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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Let’s Be Fair to Tim Burgess

posted by on September 5 at 11:09 AM

We’ve been pounding on Tim Burgess. (Be sure to read Erica C. Barnett’s newslead in today’s paper—link coming soon.) Burgess is challenging incumbent Seattle city council member David Della. We don’t much like Della—does anyone outside of a Della campaign commercial truly like David Della?—and were leaning toward endorsing Burgess. We were, past tense, until we learned that Burgess’ firm had done hundreds of thousands of dollars of work for Concerned Women for America, one of the more toxic right-wing, anti-gay, anti-woman organizations in the country.

It was just business, Burgess supporters countered, and we shouldn’t condemn Burgess for taking all that right-wing money—money his firm helped CWfA raise—because, like, again, it was just business! And Burgess always secretly hated Concerned Women for America and Burgess stands for everything the Concerned Women for America stands against and Burgess supports same-sex marriage and Burgess is for abortion rights and he’s not a religious bigot himself and blah blah blah.

But how to square that with the op-ed Burgess wrote for the Seattle Times after the 2004 presidential election? He identifies himself as one of “Seattle’s faith-driven values voters,” ticks off his values-voter bonafides (“I go to church, read the Bible, pray, try to live a Christian life, and even—don’t leave me now—vote for Republicans sometimes…”), and offers up some advice to Democrats on how to reach “people like me.”

We take our faith and citizenship seriously. In fact, for many of us, our political views are shaped and guided by our religious faith….

We worry about the vulgarity and coarseness of our culture and the “values” preached to our children day after day on television, in movies and magazines, and through music lyrics. We despair at the level of coarseness in our political discourse, too.

Admittedly, we struggle with a lot of pressing issues. We don’t like abortion. We value the sacredness of marriage between a woman and man. We recognize that not everyone agrees with us and we know the law isn’t a good mechanism to resolve these issues, but moral persuasion is.

I want to put Burgess’ op-ed in context.

It appeared in print on January 26, 2005. That was ten or so weeks after George W. Bush was reelected; less than a week after George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term. It ran when the Rove machine looked invincible, before Republicans lost the mid-term elections in ‘06, back when the phrase “permanent Republican majority” could still being used without sarcasm.

You remember the 2004 election, right? Remember the emotional aftermath? George W. Bush was reelected, Republicans gained seats in the House and Senate. Bush’s victory—excuse me, Karl Rove’s victory—was credited to religious “values voters.” You know, voters like Burgess. Anti-gay marriage amendments passed in 14 states—every state with one on the ballot—and in the days immediately after the election Democrats were being urged to abandon gays and lesbians just as they had abandoned gun control. Because Democrats had to curry favor with an ascendent religious right, with red-state America, with “values voters.”

With Tim Burgess.

Folks do remember the 2004 election? Remember how upset you were? How hard you worked? How drunk we all got at Chop Suey on election night after Ohio went—or was stolen—for Bush? How estranged you felt from your fellow Americans over next days, weeks, months? Remember this map?


Remember this Stranger cover?


And here’s what was on the cover of The Stranger the week that Bush was sworn in for his second term, the same week Burgess’ op-ed appeared in the Seattle Times:


At at time when most Seattle voters were contemplating suicide and/or a move to Canada, there was Burgess, giddily pouring salt in our wounds. Democrats, liberals, progressives, secular voters, and gays and lesbians—real Americans, not despicable theocrats—were still reeling from the one-two punch of Bush’s reelection and his swearing in. And Tim Burgess selects that precise moment to jump up on a soapbox and scream, “Hey, I’m a values voter!”

And to let us know that he, like other values voters, opposes abortion and same-sex marriage.

I want to zero in on the marriage issue and the rhetoric Burgess used in his op-ed:

We value the sacredness of marriage between a woman and man.

There’s not a lot of wiggle room here for Burgess. To write in January of ‘05 that you valued “the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” was to use explicitly right-wing code. It meant—it still means—that you oppose same-sex marriage. Period. To say that “marriage between one a woman and a man” is sacred is as good as saying that marriage between two men is profane, a moral scandal, and an attack on “sacred” traditional, opposite-sex marriage.

