Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kshama Sawant Goes Into A Conservative Lion's Den and Survives

Posted by on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

_K2V1539.JPG
  • Corky Trewin

Hours after being heckled by restaurant owners at City Hall, Council member Kshama Sawant—perhaps because she felt like torturing herself, or because she wants to be responsive to a broad constituency of voters—debated the minimum wage with 770 AM KTTH Conservative Talk Radio's Ben Shapiro. (There were two other debaters on either side of the issue, but gosh, I can't for the life of me remember who they were or what they said.)

The debate was, as you might expect, frustrating. For one, the capacity crowd of maybe 150 people kept jeering and laughing at everything Sawant said. And like the rabid fans they are, they cheered and applauded Shapiro at every turn. The moderator had to ask them to "hold the applause...and the jeers." Sawant responded with poise, sometimes smiling. It was the whitest crowd I've seen at a Seattle event—which is saying something—in some time.

The middle-aged dudes behind me were no exception. They kept snickering, which was rude, but they also groaned, as did I, when Sawant repeatedly cited "the data" backing up her position without ever naming a specific study, even though they're readily available. The fast-talking Shapiro seemed more focused on belting out sound bites and arguments based on libertarian economic theories at a dizzying pace than making sure any of them had substance behind them.

The debate got more interesting when Sawant and Shapiro veered beyond the minimum wage and into their respective ideological strongholds: socialism and capitalism. That's really what the debate should have been about, but the moderator preferred to question Sawant on every manner of carve-out and exception to a minimum wage policy—teen wages, training wages, tip credit, etc.. Sawant rejected them.

There was, however, a special moment of common ground between the far left and right. When Sawant criticized Washington state's $8.7 billion tax giveaway to Boeing last year, Shapiro responded, "When did she join the Tea Party? You're not going to hear any defense of corporate welfare from us." After the debate, he was effusive about her ideological consistency and willingness to spar with him in front of such a hostile audience. KTTH says the debate had "no clear winner."

"Conservatives are stuck between a rock and a hard place" on the minimum wage issue, Shapiro admitted during the debate. "Congratulations to Council member Sawant, this has tremendous momentum. Let's see if it plays out just as she suggests, then maybe we'll all be happy." Agreed!

 

Comments (35) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Max Solomon 1
actually, the question is, when did the tea party join us? the left was there before you, randian yayhoos.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 10, 2014 at 3:59 PM · Report this
seatackled 4
I wonder how many of the audience members are recent and regular commenters here. Dumbshits like Andrew Friedman can't even be calm online.
Posted by seatackled on April 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
5
I thought raising the minimum wage had libertarian support as a way to curtail the welfare state? So confused.
Posted by unpaid reader on April 10, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
6

This isn't about raising the minimum wage.

This is about raising prices on hot lunch in Seattle.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 10, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
LEE. 7
@6

The sex act??
Posted by LEE. on April 10, 2014 at 4:16 PM · Report this
8

#7

For those who don't use Urban Dictionary as their primary lexicon.

No...the thing that an employee buys at noon for consumption.

(Darn. That sounds just as pervy...)
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 10, 2014 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Amalink 9
Dory Monsoon was bitching and moaning again this morning about how she won't go on his show and that makes her a liar because she once promised to. But all he talks about is how badly he will mutilate and crush her. That's some big incentive. Makes me like her all the more for showing some sense in staying away from that Rush Limbaugh wanna-be.
Posted by Amalink on April 10, 2014 at 4:26 PM · Report this
fletc3her 11
So the Republicans do support the current minimum wage and want to raise taxes on corporations? Somebody alert the party leadership.
Posted by fletc3her on April 10, 2014 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 12
Kshama Sawant: the only politician in Seattle who matters.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on April 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 13
@9: I caught 5 minutes of Monson bloviating on Prop 1 on Tuesday. About Metro's wasteful budget, overpaid drivers, blah blah. What a cancer talk radio is.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 10, 2014 at 4:46 PM · Report this
stinkbug 14
@9: Treat yourself to some cake every time Dori mentions Kshama's husband's salary. You'll get fat quickly.
Posted by stinkbug on April 10, 2014 at 4:54 PM · Report this
17
@16
well, as 2008 clearly showed, we shouldn't take economic advice from the rich dudes, so were starting at the other end now.
Posted by JonCracolici on April 10, 2014 at 6:15 PM · Report this
18
being against corporate welfare shows that neither the Tea Party nor SA are very serious about what a state government's options are, in that situation. sure it's not a very nice or fair thing. neither would it be a very nice thing to see key bosses fly away with their contracts, patents and plant
Posted by alfresco on April 10, 2014 at 7:31 PM · Report this
19
This Ben Shapiro? The intellectually stunted Breitbart puppet?
http://www.salon.com/2014/04/10/right_wi…
Posted by Pol Pot on April 10, 2014 at 7:40 PM · Report this
20
Huh..Something Conservatives and liberals share in common...Socialism is bad

After watching that exchange..I have to say Kshama came across as an idealogue and pretty much just recanted rhetoric. When asked about Teen Unemployment and discrimination she avoided the subject and moved on to her core talking points.Big Business Bad Small business well___not sure.

