Matryoshka, which are those Russian wooden dolls that have smaller dolls stacked inside bigger ones, will make an appearance in the 48th congressional district race—but only if enough donations roll in.
Dana Watch in March introduced readers to Blue Uprising, the political-action committee (PAC) that is targeting four Republican-held House seats, including the one darkened by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Swim Trunks), because of the incumbent’s pro-industry stands on climate change, offshore oil drilling and other coastal environmental issues.
One way Blue Uprising plans to draw negative attention to Rohrabacher is by erecting billboards that voters will likely see on commutes. BlueUprising.org links to a crowd-funding campaign for a billboard that would show a row of matryoshka. The largest doll, on the left, would depict Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moving left to right, in descending sizes, would be dolls of U.S. President Donald Trump, Rohrabacher, the congressman’s Republican challenger Scott Baugh and, finally, a small version of Putin.
Trump is there because of the Russian collusion case. Rohrabacher is labeled “Putin’s Favorite Congressman.” But the Blue Uprising fundraising pitch makes no direct connection between Baugh and Russia. The former state Assembly Republican leader and Orange County GOP chairman is instead called out by the PAC for being a Rohrabacher protégé, a slimy campaigner, and a fan of Brexit and “Calexit.”
It was widely reported in March 2017 that Baugh had taken Nigel Farage, an architect of the movement to remove the U.K. from the European Union, around to meet local GOP movers and shakers to drum up support for Calexit or the breaking up of California into multiple states.
Baugh later denied that characterization, saying he met Farage at Trump’s inauguration; found him fascinating; later heard the Brexit strategist would be in Huntington Beach; and invited him to a New Majority luncheon, a Lincoln Club reception and a GOP get-together in Newport Beach. Baugh conceded he was warm to the idea of breaking California up into six separate states, but he denied that had anything to do with escorting Farage around.
Blue Uprising, which claims Baugh’s true ambition is to break California off from the United States, began with hopes of getting the matryoshka billboard up along busy Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana for the month leading up to the June 5 primary election. But as of Monday, just $850 toward the $2,000 goal had been pledged.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.