Dana Rohrabacher finally held a town hall last night. You can listen to it in its entirety above.
OK, it wasn’t a “town hall,” per se. He didn’t stand before his constituents in a room and defend his viewpoints. Why? Because according to Rohrabacher, the organized and paid agitators would arrive en masse to cause trouble and make a mockery of the affair. So, instead, he held a “telephonic” town hall—meaning people asked questions via phone, and he answered them.
First, to his credit (and I’m not being sarcastic when I say that), Dana Rohrabacher answered a ton of questions. The thing was scheduled for one hour, but lasted nearly two. He addressed his stances on immigration, on health care, on taxes. So, again, I do commend him for doing this.
That being said … the crazy in “crazydana” is not misplaced. Rohrabacher says Donald Trump was right to suspect that Obama directly ordered his office to be wiretapped. He compares Russia to, um, Chicago (and Putin to former Mayor Richard Daley). Yes, he concedes, Russia probably hacked our election. But, hey, you should see all the countries we hack! (He also inexplicably said there is no no Russian aggression in the Baltic. Um, Estonia? Kaliningrad?).* He believes we can solve our immigration problem by having anyone who wants to come to this country first pay $1 million. He says there are “millions” of illegals voting, and that the solution to ending illegal immigration is by not providing these people with health care (aka: If you’re illegal, and you get hit by a car—tough shit).
He took a bunch of questions on the new proposed health care legislation—and had about as firm a grasp of the bill as my dog. It spoke to both Rohrabacher’s ignorance on the subject (He repeatedly said he’d support it if it’s better than Obamacare. And, since he’s been dumping on Obamacare since Day One, you can bet your life on his support) and his jarring indifference to the suffering the new plan would—by nearly all accounts—cause.
Anyhow, here are some money quotes …
• RESPONDING TO A QUESTION ABOUT THE SYRIAN BAN—AND HOW SCARY AND SAD THE CALLER BELIEVED IT TO BE: “It will be more scary when someone is coming down the street killing your family because you wouldn’t cover up. I’ve just seen your daughter out in a bathing suit and she’s obviously saying something bad about Allah, and I’m going to kill these people. I will tell you there are nut cases in the Islamic world who would do just that. They do it overseas. They go into beaches! Into beaches! And start slaughtering people. I’m sorry to sound so adamant about this—but it’s your life and the life of your family. And somebody has told you to take that lightly. When we have a radical Islamic movement in this world. Obama even refused to use the word—radical Islamic terrorist—and these people mean to murder us in great numbers in order to terrorize our population into retreating from the world. That’s not some sort of paranoia myth out there. You can see it in different parts of the world every day.”
• ON CIVILITY: “I never saw anybody, even the Tea Party people, booing people down. Joe Wilson was sitting right in front of me when he said to Obama, ‘You lie.’ I was horrified. in fact there’s a picture of Joe … you can see me right behind him with this horrified look on my face. I worked in Reagan’s White House, and Ronald Reagan was the consummate man of paying respect and to actually treat people in a courteous way. But I have not seen the Republicans booing people down. When Obama won the last election there was nobody saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to resist. We’re going to disrupt his presidency right off the bat.’ Or ‘We’re gonna go around and try and intimidate members of congress into not supporting Obama’s program.’ We didn’t do that with Obama, and they shouldn’t be doing that with Trump.”
• ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: “We have 2 million people coming here … it depends on what year it is … who are coming here illegally. And why are they coming here? You say the wall won’t stop them. I don’t think the wall is the only answer, but I think it will be part of the answer. What is most important is for us to make sure that people who are here illegally do not get any government benefits like this health care we are talking about. They cannot be included in getting free health care coverage, or everyone in the world will come here. And we’ve given them incentives. We hear this stuff about The Dreamers—kids who come here illegally … they need to know … they didn’t want to bring themselves. But if we give the kids who are here a free education who are here illegally, we’re telling people all over the world, ‘If you love your family, get to the United States and make sure you bring all your kids with you.’ We’ve been giving incentives for people to come here, break our law. They take jobs and they take benefits. If we just eliminated that the wall wouldn’t be as necessary.”
