Tauscher was a fairly progressive Democrat, and many presumed that any successor in the district would be liberal as well. So far, however, John Garamendi’s record has failed to live up to Tauscher’s precedent.
Last week, Representative Garamendi was one of those Democrats who joined with congressional Republicans to approve an extension of the parts of the Patriot Act responsible for the worst big government spying against Americans. The extension included no reforms at all to protect Americans against these abuses.
Garamendi is running for re-election this year, but he is being challenged from the left by Green Party candidate Jeremy Cloward. Garamendi’s vote on the Patriot Act may emerge as an important differentiating factor in the campaign, as Cloward seeks to depict Garamendi as to the right of the voters of the 10th district.
In reaction to Garamendi’s vote to extend the Patriot Act without reforms, Cloward has made the following statement:
“As many of us have now read or watched, three provisions of the controversial PATRIOT Act have been renewed by the Democratic controlled Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The original bill was passed in the fall of 2001 shortly after September 11 in the hope of making the country “more safe” by expanding police and intelligence powers. The reality is the only thing we needed to fear was what the Bush Administration had in mind for the United States after signing the Act into law — two brutal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which have resulted in the deaths of more than one million people and an expansion of state power into the private lives of the American people. Even though a number of Democratic congressmen “promised” to address the most serious privacy issues in the PATRIOT Act, it was nevertheless renewed last week after almost no discussion and, ironically, as a part of a Medicare bill.”
Representative Garamendi himself has made no comment to explain why he voted to continue one of the most broad ranging attacks against the Constitution begun under George W. Bush. Garamendi appears to be pretending the vote simply never took place.