Oh God how I hate this meme:
Gov. Jay Inslee needs a win. After two years in Olympia, legislative victories on his proposals are sparse, and it’s not looking good this year either.
Instead, Inslee has been primarily a speechmaker-in-chief, and mostly about carbon reduction. In Associated Press style, he’d be Gov. Inslee, D-Climate Change, not D-Wash.
… Heading into his third year in office, Inslee needs a win. Voters in 2016 will want to know: Is Inslee an ideologue or a pragmatic executive?
Really? Jay Inslee is the ideologue here? Why? Because he accepts the overwhelming science of climate change? Because he believes it’s the responsibility of government to try to, you know, not destroy the fucking planet?
The problem with the sort of pragmatic, bipartisan, false-equivalentarianism the Seattle Times espouses is that in the current political environment, there is nothing pragmatic about it. True bipartisanship is only possible either when both sides are already in basic agreement (like when the allegedly “ideological” Inslee called a special session to ram the Boeing tax-break package down our throats), or when both sides are willing to compromise. But in the current political environment, the state senate Republican majority has absolutely zero will or incentive to give a nanometer.
First of all—and let’s be completely frank about this—a goodly chunk of the Republican caucus is filled with science-denying Christianist/Teahadist whack-jobs. Seriously. These people are fucking crazy. Do you really believe that the high-school-student-marrying minimum-wage-worker-hating Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) is even remotely capable of compromise? Do we really want that to be the measure of a “pragmatic executive”: the ability to find common ground with a vile, anti-labor, sexual predator?
Second, the whole notion that Inslee’s performance in office should be judged by his ability to push his agenda through the Republican senate is nothing less than a setup for failure. The Republicans want Inslee to fail! That is the whole of their agenda! Legislative gridlock is a win-win for them because A) preventing the government from doing stuff is exactly what their constituents sent them to Olympia to do, and B) Senate Ways & Means Committee chair Andy Hill is running for governor against Inslee in 2016! So even if this iteration of the Republican Party was capable of compromise (and it’s not), why on earth would it want to hand Inslee a legislative victory?
Sound familiar? It took six long years for President Obama to accept the fact that the entire congressional Republican agenda was: make President Obama fail. What did compromise get Obama in the meanwhile? A half-measure of a health care reform package whose repeal has become the rallying cry of the Republican Party.
“Team of rivals,” my ass.
Inslee at least has been a quicker study. He knew he didn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting either a carbon tax or a capital gains tax past the Republicans this session. He’s not stupid. So he’s using the power he has—the power of the bully pulpit—to help move the political conversation from where it is to where he thinks it needs to be. That doesn’t make him an ideologue. It makes him a leader.
Sure, compromise is great if both sides are willing to do it. And true bipartisanship is a lofty goal. But to score Inslee “an ideologue” for failing to push his proposals through this senate is to place the scorecard squarely in the hands of Republicans. It is a bullshit meme I hope nobody takes seriously, especially not Inslee.