Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Irresponsible local Republican

If you don't live in or near San Francisco, you've probably never heard of Mike DeNunzio. Even if you live here, you probably won't recognize the name unless you read through the ballot arguments on local propositions. He signed ballot arguments on 7 of the 9 items on this month's local slate. Of course, that's because of his position as Chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party.

Being a Republican in San Francisco must be a bit like belly dancing in the Antarctic: you look silly and you get a frosty reception from most of the natives. However, Mike DeNunzio occasionally goes above and beyond the call of duty, including in a letter to the editor in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle:

Editor — Columnist Joan Ryan has now joined Cindy Sheehan in shamelessly using a loved one as a prop to criticize President Bush. ("A lifelong Republican's long winter," 2005-11-24)

Ryan dutifully reminds readers of her father's patriotic but misguided past. He is a lifelong Republican who served in Korea, she writes, loved Spiro Agnew and was not an early supporter of civil rights or women's rights.

She then uses a phone call with her father, apparently a good Catholic who is "on his way to Mass," to recite the litany of the left. Her father regrets his vote for Bush. "Such a disappointment. The worst administration I've ever seen."

Her grand finale was no surprise: "I don't think people, myself included, were clear on how good (Bill) Clinton was with the money," her father said. "Why wouldn't the Republicans keep going with that? Instead we got tax cuts and the war in Iraq. Who's going to pay for all that? It's just irresponsible. I never thought (Bush) was the brightest guy in the world, but to go from a $300 billion surplus to a $500 billion deficit, or whatever it is, that's just stupid."

— Mike DeNunzio, Chairman, SF. Republican Party, 2005-11-28
How, exactly, is echoing his thoughts "using a loved one as a prop"?

I'll tell you what, though, Mike. Since the practice gives you such aggita, I'll mention a few things about some of my loved ones. Both of my parents, from the first election in which they were eligible to vote, never once voted for a Democrat for President — until 2004. (My father notes with relief that, due to the combination of frequent business travel and inflexible rules on absentee voting, he missed all three of his opportunities to vote for Richard Nixon as President.)

President Bush's mismanagement of nearly every issue of both domestic and foreign policy led my parents reluctantly to the conclusion that they could no longer support the party to which they had devoted their entire political lives. The only tenable option for them was to vote for Kerry and hold on and hope that the Republicans come to their senses some time soon. It's clear that Mike DeNunzio will not be leading that charge. As a Bush loyalist even in the face of such a disastrous Presidency, DeNunzio will be left on the ash heap of history, as "radioactive" as Vice President Cheney, but not nearly as well known.