Mirkarimi's a Democrat, Newsom's a candidate

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Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has done what a lot of us have been expecting for months now: He left me a message tonight saying he's changed his registration from Green to Democrat. I think that's a recognition that the Green Party isn't the functional political entity in San Francisco that it once could have been -- and that the only way he's going to get elected to higher office is as a Dem. He's clearly looking at the mayor's race, but I think he's also looking at the state Legislature; if Mark Leno ran for mayor and won, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano ran for Leno's Senate seat and won, then the 13th Assembly District seat would be open. Besides, with term limits, Ammiano's seat will open up pretty soon anyway. And it's highly unlikely a Green could win that race right now.

So welcome to the party, Ross -- now you get the fun of voting in the Democratic primaries, which are often the only real elections around here, and you can vote for Democratic County Central Committee (although I don't think you can run; you have to be a Dem for 12 months to do that).

And Gavin Newsom pulled papers for. Lt. Gov.

It's going to a wild year.

 

 

Comments

Steve's article here of a few months ago anticipated this move, which makes perfect sense given the current dysfunction of the SFBG.

The Greens are a decent place to get started with in politics in SF, but a terrible place to get stuck in if you harbor any serious ambition.

Of course, we'll also see Ross become more centrist and electable as a result. It's a smart move.

Posted by Tom Foolery on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

It's a pity Ross can't also switch his people skills.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

The SF Green Party sold its soul to win elections many years ago. But the Democratic Party is a bunch of pro-corporate pigs, almost as bad as the Republicans. So there is no joy here, this is a sad story.

Matt is right that with our current corrupt and dysfunctional electoral system that allows private campaign financing and does not have proportional representation, one cannot get elected to any office that requires a lot of votes without towing the corporate line. It's not a "smart move" to sell one's soul to get elected, though. It would be a much better move to leave office and work on grass roots campaigns. The political machine in this country is totally evil and will beat down just about any progressive who manages to beat the odds and get elected. Even if Obama were progressive, he wouldn't be able to get anything progressive done because of that.

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

What happened to all the self-righteous finger-pointing that Mirkarimi and other Greens dumped on Democrats in the past for not joining the Greens?

It turns out that the finger is bent, pointing back the pointer. The curved message is that politicians will do anything to promote their careers and turf.

Drug dealers have greater integrity.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

Now if Ross can just change his position from 'undecided' to opponent of sit lie that would be great.

Posted by Nate Miller on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

Now, If Arthur Evans can get out from behind his computer and step outdoors to smell the flowers, he would know that the SF Green Party truly has a green thumb.

It has produced some of the most progressive, well-mannered, tenacious, focused, thoughtful and viable candidates this city has seen in many years. It has caused many a political stir and elected and appointed some of the best policymakers truly representing this city.

It has also grown with true key values and principles plenty of the best the Democratic Party has now and has instilled integrity in the decisions the progressive majority makes all the time.

So, for Arthur Evans to say that the Green Party points fingers and lambastes others is a total lie...A TOTAL LIE. I wouldn't give credence to anything he writes or pukes where he can possible lay any ink on or be proxied in a C.W. Nevius tabloid.

The Green Party grows our next generation of truly trustworthy and valuable representatives and candidates. Supporting your local Green Party is an investment worth making.

Posted by Lying Uninformed Columnists on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 9:08 am

For a take on the current state of the Green Party of California, listen to this interview with GPCA Spokesperson, Derek Iversen, by host Sonali Kohatkar on KPFK radio yesterday:

http://uprisingradio.org/home/?p=12607

Posted by Lisa Taylor on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 9:45 am

I see the GP folks have woken up and are desperately doing damage control here.

A day late and a dollar short, IMO

Posted by Tom Foolery on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 10:35 am

which many on the left advocated for, was to limit the time these career politicians could get entrenched and serve special interests.

Instead of these parasites sitting in one job for decades they switch from job to job, doing damage.

