Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reflection on LA Times article: "Congressional race is a test for longtime member of the House"

First, I applaud the LA Times for providing a more balanced report than some periodicals on Independent Challenger Bill Bloomfield, successful businessman and civic reformer.

I am glad that he presented Bloomfield's record supporting Democratic as well as Republican candidates. As a voter in the South Bay, I was not a big fan of Jane Harman, but her moderation and her poise in Congress for the greater part of her tenure in Congress assured me that even though I did not vote for her, she better represented my interests compared to other Democratic Congressman, including partisan liberal Henry Waxman.

I also appreciate that the columnist pointed out that Congressman Waxman "cruised to victory" in previous contests throughout his Congressional career. The article could have mentioned that Mr. Waxman opposed the very reforms - California Citizens Commission and Open Primary -- which are now forcing him to compete in a different district with a top-tier and well-funded Independent candidate.

I do take exception with a few elements from Jean Merl's piece.

First, the article suggested that Waxman worked across party lines to pass key legislation. Waxman-Markey ("Cap and Trade") and ObamaCare, two bills which Waxman "shepherded" through Congress, faced stiff opposition from Democrats and Republicans and passed the House by the slimmest of margins. Waxman-Markey died in the Democratically-controlled Senate, while ObamaCare remains immensely unpopular with legislators and voters across party lines.

Second, he article failed to document that anti-incumbent fervor in the country. Howard Berman is down by double digits in the Valley, where junior Congressman Brad Sherman is looking like the presumptive winner in the contest.

Congressman Waxman claims that he will do what he can to protect the defense and aerospace industries in the South Bay. He seems to have the same entitlement/coronation mentality which has doomed Berman and upset US Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Last of all, the article also neglected to mention the 28% of voters who have declined to state any party affiliation. This viable voting bloc can help Bloomfield win the upset against Congressman Waxman, who cannot run on his record in the more moderate South Bay without offending prospective voters and alienating key constituencies in industry and manufacturing.

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