Dear Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Let's make a deal.
Let's make a deal
"Dennis Cardoza is the greatest congressman in the history of the world," he announced, quickly repeating it and adding for good measure, "That's my story and, as you can see, I'm sticking to it."
Through the course of our meeting, he repeatedly described Cardoza as a much-needed voice of reason, consensus builder and bipartisan advocate on Capitol Hill.
"Unfortunately, in Congress as in the rest of the country, we're becoming more and more polarized," Hoyer told us. "The real issue in America is that we are compartmentalizing ourselves -- not by force but by choice."
That has shown up most recently in the heated -- and often nasty -- town hall meetings on health care reform. Cardoza has been criticized for not holding town hall meetings, but Hoyer defended the local congressman's decision to instead host telephone sessions, which he described as "much more effective."
"People are afraid, and they're angry," Hoyer said, adding that it's understandable, given the economic crisis, the drop in value of retirement and investment funds, the housing crisis and rising unemployment. "They have a lot of anger at anyone in power. In the midst of this comes health care reform. It has become the focus for their anger and fear."
For his part, Cardoza said he hadn't been asked by one person to hold a town hall meeting. And, though he didn't say so, don't look for him to hold one anytime soon. -- Mark Vasche, Modesto Bee, Aug. 30, 2009
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer believes "Dennis Cardoza is the greatest congressman in the history of the world." If the majority leader believed Cardoza's district thought the same, he probably wouldn't be out here peddling this line of the well-known substance.
We are tempted to imagine that Hoyer sees strong opposition to Cardoza in Mike Berryhill and is either drawing a line in the sand or running a bluff on House Republicans. The message, not really for our consumption, is that the House Democrats will pour in the necessary cash to defend the 18th California Congressional District seat against a well-financed Republican campaign. So, Hoyer might be telling House Republicans, "don't even think about it." But, before local Democrats relax, wouldn't it be nice to hear if Speaker Pelosi, who actually comes from California, thinks "Dennis Cardoza is the greatest congressman in the history of the world."
We suggest an easier way of handling this problem, which is that Dennis Cardoza doesn't like his district anymore and spends more time messing around in other peoples' water politics than working on the economic disaster in his own district. Let's make a deal. This fellow, Rep. John Sarbanes, who represents the district where Cardoza now lives, seems to be intelligent, articulate, he cares about healthcare reform and working people, and practiced law for about 20 years before running for Congress. An added plus is that there is no record of Sarbanes having promoted lady mud-wrestling contests. He might also have a working congressional office. He might also be capable of speaking to people with whom he does not agree. He might even be the sort of congressman that Democrats would not be ashamed to work for.
If Hoyer truly believes "Dennis Cardoza is the greatest congressman in the history of the world," we propose a deal: send Sarbanes out here and put Cardoza in Sarbanes' Maryland seat. Cardoza seems to prefer the East and perhaps Sarbanes' horizons would be broadened by a few terms in a western district with a median household income half of his Maryland district's, where he can represent the unworking people Cardoza doesn't like to be around or have his children around their children. They are both familiar with polluted estuaries -- the Delta here, Chesapeake Bay there.
This deal may face insurmountable legal hurdles. Sarbanes may not want to move out to this scene of global finance, insurance and real estate fraud, where any public expression for the Endangered Species Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, or a single-payer health plan, is political anathema. In other words, there is no Democratic Party in the 18th congressional district of California. All we have is a swarm of boll weevils deranged by pesticide.