Friday, February 10, 2006

Steve Filson Speaks

It has been one of the few rules of this site, from its inception, that we try never to say anything about the Democratic challengers that Richard Pombo could use later on to impugn them.

So I want to be abundantly clear that I am merely passing on information made public by Steve Filson. Filson addressed the Morgan Hill Democratic Club recently (if I’m not mistaken, the event occurred on January 21). His comments were recorded, and he has posted audio of the speech on his MySpace profile. For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to hear Steve Filson speak, SNTP has prepared a transcript of the speech. Feel free to listen along!

[Update, 11:05 pm: The audio has been pulled down from both the MySpace site and the site that Matt linked to in the Comments section. SNTP has saved an MP3 version of the speech, but for the time being, we've decided not to publish a link to it.]

STEVE FILSON: Thanks, Mark, for inviting us down here to the Democratic club. And to be at a Democratic club, what a better place. By the way, I'm a converted Democrat. Anybody a naturalized citizen out here? Naturalized citizen? What did you have to do to get -- become a citizen, take a test? Take a test, right?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: No, I didn't because I came when I was very young.

STEVE FILSON: Okay. But those who came and immigrated here, take a big test, a test that you couldn't pass and I couldn't pass. And their devotion to this country is huge. Converted Democrat. I've been on the dark side; I came out of the primordial soup into the sunlight. And I'm a Democrat.

Health, education, energy, taxes, security. If anyone has any doubt about my strong adherence to Democratic positions on those issues, please see me after this demonstration. Universal health care, energy independence in oil. We need to get the taxes realigned away from the rich for the break and into the middle class where it belongs. I will go on to those other issues. Please talk to me; please ask me. There are some people who have a doubt about my devotion to Democratic principles. I want to dispel that today and this point forward.

Well, let's have a little fun. Jeff Foxworthy -- "You might be a redneck if" -- you've seen the comedian? A Pombo supporter is a Pombo-ite in my book.

Let's have a little fun. If you think universal health care is to just walk it off when you're sick, you might be a Pombo-ite. If you think dental care, comprehensive dental care, is to chew on the other side, you might be a Pombo-ite. And if you've ever tried to cure a wart with the use of a firearm, you might be a Pombo-ite.

Now, we know this guy to be a bad guy. All of us in this room are well-educated, well-read; we all drink from the fountain of knowledge. Mr. Pombo? He just gargles.

We know this guy needs to be unseated, and we know he's vulnerable. You know what? The word “vulnerable,” in this election and every election prior to this, is now like a broken record. He's been vulnerable for a decade. Why haven't we picked him off? You need to answer that question. The vulnerability thing has been said. "This is the great year," we say. "This is the great year; this is the year." You know what? We've always had years to do this. And I'll guarantee you, we won't do it based on vulnerability.

We have to do it by switching voters. We have to switch 200,000 centrist voters to vote for Democrats. We already have the hard-core Republicans; we have the loyal Democrats; they're going to be there. That's about 50 percent of the votes. We've got 50 percent of the center that are leaners. They have voted for Bush; they have voted for Barbara Boxer; and tens of thousands of Democrats in the 11th district have voted for Richard Pombo. We cannot let that happen. And so the issue is the strong candidate, not the vulnerability. It's the strong candidate.

I'm going to say a few numbers here. If you've got the number -- (inaudible). 205, 4, 12, 5, 99. What are those numbers?



STEVE FILSON: Exactly. And where do most of those exist? San Joaquin County. If you don't know the issues for that, you don't belong in this race.

Mark Lewis, the million-dollar man. Anybody know who that is? Mark Lewis is the city manager of Stockton, just got fired. The million-dollar man, Neil Diamond, they booked him into the new arena up there; they only sold $600,000 in tickets; the city just took a bath for $400,000. If you don't know issues like that, you don't belong in the race.

Morgan Hill, Jerry mentioned good issues for Morgan Hill. You have to know the local issues; that's how you get voters to switch. We here in the clubs, we strong Democrats, we talk about health care; we're for universal health care. I'll guarantee you, that's not going to switch a centrist voter. We care about that passionately; we have to lead them and pull them. But I'll guarantee you, what they care about is they're stuck on the highway, paying 3 bucks a gallon a gas. That's what they care about, and that's how we have to reach them; that's how I plan to reach them. It's a moderate group; I'm a moderate. I plan to connect with those two, and that's how I'm going to win this race.

I'm asking for your endorsement. This is very, very important. Your endorsement is critical. Morgan Hill, in my view, could be the swing. Four percent of the vote's down here. Sounds small, but you have power down here to do that. This club has power through your endorsement. Very, very critical to us to defeat Richard Pombo.

