Monday: So much going on

Update: So, TPM is trying its hand with a little expectation setting. To TPM, it is unthinkable that Hillary will get a crack at the nomination until 2016. The subtext is, “don’t even think about it, bitches”. Like we’re going to be satisfied with that. Hokay, suit yourself. But don’t expect me to vote for YOUR guy in 2012 just because you think I don’t have anywhere else to go. And if it turns out that you find you need me come late October, I’m just going to tell you to wait until 2016.

Also, Rick Warren is a dick. It now looks like both sides of the aisle are engaging in a lot of black-white thinking on welfare reform without considering that there was a right way to do it that would have been both liberal and not redistributory. Europe does it all over the place. So, you know, I reject arguments from both sides while putting myself firmly in the liberal camp. I can promise you that Hillary would never have Rick Warren at her inauguration.

Nothing good ever comes of a bad seed.
**********************************************
I’m in the local Starbucks (found a bit of serendipitous change in my pocket this am) waiting for my car to be fixed. It’s going to be painful but I can’t get around central NJ without a car, so there’s that.

There’s so much worth commenting on that I’m not quite sure where to start. Let’s start with an answer to Violet Socks’ question, “Why are we hearing so much about Hillary 2016?“. This is related to the question, “Why are we hearing so much about welfare reform?”, although at first, you might have missed the connection. In case you missed it, the NYTimes had a big piece on its frontpage yesterday about how welfare reform has left so many people without any visible means of support. It quotes some former Clinton officials who actually *resigned* over welfare reform. {{rolling eyes}} And while the abandonment of so many families during this little Depression is indeed disgraceful and horrifying, the NYTimes is most definitely slanting this story. Here’s why:

1.) Welfare Reform, or Clinton’s promise to “end welfare as we know it” was about putting people to work. I think I’ve mentioned this before but if you’re a liberal, the last thing you want is to create a permanent underclass of people whose lives are tied up in generational poverty. What the vast majority of welfare recipients really want is a job. Yes, there are people who will never be ready for the workplace. Yes, there will be people who have problems with substance abuse or criminal behavior. We need different solutions for those people and while a job is better for people who have run afoul of the criminal justice system, there are just some poor people who shouldn’t have to work in the same way that some middle class stay at home mothers and rich heiresses don’t have to work. Some poor people may not have the emotional wherewithal to go to work each day. We need to do something about that and help them. But the vast majority of people on welfare want to work. It’s not easy to survive on a measly check each month and it’s no way to raise your kids. Putting people on the road to work is a good thing and if that’s what Clinton meant (and I’m pretty sure that it was) then a liberal should be for it.

2.) Clinton’s plan included housing vouchers, healthcare, childcare, training, all the support mechanisms you needed to put people back to work. The Republicans shot that down. Repeatedly. There are votes on the issue and you can go back and look them up. The Clinton reform bill was generous. The Republican bills were much less so. MUCH less so. Eventually, Clinton signed a bill and it was awful but he was able to soften it in his next term. But liberals seem determined to whack Clinton over this for even bringing the subject up. That’s called denial, my friends. They want to deny that welfare had a problem by trapping people in poverty. If you’re a lefty and you’re still pissed over this, get over it. Being poor forever, even if the government is giving you a check is not a life and expecting people to be grateful to you for that is delusional. In fact, you could have seen Clinton’s Welfare Reform bill as a way to strengthen the social safety net for all of us. I know I would have been delighted if after my severance bennies had run out I would have been able to sign onto a government healthcare program while I worked my way back into the middle class. Yeah, that would have been great. No wonder the Republicans were so agin’ it.

3.) In the present, there’s nothing stopping the federal and state Congresses all around the country from approving a second stimulus package for a giant jobs bill or extending welfare benefits. You could call it “emergency TANF extension” or something suitably mellifluous. We do it for unemployed people all the damn time. I am a lucky recipient of such an extension and I am extremely grateful that it has allowed me to pay my insurance bills, my heating bills, food for my adolescent eating machine. I also paid a shitload of taxes from my severance benefits so, youknow, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about this. Last year after I was laid off I still managed to support a family of four on the taxes I paid. The thing is, Republicans would like it if I wasn’t so calm right now. They would prefer it if I and my other unemployed colleagues were desperate and completely broke. Why? So I would turn on Obama and the Democrats. That’s part of their plan. The only thing that is standing between frantic welfare recipients and stability for them and their children is the fact that Republicans want us to get to the point where we are so angry we will turn on the politicians who may still have a conscience (the jury is stil out on that one.)

