As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

CA-48: Could Beth Krom Beat John Galt?

Last week, OC Progressive (which has really attracted a good group of writers and provided a vital progressive voice in Orange County) revealed that Beth Krom, an Irvine City Councilwoman, is considering a run against Rep. John Campbell. In a subsequent post, Joe Shaw explained why Krom would make a worthy challenger.

She can win elections.
Beth Krom has won five campaigns, In 2006, she garnered 60% of the vote in her re-election as Mayor and in 2008, won her current City Council seat with 8000 votes more than the next candidate.

She gets things done.
We need elected officials who have experience getting things done for their constituents. Beth Krom is a strong advocate for environmental stewardship. Her vote was instrumental in cleaning up the water along the Orange County coast: she was the first "inland" representative to advocate for full secondary treatment of the effluent the OC Sanitation District pumped out into the ocean and was the "swing vote" in getting the board to fund implementation.

She's a visionary.
Beth Krom understands that Orange County needs leadership that will advance innovative, integrated transit solutions, sustainable development practices and green technology and jobs initiatives.

She can work across party lines.
Beth Krom has the respect of so many people throughout Orange County because she works with people, regardless of political affiliation, to get things done.

Irvine is one of America's best run cities.
What other Orange County elected, at the local, state or federal level, can lay claim to the legacy of forward-thinking leadership that Beth Krom has provided in the City of Irvine? "Safest City in America" four years straight; a balanced budget and more than tripling city reserves during her term as Mayor, and advancing a project of regional importance - the Orange County Great Park.

I'm a little gun-shy to out and out predict victory in these California Congressional races. We are know that they are tough slogs, and were disappointed by the performance of many promising candidates last cycle. Nonetheless, we cannot leave these red areas behind, and there's no question that the threat of candidates like Bill Durston and Debbie Cook forced the national GOP to spend money where they didn't want to spend it, leading to other losses around the country. Everything is connected, and thus solid candidates should continue to be recruited everywhere.

What's more, President Obama actually beat John McCain in CA-48, despite the district's Republican tilt. And, far from distinguishing himself, Campbell has most recently looked to Ayn Rand novels for inspiration in setting public policy:

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who gives his departing interns copies of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” told me today that the response to President Obama’s economic policies reminded him of what happened in the 51-year-old novel.

“People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’” said Campbell. “The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit rest of us, are going on strike. I’m seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth, who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they’ll be punished for them.”

It would be a terrible thing if the titans of industry that have burned through trillions of dollars in American wealth were to pull back and not be so ambitious, wouldn't it? And it's certainly a rational reaction, to forcibly crumble what's left of the American economy due to an increase of 4 cents in the top marginal tax rates. Even more certainly, there's no question that it would turn out just like the fictional novel - that every high-earner would leave their job and nobody would pick up the slack. Conservatives are nothing if not selfless. And daring, rational men who live by their minds.

This guy is obviously a buffoon, but we know that is sadly not enough in these districts. And repeat candidates, who have built up their name ID and volunteer base, always have a better shot. If I were to forecast the early prospects for a flipped seat in California right now, I would go:

CA-44: Bill Hedrick is already announced as a candidate, and he lost by just 2.6% to Ken Calvert last time.
CA-03: The trendlines in the district are favorable, but it's unclear if Bill Durston will make a third try.

And then, pretty much, nothing, until there's clarity about who's running. Charlie Brown writing an op-ed in the Auburn Journal trashing Tom McClintock suggests he might try again in CA-04, but I'm not sure. Given the current state of affairs, I'd say CA-48 isn't looking too badly, though it's early.

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