Dana’s Slither

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When I’m bored, I play a game called Slither.io.

In basic terms, you’re a snake. And you chase around glowing balls, eating as many as possible. As you consume the objects, you grow bigger and bigger and bigger. But you need to keep gorging to survive. Otherwise, well, you don’t last.

In political terms, Dana Rohrabacher has turned himself into the snake, and Twitter posts are his balls. Throughout June and July, the soon-to-be-retired congressman kept Tweeting out his recent moves and deals. For example …

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And …

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Only, here’s the thing: It’s all nonsense.

Rohrabacher has been in office since 1989, and he’s done insanely little to justify his salary, his status, his perks. I’m not just saying that as the liberal purveyor of this since. Throughout his entire career. Rohrabacher has sponsored four bills that were passed. Four.

That’s it. That’s all.

So what’s a congressman to do when he has no record? Create a record on the quick. Make it seem like he’s doing a lot. Look! I’m a busy guy with a busy calendar! Just check on these Tweets! Busy, busy, busy!

Well, don’t fall for it.

What we have is a nervous politician facing a uniquely strong candidate in Harley Rouda.

What we don’t have is a capable representative.

Wah, wah, wah—I’m Dana, and media hurts my feelings

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Having spent the past 2 1/2 decades working in journalism, I watched this exchange between Dana Rohrabacher and a bunch of reporters and thought this singular thing: Wah.

Wah.

Wah.

Wah.

Poor wittle Dana, calls a big bad press conference to discuss an issue on his mind, then doesn’t like it when the mean reporters with their poopy mouths dare ask him questions related to something else.

It must be “Fake news,” because—heaven forbid—Dana Rohrabacher ever take a serious question from a reporter who doesn’t lick his shoes.

God, this stuff infuriates me. And not as a Democrat. As a human, and as a writer. The job of representative comes with certain conditions, and one of those is you speak with the press and you take their questions.

Dana rarely does this.

Perhaps with good reason.

We should beat Dana Rohrabacher

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Something hit me today. Hit me hard.

We should beat Dana Rohrabacher.

That doesn’t sound overly profound, and I suppose it isn’t. But for all the talk of Rohrabacher as this candidate with money, as this candidate in a Republican stronghold, as this savvy incumbent—well, he’s utterly preposterous in pretty much every way.

Set aside the Hawaiian shirts, the marijuana, the sloppiness, the awkwardness. Like, let’s not even delve into that.

For all the years he’s served in congress, Dana Rohrabacher has sponsored four bills that have passed. Not four bills this year. Not four bills this decade. Four bills—ever. Think about that. He was first elected to the House in 1989—nearly THIRTY YEARS ago. And over those three decades, he’s accomplished so staggeringly little even Republican supporters have a hard time arguing on his behalf. They’ll note his “conservative principles” and “willingness to stand by the president.” But ask that for accomplishments, and here’s the face you get …

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In and of itself, that’s a tremendous issue for Harley Rouda to hammer. But it gets a million times stranger. It turns out Dana Rohrabacher is, bluntly and plainly, a Russian friend, supporter and enabler. That’s no hyperbole. A former Ronald Reagan speech writer, Rohrabacher now goes to bat for Vladimir Putin ever chance he gets.

The latest example: A few days ago, after Maria Butina was exposed as a Russian spy who traded sex for political gain and influence, Rohrabacher stepped up to call the charges “bogus.”

Yes, bogus.

So what if the Department of Justice is certain? So what if Butina has no credibility? Dana Rohrabacher will not be denied his chance to defend his country.

It’s insanity.

Only it’s not insanity.

It’s Rohrabacher.

This is our election to have. Yes, far-right zombies will back Rohrabacher. Because, well, they’re far-right zombies.

But he’s an awful candidate.

Dana Rohrabacher: Dumb, simple, naive

In case you missed the news, Dana Rohrabacher is dumb, simple and naive.

Yes, that’s the news. But I need to explain.

Last night Showtime debuted the new Sacha Baron-Cohen series, “Who is America?” It’s basically a continuation of “Borat,” with a significantly greater political twist. Famous for his myriad characters, Baron-Cohen travels the country disguised as this person and that person, trying to get people (often important people) to slip into accidental honesty. The end result seems to be quite funny, though I have v-e-r-y mixed and uneasy feelings about the level of duplicity that goes into these sorts of projects.

