Mike Shields

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result – which is exactly what Democrats are planning for California’s 7th Congressional District this year. Fresh off a shellacking in the 2010 elections, failed Democrat candidate Ami Bera is back for another go around with the same challenges he faced when voters rejected him last time.

Bera lost by 7 points despite throwing nearly $3 million at the race and outspending Republican Dan Lungren by $1 million. This Sacramento-centric district lost some Republicans in redistricting, but remains right-of-center and is close enough to the old district to make this a re-run that Bera will not want to watch. While Obama barely edged out a win in 2008 under the new district lines, President George W Bush garnered 56 percent of the vote in 2004 and Republicans carried the newly drawn district in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

Some other things haven't changed from 2010: Congressman Lungren has continued to serve as a check and balance on the overreach of President Obama and congressional Democrats; and Bera is still taking positions that would make him a partisan rubber stamp in Congress. For example Bera has been a consistent supporter of ObamaCare, including its $500 billion cut to Medicare. In fact, Bera wanted to go even further to include a public option and prevent any waivers or tax breaks for small businesses. This is precisely why ObamaCare is so unpopular in the Sacramento area. During a recession the last thing California needs are more health care regulations that will hurt small businesses and stifle new jobs.

In 2009, Bera even participated in a fast and vigil for ObamaCare in Sacramento. Bera said that year that government is responsible for taking over healthcare. “That’s what government exists for,” he told supporters. These views did not help him win the fiscally conservative and libertarian-minded voters of this district then and they won't now.

Incredibly, in answer to a supporter’s question about whether taxpayers should cover healthcare for illegal immigrants, Bera suggested they should: “We have to think about ourselves as being part of something bigger than ourselves,” he said. “Let’s cover all Americans and then let’s figure out how to cover everyone else.”

Not only is Bera trying to replicate his 2010 campaign, he is trying replicate California's failed energy policies. Gas prices are now well over $4 a gallon in California, but Bera has been firmly opposed to American energy production. In 2010, he said on his Web site that he wanted less – not more – energy production, proposing more regulations and roadblocks to utilizing American energy and lowering costs. He also at that time endorsed Obama’s “green” energy agenda that led to millions in taxpayer dollars being wasted on the failed Solyndra. The California-based company went bankrupt and employees were left without jobs.

In a good movie sequel some of the characters change. But true to form, Bera is running again with the very same positions as last time. There’s no chance of voters forgetting how much they disliked this plot the last time the saw it. California voters do not want to wake up to more of the same from Washington and that is exactly what Ami Bera is promising all over again. What’s that they say about the definition of insanity?


Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the Political Director of the NRCC.