[Previously by Bryanna Bevens: 09/08/04 - "Win The Green"—Lose The Red, White, And Blue? And 06/24/04 - The Rise Of The Treason Tort]
The day Cruz Bustamante was sworn in as Speaker of the California Assembly (I can't remember the year, I blocked most of it out), one of our staff members walked into my office, fresh from Rules Committee. His face reflected utter confusion as he informed me that my floor pass for the swearing-in ceremony had been revoked. I asked why. He just pointed toward the hallway.
I walked out to find my fellow Republican staffers gaping at the gaggle of Hispanic middle school kids passing our offices on their way to the ceremony, clutching our floor passes in their hot little hands.
The new Speaker was exploiting his indirect control over the Rules Committee—the chairman of which he would get to appoint—before he was even sworn in.
The Committee on Rules is an anomaly in the American legislative system. Because they control everything. And they love to remind you.
By everything I am of course including the legislative calendar and committee hearing schedules. But also the little things—such as floor passes.
Rules is the only environment where senior aides are less powerful than the bubble gum-popping, twenty-one year old intern who works the reception desk. (I learned this the hard way. I commented on the gum-popping and we finally got our business cards only when our principal was about to leave office.)
So to say Congressman David Dreier (R-Ca), Chairman of the U.S. Congress's Committee on Rules, is "one of the most powerful people in Washington," is like saying Torquemada was involved in the Inquisition.
But John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the popular John & Ken Show on Los Angeles' KFI radio are not impressed and more importantly, not intimidated.
Recently they began a special segment called Political Human Sacrifice, where listeners got to call in their vote for the Representative they felt had the worst record on immigration reform. The "winner" would be "sacrificed." That "winner" is David Dreier. (Also on the list was the Democratic sacrifice, Rep. Joe Baca—more below.) [see The John & Ken Show Roils California's Congressional Republicans By Brenda Walker, August 05, 2004]
I love it. This is one of the greatest ideas in modern campaign history, not to mention the funniest.
John and Ken sent this response via their blog:
"Today, John & Ken received their invitation to Dreier's Bowling party. We want you to call the R.S.V.P. number to let Congressman David Dreier know that coming on the show and addressing illegal immigration is more important than planning "Apple Martini and Bowling" parties. Click here to see Dreier's invite. Call 212-330-7615 to R.S.V.P."
John & Ken have figured out the scam. They don't answer to Dreier or anyone else. These treacherous politicians answer to them.
Let's take a look at the evolution of Rep. Dreier's immigration policy which led to his political sacrifice.
These were his comments made to the Young Republicans in 2000.
Good stuff! And six months after September 11th, Dreier made this speech before Congress.
Hmm. Did Dreier just acknowledge that it was our immigration policy (stupid!) that enabled the attacks of September 11th?
Yep, he did.
However, it was after this speech that Dreier went on to support amnesty as well as medical benefits for illegal aliens.
Both Baca and Dreier serve on the House Committee for U.S./Mexico relations. (I can't even believe we have such a committee—where is the U.S./ Canada Committee?) Both he and Dreier have voted consistently pro-immigration.
The difference is: I expect it from Baca. He is, after all, a professional Mexican. He campaigns on an open pro-immigration policy. But Dreier is the tricky guy who takes one girl to the dance but goes home with another.
"Professional Mexican?" Before anyone has kittens, let me explain what I mean.
Rep. Baca has an impeccable professional résumé. He was a paratrooper in Vietnam with both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division, which means he is definitely not a "girly-man." He is one of fifteen children from a non-English speaking home who went on to graduate from college, working his way through by one menial job after another. Bottom line, Joe Baca is a hard worker and a brave soul.
But these accomplishments are rarely mentioned because Baca ran a "Vote for me I am Latino" campaign. In Congress, his policy has addressed, by and large, only the needs of the Latino community.
So, yes, Baca is a target for Political Sacrifice due to his irresponsibility with immigration policy. He refuses to dam the flood of his voter base, umm I mean, illegal alien population.
But Rep. David Dreier is truly a disappointment. He acknowledges the need for reform— but is caught in the web of fear spun by President Bush's spin spiders. (And I like David Dreier and President Bush.)
The John and Ken Show will attack these two on air and on their website up until Election Day. They will encourage everyone to vote against Dreier and Baca.
Who knows? Maybe Congressman Dreier will finally listen to his forgotten constituents. The ones the Republican Party left behind when they hopped the fast train for Sell-Out City. (I hope so because without his Apple Martini party with half-dressed women on trapeze, the next Republican convention will be about as exciting as an Ethiopian buffet.)
And maybe, just maybe, Congressman Baca will realize that there are other racial groups in his district.
Hey Baca, if they met you, they might even vote for you.
Give it a shot.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.