The Los Angeles Daily News reported yesterday that the "newly empowered California House Democrats are extending an olive branch to a group that has shunned them for years: California Republicans."
A meeting is scheduled for this afternoon when, in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, members of the two groups will try to play nice.
The hope, said meeting organizer Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, is that lawmakers will ultimately strategize bipartisan ways that Californians can bring home more federal money for everything from transportation to anti-terrorism projects.
The last meeting of a bipartisan delegation was in February 2005, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to town. Since then, Lofgren - who leads the California Democratic delegation - has made five written requests to California's GOP leader, Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, for further meetings.
Dreier has never answered any of the letters. Democrats, for their part, take every opportunity to mention that fact.
Dreier wouldn't speak to the News reporter, but fortunately for the paper's readers, the voters of OC have sent a Chatty Cathy to Congress-- Dana Rohrabacher. And Rohrabacher is no fan of bipartisan meetings.
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"The only thing I see coming out of meeting with Democrats is that Democrats try to pressure Republicans from California to be irresponsible and spend more money," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.
"They don't have to convince me to support good projects from California," he said. "But this idea that people with different ideologies can get together and find a middle ground, it just doesn't happen.
"Democrats may honestly believe if you get together and hold hands and sing `Kumbaya,' the world is going to be more peaceful. That's not what Republicans believe," he said.
It's a shame the Surfin' Congressman feels that way After all, he should have plenty of free time for meetings now that his bosom pal Jack Abramoff is otherwise occupied.
And interestingly enough, his attitude marks Dana as being even more blindly partisan than the ragin' Republicans of Texas and Florida, who, as the article notes, regularly meet with their Democratic colleagues. Less enlightened than either Texas or Florida-- congratulations Huntington Beach!