off on these wild goose chases. And people are smart enough to recognize what it is. Crazy far-left lunacy.”
It’s Rohrabacher: 101. He uses the reporter’s first name to show, hey, I’m on your level. We’re two dudes talking. He avoids answering the question. He deftly feeds his loyal followers anti-liberal red meat, while also reminding the general populous that, look, I’m just a guy trying to get things done, while the opposition is a bunch of nuts.
It sucks. But, again, he’s really, really, really, really good at it.
I bring this up because earlier today Rohrabacher was in the news again, this time for having met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Now, any human being with a head should be horrified by the above information. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, if you’re left, if you’re center—why in God’s name is Dana Rohrabacher, a California congressman, meeting with Julian Assange? And why, oh why, is he so desperate to clear Russia’s reputation—even after multiple United States intelligence agencies have confirmed the very thing (election tampering) Assange is denying?
It’s craziness. Fruit Loop craziness. And were I running against Rohrabacher, I’d want to use it 1,000 times over.
But … here’s the thing. Thanks to the Donald Trump-influenced numbing of our souls and brains, stuff like this (groundbreaking material that must horrify us all) no longer packs the punch of yesteryear. Assange? Meh, old news. Russian tampering? Yawn. I mean, sure, it’s a fine rallying point for the base. But will it sway Republicans to vote Democratic? Probably not.
Here, however, is what might.
We, the residents of Orange County’s 48th district, did not elect Dana Rohrabacher so he can be the Russian spokesperson. We didn’t elect Dana Rohrabacher to meet with Julian Assange. We did not elect him to deal with Turkey, to square off against the Ukraine, to take a trip to South Africa.
No, congressmen and congresswomen exist because we, the people of their districts, have specific needs—and they are our spokespeople. If I don’t like the way traffic flows through Main Street, I should be able to call Rohrabacher and get help. If I think the coyote population is out of control, I should be able to call Rohrabacher and get help. If I’m worried about common core, about the new mall, about social security impacting my family … on and on and on and on. I need to be able to reach out to my congressman and have my concerns eased.
At one time, perhaps that’s who Dana Rohrabacher was. But not now. The man is horrible at returning calls and e-mails. He rarely makes himself accessible to constituents. He basks in the national while ignoring the local.
It’s his 2018 Achilles heel, and it’s an enormous one.
So, were I running against him, I wouldn’t campaign on the specifics of Russia.
No. I’d campaign on the question: “Why, when my property taxes are through the roof, is my congressman visiting the Ecuadorean Embassy in London?
The silence of Dana Rohrabacher is nothing new, and those who have tried to …
A. Have him return a phone call.
B. Have him return an e-mail.
C. Have him hold an in-person town hall.
… know his willingness to engage and interact equals Jared Goff’s willingness to complete two passes in a row (Ouch. Sorry Rams fans).
When dealing with those who share his lunatic views and/or are extending huge wads of money, Rohrabacher is the Energizer Bunny. Otherwise, however, he is your typical political coward; concerned more about the upcoming election than doing the right thing.
Which leads us to Charlottesville.
In the aftermath of the ugliness, and in the aftermath of the president of the United States all but standing up for Nazis, Klansmen and their sympathizers, Dana Rohrabacher has been (wait for it … wait for it …) absolutely silent. That’s right—not a word, not a peep. His Facebook page hasn’t been updated for days. His Twitter feed—nary a peep.
Why? Because, like Donald Trump, Dana Rohrabacher does not (under any circumstances) believe in calling out racist asshole pigs. Hell, let’s go back to
As you read this, we are increasingly on the brink of some sort of nuclear confrontation with North Korea.
Now, back when I lived in New York, this would be (from a selfish standpoint) horribly, horribly, horribly upsetting news.
Here, in California, it’s all that—and then some.
See, according to most reports, North Korea already has the capabilities to reach California with a nuclear weapon. If that doesn’t freak you out, it should. A. Because Kim Jong-un is one unstable motherfucker. B. Because Donald Trump is also one unstable motherfucker.
I wish I were exaggerating those points, but I’m not. And if you need proof, just read over the news from the past few days, when the little man (Jong-un is listed at 5-9, which means he’s probably 5-5) and the little-handed man have played a which-country-will-perish first game of Who Has the Bigger Dick? Bingo.
Now, of course, Southern California is—in part—Dana Rohrabacher’s turf, and our congressman also appears (or at least brags about it) to have a close relationship with the 45th president. So one might think Rohrabacher would speak up. Or have opinions on the matter. Or, in his role as a foreign policy guy, offer vital input that might guide our nations away from confrontation.
Well … um, no.
Rohrabacher, being Rohrabacher, has uttered nary a word. And why? Because he has no game, and he’s never been a player. It’s all about perception with this guy—occasional flareups during testimony, occasional appearances at local store openings. And then …
… into hiding.
I assure you, when the bombs are falling on Huntington Beach, Dana Rohrabacher will be in a bunker, cowering in the basement and crying over the Obama plot to ruin the United States.
So I took a little break from posting here, because, well, this stuff can get pretty heavy. And in my absence I started thinking about the sad political reality of the increasingly new normal.
Here’s what I mean: A few days ago Donald Trump said the head of the Boys Scouts called and raved to him about his jamboree speech. The Scouts quickly denied this communication ever took place.
In other words, the 45th president of the United States lied.
Like, made it up.
Like, invented something that did not happen.
He actually lied again a few days ago. Alan Shipnuck, my friend and former Sports Illustrated colleague, was the one who reported on Trump calling the White House “a dump.” I’ve known Alan forever—he’s one of the best. Well, Trump said it never happened, chalked it up to #fakemedia.
Again, he lied.
Made it up.
Now here’s the messed-up part: This stuff is barely getting covered. It comes, lasts for a blink, then vanishes when different bonkers material arrives. The end result is a universal desensitization to stuff that would have doomed other political figures.
Why do I bring this up? Because in 2018, the playbook for running against Dana Rohrabacher is subject to change. Russia is an Achilles heel—but are people still interested in the subject, or numb? His oddball statements on Mars—I mean, preposterously dumb. But we’ve heard so much preposterous and dumb the past six months … will it stick?
I don’t know the answers. But a conventional game-plan won’t work.
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.