Politics The Peripheral Candidate
posted by October 19 at 11:21 AMon
In the Stranger Election Control Board’s endorsements we belittled GOP Senate candidate Mike McGavick’s recurring claim that Democratic incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell’s successes in the U.S. Senate have been “peripheral” and don’t deal with “the issues that keep us up at night.”
We ran through a list of Cantwell’s acheivments, writing:
For a freshman in the minority party, Cantwell’s record of achievement is jaw dropping: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge filibuster; extending the federal tax deduction for Washington’s regressive sales tax; protecting Snohomish ratepayers from Enron; keeping oil-tanker traffic out of the Puget Sound; extending low-income health-care coverage; passing identify-theft protection; and helping pass campaign-finance reform.
Former Safeco CEO McGavick calls Cantwell’s successes “peripheral,” but Cantwell, at heart a working-class Irish Catholic, sees them as populist.
Of course, we should have added: We see them as environmental. And if McGavcik thinks environmental issues are peripheral to Washington state than he is remarkably out of touch. This might explain why his campaign isn’t tracking, and why the national GOP seems to view him as a peripheral candidate now, putting their focus elswhere ólike Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee, where they still might have a chance.
Anyway, Clark County’s daily The Columbian also endorsed Cantwell today, and they picked up on McGavick’s tone deaf “peripheral” theme too. They write:
Cantwell’s issues might not keep McGavick awake nights, but they’re plenty important to Washingtonians. She has, for example, worked to restore methamphetamine-enforcement funds that had been dropped by the Bush administration. As Clark County residents and police know well, the Interstate 5 corridor is a virtual methamphetamine zone from Canada to Mexico.
Ultimately, it seems to me, that McGavick has winnowed the election down to only one “non-peripheral” issue: Fighting “Radical Islamic Terrorists.” Ever since Cantwell voted against Bush’s military tribunals bill (the bill iced the writ of Habeas Corpus and granted the President the leeway to interpret the Geneva Conventions on torture), McGavick has signed onto the GOP’s mail order campaign kit, hoping to salvage his chances by using the same old divisive Karl Rove scare tactic.
We’ll see if it works. I, for one, doubt it will.