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.