With a Caucus filled with the likes of David Dreier – the guy who never met an illegal alien he didn’t pander to, Jerry Lewis – who never found pork he didn’t like, and Bill Thomas – who’s never met a baby killer he didn’t try to run for office, the California Republican Congressional Delegation is already filled with lots of questionable characters. However, we’ve never needed to worry about what’s come out of the 48th – Chris Cox was as solid as they got.

However, Cox’s departure from Congress to the SEC leaves a gaping hole in the Delegation, and all indications are that rather than having a solid movement conservative filling the seat, Dreier, Lewis, and Thomas will instead get a new playmate.

The two main candidates for this seat are Senator John Campbell (worse) and former Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer (worser). There is some hope that Minuteman Project PAC founder Jim Gilchrist will run, but as he’s registered American Independent, it remains to be seen how effective he can be as a candidate.

To keep up on this very important election, check up regularly at OC Blogand at the OC Courant.

Lastly, as Cox is leaving, his look back at his career in Congress is quite an interesting read. Enjoy…

The changes I've seen

I've watched the march of freedom in Washington and the world

By Chris Cox

This evening, my time in the House of Representatives will come to an end. I'm deeply grateful to the people of Orange County for the opportunity to have served you and our country in Congress since 1988.

Today, Orange County's values are dominating the debate in Washington. It wasn't at all like that back in the 1980s, when I first came to Washington to work as a lawyer in the Reagan White House. But that's certainly when the trend started.

By 1989, when I was in the House of Representatives and President Reagan came to the House floor just before leaving office for a private valediction with our Republican members, all the pieces were in place: Where once the economy had suffered years of "stagflation," over-regulation and punitive taxation, now it was strong. And where once the Soviet Union had been on the march, waging proxy wars across the globe and threatening the world with nuclear annihilation, now it was in retreat.

At the Pope John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba Linda in 1988, I remember telling a gathering with great certitude that "Poland will be free in my lifetime." That turned out to be an excessively cautious prediction. The following year, as a newly minted representative in Congress, I served as a U.S. election observer in Poland. Solidarity swept the nation's first free elections - and the communists were swept out.

The march of freedom in our own hemisphere has been just as exhilarating. With a State Department delegation that included my friend and colleague from the White House and Congress, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, I monitored the first post-civil war elections in El Salvador. We wore bullet-proof vests, and our hotel was blown up. Just this week, nearly two decades later, the Congress voted to approve a free trade agreement with Central America. Instead of guns and body armor, we're now sending computers and breakfast cereal.

Here at home, too, we have come to recognize that "as government expands, liberty contracts." One of my purposes in running for Congress was to eliminate waste and bureaucracy in government. Over the years, I've occasionally been able to take a nip here and a tuck there out of the federal behemoth. For example, we eliminated the oldest government regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission; and my closure of the wasteful National Helium Reserve was the third largest privatization in American history, yielding $2 billion for taxpayers.

But I am also leaving Congress with some unfinished business. I may have overestimated the time it would take for Eastern Europe to be free, but I confess that I also underestimated the time it would take for communism to fall in China. But if I've learned anything over my career in Congress, it is that we must never underestimate the power of freedom. While their governments may be repressive, people everywhere yearn to be free. And across the globe, the trend is toward free markets and free speech, and away from the statist ideologies of the past.

And finally, with 9/11, our focus has shifted to what we now call homeland security - an organized effort to share information in new ways, in order to stop terrorism before it happens. For the last three years, this has been my main calling. If we give up our freedom to suit the exigencies of the war on terror, we will give al-Qaida the victory. That must never happen.

To the wonderful people who for nine terms gave me the support that made it possible for me to serve our country: thank you. It has been a privilege to represent you.


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