Prop Zero
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Ed Lee's Nerd Chic Fumble

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mat Luschek
    Ed Lee answers questions from the press concerning the Occupy movement in San Francisco.

    Above is the most talked-about advertisement in California politics. it's a two-minute web ad with MC Hammer singing "Too Legit to Quit" along with San Francisco celebrities -- including Giants closer Brian Wilson. They are touting San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in next month's city elections.

    What The Filter?!?!

    [LA] What The Filter?!?!
    RentAGrandma.com. It's real and available in Los Angeles! San Francisco residents want Mr. Ed to run for Mayor, San Diego boasts the country's hottest single dad, and a group of angry birds are on the attack. (Published Friday, Jun 17, 2011)

    The ad plays around with Lee's image as something less than a normal politician -- he's a dweeby-looking guy with glasses and a moustache. (Which is why Wilson, famous for his beard, is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Fear the Moustache"). Lee's unusual rise to power is the context. He became the interim mayor after Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor; he had said he wasn't going to run for a full term, and, as a lame duck, managed a number of legislative accomplishments.

    In a way, Lee's special political appeal lay in the fact that he wasn't running for anything. Or to put it another way, he was "legit" because he was supposed to quit

    Ed Lee: Too Legit to Quit

    [LA] Ed Lee: Too Legit to Quit
    A host of celebrities throw their support behind Ed Lee in his bid to become the full time Mayor in San Francisco. MC Hammer, Brian Wilson, will.i.am and many others endorse the interim mayor. Their feeling: he's too legit to quit. (Published Friday, Oct 28, 2011)

    But Lee reversed himself and ran for mayor. And while he leads in the polls, he has less than a majority and has lost some of his appeal. He lost some of his good-guy sheen by refusing to accept public financing. His opponents have accused him of electoral fraud. The ad itself is not paid by his campaign but by an independent expenditure committee that relies on donations from rich individuals and interests.

    In this and other ways, this entertaining ad further undercuts Lee's nerd-of-the-people appeal. Is Lee really just like other San Franciscans if he has a slick campaign and so many celebrity friends?

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.