Monday, November 25, 2013

Is Henry Waxman Vulnerable… From The Left? Meet Marianne Williamson, Congressional Candidate


Henry Waxman has been an effective and well-respected legislator from the West Side of Los Angeles. First elected in 1974, the 74 year old progressive Democrat is serving his 20th term in Congress. He's the ex-Chairman and now Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. No Republican opponent has ever gotten to 35% against him and most haven't even gotten to 30%, His closest call ever was last year when multimillionaire real estate mogul Bill Bloomberg, a not so stealth Republican, ran against him as an independent. The result was 171,860 (54%) to 146,660 (46%). Bloomfield spent $7,982,215 (95% of it self-funded) and Waxman spent $2,663,179. Most voters were unaware that Bloomfield is a Republican and that he's contributed millions of dollars to GOP candidates and committees. This year Waxman, whose newly configured district includes Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Malibu, Bel Air, Brentwood, Marina del Rey, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Venice and Rancho Palos Verdes (with a medium household income of $89,354/year, one of the wealthiest districts in America), will face another independent opponent, New Age guru and author Marianne Williamson.

Obama won CA-33 against Romney 210,010 (61%) to 127,421 (37%) and the PVI is a solid blue D+11, unassailable territory for any Republican. And, sure enough, Williamson-- unlike Bloomfield-- is a lifelong Democrat. Her NY Times #1 best seller, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles is Oprah Winfrey's favorite book.
Williamson has promised an idealistic campaign that focuses on ideas. She even refuses to call Waxman her “opponent,” saying they’re just two people applying for the same job. Her campaign literature features an American flag with doves instead of stars, with the small type below crediting the artist and noting, “Used by Permission.” It’s exactly how you’d imagine a spiritual guru would run a campaign.

“The first place democracy is broken isn’t in Washington. The first place democracy is broken is in our hearts and minds,” Williamson said. “There needs to be an intervention of sorts and it’s the American people who have to do it.”

But for the 61-year-old, this intervention is less about specifically unseating Waxman than it is about starting a conversation. And Waxman seems willing to chat.

“I’m gratified Ms. Williamson thinks I’m doing a good job and agrees with me on most issues,” Waxman said in a statement. “And while some think it would make more sense for her to challenge a Republican and help us regain control of the House, I respect her right to run.”

Williamson has a list of issues she rattles off when asked what she’s focused on, including NSA surveillance, the use of drones in the United States and the incarceration rate, but her top priority is ending the influence of money in politics.

“The cancer that lies under the cancer is the undue influence of money,” she said.

“You can look at all these issues and see they’re all derivative of that one poison.”

But she also needs $2.5 million to be competitive, she said.

At a campaign event at a Santa Monica middle school Nov. 20, Williamson spoke to a full auditorium that included self-described hippies, a female pro-choice Republican and a woman who was planning to protest President Obama’s support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement during his trip to the state next week.

…“We need to make you famous!” said one female attendee. If only people know what Williamson stands for, she said, they’ll vote for her.

If that’s all it takes, Williamson will have the election in the bag. Her Twitter followers outnumber Waxman’s nearly 100 to 1.
Professional pundits and political operatives are dismissing Williamson's chances out-of-hand-- and the clueless writer of the Buzzfeed piece above mistakenly asserts that Waxman "never won an election by less than 61%," which is certainly a lot better than the 54% he took just one year ago. If Waxman is smart-- and he is-- he'll take Williamson very seriously. Remember this is a district that is both very Jewish and also has the biggest Iranian community in America. But she told one of the local newspapers, the Daily Breeze that "In most ways I would probably vote exactly how Mr. Waxman has" and that the biggest single reason she's running is because she turned 60 and sees it as her next challenge." If she keeps that kind of talk up, the pundits will be proven correct. If she sticks to real issues-- she's outlined income inequality, the state's high incarceration rate, the environment and what she calls the corruption of the country's food supply, she'll have a shot. And then there's Iran. Waxman abandoned progressives to back the Bush- Cheney rush to war against Iraq. It'll be interesting to see how he handles the nuclear agreement with Iran, and if Williamson is deft enough to make that work for her. She could also point out that Waxman quit the Congressional Progressive Caucus last year and she could pledge to join it if elected.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home