Home Politics California’s Senate debate only confirms that our next senator will further erode...

California’s Senate debate only confirms that our next senator will further erode liberty

Candidates, from left, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.,, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.,, U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., and former baseball player Steve Garvey, stand on stage during a televised debate for candidates in the senate race to succeed the late California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, in Los Angeles. | Courtesy Photo of Damian Dovarganes

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For anyone concerned about fiscal responsibility or limited government, there wasn’t much to appreciate during Monday’s debate between aspiring Senate candidates.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, probably came across as the slickest speaker. Relative to his Democratic challengers, he also managed to come across as the more moderate of the bunch even as he called for radical policies such as packing the U.S. Supreme Court and using federal power to push collective bargaining across the country.

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, said her well-rehearsed lines almost well enough to hide the fact they were well-rehearsed lines. In Porter’s worldview, the answer to every problem is more government control and regulation. The most interesting point she made was her strong stand against earmarks, saying they invited corruption by allowing politicians to award special interests.

This no doubt took a jab at Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who seemed particularly enthusiastic about becoming senator so she could use earmarks to give money away to nonprofits. Lee, who has previously called for a $50 minimum wage, is probably at her best when taking a stand for peace and diplomacy on the international stage.

Schiff, whose legislative record includes supporting the disastrous war in Iraq, is unambiguous about his support for the Israeli government. Porter criticized calls for a “ceasefire” in Gaza in her attempt to take a middle-of-the-road position.

Lee heroically opposed the 2001 blank check to President George W. Bush to wage war whenever he felt like it as well as the war in Iraq. “I voted against the Iraq [War] authorization,” Lee said. “I said then, and I’m saying now, it could spiral out of control. … You see what’s happening. It’s escalating in the region. We have to make sure that our national security is also protected. In fact, as this war escalates, as the Arab nations pull back, then what do we have? We do not have a path to Israeli security, nor do we have a path to a Palestinian state.”

This editorial board deeply respects Lee’s commitment to peace and willingness to stand up to the military-industrial complex. She’s been far more right than Schiff on foreign policy for the last two decades. And unlike Porter, whose claim to fame is a made-for-Twitter whiteboard routine, she can actually say she’s taken brave stands when they’ve mattered. That said, her economic program is probably the most meddling of the bunch.

And then there’s Republican Steve Garvey who, if you didn’t know, played for the Dodgers a few decades ago. He seems like a nice person who loves his state. But any honest viewer can see that he’s no senator.

“Republican Steve Garvey clearly stood out as the only consensus builder candidate on the stage who will bring fresh ideas to Washington to help fix our hurting state and nation,” declared California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson after the debate.

We can see that Jessica Millan Patterson or whoever wrote her statement is very artful and generous in her description of the debate. But that doesn’t make it true.

Perhaps if Garvey is the stand-in for an “Anyone but the other three,” she might have a point.

Garvey seemed almost as if he was trying to obscure the fact that he’s a Republican and not a moderate one at that. He was at his best when he was direct in what he thought. His brief statement that he would oppose a national abortion ban was perfectly sensible, but he had to be pushed into saying that. His garbled answers on most other questions were difficult to listen to otherwise.

Ultimately, this editorial board is aware that a Democrat will win this Senate race and will mostly contribute to the erosion liberty in that capacity. It is what it is.

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