Sorry, Burgess supporters (hey, Tina!), but there’s no other way to interpret Burgess’ statement about marriage in that op-ed. “Values voters” like Burgess, and “family values” groups like CWfA, have made themselves all too clear: marriage is zero-sum game. Same-sex marriage, according to groups like Concerned Women for America, undermines the sacredness of opposite-sex marriage. Only by banning same-sex marriage—and demeaning and oppressing same-sex couples—can the “sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” be upheld. Burgess used loaded language in that op-ed, and his meaning was unmistakable: Burgess not only opposes same-sex marriage, but he views it as an unholy, unchristian assault on “sacred” opposite-sex marriage.

And, I’m sorry, but Burgess didn’t misspeak or use religious-right code unknowingly. Burgess helped Concerned Woman for America craft their message and fund-raising appeals for nine years. Burgess was in the pay and pocket of the religious right. So at time when the flames of the culture war were burning out of control, at a moment when same-sex couples were under attack, Burgess decides to throw a little more fuel on the fire. He chooses that moment to attack vulnerable same-sex couples in Washington state—and he uses the rhetoric of religious bigots everywhere to do it.

And now this guy wants to sit on the city council in Seattle—you know, Seattle, the U.S. city with the highest per-capita concentration of gays and lesbians outside San Francisco. But check out this Burgess’ campaign flyer. Burgess doesn’t identify himself not as a “values voter” anymore, but as a leader with “progressive values.” He’s also for “a strong supporter of marriage equality,” and says he “supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.”

What happened between January of ‘05, when Burgess wrote that he, like other “faith-driven values voters,” doesn’t “like” abortion (who does?), and valued the “sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”? Hell if I know. Tim’s campaign materials don’t offer up any hints about how he went from holding an anti-gay marriage position—and a propensity for using anti-gay, right-wing rhetoric to advance it—to being a “strong supporter” of marriage equality. And Burgess’ once-voluble supporters in the gay and lesbian community have gone conspicuously silent. (Hey, Tina!)

So we’re going to ask Burgess. We’re having him in today to speak with us—with me, Erica C. Barnett, and Josh Feit—and we’re gonna find out how Burgess evolved from an anti-gay-right-wing-rhetoric-spewing “values voter” to a “progressive values” candidate in two short years.

UPDATE: Folks in comments are offering up suggestions for questions we might want to ask Tim Burgess. If you’ve got a question for Burgess, please add it to the list.

RSS icon Comments


He's Mitt Romney in reverse!

Posted by twee | September 5, 2007 11:18 AM

Geez. Could we have a cut here, perhaps?

Posted by tsm | September 5, 2007 11:26 AM

He'll not have my vote, specifically for the issue you outline here. But, and not as big an issue, certainly, but ask him about Strip Clubs, while you're at it. He was the only vocal supporter of Ref. 1 (the 4-foot rule) which puts him at direct odds with the 63% of Seattle Voters who rejected Ref. 1.

He's not a progressive, not even a libertarian, best I can tell.

Posted by Timothy | September 5, 2007 11:29 AM

Tina Podlowski: what on earth is wrong with you?!?

Posted by owza | September 5, 2007 11:29 AM

I remember 2004. I remember the term "flip-flopper" used by the wonderful world of the wrong right. I wonder if it still applies when used by the opposite party? Or is that coined just for "liberals"? Ask him if he knows what a flip-flopper is for me, and ask him if he thinks he's one.

If you do choose to do that for me, will you also consider calling bullshit to his face?


Posted by Will | September 5, 2007 11:30 AM

We can conclude, logically, that he voted for Bush in 2004, right? Have him defend that decision as well.

Posted by Timothy | September 5, 2007 11:31 AM

when i read his article, i thought his op-ed was more like, look, democrats lost because they didn't reach people like me... people who are on the fence sometimes, or people like me but lean a bit to the right. here's how you reach them...

as if he's a candidate in the center.

i am interested in hearing what he has to say. i'm glad you scheduled this interview.

Posted by infrequent | September 5, 2007 11:38 AM

@7 - you say candidate in the center; I say candidate going for whatever seems to be the popular opinion at the time. "Values" had legs in 2005; now "progressive" is the way to go.

Posted by Joey the Girl | September 5, 2007 11:45 AM

Dan, you are on fire the last few days! (brushing aside questions about your fetishistic germophobia with a tidal wave of Rightous Prose!)

