Mayor Cook vs. Dana, volley 1: IRAQ




Who would have predicted that my assault Saturday night on Art’s buddy Sarah would result in Art inviting me to post on the CA-46 race? Well, maybe you would have predicted that, given the high premium the Orange Juice Blog puts on feistitude. (Or is it feist?)

In any case, Art just wanted to ascertain that his planned donation to Mayor Cook’s campaign would not be a waste, that she really has a chance to give the odious Rohrabacher the old B-1 treatment. (Short answer: Yes. I’ll elaborate next week, but for now none of you will regret donating here.) But this week, since the Mayor has just signed on to the marvelous Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, it seems more timely to contrast the two candidates’ records and positions on the illegal invasion and endless occupation some of us call Operation Iraqi Fiefdom.

I should first stress that not only am I just a lowly unaccountable volunteer in the Mayor’s vast network, I am also sort of the campaign’s ­Jeremiah Wright—her staff has, will, and should distance themselves from my intemperate rantings and unrepentant Freeway Blogging. (Red Hill overpass? I know nothing.)

But as her platform shapes up to be progressive Day to Dana’s fascistic Night, and as I learn more about her canny advisers and strategies, I’ve become convinced that Mayor Cook is the one to finally rid this county of its twenty-year Dana-shaped blight. (And sorry, Tom Lash, old comrade, but actually removing the unhinged buffoon from power is more important to me than Building Up the Green Party, or who-was-against-the-war-first-and-loudest, or who-is-purer-than-the-driven-snow-with-no-corporate-contributions.)

Really, you all should check out the Responsible Plan, to which Mayor Cook is now a signatory, at this link; at least read the summary, it’s far too detailed and thoughtful to do it justice here. Not only does it include what one would expect (the speedy withdrawal of all troops, the renunciation of permanent bases, and the commitment to regional diplomacy and humanitarian concerns;) it goes well beyond all that to ensure no Stoopid War like this ever happens again, with proposals for restoring and strengthening our damaged Constitution and balance of powers, reviving our brain-dead media, and achieving energy independence—an issue especially dear to the heart of our beloved Mayor.

Also notably, the plan was developed by a group of Congressional challengers led by Washington state’s brilliant Darcy Burner in consultation with retired military leaders who oppose the war such as Major General Paul Eaton. By signing on to this magnificent plan, Mayor Cook has joined forces with an exciting group of progressive, patriotic Congressional contenders, and will get nationwide notice and support. Her close advisor, Fountain Valley councilman Gus Ayer, tells me that 2008’s crop of Democratic challengers is a step beyond previous classes: “They’re organizing before the election and attempting to impact pending legislation now; and like Mayor Cook, these new leaders are coming from outside the traditional party structure.” I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of that.

DANA on the other hand, despite his recent squirmings, has been one of this war’s most fervent cheerleaders from the very beginning, and needs to have it draped around his neck. He’s always tried to parlay his few weeks in the 80’s hangin’ out with the Afghan mujahadeen into some sort of perceived expertise on the incredibly different Muslim nations of the entire vast region, and he was just positive the Iraqi people would welcome our invasion and occupation with open arms. Who can forget his performance on the floor of Congress shortly before the vote to Authorize Use of Force, as he held forth in an octave well above Middle C, an octave he uses to express incredulous exasperation with anyone who may question his great knowledge and common sense? And just what was he ululating at this high octave? Well, the cliché du jour at that point was all the flowers that the grateful Iraqis would be throwing at us, and nobody embraced that goofy imagery more vociferously and repetitively than our Dana. (I have the NPR tape.)

And this is not the capper. Nearly two years and 1500 US deaths later, he appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time and bellowed, “They’re throwing flowers at us out there, Bill! They’re still throwing flowers! The liberal media just won’t let you see it!” Aside from the over-the-top comedy of this scene, it indicated to me that he really hadn’t put any thought into the whole matter since his success in helping to start the war. (That reminds me, we’ve got to get Bill to have Dana on again; his appearances always result in a huge influx of donations from around the nation to whoever his opponent is at the time.)

Now, five years into the debacle, reading the polls, the Surfing Chickenhawk is trying his best to distance himself from the war he helped start, and, along with fellow Bush-enabler Ed Royce, is blaming Administration incompetence and questioning the need for permanent bases. Fat chance running away from it now! Where were you when it would have made a difference? Rats come to mind, and sinking ships somehow. No, this is Dana’s


I wish more Democrats would realize that these two issues, ending the war, and restoring and strengthening the Constitution, are winning issues for them now, and have nothing to do with “left” versus “right.” When I walk door-to-door for the Mayor, and talk to Huntington Beach Republicans, and I describe her “responsible plan to end the war,” their eyes light up; more than one elderly rock-ribbed conservative has told me “Well, she has my vote then!” If this election were just a referendum on the war and the Constitution we would do just fine.

Well, as Polonius said, “This is too long.” In coming weeks I’ll write shorter posts, about why many smart folks with much more local political experience than I believe that Mayor Cook can really pull this off (and why the clowns at Red-Faced County are freaking out and losing their lunch.) And I’ll discuss and contrast the candidates’ positions on other issues, including immigration, h
ealthcare, the environment, energy policy, and whatever else OJ readers want to hear about. And I also promise instructive and hilarious Photoshops!

Finally, lest this space devolve into a Shill station, I’ll try to end each post by either saying something nice about Dana or something critical about the Mayor. And here’s one of Dana’s good points: Out of all the OC Congresscritters ensconced snugly in their safe, gerrymandered R or D districts (Royce, Campbell, Loretta) only Dana has the cojones to debate his challengers when he doesn’t have to. We’ll see if that laudable trait holds up now that he has an opponent as fierce as Mayor Cook. Will fur fly? We can hope…

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.