On Nov. 6, San Diego voters will have the opportunity to choose between Republican incumbent Congressman Brian Bilbray, or his Democratic challenger, Port Commissioner and former City Council President Scott Peters. The differences between the candidates are stark, and their leadership will no doubt have a profound effect on San Diego’s future.
To us at the OB Rag and San Diego Free Press the choice is an obvious one: Scott Peters.
On the issues: Bilbray and his supporters have criticized Peters for his support of “Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act that will over time fundamentally transform America’s healthcare system and make access to the critical care that each and every one of us will need at some time in our lives available to everyone at an affordable cost that won’t send the average middle class family into bankruptcy. Mr. Bilbray voted 33 times to repeal the law as a member of the House Republican Caucus.
On Medicare, contrary to what Bilbray’s campaign and his supporters say, Peters has repeatedly said that he does not support cutting benefits. However, it is Brian Bilbray that voted—twice—to end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and ending guaranteed benefits for those of us under 55 as a part of his full throated support of the Paul Ryan budget.
Bilbray also criticizes Peters for supporting the $716 billion that the Affordable Care Act “cuts” from Medicare, misleadingly telling potential voters that it is a cut to benefits. It is not. It is a cut in overpayments to insurance companies and hospitals and not to benefits. The Affordable Care Act actually increased benefits to seniors.
We would be remiss if we didn’t point out that Bilbray voted—twice—in favor of those very same $716 billion in cuts to Medicare. But he won’t tell his constituents that.
On taxes and the economy, Bilbray supports the same top-down solutions that have utterly failed this country for the last 30 years, and were among the root causes of 2008’s economic collapse in the first place, instead of the middle out approach supported by Scott Peters. Peters supports government investment in our economy, Bilbray does not.
And on immigration, Bilbray is the same as he ever was, taking an extremely hard line approach to immigration reform: He doesn’t want it. Other than e-verify, which has been a primary talking point for Mr. Bilbray throughout the campaign and which has been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, including Mr. Peters, Bilbray has been unreasonable and irrational on the issue. Bilbray has given us with an awful lot of rhetoric, but he has been painfully short on solutions. Peters, on the other hand, supports a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that includes some version of the DREAM Act and a pathway for legal residency and/or citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people already in the country.
Bilbray claims that he makes every effort to “reach across the aisle” and work with Democrats in Congress; that he is among the most bipartisan members of Congress. The truth is that he has voted in lock step with the most extremely right wing Republican Congressional Caucus in memory, rarely deviating from the party line. That is not the kind of leadership that San Diego needs, and it is certainly not the kind of representation to the federal government that San Diego deserves.
We do have concerns that Mr. Peters might on occasion be overly conciliatory in an effort to strike a deal, such as the 1999 Graham-Leach-Bliley Act where Democrats bent over backwards to accommodate Republican demands to repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression era law that distinguished between a bank and an investment house and limited the kinds of investments commercial banks could make (of which Peters played no part, of course). The repeal of Glass-Steagall made the economic collapse in 2008 possible in the first place.
San Diego needs someone who will work hard to find common sense solutions to the problems that plague our nation; someone who is not afraid to express an independent opinion, and is willing to work for the greater good of the residents of San Diego and not the corporate special interests. That someone, we believe, is Scott Peters.
If you are casting your ballot before November 6th, or if you are waiting to hit your polling place on election day, the OB Rag and San Diego Free Press encourage voters to cast their ballots for Scott Peters for Congress.