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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daily Newspaper Reporters:

posted by on October 29 at 3:46 PM

So cute when they get to editorialize! Bob Young of the Seattle Times, take it away:

[Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino] Rossi [deposed this morning as part of a lawsuit alleging he illegally coordinated his campaign with the Building Industry Association of Washington] has to counterattack.

So he's holding a press conference at 9:30 a.m. No slinking in and out of a lawyer's office for him. [...]

To Rossi and his supporters this is now a political ambush by Gregoire operatives and the loony left.

The legal case against the BIAW, they note, is brought by Knoll Lowney, who sued Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick late in his 2006 campaign. That suit stirred stories. But coverage was less visible seven months later when a federal judge dismissed the suit.

Lowney also represented the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which contributes heavily to Evergreen Progress PAC, the union equivalent of the BIAW. Evergreen Progress PAC gave $35,000 to Fuse, Republicans point out. Fuse is a liberal group that helps Lowney with public relations; they're his mouthpiece. The circle of liberal complicity is complete in the plot against Rossi.

Lowney says he's not being paid in this case. He's working on contingency. He has a class action suit against BIAW alleging the group breached its fiduciary trust with its members. That suit could pay big fees, he says. That's why an Arizona firm is helping with his case. Not because they're Gregoire fans, he says, but because they can see the potential payday.

Lowney does have a history of liberal activism. And he was on the winning side in at least one big case, getting the state Supreme Court to overturn Tim Eyman's Initiative 747.

Lowney's big "win," by the way, was actually overturned at the instigation of Gov. Gregoire--the very same "liberal" politician Young is insinuating Lowney is supporting.

And not that we at the Stranger are against editorializing--hell, we endorse it. But it's funny to watch reporters for the above-politics, uber-"objective" Seattle Times when they're suddenly allowed to betray their real opinions--opinions every informed citizen has, but which reporters for the "objective" daily papers aren't supposed to betray under any circumstances. Could allowing naughty words be next for Seattle's family newspaper? Stay tuned.

100 Percent Class

posted by on October 29 at 2:29 PM

Via Goldy:

When pressed on the issue, [Republican lands commissioner Douglas Sutherland] displayed a flash of what got him in trouble in 2005, when he rubbed a female employee from her neck to her back moments after meeting her and then either said before a group of colleagues that he "could have felt ... up front" or "could have felt the other side." The woman later quit her job in a move Sutherland has conceded was likely caused by the incident, for which he apologized.

Speaking to a female reporter about forest certification, Sutherland made an unprompted analogy, "You have to do things in logical sequence: you wouldn't put your coat on to go outside, then put your underwear on. Well, I don't know what you do with your underwear." He laughed.

You'd think that after sexually harassing a young female employee and intimidating her out of a job, Sutherland would've learned to keep his mouth shut, especially around reporters. And while Sutherland's performance as lands commissioner may be unaffected by the fact that he likes to feel up female employees, Sutherland has crossed the line between flirtatious good-ol'-boy and grabby sleaze too many times to call these isolated incidents.

A side note: In looking up stories about Sutherland for this post, I stumbled across this August 2000 P-I article about Democrat Mike Lowry, a former governor who was charged with sexual harassment, charges he settled for $97,000. The reporter quoted Cathy Allen, a local political consultant and founder of the Northwest Women's Political Caucus, saying that her group could not endorse someone who had sexually harassed a female employee. "The shadow of his past hangs heavy," she said. Allen was so offended by Lowry's actions that she said she'd rather endorse his Republican opponent--a Pierce County politician named Doug Sutherland, who may have been a Republican, but at least hadn't harassed anybody. My, how times have changed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Own Dave Upthegrove (D-33)

posted by on October 28 at 5:30 PM

Is the fourth-hottest male politician in America, according to He's modest, too: According to his Facebook page, "I am a sexy beast." Congratulations, Dave!


Monday, October 27, 2008

More Repubs for Reuven

posted by on October 27 at 6:45 PM

Reuven Carlyle, one of two Democrats running for state legislature from the 36th District (Queen Anne/Magnolia/Ballard), just received another independent expenditure of nearly $7,000 from another organization that primarily supports Republicans (more on Carlyle's big-business donors here). This time, the expenditure is from a group calling itself Responsible Leadership 2008, funded primarily by the Washington Restaurant Association PAC (whose legislative priorities include fighting paid family leave and reducing the minimum wage); the Washington Bankers Association PAC (which primarily supports Republicans) ; the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Washington's Big "I" PAC (a lobby group for the insurance industry); BUILD PAC, which represents the Associated General Contractors of Washington (a construction-industry group); the Washington Food Industry's FOOD PAC (most recently in the local news for fighting Seattle's 20-cent fee on disposable grocery bags); and Enterprise Washington (a business group that also funded another Carlyle mailing under the name "People for Jobs"). Responsible Leadership 2008 is supporting Republicans Bruce Dammeier (R-25), Glenn Anderson (R-5), Jay Rodne (R-5), Cheryl Pflug (R-5), Norma Smith (R-10), Barbara Bailey (R-10), and Steve Litzow (R-41), in addition to Carlyle and Democrats Bill Grant (D-16) and Tim Probst (D-17).

The expenditure paid, oddly, for an ad focusing on Carlyle's environmental credentials:


Enterprise Washington's People for Jobs, meanwhile, has reported its own (previously undisclosed) expenditure of $3,760 on Carlyle's behalf--spent on an education-related email that declared Carlyle the candidate who would "improv[e] education to make our students a priority".

