Bob Filner stabs you in the front. And he stabs you in the back. He’s abrasive, aggressive, impolitic, caustic, truculent, brash and, according to one memorable formulation, “the Grand Canyon of assholes.”
Filner, a 69-year-old congressman who is running for mayor of San Diego, has acquired all these descriptions during his three decades in local politics. For him, the labels are the byproduct of an activist approach honed during the height of the country’s civil rights movement, one that incites confrontation to defend the powerless. Filner’s a fighter, and fighters have to bruise to win.
“People don’t change unless there’s tension,” Filner said. “Status quo. Nobody thinks about anything, right, if you don’t create the tension. But if you don’t do it creatively, then they hit you or they shoot you. You gotta make them think about it.”