City Life: Republican Assembly choices more similar than different

To help you determine who to elect in the upcoming election for the 74th Assembly District, here is a quiz titled, "Who said it: Assemblyman Allan Mansoor or Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle?"

Answers appear at the end of the quiz.

1.) "I invite you to join my campaign to begin the process of returning both courage and imagination to our disgraceful state Legislature."

2.) "When the highest-taxed state in the country cannot fund education, there is a spending problem."

3.) "Voters can't understand how our public education system — once the best in the nation — is a disgrace, despite having the highest-paid teachers in the country and education getting more than half of our general fund budget."

4.) "It's addiction to spending and taxing, the lack of concern about the unprecedented deficits we face, the pension abuse that has mortgaged our future and the core belief that higher taxes are the only way out of our problems."

5.) "Reform from within is an uphill battle. Sacramento is still controlled by the same institutions that created this problem, and they will not give up until they bankrupt our state."

6.) "I am a Republican, endorsed by our county party in my successful 2006 and 2010 elections."

7.) "Job-killing regulations increase unemployment and are ruining our economy. Our future obligations for public employee pensions dwarf the entire state budget many times over. It's time for reform."

8.) "… I can tell you that voters are discouraged, and even disgusted, about Sacramento's inability to responsibly face its financial mess."

Answers: 1.) Daigle 2.) Mansoor 3.) Daigle 4.) Daigle 5.) Mansoor 6.) Daigle 7.) Mansoor 8.) Daigle

If you scored 0 to 3, you are a normal voter. That is, you cannot distinguish one candidate from another. Those who scored 4 to 6 are reading newspapers and websites and have too much time on their hands. And if you scored 7 or 8, you are Mansoor or Daigle.

The worst part about having candidates who cannot find a single issue with which to differentiate themselves is that we have to read and hear this nonsense for months during the election season.

I'm no Mansoor fan, but at least prior to his 2010 campaign, he put a stake in the ground over illegal immigration. He no longer mentions the illegal immigrants, having jettisoned that hot potato when he was elected to the Assembly. Because he now has no single issue with which he is identified, he and Daigle come across as ideological twins.

This should come as no surprise. Voters are so used to hearing the same old campaign blather that it is now just noise. And instead of carving out some sort of point of differentiation between each other, they stick to the lofty, phony rhetoric.

Why? Because it's safe. Sticking one's neck out in a campaign is political suicide.

Mansoor's idea of differentiation is to use the term "Democrat" instead of "Democratic," as in, "Last year, the Democrat-led majority in Sacramento killed the Republican plan to balance the budget … "

And Daigle wants you to know that she is different because she runs "in the great tradition of accomplished conservative women like Marian Bergeson and Marilyn Brewer … "


The lack of substance is the real problem here. Both candidates are just one vote in the Assembly — no power, really — and neither one offers any specifics as to how he or she plans to accomplish some goals.

But we love this stuff. We must love it because we keep electing these clones, then become disenchanted when they don't do what they said they would.

There is a third candidate for the seat, Democrat Robert "Bob" Rush. When I discuss Rush, I'm hoping he'll challenge the claim uttered by another politician that when it comes to the two major parties, "There ain't a dime's worth of difference between 'em."

STEVE SMITH is a Costa Mesa resident and a freelance writer. Send story ideas to

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