You have to make a tough call. You may have to go against a friend, a loyal friend who's been dedicated to this process. You may have to choose somebody else and hurt their feelings. But politics with Mr. Richard Pombo is tough. This is tough ground. I know in your heart -- uppermost in your head and deep in your heart, you want to defeat Richard Pombo over advancing your own personal agendas. Think about that. And I'm asking for your endorsement; I need this endorsement. It's very important to defeat Richard Pombo.

I thank you for your time. And remember one thing: the rich are different; they pay less taxes.

I am left speechless. What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So where's Jerry speech from that event? Why post Steve's if you won't post Jerry's too? I guess Jerry didn't make his available to the public? Perhaps that is an indication of how Jerry's speech went that day (not well?). From what I heard about that particular candidate forum, Steve "far outshined" Jerry. Also, there is a big difference between listening to a speech and reading it. And in the context of a candidate forum, there is a big difference between listening/reading just one candidate's speech and listening/reading it next to the other candidates' speech. In other words, the whole story/effect is not presented here. Personally, I liked what Steve had to say and the way he said it. I would, though, also like to hear exactly what Jerry and Steve Thomas had to say.

5:17 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are more recordings on, let's transcribe those too. I like that Steve is making recordings available. Why isn't Jerry doing the same?

5:35 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm sorry, but I'm sick and tired of this type of crap in the comment section.

Let's get things straight. Filson recorded his speech and he put it on his MySpace blog. It's not publicized anywhere on his official blog, and he makes no transcript available anywhere. Furthermore, he doesn't link to his MySpace blog from his official website. We have generated to transcript and brought it to your attention. If you like what Filson said, then you should thank us for bringing it to your attention, not attacking us for not being able to magically conjure up a recording of McNerney or Thomas.

Furthermore, the fact that McNerney hasn't put up a recording of his speech is indicative of nothing. No reasonable person could think otherwise. Your insinuations to the contrary.

Lastly, I'm with Babaloo on Filson's speech. It sucked. I'm sorry, it was incoherent and elitist.

There's no way he's going to reach the swing-votes when he holds up Pombo and Pombo supporters up for mean-spirited derision. How can you call the Republican Party "the dark side" and then ask Republicans for their vote? How can you ask someone to vote for you when you make it sound like only yokels and rubes support Richard Pombo? Have you tried to cure a wart with a firearm? Give me a break! You're talking about trying to get Republican women to vote for a Dem even while their husbands support Pombo. You think they'll like Filson suggesting their husbands, their neighbors, their friends, their co-workers are just idiots? This is typical cocktail party bullshit rhetoric. And it'll just feed into all sorts of negative stereotypes about Democrats.

I have never, ever heard Jerry McNerney say anything that implies that Republican voters are stupid. First of all, it's not fair. And second of all, it's not how you win elections. McNerney might not be a rhetorical lion, but he treats the voters with respect. And even Pombo voters are entitled to respect for their political decisions.

Also, it's simply not true that Pombo has always been vulnerable. Saying that Pombo has been vulnerable, especially in 2002 and 2004 is self-serving and fatuous. He's either politically naive or completely disingenuous.

Furthermore, he's wrong about how many swing voters the Dem will need to get. Even Pombo did not receive 200,000 votes. So it cannot be that the Dems needs to convince 200,000 swing voters to switch sides and vote Dem. The 2004 election was decided by 30,000 voters who voted for Pombo over McNerney. How the hell doesn't he know this?

6:02 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, this was a speech for Dems, not Repubs. It is wrong to assume that such a speech would also be used in the general. He was talking to a particular audience.

Secondly, it is a MySpace. Do even know if it is an offical MySpace run by his campaign? Plus, McNerney has a MySpace too. I see no link or mention of that on McNerney's website. Point being, it is wrong to make assume that it is HIS MySpace. I don't think Paris Hilton's MySpace is really hers and nor do I assume it is.

6:12 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Bullshit. It's Filson's MYSPACE. It has links to his Field Director, to Filson's children. It contains info before it was put on his real website. It's his.

Second of all, you need to ask whether this is what Filson believes or not. I mean, I don't expect him to say these things TO a GOP audience. But he said it in public and put it on his MySpace account. The fact that he doesn't have the good sense to run away from this crap as fast as he can is telling. I can tell you I get House staffers on this site daily. If you think they don't know about Filson's MySpace site, you're delusional.

Furthermore, Filson is supposed to be Mr. Electable. Well he does not come across as a respectable moderate. In this speech he comes across like a condescending opportunist who's going to say what he thinks it'll take to win. He's condescending TO the Democrats and condescending ABOUT the Republicans. I know you think he is some sort of shining star, but speeches like this are what pushed people into McNerney's camp.

It sucks, and it sucks that so many of the people who are defending Filson (all three of you) are doing so anonymously.

