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Commentary March 30, 2006


Decision day approaches as to the 50th District’s choice for the interim position of Congressman in the special election on Ap

Decision day approaches as to the 50th District’s choice for the interim position of Congressman in the special election on April 11th.  This election will, temporarily at least, fill the seat of disgraced Congressman Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham.  The individual elected will also have the benefit of being an incumbent when running for the subsequent general election in November, 2006.


Part of the responsibility we newspaper types have is to trudge to a number of candidate forums, listen to them speak, sort out what they say, how they say it, and provide some insight to you, the public, as to what appears to be shaping up.


While we don’t endorse candidates we are happy to give our observations as who they are and what it looks like the rascals are up to.


The Republican candidate list is a crowded one.  In our not so humble opinion there are only three, maybe four candidates who ought to even be running.  The others are just clogging up the system and wasting a lot of our time and their money.  Oh, to be sure, they have every right to run, but the question is, should they?  And the answer is often a resounding ‘no.’


Here’s how we see it.


At the top of the heap there are: 


Brian Bilbray

Bill Morrow

Howard Kaloogian


Bilbray, Morrow and Kaloogian all have legislative experience.  Bilbray at the City, County, and Congressional level, Morrow at the State Senate Level, Kaloogian at the state Assembly level.  Eric Roach has no legislative experience,  but a lot of money, much of which he’s spending to gain name recognition.  Richard Ernest has some legistlative experience, both at the city level as both councilmember and Mayor for the city of Del Mar.


Roach, Ernest, Alan Uke and Bill Hauf are all millionaires who are throwing money at the electorate in the hopes of gaining name recognition.  Uke has some  political experience lobbying governmental entities in his successful effort to bring the aircraft carrier Midway to San Diego.


Look, being a congressman means having the experience, the contacts, knowing how the game is played.  Who to contact to get what done . . . how and when to compromise . . . what pressure points to work to bring other legislators around to your point of view.  It is a craft that must be honed by years of experience.  Bilbray, Morrow and Kaloogian have it . . . Roach and Ernest don’t.  While Roach and Ernest have demonstrated they are outstanding business people . . . they’d be completely out of their element in congress.  Plus, there would be a lengthy learning curve.  We, the electorate, can’t afford that.


At this point, we’d guess that Bilbray has the inside track, with Morrow a close second.  We don’t see Kaloogian making  it this time around . . . and that’s fine with us.  We’re not fond of extreme far left or extreme far right.  Kaloogian is about as far right as you can get.  A number of his endorsements are very far right.  I submit we don’t need any more extremists in Congress . . . but representatives who are moderate in political philosophy but aggressive about getting the job done.  Bilbray and Morrow both fit this description.


Things can change in the several weeks before the election, but that’s how we see it at this relatively early stage . . . unless, of course, one of the candidates does something stupid.  And that’s not likely to happen.


On the campaign trail:


Scott Turner, the former Charger, was very late.  His excuse for being late was very lame (I was resting my feet from walking the precincts yesterday."  It would have been better for him to say nothing at all.  He then proceeded to list how he was elected to the NFL Players Committee, and had to "lay down his life" for the NFL players (a comment that made me cringe, particularly when there are military folks literally laying down their lives.  Poor analogy).  I decided he'd be an outstanding candidate for some elected position in the NFL, but certainly not for Congress.


Nice fella, great athlete, pastor of a church, but totally unrealistic as to politics.  


Several weeks earlier we had heard a half hour presentation by, respectively, Alan Uke and, earlier, Francine Busby.


Uke is, no question, a brilliant businessman.  Very successful. A good man who has done a lot of good things.  He is, however, not charismatic.  At all.  He is so soft spoken it is difficult to hear him and understand his proposals at a public forum.  He needs to work on his public speaking and microphone technique.  I would not call him a spellbinding orator. 


Francine Busby, the primary Democratic candidate, is, I’m sure, a very nice lady, kind to little children and puppy dogs.  I cannot, however, understand how she even was elected to the Cardiff School Board.  When she spoke to a local civic group I was in the audience and my immediate reaction was, ‘there is no there . . . there.’  Seldom have I been less impressed with a candidate than her.


She offered pollyanna suggestions embracing motherhood, apple pie and flag waving - but no pragmatic plans or proposals to meet our nation’s ills.  In my not so humble opinion this very nice lady has zero business running for Congress.


Which brings us back to Bilbray, Morrow and Kaloogian.


We’ve already commented on Kaloogian.  Let us turn to Bilbray and Morrow.


Bilbray has invaluable experience that would allow him to ‘hit the boards running,’ were he to be elected.  He is a moderate Republican with a record of problem solving at the city, county, and federal level.


He is a fiscal conservative and a strong and pragmatic spokesman for a realistic solution to the illegal immigration problem, urging forgery proof worker documents and severe employer sanctions for companies that hire illegal aliens.


Bill Morrow is an attractive candidate.  He’s done an excellent job at the state senate level.  He is also a strong conservative, expresses strong support for measures to curb illegal immigration, including stationing our military forces there; at a minimum our state National Guard. He is a good, strong candidate with excellent credentials.  We would be quite happy if he were to be elected to Congress.  At this point, however, we give the probable nod to Brian Bilbray.


Jack Orr, respected North San Diego County political consultant, also sees it as Bilbray, Morrow and Kaloogian, in that order.


It is, however, up to you, the voter.  And April 11th is not far away.  Vote well. Vote wisely.


Our future is in your hands.





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