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This is a portrait of a San Francisco Democrat - Nancy Pelosi. Actually this is a portrait her Congressional District. I live in her district -- the 8th Congressional District. While Ms. Pelosi is my representative, she does not represent me. Ms. Pelosi represents the arrogance, hypocrisy and illusions of her supporters -- elitists and "progressives." As a San Francisco Democrat, Nancy Pelosi also plays hardball politics, though her safe district means she can confine her hardball politics to Washington.
In San Francisco's Eastern half, progressives consider themselves visionaries. These self-appointed ultra-liberals bask in their conviction that the rest of the country is five to ten years behind them. Hence the label, "progressives." This little peninsula of 49 square miles has always prided itself in being the standard bearer of the future. The current activists in the eight Congressional district are no different. The district looks with disdain on most of the country. Not their Northeastern comrades, of course. But the South and Midwest are regarded as locked into backwards patriotism, family values, and religion.
The progressive issues of this district include needle exchange, China bashing-Tibet loving, pro-union, anti-religion, raging no-holds totally unrestricted abortion on demand, and the canonization of illegal immigrants. A quick review of Ms. Pelosi's recent press releases show that she's carried the banner of the eighth without exception.
Her eastern San Francisco district is home to the thousands of this city's street people. Our homeless share the progressive's arrogance. They roam the streets and taunt, anger, sometimes grope, defecate, urinate, camp where they please - in front of shops, homes, in the parks, in fact anywhere they please. The "progressives" including Ms. Pelosi see them as a static class of unfortunates. In fact how they view street people illustrates the primary paradigm of their world view - an 18th century view class society. People are placed into rigid classes. The rich are the rich and demonized. The poor are the poor and will never escape their poverty. We must care for the poor, not expect them to work out of their poverty.
All progressives, including Ms. Pelosi, also believe in social engineering and experimentation.
But in their social engineering, they reveal their greatest flaw. They are incompetent. The progressives now control San Francisco's city government. Until recently, when the dotcom boom flooded the city treasury, they couldn't run a bus line. With hundreds of millions of dollars they purchased new buses to appease the growing anger of workers who rely on public transit. Last week, the water system, which they ignored for years, suffered a massive break, cutting the flow in half for days. The water system produced $30 million to $40 million surplus for years, all of which was not used to maintain the vital system. Instead the surpluses were siphoned off to finance their social engineering programs.
Finally in the tradition of other powerful San Francisco democrats - Phil Burton, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Mayor Willie Brown - Nancy Pelosi engages in hardball politics. Especially the destructive art of demonization. San Francisco democrats don't just win elections, they try to destroy their opposition. They cannibalize their own, since Republicans are hardly worth their effort in this small town. San Francisco is the home of the "hit piece;" a vicious attack on your opponent mailed on the last weekend of a political campaign so the opponent has no time to respond to the charges. In San Francisco, to charge your opponent with having Republican support is the equivalent of charging an alliance with the devil. As the former chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, I once had to admit to the Wall Street Journal that an endorsement by the SF GOP is the "kiss of death" for a democrat candidate.
Nancy Pelosi has made China her safe demon. Though it infuriates a good number of the Chinese American population in her district - those not from Taiwan. They tolerate her. San Francisco's Chinese Americans generally stay out of politics, but know that she holds the power. Pragmatism has always characterized the city's Chinese American leaders.
Nancy Pelosi's rise to leader of the Congressional Democrats means that the party has decided to polarize the issues. They have abandoned the Clintonian triangulation model. Now the country will have to endure our experience, those of us who live her district. Worse yet, Ms. Pelosi may be just a preview of another woman - arrogant, "progressive," and also well learned in the art of demonization. A woman who wants to be president and is married to a former president. Does this mean that once again San Francisco is ahead of the times?
Award-winning TV producer, talk show host, and Republican leader Arthur Bruzzone has written over 150 political articles for national and regional media, and has commented on political issues for American and European television and radio networks. His articles and columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Campaign & Elections Magazine, among other publications.
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