January 2, 2013 | 10:15am
As he paced the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. last night, Dana Rohrabacher must have felt knots in his robust belly beneath the soiled tie, incessantly wrung his hands and sweated profusely inside his ill-fitting, polyester-inspired suit.
Rohrabacher, who is accustomed to barking ridiculous nonsense from one of the nation's safest Republican congressional districts, was once more on the verge of proving what I've been saying about him for nearly two decades.
The Costa Mesa congressman is Orange County's senior career politician.
And just to be clear, Dana, the description is pejorative.
After unambiguously and repeatedly declaring yesterday that he would vote for the U.S. Senate-passed fiscal cliff legislation because, he said, it was, given the circumstances, the right, temporary move for the national interest, Rohrabacher flip flopped.
On Dec. 30, the zillionth term representative (who originally campaigned in 1988 as a "term limits champion" because more than six years in office was corrupting) defended his lengthy incumbency by declaring on Twitter that "if someone has integrity and right ideas is [sic] good idea to keep him as decision maker" in Congress.
He was speaking of himself, but, of course, "integrity" and "right ideas" don't describe him.
I'll give ex-Orange County Congressman Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) the stage.
"Pusillanimous," was the word Dornan used years ago to describe Rohrabacher, who hasn't held a private sector job in more than three decades.
The description remains appropriate.
Last night, after seeing that the Senate bill would pass in the House without his vote, he switched his position to "no."
The OC Register, where Rohrabacher once worked and still enjoys hilarious God-like status, didn't notice, or, worse, decided to keep their readers in the dark.
On Twitter, people noticed and demanded to know why he flip flopped.
"In the end I listened intently to the debate & decided lower deficit spending more important than lower taxes, so voted NO," he explained.
Earlier in the day, Rohrabacher had voiced the opposite view: "Can't get myself to vote against lowering tax rates and making them permanent" and "Would have been better for bill to have cut spending & tax rates, but I will take lower tax rates."
With the Twittersphere scratching their collective head about the conflicting stances, he posed weak-kneed: Everything was moving so fast that the concepts of taxing and spending couldn't be "examined," claimed Rohrabacher. It was "hard to determine right vote," he added. In the end, he decided, to rely on his "common sense."
You believe that malarkey?
In reality, his vote had only one impact that underscores Rohrabacher's embarrassing fifth-rate status on the national scene.
It allows him to remain a star on the fringe, rubber chicken circuit where it's solid fact that Barack Obama was a 1959 Manchurian candidate creation of Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev and Satan.
With the ink drying on the House passage of the fiscal cliff deal, Rohrabacher abandon his "Oh-my-I-just-don't-know-what-to-do" act, and returned to the pompous piece of work we've all come to marvel.
On Twitter, he posed pissed that anyone would accuse him of bowing to political pressure from his base in Kookville. As a congressman, he deserves respect, he said. It's the Senate that's full of "do nothings."
But other Orange County Republicans acted without the theatrics. John Campbell (R-Irvine) voted no, which wasn't a surprising stance given his longstanding ridicule of the mounting national debt. Darrell Issa (R-San Clemente), who I believe wants to be on the 2016 Republican presidential ticket, voted "no." Ed Royce, (R-Fullerton) voted "yes," and that too wasn't a weird vote. Wall Street financial interests annoyed with congressional incompetence that continually threatens the economy have both of Royce's ears.
Fittingly, after his flip-flop but before the first day of 2013 ended, Rohrabacher returned to Twitter and, you can't make this stuff up, got into a petty, protracted fight with an Irvine man over the use of the word "ilk."