“New Dem” Congressman Correa explains himself to the Anaheim Democratic Club.




So, in my ongoing effort to understand this Luis Correa character who will be representing us in Congress for the next couple of decades, I attended a recent Anaheim Democrats meeting at which he was the featured speaker.  (The Anaheim Democrats meet the first Saturday of each month at noon, at the Haskell Branch of the Anaheim Library.)

He had just come over from a tour of a place that was very special to him – an Anaheim cardboard manufacturer (A&R Box and Packaging I believe) where his father had worked and earned a good wage and benefits his entire life, and where young Lou also worked for a time.  He spoke of his ideas – tax credits, regulation easing – to bring more such manufacturing jobs to the towns he represents – Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove.  This all sounded good.

Then he scolded the crowd for not showing up to vote for Hillary in November – it was our fault that we have Donald Trump as President apparently.  Really, he was hectoring the wrong group – the most active Democrats in Anaheim, a town that went for Hillary in a county that went for Hillary in a state that went OVERWHELMINGLY for Hillary.  Sure, many of us there preferred Bernie Sanders, but when November came along, I’m sure 90% of us, having seen the horrors of the Trump campaign, held our noses and voted Democrat.

Still, Lou is sure that Hillary’s loss is due to angry Berniecrats not voting or voting something crazy.  He seems to base this on what was obviously a very traumatic moment for him – Gore’s loss to Bush in 2000 which Lou blames on Ralph Nader running.  Progressive Democrats in the crowd – Leon Cisneros, Jestin Samson – bristled at this:  “That was not Nader’s fault!”  “Well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that,” replied Lou through ever-tightening lips.

Other progressives wondered aloud why he’d declined to join in with fellow Dems on various efforts to throw a monkey wrench into Trump’s works – things like the emoluments lawsuit and the suit over The Donald’s mental health.  I was expecting Lou to say something like, “I prefer to work on substantive things instead of pointless theatrical gestures,” but instead he got this very pained, migraine-like look on his face, and said, “You guys have to remember – Donald Trump won this election fair and square.  [‘Fair and square’ being very much in doubt – V]  And he’s still very popular with many many Americans.”

Well, hovering between 30-40% as he was during Lou’s talk and is now, I don’t call “very popular.”  It seems like there would be only upside to an OC Democratic politician taking strong stands against such an unpopular President, in a county where he was beat by Hillary.  But I also started to think after a while that Lou’s pained expression wasn’t so much over Trump’s popularity as at having to hear impertinent questions and comments from his progressive constituents.

This was a few weeks after some mentally ill Berniecrat shot a Republican Congressman, and Lou was much affected and shaken by that.  He says that national politics has gotten a lot more violent and scary lately, and that nearly all Congressmen of both parties, including himself, have gotten death threats since that incident.  Lou says that his secret service men told him they couldn’t protect him if he went to this very Anaheim Democratic Club meeting, and that they would prefer if he made his public appearances rare and unannounced.

Then Lou Correa informed us that he is a proud member of an informal caucus called the “New Democrats” – Democratic Congressmen who are particularly eager to work with Republicans on issues they can find common ground on, like tax reform and “fixing” Obamacare.  (I say “particularly” eager, because of course ALL Democrats would LIKE to be able to do that.)  “How many New Dems are there?” I asked him.  Around 70, more or less, depending on the issue.

It’s pretty common wisdom that Obamacare does need some fixes, to keep costs down especially, but it’s also obvious that Congressional Republicans and Trump, rather than improve it, want to see it die, or “implode,” because that would lead to a great tax cut for the rich, plus “OBAMAcare” just sounds so dirty, you know.  “What particular fixes would YOU like to see to Obamacare?”  I asked.  Lou responded, a lot of things, but I want to particularly make it less burdensome on small businesses.  At that point I had to leave because me and my wife and her daughter had tickets to see Iron Maiden in San Bernardino!

It’s no secret that the proprietors of this blog would have preferred to see progressive Joe Dunn (or even Bao) as our Congressman, but we go to war (against Trump) with the Congressman we have, and it’s unclear Joe or Bao could do anything better than Lou in today’s Washington.  Still, if we manage to get a Democratic Congressional majority next year, I hope we can count on being able to tell good old Lou from a Republican.  And if not, I hope he doesn’t claim that’s because Trump is so popular, or that his “district is moderate” … because NEITHER IS TRUE!

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 vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.