Steve Garvey Whiffs Senate Debate

Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Steve Garvey Whiffs Senate Debate

Former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey takes the field against the New York Yankees for an Old Timers game before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on June 8, 2013. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler

1/24/2024

Updated: 1/24/2024

Commentary
I was hoping Steve Garvey would show up in his Los Angeles Dodgers uniform for Tuesday’s debate with three Democrats held on Fox 11 Los Angeles. That’s what would have made all the TV news shows and newspaper stories, including nationally.
Doing so might have guaranteed the Republican hopeful would become one of the finalists in California’s anti-democratic Top Two system. Since 2012, only two candidates, of any party or no party, from the March 5 primary make it to the final election on Nov. 5 in the state.
Instead, he came dressed in a suit and made up to look like Ronald Reagan, even sounding like him sometimes. He still might make the political World Series in November. But it’s also possible just two Democrats will make the final cut—probably Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter—leaving Republicans again with no choice for U.S. Senate from California, as in 2016 and 2018.
As any Republican basically has no chance to win in the final election, Mr. Garvey at least ought to have gone strong on the issues to differentiate himself from the three Democrats, the third being Rep. Barbara Lee. And he could have brought up issues that needed to be discussed, but weren’t.

Foreign Policy Largely Absent

A big problem was unfortunately the questioners did not discuss much foreign policy, which actually is the main purview of the U.S. Senate. It must approve all treaties with foreign countries and the nominations for Secretary of State and Defense. There was no discussion of nuclear weapons and treaties with Russia, or for that matter communist China.
The Ukraine War came up briefly, when Mr. Schiff totally distorted former President Trump’s negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Can you imagine what would take place if Donald Trump was president when Putin invaded Russia and Ukraine needed our help?” Mr. Schiff said. “The same Donald Trump who stood in Helsinki next to Vladimir Putin and took the Kremlin dictator’s side over his own country, over his own intelligence agencies. Who talks about love letters, about a loving relationship with the dictator in North Korea [Kim Jong Un]. There is no stretch of the imagination, no scenario, none whatever, in which we would be safer. Donald Trump was undermining the alliance with NATO. He was saying that he might not even come to NATO’s defense. Our standing in the world plummeted. Other nations felt they needed to start to hedge their bets. [Foreign countries were thinking:] ‘Maybe we needed to cozy up to China because we can’t rely on the United States anymore.’ That is Donald Trump’s national security legacy. We don’t want to go back to it.”
Rep. Adam Schiff speaks in Irvine, Calif., on Aug. 16, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rep. Adam Schiff speaks in Irvine, Calif., on Aug. 16, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Unfortunately, nobody challenged Mr. Schiff on any of that, including Mr. Garvey, even though Mr. Schiff is leading in the polls and is the likely victor in November.
The point of Mr. Putin invading Russia is that it didn’t happen under Mr. Trump, but under Mr. Biden. Mr. Schiff also is advancing the Russian Collusion hoax long ago debunked by the Durham Report. In the Heritage Foundation summary, “[Mr. Durham] concluded that there was no basis to immediately launch a full-fledged investigation against Donald Trump; that the FBI failed to follow up on intelligence reports that Hillary Clinton had approved a scheme to manufacture the Russia hoax and that her campaign funded opposition research to supply to the FBI and media with the false narrative; and that FBI leaders willingly subverted FBI policy, quashed investigations into Clinton’s potential violations of the law, and more.”
Mr. Trump did not take Mr. Putin’s “side” against the intelligence agencies, but doubted certain aspects of the agencies’ reports because of their bias against the U.S. president, as again proved by the Durham report.
Nor did Mr. Trump have a “loving relationship” with Mr. Kim, but instead was negotiating with him to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula with the ultimate aim of denuclearizing North Korea. Instead, after Mr. Trump left office, Mr. Kim advanced his dangerous testing. According to the BBC, “North Korea tested a record number of missiles in 2022, including ones capable of reaching US territory.”
As to NATO, Mr. Trump was right to call them “freeloaders,” as has been shown by the disproportionate role the U.S. has taken in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
As to America’s standing in the world, and our status vis a vis Communist China, both have “plummeted” since Mr. Trump left office and Mr. Biden took over, with the backing of Mr. Schiff. Moscow, which had been trying to work out a new relationship with the United States and Europe, in particular over Ukraine and nuclear arms, and might have done so in a second Trump term—especially after the Russia Hoax was exposed by Mr. Durham—instead has cozied up to Beijing.
BRICS stands for the trading partnership originally including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Last August Reuters reported, “The BRICS bloc of developing nations agreed on Thursday to admit Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates in a move aimed at accelerating its push to reshuffle a world order it sees as outdated.” Since President Javier Milei was elected last November, Argentina has demurred.
Under Mr. Biden, Mr. Putin and communist Chinese dictator Xi Jinping have forged a global alliance, both economic and military, challenging America’s military and economic order established after World War II. It’s under Mr. Biden, not Mr. Trump, that so many countries have “cozied up” to China and away from the United States.
This would have been an opportunity for Mr. Garvey to shine, to point out the obvious. Instead, he wouldn’t even say if he would support Mr. Trump, should the former president become the Republican’s nominee, as now seems certain.
Rep. Katie Porter, who is running for U.S. Senate, talks to supporters during her Recipe for Change party at the California Democratic Party state endorsing convention, at SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento on Nov. 17, 2023. (Lezlie Sterling/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Rep. Katie Porter, who is running for U.S. Senate, talks to supporters during her Recipe for Change party at the California Democratic Party state endorsing convention, at SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento on Nov. 17, 2023. (Lezlie Sterling/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Dec. 8, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Dec. 8, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Abortion Obsession

