* Since no one forced Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) to become a career politician it’s difficult to have much sympathy for his “frustration” as a “minority member” in the House of Representatives (‘Republicans Tire of Minority Status in House,” April 24).
If Dornan finds his 16-year career in the House as a Republican tiresome and “so frustrating” then he ought to do something about it. Two easy-to-implement suggestions come quickly to mind. First, Dornan could resign and go back to hosting talk shows for a living instead of running for his ninth term in office. Sixteen years in the House is a long time, especially for someone who claims to believe in term limits and delights in bashing career politicians.
Second, Dornan could pull a Phil Gramm and simply change parties. Dornan a Democrat? Stranger things happen in politics all the time. Think about how exciting it would be. It would drive the House Democratic leadership crazy; reason enough for Dornan to make the switch, since he’s accomplished little else of legislative importance during his long tenure in Congress.
At the very least Dornan’s “fantasy” of sitting in the Speaker’s chair as a member of the majority party would come true before Prop. 164 puts a decisive end to his frustration, whining and abundant vitriol.
MARK P. PETRACCA
* I have a suggestion for the Republicans who are tired and frustrated over their minority status in Congress. Your chances of becoming a majority party would improve greatly if you got rid of Neanderthal extremists like Robert Dornan and Dana Rohrabacher.
* So the Republicans are “frustrated with their minority status in house.” Perhaps then, one might imagine they would demonstrate some empathy for Democrats who live in Orange County.
But no, try attending a meeting called by Republican Congressman (Dana) Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach). I even called ahead and asked to be allowed to comment on his votes and issues of concern to me. The staff was aghast that a Democrat would even consider being allowed to speak at “his” meeting.
The difference between operations of Congress and here at home is that our congressman are elected to represent all the people in their districts, not just members of their own political party. (There are 101,700 registered Democrats in the 45th Congressional District).
When meetings of our elected officials are called, paid for by our taxes, time should be given for members of other parties in their districts to comment on issues of importance to Orange County residents.
SALLY J. ALEXANDER
* A recently released book may be of interest to Rep. Dornan and House Republicans longing for a chance at the gavel. To quote an author: “In a fair system, a permanent majority should not exercise all the power and a permanent minority should not always lose.” The book is “The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy” by Lani Guinier.
SUSAN J. COBB
* I want to thank and congratulate the Los Angeles Times for publishing the article “Republicans Tire of Minority Status in House.”
As a conservative Republican member of our state Legislature, dominated by the Democratic Party almost continuously for 40 years, I can only say that I fully understand and share the feelings expressed in that fine article. The Congress and our state Legislature have been ruled and dominated by the Democratic Party for so long that it has had a corrupting influence on both parties.
It isn’t just that powerful leaders like Willie Brown can determine the political, economic, educational and moral direction of California. It’s the fact that he does. Under his leadership, the assault on the ego of Republican members is unrelenting. The majority party trashes, then steals our bills, then demeans us in committees, then consigns us to small rooms with meager staffs. But we can cope with those things and, in fact, they often invigorate us.
The more difficult aspect of this unfairness is our knowledge that California and America are deteriorating under the Democrats’ control. We are being forced away from jobs, away from growth, away from security. The state is continually moving in a direction directly opposite the one we would move it, were we ever to achieve majority status.
It is increasingly difficult to keep up the fight when the hometown media, through lack of understanding and sympathy, continually condemns Republicans, especially conservatives, for continual “opposition and ineffectiveness.” Those criticisms cause even greater personal damage to the spirits of the individual Republican members than the tyranny of the majority party. It causes some of our members to become subservient to the majority leaders and members. They begin to toady or knuckle under to the other side, knowing they will be repaid with petty privileges and, more importantly, the authorship of a successful bill here and there. For this, they are hailed in the hometown press as “effective political representatives.”
You might wonder why we remain in politics when it is so personally frustrating. Well, we stay and we continue to fight for the same reason Americans volunteer to risk their lives in wars that threaten our country. We are effective. Our opposition sometimes stops them, and forces them to change directions. If nothing else, it always slows them down. More important, it alerts our party and all voters and taxpayers that this wonderful freedom we cherish is being slowly lost.
Assemblyman, 70th District