I saw Congressman Waxman congregating with some voters in the Playhouse lobby. I moved aside for the moment, then found a seat in the theater.
I must admit that I do not have the fondest memories about the Hermosa Beach Playhouse. The last time I was there, I bought a ticket to see "The Nerd", and boy was it bad. Five years ago, Hermosa Beach staged their own production. The theater manager addressed the audience before the start of the show, told everyone, in politic terms, that the actors were not going to be very strong that evening. The actors' "performances" confirmed his fim appraisal. They did a bad job the whole time, and I walked out after one hour. I told the usher on the way out that I did not like the show. I expected to get my money back, but nothing.
As I settled in, I spoke with other people. Some were visiting from El Segundo, Torrance, the Beach Cities, and even Los Angeles. The 33rd Congressional District is one of the most widespread in the state, thanks in part to the "ribbon of shame" along Dockweiler Beach.
Congressman Waxman walked down the aisle. He glanced at me.
"Hello, Congressman Waxman." I said. He was not too thrilled to see me, but he gently waved to the side, then joined other visitors in the front row.
Before the Congressman took the podium, former Hermosa Beach mayor Jeff Duclos shared his "gushing" admiration for Waxman. As Duclos delineated Waxman's record of fighting and winning for everyone. he reminded of the Pacific Palisades woman who had shared her enthusiasm for the Congressman. One of hte most revealing elements of visiting a Democratic Club was to understand the values and mindset of these voters. The esteem Waxman the man, not just the policies of the party, necessarily.
After Duclos, it was Waxman's turn. He seemed uncomfortable, somewhat shaky while standing and addressing the group. Then he outlined the issues which were facing the country and the district. After discussing the fiscal cliff deal, he reminded the audience about three more major deadlines which Congress would have to deal with: the sequester, the debt ceiling, and funding the government.
The biggest issue of the evening was not the financial issues pressing against this country, nor was it the social issues (gun control, gay marriage), but "climate change". The environmentalists leapt out of their seats, so it seems, over "climate change". The alarm which some people shared in that playhouse exposed to me how crucial this issue, and all other environmental issues, has become for the Democratic Party. Strange, indeed
Unlike his demeanor during the 2012 campaign, Waxman struck a slightly more conciliatory note, telling members of the audience that he wanted to work with Independents and Republicans. He has to, because now he represents a district for the first time in his career which is not majority Democratic. Still, no one should assume the best from any politician, but rather bank on his or her greatest incentive for anything: to get reelected. At this point, Congressman Waxman does not have a choice, since the Republicans in Washington still run the House of Representatives. Still, his comments about the need for "adults" and "leadership" where grating, not great, to say the least.
Aftere his brief speech, Congressman Waxman took questions from the audience. Most of the issues touched on the environment. The moderator of the townhall meeting allowed me to ask questions, too. I was impressed with the reception that I received. A Republican got to ask questions at a Democratic forum. There is hope for bipartisanship after all.
I avowed to all that I believe in climate change (although I do not believe that man can do anything about it, nor do we have to do anything about it). I then pressed about the business climate of this country, in part because of the taxes in ObamaCare which we had to learn about after Congress passed the bill (per Nancy Pelosi). I then shared about the poor climate which homeless veterans are forced to endure, and how he is accountable and responsible for giving them shelter. I also asked about the pension funds of retired the retired teachers and police officer in Indiana.
He shrugged off the question about the Indiana pension fund, then praised the GM bailouts. He talked about the movements he was making on the Brentwood VA, blaming the Republicans, including Eric Cantor, who allegedly wanted to sell the land for debt reduction. Of course, he made no mention of what he did for the previous 38 years of his tenure, which was next to nothing.