Hmm. If I ran a futile, joke campaign for the US Senate, would The Olympian cover it? Probably… yeah… because my futile, joke campaigns tend to be kinda funny, as opposed to Mark Wilson, whose campaigns tend to be just, um… futile.
Still, The Olympian apparently took Wilson seriously enough to give him some ink today for his campaign against Sen. Maria Cantwell in the Democratic primary, so I suppose it’s only fair to read what he has to say, and take him at his word.
A perennial fringe candidate who is running primarily on an anti-war theme, Wilson previously ran as a Libertarian against Rep. Jay Inslee and as a Green against Sen. Patty Murray.
Wilson said his criticism of the war has spurred all of his runs at office.
The run against Inslee as a Libertarian “was an opportunity to direct the conversation about the war,” he said. [...] He cited similar reasons for his Senate run against Murray…
Yeah, that’s right… Wilson ran as the anti-war candidate against Murray, who not only voted against the war authorization, but who gave perhaps the second-most eloquent speech that day on the floor of the US Senate.
Whatever. While Cantwell is certainly more vulnerable on the war than either Inslee or Murray, I think what we learn from Wilson’s history is that his campaigns are more about Wilson than they are about any particular opponent. I don’t mean to knock him personally or anything — his behavior is pretty typical of politicians, and when I met him, he seemed like a nice enough guy — but it seems pretty clear that Wilson would be challenging Cantwell (from one party or another) regardless of her authorization vote.
And I certainly don’t mean to dismiss the genuine and passionate opposition to the war held by many of Cantwell’s critics. I was strongly opposed to a “preemptive” invasion of Iraq, and all of my fears and concerns have certainly been borne out in the war’s execution.
But… there’s more to being a senator than just this one issue, and before rank and file Democrats buy into Wilson’s hoo-hah about being the “populist voice” of the party, they might want to look a little closer at where this “populist”
Libertarian Green Democrat actually stands on the issues.
Wilson said “90 percent” of his platform is unchanged from 2002, when he first ran for Congress as a Libertarian in the 1st Congressional District, which was won by Democrat Rep. Jay Inslee.
Uh-huh. “90 percent.” That means that on issue after issue, Wilson is not a progressive Democrat… he’s a Libertarian. For example, on health care, where Progressive Punch scores Cantwell at a perfect 100% (better than both Patty Murray and Jim McDermott,) Wilson had this to say on his 2002 campaign website.
2. What, if anything, should Congress do to expand health-care coverage?
Every attack on private health insurance markets should be resisted. A genuine free market in health care will encourage competition and help reduce costs. Comprehensive Tort Reform would take the bite out of insurance premiums and promote personal responsibility. Insane lawsuits awarding multimillions, punch taxpayers right in the fries.
Every calculated attack on private health insurance markets should be resisted [...] Health care costs will remain too high and the value of health care insurance too inadequate until we restore a genuine free market in health care…
Unfettered private health insurance markets and tort reform? That’s not the platform of a progressive candidate… that’s the platform of insurance industry lobbyist/CEO/GOP candidate Mike McGavick.
All those self-proclaimed progressives who say they simply can’t vote for Cantwell because of her Iraq war vote are missing the bigger picture. Yes, the war was ill conceived, immoral, and incompetently executed by the politicians in charge. But it is also draining our nation of the resources necessary to adequately address health care, education, the environment, alternative energy and a host of other issues that form the core of the progressive agenda… issues on which Cantwell has not only been a reliable vote, but often, an outstanding leader.
Wilson on the other hand… as a Democrat, he’s at best a 10 percent solution, and if you want to know where he stands on the other 90 percent of the issues, you better read the Cato Handbook.
That said, go ahead and cast your protest vote for Mark Wilson if that’s what you really want to do. No harm done, I guess, as Wilson can’t win, and Cantwell won’t waste any time or energy campaigning against him. But anything you do to undermine Cantwell’s prospects in the general election is nothing more than a contribution to the McGavick campaign and the Republican Party that got us into Iraq in the first place.
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has a column in Monday’s Washington Post, in which he warns about President Bush’s final thousand days… and it’s a must read.