I’m no fan of Obama and I have plenty of reasons to vote for someone to the left of the Democratic party so what the Republicans are doing has absolutely no impact on me. I wasn’t going to vote for him under any circumstances and I sure as hell won’t vote for a Republican, whose current behavior is rapidly changing my mind about the existence of supernatural forces of evil. But what would make me change my mind about electing a Democrat to the White House? Well, it would matter a great deal to me if Obama bowed out and Hillary threw her hat in the ring. Yep. I’d vote for that ticket.

And, I suspect, there are a LOT of women who have finally woken up and smelled the coffee and realized that we need a champion for us in government. It sure as hell isn’t coming from NOW, NARAL or Planned Parenthood, who seem scared of their own shadows and afraid to rock Obama’s boat. But if they roll over for Obama and demand almost nothing from him, they’ll be completely useless to women going forward and the attacks on us will start to accelerate. So, really, women’s organizations are worse than useless. What we need is a big, dramatic thing to happen that would say loud and clear that things are about to change in a big way.

Why does it have to be Hillary? Because she is a legitimate player. If her own party hadn’t turned on her in 2008, she’d be president right now and running for her second turn. She’s been our “foreign president” and the world loves her and respects her. Even the State Department seems to be running smoothly and hers was the first department to give gay employees all the rights of their straight colleagues. AND she is unabashedly pro-female. She doesn’t shrink from this. No one has managed to shut her up about it and she’s not afraid to confront congressmen about reproductive rights in the strongest possible terms. I haven’t seen Obama even come *close* to confronting the Republicans on these issues in the way that Hillary has.

So, she’s very popular, capable, committed, competent and women are starting to see that we need her. THAT’S why Pelosi is trying to deflect pro-Hillary sentiment to 2016. You know, it’s utter bullshit to believe that Hillary will run in 2016. She’s not. By then, she really will need to dial it back and retire. And by 2016, the damage will be done to the economy, my generation and women. No matter who makes it to the White House, Obama or Romney, the result is going to be the same. On this reality, the lefties are also closing their eyes and wishing. I’m looking at reality straight in the face and you know, it’s not going to happen, guys. There is no 11 dimensional chess game. And if what I read in Karen Ho’s book is correct, we are teetering on the edge of a true catastrophe. In fact, this is not a game. To be perfectly honest, your best hope of turning things around in all respects, is Hillary.

Which is why the NYTimes rolled out that piece about Welfare Reform. The purpose was to taint the Clinton legacy. Just watch, every time people get a little wistful for the Clintons, welfare reform and banging the drums for war in Iran start to ramp up. It’s so damn predictable I rarely read the papers anymore. And you know WHY these two things keep coming up over and over again? It’s because just like right wingnuts, lefties have buttons that can be pushed and these are the two that the political operatives and wealthy know drive lefties absolutely crazy and cause them to vote against their best interests.

So, there you go, Violet. Pelosi is trying to make people wait for Hillary in a scenario she knows is never going to happen. It’s 2012 for Hillary or never. She’d prefer it was never, for reasons known only to Pelosi. I suspect that Pelosi has been in power for so long that she has lost perspective and doesn’t realize that it’s not all about her. Being a liberal doesn’t mean a damn thing if you can never vote liberal on anything. But it sounds like Pelosi is fighting a losing battle. People around her must be whispering about calling Hillary up from the bench. So, the NYTimes rolls out the welfare reform bill and makes it sound like it was all Bill’s fault. A few years ago they and the Washington Post engaged in a series of “The State Department is being run by HillaryLand” posts, remember those? Yep, we were supposed to overlook all the evidence that she was doing a great job and be suspicious of the fact that she manages the department in a different style than her predecessors.