You go, guy!

Posted by mirror | September 5, 2007 11:46 AM

Dude, who gives a shit? I mean, honestly. Is this guy running for an office where his opinion about abortion is going to matter? No. Is he running for an office where his opinion about marriage is going to matter? Sort of, but not really: city-based initiatives for gay marriage have already been squashed at the state level, and there's basically no chance that he would be able to turn back the clock on the partner rights we already have in place. The questions that matter for the city council are almost exclusively economic and class based: how to handle development, zoning, industry, condo conversions and basic services. And when it comes to family planning and women's services -- if it comes to that -- Burgess will be very safely outvoted.

So basically you're objecting to him based on his opinions about shit that have nothing to do with the job he's applying for. Which is very... right-wing of you.

And as a further aside:

At at time when most Seattle voters were contemplating suicide and/or a move to Canada, there was Burgess, giddily pouring salt in our wounds.

No, what he was doing, in his way, was trying to explain to us why we lost: we lost in part because our agenda is culturally and economically chauvinistic. That shit you guys ran on your cover about the United Cities of America is a good example; urban voters think people who don't agree with our agenda are beneath contempt and, consequently, we don't make things like rural manufacturing and local food sourcing a priority. The religious and cultural stuff are make-weight issues. Most of the real divisions in this country and this city are economic.

If you weren't so busy trying to sustain a culture war, you'd see that.

I don't really give a shit about Burgess one way or the other. I still haven't decided who I'm going to vote for. But your framing of this stuff is appallingly shortsighted and it pisses me off.

Posted by Judah | September 5, 2007 11:47 AM

As I said before, J, city council jobs can launch a political career. I'm not interested in launching the political careers of closeted bigots.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 5, 2007 11:48 AM

How often does he ride a bicycle in the city?

Posted by DOUG. | September 5, 2007 11:49 AM

Saying he is progressive in a campaign flyer or on an endorsement questionnaire does not cut it. Based on the CWfA and the Op-Ed I think he has a strong burden of proof to demonstrate his support for Marriage Equality and a Woman’s Right to Choose.

Tina Podlodowski jumped on the SLOG last week and said we (Dan most specifically) was overreacting. I don't think so. Neither Tina or Joe McDermott have presented any valid reasons why the gay community should take their endorsement seriously.

Has Tim been a tireless advocate in Olympia for marriage equality? Has he donated thousands of dollars to NARAL? Does he spend Sunday’s after church at Planned Parenthood making calls to decision-makers to make sure women have access to birth control and kids have accurate sex education information?

Currently we have no reason to believe that his change of heart on this issue is not solely motivated by a desire to get elected in a city that has a strong support for progressive values and has stood up and gotten out to defend woman and gay & lesbian equality.

Posted by Proof & Pudding | September 5, 2007 11:52 AM

Judah...your comments are ridiculous, and not worth dissecting here. However, I would be curious to have you explain to us why we should vote someone into the position of Seattle City Councilmember who seems to share very little of our values? You can castigate us for having those values, but why should we, in your view, endorse his views by voting for him in this instance?

Posted by Timothy | September 5, 2007 11:55 AM

The Burgesses of the world (in pr firms, law firms, the media, and businesses) have been acting as a Fifth Column for the most corrupt elements of the Republican Party, using "culture war" to pry open the doors of power, helping the Bush allied and Bush-allied criminal elements to pillage the coffers, and kick everyone who stands in the way in the teeth. None of them should be trusted for a long time, and certainly not trusted anywhere near public power, where they can do favors to guarantee themselves later financial payback once back in the private sphere.

Posted by mirror | September 5, 2007 11:57 AM

The Burgesses of the world (in pr firms, law firms, the media, and businesses) have been acting as a Fifth Column for the most corrupt elements of the Republican Party, using "culture war" at all social levels to pry open the doors of power, helping the Bush allied and Bush-allied criminal elements to pillage the coffers, and kick everyone who stands in the way in the teeth. None of them should be trusted for a long time, and certainly not trusted anywhere near public power, where they can do favors to guarantee themselves later financial payback once back in the private sphere.

