Venice, California has remained a hot-spot for outspoken, liberal politics, yet I refused to believe that someone like me would not have the chance to make the case for getting rid of one of the most illiberal liberals in Congress, House Rep. Henry Waxman.
The LA-Congressman, for the first time in his 38-year tenure, is facing a real challenge, from Independent Bill Bloomfield of Massachusetts, a Manhattan Beach businessman and co-founder of No Labels. Taking advantage of the new Open Primary law, along with the Citizens’ Redistricting Efforts, Bloomfield is set to topple one of the longest serving incumbents in Washington. The new district where they are facing off, the 33rd, takes in the entire Santa Monica Bay, from Palos Verdes to Malibu, from Agoura Hills to Beverly Hills. A wide constituency dominated by wealth and whiteness, the diverse elements in the Venice-Mar Vista area now have the chance to influence the outcome of an election which many pundits considered “safe Democratic.”
One GOP operative had told me that Venice, CA is a foregone conclusion for any conservative or non-Democratic candidate, so there was no point in reaching out to the Democratic stronghold covered with alternative artisans and bums and marijuana clinics. I was also surprised when one campaign advocate reported that Venice residents consider Henry Waxman "right-wing". That sounds a lot like advocates for the single-payer junta, a measure which Waxman had pledged to pursue, yet failed to bring to the table in the discussions over ObamaCare. The more liberal as well as subtle conservative elements in the Venice area should not turn a blind eye to a Congressman who is on the PAC-dole with Big Pharma and who sides with the interests of public sector unions vs. public schools and taxpayers (Waxman opposes Prop 32, which Bloomfield sponsors and supports)
I do not condone going after Henry Waxman because he has not been "leftist" enough. He is one of the most left-leaning Congressman in the country, a politician who has voted out of step with his own party, voting down tax cuts over and over again. I do believe that voters throughout the new 33rd Congressional District should know that this legislator bullies colleagues while admitting open ignorance on some of the most basic and essential issues facing this country today. Not even four months ago, he admitted in a House budget committee hearing that he did not know that GM went bankrupt. Three years prior, as the chairman of the House Energy Committee, he acknowledged that he did not know what was in his own Cap and Trade bill! No matter what one’s political affiliation, the voters in the Santa Monica Bay deserve competence, not just seniority.
I had an interesting excursion in Venice a few months ago, notwithstanding the "People's Republic" rhetoric which sand-bags some areas of Los Angeles as a no-man's-land for Congressional challengers who do not have a (D) in front of their name.
I was pleased by the warm reception which I received from a number of prospective voters. The younger people whom I spoke with liked the idea of getting rid of a long-termed incumbent. I even spoke with a Jewish Republican who warmed up to the idea of getting rid of Henry Waxman.
Another voter in the area told me that he loves Waxman because he sticks up for the little guy, one of the last honest politicians left in Washington. When I told him that Waxman declared in open committee twice “We’re not broke!” in the face of crippling trillion dollar deficits, he started listening. When I shared with the voter that Waxman ran Oversight hearings on steroid abuse in baseball, yet at the same time he did not know the legal drinking age, or the medical exceptions which exist for steroids or testosterone, I knew that I had his attention. After we discussed the issues, he told me that he would check out the information I shared with him.
One voter who had just moved from Oklahoma expressed his support for President Obama because he did not care for the "trickle down" theory of economics. "It's not trickling down fast enough," he shared with me. When I talked about the partisan gridlock in Congress, he admitted that he believed that was a big part of the problem. After establishing Bloomfield's "No Labels'" background, he was singing a different tune. "Well, at least you got me to think about it."
And sometimes that's all it takes. Instead of labeling voters because of their location, I can reach out to independents throughout the Beach scene. The mood is anti-incumbent in Southern California, with junior Congressman Brad Sherman not just giving elder “statesman” Howard Berman” a run for his money, but is now polling ahead of the long-term incumbent in the new 30th Congressional district.
The mood that conservative voters in the South Bay, or in any part of the 33rd, should give comfort in and take advantage of in taking down Henry Waxman the Taxman.
To the voters of Venice -- tell Washington that We the People, not "They the Politicians" choose our leaders. Vote out Waxman on November 6th!