November 6th, 2012 was not a good day for California Republicans. The Presidential nominee slogged through a demanding and damaging primary period, warding off one challenger after another. All of those debates and promises, edging him further to the right, gave Romney the nomination in Tampa Bay, but helped him lose the general election in November. The Republicans retained the House of Representatives, but only after losing a token number of seats. California lost seniority in the House, since Congressmen Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) and David Dreier (R-San Dimas) refused to run again, and other notable Republican incumbents like Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) and Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) lost their reelection bids.
The Open Primary and Citizens Redistricting Commission reforms forced California Congressional incumbents to fight for their seats instead of trusting a sympathetic state legislature to carve out safe districts for both parties. While Republicans witnessed not only some well-respected Congressmen step down, they watched two fraught fights between top-two Democrats who ascended from the June 6th primary to the general election. While cold comfort for Republicans, the campaigns and the outcomes from these elections drained Democratic resources while also putting away senior Democrats for good.
Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley faced off in the new 30th Congressional district, although Sherman had geography and constituency as an advantage from the beginning. Even though the California Democratic Congressional Delegation stood behind the elder Berman, along with the two US Senators and prominent Republicans included, Sherman carried the seat by double-digits on election day. Sherman’s win was a massive repudiation to the power of incumbency and legacy in California.
The more stunning and gratifying upset in the Bay Area made the CA GOP cheer. The previous arrangement of legislators carving up districts had buoyed incumbents into unaccountability, most notoriously the outgoing Congressmen Peter Stark (D-Fremont), who for all of his “outgoing” and outrageous comments over the years, never once faced the prospects of becoming an “outgoing” Congressman.
2012 changed all of that, with Dublin council member Eric Swalwell winning the number-two spot following the June primary. Swalwell then won the general election by six points. Stark’s stark and raving reproaches finally caught up with him, and since he was forced to run in the more moderate 15th Congressional District, he faced a new set of voters, many of whom had no respect for his previous litanies of insults, thus no desire to reelect him.
As an anti-tribute to “outgoing” Congressman Peter Stark, here is a list of some
of his most impolitic comments.
About the growing national debt, Stark said: "the more we owe, the wealthier we are." This comment came from the “hippie banker” who would just as well have passed out Monopoly money as the real thing. He apparently had no problem treating our tax dollars like paper. He also insulted the interviewer, calling him “stupid”, even though Stark’s comments would have won him the “stupidity” award.
Stark once called the American Medical Association a bunch of "greedy troglodytes."
He also has referred to his Republican colleagues as the following:
"a whore for the insurance industry,"
Even liberal voters in the Bay Area, and there are many, should cringe to hear their Congressman talk to his own colleagues which such empty disdain. Stark’s unkind remarks exposed that he was the real “caveman in Congressman”.
Stark even violated decorum on the House floor while opposing President Bush’s veto of the S-CHIPS program, then condemning the spending in Iraq:
"But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."
He then insinuated that Republicans like to blow up children. The chairman of that house committee had to admonish the Congressman for his slander against the President.
In one townhall meeting, Stark was explaining the purported benefits of Obamacare to his constituents. One voter refused to “drink the kool-aid,” and he remarked:
"Mr. Congressman, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.”
"I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."
After ObamaCare passed, another constituent challenged Stark about the law, and he responded:
“There are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the government from rules that could affect your private life.”
“The federal government can do most anything in this country.” (loud boos followed)
Congressmen are sworn to uphold the Constitution, yet Stark starkly did not care.
In another townhall meeting, voters questioned Congressman Stark about border control. The Congressman openly mocked his constituents. This man had no integrity, no respect for his own district residents. He claimed that the borders were secure, despite the porous number of people entering the country illegally. His brazen arrogance makes Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Santa Monica Bay) look like a prince.
With this "anti-tribute" at an end, this California Republican would like to thank Fremont and East Bay residents for making "outgoing" Peter Stark "outgoing" for good. Our state is better for it. One can only hope that 2014 will usher in more representatives who respect our Constitution, our country, and California.