What is the role of the alternative press in these uncertain times?
As far as I know, San Diego City Beat still refers to itself as an “alt-weekly” newspaper. This implies a certain stand-offishness from the local power structure and the mainstream media, as far as I can tell, having edited an alternative paper here in San Diego for several years (The San Diego Door) back in the stoned ages. The way I see it, this should translate to a lack of trust in politicians of all flavors, be they Republicans or Democrats. And on certain counts, the City Beat fulfills this role, whether it’s critiquing Dem Juan Vargas (for his shameless pandering to the insurance industry, among others) or the GOP’s Carl DeMiao (for just about everything).
The race for the top spot in San Diego is still a year away from the primary election. It’s another five months after the primary until the general election. There have been no debates, and it’s even possible that not all the candidates have declared yet. So I have to ask the question: Why did City Beat announce this week that they were sweet on Republican Nathan Fletcher in the Mayoral contest?
To be totally accurate, what City said, via their editorial “How you doin’ Nathan?”, was:
“Given the current lineup of suitors, we’d like to announce that we’ve decided to start dating Nathan Fletcher.”
They go on to tell us that their support is contingent on several factors, including the ever-so-slim possibility that Donna Frye might decide that she wants the job. But still, what the hell were they thinking over there?
“Dating” Fletcher? Really? What happens if Nathan goes all Wienergate on one of your outings? Will you let us know if he gets past third base with you in the City Beat mobile news wagon parked high atop Mount Soledad?
And just what is this fascination over at City Beat with all-things Republican? Last year they actually endorsed a handful of GOP candidates. I get it that the paper might be sensitive about being portrayed as a shill for the Democratic Party. After all, with all the pro-democrat media around San Diego…Oh, wait! There isn’t any!…can’t be that then.
Maybe it’s just that they find Nathan Fletcher to be a nice guy, which I’m sure he is. After all, not all Republicans are venom spewing borderline racists who hate the poor. We’ve even had our dalliances here at the OB Rag with City Councilman Kevin Falconer, a known Republican. And I’m certainly not going to fault Mayor Jerry Sanders for his brave stance against the party orthodoxy when it came to Proposition 8.
But being a nice guy doesn’t divorce Fletcher from the despicable core leadership of the GOP. He can be all “touchy-feelie” and sweet as pie until the ideologues that run his party call in their chits. When the party leadership decides it’s “no new taxes” or “start hatin’ on the Mexicans” time, Fletcher will have to make the hard choice between political suicide and upholding the party line.
This is the same Republican party that’s fighting for abolishing child labor laws; the same national leadership that told tornado victims their emergency aid should be contingent on the Obama administration cutting other programs; the same party that’s supporting a State legislator who says women should plan ahead for rape, because, after all “I have a spare tire on my car.” If they say that’s not the San Diego GOP; I’ve got a two word response—Tony Krvaric.
Perhaps it is that the City Beat has bravely decided to rise above the partisan fray. These are contentious times, where the 24 hour news cycle is dominated by frothing trolls, corporate image campaigns and the power of the government’s propaganda machine. There’s only one problem with that approach: it ignores the historical context that frames the GOP’s broader agenda. And I have another two word retort that should give this context a San Diego twist—Pete Wilson. (Remember, he was the nice moderate who turned hard core on the immigration issue when the opportunity for higher office presented itself.)
This is not to say that the Democratic Party is the party of hope. I would argue that any progressive things (that is, things that actually benefit somebody other than rich people) that have happened over the past century have only occurred in the face of public pressure. We happen to have a two party system that typically dishes up choices between bad and worse. And the dems in general have shamelessly prostituted themselves in the face of falsehoods like “tax-cuts create jobs” and “deregulation of the banks would be good for the country”.
The fastest growing political group in California is, after all, “decline to state”, which is the voter bloc City Beat ought to be catering to. But if they insist on pumping up a Republican, they should go with Carl DeMaio–at least he’s upfront about what his platform is.