A Good Point

posted by on October 27 at 1:08 PM

Joel Connelly takes on one of the lesser-known evils of Tim Eyman's I-985:

Vote in favor of the initiative and your kid may get smashed in the legs by fenders of a car running a red light, or your grandmother killed as she uses a crosswalk after getting off a bus.

Why? Initiative 985 erects a financial barrier that will prevent cities from installing or maintaining cameras at busy and dangerous intersections.

"Traffic cameras are an attempt to begin to level the playing field between powerful cars and human bodies out there. Eyman could give a rat's rear about that," said Andrea Okomski, whose son, Joe, suffered permanent injuries when hit by a car on North 85th Street. [...]

Drivers running red lights cause more than 100,000 crashes a year, killing nearly 1,000 people and injuring 90,000 others. According to the Federal Highway Administration, this has become a leading cause of fatal collisions in metropolitan areas.

"This should be viewed as an outrageous epidemic," Richard Retting, chief traffic engineer with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told the Ladies Home Journal.

(Side note: Did Andrea really say "rat's rear"? And why was Connelly reading the Ladies Home Journal?)

I-985 would take all the revenue from tickets and penalties raised by red-light cameras and put it into a road-building and traffic-light-synchronization fund. Currently, those revenues pay for installing and maintaining red-light cameras. Forced to pay for cameras out of their general funds, cash-strapped cities like Seattle will almost certainly take the cameras down.

Connelly's right that I-985 will result in more pedestrian accidents--not just because it will eliminate red-light cameras, but because it mandates that cities synchronize all traffic lights on "heavily-traveled arterials."

Traffic light synchronization seems like a good idea, and in many cases, it is--for example, on busy, congested downtown streets in big cities like Seattle. But in other cases, it makes no sense whatsoever. Many small towns, for example, deliberately de-synchronize their lights (a strategy also known as "traffic calming") to discourage drivers from using their main drag as a highway. Synchronizing lights ensures that traffic moves as quickly as possible--no matter what the impact is on pedestrians, cyclists, or anyone else who doesn't happen to be in a car. It's a typical Eyman one-size-fits-all "solution" that will make things easier for speeding drivers, at the expense of the rest of us.

Burner Strikes Back

posted by on October 27 at 12:17 PM

The Darcy Burner campaign--responding to allegations by incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert that she lied about getting a degree in economics from Harvard--has released a video featuring Harvard professor Harry Lewis defending Burner's background. Lewis, the head of the computer science program when Burner attended Harvard and a former Harvard dean, says Burner "has a good solid background in economics" because her computer science degree included a special field in economics, Harvard's equivalent of a double major. (Burner took seven courses to get the special field in economics, and ten courses for her major in computer science.)

Meanwhile, Reichert's anti-Burner web site,, features the original version of Times reporter Emily Heffter's article on Burner's college credentials, which has since been greatly altered. Initially, the story—headlined, "Darcy Burner's claims of a Harvard degree in economics aren't true"—portrayed Burner as an outright liar. Eventually, after several rapid-fire edits, the story was softened to "Burner, Reichert rumble over résumés." Nonetheless, Reichert's campaign is acting as if the Times allowed the original, inaccurate, story to stand.

It's a sign of how heated this campaign has become that this is even a story in the first place. The P-I has chosen to ignore the story, which was originally shopped to both papers by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Meanwhile, Reichert's own educational credentials are hardly stellar: He attended a Christian junior college in Portland on a football scholarship, and graduated with a two-year degree in 1970.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


posted by on October 23 at 2:12 PM


Burner's talk of college degree murky

Does not say the same thing as this:

8th District congressional race turns on degrees

The first, from the Seattle Times, implies that Burner is falsely claiming she has a college degree; the second accurately portrays the real story, which is that Reichert attempted to smear Burner for misspeaking about her computer science and economics degree from Harvard (she called it an "economics degree"), while falsely claiming to have a four-year college degree himselfon his Congressional web site and in campaign literature. (Reichert, who claimed repeatedly to have a B.A., actually has a two-year junior-college degree from Concordia Lutheran College in Portland).

So here's a question: Given that the Seattle Times splashed the Burner story across its front page, when will we see a similar story about Reichert's outright lie?

The Flip Side

posted by on October 23 at 12:27 PM

It's a small thing, but there's a funny burn on former transportation secretary Doug MacDonald in the latest pro-transit election flyer. MacDonald (who, for the record, I've always enjoyed debating and whom I totally respect) is a HUGE opponent of Initiative 985, the Tim Eyman-backed proposal to open HOV lanes to everyone... and an equally huge opponent of light rail, which he contends is a waste of money compared to buses.

Anyway, here's the latest anti-985 mailer:

And here it is again--this time, the opposite side.

I may be the biggest transit nerd in Nerdville, but this makes me giggle every time I look at it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

37th District Hypocrats?

posted by on October 22 at 5:19 PM

It’s good to know Democrats are all on the same page.

A glossy mailer arrived at my house a few days ago heralding endorsements from Southeast Seattle's 37th District Democrats. It was generally predictable—donkey, donkey, donkey—but two things jumped out. They endorsed Lt. Governor Brad Owen, who is as much a Democrat as I am a lesbian. Then they endorsed initiatives and such: Yes on Death with Dignity; no on the Eyman initiative; yes on Parks; yes on the Pike Place Market… and curtain.

But what about that proposal for a HUGE MASS-TRANSIT LINE running through the 37th District? Prop 1? There’s a light-rail station proposed in the middle of the district that would connect residents to the Eastside and the rest of the city in minutes. Why don’t they have an opinion on that?