I suppose in the progressive mind term limits have worked out, they get rid of Willie Brown in Sacramento, and have interchangeable liberals switching jobs all over the place.

Mirkirimi is an empty suit by the way.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 10:43 am

I love it when people complain about "career politicians" but don't complain about "career lobbyists" or "career corporate interests." The problem with term limits is that they empower those other career political players. When you're dealing with the mess in Sacramento, for example, term limits lead to short-term thinking -- how can I put this problem off until the next person takes office so I don't have to make any tough decisions?

Im sorry, but there's nothing wrong with talented people who have an interest in public service devoting their careers to it. Tom Ammiano served on the San Francisco School Board and the Board of Supervisors before going to the state Assembly, and that experience has made him a better legislator.

Posted by tim on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 10:52 am

I agree with Tim on this one. Term limits haven't been very productive, at least in Sacramento. By the time the legislators have developed some acumen to do their jobs, they're termed out. We have a serious budget problem at the state level and fairly inexperienced legislators are tasked with sorting it out. Also, for people who want to stay in public service, they end up job hopping in unorthodox ways. Bill Lockyer, for example, went from AG to Treasurer, and the two jobs have very little in common.

Posted by Patrick on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

This is true, the state and cities liberals have signed contracts which the state and city can hardly afford and when the bills come due, seriously due, those liberals will be long gone, thanks to term limits. Karen Bass will be long gone when California declares bankruptcy, but the people who elected her will have nice pensions until then.

And yes Tim, I am sick of the spoils system for both parties and their lobbyists, I just happen to live in a place where the spoils system is directed at the lobbyists that you like. As a past member of SEIU I can tell you, they are quite proud of their lobbyists, Avalos and the gang takes their orders from them. It's comical to think SF progressives are not as owned as a prison guard republican representative.

Tim giving the budget away to your special interests isn't good government no matter how you rework reality.

In the case of Ammiano, he is subservient to the "career lobbyists" that you like so he is OK. His career as special interest flunky has had Tom Ammiano floating to the top with the rest of the scum.

Your manichean thinking is interesting considering all the bitching that the Guardian does about the Neo-Conservatives and right wing Christian types being one dimensional.

---

How does this work in your world? SF progressives have to court these various groups to get elected, then when there is a budget crunch they hide. David Campos pretended for a while there to be fiscally responsible, but now that the people who got him elected may be getting lay offs he is no where to be seen. Comical that you think these guys are not owned.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

Umm, Tim, so you are saying that legislators in Washington are much better because they don't have term limits. Your argument doesn't have legs.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 2:20 pm
heh

It certainly did not get any new ideas into, or big money out of politics, as was the intention.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

So Ross has changed his "stripes" to fit what will serve him the best for continuing his political career. That is so typical---if not predictable---of politicians these days. Many people, including myself, think most politicians (including RM now) are scum and this behavior on the part of RM merely reinforces why many people think that about politicians. These politicians don't care what party they belong to, as long as the $$$$$$$$$$ is coming in and it serves their continuing career as a politician. That's all that's important.

Since 2000, the Democratic Party has been employees of the Republican Party. Why would anyone want to be a part of either of these two corrupt parties of war criminals? The Dems helped the illegitimate Bush regime and the Republicans accomplish most of their despicable goals for 8 years with their yes votes, their complicity and their silence, including the shredding of the US Constitution with the USA "Patriot" Act (which has been recently *extended* by the Dem congress). Positive "change we can't believe in" is the reality. The Bush neocon agenda continues under Obama and he's even added to it. No one who has been paying close attention since Obama became president can dispute that. Some of the Obama believers grasp at anything to make excuses and apologies for him but they look like the damn hypocrites they are. They rightly screamed about Bush for 8 years. But they are silent or make lame excuses when their Obama does the same despicable actions. Hypocrites! It was wrong when Bush did it, it's also wrong when Obama does it!

Both D and R parties work for the same corporate owners and are paid by the same corporate owners. Both parties are full of war criminals. Neither give a damn about We The People. So Ross M wants to be part of that scum? He wants to be part of the party that took impeachment "off the table" and who helped shred the US Constitution?

