By Doug Porter
For better or (mostly) worse our country runs (or doesn’t) on a two party system.
Despite the “everybody knows” wisdom that says partisanship is becoming more extreme, some of San Diego’s politicos aren’t playing that game.
Of course “everybody knows” about Nathan Fletcher, who made the transition from Republican to Independent and then Democratic Mayoral candidate in less than 500 days over two elections.
Despite those die hard partisans in both camps who try to make the point that Fletcher’s migration was somehow aberrant, I actually believe him when he says his life experiences led him to make the switch(es).
I’ve personally seen plenty of life long Republicans ditching their party as it lurches towards irrelevancy. And the declining percentage of the electorate willing to associate themselves with the likes of Tony Kvarick (locally) and Michelle Bachman (Nationally) is proof of this trend.
I just don’t think Mr. Fletcher has had the opportunity to experience life on the other side of the political divide long enough to be the party’s endorsee in the upcoming mayoral election. I also don’t think his candidacy is about Democratic values. I see it as an expression of the growing economic power of Tech/Business types like Paul Jacobs, who is every bit as smart as his Dad and actually runs Qualcomm.
John Lamb over at SD City Beat writes about Fletcher’s reality this week, describing a Hillcrest meeting of the San Diego Democrats for Equality where the mayoral candidate made his pitch for support:
Fletcher, the former state Assembly member, former Republican, former decline-to-stater and now Democrat, was telling folks how he served alongside fellow gay Marines and what a “stupid policy” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was and how “all hell broke loose” when he told his surprised fellow GOP Assembly colleagues just that—what he called “the beginning of what was quickly the end of a several-year failed relationship with the Republican Party.”
But right at that point, an older woman in the audience interrupted: “Would you introduce yourself for us?” As the crowd at the Joyce BeersCenter in Hillcrest chuckled, Fletcher apologized and obliged the woman, adding, “Some guy at the gym said, ‘Does anyone ever tell you you look like that Nathan Fletcher guy?’ And I said, ‘I get that sometimes.’ He said, ‘It must really piss you off!’ And I was like, ‘I heard he was alright.’”
These days, Fletcher finds himself in water that, while not uncharted, certainly contains more chop than he and his well-connected supporters had ever anticipated. The southern swell that emerged when Alvarez announced his candidacy and subsequently won the endorsement of the local Democratic Party was likely not a part of Fletcher’s preplanning navigation.
Fletcher also finds himself continuing to get flack from some of his former partisans, with SD GOP chair Tony Krvaric taking to the Twitterverse to call the former assemblyman a “sociopath”.
GOP-backed mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer let it be known that he didn’t agree with this assessment and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith was quoted at Voice of San Diego saying such comments were “political and juvenile.”
Not a Republican’s Republican?
Tuesday’s Voice of San Diego Morning Report included an item where author Randy Dotinga misspoke himself, describing mayoral candidate Faulconer as a Democrat.
The emails calling out his mistake rolled in, the correction was made and the mea culpa was posted to Twitter, all in compliance with the Rules of Repentance that every scribe engaged in trying to compose daily news summaries is required to sign:
Randy Dotinga @rdotinga -Accidentally called @kevin_faulconer a Dem in today’s Morning Report. So many emails! Would be easier if he’d just switch parties (hint).
The fun starts here with PR man Tony Manolatos, who responded:
Anthony G. Manolatos @tonymanolatos – . @rdotinga Ha! Tell em @kevin_faulconer would be a Dem back east. He’s definitely not a Republican’s Republican.
So there you have it: Kevin Faulconer’s campaign strategy for wooing Democratic voters.
Not a Democrat’s Democrat?
This morning’s Dotinga* summary let fly with this item:
Meanwhile, local Rep. Scott Peters diverged from the wide majority of his Democratic colleagues yesterday and voted with Republicans to make exceptions to the shutdown for services like national parks and museums. The measure didn’t get enough votes to pass with a required two-thirds margin
Oh Cheese on Bread!, as they say in the Caribbean when looking for a polite oath.
I get it that Peters comes from a conservative district, but this kind of gesture, especially when things like Head Start programs affected by the government shutdown aren’t even being considered, is just.not.right. Nineteen thousand children won’t be attending Headstart funded-preschooling and day care today, according to this tear jerker of an interview broadcast on NPR yesterday.. (*thanks Randy for writing my column today-the check is in the mail)
This item leads me inevitably back into The Shutdown. Today the House will consider FIVE “rifle shot” mini-funding bills today: 1) Vet Affairs 2) DC 3) Parks 4) NIH 5) Military Reservists under rules that require a simple majority to pass.
From The Hill:
The White House on Wednesday renewed its vow to block the piecemeal funding approach pushed by House Republicans.
In a statement of administration policy, the White House called that approach “not a serious or responsible way to run the U.S. government,” promising that the president would veto the measures the House is considering if they reached his desk.
“Instead of opening up a few government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the government,” the administration stated. “The harmful impacts of a shutdown extend across Government, affecting services that are critical to small businesses, women, children, seniors, and others across the nation.”
Come on, Rep. Peters; it’s bad enough that you’re voted to end the Medical Device Tax, a clever lobbyist sponsored piece of legislation leaving a $30 billion hole in health care funding. Just say NO to GOP extortion demands.
The Why’s and Wherefores of The Shutdown
Ezra Klein has a totally informative interview with National Review‘s Washington editor Robert Costa up at the Washington Post today. It ‘s provocatively entitled “Why Boehner doesn’t just ditch the hard right”. Here the money quote from Costa:
What we’re seeing is the collapse of institutional Republican power. It’s not so much about Boehner. It’s things like the end of earmarks. They move away from Tom DeLay and they think they’re improving the House, but now they have nothing to offer their members. The outside groups don’t always move votes directly but they create an atmosphere of fear among the members. And so many of these members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and tea party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible. Leaders are dealing with these expectations that wouldn’t exist in a normal environment.
Over at Salon, Joan Walsh makes the case that The Shutdown is simply is the culmination of 50 years of GOP race baiting.
On the day the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the U.S. government is shut down, and it may be permanently broken. You’ll read lots of explanations for the dysfunction, but the simple truth is this: It’s the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else. The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasn’t an accident, it was probably inevitable…
…So for a lot of Democrat-turned-Republican voters, “government” was all about black people, Reagan knew. You didn’t have to be racist to thrill to Reagan’s declaration that “government is not the solution; government is the problem,” though it didn’t hurt. Republican strategist Lee Atwater explained exactly how it worked in a now-infamous 1981 interview that was secret for 30 years. Atwater explained how the GOP dialed down its racial rhetoric for fear of alienating white moderates who might buy the GOP’s anti-government crusade, but be uncomfortable with outright racism.
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N–ger, n–ger, n–ger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n–ger” — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites … “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N–ger, n–ger.”
And then you say “Defund Obamacare,” and everyone knows why.
On This Day: 1959 – “The Twilight Zone” debuted on CBS-TV. The show ran for 5 years for a total of 154 episodes. 1967 – Thurgood Marshall was sworn in. He was the first African-American member of the U.S. Supreme Court 1976 – John Belushi came out on stage with Joe Cocker while he was performing on “Saturday Night Live.”
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