The Hundred Days is indelibly associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Thousand Days with John F. Kennedy. But as of this week, a thousand days remain of President Bush’s last term — days filled with ominous preparations for and dark rumors of a preventive war against Iran.
The issue of preventive war as a presidential prerogative is hardly new. In February 1848 Rep. Abraham Lincoln explained his opposition to the Mexican War: “Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose — and you allow him to make war at pleasure [emphasis added]. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, ‘I see no probability of the British invading us’; but he will say to you, ‘Be silent; I see it, if you don’t.’ ”
This is precisely how George W. Bush sees his presidential prerogative: Be silent; I see it, if you don’t . However, both Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, veterans of the First World War, explicitly ruled out preventive war against Joseph Stalin’s attempt to dominate Europe. And in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, President Kennedy, himself a hero of the Second World War, rejected the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a preventive strike against the Soviet Union in Cuba.
The Cuban missile crisis was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in all human history. Never before had two contending powers possessed between them the technical capacity to destroy the planet. Had there been exponents of preventive war in the White House, there probably would have been nuclear war.
Today is not only Earth Day, it is a day on earth much too beautiful to spend indoors blogging. So I didn’t. Instead, I spent much of the day outside, pulling ivy, trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, and doing other such good neighborly stuff I’ve been neglecting for much too long.
And when I was done, you could barely tell the difference.
We all know that entropy is a powerful force in the universe, but it’s especially strong around my house, which quite frankly, I’ve allowed to go to hell since HA took over my life in the weeks surrounding the November, 2004 election. A lot of people ask me how I manage to find the time to write so much, and the answer is simple: I’ve been neglecting just about every other aspect of my life, other than my daughter. My house, my yard, my car… they’re all a total mess (not to mention my finances.)
And it’s been totally worth it.
Still, there’s a lot of mess to clean up, and I hope if I take a break like this every once in a while, you all keep coming back.
Anyway, happy Earth Day.
Hmm. If you knew that John N. Nordstrom gave $25,000 to finance the political schemes of the leader of a local chapter of the John Birch Society, would you be more or less likely to shop at his family’s department stores? If you knew that the gay-bashing recipient of Nordstrom’s largesse had once sponsored a city initiative to overturn the sexual orientation provisions of Seattle’s fair employment and open housing ordinances, would you hesitate before spending your hard earned cash at our city’s most famous retailer?
Well… now you know.
As of the latest public disclosure period, Nordstrom is by far the largest contributor to Initiative 920, which would repeal Washington’s estate tax. Indeed, his $25,000 comprises over a third of the total contributions raised thus far.
And the initiative’s sponsor and committee director is none other than Dennis Falk, a disgraced ex-Seattle police officer and lifelong Bircher, who was removed from active duty in 1978 after killing a retarded man by shooting him in the back. (Two officers who were near the scene testified that they never heard Falk yell any warnings before shooting the suspect.)
Falk is man who clearly does not represent the views or best interests of the majority of Washingtonians, as evidenced by what he told the Seattle Times in 1978 after the failure of his anti-gay initiative:
“I think we may have attempted to solve a problem a year or two in advance of when we should have put it on the ballot… Maybe we should have let these homosexuals carry on with their recruiting of our children for another year or so. As they flaunt their deviant behavior in the face of the general public, the public will become concerned and we’ll get it on the ballot again.”
Falk is a man who thinks Ronald Reagan was “a liberal” and who believes right-wing talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh are under the thumb an internationalist conspiracy:
“I appreciate him stirring the pot. But the day Rush attacks the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations is the day he will no longer be on the national airwaves.”
And that’s the kind of far right-wing, hate-filled political nutcase who Nordstrom is financing with his $25,000. It’s bad enough that Nordstrom — a company director and former co-chairman who owns a 3.6 percent stake — is putting so much of his family’s money into such a blatantly selfish initiative… but backing a man like Falk is simply inexcusable.
Public corporations and their principals — especially retailers — need to be very sensitive about the political figures and causes to which the contribute… lest they risk generating some awfully bad publicity for themselves and their business. So let this be fair warning to any other prominent businessperson who intends to back I-920: I intend to scour the PDC reports from here on out, and loudly publicize your financial contribution to the gay-bashing, back-shooting, lifelong Bircher, Dennis Falk.
