SF's newest political pole gets a new name: Moderate progressives

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Image from Sick Puppies album (Virgin Records)

A Daily Kos blogger known as Kurykh has posted an interesting and insightful “crash course in San Francisco politics,” in which he correctly identifies the tri-polar dynamic of local politics. Everyone knows the progressives (Ammiano, Avalos, the Guardian) and the so-called moderates (Wiener, Ma, the Chronicle), and so Kurykh dubs the rising third pole (Chiu, Kim, Mayor Lee) “moderate progressives.”

He calls them “the new kids on the block,” noting that they sided with progressives in 2008 but ushered in a new political reality by siding with the moderates in 2010, now serving essentially as the swing votes on major issues and projects.

“Like other progressives, they are pro-tenant and advocate for more social services to the poor. However, they have pro-business and pro-development tendencies and tend to focus on streamlining bureaucracy and effective government,” he wrote of the moderate progressives.

Personally, I think a more accurate label for this rising new power center is “neoliberal” (I just called them “liberals” in my own San Francisco political primer that I wrote a year ago), a political term describing the belief that any reforms or progress needs to be negotiated with capitalists and corporations instead of coming directly through taxes or regulations.

And I think it underestimates the influence that so-called “moderates” who are actually quite conservative when it come to finances and land use – people like Lee fundraiser Ron Conway and Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini – have in influencing Lee and shaping politics in the city.

But I welcome this contribution to helping San Franciscans understand the political dynamics that are governing this city.