Last night here in Long Beach the Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association hosted a debate for the District 47 Congressional race between the Republican candidate, Councilman Gary Delong, and State Senator Alan Lowenthal. The current coverage from the local press is unsurprisingly pithy and terrible, as they focused on the fleeting buzzwords from the candidates instead of the substance of their actual answers (Delong actually tried calling himself a MAVERICK! despite that joke being old and sad in 2008). In the case of Gary Delong, running on meaningless colloquialisms seem to be his only campaign strategy at this point.
For simplicity’s sake, I’ve divided the main takeaways from the event for those who were not in attendance into a few main points. If you are relying on the Press-Telegram or any other local paper to provide anything resembling analysis on the debate, good luck. At this point I’m sure that the reporters covering this race are tired of Delong stealing his stump speech from Hallmark cards, so trying to report on anything that is not inherently inane is obvious a bit difficult.
Luckily I’m here to help.
1) Delong Has No Idea What The Ryan Budget Does
The most amazing exchange that happened last night came when Senator Lowenthal started listing the specific aspects of the legitimately scary Ryan Budget of Doom®. After the Senator was finished describing the dystopian hell scape that would result from the passage of this awful plan, ‘Ol Maverickey Gary Delong stood up let loose a blithering stream of ineptitude all over the audience.
Delong began his answer by lying about the budget forcing poor and middle class to pay more than millionaires like him and Romney in taxes. The audience was a tad perplexed by this outright falsity, so Delong started to ramble on about how the budget failed to pass congress because “it is not a bipartisan bill”.
“Not bipartisan” is one way to put it, but in reality the main reason that people are generally displeased with plan because it is an outright fraud, based on a failed economic policy, wrapped in a blanket of outright hatred for people who are not millionaires. For some context, here are just some of the various horrible things that caused sentient people to reject this neo-Eugenic manifesto:
- $134 Billion cut from the food stamps program
- Pell Grants eliminated for one million students
- Voucherized Medicare
- The effective elimination of Medcaid
- Drastic cuts to necessary infrastructure upgrades
The lack of a bipartisan consensus around something that has been described as “ludicrous and cruel”, “fraudulent”, and “pure Social Darwinism” should be seen as a good thing- as it demonstrates that at least one party in Washington has not completely lost its mind.
2) Delong’s Environmental Record Is So Bad That He Has To Steal Credit From His Opponent’s Work
A few of the debate questions asked about the candidate’s desire to preserve the environment while keeping the economy strong. Senator Lowethnal’s provided the audience with a long list of accomplishments regarding his work in balancing the needs of the business world with the environment. Lowenthal demonstrated both his commitment to maintaining a healthy community and ecosystem, as well as his own political expertise (and bravery) in fostering a working relationship with interests that initially opposed these efforts.
Delong’s response on the other hand, if he was honest, should have been limited to “I made Von’s only give out paper bags”. Given that this the Councilman’s sole achievement on this issue, he should have stopped there. Instead Delong rambled on about his use of solar panels and how he personally saved the Colorado Lagoon from being, to quote the councilman: a “polio bed” (which would be amazing given that polio was eradicated from this country a few generations ago)
Unfortunately for Mr. Delong, taking credit for this “accomplishment” requires a particularly nasty for of lying. With the Lagoon, it was actually Lowenthal himself who personally spearheaded the effort to prevent the county from turning that area into a literal open sewer and has since worked to secure the necessary grants that the city needed to maintain that area. Delong just happens to be the councilman in the district where the Lagoon happens to be, so saying that “he built that” is pretty dishonest and awful to say the least.
3) Why Is Delong Bragging About Firing Public Employees When Our Police Department Is Desperate For Help?
Delong’s oft-repeated clap trap about making government “more efficient” is reflected in our city’s decision to slash public spending and eliminate the jobs necessary to provide proper services to our residents. Instead of avoid questions that might expose the fact that their have been several instances of hate crimes in the area directed against members of the gay community within the last year, Delong actually too pride in reducing the city payroll by 20%. So the next time that your car get’s broken into our your buddy gets his ass kicked after leaving the Brit and there are no police around to help you in their time of need, remember Gary Delong’s genius brand of management.
4) Delong Is Against Outside Groups Funding Local Elections, Unless It Benefits Him
The question regarding corporate personhood was amazing. Again Senator Lowethal consistently hammered home the point that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was anti-democratic and went against a century of progressive legislation meant to curb the corrupting influence of money in politics. Delong on the other hand started to cough up some platitudes regarding his independence, but then he decided to equate Union political advocacy with that of corporate-funded bribery. I guess that Delong never saw this chart from the OpenSecerts.org
Delong then decided to make things personal, by endorsing a plan whereby only Long Beach residents would be allowed to donate to his campaign. This is a very brave stance to take, particularly as Delong himself has taken oodles of campaign donations from the likes of John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan and other prominent Republicans in this quixotic attempt to buy a seat into Congress. My only guess as to how Delong screwed this up is that he has not quite mastered “the Google”
If you were looking for a more specific, or at least coherent Gary Delong last night you were probably left pretty disappointed. On the other hand, the other guy in the race is looking pretty damn convincing that someone running for office actually cares about the interests of the poor and middle class. Remember this when early voting starts.