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Patricia Sulpizio: Shame on you, Mr. McKeon

Posted: February 22, 2010 1:16 p.m.
Updated: February 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon could have reached across the aisle and made his first women’s conference a truly excellent nonpartisan event, but his choice of keynote speakers made it clear who he represents.

He’s not my congressman. He’s not yours either, unless you’re one of his right wing, toe-the-party-line Republicans.

On Feb. 13 at College of the Canyons, McKeon showed he doesn’t care what moderate Republicans and the other 62 percent of us registered voters in his district think.

It’s not fair, McKeon. It’s a shame. We don’t have a choice. You’re the only representative we’ve got. Shame on you, McKeon. You do have a choice.

There are many accomplished, exemplary women right here in the 25th Congressional District you could’ve chosen as keynote speaker.

Renowned educator, COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook would’ve been an excellent choice. But you chose top billing for out-of-town Republican candidate Carly Fiorina.

By putting Van Hook in second position you forced your guests to choose between Van Hook’s “Pursuing Your Dreams” workshop and an informative presentation by Tamara Gurney of Mission Valley Bank on starting a business.

Under the guise of a women’s self-improvement conference you promoted your agenda.

Describing his goal for the women attending the event, McKeon told Signal reporter Melissa Gasca, “I’m a strong believer in self improvement. I would hope they maybe meet some new friends, and feel better about their prospects going forward.”

In a pre-event news conference, Fiorina told the media she was there to get Sen. Barbara Boxer out of office. According to The Signal, she told the audience that leadership is not about titles, positions or money, but about seizing opportunities. Fiorina never missed seizing an opportunity to promote her campaign.

She seized the opportunity to attack her political opponent by exploiting her cancer experience, stating “After four months of chemotherapy and looking in the mirror ... Barbara Boxer doesn’t scare me one bit.”

Lest you think it was a spontaneous remark, you can find it on her Web site.

Afterward, I waited among a throng of attendees to speak to McKeon. A woman mentioned something about progressives. “We don’t call them progressives,” McKeon said. “That’s too positive. We call them leftists.” I was offended but let it go, since it was in conversation with a constituent.

When it was my turn, I greeted McKeon and complimented him on the conference.

“Except for one thing,” I said. “You didn’t have to make it a partisan event.”

McKeon admitted it was against the rules. “We instructed her not to say anything about her candidacy. But we can’t control the questions,” he instantly replied.

“Early on she referred to her campaign, at least twice,” I countered. “You could’ve avoided the problem entirely by not choosing a candidate for keynote speaker.”

I was referring to the way Fiorina twice squeezed politics into her early employment story. Requesting a show of hands, she asked the mostly female audience, “How many of you were receptionists?”

“I was a Kelly Girl,” she said. “We need Kelly Girls for Carly,” she exclaimed, cleverly recruiting cheerleaders for her campaign.

I think it was right after that she said, “By the way, I’m running for U.S. Senate.”

I wanted to tell McKeon that the other presenters were inspirational women, but Fiorina isn’t a role model for me or my daughters.

Visit for numerous facts from reliable sources about her political gaffes and dismal failure as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO.

I didn’t get to say it, because when I had the audacity to tell the emperor he wasn’t clothed by saying, “You spent district funds on a political campaign,” his courtier district director Bob Haueter rescued him, whispering, “It’s time to go.”

I thanked McKeon, and as I turned away he began conversing with others nearby. McKeon didn’t have to go. His district director apparently wanted to get him away from me before he spilled any more secrets.

Fiorina said, “Never sell your soul because no one will pay you back.” She meant, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“Nothing is worth that loss.” Nothing except the opportunity to pander herself.

“Stay true to who you are.” Fiorina did.

Don’t be fooled. Fiorina knew exactly what she was doing.

She sold her soul in COC’s cafeteria that Saturday morning. And so did McKeon. They were there to sell their souls in order to steal a few votes.

Apparently it was worth it.

Patricia Skinner Sulpizio is a Valencia resident and delegate to the California Democratic Party. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.


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