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Laughs take trophy in Left versus Right debate

Mayor Gavin Newsom plays straight man to talk radio humorists
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

March 29, 2006

Laughs punctuated serious reflection in a Left versus Right political debate among radio talk show humorists held at City Hall last night.

It was progressive radio QUAKE 960 AM commentators pitted against scalding KNEW 910 AM traditionalists, moderated by a wry San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Traditionalist Jerry Doyle abandoned the Republican Party, he said, because George Bush sucks. Doyle proffered that Democrats suck worse.

Even with the laughs, some topics were taken more seriously than others.

Former Mayor Willie Brown joined the Left leaning squad saying the Bush administration is a failed administration.

The Honorable Willie Lewis Brown, Jr.

"I think the Bush administration is in real trouble," Brown reflected.

"I think the personnel in that administration have been at it for a long time. They've made some incredible mistakes.

"First, no weapons of mass destruction - exit Colin Powell.

"Second, Dubai.

"And there's just so many others that this administration has failed.

"The people who orchestrated those failures are still in charge.

"Mr. Bush needs to say, 'For your health, Mr. Cheney, you need to go.'

"Mr. Bush needs to say, 'For your performance, Mr. Rumsfeld, you need to go.'

"To the director of FEMA, 'You obviously have no qualifications to do this particular job, and no one in your agency has any qualifications to do the job.

"This administration is laced with cronies, laced with incompetence, laced with people who have done terrible things to this nation," stated Brown.

Brown allegation of cronyism drew retort from a Right sider.

KNEW pundit Karen Hanretty

"I'm sorry, I'm still trying to get over Mayor Willie Brown railing against political cronyism," chortled Hanretty.

"Look, one of the problems I think is that President Bush is sometimes loyal to a fault... and has been loyal to his staff too long.

"I think that change is good and I think that one of the problems the White House is having right now is a problem in communications.

"It's difficult to know to communicate your message, and it's difficult to know how to relate to the American people... when you have the same people in there five years running who I think are increasingly out of touch.

"It's very easy to get out of touch with the American people when you're in an administration because you do exist in a bubble," added Hanretty.

Newsom played devil's advocate on same sex marriage to Left teamer Stephanie Miller.

Gay men should stop marrying Liza Minnelli, deadpanned Stephanie Miller

"Shouldn't they just relax?" Newsom asked QUAKE talk host Miller.

"Shouldn't the gay and lesbian community say, 'Enough's enough. We're just happy with civil unions and domestic partnerships?

"Don't they make matters worse by demanding equality in this country?"

Of course not, opined Miller.

"No, and I thank you Mayor Newsom for what you did because... gay men must be allowed to marry so that they will stop marrying Liza Minnelli!

"I think the family values problem on the Right, Mr. Mayor, this is exactly what they've been talking about and when gay people want the same thing that they've had - when they want to form families - they're against that too.

"I've never really gotten this issue. It's like homosexuality exists in all species yet homophobia only in humans for some reason.

"I don't think bulls stand around in the field going, 'Look at Phillipe. What a fem. Let's gore him.'

"I feel that this is going to be an issue again in 2006... it's going to be more of these smear the queers kind of bills... it's going to be about Mexicans and about queers," Miller forecast.

Is that a fair assessment, Newsom asked Jerry Doyle.

"I think the heterosexual community needs to stand up and make a strong statement to preserve the integrity of marriage between a man and a woman as personified by the 55 hour marriage of Brittany Spears," Doyle suggested fair.

"I think we should preserve the serial marriages of Liz Taylor and I think that Liza Minnelli should be held up as a model of fidelity.

"That said, I think that if you're not going to have kids - what's the point of marriage?

"That's just my personal choice," Doyle became more serious.

"I think that if the gay community was honest they would say, 'Instead of what we demand now let's take the time to see what the long-term ramifications are."

Newsom recalled the time when the Civil Rights movement was told to wait.

"Do you think that should have happened in the Civil Rights movement?" the mayor inquired.

"Should they have sort of waited - women waited?"

"I don't think women should have waited so long to vote. I don't think it should have taken us so long for the nation to figure out black people shouldn't be slaves," answered Doyle.

"Everything progresses over time but to demand something that hasn't been something in the gay and lesbian community... just because we want it doesn't mean that we should have it because there's a lot of things in this country that do take time over a national debate.

"Is the perfect relationship between a man and a woman -- as far as having kids - yeah I think that's the perfect relationship to raise children.

"But when it comes to this administration looking at the subject of gay adoption I think they are wrong."

The debate also touched on immigration and proposals to require English as first language in schools.

"I had an experience a few years," Jack Armstrong weighed in.

"My car broken down outside Bakersfield.

Jack Armstrong

"And I'm not kidding. I had to get some change to get on the pay phone.

"The guy at the convenience store to get change only spoke Spanish.

"I called the car tow company to get my car towed. The dealer only spoke Spanish.

"At the hotel to check in - this is in the United States - they only spoke Spanish.

"The only people I could find in that town only spoke Spanish," Armstrong fretted.

"Jack, they lied to you," Willie Brown smiled.

To hear complete debate, click here.

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