I thought something was going on with him when he allowed himself to be duped by Mr "Hope" and "Change we can believe in" and Obama's marketing slogan BS. (Chris Daly also fell for it). The only real, true Democrat in congress is Dennis Kucinich and I have some problems with him (his endorsing the establish trash at election time, such as Bush-accomplice John Kerry, for example).

Ross M has lost my vote, by becoming part of the corrupt one-party system of war criminals.

Thinking people/people of substance should be abandoning the D and R parties in droves, NOT joining them.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

So, the greens enter a rigged game, get kicked around by every sleazebag democrat and others for two decade but they make some inroads and put up viable, smart and ambitious people and what do they get? Articles on the left and right saying they've failed.

It's one more big lie. How many nations around the globe have green factions in power? Aren't those green parties signs of success, of commitment, of the and isn't there something despicable about American electoral systems that the best ideas and the most honorable politicians have to bend over to fulfill their ambitions of public service?

If Ross becomes a winner, the Dems will suck him in, but he may not get past his first race. He did after all, run the infamous 2000 Nader campaign.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

In an earlier post, "Lying Uninformed Columnists" says:

"Supporting your local Green Party is an investment worth making."

I take it that this advice is directed to Ross Mirkarimi, right?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

So Ross has changed his "stripes" to fit what will serve him the best for continuing his political career. That is so typical---if not predictable---of politicians these days. Many people, including myself, think most politicians (including RM now) are scum and this behavior on the part of RM merely reinforces why many people think that about politicians. These politicians don't care what party they belong to, as long as the $$$$$$$$$$ is coming in and it serves their continuing career as a politician. That's all that's important.

Since 2000, the Democratic Party has been employees of the Republican Party. Why would anyone want to be a part of either of these two corrupt parties of war criminals? The Dems helped the illegitimate Bush regime and the Republicans accomplish most of their despicable goals for 8 years with their yes votes, their complicity and their silence, including the shredding of the US Constitution with the USA "Patriot" Act (which has been recently *extended* by the Dem congress). Positive "change we can't believe in" is the reality. The Bush neocon agenda continues under Obama and he's even added to it. No one who has been paying close attention since Obama became president can dispute that. Some of the Obama believers grasp at anything to make excuses and apologies for him but they look like the damn hypocrites they are. They rightly screamed about Bush for 8 years. But they are silent or make lame excuses when their Obama does the same despicable actions. Hypocrites! It was wrong when Bush did it, it's also wrong when Obama does it!

Both D and R parties work for the same corporate owners and are paid by the same corporate owners. Both parties are full of war criminals. Neither give a damn about We The People. So Ross M wants to be part of that scum? He wants to be part of the party that took impeachment "off the table" and who helped shred the US Constitution?

I thought something was going on with him when he allowed himself to be duped by Mr "Hope" and "Change we can believe in" and Obama's marketing slogan BS. (Chris Daly also fell for it). The only real, true Democrat in congress is Dennis Kucinich and I have some problems with him (his endorsing the establish trash at election time, such as Bush-accomplice John Kerry, for example).

Ross M has lost my vote, by becoming part of the corrupt one-party system of war criminals.

Thinking people/people of substance should be abandoning the D and R parties in droves, NOT joining them.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

I left both the parties for many of the reasons you mentioned, long before the war in Iraq though.

Aside from getting out of the war in Iraq, don't you just advocate for a different style of invasive government? Don't you just want a government to reflect you biases more, not a government that leaves the population alone? Don't you just want a government that adheres to your centers of power, instead of say, big business?

You just want to change the rules so that you get your way, right?

Whats would be different about government if you drove the bus?

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

Anybody remember 2003? The Greens had a real candidate for mayor in Matt Gonzalez. And they were so disorganized (believe me, I worked on the campaign) that they lost to empty suit Newsom even though election day polls were strong in Matt's favor.

