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).
So a friend brought this to my attention earlier this evening. Joshua Recalde-Martinez is a California Republican Party field representative. This was posted on Facebook …
In case you don’t get it, Joshua—an Arizona State student who spent a couple of years at Orange Coast College—is offering people money to support Dana Rohrabacher. And not just money, but $16 an hour. Pretty good money. All they need to do is walk around Orange County, knocking on doors and pretending they like a congressman they either:
• Actually like (unlikely)
• Actually dislike (more likely)
• Have never heard of (most likely)
I don’t blame Joshua. I mean that—I don’t. He’s young, he’s inexperienced, he’s surely doing what he’s told. Hell, sight unseen I’d vote for Joshua Recalde-Martinez over Dana Rohrabacher, based solely on his hyphenated last name and the fact that he almost certainly has some pretty terrific partying stories from his time as a Sun Devil (ASU is a killer school for those sorts of things).
That said, what does it say that the GOP is depending on paying people off to stump for a stump? To bark for a dog? To hype all hype?
My all-time favorite political line of attack is taking place right now.
It’s not “You’re no Jack Kennedy” or “My opponent’s youth and inexperience.” It’s not “Willie Horton” or “Lyin’ Ted.”
Nope. My favorite political line of attack is Dana Rohrabacher’s repeated slams of Harley Rouda being a (gasp!) businessman.
Let’s think about this, please. First, the GOP is all about business. It’s always all about business. Hell, when they praise their Grand Leader, it routinely starts with Donald Trump’s (nonsense, fraud-packed) career as a businessman. So to rip Harley Rouda’s lifetime of business … eh, it’s odd.
Second, and even more important: What the hell has Dana Rohrabacher done? I mean that—what has he done. Before being elected to congress he was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. So, truly, I’d like to know, Dana: What do you bring to the table? What skills? What tricks? What knowledge outside of politics?
Furthermore, what the f—- have you accomplished in three decades of office holding? Where are the amazing bills? Where are the leadership bullet points? Where are the rousing speeches? Where are the MLK-esque moments of kindness? Of decency? Of empathy?
What have you done, while Harley Rouda has done business?
In case you missed this, Dana Rohrabacher and Harley Rouda appeared yesterday at the Meet the Candidates event in Fountain Valley.
Let me repeat that: Dana Rohrabacher and Harley Rouda appeared yesterday at the Meet the Candidates event in Fountain Valley.
I said that twice because I am truly shocked that Rohrabacher, our stumbling and bumbling congressman, actually appeared at an event where he would be challenged. To this point, it’s pretty much been him showing up only in friendly environs, where softballs are tossed his way and he can spew his weird, off-putting brand of pro-Russia xenophobia.
Having just watched a video of the event, I am reminded very much of Oct. 2, 1980, when Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes fought in Las Vegas for the WBC heavyweight title.
At the time, Ali was 38 and … well, not looking good. The effects of Parkinson’s were starting to kick in. He lacked speed, fluidity. His quick fists were no longer quick. His ability to dodge a punch was gone. Holmes, meanwhile, was 31 and in his prime. He was powerful, fast, artful.
The result: One of the great—and saddest—ass-kickings in modern sport. Ali was thoroughly dominated, a white towel of surrender thrown into the ring.
In boxing terms, Dana Rohrabacher was Muhammad Ali, circa 1980, yesterday. He sorta shuffled back and forth. He needed a pad in front of him to remember words. His answers were meandering, indirect, flat. When he remembered what he wanted to say, the words felt angry and small. He doesn’t like immigrants. He doesn’t think people should live in gated communities. Russia isn’t so bad. Harley, meanwhile, came out firing. He was smooth and graceful and prepared.
It actually made me wonder why we, the Democratic Party in Orange County, have waited so long to have a legitimately powerful candidate in this race. I know that sounds like a slight to past entrants, and, well, I suppose it is. I don’t know if Harley wins or loses this race, but he’s got everything we need to win. Grace. Smarts. Quick on his feet. Moderate background that appeals to both sides.
I suppose, were I an arch-conservative Republican, desperately grasping to a nation that feels as if it’s slipping away, I’d vote Rohrabacher.
But, otherwise, he feels like a cigarette, smoked and stubbed out.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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 …
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.