Wait. I digress.

The debut episode has Baron-Cohen disguised as Col. Erran Morad, a pro-gun Israeli anti-terror expert. And he comes to America to promote the idea of arming school children (as young as four) with semi-automatic rifles as a way of keeping bad guys away. And that sounds preposterous—until a conga line of Republicans and pro-gun sorts not only nod in agreement with “Morad,” but do filmed promotional spots. Among the duped are Trent Lott, Joe Wilson and … and … and …

Dana Rohrabacher.

Yes, our Dana Rohrabacher.

His quote: “Maybe having young people trained and understand how defend themselves in their school might actually make us safer here.”

Yes, our congressman believes arming 4-year olds could be a wise move.

Quickly, let’s count the things that are wrong here …

• 1. As I just noted, our congressman believes arming 4-year olds could be a wise move.

• 2. Our congressman agreed to say so on TV.

• 3. Our congressman was easily duped.

• 4. If our congressman is easily duped by something like this, what else does he fall for?

Jesus, it’s preposterous.

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Dana Rohrabacher is insane. Truly insane

Watch the above interview.

Seriously, watch it.

Then watch it again.

Dana Rohrabacher is insane. Absolutely, positively batshit crazy.

This is a man who once worked for Ronald Reagan. Hell, was one of the 40th president’s biggest allies. And now—Heeeeeeey, sure Russia tried to mess with our election. But we mess with elections, too. So what’s the big deal?

It’s stupefying. But also telling. You’re listening to the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist. Not a guy with suspicions. Not a man who has done his research. A conspiracy theorist, throwing out his ideas based on shadows and far-right rumors.

This is our congressman.

Think about that.

This is our congressman.

Dana Rohrabacher and Holocaust deniers

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There are times when it’s OK to go negative on your opponent, and times when it’s not.

For example, if the person you’re running against has children who have battled addiction, it’s a big no-no. If the person you’re running against has a wife who used to go to therapy, also a no-no. We are all human, after all, and flaws and quirks and tough times hit everyone from time to time.

That said, if your opponent rolls with Nazi sympathizers and white supremacists, well … it’s on.

Enter: Dana Rohrabacher.

In case you somehow missed this, last year our congressman brought a Holocaust denier to meeting with Rand Paul. The thing’s name is Charles C. Johnson, and while he identifies—innocently—as a “journalist,” he is actually one who has argued that the number of Jews killed by Nazi Germany was closer to 250,000, not 6 million. In a since-deleted Reddit discussion, Johnson also argued that the Auschwitz gas chambers were not real. To quote Johnson: “Why were their swimming pools there if it was a death camp?”

This is Rohrabacher’s colleague and friend. And, truly, it comes as no surprise. I’ve witnessed Rohrabacher marching side by side in Huntington Beach with white supremacists. Knowingly. Apparently happily.

If I’m Harley Rouda, this isn’t just a talking point.

It’s an advertisement.

Shit just got real

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Your friends don’t care about local politics.

Your colleagues don’t care about local politics.

Your relatives don’t care about local politics.

Well, nothing is local in 2018.

And shit just got real.

In case you missed it, Anthony Kennedy just announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, presenting the right (and its Emperor) an opportunity finally overturn Roe v. Wade—the longstanding stated goal of conservative America. This is not hyperbole. This is not exaggeration. Unless something batshit crazy happens, Donald Trump will do his all to appoint a justice who will join the effort to end legal abortion in America. This will, of course, be. return to coat hangers, to back alleys, to shame, to … you get the idea.

Well, here’s what you can do: Fight for Harley Rouda.

Fight hard.

No, congressmen don’t have a say when it comes to judges. But they are the ones who speak on your behalf. Their voices are supposed to be your voices. They’re the ones who confer with our senators; who express opinions that resonate.

Right now, we are represented by a man (Dana Rohrabacher) who kneels at the feet of Donald Trump; who refuses to argue/fight/disagree when it comes to the president. He will be perfectly fine to see abortion made illegal. He doesn’t care. He’s indifferent. He’s all about Russia. And survival.

We need our voices heard.

By someone who will listen.

How to run against Dana Rohrabacher

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Praise Jesus—we have a Democrat facing Dana Rohrabacher come November. And he is, in this website’s opinion, a man with a legitimate shot at winning a seat that feels more and more blue-likely as the years pass.

