Friday, March 03, 2006

Can't Tell The Candidates Without A Scorecard

There are 14 Republicans running to fill convicted felon and fellow Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham's former seat in the CA-50. The number of Republicans in the race has fluctuated on an almost daily basis since Cunningham's fall announcement that he would not seek reelection. The 14 count should be set, unless someone drops out or a write-in campaign comes out of right field.

In today's North County Times, columnist Richard Riehl handicaps the Republican field. He breaks them down into three distinct groups:

The Usual Suspects: Bill Morrow, Brian Bilbray and Howard Kaloogian have all been elected previously to state or national office. They also appear to have the least creative campaigns ---- opposed to illegal immigration and wasteful government spending, and in favor of a strong national defense, the war on terror and cutting taxes. They all believe illegal immigration is a major cause of spiraling health care costs, drug-related crimes, failing schools and our national insecurity.

None of them acknowledges the dependence of our economy on these low wage workers, ignoring the concerns of their own avocado farmer constituents.

While pledging support for the war on terrorism, none suggest how to win that war or how to protect our privacy while chasing down the bad guys.

None of these experienced politicos name the programs responsible for wasteful government spending. Maybe they think they'll be running against candidates who are for wasteful government spending.

After all the self-proclaimed heirs of Reagan come the millionaire boy's club.

The Dabblers are the three multimillionaires who don't have to rely on donors to fund their powerful television campaigns. Unlike the Usual Suspects, however, the Dabblers say they want to reform politics as usual.

Alan Uke names what he considers to be the pork barrel projects funded by Congress.

Richard Earnest calls for clean campaigns, expressing disgust at the nasty things they're saying about Brian Bilbray's coziness with lobbyists, effectively keeping the rumors alive.

Eric Roach promises to "put citizens ahead of politics," as if you can separate the two. He calls for Republicans to start acting more like Republicans again, acknowledging the current source of wasteful government spending.

Finally Riehl gives us the dreamers. Issue Republicans who just have something to say.

The Dreamers have no chance of winning but seek a forum for their strong opinions. They tend to take on issues the other GOP candidates won't touch.

Businessman Bill Hauf and sociologist Delecia Holt want to fix the health care system. Police officer Jeff Newsome asks us to "Vote for a Straight Shooter," which may be the best slogan of all, considering Vice President Cheney's recent quail hunting trip.

This crowd of 14, a baker's dozen plus 1, is apparently the best the Republican Party could come find. Three retread candidates, three millionaires and a crowd of folks who know virtually nothing about North San Diego County issues or public concerns.

What is important to the Republican Party is that the 50th District elect a candidate who will vote the way the Republican Party leaders and Bush Administration want that candidate to vote. Screw the people of the 50th District. Why do you think they allowed Duke Cunningham free run of the place?

He was voting the way the party wanted, so nobody cared about the bribes and extortion. If an enterprising newspaper reporter hadn't picked up a lead, Duke would be running again with a full Republican Party endorsement.