To the rest of the United States, the San Francisco Bay Area is the nation's stronghold of pinkos, radicals, traitors and dangerous fringe groups.
And the proof came last week in reports that the city that allows a group called Dykes on Bikes to parade up Market Street had refused to allow the U.S. Marine Corps to make a television recruiting commercial in the Financial District. And, some said, the city had insulted the Marine Corps, to boot.
The situation got even worse when 200 Marines and soldiers returning from Iraq were prevented from entering the passenger terminal at the Oakland International Airport for so-called "security reasons."
Conservative Internet sites and the Fox television network were full of invective about the Bay Area and the "far left coast."
But, as it turns out, the stories about the Marine commercial weren't exactly true - the city did issue a permit to make the recruiting TV commercial, but not on the day the film company the Marines had hired wanted. The company ended up filming the Marines on the Marin side of the Golden Gate, with the Golden Gate Bridge and the city in the background.
The Oakland airport incident turned out to be less of an insult to the Marines and soldiers than a miscommunication between the airport and the Marines' charter airline and its ground crew. Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums promised that such an incident would never happen again.
But the damage had been done. "It felt like being spit on," Brandon Harding, a chaplain with the 3rd Marine Regiment, wrote in an Internet posting that made its rounds among the Marines. Retired Rear Adm. James Carey, chairman of the National Defense Committee, a pro-military organization, wrote in another posting circulating online that "While many of us joke about 'the left coast' and the liberal leftists in la-la land, this is disgusting and surely nothing to joke about."