Posted by mirror | September 5, 2007 11:58 AM

Although intellectually I'm with Judah on this, I have trouble with the idea of voting someone who so clearly is animated by some retrograde evangelical principles.

It would be nice if the Stranger could illuminate how much difference there is between him and Della on some issues before the council. It would take a pretty significant gap to make it worthwhile to vote for him.

Posted by MHD | September 5, 2007 11:58 AM
Judah...your comments are ridiculous, and not worth dissecting here.

Darn. And I was so looking forward to your input.

However, I would be curious to have you explain to us why we should vote someone into the position of Seattle City Councilmember who seems to share very little of our values?

So, Timothy, can you point to the part of my post where I said you or anyone should vote for Burgess? Can you point to the part where I implied it? No? Okay. Just so we're clear on that.

As to the question of why we should vote for someone who doesn't share our values, I would suggest, merely as a course of consideration, that the definition of "shared values" be expanded to include and -- dare I say it -- possibly even emphasize quantifiable policy issues with a broader impact than the narrow-spectrum social issues Dan likes to spend so much time with.

Most people are too focussed on the culture war to think of it in these terms, but it's fair to say that the interests of LGBT Americans were much more negatively impacted by the WTO and NAFTA than they were by Don't Ask Don't Tell. Maybe if we'd kept our eyes on the ball we'd still have a middle class in Seattle instead of having a more equal right to be fucked out of living wage jobs and affordable housing by rich people who made their money speculating on the decline of American labor and industry.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by Judah | September 5, 2007 12:14 PM

I would not include Alaska in Jesusland.

Posted by alaska? | September 5, 2007 12:18 PM

Ted Stevens, Don Young, Lisa Murkowski, solid majorities for Bush twice, and Jerry Prevo! More federal dollars per capita, no state sales or income taxes, and twice as much bitching about the federal government and taxes per capita than any other state. Sounds like Jesusland to me.

Posted by kk | September 5, 2007 12:32 PM

Judah- Sometimes compromise is a good thing, but when it comes to my enemy the cultural conservative, I will show no quarter. It's like appeasing the fucking NAZIs. If I try to cut deals with them and compromise on my most deeply seated beliefs, what kind of man am I? Fuck that noise. It'd be saying "OK, they can't marry" one day and sewing pink triangles on their shit the next. Homey don't fucking play that, thanks.

Posted by christopher | September 5, 2007 12:53 PM

City Council is a starting point in a political career. If Mr. Burgess has so little moral compass that he can use terminology like... “We value the sacredness of marriage between a woman and man" 2005 in an Op-Ed and then turnaround today he is supposedly a big supporter of marriage equality what does that say about him?

To me his supposed support of marriage equality reeks of political expediency. Fuck him.

I also agree with Proof & Pudding (#13). Where is his record of advocacy on these issues?

Posted by howie | September 5, 2007 1:13 PM

@8 yeah -- that might be the case that he's just swinging with the winds of popular issues.

but here's the thing: i have values. i'm for values. and i know that's righty-speak for theocracy, and i'm not for a theocracy. but why not reaffirm that dems have values, too. i mean, we shouldn't have to. but if that appeals to those in the center, it would seem like a wise strategy.

burgess, well, maybe he's too far in bed with the righties. but the idea that he should be discounted for that opinion alone could be counterproductive. and even at that, his position seems better than edwards, who also struggles with it.

then again, in seattle, maybe we should only promote those who are very clearly aligned with what we believe....

Posted by infrequent | September 5, 2007 1:13 PM

"Tim, we all know that political candidates generally think about the possibility of running for public office many years before they actually enter a race. As the owner of a business with a well-known national anti-gay group as a major client, you must have asked yourself 'Should I keep this tainted account and risk harming my future political prospects?' What was your reasoning for choosing the money over taking a principled stand?"

Posted by J.R. | September 5, 2007 1:20 PM

@21 Godwin's Law. I win.

Funny internet lore aside: the uncompromising refusal of urban so-called progressives to support anyone who can be labeled a "cultural conservative" is part of what has obviated the role of those progressives in American electoral politics, thus allowing the Bush administration to take big bloody bites out of our civil rights and constitutional protections because they know the support base for the ACLU will be unable to turn their position into an effective plank in a national voting platform.

