And by right, I mean correct, not corrupt Republican.
Gavin Newsome took some bold steps early in his Mayoral career in San Francisco, and he’s taken heat for it. People have criticized him for what he’s done, when he’s doing the right thing. He hits back pretty hard with,
“That’s what’s wrong with politics today. Maybe it’s I’m old-fashioned. Everyone that I used to admire in politics always said, ‘Get into it to do what you think is right, to say privately what you say publicly, and to be consistent with your values.’ And so, you get into office and you do it, and those same people say, ‘Well, wait a second. Too much, too soon. You should have waited. You’ve got to consider the political ramifications.'”
I’d rather a political figure does what he knows what is RIGHT, rather than what public opinion calls for. Good for you, Gavin Newsome. Keep doing what’s in your heart!
Article archived here
Bold decisions leave no doubt who’s in charge at City Hall
SAME-SEX UNIONS: Effect on Newsom’s future uncertain
– Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Sunday, January 2, 2005
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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom may remember 2004 as the ultimate political thrill ride — one that may not be over.
A little more than a month after he took office, the new mayor found himself heralded as a new star of the Democratic Party and a patron saint of progressive politics for allowing 4,000 same-sex couples to wed in San Francisco City Hall despite a state ban on the marriages. But, as the year ended, after voters in 11 states approved similar bans, Newsom’s bold move was seen as disastrous to his young political career, a mortal wound to Democrat John Kerry’s presidential campaign and a boost to the re-election of Republican President Bush.
In the end, his first mayoral year was reviled by the right, debated by the left, and talked about endlessly by the pundits. Time Magazine named the 37-year-old one of the 2004 “people who matter,” an honor that put him in rarified company with Kerry, Nancy and Ron Reagan, and Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan.
Two leading gay publications, Planet Out and the Advocate, awarded Newsom their “Person of the Year” honor.
Same-sex marriage may not have been the only issue on Newsom’s busy agenda this year — his staff is quick to point to homelessness, affordable housing and a budget deficit, among others — but it certainly was the issue that drove the debate about his future political prospects locally and at a national level.
“Gavin is at a crossroads, with gigantic political potential,” said Wade Randlett, a local Democratic insider, Silicon Valley fund-raiser and Newsom booster. “He can go down two paths: be viewed as the “San Francisco liberal who did gay marriage,” or attempt to be seen with younger Democrats such as newly elected Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee as “one of a new generation of political leadership in the Democratic Party.”
Al From, who heads the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, which highlighted Newsom among two dozen rising stars last month at its conference in Aspen, believes that Newsom “may have gotten a little bit ahead of himself with gay marriage — but the country as a whole will catch up.”
From said the bigger issue is that Newsom is “not afraid of change. That can only bode well for someone who has a good future in politics.”
Not all Democrats are so unfailingly positive about Newsom’s political future. Veteran Democratic consultant Garry South said Newsom is “a very attractive, very intelligent new political figure on the California scene,” and one who has shown gutsy moves in areas like tackling the homeless problem and improving the city’s business environment.
Still, South warned that same-sex marriage illustrated “the danger he faces is believing that San Francisco politics is just a smaller version of California statewide politics.”
In clearing the way for marriages previously rejected by California’s voters, South said Newsom embarked on “an unfortunate and somewhat self-indulgent move … that had some effect on the presidential campaign.”
“I can’t say that John Kerry would have won (without the issue),” South said, “but it was certainly not helpful to have our Democratic ticket having to campaign in states like Ohio which had a gay marriage thing on the ballot.”
Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona agreed that Newsom’s moves on same-sex marriage “absolutely” aided the Republican effort to re-elect Bush in 2004.
“It certainly helped with those ballot initiatives,” McCain said, in crucial swing states such as Ohio, where voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and narrowly elected Bush.
Even during a time when the war on terror is the defining issue, “there is an unease out there in the Republican states when they do see the mass marriage ceremonies performed in City Hall in San Francisco,” McCain recently told The Chronicle’s Debra Saunders.
On the issue of gay rights, “I think America’s progressing,” McCain said. “I don’t think that the overwhelming majority of Americans are (intolerant) of gays. And that’s a change from when I was young. But I still think that they believe in the preservation of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.”
Throughout the debate, Newsom has exhibited a steely resolve. At a recent San Francisco Chamber of Commerce gathering, and on national television, he said he is undeterred by heavyweight critics — including California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts — who said he hurt his career and his party with his decision on same-sex marriage.
“That’s what’s wrong with politics today,” Newsom said on CNN recently. “Maybe it’s I’m old-fashioned. Everyone that I used to admire in politics always said, ‘Get into it to do what you think is right, to say privately what you say publicly, and to be consistent with your values.’
“And so, you get into office and you do it, and those same people say, ‘Well, wait a second. Too much, too soon. You should have waited. You’ve got to consider the political ramifications,’ ” he said.
Newsom argues that politics — and careers — are fleeting, but core beliefs are not.
“We’re here for a moment in time. Guys like me come and go. We’re either turned out or we’re kicked out,” he said. “And there’s a thousand better people right behind us. And the point of that is do what you think is right, something that will transcend your tenure, and stand on some principles.”
Randlett, the Silicon Valley fund-raiser, said the mayor has shown political savvy in winning loyalty from progressives on the issue of same-sex marriage, and moderates on economic issues.
Now, Randlett said, Newsom has time to make the case for a bigger role in the party and in national politics — if that is what he wants.
“He stands up for what he thinks … and so far, he’s been unafraid to fail,” Randlett said. “If people look at him and say, ‘I wish that were my mayor,’ what you’ll see is that he can propel himself into national politics.”
E-mail Carla Marinucci at firstname.lastname@example.org.