As long as we’re on the topic of Karl Rove today….
It’s payback time!
(Via David Postman.)
Maria Cantwell has weighed in on the Karl Rove visit. I’ll just reprint the entire letter that she sent to supporters today. As the letter suggests, it is unusual (and, frankly, remarkable) that a senatorial candidate in the middle of an important race is actually asking you to send money to another candidate! In this case to Darcy Burner.
There’s a major political upset in the making here in Washington state – one that could tilt the balance of power in Congress to the Democrats. Today, Karl Rove is here to stop that from happening.
In our 8th Congressional District, Darcy Burner is on the verge of defeating her Republican incumbent in one of the most hotly contested races in the country. Darcy has been surging in the polls and has the Republicans scrambling. They know they can’t afford to lose this seat and they are pulling out all the stops: George Bush has been here, Dick Cheney has been here, and now it’s Karl Rove’s turn.
Today, Rove is headlining a huge high-dollar fundraiser for Darcy’s opponent. This is a big moment for the Republicans and they will raise a lot of money today. But, if we act right now, we can turn this into a big moment for Darcy.
You know that I am currently in a tough battle for my own reelection and that my race has also been targeted by the national Republican Party and the White House. Given my situation, I hope the fact that I’m asking you to help Darcy serves as an indicator of how important this race is to our country. Today, with Karl Rove here working for her opponent, I don’t think there is anything more important than helping my friend fight back against what is coming her way.
Darcy is going to be an outstanding Congresswoman. She is smart, experienced, and courageous. She will stand up to the Bush Administration, the Republicans in Congress, big oil companies, and special interests. She will stand up for us and for our values. We not only need to win back Congress, but we need to win it back with people like Darcy Burner.
When Dick Cheney came to town you came through for me. When Bill Frist came to town you came through for me. Today, with Karl Rove in town and control of Congress hanging in the balance, we need to come through for Darcy.
Another thing I find remarkable is that Maria has added Darcy to her ActBlue page. This further goes to show (as does the Rove visit itself) that the 8th CD race is an extremely important and competitive race.
Please listen to the Senator from Washington State and give what you can to Darcy!
Update: The Cantwell campaign issued a press release at around 4:45 pm:
In an email appeal, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell urged her supporters to contribute to U.S. House candidate Darcy Burner’s campaign. In just four hours, Team Cantwell has raised more than $31,000 for Burner’s campaign.
I imagine “Turd Blossom,” George Bush’s nickname for Karl Rove, refers to Rove’s ability to take a pile of shit and make something out of it. In any case, watch where you step today, because Turd Blossom is coming to town. He will be here to raise money for freshman Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington’s 8th congressional district .
Of 435 House races potentially up for grabs this November, the race between Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert has attracted an extraordinary amount of attention. Just a few months ago, Karl Rove sent George W. Bush to raise money for Reichert. The plan may have backfired a bit , as Reichert raised less money, and Burner more money, than expected.
Now, Karl Rove, himself, has taken on the task of turning Reichert’s turd of a campaign into a blossom.
By almost all measures, Reichert is in big trouble. In an ordinary year, an incumbent with widespread name recognition and a good head of hair would be pretty safe. Reichert should particularly be safe against a political newcomer. But this year isn’t an ordinary year. This year there is the smell of voter dissatisfaction in the air.
The dissatisfaction is coming from three places: (1) a general dissatisfaction with incumbents, (2) a specific backlash against Bush Republicans, and (3) from candidates with the scent of corruption and Abramoff about them. Unfortunately for Reichert, all three are at work against him: he is a Bush Republican incumbent with a little bit of the stench of corruption and Abramoff after taking money from convicted former Congressman Duke Cunningham and the newest member of the Convict’s Club, Bob Ney.
Reichert’s tenuous position is clear from the two most recent public polls, the first showing Reichert ahead and the second showing Burner ahead. The race is now rated a toss-up by the New York Times; and both CQ Politics and the Cook Political Report have upgraded the race from Republican to a more precarious leans Republican.
The most remarkable sign of Darcy Burner’s momentum in this race is that she has out-fundraised Reichert for the last three quarters!
