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Friday, October 20, 2006

Who’s Biased Now?

posted by on October 20 at 15:24 PM

The Downtown Republican Club is sponsoring a debate on Monday between state Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens and her challenger, GOP state senator Stephen Johnson. (The debate, the only one between the two candidates, will be broadcast on TVW and the Seattle Channel).

I was asked to be the co-moderator of the debate along with conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky.

After I agreed to be in the debate, however, I was told that the Johnson campaign would not participate.

The Downtown Republican Club caved, let Johnson call the shots, and I was ousted for Joel Connelly.

I think it’s ironic that Johnson wouldn’t participate (he pulled out when our Owens endorsement hit yesterday). It’s ironic because he’s hyping himself as a non-partisan candidate while his supporters are trashing Owens as a partisan. So, here’s Owens agreeing to be in a debate sponsored by the Republicans, and Johnson throwing a third-grade temper tantrum after I’m included on the panel.

Johnson is actually a GOP state senator—one of only two senators to consistently score a perfect 100% voting record with the Wasington Conservative Union and the Christian Coalition. He also got a perfect score with the Builiding Industry Association of Washington (which, along with affiliated conservative PACs have raised $900,000 for his campaign); and an “F” from the Sierra Club.

Here’s a couple of great Johnson votes: He voted against unemployment benefits for victims of domestic violence forced to quit their jobs to escape their abusers; voted against increases in the minimum wage to track inflation; and voted against the gay civil rights bill.

Johnson’s tantrum at my inclusion in the debate is just another sign that he’s not interested in bi-partisan debate.

RSS icon Comments


well there's still several issues of the stranger in print for you to make an issue of this idiot--before the election.

what was he thinking???

Posted by seattl98104 | October 20, 2006 3:46 PM

Did you call your mommy and complain about this? Was Josh's feelings hurt?
There, there.

Posted by Sticks and Stones | October 20, 2006 3:51 PM


Please accept my personal apology for this misunderstanding, for which I am completely responsible. As you know, this is the first debate I have organized, and it certainly showed.

My goal was to offer the citizens of our state a chance to see a real debate between the two candidates for the State Supreme Court, with a real nonpartisan approach. It is an important race, and if I had not done this, I believe that there would be no debate.

Given that I only started work on this 2 days ago, and that the election rapidly approaches (with many folks having already voted by mail), I could probably try to excuse a couple of the mistakes I made.

But that would be disrespectful to you, the staff of the Stranger, your readers, the two candidates, and the other folks associated with the event.

There IS no excuse.

I was excited about making the debate happen, and handled some things too fast and too informally by phone.

I do not dispute your right to disagree with the Johnson campaign about matters of policy... or whatever you want.

But the mistakes on this one were MINE.

I like the kind of issues advocacy the Stranger does, and I hope to put together more forums in the future with you, Dan, or other staffers. Because I think looking at issues can and should be more fun, and debate more spirited.

You have legitimate cause to be unhappy about the way things happened with this. All I can do is to accept responsibility for my mistakes, and work harder next time to make sure that I do a better job.

I hope your readers enjoy the debate. On a personal lavel, I hope that you can forgive my mistakes this time, and give me a chance to work with you on similar events in the future.

Phil Bevis

Posted by Phil Bevis | October 20, 2006 4:11 PM

I'm surprised that more hasn't been made of the fact that the BIAW has basically, openly said that they're going to buy the Supreme Court through their candidate, Stephen Johnson, and current "Justice" Jim Johnson.

It seems that there would be more outrage in a state like Washington that still encourages people to believe judicial independence is real instead of admitting it's a just sham controlled by the richest, whitest and most heterosexual (hello Alabama, Texas, et al!).

Posted by Andrew | October 20, 2006 4:14 PM

You hear the Dino Rossi radio spots for "independent candidate" Doug Ralstone in either District 1 or 2?

Posted by Gomez | October 20, 2006 4:47 PM

Downtown Republicans Club? That's downtown Bellevue, right?

Posted by Justin J | October 20, 2006 6:08 PM

well when i read his info in the voter's pamphlet and got to his endorsement by dino "where the fuck is he now" rosi, i knew he wasn't getting my vote.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 20, 2006 10:47 PM

If the right wing buys a judical seat this round - god forbid what is next.

Susan Owens deserves the vote and support of every progressive reader of SLOG.

Mr. Johnson is a shill for the folks we have all been fighting for years. They have learned it seems that Ellen Craswell types are too obviously not qualified.

Slicker wrapped box, same old conservative garbage inside. Dino plus one.

Vote and support Susan Owens, I urge you.

Posted by George Bakan | October 22, 2006 2:05 PM

Well it looks more like a set up to me than anything else. Phil Bevis goes out and picks the most far right demogog he can find and in a week effort to have balance gets Josh to say yes. The Owens people say yes, time goes by and then Stephy says he will pull out. So, what does Phil do? Start from scratch or call Goldy? No, he keeps Stephy and gets Joel who is not likely to hold his own.
Look, this org is no league of woman voters. We are talking the downtown republican mens club, recently renamed. The same club that Jennifer Dunn installed Dino Rossi as president of.
Owens should pull out unless Stephy is replaced with David Postman.

Posted by Particle Man | October 23, 2006 9:33 AM

Owens has pulled out. This is the right move.

Posted by Particle Man | October 23, 2006 12:24 PM

Eh, we all lost with this one.

Feit/Sharkansky were balanced against each other, opinionated and intelligent. It would have been an excellent debate.

Posted by Leonson | October 23, 2006 4:53 PM

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