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At town hall, Lungren shows why he needs to go

by Randy Bayne
The Bayne of Blog
Thanks to my friend Judy for suggesting this x-post.

Congressman Dan Lungren (CA-3) held a town hall meeting in Jackson on Saturday. He came to talk to Amador Co. residents about four issues, immigration, Iraq, spending and earmarks. Most of the two hours was spent on immigration, with few local issues being addressed. As a matter of fact, Lungren seemed disturbed that these constituents would bother him with anything local. He certainly didn’t want the audience driving the conversation off his pre-determined course.

He entered the auditorium at Jackson City Hall barely noticed, shook a couple hands, and headed straight for the donuts.

After an introduction by Amador Co. Sheriff Martin Ryan in which he received so much praise it simply had to be phony, Lungren took center stage and started into an explanation of the role of the California Attorney General, an office he used to hold. It felt like he was trying to waste time so he wouldn’t have to face too many questions.

Before questions from constituents, Lungren talked about four issues that he says generate the most mail to his office – immigration, Iraq, federal spending and earmarks.


Congressman Dan Lungren, CA-3
Congressman Lungren makes a point on immigration.
© A.R. Bayne

“Congress and the President got it wrong,” says Lungren, when they debated immigration legislation earlier this year. In one the few criticisms of President Bush that I’ve heard come from the Congressman, Lungren said he, “lead with his heart rather than his head.” Something I had to laugh at for two obvious reasons; heart and head.

He went on to say that what we need is to finish building a wall around the U.S. to keep people out, using contracted labor, rather than federal employees, of course. We also need to allow people in from Mexico to do our dirty work through a guest worker program, and keep people from claiming citizenship just because they were born here.


Lungren continues to insist on calling the occupation in Iraq a “war,” and insisting that we cannot leave until the country is stabilized. When will the occupation supporter realize that we are the reason the country is unstable? Probably never, since he also said the military in Iraq is “being successful.”

Of course, he couldn’t resist playing the “we have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” fear card.

“I’m going to be guided tremendously by what he says,” said Lungren referring to General David Petraeus.

Federal Spending

Congressman Dan Lungren, CA-3
Who are you lookin’ at?
© A.R. Bayne

Lungren brushed by this subject rather quickly after blaming Katrina and the bridge collapse in Minneapolis on local governments not spending enough. He indicated that the federal government is not responsible for local infrastructure.

He also mentioned SCHIP, the federal program to provide health insurance to children. Claiming it “goes to far” he opposes reauthorization. The problem he has with it, he says, is that it covers too many people. According to Lungren only the very old and the very young are deserving of health care.

Apparently, in Lungren’s world, the only responsibility of the federal government is to build walls and occupy sovereign nations.


People of the 3rd Congressional District shouldn’t expect any help from their congressman when it comes to bringing needed programs and money to our district. He clearly is against helping his home district if it brings no benefit to people in other parts of the country. Just who is he representing?

When asked about federal help for a Community College in Amador Co., Lungren told the questioner that Amador Co. hasn’t shown a need for a Community College. That was rather insulting if you ask me.

He said his “earmarks have to do with transportation and show a federal nexus.”

One of the most interesting parts of the morning was a question from a woman about the amount of money being spent in Iraq and what we could accomplish at home if we weren’t spending it on a failing foreign policy. Lungren avoided an answer by returning to his previous statement about stabilization, and once again playing the fear card.

Congressman Dan Lungren, CA-3
The brush off
© A.R. Bayne

I came away from the town hall with the realization of just how badly we need further change in Congress. Democrats have been sorely disappointed by their representatives who have capitulated and followed the Republican lead on some issues, but we cannot abandon the success we have achieved, and we cannot allow Republicans to regain a foot hold on power. As disappointed as I am in many of our legislators at the federal level, I have to look beyond what they have done in the short term and look toward the long term.

Defeating Republicans like Richard Pombo and, in this next election John Doolittle, is relatively easy. They are certifiably corrupt and have plenty of dirt to use against them, making it easier to attack them on the issues. Besides, no one likes them.

Defeating the Lungrens of the world is much more difficult. Without the corruption, the battle is solely formed around ideology and issues, and is much more difficult to win. Lungren is immensely popular in his district, and that is difficult for a challenger to overcome even if he wrong on the issues. Unfortunately, too much of American politics is about popularity rather than substance.

We need to keep strong Democrats in Congress, and it is imperative that we rid ourselves of Congress persons that espouse policies similar to Lungren’s. Challengers to Lungren have not surfaced yet. There has been some talk, some names mentioned, but so far no one has stepped forward. That could change as early as tomorrow. I will keep you posted.