To put it another way, Hitler would never have come to power if the opposition parties had been willing or able to form an effective coalition government.

The DOMA folks are essentially quibbling over the form of words; "marriage", "union" whatever. Words matter up to a point, but the battles we're losing while we dig in our heels about marriage have much more concrete and long-term implications for the civil rights we're ostensibly trying to protect.

Posted by Judah | September 5, 2007 1:37 PM

You truly are a moron. You drove us into Iraq, then the Monorail....and you take us down this logic path of your problems with Tim Burgess and his failings or past judgments on issues that are not city council issues.

Think about what's best for the city today. Who's the best candidate, what does our city need. Give the guy a chance to have changed his mind, had some reflections, or held a view you don't like. He's the most qualified candidate in years.

There's a reason why the city council is a confederacy of dunces. Dan, in the mirror is one of those reasons.

Grow up.

Posted by Iraq, Monorarail and now Della...keep driving, Dan | September 5, 2007 1:52 PM

wow, those are some kick ass covers, but it sucks that I won't get to see anymore unless I move all the way across the country from Philly. Keep up the good work Dan and Seattle

Posted by natalie | September 5, 2007 1:55 PM

I still have the Do Not Despair cover up on my wall. It was one of the few reasons not to run screaming into the street after the Debacle of 2004.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Dan - having spent the last few years immersed in local politics, I can say without reservation that electing people with whom you disagree on bedrock issues to ANYTHING is asking for trouble down the road; fire commissioners become city councilmembers, who become state legislators, who become Congresspersons, Governors, etc. Politicians are not actually hatched fully-formed from the brains of Rove-type consultants; they progress through party hierarchies and various electoral offices (until they're caught soliciting sex from children, of course).

One of the single biggest mistakes we've made over the last 30 years is to allow any elective office to go unchallenged. ANY office. Dog-catcher. Water district commissioner. School board. That's the farm team, folks. Know your farm team.

Posted by Geni | September 5, 2007 2:21 PM

Della has to fucking go. He is simply awful. It's unfortunate that nobody better chose to run against him but like the Stones said...

These are important issues and he should be asked about them, but as has been mentioned, how relevant are they to a city governance gig? If this was a state or federal position I'd be more inclined to disqualify him...but Della has to be booted.

Posted by GoodGrief | September 5, 2007 2:25 PM

I can't tell Judah, are you a supporter of Burgess or are you just flaming this post to stir up shit.

Posted by crazycatguy | September 5, 2007 2:54 PM

Where is Della on these issues? How do both candidates stack up on all of the important issues we face in Seattle? I will be interested to hear what Burgess has to say in your interview.

Posted by Guest | September 5, 2007 2:57 PM

Stealth candidate for the right? Maybe.

But isn't this the problem when we support candidates based on one issue, e.g. Viaduct?

It reminds me of how everyone on the left has forgotten about Tipper Gore and the PMRC. I don't recall any announcement of secularist attitudes. Yet Al Gore is the new messiah.

On the surface, there is no contradiction between religious fanaticism or conservatism, and vague notions of being "green". Just Ask Dave Foreman.

Burgess sounds like a phony on so many other issues, (his straw men about "leadership", for example), there's plenty of reasons besides the above why he doesn't deserve our votes.

What's next? Will we find out that Gael Tarleton is just a minion for the cottage industry for homeland security?

Burgess--hangs with the r.r., ex cop, no proven track record, etc. When people get out of their teens, they sometimes realize that in some cases, the status quo is better then the alternative. Rebellion for it's own sake looks silly after 30.

Posted by t.p.n. | September 5, 2007 3:05 PM

The "Do Not Despair" cover is the best cover of all time. Seeing The Stranger show such warmth even got me a little teary-eyed, when it came out. But then again, I'm a cry baby.

Posted by fluteprof | September 5, 2007 3:05 PM


I only ever flame posts to stir shit up. It's how I pass the time between doing things that actually matter.

I stopped trying to argue on the internet about things I actually care about 5 years ago. No point; nobody ever changes their mind about specific points during an internet debate.

Posted by Judah | September 5, 2007 3:13 PM

I understand the hurt and anger displayed in this blog regarding the Tim Burgess controversy from the gay and lesbian, as well as the progressive community of Seattle. I have respected the editorial content of The Stranger for many years and especially the writings of Dan Savage.

