Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 7:15 a.m.
Waiting for Rohrabacher
Last night the League of Women Voters Orange Coast hosted a candidates' forum for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and his Democratic Party challenger Ron Varasteh.
But instead of partisan fireworks and lively debate, political junkies were instead met with a dud.
Was Rohrabacher, who never showed up, lost at a nearby bar slamming tequila shots?
The congressman's lack of manners left the stage at the Laguna Beach City Hall to Varasteh, a wet-behind-the ears former Occupier with the political acumen of a high school civic's student.
The organizers didn't seem to have a clue about Rohrabacher's whereabouts and just past 7 p.m., the moderator suggested proceeding without him.
"Anyone have his cell phone?" someone in the audience shouted.
Sitting next to Rohrabacher's empty chair, Varasteh answered audience questions about immigration reform, the environment and social security.
At times, several in the crowd of 50 or so people used "sparkle hands" in lieu of applause to signal their approval of his answers. They also frequently offered gentle corrections as he gaffed throughout the hour-long forum, (Social Security was established in the 1960s? Bernie Sanders or Bernie Madoff?)
But his elementary political perspective was best demonstrated when answering a question about how he would deal with homelessness.
"We need to straighten out the social safety net," Varasteh said.
Safety net indeed.
Forgive the cynicism, but it sounds like Occupy, the leaderless movement whose idealistic vision of obliterating economic disparity began more than a year ago with so much promise, has produced yet another dud in addition to Greg Diamond and his embarrassing, woeful run for the state senate in Brea.
Perhaps Rohrabacher, who espoused the need for six year term limits when first elected--in 1988--felt he should graciously yield the floor to the less experienced candidate. Being given the chance to speak unopposed must have seemed odd to Varasteh, who cited Rohrabacher's penchant for filibustering. Sadly, no one spoke up to remind Varasteh that only senators filibuster, and that Rohrbacher is a representative.