I am actually surprised at how far she has gotten as a spokesperson for MW 15..Impressive but she will have her day in sun..The Teaparty had an impact but faded away..so will she once Murray and the council is done with her for their purposes.
Posted by A real live employer on April 10, 2014 at 7:56 PM · Report this
22
@9 dorky munson is an idiot. I'm surprised he has lasted as long as he has at KIRO. He must have caught one of the mormons with a goat or a sheep..... He has no common sense, should go back to sports, which he wasn't good at either.
Posted by longwayhome on April 10, 2014 at 8:49 PM · Report this
23
@20 Clearly you didn't get to be a real life employer through any political science expertise of your own. It's moderate republicanism that's dead, and the Tea Party is dragging its corpse off to the right. The Tea Party is the ideological powerhouse, and now it overshadows even the neocons.

Additionally, @10 is right. Sawant isn't going up against the Republican party, they aren't politically strong enough in Seattle and everyone already knows what they think, anyway- they might put money into a smear campaign, but they have no leverage with voters. Sawant is going against the moderates and the established democrats who are suddenly now being forced to reconcile with the fact that they've always talked like ideological leftists, but they've been conducting brokerage politics just the same way they always have been.

The moment they suddenly realize that someone is serious about achieving a "living wage" or "rent control" or any of the other vague hypotheticals they toss out at campaign time, they panic, because here's a candidate who actually ran on a single campaign promise that absolutely MUST BE ACHIEVED in order for her to ever achieve any kind of political office again after this. Regardless of the particulars of implementation (which is mostly what Slog has been arguing about) that is the one factor you can depend on.

If Sawant achieves a compromise that results in a significant wage hike, she might be able to win another election. If she accomplishes nothing, she will not win another election. That's why her attack on Boeing and corporate welfare is significant. She didn't come in as a democrat, she doesn't have the backing of the democratic party, and now she's going up against the establishment.
Posted by stilettov on April 10, 2014 at 8:52 PM · Report this
24
If the Minimum Wage goes up to 15$ and hour in Seattle then what happens to all of those workers making less than that in surrounding communities? That would eliminate about 75% of all para-educators at schools as they flock to stress free Seattle jobs, screwing over students with special needs. It drives college graduates to Seattle to take those jobs ( already a problem in Seattle, ask your local barista/English BA). This screws over the marginally employable (uneducated and youth).

Sawant got her ass handed to her, as she should have, since she could not refer to anything but appeals to emotion. But you are right, she does not have to convince Republicans. She only has to appease the guilt of sad-sack white voters in Seattle.
Posted by Coachn on April 10, 2014 at 9:45 PM · Report this
25
If the Minimum Wage goes up to 15$ and hour in Seattle then what happens to all of those workers making less than that in surrounding communities? That would eliminate about 75% of all para-educators at schools as they flock to stress free Seattle jobs, screwing over students with special needs. It drives college graduates to Seattle to take those jobs ( already a problem in Seattle, ask your local barista/English BA). This screws over the marginally employable (uneducated and youth).

Sawant got her ass handed to her, as she should have, since she could not refer to anything but appeals to emotion. But you are right, she does not have to convince Republicans. She only has to appease the guilt of sad-sack white voters in Seattle.
Posted by Coachn on April 10, 2014 at 9:50 PM · Report this
dorimonsonfan 27
Funny how Sawant spends half of her time arguing against Walmart. "Oh Walmart is horrible blah blah blah." If you hate Walmart so much and want to spend half of your free time (which you enjoy since your husband makes six figures for the capitalistic giant Microsoft) bashing them why not run for Lynnwood city council? FYI Kshama; Seattle, who you represent does not have a Walmart.
Posted by dorimonsonfan on April 10, 2014 at 10:54 PM · Report this
dorimonsonfan 28
@13 prop 1 favors the rich and punishes the poor. Is that what you want? Charge single mothers who can't take their children to day care on a bus $60 they don't have for their hyndai car tabs so Joe accountant in the Columbia tower making $100k can save fourty cents each way every day?
Posted by dorimonsonfan on April 10, 2014 at 10:59 PM · Report this
dorimonsonfan 29
@ 22 Monson never left sports. he is still doing the hawks highly rated post and pre game every Sunday during the football season....and Seattle must not be too bright of a town if an idiot is rated number one between noon and three weekdays. Funny how so many here claim to hate him but clearly still listen to the big show every day. Keep tuning in!
Posted by dorimonsonfan on April 10, 2014 at 11:04 PM · Report this
30
@28 No, Prop 1 wants to charge single mothers (and everyone else who manages to own a motherfucking AUTOMOBILE) $20. All of those EXACT SAME PEOPLE are already being charged $40. Fuck you.
Posted by malen on April 11, 2014 at 1:33 AM · Report this
31
@28 if you have a problem with the current car tab structure (which you should), that's 100% fine. But don't pretend that this one proposition is the entire cause of hardship for anybody ever. Even if car tabs were magically going from $0-$60 (see what I did there?!?) via this measure, that's still just SIXTEEN CENTS A DAY to own a car in this city. What we're actually talking about is basically a nickle a day increase to own a car. That means it's a full month and a half before you even get CLOSE to the cost of ONE bus fare. Now should we factor in the cost of the WAAAAHMBULANCE you just called? Because that shit's expensive.

