Finding the "Religious Right" in Pakistan, but No Liberals in San Francisco

Somini Sengupta: The Red Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, the source of a violent battle between government forces and Islamic extremists, is "the fiery epicenter of Pakistan's religious right."

Reporter Jesse McKinley's "San Francisco Journal " celebrated the diversity on display in San Francisco's upcoming mayoral race.

"Most of the candidates for mayor of San Francisco, a city of 720,000 people and untold numbers of political opinions, have no money, no staffs and no campaign buttons.

"What they do have is nicknames.

"Like Kenny the Clown, a professional bozo born Kenneth Kahn. Or John Rinaldi, a k a Chicken John, a self-described showman and 'experimental candidate,' who says he is not allowed to drink caffeine. (He's a wee bit high-strung.) Or the mysterious Captain Democracy, whose Web site advocates a strong military. (Not that San Francisco has an army.)"

McKinley used the term "progressive" five times to refer to San Francisco's citizenry. Would it have hurt him to say "left-wing," or at least "liberal" once, when talking about the notoriously left wing city?

"Still, the lack of a major contender is surprising considering the nature of the San Francisco electorate. Twenty percent of voters here consider themselves progressives who feel that regular old Democrats - like Mr. Newsom - are simply too conservative."

By contrast, while avoiding mentioning "the left," the Times never fails to find members of the feared "religious right," even inrather unlikely places. As noted by blogger Harry, while covering the Pakistani government battle with religious militants at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, Times reporter Somini Sengupta called the Red Mosque "the fiery epicenter of Pakistan's religious right." Sengupta repeated the phrase in Thursday's follow-up.

Does the Times really think the Islamic extremists in Islamabad and Christian conservatives like Pat Robertson and James Dobson really have a lot in common?