The CrackBerry Chronicles

Written by Elaine Santore. Posted in Culture, Opinion, Politics

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Published on March 03, 2008 with 6 Comments


Elaine Santore
Photo by Luke Thomas

By Elaine Santore

March 3, 2008

Nader and Gonzalez take political bromance on the road

Matt Gonzalez used to be just a politician, but now his name has become the equivalent of word vomit in progressive circles. Once somebody mentions his name at a party, people can’t stop talking about him. Hey, I’m the last person in town to tell anybody to take the high road. I, too, have been guilty of the word vomit:

“Like a bad perm, Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez just won’t go away.”

“Ralph Nader took a strong stance on renewable energy by recycling Matt Gonzalez.”

On the flip side, there’s also what Green Party spokesperson Erika McDonald calls “The Matt Mystique.” Marc Salomon calls it a “cult of personality.” Luke Thomas and I call it “drinking the Kool-Aid.”

Matt’s kind of a big deal in San Francisco. People know him. (Yes, I just recycled a catchphrase from 2004 – it seemed apropos.)

Both sides agree Gonzalez is a brilliant political mind of unusual intelligence and charisma, albeit with some fatal personality flaws. The same can be said of Ralph Nader.

But in a presidential campaign season that’s relied heavily on identity politics, personality, and character studies, Nader’s Debbie Downer approach to campaigning could prevent him from getting his message across. It’s a sharp contrast to Sen. Barack Obama’s gospel of hope and change.

Nader and Gonzalez are running to promote electoral reform and push the Democratic candidates, particularly Obama, to the left.

Their effort may be futile, but they’re offering voters a solid progressive platform and an alternative to the two-party system.

However, Obama is unlikely to move to the left before he secures the Democratic nomination. And the GOP is likely to viciously attack Obama if he moves any farther to the left during the general election.

Gonzalez’ supporters seem to have found a new home in Obama’s campaign. One supporter started a group on Facebook called “Former Gonzalez Campaigners for Obama.” Fog City Journal contributors Supervisor Chris Daly and Tanene Allison are members.

“In many respects, the Obama campaign in San Francisco this year had much the same feel as the Gonzalez campaign in 2003. In fact, it was hard not to reminisce with Gonzalez-backers who hit the streets of San Francisco for Obama this year,” Daly wrote in his latest column.

(Side note: am I the only one who’s grateful for Daly’s re-introduction of “Peter Fucking Ragone” to the SF blogosphere? As Babs once sang: “Memories, light the corners of my mind…”)

The Nader-Gonzalez union showed some trouble in paradise during an interview on KQED’s Forum on Feb. 29. One caller blamed Nader for the Iraq war, causing the 74-year-old consumer advocate to scream, “This man is a political bigot!” Thankfully, Gonzalez interjected and smoothed the situation over.

The comment was out-of-line, but Nader should be used to those accusations by now. And going apeshit on the average Joe isn’t a very good look.

Breaking News: Celebrities love Obama

Somewhere in the midst of the Nader-Gonzalez show, Will.i.am produced another star-studded video for presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

This video features several Spanish-speaking celebrities to target the Texas primaries.

Once again, Bob Brigham didn’t recognize any of the celebrities in the video (except for one actor from “Friday Night Lights”). But he sensed that they were in fact famous. These are the celebrities I recognized:

  1. Zoe Kravitz, actress, daughter of Lenny Kravitz.
  2. Jessica Alba, pregnant actress.
  3. Ryan Phillipe
  4. Susanna Hoffs
  5. Regina King from the movie “Ray.”
  6. Kerry Washington from the movie “Ray.”
  7. Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas.
  8. Malcom-Jamal Warner from “The Cosby Show.”
  9. Freddy Rodriguez, actor, “Ugly Betty” and “Six Feet Under.”
  10. John Leguizamo
  11. Macy Gray
  12. Tyrese
  13. Eric Mabius, actor, “Ugly Betty.”
  14. George Lopez
  15. Luis Guzman, actor, “Boogie Nights.” Talking head on VH1.

I’d be impressed with this video if Kanye West was in it. Why hasn’t Kanye endorsed Obama? They live in the same city.

Elaine Santore

Elaine Santore

Elaine Santore was born in San Francisco during the awesome '80s. She spent a considerable amount of her childhood around City employees, all of whom taught her the value of pretending to be productive. After graduating from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, she transferred schools three times but eventually received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in Psychology, with a double minor in Political Science and Textiles, Clothing and Design. This unique area of expertise makes her qualified to critique the sartorial missteps and psychological problems of local politicians. Elaine's work has also appeared in 7x7, California Home + Design, Filipinas, the Daily Nebraskan, SF Bay Guardian, and Spin.com.