They should have an opinion on it. The Washington State Democratic Party platform, passed earlier this year, explicitly outlines support for measures like Prop 1. One resolution on climate change called for to "develop alternative transport systems such as bike paths and mass transit.” Another one called, “A resolution to address transportation problems” says the “Washington State Democratic Party supports immediately identifying and prioritizing transportation problems...” So how does a party chomping at the bit to build mass transit fall asleep at the wheel when, in two weeks, we vote on miles of new light rail?

“We understand the parks. We understand the [Pike Place] Market,” says Rob Holland, chair of the 37th District Democrats. “But paying for an expansion on transit … there was just a concern that they have got to find another way to fund the project.” He said district members over 60 years old strongly opposed the measure because they fear increasing property taxes. Holland thinks the “other way to find the project” is to “elect Barack Obama. Put federal dollars toward it.”

Holland says that members under 40 overwhelmingly supported Prop 1, but were outvoted (probably because most of them miss the meeting while they are at work and raising kids). However, they did manage to persuade the group to switch from a "no" vote to remaining neutral. Also under 40, Holland says his vote for Prop 1 will fall along the same age lines. “I’m not overly excited about voting for it, but you gotta keep things moving.”

So this isn’t Holland's fault. But it is the fault of the Metamucil happy-hour crowd in South Seattle. And it's is the fault of people like me: Folks under 40 who vote with a sip of wine and wafer, but don’t go to their district Democrat meetings. If we did go, we could outnumber the set who can't wrap their brains around light rail.

What The Hell Is Wrong With You, South Dakota?

posted by on October 22 at 4:16 PM

I'm biding my time until the mayor's debate with Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman at the Cafe on the Ave., where, from the looks of it, the kids aren't feeling the recession much--I'm eating a bagel with butter ($2) while the studious folks around me all seem to be able to afford full $10 meals. Is college no longer a time of privation anymore?

Anyway, amid all the Obamamania and panic over Prop. 8, it's easy to overlook another important election going on in South Dakota: A vote on whether to completely ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman. Even if McCain--the guy who put mocking air quotes around the "health" of a woman, to indicate he thought health exceptions to abortion bans allow frivolous abortions--loses, reproductive rights everywhere are still threatened by measures like South Dakota's. The proposal, if enacted, would force women to bring pregnancies to term even in cases where the fetus will be stillborn; put doctors at risk of criminal charges because of extremely vague language defining a woman's health; and would force doctors to file a report stating that their patient was raped, including the name and address of the rapist, to criminal authorities before they could use the rape exception. The argument for this, cited by Feministe, is that "if it is truly a case of rape or incest, we’re doing a disservice to society if we don’t do that,” according to one of the ban's proponents. It also requires the doctor performing an abortion in rape and incest cases to take DNA samples from the woman and the fetus, to prove that the pregnancy was really the result of rape or incest (and, anti-choice proponents claim, to help prosecute rape and incest cases.) The supposed argument for this latter requirement is that rapists use abortion to cover up their crimes. Prove paternity, and you've stopped the rape or incest.

Cara at Feministe effectively eviscerates both arguments. The first:

Firstly, shifting the burden of reporting from the victim to the doctor would only change who the victim must report the crime to. She would still have to provide all of the relevant information needed to file a police report. It’s the same exact process. Also, if police are actually going to try to catch the perpetrator based on this report, as Ridder emphasizes, they are certainly going to want to talk to the victim at some point anyway, meaning that any potentially traumatizing line of questioning isn’t going to be avoided. It further bears noting that the trauma many rape victims experience from reporting isn’t necessarily due to treatment by police, but treatment by their family, friends and community. [...]

Additionally, if this new fabulous method of rape reporting is so much less traumatizing to women, why aren’t these really concerned activists working to give this right to report to a doctor instead of police to all rape victims? Should a victim have to be impregnated by her rapist to access the supposedly least traumatizing form of reporting? I’d think not. So, could the issue be that these people don’t actually care at all about rape victims, but are really concerned with how to most effectively restrict their access to health care?

As for the last quoted sentence from the immensely compassionate Dr. Ridder, what exactly is he insinuating with the words “if this is truly a case of rape or incest”? Because if and truly imply that a victim might be lying. Certainly, that’s not doing any favors to his claim that reporting a rape to a doctor is far less traumatizing than reporting directly to police. Then he moves onto how not reporting a rape is doing a disservice to society.

The fact is that victims don’t owe us anything. I’d like to see more victims report rape, but first we’re going to have to create a society where those victims can reliably find compassion and a fair, non-rape apologist judicial system. The answer is not to force women to report. Women who choose not to report do so for their own reasons, usually very logical ones, and they are not doing a disservice to society with that choice. How about we start looking at the rapist who is doing a disservice to society by raping people, rather than pointing fingers at the victims who they’ve made too fearful to report?

And the second:

As for the anti-choice arguments, there is an inherent logical fallacy here. If rapists in cases of ongoing abuse, like incest, are using abortion to cover up their crimes, doesn’t that mean that the rapists are therefore forcing their victims into having abortions? If this is the case, then surely under this law, rapists would just stop forcing their victims to get abortions, and would instead force the victims to hide the pregnancies or blame them on someone else, make them to carry to term, give birth, and then surrender the baby for adoption. You know, just like in pre-Roe days. It would only make sense for rapists to stop using abortion to cover up their rapes when they only way to obtain an abortion is for a rape to be reported, so they’d find alternatives to ensure that the reporting still doesn’t happen. Simple stuff. [...]

Clearly, those supporting the ban don’t care about those slutty women who got pregnant from consensual sex and whether or not they hurt/maim/kill themselves with illegal and unsafe abortions — but surely they care about making sure that harm doesn’t befall rape victims, right? That’s what they want the public to believe, and this is why no one ought to buy it.

