Dear Big Daddy,
What’s the deal with Kristin Olsen, anyway?
--Curious in Concord
I flattered myself that I used to understand Republicans, even Republican women, but about her I absolutely have no clue.
In the first place, she paid for thousands of robocalls to beat up on Leland Yee in the San Francisco mayoral race. Now if she thought people in the City would pay any attention to an arch-conservative from Modesto, she must have been hallucinating. I hallucinated myself in 1963 at the Mirador and I can speak with authority. But that’s another story.
Apparently, Olsen thinks the voters of San Francisco eagerly await her opinions the way Oprah fans used to await instructions from the mothership. Not so.
Now many people – me included - have tried to analyze what makes Republicans and Democrats tick. If you know that, you might know why robocalling San Francisco might be worthwhile.
But we don’t. So here’s what I’ve come up with.
Republicans fear new experiences, like setting foot outside their gated communities, and they are bad at judging risk.
Democrats are addicted to novelty. Reeps can block out “white noise” (which votes for them at least 60 percent of the time), while Dems are so easily distracted they need a Ritalin IV-dripping into their fair-trade lattes.
Democrats’ wealth of empathy can lead them to unwise policies, while Republicans could pass a tax on the stuff and end up getting a refund at the end of the year.
So, time to put the conservative Ms. Olsen on the analyst’s couch (no, not my couch, home of the best 50-minute hour ever).
Now, I’m hardly going to claim all Republican voters are wealthy and powerful. Hardly. To Dems like yours truly, that fact is the double-wide irony trailer of American politics.
But Republican politicians are another matter entirely. They tend – but not always, like Olsen - to come from the classes who don’t list their net wealth in terms of microwaves and air conditioners. (Here’s lookin’ at you, Heritage Foundation.) Nope, they grew up in homes with food on the table and money managers on the speed dial.
How do I know? Because they believe that everyone else cares what they think.
I know, big talk for someone pretending to be a dead guy answering made-up questions.
So when I try to figure out why Olsen would be trying to play a role in the San Francisco mayoral race, here’s what I come up with.
People in San Francisco have a reputation – some of it undeserved – of being liberal, even more liberal than most of the rest of the country. Actually, the most liberal bastion in the Bay Area is Berkeley, and parts of Pacific Heights and Seacliff are far to the right of Orange County. Check with Milton Marks. But myths persist.
And they seem to persist quite strongly with Ms. Olsen.
So you have to know San Francisco and its voters before you start squeezing them; the Modesto-born and bred Ms. Olsen doesn’t seem to.
Remember, in San Francisco, the pursuit of happiness is well-correlated with the making of whoopee and the getting of high - the main two subjects where Reeps seem to think people are waiting for “a message” (they’re not). Olsen doesn’t want to “send a message” that it’s OK to vote for Leland Yee. So she sent out a robocall with her name and voice to San Francisco voters sharing this important information.
Guess what, Kris? Frisco is one of the most wired cities in the country. They have the Google. You might be trying to talk about office budgets, but a quick search of your name comes up with “Sarah Palin” in connection with you and your former employer, CSU Stanislaus.
In other words, take the number of robocalls made, multiply by 0.5 or so, and add that many votes to Yee’s total. That man should be paying you.