What is the Editorial Board really saying in this Seattle Times editorial titled Gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee should shift gears toward state issues?
U.S. REP. Jay Inslee is wasting voters’ time by making an issue of federal health-insurance reform in his campaign for governor in 2012. Instead of attacking Attorney General Rob McKenna’s challenge to “Obamacare,” Inslee should focus on state issues.
Translation: “By ‘wasting voters’ time’ we mean that you can only discuss one issue at a time. And this isn’t it! Come on, Inslee, you’re killing us here. Rob made a mistake—showed his cards, if you will—but we still want folks to believe that McKenna is an honest-to-gosh moderate.”
That the health insurance law will apply in this state does not make it a state issue. The law applies in all the states. It is a federal law being challenged in federal court regarding the federal Constitution.
Translation: “The Tea Party is quite unpopular in Washington state, so stop pointing out that McKenna jumped into this Tea Party-inspired lawsuit. That’s just dirty politics to tarnish McKenna with his own actions.”
Opponents argue that the Constitution gives the federal government no power to order individuals to buy insurance. The Obama administration argues it has that power under the Commerce Clause. This is just the sort of argument the Supreme Court is designed to settle, and the argument was bound to arrive there. That McKenna joined one side and Gov. Chris Gregoire joined the other will not affect the outcome. Nor will a future governor of Washington, whether Inslee or McKenna.
Translation: “Whatever you do, don’t remind people of what has happened in other states when a Teabagger Republican has taken the reigns as Governor. Mentioning the lawsuit makes people fear that a future Governor Rob McKenna might do to Washington state what Florida Governor Rick Scott or Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have done to their states. We don’t like that. So stop it and talk about other stuff.”
All the while, there boils a huge state issue: the $2-billion budget shortfall. Gregoire has ordered state agencies to offer a list of 10-percent cuts. She will use this list to recommend a package of cuts to a special session of the Legislature. Does Inslee support this?
Translation: “Jay, do you support a Governor being able to collect information from state agencies and make recommendations to the Legislature? Really?!? Because…we’re not so sure….”
Does he think the governor should be empowered to make discretionary cuts if the Legislature does not? How would he close a $2 billion gap? Cuts? Tax increases? Reforms?
Translation: “And don’t even think of bringing up the fact that our own reporting finds McKenna’s state budgetary ideas utter fantasy.”
This gap should be closed by the time the new governor takes office in 2013, but the questions are likely to be similar.
Translation: “So even though our recommended “issue” will quite possibly be irrelevant for the next Governor, and you have 13 more months to talk about similar issues anyway, and regardless of the Health Care reform lawsuit being a timely news item now, and ignoring the fact that McKenna has admitted to losing control of the lawsuit’s agenda, and dismissing the fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Washingtonians will be hurt by success of the lawsuit that McKenna claims to have co-founded, please, please talk about only what we want you to talk about.”
Inslee has been in Congress since 1999, and he is still thinking about national issues. He needs to shift gears.
Translation: “Inslee should shift away from discussing things McKenna has done to harm the people of Washington. The people don’t need to know.”
“P.S. We won’t be endorsing you.”