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As we know from the long-ago Thomas Frank book, Kansas is a red(state) hot mess, but what’s the matter with San Francisco that it recalls its celebrity progressive district attorney? Let me give you a two-word hint: “Dirty Harry.”
No, I’m not making this up.
The late film critic Richard Grenier remarked that Dirty Harry was the first Hollywood film of that era that “talked back to liberalism.” But Dirty Harry came out 51 years ago, and how many San Franciscans from then are even still alive and living in the city? Grenier noted that the blowback against the film from the left (Gene Siskel said the film’s message was “dangerous,” and Stanley Kauffmann said it was “disgusting”) caused the sequel, Magnum Force, to flip the script, and make the bad guys a bunch of vigilante police officers, which can be seen as an ahead-of-its-time preview of our recent “all cops are bastards/defund the police” mania.
Yesterday 60 percent of San Francisco voters talked back to liberalism, but don’t expect the left to see it that way. Instead, you see, San Francisco is really a hotbed of reactionary conservatism—it’s just Salt Lake City in drag—even though the last Republican mayor of SF, George Christopher, rode out of town in 1967.
Before the votes were even cast, New York magazine’s Ross Barkan made the case that in fact San Francisco really has no progressive history or voting base:
This real San Francisco is a city of fewer than 900,000 people that increasingly lacks a working-class population that could buoy progressive candidates. . . Modern San Francisco, unlike New York, does not rest on the legacy of a social-democratic state forged with New Deal largesse. There are no Fiorello La Guardias or Robert Wagners lurking in the city’s history. From 1912 to 1963, only Republicans governed San Francisco, and they were largely backers of big business who could occasionally draw support from organized labor.
This last statement will come as a shock to anyone who recalls Harry Bridges, among other figures.
Now that SF voters have channelled their inner Dirty Harrys, the left is doubling down on this line. Behold this Tweet thread, which would be comical if we didn’t know that among lefties, Twitter humor is now a crime against humanity (at least in the Washington Post “news”room):
Message to the left: Move along, nothing to see here. I’m sure it won’t carry over to the November election anywhere else.
To paraphrase the great Inspector Callahan: Do you feel lucky, Democrats?
Chaser—one of my favorite scenes from Dirty Harry; “Sociology?! Oh, you’ll go far. . . Just don’t let your college degree get you killed.”