Another major topic was abortion. Californians in 2022 passed Proposition 1, which placed in the California Constitution the right to an abortion. That isn’t going to change. However, Mr. Schiff, Ms. Porter, and Ms. Lee, like other Democrats, are fixated on forcing abortion on such pro-life states as Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Ms. Lee even brought up the illegal abortion she got in the 1960s when abortion was illegal in Texas, and she had to go to Mexico, where it also was illegal.
But nowadays, it’s easy to travel from an anti-abortion U.S. state to a pro-abortion state. Gov. Gavin Newsom is even paying for the abortions for mothers coming here from other states.
The Democrats also said they would end the Senate’s filibuster rule, under which it usually takes 60 of 100 senators to pass legislation. Doing so would allow the Senate’s current membership—48 Democrats plus three independents caucusing with Democrats, and 49 Republicans—to pass national abortion legalization with 51 votes instead of 60. But it still wouldn’t pass the Republican-majority House. And next year, the Senate possibly will flip to a Republican majority. Plus Mr. Trump, if he gets back into the White House, would veto any such bill.
Ms. Lee said the filibuster must be ended because “any rule that was established after slavery to prevent black people from participating in our democracy is bad, regardless.” Actually, according to the U.S. Senate website, “The right of unlimited debate in the Senate, including the filibuster, has been a key component of the Senate’s unique role in the American political system. The tactic of using long speeches to delay action on legislation appeared in the very first session of the Senate. On September 22, 1789, Pennsylvania Senator William Maclay wrote in his diary that the ‘design of the Virginians ... was to talk away the time, so that we could not get the bill passed.’”
Ms. Lee was asked whether ending the filibuster would make it easier for a Republican pro-life Senate majority to pass a national abortion ban. She didn’t respond to the question, but said, “We have to fight politically to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have to elect enough senators to make sure that we can codify into law the Women’s Health Protection Act and to end the Hyde Amendment,” which bans federal funding for abortions.
Mr. Garvey said his position was, “I would not vote for a federal ban on abortion. Let’s make that clear right now.” However, he wasn’t clear during the abortion discussion what his stance would be on the abortion positions of nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is the Senate’s main responsibility on the issue.
Former San Diego Padres Steve Garvey waves to fans before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in San Diego on June 29, 2019. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

Former San Diego Padres Steve Garvey waves to fans before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in San Diego on June 29, 2019. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

Conclusion: Garvey Whiffs Too Many Questions

I have emphasized the main issues over which the U.S. Senate has the broadest responsibility, foreign policy, especially with nuclear powers, and Supreme Court nominees, in particular on abortion policy. Unfortunately, Mr. Garvey whiffed his chances to stand out on those issues. At one point, explaining why he was running, all he could say was, “I knew I needed to explore California. I needed to talk to the people. Policy for me is a position. I’ve taken strong positions.”
He’s clearly trying to model himself on Ronald Reagan’s 1966 gubernatorial race. But by then the Gipper had been the president of the Screen Actors Guild, given speeches for GE to numerous dinners for business groups around the country, switched from Democrat to Republican, and campaigned strongly in 1964 for conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater for president. No such waffling there.
Mr. Garvey should have come out swinging for the fences on the issues. Instead, it was just another missed opportunity to move Republicans back into contention for California’s political pennant races.
John Seiler

John Seiler

Author

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.