A lot of folks came out of the past legislative session awfully pissed and/or disappointed about the performance of our Democratic majority, but there is at least one special interest group that is celebrating the results:
Our state’s most vehement conservative lobby, which spent $7.2 million trying to defeat Gov. Chris Gregoire, boasts how the majority Democrat Washington Legislature did its bidding in the just-completed session.
“After coming in like a lion, the 2009 Legislature went out like a lamb,” reports the lead article in “Building Insight,” newsletter of the Building Industry Association of Washington.
The BIAW newsletter lists 14 legislative proposals that it opposed, ranging from solar water heaters in new homes to including climate change in the Growth Management Act. The word “Dead” is attached to 12 of them.
One of the slogans of the progressive netroots movement is “More and Better Democrats,” a motto by which we recognize that the straightest path toward implementing a progressive agenda is through a Democratic majority, but that quantity of representation doesn’t always translate into quality, a truism clearly demonstrated by the near super-majority Democratic control of the Washington State Legislature.
So what’s the solution for frustrated progressives? It sure as hell ain’t electing more Republicans, so vindictively undermining the electoral prospects of conservative Democrats in swing districts, as some have suggested, would be more than counterproductive. No, it’s time for us in the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party to start targeting “safe” Democrats who have proven themselves to be either ineffective or out-of-touch, or both. That means working outside the traditional party hierarchy, and yes, that means primary challenges.
Let Frank worry about the swing districts, while we focus on electing better Democrats from the party’s urban base. Either that, or be prepared to see the BIAW celebrating their legislative successes for years to come.