On Second Thought, the Guardian Is Perfect and Progressives Are Doing Great

Categories: Media, Politics
Forget everything! You guys were right. You always are! Things are lookin' up!
A strange thing happened at January's farewell "roast" for Supervisor Chris Daly -- something that neatly encapsulated the spirit of San Francisco's progressive movement. Earlier that week, David Chiu had betrayed progressives by championing Willie Brown's candidate for mayor. But even though Chiu attended the roast, where every progressive under the sun was on hand, it was surprise (invited) guest C.W. Nevius who was hit with a pie.

Do you get it? The guy who truly screws their movement in a concrete way shows up, but instead progressive activists go after a newspaper columnist for sometimes disagreeing with them. The symbolism was perfect -- and very much in the spirit of the Guardian's response to our cover story "Progressively Worse." Instead of taking it for what it was, a realpolitik look at how the progressives lost their 10-year hold on legislative power, they took it as a hit piece.

Instead of admitting that 2011 clearly calls for some soul searching, they're proud of what they've accomplished this year -- as though their board coalition hadn't shattered; as though they hadn't lost the fight over appointing an interim mayor; as though they hadn't lost the fight over appointing a board president; as though they hadn't lost their hold on the board committees; as though they hadn't lost major legislative battles ranging from the Twitter tax break to the Park Merced project; as though they hadn't gotten trounced in an election where their mayoral candidate lost by 20 points.

That all happened. But the Guardian still demands progressive political acumen be unconditionally praised because -- apparently -- progressive activists are very sincere. So ... congratulations?

Asking "what happened?" isn't a hit piece. It's analysis -- and relevant to progressive candidates. But apparently we should have interviewed an "actual progressive," like N'Tanya Lee, instead of Aaron Peskin, Chris Daly, Matt Gonzalez, Tom Ammiano, and John Avalos.

Naturally we want to refute the Guardian's response point by point. But you know what? Forget it. If the Guardian was capable of self-reflection, we wouldn't have had to do it for them. We're not going to do it twice. You can lead an activist to insight but you can't make him think.

So, yes, Guardian: You are entirely right, as usual. We get it. Nothing is ever progressives' fault. It's entirely the result of evil forces marshaled against you. The fact that moderates had "a sophisticated get out the vote effort" -- and you didn't -- should in no way make you scratch your heads and ask "how could a movement based on grassroots organizing be so bad at getting people to the polls?"

The fact that Mayor Ed Lee had "a calculated campaign strategy concentrating efforts on absentee ballots," and you didn't -- even after that's precisely what sank Gonzalez in 2003 -- is no reason to ask why you didn't develop one in the ensuing years.

The fact that you've failed to reach out to voters in other districts and driven away legions of would-be allies is their fault, not yours. You're great communicators. They're just bad listeners.

The fact that, after 10 years as a political force in this city, you're just now excited by the idea that your standard-bearer might create a lasting organization in no way suggests a corresponding failure of 10 years' duration.

The fact that you always get excited when your base is rallied -- and that it's never gone anywhere -- isn't a warning sign. At all.

The fact that you give us grief for noting that the Guardian endlessly pitches public power as the solution to all of San Francisco's problems -- and then propose public power as a solution to the city's rampant unemployment in the next paragraph -- is in no way tone-deaf.

You are perfect. There is no lesson for you to learn. Don't ever change. Things are going great!

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This is actually spot on. The Progressive/SFBG's  constant whining about being victimized is so inconsistent with leadership. It will be years before they overcome the hole that their current leadership has left them. As a moderate though, I sort of wish that people would keep the matter to themselves. Left to their own devices the SFBG Progressives will continue to look to Daly/Peskin for leadership which will keep them away from power indefinitely while providing lots of cheap laughs. So maybe the SF Weekly should write about something else.


Good response.   Touche.   But keep in mind: the Voters in 2000 elected ANYBODY BUT BROWN independents who just happened to be a progressive bunch.    Had someone organized a "Good Government" Slate, a REFORM TEAM, or any such slate or ticket--THAT ticket would have swept as it was an anti-Brown and not pro-Progressive vote.

In 2000, only strong, hardworking candidates like Peskin and Daly expect to have a shot for what was then a completely new SF Board.    Tom said that the wins across the board were totally unexpected.


Your insistence that SF progressives are not reevaluating is as tiresome as your implication that the Guardian is the one lone voice for an entire political coalition.http://www.counterpunch.org/20...


Progressives can still take credit for bankrupting San Francisco. That legacy of theirs will live on for generations.


Along with most US cities, SF will be bankrupt if the Feds (and subsequently the State) cut Federal spending and transfers to states, local and City governments.   And such cuts are likely.  This coupled with the Pension issue (still not totally resolved) may combine to be a perfect storm for us.


Except for the part about how SF isn't actually bankrupt.  Do you get your news from Fox by any chance?


Or that the union MOUs -- such as the ones which guarantee a police officer with 30 years' service 90 percent pension for life -- were signed by the ever-progressive Gavin Newsom.

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