Concerned Women for America is a terrible organization. They are the antithesis of what true Christianity is about: Love, forgiveness and grace.

If I didn't know Tim Burgess, and had just read the few "facts" posted in this blog, I too might be tempted to run to conclusions, make judgements and rush to condemnation of Tim. However, I do know Tim. I know him very, very well because I worked alongside of him for 11 years and have known him for 14 years.

14 years ago I met Tim at a Christian Management Conference seminar on fundraising (I think CMC was actually mentioned in one of the blog posts). I was working for The Other Side Magazine, a radical, left-wing Christian magazine which was published for 40 years until it folded just three years ago. It was the first Christian publication to stand up for civil rights for African-American's in 60's and for Gay Rights in the 70's.

I felt uncomfortable there because most of the people attending were from very conservative organizations. In fact, many people came up to me and told me I should not be there because of the magazine I worked for...I was not wanted in that seminar room...except from one person...the speaker that day...Tim Burgess. Tim, came up to me and said, "hey, I love your magazine and really respect your work..."

Three years later, after becoming friends and after Tim gave me great counsel on how to raise money for our poor magazine, I came to work for The Domain Group, now Merkle|Domain.

At that time I could not honestly say that Tim was a big supporter of gay rights, however, he was accepting of people who were gay. And, while he was involved in the beginning on the CWA account, over time he went from not being involved on the account to actively trying to get rid of the account with a group of us progressive employees. Eventually we won out, fired the client and had a great happy hour celebrating.

And, yes it was a compromise for me and all the other liberal, progressive employees to work at a company that had CWA as a client, but it was one we made because of all the amazing work we were able to do for clients who helped feed hungry people, help people during disasters, protected animals and the enviroment, worked to help children of prisoners...and the list goes on. All the while, working within the agency along with Tim, to bring in other business so we could fire CWA.

For all those who say that you would not make that compromise, I applaud you, but life and business is not always so easy...if we had just fired CWA at the time, we'd also have to let five employees go too. And, I know there are many of you who would still say that is not enough to compromise your beliefs, but I'm saying it's just not always that easy.

While I understand that the Gay and Lesbian community may not be able to trust Tim due to his past involvement with CWA, I can tell you, as someone that knows Tim, that you can. I know that over time, Tim's views changed and that he supports equal rights for all people, that all should have the ability in the eyes of the state to be married no matter what their sexual orientation.

How did this change happen? Well, I guess like it did for me and many heterosexual people...we actually became friends with gay and lesbians and realized they were no different than us, that they loved like we did, were people of faith...and were just as messed up as us heterosexuals. I know that Tim would be embarrassed that I'm revealing this, but I want to tell this story so that you really understand what type of man Tim Burgess is. When one of my colleagues at The Domain Group, who was a gay man, learned that he had acquired AIDS, it was Tim that he confided in first. Why, because he knew Tim would accept him and his situation. And, when he was in the final weeks of his life, it was Tim Burgess that appealled to my colleague's insurance company to get them to pay for hospice care when they rejected him. And, when he died, it was Tim who did his eulogy, requested by my colleague. That experience, along with many others over the past several years, changed Tim and his opinions about the rights of gay and lesbian people. He went from accepting gay and lesbian people for who they were to full support of their civil rights.

Now, you don't have to believe can still hold on to your "story" playing in your head about how Tim must be a bad person because he once had a bad client, but I ask you to ponder that there is another side to this, that as someone who knows Tim well, has a handle on the real facts, not a story, that maybe Tim really is the kind of person who needs to be representing the citizens of Seattle on city council. A person, who is bursting with integrity, creativity, passion and a drive to make Seattle a better place for everyone.

So, Dan, while I respect your work and the work of The Stranger, I urge you before you rush to judgement that you sit down with Tim and hear the real facts from Tim, talk to people like me who know Tim and then you can write your story. I'm telling you, you will not find a man more passionate about the city of Seattle and ALL it's people than Tim Burgess.

Posted by JS | September 5, 2007 4:14 PM

Have you ever looked back at something you believed or did in the past and thought WHAT was I THINKING? The only people who don't have that experience are people who never grow.

