In California, conservatives get burned. We fight so hard, and yet the scalding of Big Government getting bigger gets on our nerves. Those are days when you just do not feeling like doing mornings.
Thankfully, January 9th 2016 was not one of the days. Two days prior, I got an email from my fellow conservative activists “We the People Rising”. Freshman Democratic Congressman Peter Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) a small, unimpressive Hispanic version of Barack Obama, was hosting an event.
Cough and spew. He sputters the same hollow talking points about immigration “reform”, climate change, Obamacare, and Planned Murderhood, er . . .Parenthood. He also voted for the Iran Nuclear Deal. He has no business representing anyone in San Bernardino County. Despite the horrific Islamic terrorist attacks on December 2nd , 2015, Aguilar never once demanded a secure border or a robust foreign policy to destroy terrorists. Instead, Aguilar called for. . .more gun control. Repeat after me, liberals: guns do not kill people. People do, especially when receiving funds and training from radical Islamists in the Middle East. Does any of this sound familiar? And that is precisely part of the problem. I was not going to pass up a Coffee with this Congressman. No way!
The drive from the South Bay to the Inland Empire offered me time to pause and think. California residents have been asleep at the wheel. Wake up! Despite Construction projects throughout the region, there is little job growth, aside from some large grocers (like Stater Brothers) and federal complexes. In general, the region is struggling, to put it mildly. The once thriving rancho region is now decimated with fallow, broke up properties, gang violence, and high unemployment.
I also drove by the site of the terrorist attack. The candles, pictures, and streamers rested in quiet memorial to the senseless violence, and the insensitive pandering of an accommodating Obama Administration. They refused to call evil what it is.
I was lucky this Saturday morning, in that a commute which usually takes two and half hours facing heavy traffic either direction, I arrived at Peter’s coffee event just in time with the rest of our team. Aguilar has endured We the People Rising for the entire year. He also faces an insurgent rematch. The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting the former Redlands mayor. Aguilar’s Republican challenger Paul Chabot, a Naval reserve and police officer, will hopefully get more money this year. Despite the +5 Democratic registration advantage, and the overwhelming wins of the Obama Administration during both cycles, Chabot came within three points of winning two years ago. With a tremendous volunteer base behind him ready for the win, Chabot is eyeing the prize.
Sadly, Chabot’s frustration in 2014 matches the outrage many California Republicans faced that year. Despite an epic wave of Republican victories across the country, Democrats gained a house seat in California (Aguilar) and held onto otherwise winnable districts. Organization and commitment have been flagging in the once Golden State. Nevertheless, Republicans like Chabot and Co. are regrouping for 2016.
In California, Republicans enjoy ten – ten! – Congressional opportunities for victory. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced: “I am not ready to give up on California.” Now local activists must step up and shout “Take back CA!” A major boon to our cause? The California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Competitive Congressional and state legislative districts have finally transformed into the norm. Democrats, long accustomed to getting everything they want in Washington as well as Sacramento, scramble every cycle to hold onto their seats. With more retirements from the liberal political class (fed up with not getting all their federal freebies from a more restrained (yet still far from perfect) Republican Congress, Congressional seats keep opening up. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Last time I checked, the Constitution says “We the People” not “We the Perpetual Politicians.”
Which brings us back to Aguilar.
One has to wonder how much longer Aguilar will stay in Congress. He faces relentless pressure from the illiberal interests propping up his campaign, but also the strained populace struggling for work and praying for safety. We the People Rising have crashed his coffee meetings a number of times.
This time, we made sure that he heard us all loudly and clearly.
About twenty people showed up to his January 9th, 2015 community event. One Californian drove all the way from Lake Arrowhead (an hour commute for him, too). A somewhat Bernie Sanders supporter, he arrived half an hour early, yet never spoke to the Congressman. He was even sympathetic to a number of Aguilar’s causes, and yet nothing. In fact, two other constituents who had arrived early got NO face time with their Congressman.
“Coffee with Pete”? No wonder critics call him Peter Agui-LIAR.
I spoke with a number of locals. One member of the Redlands Tea Party patriots recognized us from our efforts in Huntington Park (Yes! Yes! Yes!). Other attendees told me: “We never voted for Peter.” Awesome. One couple really touched me. For fifteen years, the husband commuted to Torrance for work. Then he was laid off. His wife sat nearby, had been listening to my discussion with two other Bernie Sanders supporters. She was so inspired by what I had to say, that we agreed to talk further in the near future.
As for the Sanders supporters, they mocked us because of the “Trump for President” signs, even those held by the Hispanic residents hoping to speak with Aguilar. We continued our efforts, including my infrequent interjections: why does he want to take people’s guns away? Why did he vote against repeal of Obamacare, if he wants to help create jobs? And why did he support the abortive Iran Nuclear Deal? The flustered incumbent fled. We blocked him at the front door, and his staff directed him into the kitchen – like a cockroach fleeing an exterminator.
Who got burned at the coffee shop? Aguilar of course, and we will keep turning on the heat!