OC's Scariest People

Our Congressional delegation tops this year’s list of 33 villains (31 for October, plus two more to get to the Dia de los Muertos, ese)

Though Rohrabacher took the opposite stance on the Kosovo conflict during President Bill Clinton's second term, Rohrabacher argued adamantly that criticism of Bush's Iraq War blunders were unpatriotic and anti-soldier. "When we fought communism, President Reagan stood firm when the shrill voices of defeatism and retreat attacked him . . . the same way our effort today is being undermined by nitpicking, backbiting and defeatism," he said on June 15, 2006.

Nowadays, the Huntington Beach/Long Beach congressman isn't as aggressive on war critics. How could he be? Nope, Rohrabacher chalks it up to loyalty. "I feel that I have been a loyal soldier to this administration, to the President and, yes, to the country," he said in June. The word "Iraq" no longer can be found on his congressional website homepage. He's moved back to ranting about illegal immigration, China and liberals, who, in his mind, don't have the backbone to be like him: courageous.

VOTED IN FAVOR OF WAR: Yes
VOTED TO FUND THE WAR:Yes. And China's next.
WHERE HE STANDS NOW:Rohrabacher's office did not respond to repeated interview requests. Their last response to a Weekly interview request went like this: Go get a real job.

Illustration by Votan.
Illustration by Votan.

2) LORETTA SANCHEZ

After changing her surname from Brixey to Sanchez and party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, she defeated Republican Congressman Bob Dornan in 1996 amid allegations of electoral fraud later proven to be unfounded. Sanchez is a hawk on human rights in Cuba and Vietnam, and unlike most Latino politicians, she isn't 100 percent Aztlanista on immigration issues. Her often-touchy relationship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus came to a head this year when she quit, after chairman Joe Baca reportedly called her a "whore."

On Oct. 10, 2002, Sanchez was among the 133 members of the House who voted against authorizing the invasion of Iraq, but she has voted in favor of every war-appropriation bill since. She opposed the troop surge in February, and three months later, she joined Democrats in unsuccessfully calling for U.S. troops to be redeployed out of Iraq in 90 days. She recently drew ire from conservative Republicans for implying that General David Petraeus was misleading Congress about the success of the surge.

Sanchez's opposition to the war in Iraq led her to vote with other Democrats to fund the war effort with bills that would require a time line for troop withdrawal, a position she justified in a CNN interview last April. "This is no longer about military might," Sanchez said. "We know our soldiers are the best. They have been doing a great job out there. But they're in the middle of some real civil strife. Some really nasty al-Qaeda people. Some insurgents from outside of the arena, and they're all ganging up on our troops. We are now the target."

VOTED IN FAVOR OF WAR: No
VOTED TO FUND THE WAR: Yes, with timetables
WHERE SHE STANDS NOW:Sanchez wasn't available for an interview, but her press spokesperson sent us this e-mail: "Congresswoman Sanchez voted against entering the war and has continually questioned our military officials and the president on the lack of progress and failed strategies. She supports the redeployment of our U.S. troops and believes continued sectarian violence signals the need for the Iraqi government to take control of Iraq."

3) CHRISTOPHER COX

For eight and a half consecutive terms (1988 to 2005), Republican Representative Cox soothed conservative Orange County voters with that sweet smaller-government talk. But when it came to the massive military expenses needed to neutralize Saddam, what Cox lacks in anti-spending firmness, he makes up for in flash. "We continue to discover biological and chemical weapons and facilities to make them inside Iraq," he famously said in a 2005 speech quoted by Salon.com. The former securities attorney voted in favor of bazillion-dollar war. As chairman of the Committee for Homeland Security, Cox kept us in perpetual suspense with quotes such as this from a 2004 CNN interview: "I think America's a soft target. We have a big, open society. Every shopping mall, every office building—there is no end to it."

To help protect those malls and office buildings, he helped bring about the USA PATRIOT Act and its reauthorization four years later, an act widely criticized for infringing on numerous constitutional rights, including privacy. Ironically he wrote in a Register column when he resigned in 2005, "If we give up our freedom to suit the exigencies of the war on terror, we will give al-Qaeda the victory."

VOTED IN FAVOR OF WAR: Yes
VOTED TO FUND THE WAR: Yes
WHERE HE STANDS NOW: Inside the Bush administration, as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

4) JOHN CAMPBELL

Campbell likes it to be known that his great-grandfather Alex was elected to the California state assembly in 1860 as part of Abraham Lincoln's Republican ticket; he likes this to be known primarily, it seems, so he can get away with facile comparisons of the war in Iraq to the American Civil War. For a former automobile dealer, he sure can't sell a convincing line of BS. It's not impossible to get Campbell to change his mind, as Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist found out when he tried to run against the guy, only to have Campbell suddenly veer hard-right on immigration and portray Gilchrist as a communist, a charge that in Campbell's world also seems to apply to anyone who ever wants to use tax revenue to pay for anything.

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