B-1 Bob Dornan, Grounded at Last

Eileen E. Padberg is a Republican political consultant in Orange County. She worked on the Ryan campaign against Dornan in 1992

With due respect, I’ve often said that if God were a woman, B-1 Bully Bob Dornan would be looking for a job. What was I to think then, when I heard that Basher, Braggart and now Bitter Bob Dornan was losing his seat in Congress. And to a woman. A minority woman, at that.

Dornan was a carpetbagger when he moved from Los Angeles to Orange County in 1984 to run against a Democrat incumbent. It’s ironic that he used this very issue of carpetbagging against both his 1992 Republican primary opponent, Judy Ryan, and his 1996 Democrat challenger, Loretta Sanchez.

What finally did in B-1 Bob? The classic reason: He started believing his own press releases.


Since 1990, Dornan has grown noticeably further away from his constituents, traveling back to his district only weeks before an election to boast to the voters that he had been working full-time representing them in Congress. He showed little awareness that major changes were occurring in the 46th Congressional District. He was out of touch with the growing Latino, immigrant and minority community. While Sanchez campaigned this fall on gun control, affirmative action, education and reproductive freedom for women, Battling Bob dismissed her as inexperienced and a carpetbagger supported by women who wanted to kill babies. He “dissed” the voters, and they had had enough.

Blustering Bob should have gotten the message earlier this year when, in his failed primary bid for the presidency, he did not even carry his own district. He then came back to the voters in the fall, saying “I changed my mind, I was only kidding, I don’t really want to be president, I want to be your congressman.”

What ultimately caused Dornan’s demise was his lack of respect for his constituents, his lack of respect for the Constitution, his lack of respect for Congress and his lack of respect for women. It can be summed up in the comment he made on national television when he learned of his victory over Ryan in the 1992 primary: “The people that tried to defeat me were all lesbian spearchuckers.”

As a Republican, I was embarrassed for the congressman from my county. As a woman, I was appalled. As an American active in the political process, I was disgusted. It was neither his conservatism nor our differences on issues that alienated me but his total lack of respect for the House of Representatives. I guess he never saw the U.S. flag flying in that chamber.

Sanchez’s apparent victory is evidence of how wide the gender gap has become, and how women and minorities will not tolerate inequality in representation. She will carry a large burden to Washington--to restore respect for people in the district and offer true representation for Republicans and Democrats alike.

It will be poetic justice when a Latina sends Dornan to the unemployment office. Loretta Sanchez has everything that Bob Dornan can’t stand in women--brains, courage, integrity and tenacity. Her family had roots in the district, something that Dornan couldn’t claim.

Republicans and Democrats, men and women across the country will all raise a toast to Sanchez. She busted the bully.

Losing Republicans have got to stop crying “voter fraud.” The system demands more respect and support.

All I can say is: You lost, Bob. It’s over. Stand up and take it like a man.