Seriously, anyone: A 91-year-old Dianne Feinstein, the other Democrats circling the seat, the perennial presidential candidate who dresses as Santa Claus, the bear who campaigned with gubernatorial candidate John Cox, Duncan Hunter’s pet rabbit. Anyone.
At least the other Democratic members of Congress who seem interested in the seat have the common courtesy to wait for Feinstein to retire before announcing their intentions. This alone should give voters pause in supporting Porter, as the Senate is an institution that values seniority and courtesy.
The entire place runs on unanimous consent — if she doesn’t want to work with people with whom she disagrees, the Senate is not a good fit. Porter is promising to be a “fighter,” but the Senate doesn’t need another Ted Cruz. One is plenty.
It’s hard to judge members of Congress at the moment by their ability to pass legislation since little legislation is passed (fortunately, in many instances), so the Irvine Democrat deserves some credit for getting through one piece of legislation, even though it was part of a partisan omnibus bill and required no actual coalition building.
The bill was focused on “price gouging,” which is her populist bogeyman. Her second – and only other – legislative accomplishment was a Post Office renaming.
Her limited legislative focus leaves plenty of time for a performative politics that has turned her into a fundraising juggernaut. Last cycle, she outraised then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi – this is really quite impressive – due to her ability to create Internet memes.
Porter is best known for lecturing and bullying congressional witnesses, who aren’t in a position to fight back, with faulty arguments on a white board she brings to committee. Though often inaccurate, these moments make for compelling social media content she uses for online fundraising.
Hence, Porter’s strength as a fundraiser. She prides herself on eschewing direct corporate PAC contributions, even though she takes laundered corporate PAC money through other PACs. For example: Porter received a $10,000 contribution from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ leadership PAC, which takes money from corporate PACs
Porter refuses direct contributions from corporate PACS because she stiff-arms “powerful special interests” and has “zero tolerance for corruption,” but welcomes money from unions and other special interest groups. In other words, corruption and special access is only a problem when other people do it.
Porter says she does all this for “Orange County families,” even though a mere 0.46% of her campaign contributions came from within the district she represents, according to Open Secrets.
Porter’s white board lectures regurgitate progressive conspiracies — she once “proved” that inflation was caused by corporate greed, even though the vast majority of economists disagree. She also bullied a pharma CEO about his compensation package, saying he should “create value” for consumers instead – even though life-saving medications are in fact valuable to consumers.
When asked about his compensation, Amgen CEO Bob Bradway said his pay was comparable to other executives, to which Porter replied “the other guy gets paid too much too isn’t a justification.” Except, it is. Executives cost a lot to employ.
Bradway does make a lot of money (as does Amgen, demonstrating his value to shareholders and the Board of Directors that sets his pay) – around $21 million. Porter argues that this is just too much money, though it’s actually less than she spent in the last election while pursuing a congressional seat she didn’t really want.
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Recently, questions have been raised about her character. In leaked text messages, Porter was shown bullying and punishing a junior staffer – a Navy veteran – from her office for allegedly giving her COVID, and in a separate incident berating Irvine police as a “disgrace” to the mayor of Irvine after they arrested a man Porter lived with.
Porter grabbed headlines recently by sitting through Congressional proceedings reading a book called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” She was trying to mock Republicans in Congress, but instead eliminated any doubt about her preference for Internet attention over the mundane life in a legislature.
Congress has too many so-called “fighters” already and not enough leaders. There are countless reasons not to support Porter for Senate. I urge voters to pick their favorite and go with it.
Follow Matt Fleming on Twitter @FlemingWords