Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why Bloomfield Failed to Blossom (A Further Consideration)

After the June 6th primary, when Bloomfield carried the second spot to take on Congressman Henry Waxman for the 33rdCongressional District, I got involved individually as well as corporately with the rest of the Bloomfield team to get Waxman out. I welcomed, as did his staff, any opportunity to bring down “Waxman the Taxman”. However, Bloomfield the person, his platform, and his stunning lack of promotion culminated in preventing Bloomfield’s campaign from blossoming into a victory.
Regarding the person, Bloomfield was a Republican who left the party to become an independent. His March 2011 declaration of independence remained unpersuasive. Bloomfield was Romney-esque not just because of wealth, but an unclear identity, an unclear message. In newspaper interviews, Bloomfield spent more time explaining himself instead of defining the problem or his opponent. Previously, I had written that Bloomfield did not break away clearly enough from his “former party” – yet in retrospect post-November 6th, the Independent candidate avowed this mistake, a sign of greater self-awareness.
As for the platform that Bloomfield was running on, it often seemed that he was building it while walking on it. More than the person, the platform and his preparation were foundering. One of the team members informed me that they had been preparing for the “Republican” line of attack since June 2012 (not 2011). Bloomfield needed to prepare for those slights on his record long before he ran for election.
By choosing to be an Independent, Bloomfield had to engage Republicans as well as Democrats without distancing them over his liberal stance on social issues. Some voters stayed home because neither candidate was pro-life, which he could not help, but the more glaring “platform” issues protruded at the Santa Monica “No Labels Press Conference”. A “No Labels” spokesperson bestowed on him an award for his bipartisanship. I was the only “guest” of the six people who attended (the rest were staff and his fiancee). Bloomfield in his rumbled suit looked more like a high school senior running for student council, right down to his “thanking” the “No Labels” proxy by reading off a set of notes.
On another note, the “No Labels” mission is a self-contradiction which misdiagnoses the current ‘crisis’ of Washington gridlock, which the Framers would have called ‘business as usual’, an inherent certainty of representative democracy, in which the leaders we send have to do what we want, which is more often not what we need. Telling voters that “I want to fix problems” if one offers nothing about the problems and the solutions with pertinent detail. To bring down the debt without bringing up a better vision for the country does not sell well.
Regarding promotion, Bloomfield admirably avoided petty sniping or personal attacks. However, Congressman Waxman’s thirty-eight years deserved more vetting. More than a partisan liberal, Waxman’s record was demonstrably inconsistent, pandering, and incompetent. From pursuing issues of picayune importance to ignoring pressing problems weighing on this country, Waxman epitomizes the quintessence of a Congressman waiting for a coronation rather than caring about his constituents.
Aside from Waxman’s hyperpartisanship and lengthy tenure, Bloomfield refused to hold the Congressman accountable for his frequent ignorance on issues before his own Oversight Committee (“I Don’t Know!”), his insouciant attitude about government waste (“I’m sorry!”), or our nation’s debt (“We’re Not Broke!”).
Waxman tailored his comments to the specific constituencies which he was communicating with. At the Venice Neighborhood Council, Waxman not only rolled out his previous legislative record, but he lamented the Venice Post Office. Waxman greeted long-time friends on the council. Bloomfield’s generic appeal for “better with bipartisanship” was distant and unconvincing. The independent also failed to acknowledge his endorsement for Democrat Mike Feuer for the State Assembly, even though he had just launched his campaign for city attorney in the same meeting. He could have mentioned Mayor Riordian’s endorsement, without whom there would be no Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles. To his credit, Bloomfield tailored his message for the Jewish Community Center in Redondo Beach, mentioning his peace-negotiation efforts in Syria, yet Bloomfield neglected to promote this humanitarian record sooner.
Candidly, the billionaire businessman admitted that he was not the “in your face” type. Too often, Bloomfield’s fire and venom was damp and docile. In July, one of his friends told me that she was unaware of his run for Congress. This sad fact I learned while I was telling local residents in the Palos Verdes Peninsula about “Bloomfield for Congress”. The director excused this reticence: “That’s just Bill.” If Bloomfield was running for office, he needed to carry a sense of conviction about the whole thing. Why launch a million-dollar affront if a candidate cannot be bothered to tell his own friends? At the Venice Neighborhood Council meeting, he praised Congressman Waxman’s legislative record. Bloomfield acted like the opening act, while Waxman stole the show. To quote Texas’ US Senator-elect Ted Cruz, Bloomfield was “French-kissing” the Congressman.
Simply put, Bloomfield failed because he was everything that Waxman dreaded, except that he failed to promote himself as the independent politician with the proper platform to put Waxman out of office.

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