“I’m running my own campaign”, US Senator Dianne Feinstein glibly claimed in a brief interview with ABC-7 reporter Mark Matthews. Senator Feinstein is up for reelection this year, and for all her calm assurance, with a condescending pat on the shoulder, Ms. Feinstein may want to reconsider her glib arrogance.
Strangely enough, Senator Feinstein gave KQED's Belva Davis an extensive interview filled with distortions and distractions. She baseless claimed that Romney and Ryan are proposing radical changes to women’s right to choose and elders’ access to Medicare, even though Ryan’s plan does not affect anyone 55 or older. Her conclusions about tax cuts for “the rich” ignore that small businesses file as individuals and would benefit from tax cuts. Feinstein tirelessly attacks with the tired argument that Republicans are obstructionist. Yet for the first two years of his presidency, Obama reached out to no one.
Currently, Feinstein is polling the worst favorability numbers of her career in office. Despite one poll which shows Feinstein with a commanding lead over her challenger Elizabeth Emken, the fact remains that Emken is just now breaking out and getting the attention of California voters. Even with this “commanding” lead, Ms. Feinstein still barely tops at 51% -- not a very compelling poll for a Senator who has been in office for twenty years.
Elizabeth Emken, mother of three, former efficiency analyst for IBM and advocate for autism, is running for the US Senate as the Republican challenger. Unlike incumbent Feinstein, who appears convinced that it is not incumbent upon her to pay a visit to her constituents, Ms. Emken in the past week has visited the LA Times Editorial Board. In a previous interview, the staff writers put forth the same challenge, that the aged Senator that she must debate Emken . For the LA Times, the Republican challenger does not fit within the mold of “right-wing ideologue”.
In an interview with LA Times's columnist Patt Morrison, (one in which she stayed for the whole interview, by the way) Emken outlined her views: pragmatic, respectable, and free-market oriented.
Pragmatic: On immigration, Emken supports border control from the federal government and a guest worker program through the state of California. She is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans, yet she found that while Democrats promised, the Republicans delivered when she promoted legislation on behalf of children with autism.
Respectable: Emken is pro-life, yet has no desire to revert to a time when women who needed an abortion resorted to back-alley visits from unscrupulous doctors. Regarding gay marriage, she honors herself by retaining her opinion on the issue, instead focusing on the fiscal, national, and environmental issues harming this state and the country.
Free-market oriented: Emken wants to simplify the tax code to bring jobs back to California and the United States. Unlike most politicians, she offered a specific reform, targeting a 30-year law in the taxcode which has unfairly benefited large, self-insuring firms against smaller businesses, who must purchase their insurance from outside their own auspices.
Unlike Ms. Feinstein, Ms. Emken also paid an unprecedented visit to the South Bay (Manhattan Beach and Torrance) as well as Orange County. Normally, the Beach Cities do not receive such an honor, but her willingness to make herself known and renowned commands a great deal of respect here, and will do so throughout the state very soon, I am sure.
As of now, name recognition is Emken’s only drawback. Even I had written her off as a choice contender. Yet out of twenty-four candidates who ran for the Senate seat, she won the number two slot with 12.5% of the vote, and she is poised for the upset. What she lacks in terms of money or party establishment promotion, she more than makes up for in skill, will, and the thrill to get the voters to see her make the message and make the grade on their behalf.
If Senator Feinstein is running a campaign, I have yet to see her pay a visit anywhere of note in this state. Perhaps a trip to the South Bay is in order; where the aerospace, airline, and manufacturing industries prominent near LAX deserve more attention than they are currently receiving from the senior senator, who does not even live in California, any more.
With water issues plaguing the Central Valley, electricity rates going up all over Northern California, with California suffering the highest level of unemployment and the lowest ranking for business entrepreneurship, it appears that the state of California is going from Gold to old and out of date.
Senator Feinstein, stop hiding! We have had an empty chair in the Senate for the past twenty years, and you have still authored or sponsored any legislation of note which would easy the tax burden, the spending spree, or the national miasma’s which afflict our borders and threaten our officials overseas. Just as the LA Times beckoned some two weeks ago, the chair is waiting, Ms Feinstein. You owe this state a series of debates with Elizabeth Emken, who deserves to be the next US Senator for the state of California.