What's so crazy is that many of us legitimately want an income tax in this stupid state, whereas you KNOW that there will not be an income tax anytime soon, and so you pretend that you're so concerned about the unfairness of this all.

I imagine it must be pretty aggrandizing to be number one in the coveted "just some yelling about sports and minorities that my coworker put on that I try to drown out" spot.
Posted by malen on April 11, 2014 at 2:04 AM · Report this
32
It really isn't that surprising that two complete lunatics found a common ground. People like Kshama and Shapiro probably have a lot more in common than not. They are like two evangelical preachers of different faiths. Its all the same technique and garbage repackaged for slightly different groups of sycophants to lap up. At the end of the day it is still a bunch of idiots being led by a smooth talking not-quite-idiot manipulator. Put them in the same room and they are probably great buddies until they have to ham it up for the cameras.
Posted by highside on April 11, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
seandr 33
I'm sure the wingnuts were delighted to have a real life leftist caricature in their midst.
Posted by seandr on April 11, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 34
@24/25 So, you think the number of jobs available is increased by having more applicants? Interesting. I guess the high unemployment of the last half-decade is just a problem with no one bothering to print up a resume.

Idiot. In most fields, jobs outnumber job seekers. If the person currently toiling with the special-needs kids in the suburbs is much better at their job than the person now filling a similar job in Seattle, maybe they'll switch places. The number of such jobs in each place would not change. If anything, the higher labor cost in Seattle would put downward pressure on the number of those better-paying jobs.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on April 11, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
35
Kshama's Dirt will get aired just like Meinart's did.

Convenient that she divorced her Microsoft husband upon arrive promptly in the US(Arranged Marriage) to get fast-tracked for Citizenship. Lets see what ex-husband Vivek Sawant has to say about her and their arrangement.

Just like Romney she will get exposed. Shop at Amazon, buy a starbucks coffee..support big business.. wipes her ass with Toilet paper made from a big bad corporation.. She can relish all the benefits, pick on the Small business's but with her money support the big guys.

Posted by A real live employer on April 11, 2014 at 12:02 PM · Report this
36
"I breathe, therefore I should receive."

Gold.
Posted by seatownr on April 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM · Report this
38
@34. I never meant to imply that applicants create jobs.
What I was saying is that if Seattle pays 15 dollars per job then highly qualified employees from outside of Seattle will seek easier jobs in Seattle thus depriving Exurbs of qualified people and flooding Seattle with people who cannot compete againt the highly qualified workers who now seek their jobs.

The reason why I chose para-educators outside of Seattle is that they are paid, for the most part between 14 and 16 bucks an hour. As rewarding as it might be to work with special need children it is also highly stressful. Sawant would get farther by saying
"It would be lovely if we could all make 20 dollars an hour but in all honesty many of us are not worth that expenditure of capital. I would like to improve the value of Seattle's workers by creating a job training program for all of those adults with families so that they can get jobs that pay 15$ dollars an hour."

But Sawant does not seem to want to improve the lot of poor families, just punish small businesses that are ran by slightly better off families.
Posted by Coachn on April 13, 2014 at 12:45 AM · Report this
39
@38 - What makes a job easier suddenly in Seattle? I have yet to hear the public school comment on this proposal. They just cut a bunch of jobs. They have many people working under that $15 threshold. There won't be jobs to get so I suspect you'll have more people from Seattle going out into the suburbs to find a job.

Posted by ahumanbeing on April 15, 2014 at 8:01 AM · Report this
40
@39- I was playing the "Let's assume the 15 NOW crowd is right" card in that raising base wages won't lead to higher hurdles to employment for marginal workers. Assuming that the HUGE labor capital expenditure increase does not reduce unemployment, surely the competition from non-Seattle residents, willing to commute, will. Those that are willing to commute will not be marginally employable and thus will beat out those marginal potential workers for high Paying, low stress Seattle jobs. I work in a school and trust me, nearly all of my Para-educators would hate to leave the kids they love, but money talks.

15 NOW will only succeed because it does appeal to the uneducated and the young and the bleeding hearts who have already found out that training leads to higher wages. 15 NOW, however, will not be a success for Seattle nor the surrounding communities.
Posted by Coachn on April 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
41
Political Conservatism is relative:would you call those attempting to preserve Scandinavia's and Cuba's Morally superior-to-AmeriKuh's societal nets of Safety "Conservatives"? ---- http://www.politicalcompass.org
Posted by 5th Columnist on April 21, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
42
"Communism is evil!" = "I want my White Privilege on demand indefinitely!" Waaaaa!!!! ;D
Posted by 5th Columnist on April 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
43
Wouldn't it be more grammatically accurate to label Ben Shapiro a Regressive?
Posted by 5th Columnist on April 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.
Advertisement

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy