By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Like her poetry, Winograd is direct and declarative.
“There are people who revile Jane Harman,” she told the L.A. Weekly editorial board. “People hate her.”
Her view is repeated by supporters.
“Jane Harman has been horrible,” Codepink co-founder Jodie Evans says during a phone interview. “I support Marcy because she’s the anti-war candidate. With Jane it’s just about greed and raping the party. She doesn’t represent us.”
“I got a call from Jane Harman, and [until now] I’ve never gotten a call from Jane Harman,” he says by phone. “She also called a friend of mine, who was so surprised, she asked [Harman], ‘Is this a recording?’?”
Winograd’s epiphany with Harman’s Meet the Press appearance may have been the catalyst for her congressional run, but her political awakening occurred years before, when, as a teenage girl, she would lie in bed at night listening to her father, Sam, yell at her sister’s boyfriend, who was considering enlisting to fight in Vietnam. Activism ran in the family: Her parents worked for the World Federalist Movement, which advocates peace through international law, and Marcy’s brother, Barry, played a role in the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley. After a brief detour at the University of Redlands’ experimental Johnston College, Marcy followed Barry to Cal; she worked as an organizer for the United Farm Workers in Delano and Salinas, then returned to Berkeley to help set up the 1975 wine boycott. Radio stints at KPFK and KPCC’s forerunner station ensued, along with teaching jobs in Wilmington, Lomita and Marina del Rey.
A FEW DAYS AFTER the Rose Café interview, Winograd appears twice at a Bake Back Congress event held at a supporter’s Mar Vista home. Mar Vista, Venice and San Pedro are Winograd strongholds. She must win over the less disaffected neighborhoods in between, and fast — the calendar doesn’t favor last-minute campaigns, although Winograd says her research shows she only needs to capture 19,000-20,000 votes to win. Even David Greene concedes that her campaign is a “longshot.” Harman will begin active campaigning with next week’s congressional recess; no direct debates between the women are planned. Whoever wins the primary effectively wins the seat, since Republicans are only running a scarecrow candidate, Brian Gibson, in November.
At the Mar Vista home, a young woman displays her political cartoons on the front lawn (one shows Karl Rove as a fat seal), as other women sell brownies and cookies from card tables; one hand-lettered sign offers “Free Coaching for Progressive Entrepreneurs.”
Blue Dogs hate these events. More than that, they — like many Democratic centrists, pollsters and elected officials — fear them, for they advertise dissent and a break with consensus politics. Such Democrats suffer night sweats whenever Winograd calls for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and “war reparations,” or talks about her cats and converting the defense industry to alternative-energy plants, or says she supports gay marriage. To a Jane Harman, these abolitionist positions, along with the brownies and hand-lettered signs, are cross-eyed displays of a radical Boomer bohemianism that began with sit-ins, bad pot and coed dorms, and has now matured into fanny-packed middle age — and red-meat targets for the Bill O’Reillys and Sean Hannitys.
Harman’s headquarters opening had its small omens. An American flag would not stay taped to the wall and kept falling down and, as Hope Witkowsky and other supporters stepped outside the Sepulveda Boulevard storefront for air, they saw, a few doors down, an unexpected and unwelcome sight — a pair of young Winograd supporters holding their candidate’s banner, a look of sullen accusation on their faces. Even if she wins, Harman may not be able to rest easily.
“If I’m this successful,” Winograd laughs, “maybe I should continuously run against her.”