These things just shouldn’t happen—not in an ordinary year.
The big question now is whether the net effect of Karl Rove’s visit will be to help or hurt Reichert. It is telling that the event is a private affair for some 100 wealthy donors and was not publicly announced. The Washington State Republican’s chief political clairvoyant Chris Vance (you know, the guy who could tell us just how the election contest would turn out) sees no problems for Reichert:
“In my view, there are no pitfalls (to a Rove visit) because the voters out there who have very strong feelings about this one way or the other have already made up their minds,” said Chris Vance, a former state Republican Party chairman and now a public affairs consultant with the Gallatin Group.
“Having Karl Rove here will not change anybody’s mind. But it will raise a bunch of money,” Vance said.
The trouble with Vance’s theory is that that when Bush came to raise money for Reichert, Burner also got a big fundraising boost. Naturally, when Rove’s fundraiser became public, the Darcy Burner campaign responded with a special fundraising drive focused on the visit.
I think an even bigger problem is that this visit will highlight and solidify the relationship between Reichert and the Bush administration. Who in their right mind can now believe that a reelected Reichert would vote against the administration’s interests when both Bush and Rove personally flew in to save his bacon? If Reichert had some semblance of independence during his current term (based on a couple of non-critical and pre-authorized votes), he loses it entirely by his new obligations to Bush and Rove. Indeed, in this political climate, and this particular congressional district, Karl Rove may leave more damage than can be fixed by the money he brings in.
I mean, if you try growing flowers on a turd, the wrong environment will leave you with just a stinking pile of shit.
(Send a message that Washington State will not support candidates beholden to the failures and incompetence of the Bush administration. Give something to Darcy Burner today. Remember, the number of donors is an important measure of success, so even if you can only afford five bucks, your donation strengthens the message considerably.)
Maria Cantwell is now a blogger!
Check this out at the Northwest Progressive Institute’s Official Blog.
I cannot support what amounts to a minimum wage penalty for over 122,000 Washington minimum wage earners. Why would the federal government work to lower the maximum wage rather than setting a minimum protection?
I am not buying this cynical Republican ploy.
And blogging with an edge!
The Seattle media is All Goldy All the Time this week!
This time Goldy writes for The Stranger about the real reason for his failed marriage:
All this time I thought my marriage had dissolved due to selfishness or immaturity or a failure to communicate, but now I no longer blame myself. I blame the gays for gnawing away at the institution of marriage and tearing asunder my daughter’s once-happy home.
But mostly, I blame Dan Savage.
Read the whole thing here.
There’s lots of news besides the McGavick lawsuit to talk about….
Update: This week’s Podcasting Liberally was hosted by Will with guests Mollie, Gavin, Nick, and Carl. The 57:06, 39.4 MB show is available here (mp3). The show was recorded at Seattle’s Drinking Liberally and produced by Confab creators Gavin and Richard.
Today is a day full of accomplishments for Goldy. The only problem is, he is largely unplugged and off in the boondocks somewhere trying to vacation or something.
First, he has the distinction of appearing in two pieces in the Seattle Weekly today. The Weekly came out with their Best of Seattle issue, and it looks like, once again, HorsesAss has been voted the Best Local Blog.
David Goldstein’s HORSESASS.ORG blog is the one you like best, presumably because it is reliably liberal, ruthless, and funny. Goldstein also helps host and promote the local Drinking Liberally club gatherings at the Montlake Alehouse, where pols and wonks make regular appearances. Those events are recorded and disseminated via podcast. And this year, Goldstein expanded his liberal empire to the airwaves of KIRO-AM (710), where he holds forth Sunday evenings.
“Liberal empire.” Cool!
Last year, Goldy ran something of a campaign to win the honor. This year, however, I didn’t hear a peep out of Mr. Goldstein about it.
TIM EYMAN? You voted for Tim Eyman? The washed-up, citizens-initiative-addicted watch salesman whose obsession with monkey-wrenching worthy public spending knows no bounds? The guy who recently delivered petitions in Olympia wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume? This is some sort of counterintuitive subliminal message you’re sending, right?