“Darcy Burner is exactly the kind of candidate in the past that the DCCC would have let die,” said Rep. Ellen Tausher, D-Calif., a leader of the moderate New Democrat Coalition.
That is the most important message to take away from Joel Connelly’s column in today’s Seattle P-I about the close contest for WA’s 8th Congressional District. The Democrats failed to recruit a high profile candidate, thus this was a seat that only a few short months ago the bigwigs in both parties assumed was safe for Reichert.
Worry-free last winter, Republicans are far from sanguine in the spring.
“This is where they think they can flip a seat,” KVI radio host John Carlson warned 1,200 people at Reichert’s re-election kickoff breakfast in Bellevue.
On that, there is bipartisan agreement.
Through sheer will, hard work, smarts and force of personality, Darcy Burner, an unknown “third tier candidate,” has turned WA-08 into one of the hottest races in the nation. This is a remarkable feat, and is in itself a huge blow to the GOP’s efforts to retain control of Congress, as Burner has forced them into sinking money into a seat they hadn’t budgeted on defending.
Reichert still has many of the advantages of incumbency, not the least of which being name ID and access to lobbyist and PAC money. (Thus far, Reichert has raised over 42 percent of his contributions from PACs, whereas PACs comprise only 7 percent of Burner’s funds.) But both these gaps are closing… and here is where the grassroots comes in.
Burner shocked the political establishment by out-raising Reichert $334,000 to $268,000 in the first quarter… but that still leaves Reichert with a $725,000 to $357,000 cash on hand advantage.
I expect Burner to spend her money more wisely than Reichert, but she needs to at least keep pace with his fundraising from here on out to keep this race close. And to do this, she’s going to need a lot more help from us.
If every one of my readers donated only $200 to Burner’s campaign, we’d wipe out the money gap overnight. Of course, I don’t expect it to be that easy (though you’re all welcome to prove me wrong,) but if only a hundred of you signed up to host a house party or fundraiser, it could easily put Burner over the top. We really can make a difference.
A lot of local Republicans were awfully damn smug about this race heading into 2006… wouldn’t you like to play a role in wiping that smile off their face?
In an equally significant development, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported having $23 million in the bank, almost equaling — for the first time in memory — the cash balance of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which was $24.4 million.
“The days of the ’strategic cash advantage’ are over,” declared Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the DCCC, which raised $9.2 million in March, the same amount as the NRCC.
One of the things that made Burner’s first-quarter fundraising feat so important is that it qualified her for financial support from the DCCC. And with the DCCC’s own fundraising success, Burner can rest assured that if she makes her race close, the DCCC will be able to match their Republican counterparts dollar for dollar.
Meanwhile, the Senate Dems are actually out-raising Republicans, and have almost twice the cash on hand.
As Emanuel said, the GOP no longer has a “strategic cash advantage,” at least not in this campaign cycle, and while Reichert may outspend his challenger — as incumbents usually do — if Burner does her part to even the financial playing field, the DCCC will have the wherewithal to keep it even.
What this all means is that if we do our part to help Burner raise the money she needs to stay competitive, she’ll have every opportunity to win.
President Bush has hit a new low. Well… at least his approval ratings have: 33 percent. And that’s from Fox News for chrisakes. Now come on… can you rightie trolls really tell me that some of Bush’s bad juju isn’t going to rub off on your candidates this November?
No, really… he absolutely loves women’s basketball:
Hmm. I know Schultz claims to have lost $60 million on the Sonics and Storm franchises over the past five years, but from the looks of it, it’s been worth every dime.
I’ll tell you what Howard… if you want me to help pay for your new arena, then next time, I get to be the one making out with Lauren Jackson.
The Sonics have sent an ultimatum to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels: agree to a $220 million Key Arena expansion this month, or the NBA team will start looking to move elsewhere.
Under the terms of the Sonic’s proposal, the team would pay $18.3 million towards construction — less than 9 percent of the costs — plus $1 million a year in rent on a 20-year lease. In return, the Sonics would take over management of Key Arena, and keep all revenue from all events. But don’t you worry, the city would still own Key Arena… and be financially responsible for all major maintenance projects.
