I really hate talking down to my readers, particularly my fellow Democrats, but to all the crybabies out there whining about Sen. Maria Cantwell, I have two words: grow up!
Yes, she has cast some very disappointing votes, and no, on some issues she’s not nearly as liberal as many of us would like. And for the life of me, I simply cannot figure out the political calculus behind her voting for cloture in the Alito filibuster.
But… taking her entire term as whole, she has been a good senator… a hard working senator… an effective senator… and a surprisingly more progressive senator than many people give her credit for. According to Progressive Punch, Cantwell has a progressive voting rating of 88.73 percent, ranking her in the Senate’s top 20, only a couple notches to the right of Sen. Patty Murray.
But most importantly, she is an incumbent, Democratic senator, and she absolutely will be the party’s nominee in November.
Yet I keep hearing from whiners complaining that they can’t support Cantwell because of this vote or of that… suggesting that real Democrats should support real Democrats… like, you know… former Green/Libertarian candidate Mark Wilson.
First of all, even if Wilson had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the Democratic nomination — and he doesn’t — there is absolutely nothing to suggest that he possesses the qualifications to serve as a US senator. But even more importantly, there’s absolutely nothing to suggest that he’d be even remotely as progressive as Cantwell!
For example, on the issue of health care, Cantwell scores a 100 percent progressive voting record… better than both Murray and Rep. Jim Dermott. And what does Wilson have to say on the subject? In responding to a Seattle Times candidate survey during his 2002 run for Congress (as a Libertarian against Jay Inslee), Wilson wrote:
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.
Hmm. And where did the allegedly liberal Wilson pull that piece of rhetoric? Directly from the libertarian standard bearer Cato Institute, whose Cato Handbook for Congress states the following conclusion in their chapter on health care:
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…
The solution to our health care crisis is 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. It makes you wonder… who exactly is Mark Wilson trying to get elected?
So to my friends who are somehow enamored of Mark Wilson precisely because he is not Maria Cantwell, a little vocabulary lesson: the most that “liberal” and “libertarian” have in common is their first five letters.
Wilson is not a viable candidate, he is not more progressive than Cantwell… he’s not even a Democrat. There is only one Democrat running in this senate race, and that’s Cantwell… and if you don’t like it, then suck it up and put your energies into some other race. Dave Neiwert says he won’t be giving Cantwell any money. That’s fine. I have limited financial resources myself, so I might not give her any money either.
But every ounce of effort Democrats spend talking down Cantwell, deflating her support in the progressive base of the party, is an in-kind contribution to the McGavick campaign. See, us grown-ups have things we like to call “choices,” and the only choice next November will be between Cantwell and McGavick.
Personally, I will enthusiastically cast my vote for Cantwell.