Over two excellent posts, Jen, one of the many wonderful women I met while in SD, talks about her own rapes and what the SD law could have meant for her under different circumstances, and why forcing her to report would have been so cruel. In a world where rape survivors are routinely mocked and laughed at simply for telling their own stories — and I should know — it’s downright sadistic to force women to tell their stories simply so that they don’t have to give birth to their rapist’s child.

Daily Kos recently added the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, which is fighting the ban, to its Orange to Blue fundraising list--an indication, perhaps, of how important this fight is not just for women in South Dakota but for women (and those who love them, or fuck them, or just don't want them to be forced to have kids) everywhere. You can also donate directly here.

Dear Fellow Atheists

posted by on October 22 at 1:23 PM

Do you think you might be reduced to prayer, secret, silent, or otherwise, on behalf of an Obama victory on election night?

Reuven Carlyle's Big-Biz Donors

posted by on October 22 at 1:04 PM

Is Reuven Carlyle, one of two Democrats seeking the open state house seat from the 36th legislative district, really a Republican in disguise? Supporters of his opponent, John Burbank, have been pushing that theory for a while--sending out color-coded emails, for example, implying that Carlyle's record is "red" while Burbank's is "blue" and calling Carlyle "the candidate of the banking industry" and "big business." Carlyle, in response, has protested that his business background (he made his money in the wireless industry) doesn't make him a conservative or a shill for big corporations.

Still, it's Carlyle, not Burbank, that big corporations have thrown their weight (and money) behind. Earlier this month, the Realtors Quality of Life PAC--the political arm of the Washington Association of Realtors--did a $15,000 independent expenditure on Carlyle's behalf. Most of that money paid for cable TV ads--an unusual move in a low-profile race like the 36th. And last week, another business-oriented PAC--"People for Jobs," which is wholly funded by the conservative group Enterprise Washington--spent an undisclosed amount on Carlyle's behalf.

The Realtors' PAC donates to and spends money on behalf of both parties, but their expenditures skew heavily toward Republicans. This year, for example, the group has donated to or done independent expenditures for Democrats (including Carlyle's $15,000) worth $36,600, according to disclosure reports; Republicans, including Dino Rossi, have received $210,000 from the group. Contributors to Enterprise Washington, meanwhile, include Weyerhaeuser, the Restaurant Association, the Master Builders of America, Safeco, Bank of America, Chevron, Premera Blue Cross, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Phillip Morris, the Retail Action Council, and the Washington Food Industry Association.

The Realtors' PAC didn't return my call, but Enterprise Washington president Erin McCallum did. When I asked her why the group was supporting Carlyle, she said, "It’s very clear to us that of the two candidates that came through, he is the one who would, if elected, go to Olympia with an understanding of private-sector issues and what the private sector means to the Washington State economy. ... Reuven’s experience demonstrates that he will go down to Olympia and have the ability to think critically of legislation that could impact eveyrone’s livelihoods in this state." Officially, Enterprise Washington is "nonpartisan"; in reality, the group is supporting just four candidates in Washington State this year: Carlyle and three Republicans. Unfortunately, searching for anything on the PDC's web site right now sends you to the dreaded "Error Path" (but thanks for the zillion-dollar upgrade, guys!) so I can't give you exact numbers, but suffice it to say that Enterprise Washington is spending in the upper tens of thousands on each candidate's behalf. On its web site, the group defines labor unions and "environmental groups" as "the competition."

Carlyle claimed both expenditures came as a complete surprise--the Realtors' expenditure showed up on PDC reports last week, and Carlyle said he didn't know about the Enterprise Washington expenditure until I told him about it yesterday. "I literally have not had a conversation with [the Realtors] other than [the endorsement] process," Carlyle said. Asked why the Realtors' PAC might be supporting him, Carlyle said, "my platform has been driven by my central priority, quality of life, and they were responsive to that. ... Homes don’t sell if there aren't jobs."

As for the allegations that he's not really a Democrat, Carlyle responded: "I am a passionate, progressive, lifelong Democrat. My capable opponent has not attacked me on one single policy issue. His entire pitch is guilt by association-- the insinuation that you can’t be a progressive Democrat and be pro-economic growth, pro-jobs, and pro-strong economy."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More On That "Loaned" Ad Time

posted by on October 21 at 12:59 PM

Josh, blogging over at Horse's Ass, has an update on KOMO's "loan" of $180,000 in free air time to Republican US Rep. Dave Reichert. Apparently KIRO, too, has agreed to run Reichert's ads on credit--an unusual practice that may not be illegal but sure looks like a campaign contribution. (FEC rules bar corporations from donating to candidates.) The Burner campaign, Josh writes, says they're "exploring legal options" on the ads.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sounds Like Dinner at My House...

posted by on October 16 at 4:39 PM

...only DJ doesn't call me Jewish. The "gay, gay, gay" thing with fingers in ears? I get that a lot.


posted by on October 16 at 10:36 AM

I'm heading down to the Washington Athletic Club to see Tim Eyman debate Ron Sims on Eyman's latest, the traffic-congestion-worsening I-985, but I just looked in my inbox and saw I needn't bother: In an email, Eyman has already declared victory. His reasoning? "Putting a spotlight" on 985 "can only help the 'Yes 985' campaign. And getting the media to report on this critical issue during a crowded presidential/ gubernatorial election year is a real coup."

