Dear Readers: I got a call this morning from the always inspiring Left Coast Rebel. It seems he had just heard Congressman Brian Bilbray interviewed on the radio show, and the Congressman sounded defensive on his voting position. Left Coat Rebel inquired after the primary challengers, since the representative seems less than impressive with voting on matter of fiscal sensibility.
Since it seems that Bilbray is now my Congressman, after all the redistricting, I decided that I would go ahead and check into my Congressman and the current batch of primary challengers.
Let’s take a look at Bilbray’s record: It seems that he is a Pro-Choice Roman Catholic, but seems to be deeply conflicted in votes between various “pro-life” matters. I get very concerned when fiscal liberals pass themselves off as conservatives, based on faith. His main claim to conservatism is a strong stance on controlling immigration so that people come into this country legally. He is also on subcommittees for Energy & Power, and Oversight & Investigations — neither seeming to have any control on serious matters impacting Americans today.
W.C. Varones chimes in with specifics that fail to warm the heart of local Tea Party advocates. Specific Bilbray votes include:
- Indefinite detention of Americans:
- PATRIOT Act extension.
- Club for Growth scorecards on fiscal voting: (2011 rank #179, among the worst Republicans)
I am less than impressed. So, let’s take a look at Bibray’s Primary Challenger: John Stahl
This comes from Stahl’s website:
John K Stahl – Conservative
* Fiscally conservative (Will maintain “A” ratings from the National Taxpayers Union)
* Does not accept PAC money from special interest groups
* Naval Aviator – Distinguished Naval Graduate
* Business background, Officer at three public traded companies
* Pro Life
I have to say, as a Blue Dog, I am not blown away by this summary. My vote is mainly dependent on fiscal policy, respect for free and fair markets, sensible energy policy, and limited regulatory restrictions. Pro-life/Pro-Choice – meh. Again, so many fiscal liberals mask themselves as conservative with their stances on abortion. And while I respect military service, the lack of it does not make someone less qualified and the possession of it does not make one more qualified (see Randy “Duke” Cunningham). And, as many of my dear SLOBs will attest, vast business experience does not a Tea Party candidate make.
Shane Atwell had a chance to catch Stahl’s interview on the radio this morning. He has this to report:
He was interviewed on Slater this morning. Much better than Bilbray, who is pretty awful. Talked a lot about cutting regulations and agencies. Called himself a “common sense conservative”.
Only chink was when he implied that we should get rid of NAFTA to improve domestic jobs. Also, no mention of the Constitution at all.
Seems like a solid “fiscal conservative” even if he’s not a tea party style candidate. I’d vote for him over Bilbray any day.
It may be of interest to note that in 1994, Stahl challenged a 14 year incumbent, E. Clay Shaw Jr., a Republican representing FL’s the 22nd district (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade). If you are interested in hearing more to come to your own conclusions, Stahl will be on the radio – AM1170, 7 – 8 pm.
So, as a Blue Dog Dem, my question became whether their might be a fellow Democrat who may be an option. Here are the current options:
Scott Peters. “Scott Peters, a port commissioner and former San Diego councilman, announced he will run for Congress and challenge incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray. Peters, a La Jolla resident for 22 years, was a councilman for District 1, which includes most of La Jolla, for eight years. […] Peters said his priorities will be to create jobs in our area, develop an energy policy that reduces dependence on foreign oil, to keep our commitments to veterans and their families, and to end the ‘irresponsible patterns of spending that created a skyrocketing national debt.’” [The La Jolla Patch, 10/19/11]
Lori Saldana. “‘It’s official: I’m running for Congress in the new 52nd District,’ Saldaña told friends and supporters on the social networking site Facebook. ‘I’ve watched the debt-ceiling debacle, attacks on Medicare, and credit rating downgrade. This has to stop.’ In a brief interview Saturday, Saldaña said she was running to restore education funding, prevent interest rate increases on student loans that put so many college students in debt, expand access to affordable health care and protect Medicare for seniors.” [UT San Diego News, 8/13/11]
Let’s get a few opinions on their records. This on Scott Peters, from the editorial pages of the San Diego Union Tribune:
Scott Peters’ determination to leave San Diego a worse place than he found it is once again on display. It’s bad enough that the city councilman played a key role in approving the 2002 pension underfunding that ruined the city’s finances and helped make it a national laughingstock. It’s bad enough that he didn’t want the public to be told the size of his taxpayer-paid attorney bills, saying citizens had no right to know how much his negligence was costing them. It’s bad enough that he considers himself a victim in the scandal.But now he is acting in ways that could make it painfully likely we’ll have an ugly third chapter to the pension debacle and its fallout.The first chapter was the actual City Council insanity that triggered the city’s fiscal meltdown.
If you don’t want someone directly responsible for San Diego’s pension woes, how about Saldana? SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition President Dawn Wildman notes:
I’d rather keep Bilbray with these choices — especially NOT a fan of Saldana…she is very progressive.
It seems Saldana has a liberal rating record of 97 out of 100. Also, for Californians experiencing a loss of employment because of restrictive, destructive state environmental policy, she She co-authored the Global Warming Solutions Act — yet has no degree in anything related to climate science.
At this point, I think the best bet for any San Diegan is to call the Stahl show and directly ask specific policy questions, then select the Devil you want to dance with.
SLOB Stories and other links:
Charles Caesar had a great insight looking at the headlines: ALINKSY RULE 13: RADICALIZE THE MESSENGER. Essentially, because Obama and his team are proposing so many radical, toxic policies, anyone who reports on them appears radical. Looking at the headlines at the Washington Times, it is hard to argue:
- Beers with Demo: Yet another entitlement program spiraling upwards out of control
- B-Daddy: It’s About Repealing Obamacare
Mark Mecker offers a perspective on a Congressional Candidate that Tea Partiers can get genuinely excited about!
And around California:
- Cal WatchDog: NEW: AB 1500 Would Kill More Calif. Businesses
- Cal WatchDog: NEW: The End of ‘Big Wind’ in California?
- Cal WatchDog: Four New California Cities Might Dissolve
And Just to offer an example of some relatively sensible Democrats in the state: Dem Legislators Urge Cal State to Disclose True Amount of Executive Compensation
In response to a CalWatchDog.com investigation series, two Democratic state legislators are calling on the California State University system “to come clean with a complete and detailed look at just how CSU executives are paid.” In a letter sent Tuesday afternoon to Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed, Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, and Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, urged CSU to end its repeated attempts to mislead the public about the total compensation of its top executives.