Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had his ass handed to him yesterday in not one but two debates with opponent Jim Brandt. At least, I think he did. It's kinda hard to find out. Why is that?
It's because the only mention of Rohrabacher in the past day's press is as Tan Nguyen's former opponent. Damn it. I told you Tan was nothing but a dangerous distraction. Oh well; you Nguyen some, you lose some.
It doesn't matter what Brandt wins, whether it's arguments, debates, or friggin' triathlons–his race isn't getting any publicity. All my searches turned up was R. Scott Moxley's coverage of a Brandt-Rohrabacher-Lash debate from two years ago. I had to check the comments section of Liberal OC's post announcing the Brandt-Rohrabacher debates to find anything. Luckily opendna, also a DailyKOS diarist, posted two links to coverage at LongBeachPolitics.org.
Apparently the first debate (at CSU-Long Beach) was poorly planned. I'm told that Student Union Building Rm. 224 filled up almost immediately, and a good portion of those inside were not students but campaign volunteers. It's said Brandt did very well, so well that Rohrabacher's people called and changed the format for the day's 2nd debate at Golden West College.
Brandt entered the second debate to a hero's welcome and shouts of “Semper fi!” from the many Marines present. They discussed 5 major topics
- Education: Rohrabacher claimed education is a local issue, not a state or government problem. He also pointed out that we shouldn't pay to educate those in this state illegally, nor should we offer student visas to Chinese students, as China is a “potential enemy country”. Brandt suggested we need to educate kids to become scientists, especially scientists who focus on developing alternative energy sources. He also said we should scrap No Child Left Behind as it focuses on specific test results rather than actual education.
- Immigration: Rohrabacher thinks there are 20 million “illegal immigrants” in the country – fully 5 million more than even Pat Buchanan is willing to guesstimate. He thinks “we should not provide social security” to these folks. Do we? No. Brandt cited 12-13 million “workers”, all of whom need background checks. He sees the problem as a “business issue”, pointing out all the Baby Boomers soon to grow out of the job market.
- Healthcare: Rohrabacher blamed healthcare troubles on (surprise!) immigrants who “eat up” health care dollars. He also cited frivolous litigation and big government. But don't worry, he's working with his friends in Big Government to solve the problem. Brandt meanwhile spoke of the universal healthcare in countries like Canada and Britain, sharply contrasting that with some Californian families that are one accident away from financial insolvency. His solution? A single-payer universal healthcare system (for catastrophic injuries only).
- Terrorism/Security: Rohrabacher toed the Republican party line. He supported the Iraq War, fighting them over there, we can't cut and run or they'll follow us home. He also failed to correct a questioner who suggested that the Port of Long Beach annual security funding rose from $250 Million in 2001 to $1.6 Billion in 2005. It fell to Brandt to point out that the $1.6 Billion figure was for ALL ports. Not only that, but nowadays Long Beach only gets $24 Million a year – HALF of what it got in 2001. His recommendation – fully finance first-responders, the Coast Guard, and inspections.
- Iraq: Rohrabacher actually admitted that Iraq “might not have been the right decision at the time,” but if we withdraw now we might embolden our enemies. Natch. He weighed moderate Muslims, who would never trust us if we left now, with radical Islamists, who hate us, our way of life, and apple pie (even the Dutch variety these days). Brandt said we've had terror since the beginning of time – the Taliban tain't nothin' new. However, Bush failed to stamp them out by cutting and running from Afghanistan, diverting our strength to Iraq and allowing the Taliban to regroup. He suggests we redeploy as soon as is safe, sending some troops to Kuwait and others to buff up our Afghani presence.
After the second debate, Brandt met with members of the audience for a “Meet N Greet” as advertised. Rohrabacher, however, left through a side door, just like he did in 2004. One topic that is hotly debated is whether attendees chanted “Where's Dana?” or whether it was “Dana Cut and Run!”