So what would you rather have? Mirkarimi runs as a G and loses and we get another Newsom? Or Mirkarimi runs as a D and wins and we get some progress instead of pandering to corporate interests?

Seriously, you must be the same people who think Dennis Kucinich should vote against health care reform because it's ideological purity is more important than putting an end to medical bankruptcies. Sick.

Posted by Mark on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

Gonzalez lost by 5% in the run off.

In the general election he got an even worse beating.

The people who show up for special elections are the retired and true believers, if Gonzalez ran just against Newsom in general election he would have been soundly beaten.

Add most of Alioto's votes to Newsom and most of the Amianno to Gonzalez and its 60/40 for Newsomm a pounding.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

Is he going to express remorse about the Ralph Nader 2000 debacle while he's at it? Is he going to set aside the bong and be able to speak in coherent sentences.

Once can only hope...

Posted by Dr. Lovemuscle on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

I see that some people are dragging out---once again---Nader, and essentially making him responsible for Bush/Cheney occupying the White House for 8 years. When will the Democratic Party believers ever take responsibility and ownership for their own pathetic party's miserable failures and stop blaming other people (such as Nader)? EVER? Such as, Nancy "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi. Remember that? Ugh.

As for Nader:

1. Even Al Gore has never laid any "blame" on Nader for 2000.
2. The voters were free to vote for any candidate they chose to vote for, including Nader.
3. Gore lost his "home" state. (Nader had nothing to do with that).
4. Gore WON the 2000 stolen election and refused to contest the stolen election when the electoral college vote was read in January...I guess some people don't keep up and follow up on these things. Gore said, "we have to come together now and get behind George Bush." You don't remember that? The Democratic Party did not do all that they could have in Florida. They couldn't wait to concede to Bush/Cheney and they have worked for them and their agenda ever since!
5. Who did Al Gore choose as a running mate? That rabid regressive neocon Lieberman.
6. Bush/Cheney were SELECTED by their friends on the supreme court. Or have people forgotten that?

And the big one:

Ralph Nader did NOT require or ask the Bush-accomplice Dems in congress to vote "yes" repeatedly for 8 years to help the Bush regime accomplish their goals between 2000-2008. Nader had NOTHING to do with that. The Dems did that all on their own. So if you are disgusted with the state of things, your blame is on the wrong people. Nader is not responsible or to blame.

Nader did not require the Dems in congress to vote for:

(a very partial list):
Roberts for the supreme court
Alito for the supreme court
2 wars/occupations
USA "Patriot" Act
illegal spying
the covering up of "black sites"
helping to cover up torture
helping to cover up rendition
telcom spying

And one doesn't even have to open one's eyes on this, it's so obvious.

Your blame should be on the Bush-accomplice Dems and Republicans in congress ...and now on Obama, who is continuing it all. He just authorized another year of the USA "Patriot" Act, without reforms. The USA "Patriot" Act shreds the US Constitution.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

Mark,

You are dead wrong in both of your comments.

1. I also worked on Matt Gonzales's campaign. It was one of many since I was a kid, and it was not at all disorganized; it was very similar to every other campaign I've worked on. Granted, I've only worked for progressive Democrats, Greens, and independents, and for or against certain ballot initiatives, so I don't know what the right wing Democrat or Republican campaigns look like. But Newsom won mainly because he outspend Gonzales 10-1, not because the Gonzales campaign was disorganized.

2. Dennis Kucinich's opposition to the so-called health care bill, which is really a bill to force many people into private health care while throwing a few sops to the public, it totally right on. I'm a supporter of single payer (Medicare for all) and totally oppose this bill. Those of us who support single payer have already compromised by supporting a strong public option. Now that that's been removed, this bill will do more harm to people who can't afford insurance than it will help. And it's the people without insurance we should be most concerned about. This is a bill written by the health care industry for its own profit, not by people who care about getting coverage for uninsured people.

I'm going to assume you're not just some Democratic propagandist. Before you make nasty comments about others, you should learn the facts. You either don't know about these two issues or you;re just lying in order to further some political end.