That's a pretty bold assertion, considering that the media coverage of I-985 has been overwhelmingly negative--and considering that just one newspaper, the Olympian, has endorsed Eyman's latest proposal. (I know that, in part, because Eyman cites the endorsement endlessly--in emails, in press releases, and during our endorsement interview with him last week). Far from "reducing traffic congestion," I-985 would make congestion worse--by opening HOV lanes to everyone 18 hours a day, eliminating a major funding source for rebuilding the 520 bridge, barring the use of local transportation dollars for local transportation solutions, and effectively eliminating red-light cameras that prevent accidents.

Should be a fun debate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Selective Guide to the Endorsements

posted by on October 15 at 3:48 PM

Now that we've posted our endorsements and encouraged everyone to fill out their entire ballot (and then head down to the Showbox for the Stranger's election-night extravaganza!), duty compels me to draw your attention to a few bottom-of-the-ticket races.

No, I'm not talking about light rail (although Sound Transit is, quite literally, at the bottom of the ballot)--I'm talking about a few lesser-known, little-heralded candidates and measures that we really think you should know about.

Right the top of your ballot, (OK, after you've voted no on I-985, yes on I-1000, and no on I-1029) you'll find a barrage of county charter amendments. Don't be intimidated! Basically, the county charter is King County's constitution. This year's ballot includes eight changes to that constitution. Three of the most significant would make the county elections director an elected position; make all county elected officials nonpartisan (currently county officials must declare themselves Republican or Democrat), and raise the signature threshold for amending the county charter by initiative to 20 percent of the votes cast in the last election for county executive--or about 100,000 signatures, based on the last county election. We urged no votes on the first two and a yes vote on the third.

Then--after you've voted for Obama, and your US representative, and Christine Gregoire for governor, you'll come to a long list of mostly obscure state races. You don't need to know too much about most of them, but one you should pay attention to is Peter Goldmark, who stands a good chance of beating incumbent Republican Doug Sutherland as state lands commissioner--the person who oversees all of Washington's public lands. Sutherland, you may recall, was most recently in the news for unearthed allegations that he sexually harassed a young female natural resources department employee, reportedly commenting about her "great parts" and making her spin around in front of him. (Sutherland apologized for the incident). He's also one of the biggest beneficiaries of mining and timber dollars in Washington State.

And their investment may be paying off: As Josh reported today on Horse's Ass, Sutherland has reportedly agreed to grant a controversial lease to Maury Island mining company Glacier Northwest, which contributed more than $50,000 to Sutherland's reelection effort, "around the first week of November"--after the election is over, and too late to raise the ire of environmental voters concerned about strip mining on Maury Island.

Finally, don't skip the two city propositions at the end of your ballot, which would provide $73 million and $145 million, respectively, for Pike Place Market and parks. (The parks levy renews the Pro Parks Levy, which is expiring; the Market levy would be a one-time, six-year levy for major maintenance and seismic upgrades to the crumbling market.) We urged a "yes" vote on both; however, we also noted in a disclaimer that if you've decided to vote for just one tax increase this year, you should vote for mass transit.

Which, by the way, is at the bottom of your ballot. Make sure you make it down that far (or start at the bottom and work your way up--remember, absentee voters have until November 4). Finally, don't forget to vote!

Tim Eyman, Ladies and Gentlemen

posted by on October 15 at 2:28 PM

As promised, here's exclusive video of the Stranger Election Control Board's interview with Tim Eyman, sponsor of Initiative 985, and his arch-nemesis Andrew Villaneuve of Permanent Defense. Endorsements come out in this week's paper and will be available online this afternoon. Enjoy!

Part One:

Part Two:

Debate Prep

posted by on October 15 at 10:44 AM

(How can there have ever not been YouTube?)

1. If you think the Obama-McCain debates have been boring, check out this stultification fest. It really is like watching a silent film:

Has there been a better, more clearly defined, surely-we-can-all-agree-on-this-if-nothing-else, democrat thinking on his/her feet debate moment since this:

Is it not still massively infuriating that THAT guy was the president, and furthermore that THAT guy (fun-size nutbar in the middle) was the only reason THAT guy (so young, so righteous, so convincing, so prelapsarian) was able to beat that monstrous, indifferent, faux-patrician, pure evil, bloodless functionary of a company man? I mean look at him! His son is just a clone—of him:

And finally, we all know Sarah "Don't Call Me Michael" Palin is an insult to everything anyone could possibly ever believe, but let us pause to consider good old Admiral Stockdale. The fuuck? And while we're pausing, perhaps we could also consider the built-in indignity of Al Gore having to "debate" a man of Dan Quayle's fiber:

End of line. Please feel free to go back to being terrified that America's secret/totally-not-secret racist nature will shatter all our dreams here in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 36th District Keeps on Giving

posted by on October 14 at 5:46 PM

I'll be too busy wrapping up this year's general-election endorsements to make it to tonight's 36th District Democrats debate, but if you're in the neighborhood, you might want to stop by for the fireworks. (The meetings starts at 7 p.m. at 3003 NW 66th St.) Reuven Carlyle and John Burbank, the two Democrats who are vying to fill the state House seat being vacated by Helen Sommers, are embroiled in a testy debate over the language on the Democrats' sample ballots (yes, I'm serious). According to a frantic email sent out by district chair Peter House last night, the ballots were supposed to note only that Burbank was the district's "endorsed" candidate for the state house seat. (Observant readers will recall that after the district declined to pick an "official" nominee, state Democratic chairman Dwight Pelz stepped in and picked one himself; subsequently, Burbank received an endorsement, which is different from a nomination, from the district's membership). Instead, the ballots--written by Carlyle supporter (and district vice-chair) Janis Traven—read as follows: "This is our first election under the Top Two Primary system: Two Democrats face off in the General Election. Democrat Reuven Carlyle won the August Primary by over 1200 votes. In September, 134 members of our District organization voted to endorse John Burbank."

