Greenfield Misses the Point

At Reason's Hit and Run, Jesse Walker nails CNN analysit Jeff Greenfield for this silly statement:

"For weeks Republicans have been saying, 'Do you really want Charlie Rangel of New York running the Ways and Means Committee, which does taxes? Do you really want John Conyers at the Judiciary Committee? Do you want Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco?'--a code word that has a pretty clear meaning of 'extreme liberal.'"

Uh, no, Jeff. That's not what "San Francisco" is a code word for. It's a code word for "gay".

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I think in the mind of the far right, "extreme liberal" and "gay" are in the same basket.

By Dave Haasl (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Depends on the context, dunnit? Don't think Greenfield's off the mark here. I don't think gays own 100% of the connotations of "San Francisco."

Certainly to me "San Francisco representative" = "probably quite liberal."


That's not what "San Francisco" is a code word for. It's a code word for "gay".

Yup. Just like "New York Banker" is (or at least was) a code word for "Jew."

It's amusing the variety of code words that Republicans and racists (maybe I'm being redundant) use.

Here's a question for you.

I agree with Brayton's assertion that "San Francisco" is code for "gay," but it also used to mean "liberal" quite often. They do go together for, I would say, most Republicans.

My question is - since I live in Texas and was only out of the state for one election - do people and politicians in other parts of the country ever talk about "Texas Republicans" or "Tuscaloosa conservatives" like the Republicans talk about San Francisco or California or "Massachusetts liberals?" I never hear about it. And it always bothers me that the Republicans have no real trouble cutting out whole states and using them as dirty labels like that.


By Captain Sunshine (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Captain Sunshine,

As a life-long resident of Nevada and a registered Democrat, I do take some perverse pleasure in thinking of "PRC" as the "People's Republic of California." I can't say I have any similar thoughts about Texas except when I see a Texas license plate on some pickup truck being driven especially badly. It's the same thing with minivans carrying Utah plates.

By Shawn Smith (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

San Francisco is not just just known for being more gay friendly than most other cities. It is also a hotbed of left wing (socialist) politics. So from a conservative perspective it isn't just about the gay thing.

As a Berkeley resident who listens to a certain amount of Fox news for yuks and monitoring purposes, I have to say that my impression is that "San Francisco liberal" is in fact code for "way the frak out there, far, far, far, left, so far left we don't even have to take these people seriously." I think support of gay rights is just a part of that bigger definition. Believe it or not, these guys can be dismissive of you even if you aren't gay.

By Bill Fisher (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

San Francisco (and the People's Republic of Berkeley) are quite liberal. If I recall correctly, in the last presidential election, almost 80% voted for Kerry.California has a split personality in that the Central Valley, 80% voted for Bush.

By David C. Brayton (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Well it's certainly true that San Francisco is extremely liberal. More than that, they tend to be out there on the loopy fringe that loves to make grandiose but completely irrelevant statements. I've written before that the San Francisco local government may be the single most worthless governmental body in existence. Having said that, it's still one of my favorite cities and I'll be flying there in about 36 hours.

a code word that has a pretty clear meaning of 'extreme liberal.'"

Uh, no... It's a code word for "gay".

To conservative commentators, does the difference even matter?

I thought "San Francisco" was code for "a city in California."

I thought "San Francisco" was code for "a city in California."

And we all know what "California" is code for.

And we all know what "California" is code for.

The state that contains "San Francisco"?

We all knew that eventually, the Republicans would have so many "code words" that they'd even start to forget the "meaning" of them.

By dogmeatIB (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Captain Sunshine -

No. If it wern't for Molly Ivans it might be a closer thing, but few people I know equate Texan with conservative, in nearly the same way people oft equate SF with liberal queers.