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Wallflower at the $6-Billion Orgy

What Is There to Show for It?


Whew! The $6-billion campaign orgy is finally over, and we ended up with the same president. Fortunately. The English do it in one month and for a fraction of the cost.

But then they have fewer billionaires. Romney backers must be saying essentially the same thing political prankster Dick Tuck cracked after losing his 1966 State Senate race: “The people have spoken ​— ​the bastards!”

Congressmember Lois Capps survived an avalanche of outside money and outside political smarties to beat clownish challenger Abel Maldonado, whose unending whoppers didn’t help him. If Maldo were Pinocchio, his nose would extend to Washington, D.C. Ex–Santa Barbaran and former state senator Gary Hart lectured Maldo on his bald-faced departures from reality.

Barney Brantingham

My mailbox creaked with loads of 9”×11” glossy placards accusing Capps of so many crimes against the body politic that I expected the next to indict her for the Lindbergh baby kidnapping or to demand she reveal the whereabouts of the long-missing Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater. (Look it up.)

Outside PACs and other sources poured $3.7 million into that race, hoping to pick up the 24th District seat to strengthen the GOP’s hold on the House, but the dough went down the drain. Demos, probably seeing that Maldo wasn’t going to make it, held on to their cash.

Now Maldo will have time to do something about the $4.2 million the IRS says he owes, before he runs for something else. It also looks like he needs to do something about numerous Cal/OSHA citations regarding worker safety at the family farm, according to CalCoastNews.com.

The Man from Greka lost again. Mike Stoker, a likeable guy who once shilled for serial polluter Greka, oil and gas leaker, was never in the race against Hannah-Beth Jackson despite huge signs all over town, some of them possibly legal size. Jackson, taxin’ or not and victorious over cancer, as well, now goes to the State Senate. She previously served in the State Assembly. In Sacramento once again, she’ll team up with another hyperactive liberal Demo, Das Williams, who defeated Rob (Who?) Walter to be reelected to the Assembly.

Williams is most famous for, among other important legislation, proposing a strip-club tax aimed at raising money for programs that treat victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. The exact method of assessing the tax isn’t clear, possibly per lap dance. A sex tax, you might say. So far, the strip-club tax measure hasn’t emerged from Sacramento. It would only affect strip joints serving booze, thereby giving a pass to our own Spearmint Rhino, which only has juice and naked women on the menu.

Williams was quite a lightning rod while on the Santa Barbara City Council, but his Assembly campaign came through like a soft summer breeze.

The Montecito Fire Protection District, suddenly in the news after decades without real elections, faces a shakeup. Voters okayed going from a three-member board to five and elected three new faces with questions about the proposed new fire station/training facility. Abe Powell, Susan Keller, and Gene Sinser were elected, and a “status-quo” slate backed by retired chiefs lost. Longtime boardmember Roy Jensen was reelected.

Little Guadalupe refused to change its named to “Guadalupe Beach,” since it’s not on a beach.

So what do we have to show for the $6 billion blown on the national election cycle, besides wishing the billionaires and corporations had spent that much feeding hungry children and building schools?

Well, with President Obama’s reelection:

• Social Security is safe, for now.

• Medicare is safe, for now.

• Roe v. Wade is safe, for now.

• Big Bird is safe, for now.

• Planned Parenthood is safe, for now.

• An attack on Iran is less likely, for now.

Appointment of more ultraconservatives to the Supreme Court is highly unlikely, at least for four years. Presidents last four to eight years, but justices can hijack justice for decades.

The question people around Santa Barbara are asking is, why was this presidential election so white-knuckle? You had a political-science-professor type running against a game-show host trying to fake his way through a test. For veep, you had a tough-talking football coach against a know-it-all frat-boy math major.

For weeks, most of the media made it sound like a scary tossup. But if you followed Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, a number-crunching daily analysis based on all the polls, not just one, he had Obama solid with over 300 electoral votes days before the voting.

Romney made more mistakes than USC did against Oregon last Saturday. Same result.

Even before the polls closed Tuesday, pundits were speculating about who was going to run in 2016. Demo Hillary Clinton, who is resigning as secretary of state? For the GOP: Condoleezza Rice? If so, the first woman president, either way it goes.

Think the election was messy? As Winston Churchill famously put it (after being ousted from office), “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

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