Too late. She’s good. And she projects confidence and command everywhere she goes as the Hillary texting tumblr shows:

Now, I know that Obama doesn’t lay around on the couch texting. (*I* do that) He’s probably playing golf. But here’s the thing, lefties: there’s nothing you can do or say to make me prefer him to her. Nothing. You can call me a racist, Republican, stupid, uneducated, insane, It. Does. Not. Matter. I want HER and not him. He is not entitled to a second term. He’s a lousy president and under him, women’s rights are eroding at an alarming rate. He’s too close to Wall Street and the culture of “smartness”. I see the future, guys, and you do too. It’s not going to be good. And no matter how much Pelosi protests, I am not going to wait until 2016. What the hell does she think we are? Children? Does she think she can get all parental and say something that will make us wait and that will somehow satisfy us or make our concerns less urgent? Well, it won’t. Get Obama out and put him on some fricking speaking tour. Let *HIM* do fundraising and supporting the Democratic party loyally. Get him and Geithner and all of the rest of his Wall Street crowd out of there and give us a dramatic change. Make the Republicans cower in their holy skivvies. Give us Hillary.

WTF?? Another example of how sexism costs all of us

So, I was reading Elizabeth Drew’s article in the New York Review of Books titled “What Were They Thinking?” that recounts how we got to this messy stage of impasse, political grandstanding and Obama’s inflated self-image when I came to what I think might be a hidden gem on two points:

Finding a solution to reducing the deficit that was agreeable to Boehner, to Cantor, to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and to the President was no small task. The men, who had rudely and unwisely excluded Pelosi, now the minority leader, from their deliberations, could no longer avoid dealing with her. They’d considered Pelosi a bit of a pain, insistent as she was on standing up for liberal principles.

Are you f^&*ing kidding me?  These GUYS excluded the former speaker of the house and now minority leader from the negotiations because she sticks up for liberal principles?  I’ll be the first one to say that Nancy shouldn’t be surprised and is paying royally for the mess she made in Denver in 2008.  But Jeez, it is completely unacceptable that there wasn’t even one woman in the room when these assholes met, not even the House Democrats’ minority leader.  It happens in the business world all of the time.  Women don’t get the email, are conveeeeeniently left off the meeting list, their phone calls are ignored.  And THIS is womens’ issues are never considered in the final bills.  If you’re a liberal woman, you’re doubly screwed.

And Barack Obama was OK with this?

You betcha.

#fuckyouwashingtonguys

Update: Craig Crawford says that Congressional leaders have decided to cut Obama out of future negotiations.  Here’s what he’s been hearing:

It’s no surprise that Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, went out of their way to insult the president but remarkably Democrats also went forward over the weekend with Capitol Hill debt talks that did not even include a symbolic emissary from the White House.

[...]

While the GOP obviously would savor a solution to the debt-ceiling crisis that gives Obama no credit, why are Democratic leaders so willing to cut him out?

The answer might be found in growing concerns among veteran Capitol Hill Democrats that their president is a lousy negotiator.

Although they see him as a talented public communicator, his short time as a senator and painfully slow learning curve as president leads congressional Democrats to think it best to take over and provide cover for him once the deal is done.

Wow, just wow.  Um, would giving him cover really be the best idea?  Maybe they’ve been too permissive.  They provided him with a lot of cover in 2008 and carried him gently over the threshhold of the nomination.  In retrospect, that was a bad idea.  It could explain why he’s painfully slow to learn his job and why he’s so fricking clueless about legislating with Congress. He’s never had to do it before.

After this is all over, the Democrats need to have a heart to heart with President Mashieniblick.  The idea that they can foist him on the rest of us and give us no Democratic alternative is unacceptable when they don’t think he is capable of doing his job.

Monday: Weiner, Massa and Vitter

Anthony Weiner has offered to seek professional help. This is probably a good idea. democratic congressional leadership has generally been supportive of members seeking therapy. Remember Patrick Kennedy’s addiction to sleeping aids and his bizarre behavior behind the wheel? That was ok, we understood. Take some time off, Patrick, get your act together. We still love you.
With Weiner? Ehhhh, not so much. Maybe it would have been better for him if he had claimed to have strutted his stuff while on ambien. Anthony wasnt thinking ahead.
So, now Steny Hoyer is on the warpath and wants him out, out, out! He’s cranking up the ethics committee. There will be investigations and accusations and crippling legal bills. This is not going to be pretty. Funny how David Vitter didn’t have to run this gauntlet. I guess those good Christian Republicans are just a lot more forgiving,
But more than that, this frenzy of the Democratic leadership reminds me of last year’s piling on of Eric Massa. The details of Massa’s indiscretions always did seem a little sketchy to me. And it was the usual suspects, Nancy and Steny, who seemed desperate to completely ruin the man’s reputation in order to force him to resign. Let’s not forget that Massa was a liberal hold out who wasn’t going to vote for the health care insurance reform bill. He was a real obstacle to the vote counters who wanted to give Obama a win.
Anthony Weiner may be a guy with a masturbation problem but if he hasnt broken any laws, let the guy get some help and show some compassion. The fact that compassion is in short supply on the Democratic side of the aisle and the continuing presence of david Vitter in the Senate suggests that the leadership of both parties protects who it wants to protect and gets rid of the people who stand in the way of the agenda. What makes me think this is more than a sex scandal is that when it happened to Massa, the ethics committee investigation disappeared the minute he resigned.
So, what is it Steny wants that a strong liberal might stand in his way of getting?