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

Yes, Matt Gonzalez did extremely well considering he was so outspent. I voted for him and I did some campaigning for him (walked The Castro with him). I went to his headquarters (which seemed very laid-back, just like Matt) to buy campaign buttons and get window signs. His campaign didn't seem disorganized at all. It's just that Newsom had so much more $$$$$$$$$$$, as you said.

As for Kucinich, yes he's right-on on this "health care" nonsense. It's a bailout to the mangled health "care" industry by the corporate trash in congress and that's all it is. No one should be forced/required to buy health "insurance."

In his comment, Mark came across to me as a troll---perhaps a paid troll---so I didn't respond. I didn't want him to make any $$$ off of my response.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 2:35 am

Everyone in the city knew what Gonzalez was up to, Gonzalez lost because he was far far too left.

Obamma outspent McCain, does that mean that you think McCain should be president?

When your side wins its because the voters were smart, when your sides loses it's because you were outspent and voters were stupid and duped.

Why do the extremes think we are all so stupid?

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

I'm not surprised that Mirkarimi switched to the Dems. I made an effort a few months back to find the Green party of San Francisco. Emails went unanswered, phone messages left in the void. I got the feeling that the Green party, rather than welcoming potential members into their fold, were hiding out somewhere, conducting secret meetings, and making sure no one knew about it. Or, even more sad, that there was no Green party of San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 5:37 am

You likely were trying to reach us when we were closing the old office and changing phone lines.

Subscribe to the email list on the opening web page and you'll get meeting notices, etc.

cheers

Eric Brooks

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 10:29 am

Hello Guest,
I respond to the general email inbox (sfgreenparty@yahoo.com) for the SF Green Party. I have a record of all the emails we have received. The date and time of our meetings has always been posted on our web site. We have had them on the 4th Wednesday of the month for years now. Can you tell me when you tried to contact us and under what name? If communications are falling through the cracks, we want to know about it.
Thank you!

Posted by Erika McDonald on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

The old political dynamic in the city is passing, making way for a new. Mirkarimi's party change is an effort to adapt to this new dynamic, but motivated entirely by his own political ambitions. However, more is at issue here than any particular politician's ambitions.

Here's what has happened: SF progressivism was once an inspiring popular movement. It welcomed intellectual diversity, was extraordinarily creative, and attracted some of the best minds in the city.

To its credit, SF progressivism in recent decades has succeeded in accomplishing many of its initial goals. But in the end, on achieving power, it ossified into just another fixture of the city's status quo.

This is a common pattern in history. One generation's reformers, on gaining power, turn into the next generation's guardians of a new status quo.

Today, SF progressivism is a doctrinaire sect tied to promoting the careers of certain politicians. It has been infiltrated and co-opted by the unions, the nonprofit political complex, and the cannabis capitalists. It is as much their tool today as the political establishment here in the 1950s was a tool of downtown business corporations and the Catholic archdiocese.

The Greens, the Milk Clubbers, and the SF Bay Guardian are the Pharisees of this new old order. Like the Pharisees in Judea 2,000 years ago, they started out as reformers. But, again like their ancient exemplars, their success eventually generated ossification, dogmatic conformity, and hostility to new pushes for reform bubbling up from below.

Mirkarimi is aware of both the ossification of the Pharisees and the newer energies pushing up against the status quo. But no larger vision inspires him. His goal is entirely self-centered, to save his own political skin as the old and new dynamics create sparks by rubbing against each other.

Let's hope that new leaders come forth who are aware of the changing dynamic and also have a vision that goes beyond salvaging their own political careers.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 8:08 am

People like Glen Matlock continually spread the lie that if we get government off our backs, we'll be "free" to do whatever we want and life would be better. There are two problems with this notion that make it a lie:

1. If government doesn't run things, the power vacuum would be filled by the rich & powerful, which in this society are in the form of large corporations. The only ones who would be free in Glen Matlock's world are rich people. (Because our electoral and governmental systems are so dysfunctional regarding real representation of the people, the rich and powerful have pretty much taken over the government anyway. But at least with government we theoretically have the power to vote them out of office, whereas there is no such option for corporations.)