In his email to 36th District members, House wrote:

The entry on the Sample Ballot goes on to list Reuven Carlyle even though he was not endorsed. In no other race where we made an endorsement was a non-endorsed candidate listed. In my judgment the Sample Ballot did not represent the will of the membership. The message at the top of the ballot comes from me implying that I have approved the ballot which I had not. I therefore took measures to correct the sample ballot. I called John Burbank and his campaign manager and asked them to come to the church. I needed help, and I knew that John, as our endorsed candidate, would be very interested in making sure the ballot was correct. I instructed John to remove the incorrect ballots from the church. I further asked John to help me get new ballots printed with the correct information. John called Service Printing and arranged to have new ballots printed. The new ballots were promised for Saturday morning, October 11.

One thing House didn't mention in his email is that he is a supporter of John Burbank--giving him as much incentive, in theory, to remove the offending information as Traven had for including it. Although Traven says she intended only to make the new primary procedures clear to district members (previously, two Democrats would never oppose each other on a general-election ballot, because only one Democrat ever made it through the primary), Burbank supporters believe the language was intended to make members question which candidate the district actually supported. In any case, the ballot on the 36th District web site still includes information about both Burbank and Carlyle.

UPDATE: A commenter says the ballot has been changed. Here's a link
to the one that was up last night.

Caption This Photo

posted by on October 14 at 9:31 AM


I saw this photo last night on ABC News, and found it so odd I couldn't stop staring at it.

Then I thought it should have a caption, but I'm no good at kooky captions. The best I could come up with is "Look at me, I'm President Bush and on my left is Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and on my right is French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and some of us look like we're in front of a green screen and others of us look like old Muppets and still others of us just look sad."

Perhaps you can do better.

Monday, October 13, 2008

As If You Needed Another Reason to Loathe Tim Eyman

posted by on October 13 at 2:18 PM

His new initiative (I-985) doesn't just propose to open carpool lanes to all drivers—he's also after public funding for the arts.

From page 18 of I-985 (.pdf of it here):

Dedicates revenue previous allocated to art to the "reduce traffic congestion account."

Basically, he's after the Washington State Arts Commission, which receives a fraction of a percent of money allocated for public building projects. With it, they give grants to organizations like Intiman Theater and the Spokane Symphony.

(Hey all you theater people who worked yourselves into a foaming, gnashing lather over this week's theater section—how about you summon a little of that energy and help fight I-985. Because if you think The Stranger is an enemy of theater, you haven't met Tim Eyman yet.)

UPDATE: I'm wrong, wrong, wrong. Apparently, the arts verbiage quoted above is a red herring and wouldn't actually change local public-arts funding. See more at and the Municipal League.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Down-Ballot Update

posted by on October 6 at 4:09 PM

Accusations are flying in the race for 36th District state representative, with each of the two Democrats in the race accusing the other of fighting dirty. First up: Reuven Carlyle, whose supporters are accusing a supporter of his opponent, John Burbank, of inaccurately portraying Carlyle as a Republican and of illegitimately using a list of 2008 Democratic Party caucus attendees to stack the deck in Burbank’s favor during the 36th District nomination process. (Many of the accusations and counteraccusations can be found on the 36th District Democrats' blog.)

That supporter, Paul Bigman, distributed an email earlier this year that included color-coded information about Burbank and Carlyle. Statements about Burbank, such as “John’s personal history is one of leadership and activism in the peace movement and the environmental movement,” were in blue—the color of the Democratic Party. Statements about Carlyle, such as "26% of Carlyle's contributions are from corporations and corporate executives [including] Bruce McCaw, one of the largest Republican fund-raisers in the State,” were in red—the color of the Republican Party.

The email prompted one of Carlyle’s supporters to write a post on the 36th District Democrats’ blog defending Carlyle, who is a Democrat; it also elicited a direct response from Carlyle himself, who called the implication “that I'm somehow a closet Republican … silly, obnoxious and an insult.” Carlyle then listed several progressive groups that have endorsed him, including the Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters, and seven Seattle City Council Members.

Carlyle’s supporters are also alleging that Burbank and his supportters illegitimately used a list of voters who attended the 2008 Democratic caucus to rally supporters and recruit new precinct committee officers (PCOs) and district members to his cause. Carlyle says both he and Burbank received copies of the list, with the explicit instruction that they not use it for campaign purposes. "Soon after that," Carlyle says, "one of the members of John’s kitchen cabinet began putting out full-blast email attacks on me." Carlyle says "a lot of members of the district are pretty outraged by the use and abuse" of the caucus list by Burbank's campaign. Although Burbank acknowledges calling up existing district members and recruiting new PCOs, he says "it didn't have anything to do with" the list of caucus members given to both candidates by the district. District vice chair Janis Traven didn't answer a call seeking clarification of the rules.

Carlyle isn't the only candidate leveling accusations in the 36th. On Monday, Burbank said his opponent had failed to abide by a "clean campaign pledge" adopted by both candidates, which states that each candidate will "[reject] the use of negative or misleading attacks against a fellow Democrat," not" mislead voters regarding my own record on the issues, [and not] engage in, nor permit defamatory negative attacks upon the character of my opponent(s)," among other things. Burbank says he was doorbelling in Magnolia over the weekend when a constituent gave him a piece of mail she had received from Carlyle's campaign, calling Burbank "a 30-year Olympia lobbyist and party campaign aide" with "old style, antagonistic politics"; it also refers to his support for the "infamous 'Latte Tax,'" of which Burbank was the primary architect, as "silly."