Given his spectacular string of failures lately, I suspect this will be Tim’s last “activist award” for awhile. Well…unless he uses The Force….
Speaking of Hell Raisers! Goldy also made the front page of the Weekly online edition for another reason:
Democratic activist, blogger, and KIRO-AM radio host David Goldstein confirms that he played a role in the lawsuit filed on Tues., Aug. 1, against Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick. KING-5’s Robert Mak first reported that Goldstein had provided a crucial nexus in the lawsuit.
Wow…Goldy is now a “crucial nexus!”
David Postman at the Seattle Times follows the story up with some incredible journalism!
(Speaking of Postman, he was awarded the Weekly’s Critics’ Pick for Best Mainstream-Media Blog. Congratulations!)
Back to Goldy. If all that isn’t enough, I noticed today that sometime within the last 24 hours, HorsesAss had its millionth visitor (937,000 tallied visitors plus an estimated 63,000 before Sitemeter was installed).
Man…you guys really do like Goldy!
Rasmussen released a new poll yesterday showing Maria Cantwell up by 11% points over Mike!™ McGavick.
The poll dated July 17 has Cantwell at 48% and McGavick at 37%. Cantwell’s lead over McGavick is outside of the 4.5% margin of error, meaning that she has fully pulled ahead of McGavick after being in a statistical tie (although numerically leading) for three months. At 37%, Mike!™ is exactly where he started last November, down from his peak of 41% in May. Cantwell has gained 4% since last month. Additionally, her favorability has increased three points to 56% since last month.
Apparently, Cantwell’s new campaign ad is largely responsible:
The latest Rasmussen Reports election poll of 500 likely voters was taken a week after the launch of the 30-second television spot, “First,” which touts Cantwell’s accomplishments on behalf of Washington state’s families.
Wow…a four point rise after a one week media blitz!
Surely, McGavick will respond by unleashing his own media blitz very soon. Oh…wait…what was it Goldy was saying just last month?
McGavick has been running a paid media campaign
In some sense, Mike McGavick took his first political bribe before he even swung into full campaign mode earlier this year. McGavick resigned last year as the CEO of Safeco Insurance Company in order to challenge Maria Cantwell for her Senate seat. In the process, he walked off with $28 million in bonuses and stock options.
Think about it. McGavick—a former lobbyist for the insurance industry—is paid by the insurance company he heads some $28 million to quit his job and become a Senator. “Win-win,” right?
To you and me that kind of a deal has the stench of corruption, both because of the potential for back-room agreements and because of the way it cleverly bypasses campaign finance laws:
Technically, Safeco is constrained by the same campaign finance limits as you or I, but insurance industry lobbyist cum CEO cum senate candidate McGavick is free to spend as much on his own campaign as his new-found personal fortune affords him. How convenient.
But not everyone sees this as a political scandal. Take, for example, 27 year old Emma Schwartzman. Today she filed a lawsuit against McGavick over his “excessive” severance package.
To Ms. Schwartzman this is not about politics. Instead, it is about theft. And it’s about family honor. Specifically, it’s about McGavick stealing from Safeco—a company founded by her great, great grandfather—and its shareholders.
In her own words:
Our lawsuit alleges that Mike McGavick didn’t earn the $28 million, he knew he wasn’t entitled to it, but he took it anyway.
I have brought this lawsuit to protect the assets and integrity of Safeco Corporation—a company that is important to me, my family, and my community.
My great, great grandfather was a founder of General Insurance Company, which later became Safeco. My great grandmother sat on the board and was an adviser to the company in its early years—at a time when most women had little role in corporate affairs. I own original shares passed down to me from my great great grandfather.
I have always been proud of my family’s role in building Safeco into a major employer in our state and a trusted member of the business community.
But under Mike McGavick’s leadership, Safeco lost its ethical compass. His greed has diminished the value of my investment and, more importantly, the ethical values of this great company.
As expected, the McGavick campaign responded with charges of “Political Smear!”
