But if she and the party survive in decent shape, she needs to take the opportunity to undo the damage she did at the Presidio.
CONGRESS, 9TH DISTRICT, DEMOCRAT
Barbara Lee, who represents Berkeley and Oakland, is co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House, one of the most consistent liberal votes in Congress, and a hero to the antiwar movement. In 2001, she was the only member of either house to oppose the Bush administration's Use of Force resolution following the 9/11 attacks, and she's never let up on her opposition to foolish military entanglements. We're glad she's doing what Nancy Pelosi won't — represent the progressive politics of her district in Washington.
CONGRESS, 13TH DISTRICT, DEMOCRAT
Most politicians mellow and get more moderate as they age; Stark is the opposite. He announced a couple of years ago that he's an atheist (the only one in Congress), opposed the Iraq war early, called one of his colleagues a whore for the insurance industry, and insulted President Bush and refused to apologize, saying: "I may have dishonored the commander-in-chief, but I think he's done pretty well to dishonor himself without any help from me." He served as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee for exactly one day — March 3 — before the Democratic membership overruled Speaker Pelosi and chucked him out on the grounds that he was too inflammatory. The 78-year-old may not be in office much longer, but he's good on all the major issues. He's also fearless. If he wants another term, he deserves one.
EDMUND G. BROWN
Jerry Brown? Which Jerry Brown? The small-is-beautiful environmentalist from the 1970s who opposed Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s Diablo Canyon nuke and created the California Conservation Corps, the Office of Appropriate Technology, and the Farm Labor Relations Board (all while running a huge budget surplus in Sacramento)? The angry populist who lashed out at corporate power on a KPFA radio talk show and ran against Bill Clinton for president? The pro-development mayor of Oakland who sided with the cops on crime issues and opened a military academy? Or the tough-on-crime attorney general who refuses to even talk about tax increases to solve the state's gargantuan budget problems?
We don't know. That's the problem with Brown — you never know what he'll do or say next. For now, he's been a terribly disappointing candidate, running to the right, rambling on about preserving Proposition 13, making awful statements about immigration and sanctuary laws, and even sounding soft on environmental issues. He's started to hit his stride lately, though, attacking likely GOP contender Meg Whitman over her ties to Wall Street and we're seeing a few flashes of the populist Brown. But he's got to step it up if he wants to win — and he's got to get serious about taxes and show some budget leadership, if he wants to make a difference as governor.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, DEMOCRAT
Not an easy choice, by any means.
Mayor Gavin Newsom jumped into this race only after it became clear that he wouldn't get elected governor. He sees it as a temporary perch, someplace to park his political ambitions until a better office opens up. He's got the money, the statewide name recognition, and the endorsement of some of the state's major power players, including both U.S. Senators and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He's also been a terrible mayor of San Francisco — and some progressives (like Sup.