Dana Watch: The Russia Thing

Illustration by Bob Aul

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Lip Balm) has routinely and frequently said voters in his 48th Congressional District do not care about his close ties to Russia’s brutal regime.

However, two things happened on the same October day that reflect the actual toll the Russia thing is having on Rohrabacher’s attempt to extend his House of Representatives career beyond the 30-year mark.

A Los Angeles Times poll published on Oct. 4 found Rohrabacher in a statistical dead heat with Democrat Harley Rouda. That is a first for the incumbent, who has never been in a congressional race this close with less than a month before Election Day.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking that afternoon at Cal State Fullerton on behalf of four Democrats seeking Orange County congressional seats, said Rouda is “a fighter for California, not an apologist for the Kremlin.”

By then, Rohrabacher’s constituents had been hammered with a progressive political-action committee’s clever advertisements, which “thanked” the “comrade” for his longtime support of Mother Russia. One set was broadcast in English, the other in Russian, and both shared Soviet-style propaganda artwork.

Rohrabacher’s latest campaign ads show the Russia thing is actually getting to him. As he stands next to his wife with their daughter sitting in a swing, Rohrabacher says, “Politicians argue a lot about health care, but for me, it’s personal. When my daughter Annika was 8 years old, she was afflicted with leukemia. It was devastating to my family, but we got through it—and today she’s doing great.”

He adds, “So for her and all our families, we must protect America’s health-care system. That’s why I’m taking on both parties and fighting for those with pre-existing conditions.”

DING! DING! DING! That’s the Total Bullshit Meter hitting 11 even though it only goes up to 10.

Ya’ll remember shortly after Rohrabacher’s other man crush, Donald Trump, was elected president, when the congressman over and over again refused to meet his own constituents, many of whom have pre-existing medical conditions, over his votes on health care?

Their elected representative had consistently voted against the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Then, in 2017, Rohrabacher supported the GOP’s American Health Care Act, even though the independent Congressional Budget Office warned it would result in 23 million Americans losing health-care coverage while also undermining protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Using your little girl as a prop while you act as if you care about an issue you wouldn’t even talk with your own constituents about should not play well at home, but they’ll love it in Moscow.

Got Dana Watch fodder? Email mcoker@ocweekly.com.

OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.

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