Friday, July 3, 2015

Joe Baca Joins the GOP (Huh?)

 Former Inland Rep. Joe Baca
Former Congressman Joe Baca (R-Inland Empire)

A reportedly Blue Dog Democrat who had represented the Inland Empire for years, California Congressman Joe Baca, forced out in a Top-Two fight Gloria Negrete-McCleod in 2012 and losing a bid in 2014, has become a Republican.

Yes, you read that right: he switched parties this year, especially at a time when Democrats still hold strong majorities in Sacramento and all statewide political offices. Even though they lost supermajority status in 2014, liberal progressives have wasted no time pushing a Big Green, Big Labor, and Big Government agenda at the expense of working Californians. They have even signed off on Big Amnesty, granting illegal aliens access to taxpayer-subsidized health care.

Granted, this post comes one month after his announcement, but it still requires more attention than Baca's registration switch had received.

First, some comments from the Riverside County Press-Enterprise:

The 68-year-old former Inland congressman switched his party registration from Democrat to Republican earlier this month. “I’ve always been very conservative,” he said Thursday, June 11. “I was a Blue Dog moderate (in Congress) and it falls along my Christian beliefs.”


His voting record suggests a secular, left-wing tilt.

On abortion, Baca received 100% from pro-abortion NARAL. An open-border advocate who also support tough national security measures following 9-11, Baca comes off as a Big Government social liberal with some moderate leanings.

About Joe Baca, there seems to exists very little make him stand out as a contrarian Democrat who would better fit the GOP mold. If his voting record does not invite skepticism, this photo during th 2008 Prop 8 campaign (the successful amendment to define marriage between one man and one woman) should remove any doubt about Baca's ideological preferences:

To his more conservative credit, Baca has a better record on tax reform, voting to end penalties and fees. Baca also received an "A" grade from the National Rifle Association.  He even endorsed Republican Gary Miller when he ran for election and entered the Top Two in the 31st Congressional District (think "The Miler Effect")

Baca's NRA stance is the most Republican element of his voting record, though, and partly contributed to his downfall against McCleod, who floated on gun-grabbing Michael Bloomberg's PAC  money to win election in the newly-drawn 35th Congressional District. McCleod gave up her Congressional seat after one term to run for San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2014.

She lost to Republican Curt Hagman.

So, why again did Joe Baca switch to the GOP?

The former Congressman, now retired (or retreated?) into private life, may have jumped to the Republican Party out of pure spite with Democratic machine operatives and the California Democratic Establishment.

The Press-Enterprise intimated as much in their take on Baca's new party affiliation:

Baca’s tenure on Capitol Hill was marked by friction with fellow Democrats. As chairman of the California Hispanic Caucus, he survived a no-confidence vote in 2007 when he was accused of using a pejorative term when referring to Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana. Baca denied the allegation.

He also called his replacement McCleod a "bimbo", proof once again that the War on Women finds more adherents in the Democratic Party. If "Working Joe" has given up his women-hating ways, then he would be more than welcome in the GOP.

Or would he? The final comments from the PE piece suggest that Baca's political career is all but finished:

Baca’s party switch likely won’t help him should he decide to run again, said Jack Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.

“Democrats would dislike him because he switched parties,” he said. “Republicans would distrust him because of his years of service to the Democratic Party.”

“One side would see him as Benedict Arnold while the other would see him as Johnny-Come-Lately.”

More likely, this switch is all about sticking one's finger into the political headwinds. After all, Baca was the only Democratic rep in the area for a number of years, and Republicans have made some gains at the level, not just in San Bernardino, but in the Board of Supervisors. Add to these outcomes the near-win of Paul Chabot in the 31t District (despite the slanted Democratic registration advantage) plus Chabot's strong fundraising apparatus, and Democratic numbers plunging across the country, Baca may be jumping ship from a progressive, uber-liberal Democratic Party which has left more moderate-leaning Democrats such as himself.

While California Republicans should not trip over themselves to recruit Baca as a political consultant (he has twice lost Congressional elections as well as the Fontana mayor's race), his switch to the GOP could act as a "canary in the coal-mine" for the dangerous consequences of "Tea Party of the Left" activism swallowing up his former party.

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