To paraphrase Richard Nixon, after November, you won’t have Congressman John Campbell to kick around anymore. Campbell has been redistricted out of Newport Beach. Actually, that characterization isn’t entirely fair to Campbell. The conservative majority in town hasn’t really minded a congressman whose primary objective is to roll back the status quo. For the most part, Campbell has quietly cashed his paycheck and met the low expectations voters had for him.
His likely replacement this November will be Dana Rohrabacher. If past is prolog, Rohrabacher will be a more flamboyant check casher, but isn’t likely to get anymore done than Campbell did. For example, although he is on the House Science, Space And Technology Committee and its Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, he has been quiescent on Newt’s proposal to colonize Mars. When he does speak out, as he did last week when he suggested clear cutting the rain forests as a solution to global warming, nobody takes him seriously. The rain forests are still threatened, but Rohrabacher’s really only guilty of twiddling his thumbs as it happens.
Truth be told, there really aren’t many ways to shine in Congress. One way is to bring home the bacon, and the last real chance of that happening here was probably during the debate over El Toro.
I still think the smart move would have been to keep El Toro for general aviation and cargo and limit John Wayne to scheduled commercial flights. That would have been a big economic winner for the OC. However, our Congressman at the time, Chris Cox, decided not to fight for El Toro. He mugwumped and said he’d back the plan that would “maximize returns” for taxpayers. He never did explain how a park could possibly offer a higher rate of return than an airport. That fuzzy math should have earned him an “F” in financial analysis and been a red flag to those who later put him in charge of the SEC. But it was the safe position for getting reelected.
Today, with earmarks in disrepute, it’s hard to see Rohrabacher bringing home much bacon. Let’s hope he has enough clout to keep the dredges going in the back bay and help win a few research goodies for UC Irvine. Universities can be major catalysts for new business development.
Rohrabacher’s other option to shine is to build up seniority and get plum committee assignments. He also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its subcommittees on the Middle East and South Asia. You might think that would put him in the forefront on trade with China. Instead he issues vacuous warnings on aid to Pakistan and the fate of GITMO prisoners. He also recently became an advocate for giving Baluchistan the right to self determination (H.Con.Res.1104) and for having Radio Free Asia broadcast to Baluchistan. Perhaps he’ll explain how a free Baluchistan can benefit the residents of Newport Beach in the upcoming campaign. Just hope his alternative isn’t bombing Iran back to the Stone Age.
Bottom line, if you were hoping for a Congressman who offers innovative solutions to the problems of the 21st Century, redistricting may prove a disappointment to you.