Living in the Inner Sunset, and for some reason not on any mailing lists, I’ve missed out on most of the “fun” that is Political Dead Tree Mail this season. In particular, I’m missing out on the flurry of eastside mailers for the Democratic Central Committee, which include many current Supervisors as candidates.
The Bay Guardian’s blog reports that apparently the so-called “Change” Slate of candidates is sending out a slate card mailer with the Bay Guardian’s logo on it, implying an endorsement of Sen. Carole Migden (the SFBG in fact, endorsed Mark Leno.) There is a more detailed photo of the mailer in question over at the Wall discussion board as well.
I took a look at the pictures myself, and the “too-clever-by-half” design makes it rather easy for voters to be misled that it’s a Guardian slate card. Yes, it does say “all change initiatives and DCCC candidates endorsed by” above a logo that looks almost exactly like the Bay Guardian’s. At the same time, however, they use the logo as the return address as well.
Yes, there is a disclaimer, but to the casual eye scanning a pile of crappy junk mail, it seems to give the Guardian stamp of approval to all candidates. The fact that people are complaining about it to the Guardian indicates that whatever the alleged “intent,” if the end result is the voter is feeling misled or confused, the piece fails. Not being a mind reader, I don’t know if this was intentional or just plain dumb, but I wonder what progressives would say if the roles and candidates were reversed. I seriously doubt they’d be giving the Other Side the wink and a nod.
More interesting, though is how Supervisor Daly has taken a “do it my way or go F**K yourself” attitude, saving his best vitriol for people who’ve been on his side in the past. He has issued two heavy handed progressive fatwas on SF Labor Council director Tim Paulson – someone whom I’ve worked with in the past and always found to be an honorable, decent guy – and who, with the SFLC, did a lot to support Supervisor Daly in the past.
I’ve never seen a politician who can turn so angrily on longtime friends and allies just because on one issue they may disagree. It is also bizarre to see the “progressive” candidate also decree that he, and he alone is the only one qualified to lead the progressive movement, no one should question his wisdom, and that “discipline” (his words) are needed from “progressives” and “their paper, the Bay Guardian.” (Funny, I thought Bruce Bruggman owned the paper and he and the editorial board were in charge of it!).
I thought the point of “progressives” in City politics was to encourage a more inclusive, community-based approach that allowed everyone to express themselves. I didn’t realize that after 8 years of progressive domination of the Board of Supervisors, I’d get a fatwa issued on my ass because I didn’t follow one Supervisor’s decrees, chapter and verse.
There are some big issues on the ballot, which inspire a lot of heat on all sides. However, a scorched-earth policy by any side, especially in Sensitive San Francisco, leads to often permanent entrenchment of feuds. Heck, lefties are still sore at each other over the 2003 Ammiano vs. Gonzalez fight…it’s been what, 5 years now?
The question then becomes – after a beat-down, drag-out, name calling fight where Daly and Co. have shown a willingness to save the biggest knives for their closest friends who deviate even in the slightest from the One True Way, will Daly, be effective as a Supervisor or on the (sigh) DCCC?
I don’t know if “progressives” are aware that the big failures of last year (the progressive “Convention”, the lack of a real Mayoral challenger and the resulting political damage) have set up a situation where the Other Side is energized and ready to attack.
And, let’s be fair – Supervisor Daly did, in fact point out a year ago the problems of the budget-busting measures being supported by the Mayor that have led us to the deficits we have now. Unfortunately, his poor choice of words allowed the Other Side to rip him good, and eventually got him ejected from the Budget Committee. In the end, the Board rubber stamped the budget busters and blame is now shared by all. Being “correct” is not enough in City Hall.
Progressives need to realize that their days are numbered if they continue to run these bobble-headed campaigns. The electorate of 2008 is not that of 2000 – and The City is not in the shadow of a heavy handed mayor who appointed a Board Majority to do his corrupt bidding.
Times have changed and if “progressives” want to have a say in the future, they’re going to have to “change” themselves too.
PS: Free Piece of Consulting Advice: All of this drama could have been avoided if the Big Kids had simply designed the flyer and put the Guardian-like logo next to the items the Guardian actually endorsed, and left a blank space next to Sen. Migden’s name.
That way they could get their message across and no one could accuse them of being shady. With a little creativity, one can accomplish their goals in political communication, without resorting to shenanigans. Sometimes it’s as easy as just taking a breather, walking around the block, and returning to the computer with a few new ideas.
UPDATE: Beyond Chron provides some disinfo rehab as well as some interesting information about who paid for Daly’s latest mail piece, and how they feel about his tactics. Go read it!