This is a politically motivated character attack. The allies of the incumbent senator have found yet another avenue to continue their daily personal attacks on me. […] These allegations regarding my compensation are without merit and obviously politically inspired.
Are the charges politically inspired, or contractually inspired? Here is the rationale for the lawsuit given by Ms. Schwartzman’s lawyers:
When McGavick became Safeco’s CEO in 2001, he drove a hard bargain. In addition to an annual compensation package worth as much as eight million dollars, McGavick also bargained for a “golden parachute” provision. This meant that if McGavick were fired, he would receive a multi-million dollar termination payment.
But Mike McGavick did not get fired from Safeco; he voluntarily resigned. And his employment contract clearly stated that if he resigned he would forfeit his right to a big payout. He would forfeit all compensation, including bonuses and stock options, and would get only his last paycheck. These employment contracts are quoted in the complaint, included in your packets, and posted on our website.
Instead of resigning from Safeco with his final paycheck, as his contract clearly provided, McGavick walked away with $28 million.
This lawsuit will prove that this $28 million payment was improper and fraudulent on numerous counts, and McGavick acted dishonestly and unethically in bargaining for and receiving this payment.
Just how did the
bribe severance agreement circumvent McGavick’s contract?
Andrew at NPI just posted about an emergency rally for tomorrow to protest the flawed minimum wage bill:
HR 5970, which has passed the House and is now heading to the U.S. Senate, contains two cynical provisions inserted by Republicans serving their corporate masters:
- Permanent cuts to the estate tax for very wealthy estates – exempting up to $5 million per person or $10 million per couple
- Invalidation of state laws providing a minimum wage for restaurant and other tipped employees, a provision that will affect thousands of workers here in Washington
HR 5970 hurts the thousands of workers in our state who receive tips by invalidating our state law that sets the minimum hourly wage for tipped employees at the same minimum wage as all other employees. Washington is one of only seven states with such a law. Not surprisingly, though, Washington’s 3 Republicans – Dave Reichert, Doc Hastings, and Cathy McMorris – voted for HR 5970.
Reichert voted to hurt low wage employees in his district? Go figure.
The rally will be held at the Seattle Center tomorrow at 2:15 PM at the base of the Space Needle. Speakers will include Jay Inslee (the organizer) and Darcy Burner. (Note to Wingnuts: the Seattle Center is not in the 8th District. In fact, it is not in Inslee’s 1st District, either. But this isn’t a campaign event now, is it? The Seattle Center is a great place for people in the entire region to gather and protest.)
If you can make it tomorrow, please do! Either way, be sure to contact your Senators and express your concern about this cynical Republican stunt disguised as legislation.
Update: Those of you interested in an alternative to the low-wage-employee-hating Rep. Doc Hastings can tune in to KUOW 94.9 FM tomorrow at 9:00. Congressional candidate Richard Wright will be Steve Scheer’s guest on Weekday.
What do we really do each week at Drinking Liberally? Well, this week I suppose I’ll propose a toast to good health for Fidel Castro (better intestinal fortitude?)…while…um…burning an American flag…and…and…we’ll sing the national anthem—in Spanish—while smoking Cuban cigars. Yeah…that’s the kind of fun we have each week.
Won’t you join us?
We meet at the Montlake Ale House (2307 24th Avenue E). The fun begins at 8:00 p.m.
Drinking Liberally is hosted by Seattle bloggers Nick Beaudrot of Electoral Math and Thehim of Blog Reload. If you find yourself in the Tri-Cities area this evening, check out Drinking Liberally at the Atomic Ale in Richland. Jimmy has the details.
As far as I know I’ve never met Stefan Sharkansky. But he wrote a friendly email to me about a year ago pointing out, among other things, that we overlapped as undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin in the mid-1980s. So, who knows, I might have had a beer with him on the Memorial Union terrace, played a pick-up raquette ball game with him, or worked with him on a team programming project for a computer science course. If so, I am sure I enjoyed his company—if we had discussed politics at all, we would have shared the common ground that neither of us had ever voted for a Republican for President.
