San Francisco values
"San Francisco values" is a term often used pejoratively and as an ad hominem phrase to refer to cultural, social and moral attributes associated with the city of San Francisco, California's liberal politics and pluralist culture. Often values and expressions that are marked less popular among social conservatives, such as gay pride, the anti-war movement, or secular values generally, are invoked by users to frame their argument. The same values form the foundation of what is known as West Coast liberalism, though the political cultures of Los Angeles (and notably Hollywood therein), Seattle, et cetera also contribute to this concept. This term, however, is not necessarily pejorative. For example, a liberal may identify as a "West Coast liberal" to distinguish himself/herself from other similar ideologies (i.e. East Coast liberalism) or to emphasize the issues which are most important to him/her.
"San Francisco values" is used in a pejorative sense by conservative commentators to describe a secular progressive culture commonly associated with the city of San Francisco. The term has been associated with same-sex marriage, high minimum wages, anti-war activism, pro-choice politics, marijuana decriminalization, and lenient immigration policies. Used this way, it is an ad hominem attack.
The term "San Francisco values" was used by conservative pundits during the conservative movement of the mid-1990s, and has since been popularized by Bill O'Reilly and Newt Gingrich. It is possibly a successor to then Democrat Jeane Kirkpatrick's condemnation of "San Francisco Democrats" for a "blame America first" mentality at the 1984 Republican National Convention (the Democrats had just held their convention in San Francisco). While O'Reilly claimed to have coined the term "San Francisco Values," the term dates back at least to 1996, when Rep. Frank Riggs attacked his Democratic rival Michela Alioto over her "San Francisco values."
With the ascendancy of San Francisco representative Nancy Pelosi to Speaker of the House, the term experienced a surge in popularity following the 2006 midterm elections. Newt Gingrich, for example, sent a fundraising letter to supporters, saying, "Will everything you've worked so hard to accomplish be lost to the San Francisco values of would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi?" Meanwhile, the Augusta Chronicle, a Georgia newspaper, warned readers that "Pelosi will be speaker and her far-left San Francisco values -- gay marriage, cutting and running from Iraq, coddling terrorists, raising taxes, amnesty for illegals -- will become the House agenda."
In addition to being used by some right-wing pundits, the term has appeared in and around San Francisco itself. The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco's largest daily newspaper, discussed the term in its 2006 article, "Three Dirty Words: San Francisco Values." The next week, the San Francisco Bay Guardian responded with a similarly titled article, "San Francisco Values,"[dead link] calling the Chronicle's editorial positions into question.
The Peter B. Collins Show, a syndicated liberal talk show no longer on the air, billed itself as a talk show "infused with dangerous 'San Francisco values' like compassion, justice, and a living wage".
- Garofoli, Joe (2006-11-03). "Three Dirty Words: San Francisco Values". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Bill O'Reilly: Here Comes the Left. November 22, 2006.
- Roll Call, July 18, 1996: "Riggs questioned whether Alioto's opposition to the bill to ban federal recognition of same-sex marriage represented 'North Coast values' or 'San Francisco values.'"
- Jones, Steven T (2006-01-09). "San Francisco Values". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "The Peter B. Collins Show archive (evidence of intro blurb)". Archived from the original on 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-05-21.