Quoted in Bernard Goldberg's "Crazies To the Left of Me, Wimps To the Right"
I've had an occasional e-mail correspondence with former CBS newsman turned media critic and conservative author Bernard Goldberg ever since he wrote to me about a 2005 SFGate column of mine titled "San Francisco Declares Itself a Military-Free Zone." In it, I laid out numerous examples of anti-military behavior on the part of the city's leadership and, at times, citizenry, including the notorious refusal of the Board of Supervisors to allow the WWII-era USS Iowa to dock at the Port of San Francisco as a floating museum for no real reason, other than it was deemed a "celebration of war."
Lo and behold, when Bernard Goldberg's new book, Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve, came out last month, I found that my column had been quoted in a chapter on San Francisco humorously titled "Was I in a Coma When San Francisco Seceded?" The quote (on page 53) was in reference to the Iowa decision, which I chalked up to "anti-military and anti-American sympathies across the board."
Since that time, the situation in San Francisco has only gotten worse, particularly with the banning of the JROTC from the city's public schools and the use of a blatantly propagandistic and conspiratorial anti-war textbook, if it could be called that, in history classrooms.
Apparently, this is a city that believes, in the immortal words of Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, that "the United States should not have a military." It's anybody's guess who would protect residents in a time of need other than the military (especially if the city leadership ever succeeds in disarming the citizenry), but if San Francisco's virtual secession continues, it may be a moot point.
Getting back to the original subject of this post, I have to say, at the risk of sounding obsequious, that being quoted by Bernard Goldberg is truly an honor. His earlier book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, was one of a batch I read soon after my post-9/11 political transformation and it greatly helped shape my understanding of bias in the mainstream media. That it was written by a fellow former liberal only made it more meaningful.
In fact, Goldberg's new book, which I've only just begun reading, begins with a wonderfully written chapter on his break with liberalism that I identified with very strongly. I also identified, I'm sorry to say, with his critique of the general wimpiness, not of conservatives, but of the Republican Party, which, in my view, seems much less adept at maneuvering the propaganda battlefield, both domestically and abroad, than its opponents.
It was for this reason, among others, that I reregistered as a decline-to-stater, and generally started to identify myself more in ideological than partisan terms, since writing the initial column on my journey from left to right, "The Making of a 9/11 Republican." I expounded on this shift in a later column on the subject titled "Of 9/11 and Political Transformation."
But I still hold out hope in the Republican Party, not least because the Democratic Party continues, for the most part, to largely disappoint, if not disgust, me with its platform of cowardice and surrender (along with moral relativism and creeping socialism) in this most crucial of times.
I did find the first Republican debate of the upcoming 2008 presidential campaign last night to be hopeful and it certainly offered up a more impressive group of candidates, in both experience and intellect, than the Democratic debate a week before.
Perhaps if Republicans start listening to those of us who've been on both sides of the fence, not to mention their base, they can be rescued from oblivion come 2008.
Only time will tell.