One CD-10 candidate’s backstory: a progressive Hollywood scriptwriter’s dream

You’re an aspiring Hollywood screen writer and you’re asked to help pen a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the classic tale of a young, idealistic political outsider who winds up appointed to a U.S. Senate seat.

Of course, you need to update the tale for 2009 from 1939, in which Mr. Smith (played by James Stewart at his aw-shucks best) is the wholesome head of the Boy Rangers.

You’re an admirer of Aaron Sorkin, best known as the writer and creator of the literate, sharp-edged White House TV drama, The West Wing. You try to think of the kind of 2009 Mr. Smith that Sorkin would devise. Sorkin’s Mr. Smith would be a Democrat, as was his West Wing’s Josiah Bartlett. He would also be well-educated, witty, and charismatic.

But here are the qualities you would add, to enhance his status as an outsider and to show that he’s got the tough-guy pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps credibility that would trump conservatives. You would also be keen to show that he possesses personal integrity and is willing to stand up for causes he believes in, even if they might rub some people the wrong way. You would make him:

— African-American.

— The son of a single mom who worked as a housekeeper.
— So determined to rise above his circumstances that he worked hard in school to score good grades and to win a Congressional appointment to West Point—and later admission into the master’s degree program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

— A young officer who served two tours of duty in Iraq, even though he personally had reservations about the war.

–A young officer who received a Bronze Star for leading his troops into fierce battles and for helping Iraqis rebuild their war-torn nation.

–A philanthropic athlete who biked across the country to raise money for Habitat for Humanity and who volunteered to rebuild homes in Hurricane-ravaged Katrina.

And, yes, you’d make him young, good-looking and charming.

And, as a kicker, you’d make him gay. And wanting to take a stand against the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy.”
So, that’s the public biography of Anthony Woods, who is one of about dozen Democrats, Republicans, and other party representatives who are vying to replace Ellen Tauscher as the U.S. representative for the 10th congressional district.

In writing about Woods, also known in one national headline as the “gay Iraq war veteran,” I’m not saying he’s my favorite candidate. I haven’t had a chance to look closely at the candidates to see who I prefer.

But Woods, and his made-for-Hollywood biography and opposition to discrimination against gays in the military, have garnered him national attention: CNN, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the website, the Daily Beast, which had this headline: “Best Political Resume Ever: Insurgent congressional candidate Anthony Woods’ life story reads like Aaron Sorkin wrote it …”

For the primary election, set for September 1, Woods is going up against some high-profile political heavyweights–opponents who are well-known in the East Bay, around the state, even nationally. Contra Costa Times political columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen says the primary is an open ballot, meaning that all candidates will appear on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. The top vote-getter in each party plus the nonpartisan candidates will advance to the general election unless one candidate receives in the primary 50 percent plus one vote. If that occurs, the candidate will win the post outright.

Given his competition, Woods’ emerging political celebrity may not be enough to assure him victory this time and propel him into Ellen Tauscher’s seat and national office. But given his personal background and story, Harvard degree, Bronze Star, and telegenic gifts, it’s likely that Woods has a bright future ahead of him—in politics or in some other arena.

7 thoughts on “One CD-10 candidate’s backstory: a progressive Hollywood scriptwriter’s dream

  1. I'm a suburban mom who is enthusiastically supporting Anthony Woods for Congress. As a decorated veteran, I think he has the best foreign policy credentials of the group. I hosted an event for him in El Cerrito; everyone who attended was incredibly impressed by him. He is smart and capable and will be a terrific representative.


  2. Oh, and here's a reason not to vote for DeSaulnier:

    “If DeSaulnier wins, there might be a Special Election for his replacement, a spokesperson for the California Secretary of State told the (Martinez)Gazette.”

    The congressional election is going to cost just CC County 850k (and the district dips into three other counties). Why spend more to move along someone who has only been in the state senate for six months?


  3. Guy is running in a district that includes 5,000 people working for Chevron, and his first e-mail blast takes an intellectually dishonest cheap shot at big bad oil. Did Harvard teach him math and political science?


  4. It might well be true that there are 5,000 people working for Chevron in the district, but how many tens of thousand people might be fed up with the insane profits big oil has been reaping in over the last couple of years?


  5. Fantastic lets elect someone based on color and no experience.. Wait Wait we did that and he is currently in office

    Now lets be real Affirmative Action is what got these guys to the place where they are today. They got there based on the color of their skin and not on academic merits.

    Now lets just say for argument sake that we have 2 Firefighters (One White Male 6’ft tall & One African American Woman Height not a issue) The Women firefighter is a product of Affirmative Action and your house is on fire and you are 250 LBS Who do you think is going to be able to get you out of the fire.

    Now lets just say for argument sake# 2 you have a catastrophic mechanical problem on some mode of transportation that you have lets say its your car. You have a choice of 2 Mechanics one Affirmative Action Mechanic and one not an Affirmative Action Mechanic … With Affirmative Action the testing is basically dumbed down.

    The levels needed to pass any exam that is Affirmative Action based are 15-20% lower than those that are not Affirmative Action.. Now ask yourself do you or will you feel safer using a Affirmative Action Mechanic..

    Think about the above with maybe with a Brain Surgeon Cardiologist ETC
    Or a Pediatric Surgeon would you let any of the above referenced positions who gained such positions through Affirmative Action perform surgery on either yourself, spouse, or child

    At current projections, the deficit will cross the $2 trillion mark before the end of this year 2009. Think about that. It took us 233 years as a nation to reach a $1 trillion deficit. And we will double it this year.

    So, let's say you go to borrow money from someone. Such as when the United States goes to China and other nations that still have actual positive net worth and tries to sell them our Treasury bills. Those bills are only as good as our ability to pay them back.


  6. Oh my god PooSmells, you must be really feeling threatened by Affirmative Action because what…. you automatically think a white person would be more qualified than a minority ? Too bad your guy McCain lost the election …

    And maybe one day when you deal with your anger you should think about how for example McCain got to where he is …. could it be because of his daddy and his granddaddy?


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