2. The freedom Glen Matlock and those of his ilk complain that the government is taking away is generally the freedom to make money at the expense of others and/or the expense of harm to the environment. What people like Matlock are complaining about is that the big bad government won't let them do whatever they want, regardless of the harm that behavior would cause to other people and/or the environment. "Freedom" is a totally loaded word, and every society and government says that it's the freest one. In the Soviet Union, they liked to say that everyone was free because things like jobs and health care were guaranteed. My western European friends think their countries are much freer than this one because they don't have all the uptight laws there regarding things like drinking alcohol. So be wary of anyone espousing "freedom." The first thing you should ask is, freedom to do what, exactly?

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 8:19 am

A great achievement for the city was spending 3/4 of a million attempting to take hand guns away from law abiding citizens. If the "progressives" were concerned about freedom they would never have gone down that road.

I am for allowing gays to get married but the right seems to feel otherwise.

Now lets ponder those two things for second... OK never mind, you wouldn't get it, you "progressives" know how we should all be living our lives.

The "progressive" obsession with smokers in this town is astonishing, the latest law is another monumental waste of time, instead of dealing with real crime which is tough, they attack law abiding citizens with more laws. Law abiding citizens try and obey the law, while real criminals could careless, so the "progressive" progress towards harassing people at bus stops.

I'm also opposed to the sit/lie law, but don't you think its comical that the people who want to micromanage business in this town are opposed to sit/lie laws? Merkin telling business what benefits they have to offer then whining about sit/lie laws makes him a monumental hypocrite, which I suppose is a redundancy when talking about progressives. Your authoritarianism is good, the rights is bad? Does that sum your views up?

Your obsession with class really is amazing too.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

Candidates for Democratic County Central Committee are not required to be registered Dems for 12 months. The requirement is three months (or for however long you have been eligible to register and vote in CA if that time is less than three months) BUT you must not have been affiliated with another qualified party for 12 months prior to declaring.

Posted by Hope Johnson on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 11:02 am

As a longtime East Bay elected Green county council member, I wish Ross the very best in his future campaigns and look forward to supporting him in whatever race he runs. No matter what party he is with, he will continue to fight his values and if anything, he will help pull more Dems to the left with the success he has in doing what he does so well.

There's nothing really wrong with the Green Party, Nader, Ross, Tim, or anyone else being discussed here. The real problem is with capitalism, corporate control of the media, the politicians, the judicial system, and the intense propaganda campaigns foisted on Americans from all directions, working 24/7 to keep the most powerful in control of our lives. We forget about it, but it is all over us all the time.

Don't forget what it is we are all really up against. Greens, progressive Dems, etc. We are all really in the same boat, as much as we may disagree on things . . .

National level Dems are another story. Those are Zombies, in most cases, keeping the manipulation of everyone by the super rich and mega-corporations alive by caving in Congress at every opportunity, and not worth discussing.

Posted by Victoria Ashley on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 11:05 am

National level Dems are another story. Those are Zombies, in most cases, keeping the manipulation of everyone by the super rich and mega-corporations alive by caving in Congress at every opportunity, and not worth discussing.

---------------------

The Dems in congress are not zombies nor have they caved at every opportunity, and I really wish people would stop saying that. I read that frequently in comments on the Internet from Dem apologists. It implies that the Dems are "weak" or "spineless." In a way, it excuses them. The Dems are NEITHER weak or spineless. Since 2000, the Bush-helping Dems in congress have had a SPINE OF STEEL for helping the neocons cement their agenda. Repeatedly, they CHOSE to vote yes for one thing after the other to help the Bush regime accomplish their goals because the Dems AGREE with the goals. Pelosi helped the Bush regime by taking impeachment "off her table," as one example. And the Dems are doing the same thing under Obama because he is continuing the same neocon agenda. Just today: Pelosi said public option is not under reconsideration. That's the same as off her table. Isn't that nice! Although not unexpected. It wasn't the Republicans that took it off the table, was it now? Both the Ds and Rs (excluding Kucinich) work for the same corporate owners and are paid by the same corporate owners (which includes but is not limited to the military industrial complex, the Project For The New American Century group, the pharma industry, the oil industry, Wall Street, et al).