A lot of the conversation here is missing the important point: The man has changed. Decide whether or not you want to vote for him by who is now, not what he was before. Because he has evolved. Like anyone else who has integrity, he's more enlightened now than he was in the past.

If you're going to limit your list of acceptable allies to people who have never been wrong, you're not going to have a lot of allies. He's clearly a believer in equality and progressive change. And he's going to be an effective champion for these things, unless we insist on perfection going back into the past.

Posted by JAB | September 5, 2007 4:33 PM

Question: When did he stop torturing squirrels?

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 5, 2007 4:37 PM

oh, and @5, choose a longer name. We have a lot of Wills online here.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 5, 2007 4:39 PM

All the comments about whether certain positions relate to city council issues, inability/advisablity of supporting "cultural conservatives", blah blah blah seem to miss the point about the guy's 180 flip on his positions in the span of two frickin' years. Anyone that willing to go any way the wind blows is...well maybe ideal politician material but god bless Dan if he's still idealistic enough to make an issue of it.

Posted by chi type | September 5, 2007 4:50 PM

question: mr. burgess, when you are arrested for soliciting buttsex and/or abortions in a public men's room, will you kill yourself, find jesus (check under the sofa---i heard giggling), go to rehab, all of the above, or other?

Posted by adrian! | September 5, 2007 4:52 PM

adrian! did you read 35? i know it's long...

Posted by infrequent | September 5, 2007 4:57 PM

Tim is the Mayor's punishment for Della for Della's opposing the mayor on the viaduct tunnel and saying the viaduct tunnel is too expensive.

Tim clearly switched after getting lots of campaign advice.

Tim also is an ex co and likely would support hte mayor on the whole police accountability issue.

Posted by unPC | September 5, 2007 6:06 PM
Anyone that willing to go any way the wind blows is...well maybe ideal politician material but god bless Dan if he's still idealistic enough to make an issue of it.

You know Dan started out supporting the war in Iraq, right? Wrote an editorial about how people who were against the war were also against human rights, democracy and liberty? Now he's against the war?

Just -- I think you got some irony on your collar there.

Posted by Judah | September 5, 2007 8:34 PM

Question to Burgess: Should parents be the sole educators of their children?

(Hint: Burgess helped spur the parents' rights movement. Which seeks to dismantle public, compulsory education. Which destabilizes democracy. Which is bad.)

Posted by question | September 5, 2007 10:15 PM
(Hint: Burgess helped spur the parents' rights movement. Which seeks to dismantle public, compulsory education. Which destabilizes democracy. Which is bad.)

Yeah, it'd destabilize democracy if compulsory public education actually taught civics. Given the popular appeal of Tim Fucking Eyman, it seems pretty obvious that compulsory education isn't doing its job. Short of that, it's just political and social indoctrination which, frankly, I can see why I a parent would want to avoid that.

Posted by Judah | September 5, 2007 10:55 PM

Thank you JS (#35) for that post. It made a very big difference for me and helped me to make sense of what I know about Tim with what I've read here. Thank you for taking the time.

Posted by watcher | September 5, 2007 11:26 PM


You are really amazing - you tell us he was not so good on our issues, then like yourself and many other hets, "he got better."

GOG GOD, all this in two or three years, recently.

GOD GOD, how you patronize gay folks.

Johhny come late, aka. Mr. Bugress, now gay friendly, after taking all the money, is some needed political leadership?

In Seattle, of all places, where strong alliances between gays and progressive straights have been around for 25 years - how very not so daring of Mr. Burgess.

MY MY, late better than never, but hardly worth voting for. Your post sealed his political fate.

VOTE against Johhny too late to the struggle.

And by the way, who wants an ex cop? Look what happened to Manning, the wife beater ex cop. So now we have the ex cop who is is newly minted more gay friendly and less conservative. I doubt it.

And doesn't want adults to go to strip clubs. It fits. Ex cop,and a PRUDE TO BOOT.

Posted by Harold | September 6, 2007 1:28 AM

#44: True that. I wish our public education taught more civics and geography for that matter. And math. And world affairs. The list goes on.