6:21 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Anon 1 --
I did not attend the forum, so I cannot judge what McNerney or Thomas said at that event. All I can really say is that if that speech by Filson "far outshined" the other candidates, then lord help us. We might as well quit right now.

Anon 2 --
You're free to create transcripts of anything you want (here's a hint: it's a lot of work). And I don't know why you expect that I would be in a position to answer for McNerney's campaign.

Anon 3 --
Really? Steve Filson's MySpace account has been set up by poltergeists who put up a bootlegged recording? That's the best you can do?

6:25 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


I'm pretty sure the Anons are all the same person posting from Modesto...go figure.

6:33 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anon 3 said...

It very well may be his MySpace. However, Matt's comments seemed (and perhaps I'm wrong here) to insinuate that it was some kind of secret.

"It's not publicized anywhere on his official blog, and he makes no transcript available anywhere. Furthermore, he doesn't link to his MySpace blog from his official website."

McNerney's website does not link to his MySpace either - fact. Again, maybe I'm wrong about the meaning in Matt's statement, but if Filson is hiding his MySpace, so is McNerney (side note: anyone notice that the vast majority of McNerney's "friends" on MySpace are from outside the district, whereas the opposite is true for Filson). MySpace can be a great for reaching out to young, active progressives. Let's try to avoid faulting a candidate for using such a tool (a tool which McNerney is using as well).

And I agree with Anon #1's comments that there is a difference between reading a speech and listening to it and that it is somewhat taken out of context when not included or compared with the speeches of the other candidates. Thus, this transcription, while I'm sure a lot of people who read this blog might appreciate it, feels out of place and inappropriate to some degree.

6:39 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anon 3 said...

"I'm pretty sure the Anons are all the same person posting from Modesto...go figure."

Ok then, yes, I work at a business outside of the district. However, I do live in Ripon (in the district). Just passing some down time before I can leave in about 20 minutes. :) For the record, I am still undecided about who I will be supporting and I do appreciate the candor here.

6:42 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Look, I was NOT implying that Filson was hiding his speech. I was implying that he was not widely publicizing his speech. So it is not as if he is so proud of his speech he's sending it around to all and sundry. On the other hand, he did make it public so he is plainly NOT ashamed of it.

Moreover, I'm glad Filson uses MySpace. I'm glad McNerney uses MySpace. I don't have any problem with it. In fact, I wish they were more sophisticated in their use of MySpace. But the fact that they have MySpace accounts is something I am absolutely not critical of.

And lastly, you can listen to the the damn speech for yourself by going to the MySpace site. So if you feel like it's out of context and unseemly, then take it up with Steve Filson for putting such an out of context and unseemly speech up on his website. I mean, you don't seem to think it's unseemly for Steve Filson to put up the speech himself on his own website without context.

What about that? How the hell can you presume to criticize us (on behalf of Filson) for an action that Filson himself took? I'm mean, I could kind of understand a McNerney supporter feeling like it's unfair that we put up Filson's speech but not McNerney's. But this is Filson's stump speech from the South County Democratic Club. It's not a response to a question we don't hear. It's not part of dialogue out of context. It's what he came knowing he'd say. And if he thinks it shows him off well, then you have no business telling us that we have done something that makes him look bad.

6:55 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Also, in case the MySpace page is not playing the speech, you can try to stream it here. I also have saved an MP3 of the speech.

6:58 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Actually, it looks like you can save the MP3 yourself from the link above.

6:59 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anon 3 said...

I don't think it necessarily makes Filson look bad. And I do think it is out of context on his MySpace too. However, it was posted on HIS MySpace (or at least a MySpace devoted to him), not a SayNoToPombo site, which is not, as I understand it, meant to be for or against any candidate in particular. I realize that no one can pull Jerry's or Thomas's speech out of thin air. I was simply trying to say that, at least for me, it felt odd and out of context HERE when not compared to the speeches from that same event made by the other candidates. And, at least for me, I am not willing to judge Filson one way or another based on this speech. Like I said, I am undecided. And I am certainly not speaking on behalf of Filson. I am, though, discouraged by the blatant support of McNerney and disgust for Filson here (at least at times). I do apologize if my comments are not coming off as I meant them (an issue that can happen with something as impersonal as the internet).

7:07 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

I realize that no one can pull Jerry's or Thomas's speech out of thin air. I was simply trying to say that, at least for me, it felt odd and out of context HERE when not compared to the speeches from that same event made by the other candidates.

Maybe it is out of context, but it's the best we can do. The choice was never between just Filson's speech and all the speeches. But the choice for us was between a) this or b) nothing.

7:20 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Anon --
I'm a little bit puzzled by your need for context. Exactly what context do you think the other candidates' speeches might have created that would make Filson's arrogance and condescension appropriate?