Such a deal.
Now personally, I really couldn’t give a shit whether the Sonics stay or leave, though I understand if these sentiments place me in the minority. But I’m pretty damn sure a majority of Seattlites share my disgust at the thought of billionaire Starbucks Chairman and Sonics owner Howard Schultz holding taxpayers hostage at a time we face so many other pressing needs.
Still, I’m nothing if not a consensus builder, and so I’d like to suggest a revenue proposal that not only satisfies the coffee mogul’s greedy demands, but also satisfies my own insatiate sense of irony: a Latte Tax.
Yes, what better way to finance a new arena whose primary purpose is to make a very rich man even richer, than to tax the business that made him so awfully damn rich in the first place? And what could be more delicious than a Marble Mocha Macchiato, than the spectacle of Schultz’s Sonics spending millions of Schultz’s dollars to convince voters to levy a tax on Schultz’s ubiquitous Starbucks?
Now I know what you’re thinking… voters already rejected Initiative 77’s Latte Tax back in 2003. But this Latte Tax would keep a professional basketball franchise in Seattle, whereas I-77’s Latte Tax only funded desperately needed preschool for low-income families, and really… who the fuck cares about them? It’s all about priorities.
What would it cost? Well, back in 2003 I-77’s sponsors estimated a 10-cent per shot tax would raise $7 million a year. The Sonics had previously backed a 20-year revenue package that would have provided $176 million for new construction plus $75 million to guarantee the bonds, so I figure a 20-cent per shot tax should more than cover the costs over 20 years.
We can quibble over the details — whether we’d need a higher or lower rate, or whether to extend the tax to drip coffee, beans and specialty items — but as long as Schultz is intent on reaming the citizens of Seattle, it only seems fair that voters ream his core business in return. And if he objects to a Latte Tax, well then, he’s free to follow through on his ultimatum… though I’m not so sure Schultz really wants to be remembered as the man who moved the beloved Sonics out of Seattle.
Basketball is a contact sport… but then, so is politics. Perhaps if city officials start throwing a few elbows, Schultz might be persuaded to negotiate a realistic deal.
That’s Nick for you… always looking for the pony. As for me, I’m wondering if I can get the city to pay to remodel my kitchen?
Well, Democratic challenger Darcy Burner has sent a letter to Cheney taking him up on his offer:
April 19, 2006
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Vice President:
During your recent trip to Washington State to support White House endorsed candidates, you were quoted by both Seattle newspapers as telling 8th District Representative Dave Reichert that you would “campaign for your opponent if it’ll help.”
As Reichert’s Democratic opponent, I would like to take you up on your kind and thoughtful offer and I cordially invite you to come and spend a day campaigning with me in the 8th District. The district reaches from Microsoft’s Redmond Campus to Mount Rainier National Park and offers a microcosm of America. Here are some of the events I would like to plan for your visit to the 8th.
Let’s start at Mount Rainier where we can take in the beautiful and precious parklands and forests. Here you may be able to see clearly why our district so opposed the Republican plan
I was going to write that we had no special guests last night, but if you listen closely, really, we’re all kinda special in our own way. (Especially Will.)
Joining me in our celebration of specialness were Mollie, Will, Gavin, Carl, and newbie Jeremy, a writer and editor for Seattlest and the Seattle Sinner. Topic’s of discussion included Vice President
Darth Sidious Dick Cheney’s recent fundraising trip to WA state, Ron Sims’ proposed expansion of bus service in King County, my proposed latte tax to pay for a new arena for the Sonics, and the growing chorus of retired generals criticizing the Bush administration’s inept execution of the war in Iraq.
Freshman GOP Rep. Dave Reichert has a well-earned reputation for being hot-headed and thin-skinned. But apparently, he’s also a hypocrite.
For example, remember that candidates forum back in 2004, in which Reichert dramatically walked out, whining that his Republican primary opponents (Luke Esser and Diane Tebelius) were playing “dirty politics”…?
“I’m disappointed that there are a couple of people who are on this stage with me today that decided that it’s more important to mislead and misinform the public, and as we refer to the dirty politics across the country and in our community and in our state, I, for one, am sick and tired of it.”
