Pelosi and the San Francisco Earthquake of 2010

By Patrick Ottenhoff

When was the last time that Georgia and San Francisco struck the same chord? It was probably 1971, when the Allman Brothers Band played at the Fillmore West. Since then, the two places haven't had much in common culturally, economically, and most of all, politically. 


Map of the Day
So it was no surprise that Rep. Jim Marshall, a Georgia Democrat, told constituents on Tuesday that "Georgia is a long way from San Francisco" and reassured them that he would not be casting a vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker if they returned him to Washington. 

House Democrats are abandoning Pelosi at every turn this campaign season, telling voters that she does not represent them. Their Republican counterparts, of course, argue that you can judge a man by the company he keeps. Both arguments ultimately beg the question, who does Nancy Pelosi really represent? 

I took a look at the demographics of her district in San Francisco and compared it with Pennsylvania's 10th, where the NRCC is running ads accusing Rep. Chris Carney of standing with Pelosi 91 percent of the time, according to Politico. Here's the demographic breakdown: 

Pennsylvania's 10th:

The northeast corner of Pennsylvania is a land of crevassed valleys and rugged mountains, criss-crossed by giant viaducts built for the railroads linking the East Coast with the Great Lakes and the mines to the big cities that heated their houses with the region's anthracite coal.
  • 12.6% veterans
  • 93.9% white
  • 19.7% college graduates
  • $124,600 median home value
  • 44.6% urban
  • 45% Obama vote
California's 8th:
 
On a sunny day, San Francisco looks almost tropical, with brown mountains baking in the sun and light shining off the pastel stucco buildings. ... The city has elected strong liberal politicians, notably Mayor George Moscone and the first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk.
  • 5.1% veterans
  • 44.3% white
  • 48.5% college graduates
  • $763,100 median home value
  • 100% urban
  • 85% Obama vote
Pelosi doesn't seem to be in sync with her caucus, let alone the House, and her leadership may lead to what Democrats could call the San Francisco earthquake of 2010. Win or lose, Hoyer would be a wise choice to replace her. 

The map below, from the San Francisco Department of Elections, shows the city's votes in the 2008 Democratic primary. Pelosi represents everywhere except the southwestern quadrant. We can't tell a lot from this map except that Pelosi's constituency is very urban and very pro-Obama.

  San Francisco Democratic Primary

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/pelosi-and-the-san-francisco-earthquake-of-2010/64601/