The day that most people understand who and what the Dems really are (as opposed to what people expect them to be and want them to be) will be the day that people STOP making excuses and apologies for the Dems and STOP describing them as cave-ins. Because they haven't caved to anything. They have deliberately served as accomplices to the neocon agenda because it's in their financial interest to do so.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

Jeff, you seem to have left off public employee unions from your list of those that have "taken over the government." In this town it seems like the supervisors are beholden to public employee unions, not "the rich and powerful." In Sacramento, many of the legislators appear to be beholden to public employee unions as well.

Posted by Patrick on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 11:37 am

Have you ever read The Paranoid Style in American Politics, type that into google and the first thing that comes up is an hofsadters amazing essay.

It was written about the kooky right of the 60's, but is equally relevant to the modern progressive.

I find it odd that tobacco or oil republicans can be spotted quite well by the left, but an elected SEIU "progressive" is "speaking truth to power," meaning they give the state and city away to them.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

By the way, Tim, I think the fact that congress still has some fossils from the Sputnik/McCarthy era (not to mention a dearly departed centarian Dixiecrat) is a bit of a minus. Assumed incumbency breeds laziness and complacency.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

I guess previous posters forgot the SFBG article that appeared a while ago on troubles within the Green Party. From that article, it sounded to me as if Mirkarimi had little incentive to stay Green. The only question was when he would jump. The disinvitation of Mirkarimi to the Green convention certainly didn't warrant a "suck it up and stay Green" attitude.

I don't know Mirkarimi's thinking. But if he wanted to run for the mayor's office in SF, he recognized a political reality. When you run for Mayor, you're not running solely as the voice of the city's more liberal districts. Ideally, you're there to represent even the Sean Elsbernds and the Carmen Chus who disagree with you strongly. The Greens, at least if the commenters here are any indication, are currently too busy playing the "leftier than thou" game to be an effective political force.

I'm not going to dump on Mirkarimi for switching parties until he does something like making nice with such political scumbuckets as the Sutton Law Group or PG&E. Until then, I'll wish him the best of luck and hope he doesn't lose his political way.

Posted by Peter on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

I would have respected Ross M. if he had become an independent (or "decline to state" as it's listed on our registration form here) and then ran for mayor. That would have been fine. But he didn't choose to do that. I imagine he chose to get in the sewer with the Democratic Party because he wanted the money from the corrupt Democratic party, and I expect him to start snuggling up to the Dem Establish trash of war criminals in congress to get their endorsements. Personally, why would one want an endorsement from a D war criminal and/or someone who voted to shred the US Constitution with the USA "Patriot" Act? Because what does that say about a mayoral candidate? Does he really want to be associated with a group of politicians that just extended the USA "Patriot" Act for another year and also voted to stay in Afghanistan against Kucinich (a real, true Democrat). Will he also seek out war-profiteer neocon and Bush-accomplice Feinstein's endorsement? Or what about Bush-accomplice Nancy "public option is not a consideration" Pelosi's endorsement?

Posted by Sam on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

I actually referenced that SFBG article earlier.

The Greens got too big for their sandals a long time ago.

Posted by Tom Foolery on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

Victoria & Sam,

You are both right to an extent. The Democrats do cave on a lot of issues, though they are obviously on the wrong side to begin with on others like war. But the reason they sometimes cave is because they are so-corporate friendly to begin with that either their convictions are not very strong or they were originally just taking a position that was popular with their constituents. The Dems who don't cave, like Kucinich, are those with strong convictions on the issues.