"It's an odd thing, because Reuven initiated [the clean campaign pledge] on Thursday and then on Saturday he is in violation of it," Burbank says. "He’s labeling me a 30-year Olympia lobbysis and party campaign aide when, first, that’s impossible because I moved to Seattle in 1983." Second, Burbank says, he's an "advocate for middle-class and low-income families," not a lobbyist. "He's falsifying facts," Burbank says. "If this is acceptable behavior under the pledge then it is fair to ask if the pledge has any meaning at all." In response, Carlyle calls Burbank's objection "silly," adding, "he was hoping that signing the clean campaign pledge was somehow going to prevent a discussion of the latte tax, and that's just not going to happen."

Carlyle and Burbank will debate each other on Tuesday, October 14, at the Sunset Hill Community Club, 3003 NW 66th Street in Ballard.

And in completely unrelated legislative news, supporters of 46th District legislative candidate Gerry Pollet are demanding that his opponent, fellow Democrat Scott White, return $800 contributed by th a PAC controlled by the Building Industry Association of Washington. White has raised just over $110,000 to Pollet's $57,000.

Continue reading "Down-Ballot Update" »

Catholics Want to Make Your Medical Decisions While You’re a Vegetable

posted by on October 6 at 4:04 PM

Opponents of Initiative 1000, which would allow terminally-ill-yet-alert patients to end their lives, are ramping up an effort to kill the measure in the general election. The problem, they insist, is that it's just a poorly written law.

“It’s not a moral issue,” says No Assisted Suicide spokeswoman Carrie Herring. She says I-1000 lacks safeguards for doctor accountability, pressures poor people to avoid hospice fees by committing suicide, and encourages depressed people to commit suicide rather than be treated. “It’s a public policy issue." (Proponents of I-1000 disagree.)

But you can follow the money to the morals. Public Disclosure Commission reports show the leading contributors to No Assisted Suicide’s $750,000 bank account are the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, and an archipelago of local archdioceses across the country, including the Seattle chapter.

The anti-initiative campaign, however, is going out of its way to obscure its cadre of wealthy religious backers, instead presenting a video on its web site hosted by Martin Sheen, a Democrat, and boasts a section of endorsements from state Democrats, including Senator Margarita Prentice.

The web site’s top-listed supporters, meanwhile, appear to be neutral members of the medical profession. These are doctors who have spoken repeatedly for the campaign. But if Dr. Patricia O'Halloran’s past history is an indication of her take on morality, look no further than when she testified against stem-cell research before the Washington State Legislature. Or take, for example, Dr. Shane Macaulay, who has given $10,000 to the campaign, according to PDC reports, and donated to Washington Republicans Rob McKenna and Dino Rossi. If those Republicans seem moderate, consider also Macaulay’s contributions to Rick Santorum.

If the problem were really a lack of safeguards, then the No Assisted Suicide camp would, in theory, support a version of the law that contains those protections. But a couple spokeswomen who came to the Stranger Election Control Board meeting last week didn't support an alternative law.

It’s not that they are anti-choice conservatives. They are pro-choice, it turns out. They want doctors to make all end-of-life choices for you.

Last Friday marked the three-year anniversary of my friend Kim’s death. She was the most opinionated person I've ever known and she was a one-woman patient advocate. She had cystic fibrosis and suffocated for a year before dying at a hospice. So I asked the anti-1000 camp how they would treat her suffering, or her “depression” if she had wanted to die. They argued Kim didn’t have to suffer; she just had to be sedated to the point of unconsciousness for the last six months of her life. But who would make medical choices about medicine, nutrition and everything else for Kim while she was out? Doctors would. These religious doctors—moral arbiters with stun guns—want to make every choice for patients and would-be sinners as they spend their last days knocked out on a respirator. That idea, and the blatant lie that this isn't about morality, should die.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"You don't listen at all, or maybe you listen and you're too dumb to understand."

posted by on October 3 at 8:19 AM


Barney Frank refuses to let Bill O'Reilly bully him—it's required viewing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VP Debate Party Tomorrow!

posted by on October 1 at 5:59 PM

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that others have already posted better, more comprehensive lists of tomorrow's VP debate-watching parties. So please consider the below parties to be ECB-endorsed, and attend or stay away as you will. (Without you, of course, Columbia City remains an ECB party of one.)

I've been gearing up for tomorrow's vice-presidential debate between Sarah Palin (boo!!) and Joe Biden (yay?), about which I'll have much, much more to say tomorrow... In the meantime, though, I wanted to invite all Slog readers to two events at Spitfire, 2219 4th Avenue. The first is a (free!) debate watch party tomorrow night, starting at 6:00 pm, with drink and food specials until 7 pm. The second is a presidential debate watching party on Tuesday, October 7, hosted by Washington Conservation Voters and featuring Gov. Christine Gregoire; doors at 5 pm, discussion with the Gov at 5:30, debate at 6. The suggested donation is $250, but all are welcome--give what you can. To RSVP online, go here.

And for those who'll be in the South End during tomorrow night's debate, I'll be liveslogging from the Columbia City Ale House at Rainier and Ferdinand; feel free to stop by and say hello.

Your Attorney General (and Future Governor?)

posted by on October 1 at 5:48 PM

Meet Rob McKenna, state chairman for the Washington for McCain campaign:


To learn more about McKenna's Democratic opponent, Pierce County executive John Ladenburg, go here .

Reading the Anti-Bailout Republicans

posted by on October 1 at 10:25 AM

"Who are all these anti-bailout Republicans?" people keep asking. "And what do they mean?" Rachel Maddow asked on her new show on MSNBC last night. The Wall Street Journal is asking on its blogs. The Irish Times is asking in its paper.

