Oh my God, you guys. The SECB just watched Bill Gates Sr. give what was effectively the concession speech for the entire 1098 effort. It was heartbreaking. Gates acknowledged that it was a tough one for 1098 and progressive causes tonight. He made a joke about going senile and forgetting where he was. After the usual thanking of the usual folks and the expression of genuine sadness at the outcome of the race, Gates perked up a little bit; specifically, he got mad. He said of 1098 opponents: "They can't just say no. How do they intend to help our schools?" As he left the podium to a round of dejected applause, people in the crowd shouted, "We love you, Bill!"
Then a really weird thing happened. Governor Christine Gregoire came out and gave the fieriest speech the SECB has ever seen her give. Not once—not during her appearance at the Obama rally at KeyArena in 2008, not during either of her gubernatorial races—have we seen her get this passionate. Gregoire seemed disappointed and saddened by the voters of this state's inability to reform education. Last year, Gregoire said, we "cut 27,000 kids off from health care. This is about our kids' future." She continued, her voice quavering, "We cannot afford to have a second-class education for our kids in Washington State… Tonight we are down, but we are not out."
To 1098 opponents, she said, "If not this, then what? Let's craft that better way." She expressed pride in Washington State, saying we are traditionally progressive. But her words didn't really ring true. She was angry and frustrated and emotional. The SECB wants to see a lot more of this Governor Gregoire; hopefully next time we see her, it won't be during a concession speech.