When you can’t defend your record as an incumbent Democrat in a contested Assembly District in California, the “professional” thing to do is attack your opponent. In California, this tactic has been used to marginalize an entire political party. According to Democrats, if you are a Republican, you are a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a transphobe, a xenophobe, a bigot, an election denier, a climate denier, a conspiracy theorist, and an insurrectionist.
When you taint over six million Californians with these unwarranted labels, and hurl these accusations at anyone speaking for them, you are the bigot. But with far more money, Democrat candidates hire better political consultants and PR firms, the partisan media does its part, and voters forget about what really matters: California is falling apart. Nobody is safe. The public schools are a joke. Nobody can afford to live here. Businesses are going under or getting out.
Democrats own all of this. It’s their fault. It’s their policies that did this to us. But vote for them, because they’re not Republicans. Democrats good. Republicans bad. It works.
A typical, ordinary, mudslinging, demagogic stooge, dutifully following the dirty playbook that defines Democrat strategy in California, is Ken Cooley. Not that it’s going to matter much, but for the record, let’s make Cooley the recipient of the sort of vitriol he’s willing to spew at his opponent. Like everyone in his party who has failed normal Californians but has empowered fanatics, cronies, rentiers, and plutocrats, Cooley relies on mudslinging demagoguery to destroy his opponent and deflect attention away from his status as a stooge for a corrupt political machine.
This November, Ken Cooley hopes to be reelected as an Assemblyman for the fifth time, this time in the redrawn 7th district that spans the suburban communities east of Sacramento. Cooley’s first dirty trick was during primary season, when he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to frame the race as between him and a candidate who was not endorsed by the Republican Party, Jeffrey Perrine. This tactic delighted Perrine, allegedly a member of the “Proud Boys,” but was deliberately misleading, since Josh Hoover was the candidate endorsed by the Republican Party.
Now that Hoover has survived the primary and is the official challenger in November, Cooley has continued his mudslinging. In a recent campaign flyer, Cooley claims that Hoover has “spent his entire career working for extreme, far-right politicians…” and “helped them echo and advance Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda.”
This is laughably false. For the last several years, Hoover worked for Kevin Kiley, who is currently running for U.S. Congress. During his eight years in the California State Assembly, Kiley co-authored over 600 pieces of legislation with – get ready – Ken Cooley. If Hoover’s known associates are such unsavory characters, why did Cooley work with them hundreds of times? Cooley is selling dehumanizing pablum: “extreme, far-right politicians.” Kevin Kiley? The Harvard graduate, who then got a law degree at Yale, then a master’s in secondary education from Loyola Marymount? The guy who worked for Kamala Harris as a district attorney, before becoming as assemblyman? That guy? That’s our extreme, far-right politician?
Also false is the implication, later in Cooley’s hit piece, that Hoover “stands with extremists who want to outlaw abortion with no exceptions for victims of rape and incest.” Hoover, reached by phone, confirmed that while he is pro-life, he has consistently supported exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother.
But so what? Abortion is a nonissue in California. When pigs fly and hell freezes over, politicians will vote to restrict abortions in California. Until then, it is just another distraction from what really matters: education, crime, homelessness, housing, wildfires, water, energy, the cost-of-living. And why, anyway, is it so horrible to care about what happens to human embryos?
Since we’re digressing over something that will never happen in pro-choice California, what’s Cooley’s position on abortion? Does he support the gruesome extreme of abortions right up until birth? Or maybe Cooley’s fine with existing California law, which permits abortions with no restrictions up until six months of pregnancy. Maybe Cooley should post some videos of a six month old fetus squirming to avoid the abortionist’s blade, then getting cut into pieces, just to reassure voters of his pro-choice bona fides. Take a look at this beautiful photo of a living and unharmed six month old fetus. How’s this sound: Ken Cooley stands with extremists who want to cut this living six month old fetus into pieces while it’s still alive. That’s you, Ken. Own it.
Those of us who can see both sides of most contentious issues have a hard time respecting politicians like Ken Cooley who pander to extreme sentiments. That’s what demagogues do. Ken Cooley is a cog in a Democratic machine that has made life almost impossible for anyone who wants to buy a home or run a business. A machine that can’t prosecute criminals, effectively educate children, deliver reliable water and power, or move the homeless into inexpensive shelters instead of building absurdly expensive “permanent supportive housing” a pointless scam that only enriches politically connected developers.
Try to challenge any of this as a candidate in California, and the demagoguery comes thick and fast from the machine Ken Cooley’s part of. If you want to incarcerate criminals or require a single set of standards for college admissions, you’re a racist. If you want reliable water and power, you’re a climate denier. If you want to put homeless drug addicts into a shelter where they can get treatment and finally recover their dignity, you’re a fascist. Such simple minded slime. And it works so well. Until the lights go out.
Cooley’s entire political career has been to pander to voters and feed the one-party machine. In one of his campaign mailers he boasts about getting “$25 million for the county to help with supportive housing and services for those suffering from homelessness.” How’s that working out? Earlier this year, with great fanfare, Sacramento Mayor Steinberg announced the city would spend $23.9 million to convert a downtown hotel into 92 units of “permanent supportive housing.” That’s $250,000 per unit.
This is a scam, and until Ken Cooley denounces it as such, he is part of the problem. Sacramento now has more homeless people than San Francisco. If the homeless populations in California were rounded up and placed in safe, inexpensive shelters, they could be helped for a fraction of what is being spent. Instead, Cooley, Steinberg, and all the rest of California’s corrupt stooges have poured tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of developers who build free housing, at stupendous cost to taxpayers and in grossly inadequate numbers. With no conditions on entrance, this “supportive housing” has turned California’s cities into magnets for every indigent vagabond in America.
If you object to any of this, you’re a Nazi.
Mudslinger. Demagogue. Stooge. Cooley’s all three. Just check where he gets his campaign money. As a candidate in a competitive district, Cooley is getting most of his money from the Democratic Party. That’s to be expected. But what is revealing is where he gets the rest of his money. Of the top 12 nonparty contributions to Cooley’s campaign, every one of them, is from a union representing public sector employees.
This is the power behind the Democratic party in California. These are the bosses who manipulate the stooges. California’s state legislature, with a Democratic supermajority in both houses, is filled with politicians whose careers depend on doing whatever these unions tell them to do. Why are public employees even allowed to unionize? Don’t they have civil service protection already? What is the inherent agenda of a public employee union? Wouldn’t it be more members, more pay and benefits for those members, and more job killing, economy wreaking regulations so still more public employees can be hired to pay even more union dues?
Ken Cooley, on the other hand, doesn’t care. He goes through the motions, saying all the things the machine tells him to say, sliming his opponents, spreading misinformation so long as it enriches his enablers. On those campaign flyers where he isn’t sliming his rival, Cooley’s presented as one of the good guys, trying to do his part to make the world a better place. He’s not. He is a wholly owned marionette, part of a machine that is destroying California as fast as it possibly can.
This article originally appeared in the California Globe.
Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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