Commentary: Dana Rohrabacher’s conservative track record is as consistent as it is long

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher points to a commercial aircraft that can be heard leaving John Wayne Airport during a news conference at his home in Costa Mesa on April 23.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher points to a commercial aircraft that can be heard leaving John Wayne Airport during a news conference at his home in Costa Mesa on April 23.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

For most of my life, I have known Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) as a trusted friend. He is the godfather to my second daughter and an unwavering advocate of my career in public service.

Besides serving as President Reagan’s senior speechwriter, and then as a leading Reagan-conservative voice in Congress, his service to our beach communities has been unparalleled. Unlike many congressmen, he lives in his district and raises his 14-year-old triplets there.

During his time on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rohrabacher has defended against human rights abuse throughout the world. He has been the leading advocate for Christians suffering in the Middle East, facing virtual annihilation, and has defended Israel and its capital, Jerusalem, since before it was politically OK to do so.


During his three decades of service to his country and his district, Rohrabacher has never taken the easy way out when it came to defending his convictions. He challenged any supposed-Republican backing oppressive tax increases or federal regulations, even when it could have hurt him politically.

He has consistently supported defunding Planned Parenthood, opposed federal control of education and supported the rights of small business owners. Additionally, he has been a longtime opponent of the illegal “sanctuary cities,” providing a platform for me, and others, to rally against these destructive policies. His long and consistent track record has earned him coveted influence and respect among his colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Sadly, his onetime protégé has recently become his greatest source of disappointment. Scott Baugh, once declaring he would never run against his friend and role model, waited until the last hour of the last day to file against Rohrabacher, proving definitively that opportunism sometimes has no limits.

I have known Baugh for over 20 years. I was introduced to him during his bid for California assemblyman — a campaign I wholeheartedly supported on Rohrabacher’s recommendation. In fact, were he honest, Baugh himself would likely tell you he owes his career in politics to Rohrabacher through his support and guidance.

It is with great sadness that I have observed Baugh’s decline following his five years in California’s Assembly. His legacy now is riddled with Fair Political Practices Commission complaints and fines. Clearly, these are not good attributes for taking on the Democrats in Congress and, most importantly, for ensuring the integrity of California’s 48th seat.

Today, I join my fellow Orange County Supervisors, the majority of local assemblymen and women, and the state and local Republican Party in encouraging my constituents in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach to support Rohrabacher. He is, quite simply, the best man for the job.

MICHELLE STEEL is a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.