If you go back to my very first post on this blog, you'll find that there seems to be a pattern for Filson saying inappropriate things when he believes he's among like-minded friends. But to publish comments like that on the internet just shows either a terrible lack of discretion or a genuine inability to understand that what he's saying is offensive. And that's why I think it's important to address the issue.

Now maybe McNerney and Thomas said really stupid things at that meeting; maybe the whole thing was an excercise in bad taste. But at least, if that's the case, they had the good sense not to publish their speeches.

7:31 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

I have heard Filson speak and the transcript is not far off. It gets the point across of what his message is and how he presents himself. I am not saying that McNerney comes off as Abraham Lincoln, either, but he does sound a bit more sincere, if stilted at times. Of course, it is always better to hear someone live, so show up at one of the candidate debates coming up and decide for yourself.

Meanwhile, we have the sound of Pombo speaking in the background, but it is hard to hear him over the roar of the Winnebago. Where you going Richard? Vacation? Ok, send us the bill!

8:49 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous AnonToo said...

VPO, I'm beginning to like the sense of humor emerging from within you. You are right - stay focused.

Folks, the elections will not be decided here, but out there in the real world FWIW.

8:59 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Wayne Johnsom said...


You Dems are dumber than a tits on a boar!

I can't wait to use Filson talking trash about Republicans in an auto call to GOP voters come November 1st 2006.

Hand it on a platter, Filson sure did. Thanks for making my job easy Steve!

Yours Truely,

Wayen Johnson

10:01 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Howie K said...

That speech was just plain ghastly. If Rahm Emanuel is trying to force this guy down everyone's throat-- probably because McNerney opposes Bush's war against Iraq-- the least he could do is send Filson some kind of a tutor to teach him how to speak in front of people. I've heard a lot of political speeches in my day, but never one this bad. If-- God Forbid-- Filson wins the primary, Democrats might as well wait for Pombo to get indicted, convicted and imprisoned before they waste any money in this district. You might be a Pombo-ite if you're a condescending asshole running as a Democrat when every pore in your body is still leaking "primordial soup."

10:53 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has got to stop. This is absolutely insane. Has anyone noticed what happens on this blog? A post attacking Pombo -- 0 to 5 comments. A post about Filson -- 25 comments of all of us bitching at each other, pointing fingers, and now, calling one of the candidates a condescending asshole.

Let's assume for a moment that Matt is correct and this speech is terrible and going to haunt Filson if he tries to woo moderate Republicans in the general. Why in god's name did you just post the transcript and make extra certain that everyone knows how to save it as an mp3??? What could possibly be your motive??? Even if Filson wanted to take the speech down, it's too late.

Circling the fire squad doesn't even begin to describe what's going on on this website lately, and I'm not blaming just the posters or the commenters, but everyone. It's insane. Stop it.

11:50 PM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Anon –
I’m not buying it. If you followed the link in my comment above, you would see that four months ago, in my very first post on this blog, I cautioned Filson against making disparaging comments in public meetings which, if they were published, could and would be used against him. He has not only continued to make intemperate remarks but has now taken it upon himself to post them on the internet. I don’t know how you can rationally blame this website for that.

Look, SNTP is not running for Congress; Howie K is not running for Congress; Filson is. I simply don’t understand why you think it is the responsibility of this blog and/or its readers to be so much more circumspect in their behavior than Filson has been in his.

At present, the audio has been pulled off Filson’s site; I made the decision not to post a link to the MP3. If you want to aim your anger and frustration at someone, it’s Filson you should go after, not this blog. He decided to go to that meeting and make those remarks; he decided that it was a swell plan to post the audio on his profile. As he said in his speech, “Politics with Mr. Richard Pombo is tough. This is tough ground.” I’m sorry, but blaming other people for his behavior is no way to promote Filson as the “strong candidate.”

8:23 AM, February 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anontoo said...

VPO, Nick Juliano called this a "lefty blog" at one time. I realize this kind of language is often found on lefty blogs. Hey, are you beginning to understand one reason why Pombo keeps getting re-elected? I'm going to start dropping-in on that San Joaquin County conservative blog to see what they have to say about this race. But I'll continue to visit here regularly.

9:23 AM, February 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anontoo said...

VPO, I reviewed the San Joaquin Blog and didn't find any swearing there. Not alot of content and hardly any comments. Oh well.

10:03 AM, February 11, 2006  
Anonymous jbmendel said...

I generally liked the speech. I generally liked this post. Neither were perfect, but it rates below a 3.0 on the big deal meter. The sheer volume of discussion here is pretty silly.

I'm a Filson supporter. I like this blog, I like McNerney and yes, I also like Thomas. What trumps all of those positive feelings is a dislike for Richard Pombo and what he and his friends are doing to my country.

Folks, we've had these arguments out many times, let's put it to rest.

11:26 AM, February 11, 2006  

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