Unlike a lot of other political bloggers, the election season is a time when I tend to step back a little bit from the blog. The obnoxious (and often wildly inaccurate) TV ads that constantly run leave me feeling hopeless about the ability for anyone to go to the ballot box informed enough to make the right decisions about which initiatives and candidates to vote for – and about my power to make any difference in that. Being able to separate truth from fiction is a challenge for anyone who isn’t already devoting significant amounts of their time to following the issues and candidates themselves.
But there are a handful of races out there where I feel like I need to speak up more. One of them is the race for the House seat in the 45th Legislative District currently held by Roger Goodman. Goldy wrote about the challenger there the other day, and I don’t have anything to add to that. Unlike Goodman’s last opponent for this seat – Toby Nixon, who I have a lot of respect for – Kevin Haistings is a partisan hack with absolutely no qualifications for that seat.
It’s no secret that I’ve worked with Goodman a lot in the past. I’ve supported his campaigns because I think that he’s one of the most courageous and principled legislators in the state. He’s one of the few people in Olympia (from either party) who understands what makes government effective and efficient, and can truly call himself “fiscally responsible”. So when I read this from the endorsement of Haistings in the Seattle Times, I was floored:
For Position 1, Republican Kevin Haistings would bring a pragmatic, independent voice to the principal task in Olympia: wrestling a tight budget. The Carnation resident and Seattle Police Department sergeant is a political novice. Haistings’ budget approach — which includes looking at spending and asking not if a program is of value, but rather who should bear the cost — ought to be the standard in Olympia. Haistings proposes a public-private partnership to help pay for parks and other public needs.
Rep. Roger Goodman is the Democratic incumbent. An attorney, Goodman is best known for drug-law reform. But his tenure lacked independent leadership and efforts toward pragmatic budget solutions.
What amazes me the most about this is that Goodman is considered such an expert in “pragmatic budget solutions” that he travels to other states to talk to their legislatures about how to reduce their criminal justice costs. If that’s not enough, and you want to see an even clearer illustration of how odd the Times endorsement is, the following video was taken last week at a candidate’s forum. Goodman asked Haistings about the specifics of his budget approach, and Haistings admits that he can’t answer it because he doesn’t have specifics:
Our state budget isn’t going to be fixed by slogans. It needs real solutions from people who take these issues seriously. The Times may have fallen for Haistings’ empty rhetoric, but the voters in the 45th LD don’t have to make the same mistake.
Anyone who reads my posts here knows that I generally distrust (and often dislike) politicians from across the political spectrum, but with that cynicism comes a real appreciation for the politicians who truly defy special interests and win by standing against the corporate shills and obnoxious nanny crusaders. It pains me to see Russ Feingold potentially losing his seat in Wisconsin this year, and I wish that more principled conservative politicians who truly believe in small government had a larger voice against the Tea Party crazies. Roger Goodman is one of the few politicians out there who belongs in that category – and he belongs in Olympia too.