21 June, 2017
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Re: Your fundraiser letter
I came across a copy of the letter you sent out in connection with your planned fundraiser on June 25th—though obviously, it was not intended for me. Your first paragraph reads as follows:
As you are aware, the libleft political machine and their media partners never gave up after the November election. In an unprecedented and unrelenting bombardment of President Trump and his stalwart Republican supporters, the Clinton establishment has sought, in their words, to resist and disrupt those who the voters chose to govern and set policy for the United States.
Excuse me, Congressman, but what ingenuous nonsense! You start out with the merely insulting “libleft” dog whistle and proceed to invoke a “political machine” as though it were Democrats, not Republicans, who are locked into a mechanical system that brooks no dissent. I sometimes wish there more co-ordination, less dissent in what we loosely call the “Democratic Party.” If there’s a political machine at work, Congressman, it’s on your side of the aisle. Case in point: the health care bill that’s being churned out with lockstep precision.
“Their media partners.” This old canard about the “liberal media” is barely worthy of mention. If you honestly consider the sheer quantity of media coverage your Trump received in the 2016 election in comparison with every other candidate you could hardly describe the media as giving Republicans short shrift. As for the quality of coverage, well, you must concede that it did accurately reflect the candidate.
“An unprecedented and unrelenting bombardment of President Trump… “ Well, no again. Hardly unprecedented. What hypocrisy, when you consider the Republican treatment of Obama and his policies, from his very first day in office. Also, if you’re honest, I think you must agree that most of Trump’s problems arise from himself—his impetuousness, his insistent self-promotion, his insulting behavior toward even our oldest and best allies, his embrace of the world’s worst dictators, his refusal to acknowledge that the Russians openly attacked us last year, or to respond to their attack. Those who criticize him have ample and reasonable grounds to do so. If anything is unprecedented, it is the incompetence and arrogance of Trump’s administration.
“The Clinton establishment…” You must be joking? I guess you use the word “Clinton” in the same way you use “libleft”—as a disparaging dog whistle that calls to those who traffic in simple hatred, whether of the Clintons or “the left.” Perhaps it helps with fundraising, to invoke the hated Clinton name. But it’s absurd to raise it as some kind of driving force in current Democratic action. You insult us by suggesting that we depend on the Clintons for our outrage, or for our sense of urgency to “resist and disrupt” an agenda that so ill serves the American people.
“Those who the voters chose…” I remind you that the voters did not actually choose Trump. They chose Clinton, by 3 million votes. It was the antiquated, and now fatally undemocratic system of the Electoral College that chose Trump.
“To govern and set policy…” Again, that phrase rings hollow. “Governing” is not happening with the Trump administration, unless in certain instances by fiat. Whatever is happening, it is certainly not the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” to which we, as a nation, aspire. Case in point, again, the health care act that is currently being plotted by a mere handful of (exclusively) male senators behind closed doors. This is a mockery of government, not government as we on the “libleft” understand it.
And “policy”? What policy? There is no consistency, no clarity of vision, no discernable goal set by the current administration. Policy implies planning. For Trump, everything is seat-of the-pants. The Republican Party hides its “agenda” behind the chaos he creates, hoping to ram it down the throats of Americans who generally, if you read the polls, oppose it. They do not want to lower taxes for their richest compatriots. Ask them. They do want the basic services that government should provide. They want an equitable society, a decent education, a functioning infrastructure and, yes, universal health care. Ask them.
All of which addresses only the first paragraph of your fundraising letter, Congressman. It’s understandable, I suppose, that you address only your supporters in such a letter. In practice, I understand it to be your job to be responsive to the opinions and needs of all of your constituents, even those who disagree with you, and not merely those who give you money.
Peter Clothier, Ph.D.