California Dem Wants Obama Visit, Empathy

California's Central Valley is one of the poorest parts of the country, even when things are going well. In a recession, unemployment can reach 20 percent in some counties and, in today's economic climate, home foreclosures skyrocket.

Which may explain why Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who represents portions of the Central Valley, is upset that President Obama is making another visit to the Golden State without visiting the area.

"He's not showing us any empathy," said Costa, who endorsed Obama in the primaries.

Of course, Costa is right. Obama has ignored the area, environmental policies have caused farms to shut down and agriculture is, at best, an afterthought for the administration. Having spent time in every corner of the Central Valley, I've seen firsthand how a drive up Highway 99 from larger towns like Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton to smaller towns Oildale and Turlock will reveal communities that are hurting. Many of these smaller towns still look like they did when John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath. And there's not much oil left in Oildale.

For Democrats in the area, Obama dissing the Central Valley to raise money in Hollywood must be galling — skipping poor communities to go into wealthy areas with a Hoover and suck up money for campaign coffers is something they accused George W. Bush of, right?

Obama's treatment thus far of California's Central Valley is summed up perfectly by Judge Smails in the movie "Caddyshack," who tells his newphew, Spaulding, "You'll get nothing and like it."

Note to California Democrats: For the Obama White House, California is for fundraising; empathy is for Supreme Court nominees.

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