• ON MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL VOTERS: “I believe there are millions of people who are voting illegally and who are here illegally. But they’re voting illegally … lots of people are voting illegally who are just not citizens here. That doesn’t mean they’re here illegally. It means unless you’re a citizen you don’t have the right to vote in our elections. And I believe there are a large number of votes cast in the last election … that were basically people who were not legal to vote. We need to cut that off. Because they are basically stepping on the rights … damaging the rights of American citizens to determine who will represent them. Quit trying to cower from people who say, ‘Oh, that must be racial discrimination.’ No.’ … We need to protect the integrity of our system.”
• ON RUSSIA: “Russia is only one country in the world. It certainly isn’t the worst despotic country … it’s more like Mayor Daley’s Chicago political machine, which ran Chicago in our country for so many years. Or some of our pretty tough guy political machines that ran our country and still do in some of our cities. The fact is—were the Republicans in collusion? I think the Democrats are so focused on this because it, in some way, gives them some comfort in understanding that they didn’t lose the election/ That the American people voters did not reject them. I have read the actual wording of the various reports where intelligence services have said there has been Russian hacking. This has not been proven … that it was Russian hacking. And, but, some of our intelligence services are saying it could well be. And that could be something the Russians could have done. But there are always caveats with all these reports.
“With that said, if the Russians did hack and they did give the information to the American people, the information provided by those hacks were out of a personal computer that could have been hacked by anybody. And if it was so important … if this is so important to the security of our country … something we’re claiming, how can these leading Democrats … both Hillary and other people in that campaign who are part of the government, how could they have kept this information on their own computers that could be easily hacked? So should there be a special prosecutor? Probably not. Because special prosecutors do get totally out of control, and I’ve seen it in a number of cases. We should have some investigations. At least make sure if Democrats have witnesses they want to bring up during the congressional investigations that they are able to call witnesses they want to call. We need to treat this fairly if there is going to be an investigation. Look, we have Saudis and we have Pakistanis and we have all kinds of people who hate us and are engaged with people like the radical Islamic terrorists who want to hurt us. They themselves are engaged with hacking and getting information from us and against us. We need to deal with all of those … I think the call for what happened in the last election is becoming very murky and maybe we should just move on.”
• ON RUSSIA II: “Hacking into people’s e-mails is something we have to be very concerned about. Not just Russians. By the way there are a lot of other rotten governments around who could be hacking into us as well. If you look at all these reports they are not saying, ‘We absolutely know the Russians did this.’ And by the way, if the Russians did it—let’s just claim ‘OK, they did it.’ Well, the Republicans wouldn’t be stupid enough and the Russians wouldn’t be stupid enough to be having all these meetings and planning that with the ambassador of their country. Hahaha. The No. 1 guy of that country is arranging details like that? That guy would have nothing to do with that type of conspiracy if it did happen. He would have had nothing to do with it. Ha. So you see the pictures of Flynn after he had called the Russian ambassador to talk to him. Well, you know, he was going to be national security advisor to the president. He needed to have some information. And that’s what he should have been doing. During the campaign would anyone have called the Russian ambassador to have phones or e-mails hacked into? I don’t think so.
“As we’ve looked into this more, what have we found? We’ve found that there has been some wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration that appears to be in the release of classified information. And that Trump was right—his phones were bugged. And they were bugged by the intelligence services that were directed to do so by the president. Did something bad come out of that? I think what came out of that was they released certain information to the public, which is not the right thing to do if you are an intelligence service. I appreciate why people are frustrated with this. I don’t think it is as important as a lot of the other corrupting elements in our election process, including millions of people who are here illegally who are voting and participating in our system.”
RUSSIA III: “Our enemy during the Cold War was the Soviet Union. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. And Russia has opened up their country to Christianity, and they have opposition parties. And they are far from perfect—I mentioned the Mayor Richard Daley machine up in Chicago. They are run by tough guys and some brutality being used. But that government is not a threat to us. Radical Islamic terrorism—those are the words President Obama refused to utter, much less take care of. That’s the threat to the United States, and that’s also the treat to Russia. I’m beaten up all the time, saying I’m pro-Russia. We need to work with the Russians to defeat those radical Islamic terrorists. That should be our priority.”
• ON AVOIDING TOWN HALLS: “I meet with my constituents every day. I met with about five or six of them today. I meet every time I’m back in my district. But I don’t meet with large groups. If you have about three or four people and they want to discuss a certain issue, I meet with them every day.”
PS: Would have liked some of these to be asked, too …
* This piece from Time Magazine shows you Rohrabacher’s odd love of and attachment to Russia—and his unwillingness to see anything bad in the v-e-r-y bad Vladimir Putin. It’s a worthwhile read.