Regardless of party, irresponsible is still irresponsible


Like many people who call this state home, I have long taken an interest in the careers and achievements of people who have gotten their start in Iowa. 
As a kid, I was fascinated to walk through that two-room cottage in West Branch, knowing a president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, was born there.
Having grown up at the start of the Space Age, I have marveled at the achievements of Peggy Whitson, whose record-breaking space career was “launched” in Beaconsfield and the public schools of Mount Ayr.
And more recently, I have been amazed by the talents of Caitlin Clark, the University of Iowa basketball wizard who has drawn attention from fans around the globe.
All of this may help explain why I have paid more than passing attention to Democrat Katie Porter, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California — and why I was greatly disappointed by her outlandish, baseless comments after she lost the recent California primary election for an open U.S. Senate seat.
Porter’s roots run back to the soil of southern Iowa, a few counties west of where I came from. Now 50, she grew up on a farm outside of Creston during the farm crisis of the 1980s. Her father, Dan, was a farmer and banker. Her mother, Liz, is the Porter of “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting” magazine and public television fame.
Katie Porter received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her law degree from Harvard University. Before being elected to Congress in 2018, she interned for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and later taught law, including several years at the University of Iowa before she moved on to the University of California, Irvine law school.
In Congress, the mother of three quickly developed a reputation as a member whose focus was on consumers and middle-class Americans, not the well-healed interests of corporations and their executives. Using a whiteboard and marker to make her points or highlight evidence, she proved to be an aggressive, effective interrogator of government officials and corporate executives when they were called to testify at congressional hearings.
Along the way, she also wrote a best-selling book called, “I Swear: Politics Is Messier than My Minivan.” (That van bears the license plate OVRSITE.)
Porter has many fans. Actress Whoopi Goldberg wrote on the dust jacket of the book, “When Representative Katie Porter speaks, I know she knows what she’s talking about and gives it to you straight up.”
It is because of Porter’s reputation as a no-nonsense speaker that I was especially disappointed by her comments following her loss to another California Democrat, Adam Schiff, in the March 5 primary election.
Porter spouted off following her loss, sounding too much like a former president. She said billionaires had “rigged” the election in Schiff’s favor through what she called “dishonest means” — a reference to ads critical of her that were paid for by interest groups favoring Schiff.
Porter could have thanked voters who supported her. She could have expressed her appreciation to voters in her House district had chosen her to represent them for the past six years. She could have congratulated Schiff and wished him well in the November election, when he faces Republican Steve Garvey, a former Major League Baseball player.
She could have accepted her defeat with grace and gone home to rest and reflect on what she wants to do in the next chapter of her life, the way farmers in Iowa reflect on low crop prices or lousy weather.
You can dislike the campaign finance laws, as Porter does. You can believe political groups have outsized voices because of their ability to spend staggering amounts of so-called “dark money,” as Porter does. And you can believe you would have been a better senator than Schiff, as Porter surely does. 
But using words like “rigged” and “dishonest” is wrong in so many ways, as anyone who has been listening for the past four years understands. A Harvard-educated lawyer with southern Iowa common sense should understand that.|Porter should realize her rash comments made without evidence only help to further undermine public confidence in our election system. The comments have seriously eroded her reputation as an important voice in American politics and have added to the unhealthy rhetoric that saturates our nation.
Her angry words are all too reminiscent of the comments by people like Donald Trump, Arizona’s Kari Lake (an Eldridge, Iowa, native, by the way), My Pillow founder Mike Lindell and other Republicans who continue to make fact-free claims Trump defeated Joe Biden in 2020. 
Steve Schale, a longtime Democratic strategist in Florida, told PolitiFact, a political news and fact-checking website, “There is nothing more important to our democracy than people acknowledging they lose elections.”
Michael Thorning of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit organization, wrote on the social media site formerly known as Twitter that Porter’s comments were “completely irresponsible and unserious.”
Too often, we Americans are quick to point out the flaws and mistakes by politicians we oppose but are too blind to similar flaws and mistakes by politicians we support. Katie Porter’s embarrassing display after this month’s election should not be defended by her fellow Democrats any more than Trump’s post-election nonsense should be defended by his fellow Republicans.
Irresponsible is still irresponsible, regardless of the party affiliation of the person making such wild accusations.
Randy Evans can be reached at

Randy Evans, commentary, editorial, opinion, Pen City Current,


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