As a followup to yesterday, the youtube blogger, Mompetition, shows us what its like to live in Soccer Momville when you have a brain of your own. It’s not pretty but it is damn funny:

and this one is for Atrios:

be afraid, be very afraid

She’s baaack!


Nancy Pelosi survives Democratic revolt

Bruised but not beaten, Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday locked up the votes needed to transition from speaker to minority leader in the new Congress, topping Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), 150-43, on a secret ballot in a private Wednesday meeting of House Democrats.

The 43 votes against her — and the 68 cast in a losing effort to delay her election — reveal that a caucus bloodied by the loss of at least 61 seats and control of the House no longer bends to her will the way it once did.

But Pelosi was defiant as ever in her post-election press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Asked why she should remain Democratic leader after the election wipeout, Pelosi said: “Because I’m an effective leader, because we got the job done on health care and Wall Street reform and consumer protection. Because they know that I’m the person that can attract the resources both intellectual and otherwise to take us to victory — because I’ve done it before.”

Since it’s that time of year I’ll use a football analogy. If any NFL coach led his team to such a disastrous season as the Democrats just had he would be fired even if the team owner had to eat a multi-million dollar contract.

Nobody is cheering this news harder than the Republican party. That alone tells you all you need to know.

Nancy Pelousy lost my support four years ago when she said “Impeachment is off the table.” I won’t even go into her involvement with what went wrong in 2008.

So after the worst mid-term beating in modern history Obama is still in the White House, Dirty Harry Reid is still Senate Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi is demoted but still has a job. No personnel changes, no new blood in the Democratic leadership, no change of direction.

The Democratic party must have a death wish.



The GOP beats Obama and Emanuel at 11 dimensional chess

When you're so busy being awesome that you don't notice that Republicans checkmated you 10 moves ago.

The New York Times Magazine has a lengthy piece about poor put upon Rahm Emanuel.  He is so tired of all of the nasty things said about him.  He is so tired of the Republicans playing hardball.  He is so tired of Democratic activists acting retarded.  He is so tired.  Period.

He gets blamed for everything he does.

I almost feel sorry for him.  Really.  Because, ya’ know, he’s just doing his job.  There was a reason why Barack ” NOW with a WHOLE 142 days in the Senate!” Obama hired Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.  It’s because Obama didn’t know what the hell he was going to do on legislation.  He didn’t have enough experience, er, legislatin’.  He spend the great bulk of his time in the Senate getting recruited, lining up sponsors and shmoozing the Old Boys Club who liked the cut of his jib and the whack of his mashie niblick.  If Obama has any political genius at all (and I have my doubts, big time), it’s being in the right place at the right time with the right genetic mutation for melanocyte expression.  But I digress.

I found this segment about Rahm particularly interesting because it shows his usefulness to Obama:

By the time Obama was headed for victory in 2008, Emanuel’s name was coming up as an obvious choice to run the new White House. But he had other ideas. Just a few weeks before the election, we met for one of those expense-account dinners, and he flatly rejected any suggestion that he might become chief of staff. He had set his sights on eventually becoming speaker of the House of Representatives, keenly aware that Nancy Pelosi was approaching 70, as were the two others ahead of him on the Democratic ladder, Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn of South Carolina. Emanuel, two decades their junior, could afford to wait them out and would still have a long tenure ahead of him in the speaker’s chair. The typical White House chief of staff, he knew all too well, lasted only two years or so. And then what?

