Darcy Burner has an op-ed in the Seattle Times today on our disastrous five-year occupation of Iraq, and her Responsible Plan to end it: “Five years is long enough.” My understanding is that the Times offered Burner the opportunity to write an op-ed, unprompted, which suggests to me a possible shift in attitude from the powers that be at a paper that once attacked her in perhaps the most viciously one-sided, mean-spirited and dishonest editorial endorsement I have ever had the misfortune of reading. We’ll see.
One of the most persistent attacks on Burner has always been her supposed lack of experience, as epitomized in Reichert’s mockingly sexist (and apparently effective) job interview ad. (How a two-year AA degree and a police career prepares one to be an effective legislator, I’ll never know.) But Burner’s leadership in developing and promoting the Responsible Plan puts that canard to rest:
Over the past six months, I have worked with military and national-security experts such as retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was a predecessor of Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, to create a clear path forward for our country. […] The response has been phenomenal. More than 30 House and Senate candidates from across the country have signed on — including both Democratic U.S. Senate challengers in Oregon — and the list is growing. Some of the leading minds in the national-security establishment have reviewed and endorsed the plan, including Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan, and Rand Beers, a counterterrorism expert who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes.
What Burner has demonstrated as a mere candidate is exactly the kind of legislative leadership, initiative and effectiveness we have never seen from Reichert — who GOP Beltway insider Robert Novak describes as having “not distinguished himself during three years in Congress.” She consulted closely with national security experts, drafted a proposal, sought additional input from fellow candidates and other interested parties, and ultimately built consensus around a comprehensive Plan so credible that it has already earned the endorsement of 37 Democratic challengers, only one week since its introduction. That is effective leadership. That is exactly the process by which one successfully crafts and passes legislation. And that is also exactly the kind of job Burner was trained to do as a high-level manager at Microsoft.
Anybody who has worked in the product development cycle can recognize in Burner’s efforts creating and promoting the Responsible Plan, the skill set necessary to successfully bring a product to market on time and on budget. As a longtime Macintosh partisan it pains me to suggest this… but couldn’t we use a little bit of that Microsoft culture in the House of Representatives? Perhaps Darcy’s high-tech experience is at least as applicable to the job of representing the interests of the 8th Congressional District as Reichert’s 18-year investigation of the Green River Killer?
And if our editorial boards are going to place such an emphasis on experience, perhaps it is time to ask Dave Reichert what he has to show for his three years in Congress?