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Post-Election Comments on the Moorlach vs. Wagner Special Election

Posted by Walter Myers III on March 20, 2015

Dalai Lama XIVWell, it looks like it is almost official according to my distinguished colleagues here at OC Political who have been watching intently and reporting on the vote count. John Moorlach will most certainly avoid a run-off and stands to take the oath this Sunday as the newly elected California State Senator from the 37th District. Moorlach ran a positive campaign, according himself with honor and gravitas against withering attacks from Don Wagner (and yes, he did get a little negative towards the end because he was provoked). Wagner was negative out of the gate, and only became more negative as the campaign progressed. His tactics were, in retrospect, clearly unsuccessful as he lost by a 6 point margin. I think both he and his campaign advisers should reflect on their behavior, and hope they will see the Moorlach win was as much about positive feelings for Moorlach’s forthright style and outstanding accomplishments as it was about Wagner displaying petulant behavior unbecoming of someone who claims to carry the conservative banner.

In comments on my last blog, I was taken to task for being naive and not understanding how campaigning is a down and dirty, nasty business. A blood sport, certainly. I have been involved in politics as a conservative activist for over ten years now, working in numerous political action committees to financially support and promote candidates, so I’m hardly naive. I know exactly how campaigns go, and I have no problem with a candidate “digging up dirt” on an opponent, exposing all of their failings and foibles without getting personal (unless their personal behavior demonstrates a serious character flaw). We’re all human and fallible, so you can find something negative about any human being. But there is a definite line that is crossed when candidates make charges that are outright false because they know people won’t bother to check the facts, or so twist the facts it’s hard to determine what is true and what isn’t. Wagner did this on a number of occasions, but it was ineffective because many of those who vote in the 37th District are politically active, discerning, and have seen Moorlach’s sterling record for themselves over the past twenty years. So they were not going to be fooled. Whereas before the election, you would find few who didn’t have a favorable disposition towards Wagner, afterwards there was an increasing number who saw a side of Wagner they never expected, and were naturally disappointed. Had Wagner simply elected to run on his great record, providing truthful, reasonable criticisms of Moorlach, he could have possibly prevailed.

Now the problem with Wagner’s approach to this campaign, and some of the other “dirty” campaigns I have seen over the years, is that some feel when it comes to campaigning, the conservative principles and values they say they espouse no longer apply. You do whatever it takes to win, and then when you’re done we’re all friends again. It reminds me of the Ethan Hawke movie The Purge. In this future, dystopian, totalitarian world, one night a year is designated “The Purge” where all crime is legal from 7 p.m. at night to 7 a.m. the next morning. Ostensibly, the purge results in a strong economy with low crime and unemployment due to its cathartic effect, but in reality it’s just a mechanism for artificial population control. The family of the character played by Hawke is under murderous attack by their next door neighbors, who are unsuccessful at killing his family but attempt to revert back to the way things were when the clock strikes 7 a.m. Clearly, we’re not that far along as a society, but I think you get the point. Things don’t necessarily go back to the way they were because for a time the rules of decorum, honesty, and civility are temporarily lifted.

What I am arguing is simply that if you are a conservative who says you sincerely believe in God, love, mercy, brotherhood, and objective truth, except these have no place when it comes to campaigning, then more than likely much of the real person is who we see in the campaign. When the pressure is on and there is something significant to be lost or gained, that’s when we see who you truly are, not when you’re out giving a speech, participating in a community event, or raising money. What we want be assured of is that the things of which you do and speak come from your very soul, and that we see them consistently displayed, especially in the heat of political battle. It is not my expectation that this little post will have a significant impact on campaigns moving forward, but I do hope it will cause candidates to give a little pause before they compromise their core principles or allow others to influence them to do so. And thus, I will close with a quote by the Dalai Lama XIV: “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”

