Liberal Incumbents Under Fire

by John Gizzi, Human Events

California’s 8th U.S. House District
Dennis vs. Pelosi

When he is introduced at Republican functions around California, San Francisco businessman John Dennis usually delivers what he calls “one of the shortest campaign speeches in history.”

His speech:  “I’m running against Nancy Pelosi.”

It gets a rousing reception. The 47-year-old Dennis is carrying the Republican banner in the San Francisco-based 8th District against its 23-year U.S. representative, now the most powerful Democrat in the House.

Brave Republican souls in the past have explained their running as against Speaker Pelosi as a desire to witness rather than win. Dennis, however, insists, “I am running to win” and has so far raised $1.7 million from more than 34,000 contributors nationwide.

There are differences between Dennis and past GOP candidates. The Jersey City native and Fordham University graduate was a highly successful businessman before running for Congress. He started and later sold the HumanScale company, which made ergonomic office chairs, and which is now grossing $200 million a year.

In addition, Dennis prefers the self-description “libertarian conservative” to “conservative.” (“I read Ayn Rand in college and that changed me completely”) and, as he puts it, “allows me to go where other Republicans couldn’t and haven’t gone in the past.” Like his hero, Ron Paul, Dennis opposes the Patriot Act and the U.S. action in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, like Paul and many libertarian conservatives, he favors making major cuts to the Department of Education and just about every other federal agency to finally put America in the black.

But Dennis’s major issue is that he is running against one of the premier leftist architects of most of what he opposes. Because of the financial support he is attracting as well as the fact he appears to be such a long shot, the GOP hopeful has the luxury of having fun in the campaign. One of his widely viewed TV spots has him rescuing little Dorothy and Toto by throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West—who is Pelosi. In another, he is a dashing secret agent (“Dennis. John Dennis”) facing off against villainess “Pelosi Galore.”

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