Reichert said that he wanted to run a clean campaign and that he has been doing so since he began campaigning.
[Bruce] Boram, Reichert’s spokesman, said the accusations were “cheap shots” and the sheriff wanted no part in that type of debate.
Funny thing is, at the same time Boram was defending his client’s public hissy fit, he was also preparing to launch some dirty politics of his own. It was Boram, in case you forgot, who was the local operative behind the US Chamber of Commerce’s unprecedented, multi-million dollar smear campaign against Deborah Senn in the Democratic primary for state Attorney General. It was Boram who refused to reveal the source of the money and who initially refused to comply with WA’s public disclosure laws.
When asked by KING-5 news if there was “any room for Bruce Boram” in a campaign that has disavowed “dirty politics,” Reichert said: “He and I are going to have a talk today to see where we go from here.”
Well, we can only imagine how that conversation went, because the next day, Boram purportedly resigned.
Boram, who was Reichert’s spokesman, strategist and a key fund-raiser, said he was stepping down because the furor over the ads was threatening to spill into the congressional race.
“When I’ve become the issue in the campaign, that’s just not good. So I decided it was just for the best,” Boram said yesterday afternoon. His resignation was effective immediately, he said.
Reichert said he had not asked Boram to leave, but said Boram made the right choice.
So imagine my surprise reading about Darcy Burner’s surging campaign in Roll Call last week, when I came upon the following quote:
“The 8th is a swing, Democratic district,” concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. “Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote].”
Wait a second. I thought Reichert dumped Boram back in 2004 because somebody had to stand up to dirty politics? Perhaps Roll Call simply got it wrong? So I checked Reichert’s 2005 expenditures, and what did I find? 19 expenditures totaling over $90,000 to Boram and his company Catalyst Consulting… by far Reichert’s largest vendor thus far.
Um… apparently, Boram was too dirty for Reichert’s campaign back in the fall of 2004, but somehow managed to clean himself up by April of 2005. And he’s been on the payroll ever since.
So I’m not exactly sure what message I’m supposed to take away from this. Was Boram’s staged “resignation” merely a disingenuous act of political expedience? (You know… a lie.) Or has Congressman Reichert become so indoctrinated in the culture of Republican Party politics, that, dirty politics… eh… not such a big deal anymore?
Or perhaps there’s another answer. Perhaps Reichert is so disengaged from his campaign and so hands-off its operations, that he doesn’t really know or care about the personal and professional behavior of the people running it? You know, the way he didn’t really seem to care about the mismanagement of the Sheriff’s office during his tenure there, or the abusive behavior of many of his deputies? Or the way he doesn’t seem to care about the corruption rampant in the Republican controlled Congress?
I dunno… either way it looks like a pattern to me. Though, I wouldn’t want to be one to cast aspersions.
So… “Lobbyist Mike” McGavick says he’ll balance the budget by cutting taxes, and he promises never, ever to raise taxes under any circumstances whatsoever, regardless of national emergency or unexpected crisis or anything, anything at all!
Uh-huh. Sure. I guess that’s his idea of responsible governance.
The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight (and every Tuesday), 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.
Apparently, our weekly podcast has been growing in popularity, with last week’s show logging over 500 downloads thus far. We’ve also had a number of requests from people who want to listen in live as we record it, so we’ll be adding a number of headphones tonight for those interested. First come, first serve.
For those of you on the other side of the mountains, please join Jimmy at the Tri-Cities chapter of DL, every Tuesday from 5:30 onwards, Tuscany Lounge, 1515 George Washington Way, Richland.
Light rail opponents like to ridicule transit planners for ignoring what they see as a cheaper, more flexible, quicker to deploy alternative: buses. Well, now is the time to see if these rail critics will walk the walk… or in this case, ride the bus.
King County Executive Ron Sims will announce today a plan for the largest expansion of bus service in over two decades:
The plan, nicknamed “Transit Now,” promises Metro Transit runs between downtown Seattle and West Seattle, Ballard and Aurora Avenue North every 10 minutes, with equally frequent trips from Bellevue to Redmond and along Pacific Highway South.
Other Metro proposals under the tax plan include: