April 10, 2012 | Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell is getting major points for recreating a 1972 advertisement for a short five-minute debate between Stark and then-Rep. George P. Miller aired on Channel 2. It’s not the crack campaign research find some are making it out to be. The similarities between a young Stark challenging Miller in the Democratic primary and Swalwell, 31, today taking on 80-year-old Stark are too obvious, but a few weeks past the season premiere of “Mad Men” and a recent retro edition of Newsweek, the reconstituted ad hits a timely chord.
A month ago, Stark tackled the issues surrounding his upstart campaign against Miller and their similarities today. Stark said aside from the age difference, the issues are vastly different. Miller favored the Vietnam War, said Stark, who predicated his campaign as the anti-war candidate. He was also out-of-touch, Stark said, with voters in the East Bay who in the shadow of Earth Day’s creation, were increasingly more aware of environmental issues.
Echoes of 1972
Fast-forward today and it’s difficult to make the connection between Stark’s recent voting record being contrary to the beliefs of his constituents, most of whom back a more liberal single-payer health care plan than passed by Congress two years ago. The District has also long matched Stark’s naturally pacifist beliefs by vilifying the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on a constant basis–both long-time signature issues for Stark.
It will be interesting to see how Swalwell’s co-opting of Stark’s own campaign strategy from four-decades ago works among voters. Swalwell appears intent on reformatting the out-of-touch meme now featuring Stark’s residency in Maryland and his poor attendance record. Recently, Swalwell has not been shy in sprinkling thinly-veiled rhetoric highlighting Stark’s age and physical condition and his propensity for publicly putting his foot in his mouth.
Voters in the Tri Valley may grasp the language as a call for youthful change, but older voters in the East Bay are increasingly hearing the harsh words of a young whippersnapper calling them useless and decrepit.