If a politician believes that money is the most important issue, as most people in this society do, it does not take much to get him to change his mind from taking a progressive position to that of a right wing one. Global warming is a perfect example. Obama made this a key issue in the campaign and even after he was elected. But as soon as businesses and others started crying about the money they would lose if we started living in a less destructive manner, the bills in Congress got weaker and less likely to pass. Only a strong environmentalist would not cave into the pressure from large campaign donors and the public.

So it's some of both you two, and there's no point in fighting about it. We've got far bigger problems.

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 10:10 am

There are, indeed, some folks in Congress who have long exceeded their usefullness, if they ever had such a quality. But there are also some experienced folks who, after years and years of working in Washington, know how to get things done. Ted Kennedy was one of them.

Term limits empower the executive and the lobbyist branches of government. Can you imagine how powerful Bush would have been without senior, powerful Democrats to keep him in check?

Posted by tim on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

Can you imagine how powerful Bush would have been without senior, powerful Democrats to keep him in check?

------------------------------------

No, I can't imagine that because that's not the reality. The "senior, powerful" Democrats in congress did NOT keep Bush "in check" whatsoever. They pretended to on occasion (before the cameras), but that was only for theatre purposes to fool the gullible public, particularly the "Dem Team" believers. The Bush-accomplice Dems worked for Bush for 8 years and are continuing to do so under Obama. For example, do you not remember "senior, powerful" Democrat Nancy Pelosi who took impeachment "off the table" and helped Bush/Cheney/Rove accomplish most of their agenda? How specifically was THAT keeping Bush "in check?" Pelosi has voted again and again to approve ever-increasing military spending. How is THAT keeping Bush "in check?" I could give many other examples for Pelosi and for other "senior, powerful" Democrats.

Other than a couple of slap-downs by the Supremes, Bush/Cheney did whatever they damn-well pleased, and the Ds and Rs helped Bush/Cheney cement their agenda because both parties work for the same corporate owners. And that same neocon agenda continues to this day---as us Nader and McKinney voters suspected would be the case---under Obama and he's even adding to it.

(Just yesterday from Pelosi: Public option ‘not in reconciliation’).

Posted by Sam on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

Long before Steve, I predicted Ross would turn (coat) Democrat.

Politicians about to be termed out need a new job. And they usually get it via an appointment (ie, Carol Migden on the Waste Management board). And Democrats and Republicans only appoint their own kind to these sinecures.

Posted by Barton on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

Long before Steve, I predicted Ross would turn (coat) Democrat.

Politicians about to be termed out need a new job. And they usually get it via an appointment (ie, Carol Migden on the Waste Management board). And Democrats and Republicans only appoint their own kind to these sinecures.

Posted by Barton on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

"But there are also some experienced folks who, after years and years of working in Washington, know how to get things done. Ted Kennedy was one of them."

It cuts both ways, Tim. You could say the same thing about Phil Gramm -- the Godfather of financial deregulation -- among many others. And don't get me started on the "moderate" Democrats like Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman, and Tom Lantos who, quite plainly, are more of a detriment to the left than the right.

"Term limits empower the executive and the lobbyist branches of government. Can you imagine how powerful Bush would have been without senior, powerful Democrats to keep him in check?"

You mean Bush didn't get essentially everything he ever really wanted? I'm not even going to bother countering your claim. But I will say this: Presidents -- whether left-leaning or right-leaning -- face term limits and congress doesn't. Where is the balance of power there?

And what are the "lobbyist branches" of government? The supreme court, which also doesn't face term limits? Or are you talking about the sinister and long-standing cliques (among both parties) that develop within the indefinitely tenured legislature.

The only difficulty I have with term limits is that people should be able to plainly choose who they want to have represent them. But the inertia advantage overrules this qualm. I say 3 four year terms for politicians will provide plenty of time for on-the-job training.

Finally, we shouldn't be looking at the lobbyist aspect through the "experience" prism. It's just a red herring. It really all just boils down to money.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 9:38 pm