So why am I seemingly sucking up to Stefan? Well, first because I feel a little bad that I never responded to his email last August. I was on the road in NY state that month, and had lousy Internet access. But, more importantly, I am about to gobble-up some of his bandwidth by linking to an audio file on his site. Sorry Stefan…when Goldy left me the keys to the blog, he didn’t give me file upload capability. In any case, there would have been all that trouble of asking permission to use the file….
What the hell is this all about, you ask?
This Monday afternoon, Goldy and Stefan held a debate at Microsoft for the Microsoft PAC lunch. Stefan recorded and posted an audio file of the event. You can read his post about it here, or go directly to the audio here (15MB .WMA file).
I’ve listened to the debate and I must say that I sensed surprisingly little animosity between them. They laughed at each others jokes, they were not rude to each other, were pretty good about not interrupting each other, and they actually agreed on occasion. They produced an interesting debate over some issues like Darcy Burner and the 2004 election contest. The whole thing seemed shockingly civil! The debate is definitely worth a listen, whatever brand of politics you subscribe to.
In the late 1990s, Jay Leno suggested a hilarious practical joke in which he and David Letterman would swap places for a night (unannounced, of course). I once suggested something similar to Goldy—have Stefan post on Horsesass for a day and have Goldy post on Sound Politics for a day. My puckish suggestion may never happen, but after listening to these two rivals being civil in—and maybe even enjoying—their face-to-face interactions, it reminds me that the medium of blogs (and particularly blog comment threads) can sometimes act as an artificial barrier. Perhaps people who seem to hate each other in Goldy’s comment threads might find that they have common ground in their day-to-day concerns, and actually enjoy discussing topics like sports, microbrews or their favorite recipes. Hell…we might like some of the enemy!
Okay….enough of that feel-good shit. Back to the verbal daggers!
By now you have heard about the shooting of innocent people last Friday in downtown Seattle by a Christian terrorist. And what I want to know is what are we going to do about the rise of Christian terrorism in this country?
Sure, the Seattle Times inadvertently report that Naveed Afzal Haq was a Muslim-American:
A Muslim-American man angry with Israel barged into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Friday afternoon and opened fire with a handgun, killing one woman and wounding five others before surrendering to police.
But now we know the cold, hard, and incontestable fact: Haq was a recent convert to Christianity:
He told friends he felt alienated from his own family, in part because his career had disappointed his father and also because he had disavowed Islam last year, converting to Christianity.
Haq had begun studying the Bible, attending weekly men’s spiritual group meetings, only to stop coming a few months after his baptism.
The group’s leader, Albert Montelongo, said Haq started studying the Bible and in December he underwent a water baptism at the non-denominational church, performed by Montelongo. He said Haq accepted his new faith, though he knew that he would also be offending his own family and its deeply rooted culture.
Whether Haq drew inspiration from online Crusadist preachers, or whether this act of terrorism was funded, organized, or propagated by a local Christian terrorist cell, something must be done.
Don’t misunderstand me, I not one of those eliminationist assholes who think that all Christians should be rounded up and gassed. Even so, how can we expect to live in a civil society with extremists going off and shooting innocent people in the name of Christ. I mean, can’t we just round up the suspicious ones and isolate them in fenced-in camps somewhere in rural New Mexico? We’ll call them “gated communities” so that everyone involved can feel a little more dignity about it. At the very least we should make them wear some type of identifiable mark or article of clothing.
Besides the heinous crimes of killing and injuring people, Haq also committed the crime of blasphemy when the recent convert to Christianity besmirched Islam during his rampage by claiming he was an angry Muslim. (In fact, he hasn’t been practicing Islam since 1994.) It’s always the new converts to a religion who are the most fanatical, but trying to pin this on his forsaken religion is beyond the pale….
Sure…there will be apologists who will point out that Mr. Haq suffered from bipolar disorder, that he had a previous arrest for anti-social behavior (exposing himself at a shopping mall), that he was well-educated but minimally employed at a Home Depot, that he felt isolated from his family after renouncing Islam, that he was lonely, that he badly wanted a romantic relationship, that he suffered discrimination as a brown-skinned person with a suspicious-sounding name in a lilly-white Pacific Northwest, or that all he desperately wanted was to “fit in.” Some have even suggested that his job led him to “go Depot.”
