Interview with Pelosi challenger Shirley Golub
An Occasional Note on the 2008
Campaigns, No. 11
Interview with Pelosi challenger
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Shirley Golub, who is challenging Nancy Pelosi to be the Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House, with downtown San Francisco in the background
On Friday evening, I interviewed Shirley in her campaign office—her car. Surrounded by fliers in English, Spanish, and Chinese, she told me why she decided to run, about her outreach to voters, her battle with cable company Comcast after they refused to run one of her ads during “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”, the impeachment play she is producing, and what she hopes will be achieved by this challenge for the Democratic nomination against the most powerful woman in Congress, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Scoop: What prompted you to run?
Golub: I had thought for quite some time that things would change once we had a Democratic Congress, and they didn't. I thought, "What's with this? Why is this not happening?" The more I researched, the more I realized that there was really something wrong with our Congress and the leadership of our Congress that they were not responding at all to the wishes of San Franciscans, certainly, and really even the nation.
I mean, even though parts of the nation are conservative, the vast majority of people believe that Bush and Cheney should be impeached. They just don't know how to do it. Really, Nancy Pelosi was the stumbling block. Certainly we could also argue about John Conyers, but he really seemed to be under her thumb. Cindy Sheehan was going to run against Nancy Pelosi. I knew that back in the fall, but I thought, really that's way too late.
If we're facing the possibility that Bush and Cheney might attack Iran, we really need to impeach them now and not just hope that nothing will happen. So that's what inspired me. I kept thinking, "Well, someone will do it." And no one did, so I just decided if I can have some help and I'm not out there on a limb all by myself, if I can find someone who knows politics... there are many people out there in Southern California that are progressive that have been very helpful to me.
Scoop: The politicians who are running in the presidential race, not one of them has mentioned impeachment. Do you have any idea of why that should be?
Golub: No one wants to rock the boat. Any time you do something that is not just standard and boring... I mean, it's just like healthcare. If you look at single payer healthcare, which is obviously what we should have, no one wants to say "single payer" healthcare. They all say, "Oh, yes! Let's have universal healthcare, and we'll just give money to the insurance companies to take care of the people who can't afford it." Or we'll have employers pay it. Or we'll do whatever. It's like, Don't make any change. Any time you make change, it's gonna cause ruffles among some people's feathers and people won't do that because they want what they want.
Scoop: So they won't even mention it? A lot of issues just won't be mentioned?
Golub: Right. Exactly.
Scoop: Getting back to the Congressional District here in San Francisco, it's a very big one and it's a diverse one. What sort of outreach have you been making to voters?
Golub: Basically, I have chosen to use as much media as possible to reach as many people as possible so my face gets recognized. If I just knock on doors or stand on a corner, the number of people that will actually see me is pretty small. But when you're on television and your voice is on the radio and it says, "Go to my website"--and, hopefully, most people in SF have internet access--they can at least see who I am and learn what it's all about.
Scoop: On your website it said that you tried to get Comcast to carry your rubber chicken commercial and they wouldn't do it. What was the story with that?
Golub: Yes, very interesting. The first commercial that I ran with them, where I called Nancy a political coward, they did run. The rubber chicken was not that much more down that line. It was actually more humorous. They had told me when they ran the first ad that they had to have all advertisements reviewed by their attorneys back East. But with a federal candidate, what I have read is that as a federal candidate, I can say anything I want and they cannot choose to limit what I say. You know, so long as I'm not swearing or something like that. The fact that they did it the second time around, and said, "No, we can't run that ad" was really a flag that Comcast--again--is doing censorship, which they have done in the past.
So, through my website we generated over 6,000 emails to their CEO the day before their annual meeting, and all of a sudden, they changed their mind! The person who called me about it was very apologetic and she said, "Our local office was confused." I thought, "Well, what kind of confusion is that?" I said, "You know, what I'd really like is for you to let me know what you're going to do, what procedures you're going to put in place so that in the future no one will be confused ever again and this will not happen to any other candidate, not only me." And I've heard nothing from them.
Scoop: So, you wanted the ad to play around the time of Keith Olbermann?
Scoop: And has that happened?
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Shirley Golub addresses the audience at the end of “I” with some of the cast in the background.
Scoop: We're sitting outside a school where we're going to see the play you produced, called "I".
Golub: Yes. "I, the Impeachment Trial of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney."
Scoop: Was it something you were thinking of, irrespective of...
Golub: No! It came to me. One of the play's writers sent me an email and said, "How would you like to do this play?" And I went, "What? I've never done a play before. I know nothing about producing plays." I thought about it and I realized it would be a really exciting thing to do because so many people are brainwashed into thinking that, "Oh, it's too late. Oh, it wouldn't work. Oh, this and Oh, that."
And that's really just the rhetoric of the corporate media and the Congress, who don't want to do anything that would change anything. I believe that they like what they've got and they want to keep it that way. They don't want us getting fired up over any issues and possibly their losing their seats. If we had an impeachment trial, those who voted the way they shouldn't, their constituents would make note of that.
Scoop: What do you think is the best thing about having somebody run against Nancy Pelosi?
Golub: The best thing is that it wakes people up to the fact that they can have a choice, and they don't have to follow the same old same-old when it's not working. Most people are kind of like, "Oh, wow! Great!" People have run against Nancy Pelosi, but usually they're Green Party candidates or independent candidates, and they don't really have a chance of attracting the Democratic base.
Scoop: I think I read in one newspaper that you have some Democratic Club endorsements.
Golub: No, I don't. They wouldn't dare. They would not dare. That's all I can say about that!
END OF INTERVIEW
Map and statistics about the 8th Congressional District:
with local CBS news station about the rubber chicken
to audio of Nancy Pelosi being afraid:
to Comcast petition mentioned in the interview:
to details of the impeachment play, which continues through