Bill Clinton comes to our town (Oxnard College)

EditorialBy George Miller


So, I guess the visit by Bill Clinton to speak at Oxnard College this morning trumps all other local news today.  He once again proved to us that he is the premier living American political speaker. We hear he gets up to $300,000 for a speech, but probably not for this campaign talk.

An audience of about 1300 of the faithful, from precinct walkers … all the way up to the most famous living ex-President, rocked the gym at Oxnard College today. Bill Clinton was the star power that brought many of the people there.

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Bill Clinton and CA CD26 Incumbent Julia Brownley speaking at Democrat election rally, Oxnard College, 10-29-14 (photo by Bob Jeffreys-

It is no secret that Julia Brownley is fighting for her political life to hang on to the 26th District Congressional seat, pried from the Republicans grip for the first time in 70 years in 2012.  Thousand Oaks Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin is also locked into a battle for the 44th District State Assembly seat with the surprisingly strong Rob McCoy (the seat now occupied by Jeff Gorell, who’s running against Brownley for Congress).

So, the event was ordered up by the party hierarchy and was basically a political pep rally- on steroids.  The Democrats know that their voter turnout is much weaker in “off-year” elections. Also, voter sentiment has shifted because of the Obama agenda– and it’s not in their favor (which may be one of the reasons he wasn’t here).

This evidently justified sending the heavy artillery into Oxnard- and it doesn’t get any heavier than Bill Clinton, who sells much better in a more moderate district than Obama, who is better suited to $20,000 a plate Hollywood fundraisers and excursions to Silicon Valley.

There were several warm-up acts, kicked off by Oxnard College President/host Richard  Duran: such as CAUSE’$ “Community Organizer ” Lucas Bucker– who warned us of the terror of the Koch brothers, suggesting that the best possible antidote was the re-election of Julia Brownley; the Ventura County College Chair; Richard Comacho, President of Vietnam Vets of VC; Arturo Rodriguez, President of UFW;  Congressman Raoul Ruiz.  State Controller John Chiang was also in the audience, as were other local dignitaries, such as Mayor Tim Flynn and others, who weren’t announced.

Some might question the appropriateness, if not the legality, of the host using a government owned and funded facility for such a highly partisan event. But it was well-done and might count as extra credit for political science students.


In a large part, today’s show was for the biggest asset in any campaign, the campaign workers- precinct walkers, callers, event people, clerks, organizers. (photo:

We spoke to Delfina (above, in purple SEIU shirt), a worker at a health care facility, who was recruited to campaigning by a long term activist she pointed out to me working the floor. She was with her son Marcos, a 15 year U.S. Army vet about to be rotated to Hawaii.  Sitting next to me was Kelly Castillo, an Oxnard School Principal, there with her son who admitted to being a grade school political junkie, We all agreed that this event was probably more educational than anything that might have been covered in school that morning- no offense to his teacher, who’s probably fine.

When Julia Brownley was finally introduced, after an extremely long break, she gave quite an energetic speech, where she stressed some of the same talking points as preceding speakers. Collectively, they addressed things such as:

–  Republicans are waging a war on women. Conservative Tea Party opponent Jeff Gorell is perpetuating this. Reality check: Gorell is about as far as you can get from a Conservative Tea Party Republican and still get away with wearing an elephant pin. Bill Clinton as a warrior for women. Hmmm.

– Republicans will rely on trickle-down economics and give all to the 1%. Never mind that current Federal Reserve, stimulus and other policies are doing that on steroids, alleviated only by some wealth transfer programs.

– Immigration reform which to them means amnesty, Dream Act.

Raise minimum wage- this will enhance prosperity and help business. With all the real inflation we have, pay has lagged. Groceries have nearly doubled in six years, in spite of official statistics that inflation is 1 to 2%.  It would be better to leave this to the marketplace, but with 30 million more workers here now who wouldn’t be if immigration laws were enforced and 30 million jobs leaving the country, job supply and demand are far out of balance.

– All of this Republican carnage is masterminded and funded by Karl Rove and the evil, cunning Koch brothers.  It wasn’t just that the Koch brothers are evil, but that they have ill-gotten gains and people died because of it. I am not making this up- it was really said at the rally on Wednesday. Watch a video, if you can get it. Never mind that Democrats are out-fundraising Republicans, especially with large special interests, wealthy people and unions.

Brownley signs

If the event was FOR the campaign workers, it was ABOUT the re-election of CA CD26 incumbent Julia Brownley, a top Democrat goal. (Photo:

What was not mentioned was that the various government programs and anti-business policies have rendered the USA beyond bankrupt, borrowing or more often printing trillions, to cover it all and running up astronomical unfunded liabilities- Social Security, Medicare and soon Obamacare. I’m not just picking on Democrats here. None of this could be done without full approval of the Republican House of Reps, too.

It may be significant that we never once heard “Obamacare” or “ACA” mentioned, just “healthcare coverage, ” pre-existing conditions (which GOP had also promised), contraception and “choice.”  Obama was mentioned briefly a few times, but never heroically and never as an applause line.

Jacqui Irwin was mentioned, but not much, didn’t speak at all on her virtues and her positions on issues really weren’t discussed. One might suppose that Democrats expect her to just ride in on Brownley’s coattails.

Clinton actually said we can prevent Ebola here by fixing health care in Liberia and other West African breeding grounds. He reamed the Republicans for blaming the Ebola outbreak on Obama, without commenting at all on questionable sanitation, prevention, air travel or quarantine policies.

The irony of portraying Clinton as General, fighting off the Republicans’ war on women was lost on the partisan, supercharged crowd, many of whom are too young to remember why it is ironic.

A friend asked me how the rally went and wrote: “Parents should not accept any offers from Bill Clinton to take their daughters as interns.   Does the government register sex predators?  Did Bill offer to spearhead the war on women campaign?  Since Brownley’ campaign is so heavily relying on the war on women I think Bill could be more helpful to the Brownley campaign than Jacqui’s.  Oh, if my daughter was seeking a mentor and on the job training in “public servicing,” Bill would be the first I would think of entrusting my daughter with.  Don’t you agree with me?”

Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn saw me through the throng, but waited until afterward to phone and compare notes. We agreed on Clinton’s communications skills- stunning really- he’s actually even better than he was when President. He has an economy of words, while still managing to add flourishes. He does all this without notes, without a teleprompter, calmly, and without histrionics.  Incumbent take note. Flynn observed that they assembled, rallied, motivated and mobilized the base to call, walk, phone, write, etc. to many people about the importance of the election, who to vote for and why and encourage contacts to do the same.

Clinton said we need to stop attacking  each other, being negative, work together, while he simultaneously attacked Republicans and was negative about straw-man policies he attributed to them.  He did all this without sounding nasty, which is more than I can say for those lower on the food chain who preceded him on the podium.

He stated that many other countries are torn up by identity politics, but common identity matters more and good things happen then. Yet, their techniques exploit identity politics, althouigh much less violenetly than many countries.

Clinton wrapped up with these inspiring words (paraphrased):

(how you’ll know you succeeded:)

“Are people better off

If  the children have a better future

Are things being torn apart? (not wanted)

“This is your chance, your life, your future.”

Then he left to repeat the feat at UC Davis, up North.

In summary, the Democrats, headlined by rock-star Bill Clinton, and supported by Democrat luminaries, did an excellent job of gathering key base workers and managers and directing them to a surge to the electoral finish line on November 4. They know how to run a campaign.  The Republicans had better plan to do it better. We’ll know in a week.

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Bill Clinton and party luminaries team up at Democrat election rally, Oxnard College, 10-29-14 (photo by Bob Jeffreys-



George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.


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