All of these are excuses made by touchie-feelie liberals who refuse to accept that America is under siege by Christian terrorists. The man knew exactly what he was doing—he trained in his violent idology and weapons for months before fulfilling his holy mission.
As you might expect, Jewish and Islamic groups were quick to condemn the violence against their people and their religions.
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, issued a statement calling the shootings a “senseless attack on a religious institution.”
“The American Muslim and Jewish communities must do whatever is within their power to prevent the current conflict in the Middle East from being transplanted to this country,” the council said.
And the Arab-American community also condemned the attack.
What I want to know is this: where is the outrage from Christian groups? These groups are complicit through their silence and inaction when one of their own goes on a killing spree against members of another religion.
How Haq is prosecuted—what punishment is sought, what excuses are made and accepted for his violence, and the outcome after all appeals are exhausted—will speak loudly to our society’s true tolerance for Christian terrorists in our midst.
N in Seattle took a look through candidate filing lists from the Secretary of State and King County today. As he expected, some of the usual suspects showed up—like perennial candidate Mike the Mover.
The real surprise is that Richard Pope turns up as a candidate! It really shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Mr. Pope, like Mike the Mover, is a perennial candidate. But I was surprised because Pope, when asked by Wayne in an HA comment thread if he was running against Chambers (last Friday at 12:47 pm) replied that he “won’t be travelling to Olympia today (i.e. Friday, July 28, 2006).”
Wayne astutely observed that “[y]ou can file on-line now, so you don’t have to go to Olympia. Not that I am trying to give you any ideas, but your non-denial was not necessarily a denial.”
Another way to interpret Richard’s statement is that he had already gone to Olympia (i.e. Thursday, July 28, 2006) and filed. I would be shocked, shocked(!!), I tell you, if Richard had intentionally mislead all of his friends here.
In any event, Richard Pope is running for Position No.2 in King County District Court’s Northeast Electoral District against incumbent Mary Ann Ottinger.
Judge Ottinger received some media attention recently because she was censured by the State Supreme Court:
The state Supreme Court censured a King County district court judge and suspended her without pay for 30 days.
The court’s unanimous order, disciplining Judge Mary Ann Ottinger of Issaquah, came on the recommendation of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. In May, the commission found a pattern of improper conduct by Ottinger concerning defendants’ rights to be advised of their legal rights.
Why was Pope being so coy about his candidacy last Friday a few hours before the deadline to file? It could be that Wayne’s comment did set off a light bulb in Pope’s head, and he filed over the internet at the last minute. But I suspect that Pope had already filed. He believed that this race would be a cakewalk and didn’t want anyone else to get the same idea. Given Ottinger’s recent bad publicity, Pope felt the race would be his for the taking if he were Ottinger’s only opponent.
In the end, it is not clear how important Ottinger’s censure will be to the outcome of the election. Her violations happened several years ago, and the Commission said that since 2005, Ottinger has run a “model courtroom.” She just needed a little remedial training.
Unfortunately for Richard, a third candidate, Frank V. LaSalata, also filed for this position. There is good news and bad news for Richard Pope about this other opponent: If, as N in Seattle points out, this person is the very same Frank V. LaSalata, it means that both of Richard’s opponents have prior judicial experience. The good new for Richard is that Judge LaSalata also committed errors in discharging his duties as Judge.
Perhaps Richard’s chances will improve if he can get another endorsement like this from Goldy :
For Position 4, I’m standing by my man: perennial candidate and HA regular Richard Pope. Sure, Richard’s a little nutty, and he’s probably unqualified for the job, but he’s got a couple good points to make about the Port being a drain on taxpayers, and what the hell… he doesn’t stand a chance of winning anyway. If you really don’t want to throw away your vote, Jack Jolley’s your man… but I’m voting for Richard.
My question for Richard is this: will you follow McGavick’s lead and promise to run a positive campaign?
I mean, you won’t be going all negative on your opponents now, will you?