Local San Francisco politics is just a fat, juicy target; to paraphrase Steve Lopez, this state is a target rich environment for those engaging in political commentary, and SF is no different. I've been trying to avoid writing too much on it to stay focused on statewide issues.
But this week's Tim Redmond column in the Guardian is stupid for so many reasons I just can't help it. Hopefully there is an instructive lesson on how we either are or are not going to connect the progressive movement with the political system in this country or not in here somewhere.
Mr Redmond suggests that local Green Matt Gonazalez run for Congress, against Rep Nancy Pelosi. Somehow Mr Redmond seems to not get that Representative Pelosi is the Minority Party Leader of the United States Congress, i.e. she is the head of all the Democrats in the entire Congress. Suppose that in some display of collective insanity by the voters of this district, Matt Gonzalez did happen to get past her. How much power would he have? And would we really want to take our chances with whoever would succeed as minority leader in such a case? It certainly wouldn't be Gonzales, even if he switched to Democratic after getting elected - not ever, not in a million years.
Mr Redmond's little one sided list of things she's done wrong, like the (limited) privatization of the Presidio (which has actually turned out pretty well, from a land use perspective), seems pretty trivial compared to the overall picture. I share Mr Redmond's disagreement with the Congresswoman on Iraq (the one nontrivial issue), but at the same time, she was lied to by the Bush administration with more even more intensity and frequency than we were. I'd like to think I'd have been able to fight back more vigorously against the onslaught of propaganda they were hurling at people, but without walking a mile in her shoes, who really knows.
As to the charges of her venality, it's a bit of a cheap shot, but I think we're all all too familiar with what happens when the cheap shots don't get volleyed. Perhaps Mr Redmond could give the Lord of the Rings trilogy another read or viewing. Power is difficult, and the closer you are to Mt. Doom, the heavier the ring gets. Rep Pelosi has done an admirable job keeping the caucus together in the face of overwhelming odds. It's not the kind of work that gets her in the paper that often, but she should be respected for it anway, and Mr Redmond should know better.
My advice to Mr Redmond and Mr Gonzalez: take every second of time and every penny you were thinking of investing in fighting a woman who is one of your most powerful allies, and focus it somewhere it is really needed. It isn't like we're hurting for actual enemies. This election cycle is going to be another epic battle. For either Mr Redmond or Mr Gonzalez to be even considering infighting now is criminally asinine. Some day the conversation in this country might be between Greens and Democrats, but we're never going to get there if we don't stay focused. Now is the time to do everything we can to make Representative Pelosi the Majority leader, not waste our time and scarce resources with ridiculous infighting.