So how can Harley Rouda overcome Dana’s demographic and financial advantages? Here are a bunch o’ thoughts:

A. Be smart about who comes to speak for you.

You’re in a unique spot, where national Democrats will likely want to come and stump on your behalf. A good candidate is smart about these things. Here, on a 1 (shit) to 10 (take it immediately!) are potential endorsees:

Barack Obama (10)—Duh

Joe Biden (10)—Double Duh.

Kamala Harris (9)—No brainer.

Any Republican officeholder (8 1/2)—Would be hugely helpful.

Bill Clinton (8)—Still carries swagger.

Corey Booker (6 1/2)—Can’t hurt.

Diane Feinstein (6)—Lotta baggage.

Elizabeth Warren (5)—On the one hand, she’s badass. On the other hand, Republicans will run photos of you side by side on mailers.

Bernie Sanders (3)—Wrong message for the 48th.

Hillary Clinton (2 1/2)—I would understand the temptation. But bang for buck not there. You need to sway Republicans. She’s toxic.

Nancy Pelosi (1)—Don’t touch it.

B. Dana Rohrabacher’s achilles isn’t as obvious as one might think.

Life is a crapper, and Donald Trump is polling at 45 percent. That’s not very good, but it’s not enough to sink a ship. So while I’d certainly portray Rohrabacher (rightly) as kneeling and obeying all the whims of King Donald, I think there’s a MUCH bigger winner here: Dana doesn’t do anything.

Shit, in all these years he’s proposed, what, three bills? Even worse, he’s never here. Never at office hours, no town halls. A representative, by definition, represents. So where is he? I think that’s a very powerful and real take. “Vote for me, and I’ll be here. I won’t duck you when times are tough. I won’t dodge. I’ll hold town halls EVERY [FILL IN THE BLANK] months. I work for you—whether you voted for me or not.”

C. Don’t give in to amateur temptations.

Specifically, the ol’ show-up-at-Dana’s-office-to-see-if-he’ll-debate show. That shit only serves to remind voters that you’re the wanna-be and your opponent is the King Bee. It looks silly.

D. Show that you’re ready to roll.

Say what you want about Donald Trump—throughout the election he made it clear that he had big plans come his first day in office. Copy that, because it’s smart. Dana has done shit. But you’ll do X and Y and Y and X. You already have a staff. You already know this and that. Make your win feel inevitable, and inevitability is all the more likely.

E. Speak to Republican groups.

If they’ll have you, go. Ask for 10 minutes at the Whatever Town Republican Club meeting. Be humble. Open by admitting you know they probably won’t vote for you, but that if you win you’ll represent their needs, too. Pick three or four issues that they’d agree with you upon, and stress those. Every vote counts in these races. If you pick up one or two of 10 Republicans, that’s a huge swing.

F. Don’t run soft.

Bring the hammer. Be aggressive. Don’t overthink. Be yourself. You’re a sharp, smart, handsome, accomplished dude. Dana is a rumply napkin.

Own it.

Be it.

Win it

What we know on June 6: Winners and losers

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Well … that was a crazy night, no? First it seemed as if Scott Baugh might join Dana Rohrabacher to shut Democrats off the 48th ballot. Then it looked—somewhat convincingly—that Hans Keirstead would be the second candidate, and our party’s standard bearer.

Then, when many were in bed, Harley Rouda surged. At this point (9:37 am), he is the presumptive candidate to take on Dana in the general election. “Presumptive” doesn’t mean definite. But it feels increasingly definite.

Here are my thoughts:

• Thank goodness I’m a moron: I was convinced Dana and Baugh would be the last two  standing. I mean, I was r-e-a-l-l-y convinced. It just seemed as if the Democrats were cannibalizing themselves with too many candidates, too much in-fighting, stubbornness, wayward messaging. But then a couple of things happened:

* Baugh was a pretty crap campaigner: He just felt invisible. And the charisma that I worried about never materialized. Never, ever.

* Harley Rouda’s team REALLY upped its late game: This was a pretty palpable thing. You could feel an increasing sense of “If there’s gonna be a Democrat, it’s this guy.” Now, that didn’t mean he’d top Baugh. But as time passed he stole Hans’ momentum.