23 Responses to “Post-Election Comments on the Moorlach vs. Wagner Special Election”

  1. *What do they say? Class never goes out of style. Using a meat axe to get your point across is sometimes necessary, just not when you are campaigning. No, not even then. Decorum is the word. Our current Legislature in Washington D.C. seems to have lost all sense of decorum. This is setting the very bad standard that Wagner seemed to take up with relish in this campaign. Too bad. We knew Don Wagner from the beginning and he was a very pleasant guy that seemed straight forward. now he has joined the great gray slime of professional poli-tricks that would sell their mother for 5 minutes on the dias of elected office. The saddest part of this story is Don cannot go back. His blunt hammer approach has been used and folks will not forget. You get one shot doing that and then you have to rely on the good will of those above you in the pecking order for your next job. Even lesser opponents in the future will dig up all those “Go to hell – John Moorlach flyers” exposed the character of a mean spirited, unkind human being. Don needs to spend the next two years “in campaign rehab”. He needs to spend almost every waking moment doing constitutent service himself. He needs to meet with every woman’s group that will allow him to speak and plead for forgiveness. He needs to make sure he spends every Thanksgiving feeding homeless veterans and promising to fix their problems. Redemption is always in the offing and hopefully he really got the message. This however is doubtful, because “you are who you hang with” and Don is obviously hanging out with some very poor examples of caring human beings. Great article Walt…..well said….thank you!

  2. ltpar said

    John Moorlach was not the better of the two candidates, but more of his supporters voted. In the big picture, it really doesn’t make one iota of difference who we send to Sacramento because Democats have everything locked down tight as a frogs ass and Republicans are just taking up space. I doubt Moorlach will enjoy his time in Sacramento except for having a paying job?

    • Walter Myers III said

      Ltpar, you have no basis on which to make the claim as to the makeup of the voters. And don’t be so cynical. I’m sure you have a job but it’s not perfect either.

      • bob said

        Lt Par is absolutely correct. and john, in his delusional state, will continue to think that he is liked and effective

        • Walter Myers III said

          Bob, he is liked and many think he is effective. I detect quite a bit of cynicism in your reply as well. What are you looking for? Can you be specific?

          • KenCoop said

            Sacramento isn’t Santa Ana. Moorlach will be the junior member from the minority party. I can assure the Senate leadership won’t give two shakes about what John thinks unless he is signing on to their legislation.

            Moorlach stated earlier that he was going to work in the private sector. Then he decided to run for public office……again. After 20 years of being a career politician.

            While one may debate the campaign one thing is certain. Wagner has proven he can make a living in the private sector. Moorlach can’t or won’t.

            As a conservative, guess which one I respect more?

            • *The saddest part of the Don Wagner story…..is not that he lost this election. It was the way he lost it. He lost it dirty and that cannot be taken back. Folks will remember that and
              we might remind you of what happened to George H.W. Bush after he tried successfully to dirty up Ross Perot. Either through blatant intimidation or innuendo. He never won
              another election. Character matters…..as someone once said.

              • *Kenny, additionally John Moorlach knows more about constituents services, his district and the State of California than Don will ever know. And don’t worry about John getting
                the smallest Senate office in Sacramento……..he will do just fine – no doubt.

                • KenCoop said

                  Doesn’t change the fact that he is yet another career politician living off the taxpayer.

                  • Kenny, just in case you didn’t know…..we pay them all: Good or Bad!

                    • KenCoop said

                      No kidding. What’s your point?

                      At what point in time do you realize he is just another career politician living off the taxpayer?

                    • *What, we have to spell it out for you? Let’s do this instead…..start listing all the NON career Politicians you like that are living off their Trust Funds and do not
                      have to develop their Campaign Contributions from doing fund raisers and selling out to paid up lobbyists? The one’s that take no money from Teacher’s Union, Public
                      Employee Unions and Trade Unions. Big Chema, Big Agra, Big Oil, Big Energy, Those that turn down the Big wallets and junkets to exotic locations. Could be a very
                      short list……ya think?

                    • KenCoop said

                      You would have a valid point were it not for the fact that conservative ideology has championed the cause of the citizen legislator for decades. We were led to believe that political office was a temporary place for those seeking elected office and NOT a career path.

                      I can list several conservatives who claim to not be career politicians but have spent most if not all of their adult lives seeking one office or another.

                      Moorlach even tried to extend his tenure on the Board of Supes.

                      As I stated earlier, Wagner has proven he can earn a living in the private sector. Moorlach can’t or won’t.

                      Which one is more in line with conservative philosophy?

