Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Carole Migden is no antiwar leader

Last week I was walking down Union Street when I noticed the billboard above. I have to admit I laughed out loud. Carole Migden has been a fixture of San Francisco politics for twenty-five years -- and she never did anything so lacking in class as associate with the rabble in the antiwar movement. She's long been known as a pol who "doesn't do rallies." Now she's being challenged for her State Senate seat by Assemblyman Mark Leno and all of a sudden she claims to be out in front of the antiwar effort? What a crock!

It did seem appropriate that I saw this improbable billboard on upscale, white Union Street -- not anyone's idea of a hotbed of San Francisco antiwar activity, though I'm sure Union Street folks join most everyone else in opposing the war. Maybe folks over there are the only ones likely to believe such an unlikely claim?

I'm not hostile to Carole -- she had the chutzpah to run for office when being a lesbian and a politician was a tough row to hoe. She took shit -- and gave it back very satisfactorily. She's smarter than most of the ambitious nincompoops who occupy pubic office and mostly votes okay on progressive issues. But a movement leader, she's not. She'll "lead" just as far as aroused constituents make her and then go back to more comfortable turf with the "successful" (rich) people she'd rather hang with.

I'm not the only one who sees Migden as rude in her dealings with people she doesn't think are important. Dennis Kelly of the teacher's union told the L.A. Times:

"San Francisco politicians are almost all good politically," he said. "But there's a matter of how you go about your business and treat people, and that's where Carole Migden has really fallen down."

And I'm not the only one who was taken aback by the absurd idea of Migden "leading" anyone against the war. Today Paul Hogarth in Beyond Chron enumerated the many California lawmakers who stood up against the war long before a January 2007 resolution Migden sponsored -- one also sponsored by her challenger Mark Leno.

I'm still persuadable in the State Senate race, but this piece of phony advertising didn't do Migden any good with me.


Rafael Mandelman said...

I think this is a little unfair. Migden's been showing up at rallies and protests since the early eighties, maybe earlier. As for the antiwar stuff, she's authored a senate resolution opposing the "surge", she's shown up, marched and spoken at antiwar protests, and she's going to be leading the campaign for the antiwar ballot measure in February, if it actually makes it onto the ballot. For the past few months, folks like Hogarth have been doing a pretty good job of throwing abuse her way. I think it's about time she try to redefine herself, and the billboards and her website (www.carolemigdenleading.com), are two ways she's trying to do that.

sfmike said...

I think the interesting detail in Paul Hogarth's article was Migden's relationship with one of the most evil companies in the world, Clear Channel Communications, which has the monopoly on billboards around here. I guess that atrocity you saw in the Marina is up all over town, free of charge or at least discounted. She's a very creepy woman, and the fact that I share many of her political beliefs just makes me want to question my own political beliefs.

janinsanfran said...

rafael -- I've been in demos in San Francisco since 1965 myself -- and while Migden has definitely been a progressive force in California politics, the activist movements have not been where she has done her work. She has other virtues.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally ignorant of the situation, but....if you're right in your analysis, the question seems to be:

Should one hope Migden believes the hype, in which case she's out of touch with reality, or is willing to countenance such hype while knowing it's untrue?

Oh, wait. I guess the second of those options is a working definition of "politician," isn't it?

MikeOpera said...

I am the person with first-hand knowledge of the billboards for Carole Migden and Paul Hogarth and others have no idea what they're talking about. Sfmike should be grateful that there is a progressive in corporate America who puts money and resources behind progressive candidates and progressive messages like opposing this immoral war. We also have billboards up for Peace Roots in the Bay Area. Migden has one of the most distinguished records of accomplishment of any legislator in California and they should be singing her praises.

Whatever happened to the pledge by Leno and his supporters to run a positive campaign? They should be spending their time and energy on more important matters, like keeping the Jerry McNerney seat in Democratic hands.

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