There you go.  Obama needed someone to interface on his behalf with Congress and he needed someone who swung a big dick.  That was Emanuel’s job.  He serves at the pleasure of the president.  When he is no longer pleasuring the president, he’ll be out.  But then, Obama will have to find an Emanuel replacement.  Someone who knows who’s in, who’s out.  Someone who understands the legislative process because they’ve actually had to work it.

But replacing Rahm won’t make the legislation better or Obama more to our liking.  After all, Rahm is only carrying out what Obama wants to do.  And by the looks of it, it isn’t much.  If you read the piece, you get the idea that maybe Rahm wanted to approach health care incrementally by expanding medicaid and SCHIP.  Stuff like that might have been doable and a good stop gap measure while the Obama administration worked on more pressing issues like the economy.  Rahm would have known what this congress was capable of since he was one of the chief architects for bringing some nasty conservative actors into the Democratic fold.

(BTW, I am noticing a troubling tendency of the NYTimes to refer to these blue dog reactionary elements as ‘moderates’.  They’re not.)

The country voted in Democrats in 2008, or what they *thought* were Democrats anyway.  They could have voted in small government, tax cutting, hard hearted, authoritarian, rugged individualist, dog-eat-dog, Hobbseian, warmongering, Glenn Beck worshipping, Enron-esque Republicans instead but it appears the country was tired of them so they voted those types out in favor of the party who they thought would protect their   nest eggs, jobs, civil rights, reproductive rights and put the country back on the right track.

When it came to health care reform, Obama decided to go for comprehensive reform.  But he was more interested in the kill (enter Emanuel) than the policy.  He ordered Rahm to do the dirty work and just get it done.  So, Rahm did the bi-partisan thing and got a bill, any bill.  In it, the Republicans have gotten their pound of flesh.  They were never going to sign off on the thing anyway but like predators toying with their food first, they have been seeing just how far the Obama was willing to go to score health care reform.  Now they know and we know that Obama was willing to negotiate with insurance company terrorists, backstab their most fervent union supporters and betray everything Democrats ran for when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.  If the Democrats pass this bill, it will be a Republican triumph.

We have to wonder why Obama, and let’s put the blame where it belongs, it is Obama, was so eager and anxious to pass health care reform without really reforming health care.  Let’s put aside the fact that he didn’t really have a plan.  He was just crudely plagiarizing Hillary’s plan during the primaries, that is, when he wasn’t trying to stab her in the back with Harry and Louise ads.  I don’t think he really came to the White House with well developed policies on anything, and it shows.  So much for his political gifts.  In essence, here was a guy obsessed with winning at all costs but had absolutely no idea what to do once he got there.  So, he hires Rahm.

But why health care?  Why is it so important to score a win in that area above everything else?  Why does this POS legislation have to have his stamp on it before the 2010 elections?  If it passes and there is no meaningful reconciliation before he elections, there will certainly be none after the Democrats lose their majorities.  And Republicans will fight tooth and nail from now until November to keep Democrats from fixing the bill.  They like it just the way it is.  It’s going to disgust the Democratic base.

So, why would Obama and the Democrats walk into a trap like this, other than the obvious reason that Republicans can control the message and play this game so much better than they do?  Could it be because Hillary is still out there?  After all, Obama’s numbers took a dip in the past couple of weeks.  Right on schedule, the Washington Post writes about how Hillary Clinton runs the State Department.  Actually, except for the gratuitous bit of revisionist history at the beginning and generally negative spin such pieces are famous for, it sounds like she’s doing a pretty good job of winning her employees’ loyalty and staying on top of things.  She is practicing what appears to be a political version of Lemov’s rules, making cold calls, keeping everyone on their toes and engaging in debate with people who may not agree with her (she then rewards them).  Um, she sounds like the ideal boss, to be honest.  I want to work for Hillary.  I’m betting that if Rahm could ever get over his macho, testosterone fueled disdain for Hillary Clinton, he might wish he were working for her too.  And she’s still out there.  If Obama doesn’t put his stamp on health care reform, there’s always that remote possibility that Democratic moneybags who still have some Democrat principles will want to give Hillary a shot in 2012.

But enough wistful regret at what might have been.  This is the reality: Obama is out of his league, he’s naive at a  in our nation’s history when naivete is a phenotype we should be selecting against and he’s got a fricking pitbull for a Chief of Staff.  There is enough stuff in here about Rahm’s workouts in the House gym and pressure tactics he employs there that make Massa’s report of an encounter with him very credible.