                    • *OK, you don’t like Pappa John, What we find eternally refreshing is that Pappa John is always willing to engage in dialogue regarding various contentious issues. Over the years we have engaged in downright heated arguments with John; regarding Mike Carona, The Citizens Oversight Committee, the Homeless around County Buildings, The annexation of Sunset Beach, the Annexation of Leisure World in Los Alamitos and conservatively 10 other issues. Your buddy Wagner will not engage in discussions on contentious issues. He dummies up and just does the nodding doggie in the window and does what he is told when it comes to voting. If that is your idea of Conservatism….it strongly differs from ours. We have little doubt that Pappa John will continue in engage in dialogue regarding any issue which affects his constituents or the State of California. This we find notably attrative, refreshing and engaging.Our old Assemblyman Gil Ferguson did this and even started his Principles over Politics group after the Republican hierarchy wanted him dumped. Congressmen Bill Dannemeyer and Bob Dornan were again Conservatives that would engage with their collegues, constituents and the general public on almost any issue. These were true conservatives in the Orange County tradition. We keep looking for the next new crop of conservatives that can actually think out of the box, have principles and are willing to listen to the people. John Moorlach so far is a prime and glowing example. People laugh at us because our prime criteria for good government is that our elect officials ANSWER their e-mails.
                      Well, we encourage you to tell your pal Don – to start doing so. Yes, it is time consuming, yes it requires effort and yes it can be inconvenient – but this we call public service and if he doesn’t want to do that work – then, he should find NEW work, in the private sector where the answer machine handles all his personal inter-actions.

                    • *Sorry, but we didn’t mean to forget our dear friend Chuck DeVore who did a wonderful job in the Assembly and who we still miss – after he moved to Texas.Chuck was another one that could spell Conservative…without a problem and actually had looked up the definition. Chuck was the real deal too!

                    • KenCoop said

                      Ron, your attempts at deflection are duly noted. It doesn’t change the fact that the term “career politician” is typically a pejorative and that John fits the description.

                      I really don’t care about Dornan or Dannemeyer or anyone else (including Devore) for that matter.

                      John might be more than willing to discuss all the items you believe. It doesn’t change the fact that he stated he was going to the private sector and then jumped at the opportunity to continue living off the taxpayer. I believe we have a different concept of what constitutes principles.

                      If he is the principled individual you claim I’m sure you would agree that he should forego his salary as a legislator since the taxpayer is already footing the bill for this retirement he has earned as an elected county official. Right?

                    • *As the Godfather said to Solatzo……”You obvisously can see I spoil my children and they should be listening when they are busy talking!” No Kenny Poop….YOU run for office and then you can do whatever you want as a uncareer politician. In the meantime, John Moorlach can change his mind, his shirt or his underwear anytime he wants. You want to know why? He got elected! Next!

                    • KenCoop said

                      Ron, I totally agree that John can run anytime for anything he wants.

                      That doesn’t change the fact that he is a career politician or that he lacks principles (which you claim) given his remarks that he was going to give up politics.

                      Nice try at a deflection and ad hominem attacks. It only proves that you can’t debate intelligently.

                    • *Kenny Poop, we are not worthy of your knowledgeable knowledge of career politiicians. We will certainly defer to your greater wisdom about knowing everything about everyone. We do not quite have that/your vision developed just yet, so we apologize. We will have to contact our Dionne Warwick Psychic Awareness Network for a back-up answer to your endless unqualified innane statements and rhetorical questions.

                    • KenCoop said

                      Ron, you are a funny guy.

                      No doubt you are a very modest individual. From what you have written you have a lot to be modest about.

                      Going to be fun watching Moorlach get ignored all day long for years at a time.

                    • KenCoop said

                      I saw this written on the Liberal OC blog. Describes this matter perfectly.

                      [i]In my opinion this is his dream job.

                      He will collect a paycheck, the per diems, and all the other ancillary benefits of being a state legislator.

                      He won’t have to do a thing but vote “No” on any bill.

                      Then he can come back to his district and tell everyone that he is fighting the good fight but the Dems (or some other derogatory comment) won’t let him.

                      All the while collecting his retirement from his years as a County official.

                      Unless he starts spending wildly, he should be able to add a million taxpayer dollars to his bank account over the next 14 years till he terms out.[/I]

                      Perfect.

                    • *America….love it or leave it……they used to say. Meanwhile, we are pleased as punch you know who you are!

        • *Heard McCain say delusional today on Meet the Press……or Press the Flesh……or whatever they call it. Went to the Moorlach swearing in. Everyone swore up and down
          and applauded as necesssary with several standing ovations. Then I was off to the Rohrabacher event. A lot of screaming and jumping up and down and then they all left
          to go home to watch Fox News. The good news is that John is happy he is going to Sacramento and Bob Huff swore him in today. You can take all these things for what
          they are……….just another day in paradise. Meanwhile, the Unions only gave Wagner $100,000 out of his half million for the campaign. Moorlach had $200.000.from a variety
          of angels…

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