Pelosi, a Democratic fixture for nearly 40 years, represents everywhere but the southwest corner of the city. Chinatown, Nob Hill, North Beach and other landmarks are all part of her domain. Even as she built a national profile, her staff worked hard on the nuts and bolts of constituent service -- chasing tardy Social Security checks and the like -- helping secure Pelosi's hold on the district.
Pelosi has compiled a reliably liberal voting record over the years, supporting legal abortion with few restrictions, stiffer gun control, gay rights and a needle-exchange program to prevent the spread of AIDS. She opposed welfare reform and voted against the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the October 2002 resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq.
But to critics on the left, Pelosi is a sellout who "can talk the talk [but] doesn't walk the walk," as her Green Party challenger, Krissy Keefer, states on her campaign website. Among the particulars: Pelosi's support for trade deals, commercial activity in the Presidio (part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and legislation cracking down on rave parties. On the war, Pelosi is faulted for endorsing an immediate pullout from Iraq but not pushing her view as the party's position -- a move that would have surely jeopardized her leadership job.
"From Ohio, Pelosi looks liberal," Keefer said in an interview. But San Francisco has "a completely different paradigm and idea about how things should be."
If that perspective seems loopy to some, Eric Jaye -- a consultant on Pelosi's first campaign -- offered this: "While you have a certain component of San Francisco that a nation loves to fear, take comfort, America, in the fact those people don't like Nancy Pelosi either."
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