* Trump. He’s simply unpopular. And while we still live in a Republican stronghold, it’s not (with some exception) a Mississippi-esque Republican stronghold. What I mean is, most Republicans I know in these parts are college educated, bright, astute. They loved Reagan, liked Bush Senior, tolerated Bush Junior. But are they cheering at a president who behaves like a toddler? No.

 

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* There are winners and losers to consider, so …

WINNER: Dana Rohrabacher—Let’s not get cocky. He’s the incumbent and he’s the frontrunner. There was no drama last night for the incumbent. Not even a sliver. So while he’s as vulnerable as ever, this is anything but a sure thing for the Democrats.

LOSER: Omar Siddiqui—There was a time when Omar seemed respectable, decent, fair-minded. Was he going to win this thing? No. That was never a real possibility. But he brought some gravitas to the debate stage, and people appreciated it.

Then, something changed.

Even when it was clear he couldn’t win, he kept pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing. He complained the media wasn’t covering his “surging” campaign fairly. He kept talking about all the Democrats saying he should leave the race because his name and ethnicity (I call bullshit). Then, a few days ago, he did this …

For me, that’s it. Dude, you go on Fox News? Fox News!? And how about naming names? Because you never do. So tell us, exactly, who said these things. Pathetic, embarrassing, wrongheaded. I won’t vote for him—for congress, for dog catcher. Nothing.

WINNER: Laura Oatman—Ran a pretty strong campaign, then realized she couldn’t win and wound up serving as a model of grace and insight. Whereas others (Omar, Rachel Payne) allowed ego to overtake logic, Laura dedicated herself to ousting Dana, not propping herself.

LOSER: Scott Baugh—Has to be hoping Dana loses in the general. Because he’ll be the Republican frontrunner in 2020. But … not a good night.

WINNER: Paul Martin—Distant fourth in Republican field, but such a classy, decent, kind man who truly wants his party to return to the sanity of the Reagan years. And if you’re a person thinking, “Wait, Reagan was sane?”—well, think about where we are in 2018. Paul is just one of the best around. Has been my pleasure getting to know him.

LOSER: Rachel Payne—Never had a shot. Like, never, ever. Yet it wasn’t long ago she was Tweeting excitedly about her name being atop the ballot. Like Omar, I will never support her.

WINNER: Aaron McCall—The Indivisible 48 frontman has done a truly remarkable job keeping his shit together through trying times. An admirable man with a bright future in politics. Or, put different, were I running for something, I’d hire him immediately.

WINNER/LOSER/MYSTERY: Harley Rouda and Hans Keirstead—One of these two Democrats is going to be facing Dana in November. And (seriously) whatever happens, y’all need to sit down and work out your shit. I mean that in a huge way. We need Dana out. You’re both smart, talented, reasonable men who share overlapping beliefs on the issues. Come to my house. We’ll barbecue and talk Dodgers.

Let’s win this thing …

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The end. Or the beginning

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Well, we’re just about here.

Tomorrow is the primary, where we—as Democrats, as independents, as sane inhabitants of California’s 48th congressional district—decide our collective fates.

As most everyone knows, two people will be selected to run in the general election. The two could both be Democrats, could both be Republicans, could both be independents. There could be one Dem and one Republican. Truly, the potential combinations are endless.

But, as we sit here, let’s be very real.

If I’m betting my life on a result, it’s that the two to emerge will be Republicans Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh. I hate, hate, hate, hate the thought, but we Democrats needed discipline, integrity, intelligence, savvy to be certain one of ours wind up on the ballot. Too often over the past year (or so), we have failed to meet those measures.

However …

There is a realistic chance for a Democrat to oppose Rohrabacher. Honestly, there is.

And that Democrat is Harley Rouda.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Rouda has been a better candidate than Hans Keirstead. And that’s not knocking the other major Democrat in the race. Hans is an accomplished guy; probably a decent guy. I’ve got no beef whatsoever. But he … just … can’t … win … this … thing. The wind is against him. He’s neither charismatic or inspiring. He’s been a flawed candidate from the start, but the Party initially made the mistake of backing his run. That was a colossal blunder.

So—in what may well be (but hopefully is not) my final entry as Crazydana.com—I beg of everyone to go to the polls tomorrow and vote Harley Rouda.

We don’t just need this for the district or the state.

We need this for the country.

We need the win.