The Republicans are taking the Democrats to the cleaners because, damn it!, they just play 11 dimensional chess better.  We don’t have to love their policies to admire their ability to adapt to their environment and survive.  Nancy Pelosi is smart enough to know the White House is playing the strategy badly but, hey, she was also stupid enough to buy into the “easy win with the first black president” idea back in 2008.  Nooooo, can’t have Hillary.  The press would savage her, like she wasn’t winning in spite of all the $%^& they hurled at her during the primaries.  What Pelosi and her ilk failed to realize is that the Republican tactics that have been so successful blindsided the Clintons in 1992.  But they adapted and Hillary had a much better chance of neutralizing them in 2008 because she learned from experience.  Obama ran on his advertised political gifts and newness but has no experience whatsoever.  In any area.  So, Pelosi is a very slow learner but now she has a clue, as do many other Democrats who were infatuated with Obama and assumed he was a demigod of political gifts.

Too bad they stuck us with a newbie against a party full of Gary Kasparovs.

Martha Coakley is a Shoo-In for the Massachusetts Senate Nomination!!

nancy_pelosi

Angry about being upstaged by Coakley?

Breaking News from Politico: Pelosi Endorses Capuano!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be endorsing Rep. Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts Senate special election, choosing her House colleague over Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is seeking to become the first female senator in the state.

Pelosi will be heading to Boston tomorrow morning to make the formal endorsement….

In her statement, Pelosi noted Capuano’s support for the historic health care legislation that she shepherded through the House. Coakley said she opposed the legislation that passed through the House because it contained a provision restricting federal funds from going to abortion providers.

Coakley

Martha Coakley for President!! **

Coakley was way ahead of all the other candidates anyway, but now that sex-traitor* Nancy Pelosi has endorsed her challenger, Martha can’t possibly lose!

Go Martha Go!! You can contribute to Coakley’s campaign here.

 

 

This is an open thread.

* h/t Dakinikat for the “sex-traitor” terminology
** h/t Quixote for the “Martha Coakley for President” idea

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Excuse me?

From The Hill:

At her weekly news conference, Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked if she was concerned about whether the debate over healthcare and the role of the federal government — much of it wrapped in escalating anti-government rhetoric — could lead to acts of violence.

“I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance,” Pelosi began.

But she then reached back some 30 years, to the very beginning of her career in politics, to recall how heated rhetoric led to the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk by a disgruntled former supervisor on Nov. 27, 1978.

“I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw … I saw this myself in the late ’70s in San Francisco,” Pelosi said, choking up and with tears forming in her eyes. “This kind of rhetoric is just, is really frightening and it created a climate in which we, violence took place and … I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made.”

Following the press conference, Pelosi aides confirmed that she was referencing the Milk and Moscone assassinations, which coincided with a wave of politically driven violence throughout the city.

When Dan White murdered George Moscone and Harvey Milk it had NOTHING to do with political rhetoric. White was angry because Moscone rejected his request to be reappointed to the Board of Supervisors. The only other notable political violence in that period was the 1979 “White Night Riots” which were an expression of outrage by the San Francisco gay community over the lenient sentence White received for the murders.

BTW – Dan White was a Democrat.


UPDATE:

Was Nancy P. referring to protests surrounding the “Briggs Initiative?” From Capitol Briefing:

The House Republicans’ top campaign chief strongly denounced Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments that appeared to question whether today’s angry conservative protests were similar to anti-gay rallies in the late 1970s that preceded the assassination of two San Francisco political leaders.

Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pelosi crossed the line when she related the rhetoric of anti-gay protesters in San Francisco in 1978 — the year Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the city’s board of supervisors, and his political ally, Mayor George Moscone, were killed by former supervisor Dan White — to that of contemporary conservatives while answering a question about the protests against President Obama’s health-care proposals.

The 1978 Briggs Initiative (Proposition 6) would have banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools. Even Ronnie Raygun opposed it and it was overwhelmingly defeated. I don’t recall there being many Prop 6 supporters in the SF Bay Area – it originated in SoCal. Nor do I recall any violent rhetoric being associated with either side of the campaign.

In any event, it had nothing to do with the Moscone/Milk murders.


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