I'm not too excited about this week's start to the 2013 legislative session, because I already know how it ends.
After four months of stalling and bickering, the regular session will draw towards its close with no budget agreement, the Republican-controlled Senate insisting on deep cuts to social services while refusing to ratify any revenue increases. The Republican calculus is that as a special session looms, minority leader Ed Murray—desperate to get on with his campaign for Seattle mayor—will ultimately blink.
It's a stupid calculus, but Republicans are stupid, so hear it through.
State elected officials are barred from raising campaign contributions during session, a prohibition that could cripple Murray's mayoral hopes should budget negotiations slide into one or more special sessions. The regular session is scheduled to adjourn April 24. A 30-day special session would extend toward the end of May. Ballots for the August primary will be mailed out July 19. That doesn't give Murray much time to raise money and campaign.
No doubt Murray would loathe the prospect of a special session—hell, I wouldn't blame him for loathing the regular session. But it doesn't help him in Seattle to look weak in Olympia, and Murray knows that. So don't expect any political blinking.
But even so, it doesn't matter. Murray is the minority leader. Republicans already have the votes they need in the Senate to do what they want on the budget. It's the House that's the obstacle to Republican austerity, and they're not writing a budget based on Ed Murray's career ambitions.
At some level I think Republicans understand this, but if they fuck up Murray's mayoral bid, well, that's a win for them too. Because that's the sort of petty bastards they are. Remember, Rodney Tom has repeatedly brought up Murray's mayoral candidacy in justifying his own political treachery. After denying Murray the Senate leadership, there's likely nothing Tom and his cohorts would enjoy more than rubbing salt into Murray's festering wounds.
So I'm not really interested in the inevitable regular session gamesmanship because I don't believe it will result in a budget deal. And everything else this regular session is a sideshow.