I don’t know whether this is more hilarious or pathetic, because it is just so much of both.
The news came out earlier this week that Rep. Ed Royce — friend to big bankers, foe to brown-skinned people proud of their ancestral cultures, and Little Napoleon of North Orange County politics — was scheduled to appear in Rowland Heights on Monday at 7:00 at a health care policy forum sponsored by the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council (the unincorporated LA County neighborhood’s equivalent of a City Council.) That’s fine — it made sense. Obamacare, after all, is in the news and is of great public interest. Might as well talk to the public about it, right?
Here’s the notice that came out last Saturday from Council President Beth Hojnacke:
Congressman Ed Royce to speak on the Affordable Healthcare Act at the August RHCCC Community Meeting
Do you have questions regarding how the Affordable HealthCare Act, which was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, will affect you and your loved ones? Or what the 20 tax increases included in the Act are, when they will be effective and whether they will impact you? Congressman Ed Royce, the featured speaker at the August 13, 2012 Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council community meeting will answer these and other questions you may have regarding the Act.
The meeting will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the community room at Pathfinder Park, 18150 E. Pathfinder Road, Rowland Heights. Residents from throughout the East San Gabriel Valley are invited to attend. Admission is free.
OK, fair enough. I’d want a focus on services and protections rather than just taxes, but still, this is good. And it’s good of Ed Royce to offer to do it, I thought — face the public in something other than completely controlled surroundings for a change! Maybe I’d even go ask him a question.
The campaign of Jay Chen decided to get people in the mood by having a showing of “The Health Care Movie,” which I showed at the campaign headquarters that Jay shares with the Democrats of North Orange County club (and where Sharon Quirk-Silva and I are also tenants.) That movie will be shown Sunday at 5; I’m to be a guest speaker before the event. Jay may be late because of the big $3900 per plate fundraiser he’s having with Bill Clinton earlier that day in Washington D.C.
(Note: that last sentence could, I suppose, be disinformation that I have just made up right now to give Ed Royce a jolt. Yes, that is a definite possibility. Could whoever’s next to him when he reads this check in on him and make sure he’s OK? You’ll see why I’m worried about Royce’s emotional fragility in a few more paragraphs.)
On Tuesday, word comes out that both Ed Royce and Jay Chen would be speaking at the Rowland Heights Coordinating Council event. Jay had run into one of the heads of the RHCC at the National Night Out Event and, I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the result was she said he could have equal speaking time. (My sense is that they had decided to avoid politicizing the event. Again — good for them!)
It was not exactly going to be a debate, but it would feature both candidates speaking to the same audience about the same issue — and that’s not bad. (It’s more than anyone has offered me with respect to my campaign against Senator Bob Huff.) This is not only fair — it does a better job of informing the audience about the issue. Everybody wins!
Well, maybe not everybody.
Word came down yesterday that Ed Royce got word that the dapper and erudite Jay Chen would be participating in the forum — right next to him!!! — and he emitted a couple of clucks and a “buh-CAW” and quickly crossed the road to get to the other side, because that’s where Jay Chen WASN’T! Seriously.
Brave Sir Ed Royce ran away.
When Jay Chen reared his fearsome head he bravely turned his tail and fled.
If Ed Royce’s fear of Jay Chen were any more transparent, you could read Mitt Romney’s tax returns through it. (Well, actually, you couldn’t because he won’t release them, but theoretically you could.)
Here’s the message we got after sending a “WTF? No, seriously, WTF???” message to the Jay Chen campaign. (That stands for “Where’s the Fullertonian?”, if anyone asks.)
So Royce was scheduled to speak at a non-partisan, non-campaign related event featuring an honest and open discussion of the Affordable Care Act.
However, upon hearing or knowing that Jay would attend as well, Royce decided not to attend due to “another commitment”.
Oh, stop — it hurts to laugh this hard! “Another commitment” when the event had already been advertised? Maybe that “commitment” is to not being videoed breaking down and weeping on stage. Honestly, political commentators pray for this kind of thing to happen, to show just how craven and afraid a given candidate is, but we rarely get our wish. Ed Royce: your new campaign theme song is below!
Now you may think that our humble blog is being a bit harsh on Ed “Chicken a la Orange County” Royce here — but there’s plenty more where that came from. There is hope for Royce to redeem himself, though! The message from the Jay Chen campaign continues:
This is not the first time he has refused to debate — the League of Women Voters has been trying to contact him over the last few weeks and he has not responded to any of their requests to participate in a candidate’s forum.
If you’d like to see Ed Royce debate Jay Chen, tell him so below. You may also want to (and I’m doing it without the campaign’s knowledge or approval) go to the Jay Chen for Congress Facebook page and post a notice there saying that you want to see Ed Royce debate Jay Chen!
I’m not asking you to do this as a partisan Democrat or as a candidate. I’m asking you to do this as someone who loves humor. I want to see what Ed Royce will do when the kid from Harvard lays into him. He’ll be luck if he does a quarter as well as D’Marie Mulattieri did debating Jay in the primary!
UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that I haven’t given information about the showing of “The Health Care Movie” the previous day (i.e., Sunday) in Rowland Heights. My apologies! Here’s the flyer: