To call him “a stinking drunk” might strike some as a misleading and means-spirited personal attack on Mike!™ McGavick’s character, but in my defense I’m only attempting to follow his lead. Indeed, unless he wants to add the word “hypocritical” to the headline, the dipsomaniacal former lobbyist and self-proclaimed champion of civility must reluctantly acknowledge the epithet as both accurate and, well… civil.
Yeah, I know us Democrats tend to get bogged down in nuance, but I want you to follow me on a little thought experiment, put all your partisanship and cynicism aside, and assume for just a moment that we can actually take Mike!™ at his word.
You see, Mike!™ says he wants to bring civility back to the other Washington, and rails against candidates for “attacking each other’s personal character instead of attacking the issues.” And in his much publicized, recent mea culpa he even apologized for a TV ad he ran in 1988 while managing Slade Gorton’s senate campaign — an ad that cynically mischaracterized Mike Lowry’s position on drug legalization.
“Though we never raised it again, we should have pulled it once evidence mounted that the Daily article was not an accurate reflection of his views.”
Mike!™ lists this ethical lapse as one of the two biggest regrets of his professional career. So let’s take him at his word. Surely, today’s Mike!™, a champion of civility and clean campaigning, would never knowingly mislead voters about an opponent’s views again.
So how do we explain Mike!™’s current radio spot in which he accuses Sen. Maria Cantwell of opposing allowing Washington residents to deduct state and local sales tax from their federal income tax?
“Maria Cantwell voted with her party, against our deduction and against our families,” says the announcer, noting that the deduction was worth $550 to Washington families.
“Sen. Cantwell said she voted ‘no’ because she disagreed with parts of the bill, yet when she was offered a compromise, she refused to talk,” the ad says.
As the Seattle Times points out this morning, that’s simply misleading.
Cantwell, in fact, co-authored the bill that first allowed state and local sales-tax deductibility in 2004. That legislation expired this year. In February, Cantwell sponsored a measure to make that deduction permanent. It passed the Senate 75-25 and is still pending in the House.
The bill the ad refers to was the GOP’s cynical “trifecta” legislation, that in addition to extending the sales tax deduction (for only a single year) would have reduced the take-home pay for millions of tip-earning workers while permanently slashing the federal estate tax on our nation’s wealthiest families. And in fact, Sen. Cantwell talked with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist the night before the vote, but he didn’t offer a compromise that could satisfy her or the American people.
Yet not only doesn’t “Open” Mike!™ regret this ad, he actually defends it.
“She voted against it,” he said, adding that her vote on state sales-tax deductibility will be a major campaign issue.
And you know what? Technically, he’s right.
Even though Sen. Cantwell has long been a champion of the sales tax deduction, ushering it through the Senate in both 2004 and 2006 — and even though the ad deliberately leaves the false impression in voters’ minds that she opposes the deduction — technically, the ad is accurate in stating that she voted against the deduction, this one time.
And so following this high standard of accuracy and civility, I think it is fair to say that technically, Mike!™ McGavick is a stinking drunk.
Oh, Mike!™’s not stinking drunk all the time. I’m sure he tends to wake up sober most mornings, and there are probably occasions when he orders only a club soda or maybe an O’Doul’s, rather than a 12-pack of beer.
But we now know for a fact that on at least one occasion he not only drove drunk, he blew a literally staggering 0.17 percent — a blood alcohol level difficult to achieve with fewer than 8 or 9 drinks over the course of an hour. And when fellow KIRO host Dori Monson accused him of being “stinking drunk,” Mike!™ not only didn’t deny it, he actually admitted that there are still occasions to this day when he is too drunk to drive.
And so if it isn’t misleading to claim that Sen. Cantwell opposes a sales tax deduction she’s long championed, based on a single vote on a bill deliberately and cynically designed to provide fodder for misleading campaign ads (“There’s like 12 30-second ads sitting around in this bill,” one Republican aide told The Hill)… then it certainly can’t be misleading to describe Mike!™ McGavick as a stinking drunk based on the fact that from time to time he gets, well… stinking drunk.
Perhaps I’m being unfair. Perhaps Mike!™ fully intends to live by his civility pledge and set the record straight by apologizing for this ad too (some 18 years in the future.) Or perhaps, we really shouldn’t blame him for approving and defending this misleading ad because, you know… maybe he was just drunk at the time.
That’s why I wanna be like Mike!™.