Over on their editorial board blog, the Seattle Times’ Bruce Ramsey calls me out for calling out Susan Hutchison for her connections to the Discovery Institute and their Christianist, anti-science campaign to foist so-called Intelligent Design theory on unsuspecting school children.
Oh, come on. I don’t buy the argument from design, and once compared it to the fabulist Erich von Daniken. But Discovery does lots of things, from stuff on Russia to passenger trains. Discovery was the initial backer of the bored tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct—an idea now endorsed by Ron Sims, Greg Nickels and Christine Gregoire. Funny how our progressive pundits missed the chance to make fun of that idea by talking about Intelligent Design.
Oh Bruce… why are you always picking on me? When have I ever said an unkind word about your publication?
But if you’re gonna pick on me, the least you could do is pick your spots a little more carefully, for I’m pretty sure I’ve never missed a chance to make fun of Discovery by talking about Intelligent Design. Indeed back in December of 2007, when the deep bored tunnel idea was first raised, I ridiculed Discovery in a post titled “Intelligent Transportation Design,” writing:
[T]he folks at the Discovery Institute are a bunch of fanaticist nutcases “visionaries”… you know, if by “visionary” you mean promoting Intelligent Design, seeking to overthrow the scientific method and “replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions,” …
And then again a year later, in a similarly named post, I once again honed in on the cavemen riding dinosaurs meme, musing:
Yeah, but then again, these are folks who don’t believe in evolution, so forgive me for taking their claimed scientific and technical expertise with a grain of salt.
There are a lotta things you can tar me with Bruce, but being inconsistent ain’t one of ’em.
And as for your main premise:
There are two obvious questions that matter about Susan Hutchison as King County Executive. One is whether her career as a TV news anchor and in arts fundraising qualifies her to be CEO of the largest county government in Washington, which is involved in police, courts, jails, land-use control, public health and elections. The other is how Hutchison would use the power the county executive actually has. Focus on these, and give us all a rest regarding the Discovery Institute.
Well, forgive the over-the-top forced metaphor, but I’d say that arguing that Hutchison’s association with Intelligent Design has no bearing on her fitness for office is kinda like considering Mussolini to head Sound Transit, and insisting the only thing that really matters is whether he has the proven ability to make the trains run on time.
Of course Discovery is a valid issue in this campaign, as are Hutchison’s self-identification as a conservative Republican. These are issues and labels which help inform us about Hutchison’s values, and whether she shares those of the majority of King County voters. Given her background, Hutchison should be forced to answer whether she accepts evolution as valid science, and whether she believes Intelligent Design or other “alternative theories” should be taught in the schools. Surely, Bruce, you’re not arguing that voters would be better served by having less information about their candidates?
As I stated yesterday, the bulk of the invitations for Hutchison to sit on boards came from her role controlling Charles Simonyi’s vast checkbook, but her position at Discovery, and the conservative Christian organization Young Life were different. These were board positions Hutchison sought out, presumably because their agendas were consistent with her own personal beliefs. Good for her. People should act on their principles.
And people’s principles should be issues in political campaigns.