I am not a Nathan Fletcher hater. I don’t buy the narrative that the assemblyman is a closet liberal, or that his decision to work with San Diego police to shift their pensions to a different agency was some sinister plot to defraud taxpayers. But the L.A. Times’ George Skelton is his usual clueless self in reviewing and defending the San Diego mayoral candidate’s decision to bolt the GOP. Skelton leaves out key details that don’t make Fletcher look bad; they make Skelton look bad — like the knee-jerk partisan hack he’s been the vast majority of his career as a columnist.
The first and most obvious example is this part:
The [San Diego County Republican] party endorsed City Councilman Carl DeMaio, an orthodox conservative. Fletcher — a fiscal conservative but a moderate on the environment, gay rights and immigration — is running a distant third behind DeMaio and Democratic Rep. Bob Filner.
George, you ignorant dolt: “Orthodox” DeMaio is openly gay himself and doesn’t pander to social conservatives, which precludes him from endorsing about half the “orthodox conservative” agenda.
What makes the description of DeMaio as an “orthodox conservative” even more hilarious is that DeMaio terrifies the downtown San Diego Republican establishment because of his disdain for redevelopment-as-usual, corporate subsidies, etc., and his opposition to a hugely costly renovation of San Diego City Hall without a public vote. This maverick streak is partly why Pete Wilson endorsed Fletcher, and why current San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders backs District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. It explains why some of the city’s biggest mover-and-shakers tell fellow insiders they feel they’d have no one to vote for if the November runoff pit DeMaio and Filner.
But here is what underscores what a tunnel-vision partisan hack Skelton is: his comments back in 2009 in parallel circumstances when Fresno Assembly Democrat Juan Arambula quit his party because of his conviction the state Dem establishment didn’t give a damn if tens of thousands of Central Valley families’ lives were ruined in the name of “green” environmental policies affecting water and farming.
Here’s what Skelton wrote about Arambula feeling betrayed and bolting the party he’d grown up with because of its indifference to the struggling people in his home district:
Contrast that with the sweeping insights he offers about Fletcher — the sweeping BS insights. Skelton’s only venture into even vague honesty is to mention that Fletcher had political reasons for quitting the GOP when he did. Arambula bolted his party without such a motivating factor. Wasn’t this, yunno, newsworthy? Not according to Skelton.
Once again, this isn’t written as a slam on Fletcher, at least directly. It’s just one more example of how the dean of California’s media establishment is so predictable in his advancement of Democratic narratives that he might as well have this as his byline: George Skelton, D-Sacramento.
Note: Modified and fleshed out at 1:15 p.m. Monday after VOSD’s Scott Lewis interrupted my vacation to note my lack of nuance on redevelopment and DeMaio.