We can all remember that whiny kid in school who could not get along with the other children and would exit the play yard saying loudly, “I am going to take my marbles and go home.” Chris Mitchum’s latest antics remind me of this childish behavior.
First, he did not take the high road of a gracious loser and instead wrote letters to the editor in various coastal district newspapers, basically whining about his loss and blaming everyone but himself. His letters have finally led him to an ill-conceived lawsuit that lacks any merit. I am sure Al Gore could have pulled the same antics after his loss to George Bush after the courts did not rule in his favor, but unlike Chris Mitchum, he took the gracious high road, accepted defeat, and moved on with his life.
Chris, the election is over, so look to examples of gracious losers in your own party, as it is time to move on with your life and give us voters a break from the irrational rhetoric that we got plenty of during the actual election campaign period. Most of us are tired of the gibberish!
His post-election letters contend and portray himself as a poor, downtrodden candidate with no funds and support—and that portrayal we would all have to agree with, but each of us for different reasons. He promotes the idea that because of this lack of support from his own party, he was unable to defend himself against what he contends were outlandish attacks—but perhaps these attacks are right on the mark and are what the Republican National Committee saw long before the voters in the 24th District when they denied Chris funding and support. They saw Chris for what he was: an extreme right-wing Tea Party-type candidate with poor judgment who would worsen conditions within his own party in Washington.
These letters from Chris go on to point out how he views himself arrogantly as another Ronald Reagan-type Republican, but his positions in these post-election letters show his true colors, as they go far beyond Reagan positions and into the zone of extremism. An extremism that has led to a steady decline in the number of Republican voters in most states, except for rural states and localities. It is an irrational extremism that has led to an almost complete breakdown of our national government’s ability to function with near-government shutdowns. Most recently this irrational extremism manifested itself with the legislative branch unconstitutionally inserting itself into the arena of foreign policy, an area reserved for the executive branch so America speaks with one voice. These post-election letters show how wise the majority of voters were in rejecting Chris as our district representative.
The basic issue of debate is what Chris values most: the 24th District interest or the national interest. Well, Chris, the correct answer should have been that you value each equally or the 24th a little more, but no, you bluntly stated that you would not look out for the needs of the 24th District in the quote from the disputed ad. District representatives are primarily elected to look out for the needs of us all within the district, as no one else will do so. For example, Lois Capps went to the mat for the city of Santa Maria when they needed federal funding for a new flood protection levee between the city and the Santa Maria River. So the ad was a correct reflection of your views on the importance of the district and not what was left out of the quote. So, Chris, you have a long road to haul with both voters and the courts with your arguments, because the basic issue was looking out for district needs and you failed that test. You should be placing the blame on yourself for losing the election and for making such an outlandish statement!
Your attorney should have reviewed with you how public figures, such as yourself, fit into defamation actions. Public figures have a bully pulpit and easy access to the media and can refute any improper claims made against them. That is why you rarely hear of a public figure filing a defamation suit. The courts and the public in general apply a much higher bar for success for public figures. You, in fact, used your bully pulpit prior to the election, and a majority of voters rejected your lame defense about your poorly advised comment. It’s time to stop the whiny rhetoric and move on with your life!
Ken McCalip is a North Santa Barbara County native who holds bachelor and doctorate degrees in history, cultural geography, and law from various California universities. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments to the executive editor at email@example.com.