As we have seen before, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the universe when it comes to political smarts. In fact, many blame Newsom's poorly timed push for gay marriages in 2004 for John Kerry's presidential election loss that year. Despite the animosity towards Newsom for his role in causing the Democrats to lose their chance at the White House, San Francisco Chronicle political writers Joe Garofoli and Carla Marinucci gushed over Newsom as a new "hotshot" at the Democrat convention a few weeks ago:
Both Newsom and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris appeared Tuesday at a Time magazine panel on "Hotshots to Watch" panel along with Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala. Obama appeared on the same panel before the 2004 convention.
Their audience was a few dozen A-list media influencers: Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, PBS anchor Gwen Ifill, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Joe Scarborough, Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel and columnist Joe Klein, and Jonathan Capehart, an editorial writer specializing in politics for the Washington Post. Several major Democratic donors were there.
"This is probably one of the most important auditions they'll go through in their lives," said Capehart, who has dined with Newsom in New York in the past. "We are always watching for up-and-coming players. So when we hear their names again, we'll say, 'Oh, I saw them on that panel and they were great.' "
Well, perhaps Garofoli and Marinucci should check with their Chronicle colleague, John Diaz, who doesn't think Newsom is such a hotshot. In fact, he seems to be quite angry at Newsom for his antics which could cause Proposition 8, the California initiative to eliminate same-sex marriages, to pass. Both Diaz and Newsom oppose Proposition 8 but Diaz is placing the the blame on its passage squarely on the back of Newsom if it passes as you can see in his column titled, "A lesson in political naivete" (emphasis mine):
Like it or not, Mayor Gavin Newsom is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving for the campaign to deprive same-sex couples of their right to marry.
Newsom's hyperkinetic rally cry after the May 15 Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality - "The door's wide open now ... it's going to happen ... whether you like it or not," he shouted gleefully - made him the inevitable star of the Yes on 8 TV spots.
I say "inevitable" because I remember my first reaction when I saw his gloating, taunting speech on live television that day. A man who wants to be governor should realize that what draws raucous cheers at San Francisco City Hall does not necessarily play in Redlands or Redding. "This is going to come back to haunt him, and the cause," I told a colleague.
And it did.
As someone who regards marriage-equality laws as a basic civil right, I had the same sinking feeling when I heard at Friday's news meeting that a first-grade class would be making a field trip to City Hall to celebrate the wedding of their lesbian teacher. This was handing powerful ammunition to the Yes on 8 campaign, which had been trying to scare Californians with warnings that its defeat would lead to the indoctrination of kindergartners.
The only thing that could be worse, I thought, was if Newsom - the anti-equality movement's favorite villain - officiated the wedding.
And he did, a double gift for the campaign against marriage equality.
"I know, I know, I know, I know," Kate Kendell executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who first learned of the field trip in Saturday's Chronicle. "It was, obviously, a public-relations disaster for us."
And perhaps for the Democrats nationally. Although little attention has been paid previously outside of California to Proposition 8, that first grader lesbian wedding field trip to City Hall made the national news.
As for Newsom, whose supporting role in this mess appears to be inadvertent: Perhaps he should go on vacation until election day.
And if Barack Obama loses on election day due to the nationwide publicity given to Proposition 8 by Newsom, that would be the second White House loss for the Democrats that could be credited to the San Francisco mayor. Try as the mainstream media might to avoid publicizing Proposition 8, mayor Newsom seems intent via his naivete on making that an almost impossible task.