In the rough and tumble of a political campaign, consultants don't make geographic distinctions between Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles -- especially if the campaign is taking place in Northern California.
That's why Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks, running for Congress in Northern California's 4th District, finds himself portrayed as "an L.A. politician" in a mailer sent out this week by his Republican primary opponent, former Congressman Doug Ose.
The front of the mailer shows a car with a "Honk if you love L.A." bumper sticker (next to a Lakers bumper sticker, surely placed there to provoke fans of the Sacramento Kings). The back side shows McClintock in the front seat of a car, honking away. The text states: "Tom McClintock has been an L.A. politician for 22 years. So why is he running for Congress in Northern California? There's only one reason Tom McClintock is running for Congress 400 miles from home. With his time up in the Legislature, he needs a place to roost."
The mailers underscore a difficult fact of life for McClintock, beyond the predictable carpetbagger issue. They show that Ose has more or less unlimited resources for the campaign. McClintock has had the misfortune to run up against deep-pocketed opponents before (losing for controller to Kathleen Connell in 1994 and Steve Westly in 2002), and Ose appears to be in the same league. Personal finance statements filed when Ose was a member of Congress show that, very conservatively, he has holdings of more than $30 million.