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6 Comments

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  1. One more thing: When people like Nader lump the Democrats with the Republicans as corporate proxies, they don’t go far enough. It’s one thing for the Republicans to serve the corporations. It’s quite another for the Democrats. It’s the difference between some stranger robbing you, and your mother robbing you. The first hurts; the second is like “What the f%^& just happened here?!”

    This is because Democrats spent the 20th century being the populist party that liberated the working class, women, jews, black folk, and (almost) gays. Every step of the way on these liberations, the Republicans fought the Democrats. But the Democrats succeed every time (except maybe with gays).

    The next populist struggle in this nation is the struggle against corporate domination of the American way of life (creating the fattest, sickest nation in history). That we need to fight a Republican party on these issues is expected. That’s their whole purpose in the life. They’re there to react when the progressives go “too far”.

    But where are the Democrats on this question? Edwards talked the talk, but his $400 haircut couldn’t walk it. Kucinich wasn’t a blip. Clinton is just frigging scary. Where does Obama stand? My gut tells me he’s on the right side of history. But damn, he’s really playing both sides.

    My hope is that Gonzalez/Nader smoke him out. We need to find out if we’ll be getting the good Obama or the bad Obama.

  2. I found this page doing a Google news search for “matt gonzalez”. I’m amazed with the venom being spewed at this fellow — by his former progressive colleagues no less. At worst, Gonzalez and Nader are keeping alive the national political dialogue on the corporate ownership of government. After John Edwards’ $400 haircut left the scene, there was radio silence on these issues. So I see Gonzalez as a keeper of the “pilot light” on these issues. Why might this be useful?

    If and when the Democratic machine hands the nomination to Clinton, we’ll face the non-trivial possibility of finally killing off that moribund party that is spent of purpose (a la the Whigs in the 1800s). Obama could split off, and start a new party on the grave of the Democrats. What would that party look like? Perhaps a union of Green (e.g. Nader, Gonzalez, and actual Greens) and Libertarian (e.g. Ron Paul). Essentially a party of the “long tail” (as opposed to the “head” Republicans and dead Democrats).

  3. I find it amazing a one term Supervisor in a mid-size city somehow thinks he’s as important or as accomplished as Al Gore or Barack Obama.

    Last year Matt had a chance to fight for change here in SF and diddled it away, and screwed over others in the process (and now Progressives are gonna get beaten with an ugly stick by the mayor and downtown!):

    http://www.fogcityjournal.com/news_in_brief/blackwell_070808.shtml

    But then I keep forgetting that amongst the handful of ultra leftists here in town, you’re not supposed to question the wisdom of Magical Matt. You’re supposed to turn off any sense of reason or history and drink the Kool Aid. Funny, since he left office I didn’t see Matt do much for his “ideals” unless making money as a downtown lawyer somehow saves the earth.

  4. I confess, I too am as ignorant as that Bob fellow. I recognize the name John Leguizamo, but I think that’s only because the last name is so unusual that it sticks in your brain like burned rice sticks to the inside of a pan.

  5. So glad you got to work “bromance” into a column.

  6. Yesterday I read Barack Obama’s reassurance on “ensuring Iran does not achieve its nuclear ambition to the organizers of ‘The National Rally to End the Threat Now,”
    http://www.barackobama.com/2007/09/24/obama_statement_to_rally_oppos.php .

    The National Rally to End the Threat Now! was called ed by the National Conference of Presidents of American Jewish
    Organizations, http://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/ , so it is hardly any wonder that Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada, says that Barack Obama will no longer stand on a stage with him, for Palestinian rights, as he once did.

    I almost tried to slap a URL from the New York Times on Barack Obama and Iran’s “nuclear ambitions,” but I really think it’s better to go straight to a candidates legislative record, their campaign platform, and the statements issued by their campaign, like Obama’s reassurance to

    I would like to know whether Elaine Santore has ever read Barack Obama’s campaign platform at BarackObama.com, http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/semr?source=SEM-register-google-obama-search-national, since she never seems to talk about it, or about the global credit crisis triggered by predatory lending, clean energy, imperialism, the resource wars, the rights of peoples, nuclear disarmament, or the Global War on Terror now distorting every moment of most waking lives and dreams.

    I had hoped for a Cynthia McKinney-Ralph Nader Green Party ticket, or maybe a McKinney-Gonzalez ticket, but I’ll be glad to any Greens who ultimately enter the presidential race, simply to keep our political discourse from descending any further into the Ninth Circle of Hell.

    Great pictures of Elaine Santore here; Elaine’s cute as hell. I think Elaine should be a Vogue model, but I’d like to hear what she thinks of Barack Obama’s campaign platform, and his statements on how the U.S.A,, with its 104 nuclear power plants, and its unparalleled nuclear arsenal is going to stop the emergence of a nuclear weapons empowered Iran. –Ann Garrison