A parent should have a right to put their kid in a religious school, private school or home school, but for the rest of us, we need to learn how to read and do math, no matter how poor we are. These parents' rights folks don't want better public education or more religous public education, they want NO public education at all. They want the public to be ignorant, just like the CWA wants people to be ignorant about how babies are made, ignorant about AIDS and other STDs, ignorant about gays and lesbians, ignorant about our true power as citizens and human beings. They want us weak and stupid so they can control us. And you can take down a nation if you get'em while they're young.

Thankfully, those parents' rights wingnuts don't seem to have a lot of pull these days, but thanks to Concerned Women of America (and those who help them), their message is alive and well.

Posted by question | September 6, 2007 7:00 AM

frankly Judah - the constant devil's advocate rap is getting stale.

There is no piece of this society more important the compulsory free public education - NONE, NONE, NONE.

If you wish to destroy democracy, and cripple the economic abilities of the working and middle classes - then destroy/compromise free public education.

And by the way, America is lagging behind, many nations do as we do and have some 1-12 grade thing and provide FREE college because they know how important education to the masses - it is core to the well being of all modern society.

If they wish, is there a right of choice for parent to shape that process, of course.

If Candidate Burgess, in another editorial whim, wonders how we can dismantle free public education - he is totally a kook.

Posted by kelper | September 6, 2007 7:26 AM

I lived there, and I WOULD DEFINITELY include Alaska in Jesusland.

(In Anchorage, yet - the largest city with some progressives. Clinton was in office and the mainstream newspaper frequently attacked him - with vicious comics, not intelligent questioning - and my coworkers complained of "this slanted liberal newspaper".)

Not quite EVERYbody went to church, but it sure seemed like it.

Posted by valpal | September 6, 2007 8:47 AM

The Anchorage Daily News actually printed letters to the editor in which a writer said, "If a woman has sex, she should be punished by having the baby."

And "Driving is a right, not a privilege".

(Remember when your high school and civics classes, if they were doing their job, taught you exactly the reverse? You don't have to demonstrate skills and earn a license to exercise your rights.)

This is the kind of people there.

Posted by valpal | September 6, 2007 9:01 AM

First, thank you Dan. Thanks for posting those awesome covers (the Don't despair is still posted in my office). Your posting is one of the most salient and logical reasons why we progressive Seattleites should actively oppose Tim in his attempt to gain a political foothold in the City of Seattle council.

#13 said it better than me, but having given money, time, tears, and blood to choice and GLBT issues, the thought of having Burgess on the council is an affront to everything myself and others have worked towards for a long time.

#35 spoke very eloquently, just like Tina and others, about how in personal experience they know Tim is a kind, compassionate person. That's great. Whooppity do. Too bad you didn't address his very public editorial where he restated all those "values" that were fairly anti-choice and definitely anti-gay.

I read that editorial, and fresh on the heels of Howard Dean saying we needed to broaden the tent to include "anti-choice" voters, I tore up my DNC card. As a pro-choice woman, my tent is plenty big enough, thank you. I don't need to actively recruit people who don't believe women should have the right to abortion (which is what "I don't like abortion" means when it's not followed up by calling for more government support for birth control and sex ed).

2004 was particularly hard for my family because my gay Oregon marraige was invalidated by popular vote. I felt attacked and a little guilty that my fight for equality potentially contributed to Bush winning again. When we got the refund from Multnomah County, with a very sweet letter of apology, we got very drunk and plotted our immigration to Canada. Instead, we decided to stay and fight. Tim's editorial was salt in the very deep, open wound that was my heart, but it motivated me to fight against erosion of progressive values - choice, GLBT equality, etc - that are core to the Democratic party. As a result, I am going to fight like hell to make sure this erosion doesn't happen in Seattle with the election of an anti-choice, anti-gay (Christian) value candidate.

I encourage others to join the fight, too.

Posted by former jesusland resident | September 6, 2007 9:44 AM

I remember that Nov 2004 cover. That was the greatest service the Stranger ever offered to the public. Years later I still say: Bravo!

Posted by butterw | September 6, 2007 11:04 AM

I agree that the 'Don't Despair' cover of November 2004 was a great public service. It made me cry when I read it. I too, still have it hanging from my wall.

And, hearing Republicans in New Hampshire boo that Brownback guy made me hope that maybe we have come along a little in the last 7 years.

Posted by Best Cover Ever | September 6, 2007 11:35 AM

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