But Slog has already met them here, here, and here.

They were at the Republican National Convention this year, from some of its youngest attendees (Saul Farber, 22, running for New York State Assembly) and some of its oldest (Tim Babcock, 89, former trucker and governor of Montana).

They're the growing movement of fiscal conservatives, not social conservatives. They like Goldwater and grumble quietly about toxic evangelicals and big government and the wrong turns their party has taken in the last ten years. They're not interested in fighting for constitutional marriage amendments and the War on Drugs—they're the better half of the Republican party and they're starting to rebel against the worse.

(And they haven't been conjured by the McCain campaign: all eight members of the Arizona delegation, McCain's home state, voted against the bailout bill.)

They're reason to hope.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dems Charge AG with Conflict of Interest in Republican Ethics Case

posted by on September 30 at 3:20 PM

The Washington State Republican Party broke election law over the summer but hasn’t been punished. Last week, the state Public Disclosure Commission ruled that the party sent out three mailers that advocated voting for Dino Rossi, at a cost of over $150,000, in violation of state election law. The Republican Party paid for the mailers using a soft money account that is supposed to be used for general party-building, not to advocate for specific candidates. However, as you can see from parts of the mailers, they did advocate for a specific candidate.

rossi_mailer.jpg As of today, the AG's office hasn't taken action on charges. Democrats are demanding that Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna seek an injunction against the Republicans. They're also seeking that McKenna hire outside counsel to handle the case, citing the fact that Luke Esser, now chairman of the state Republicans, worked for McKenna in the AG’s office and at the King County Council. “There is a conflict of interest,” Steele says.

“Without an injunction in place to say, ‘Hey, shitheads, you can’t do this,’ there is nothing that stops them from doing what they did in the primary again in the general election,” says Steele. “They can flood the mailboxes of every person in the state with mailers for Republican Dino Rossi … even thought the PDC said it's illegal.”

IMG URL John White, Jr., an attorney for the Republicans, defended the mailers by explaining that they were sent “exclusively to members of the Republican party.” Under the top-two primary system, the party is allowed to define its membership however it wants, White said in a statement to the PDC. (Republicans have not returned calls for comment.)

But in its decision, the PDC said the mailers were "not permissible expenditures" as defined under state law. It then recommended that the attorney general’s office take “appropriate action.”

Janelle Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, says the AG's office has not decided how it will handle the case, or if Esser's involvemnet presents a conflict of interest. She notes that the office has historically prosecuted most cases on its own, rather that hiring outside counsel, even when charging defendants of the same political party as the sitting attorney general. “I think we will have an announcement soon,” says Guthrie. “Obviously, we're not going to file it after the election.”

Rossi Participated in Illegal BIAW Campaign

posted by on September 30 at 10:40 AM

The Washington State Democrats and attorney Knoll Lowney released information today showing that Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi participated directly in the Building Industry Association of Washington's illegal fundraising efforts on behalf of Rossi's campaign. In Washington State, it's illegal for a group to raise funds for a candidate if it fails to register as a political committee. Earlier this month, state Attorney General Rob McKenna sued the BIAW, alleging that it had concealed "its solicitation and receipt of $584,527.53 in campaign contributions.”

The records released today show that Rossi himself made fundraising calls seeking money from at least one chapter of the BIAW for the BIAW's pro-Rossi campaign war chest, which, to date, has spent more than $2 million on its anti-Gregoire campaign.

The BIAW's contributions to Rossi's campaign came from refunds to BIAW members' worker compensation funds. Two weeks ago, the state Public Disclosure Commission unanimously ruled that a BIAW subsidiary had illegally concealed its role in bundling workers' compensation refunds and donating them to the BIAW's political committee, which is working to elect Rossi over Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.

The documents are available here and here.

Bush Sinks to New Low, Obama Bobs Above the Rest

posted by on September 30 at 9:19 AM

Gallup reports that Bush never fails to let us down.


None of these guys or parties is floating above 50 percent while the economy circles the drain, but Obama rates the highest.


In terms of winning over the political center where most swing voters reside, however, the jury still seems to be out. Obama and McCain receive nearly identical ratings from political independents for their handling of the Wall Street crisis, and they're not positive. Only about a third of independents approve of the way each candidate has responded.

The second poll is probably out the window in light of everything that happened yesterday. But which candidate or party will suffer more? McCain tried to lead Republicans on the bailout bill, but it was ultimately his party that killed it. So he hardly comes off as a great leader. But I'm afraid Obama's messages of "change" and "hope" could lose potency after yesterday's unbridled collapse. Seems like fear could play in stodgy old McCain's favor.


posted by on September 30 at 7:25 AM

OK, dig these numbers with your morning caffeine, via ThinkProgress:

DOW January 19, 2001: 10,587.59
DOW September 29, 2008: 10,365.45

NASDAQ Jan 19, 2001 = 2770.38
NASDAQ September 29, 2008 = 1983.73

CPI, January 19, 2001: 175
CPI, September 29, 2008: 219

Dollar exchange with Euro, January 19, 2001: 1.068
Dollar exchange with Euro, September 29, 2008: .695

How can anyone take these Republican fuckers seriously for even a minute? Since the party of Big Business, led by the first MBA President, took over, everything has gone to shit. And the national debt is up 71.9% too.

Of course, the Onion saw it coming.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Required Reading

posted by on September 29 at 1:26 PM

And pretty hilarious reading too: Northwest Progressive uses the Seattle Times' 1996 pro-light rail position to debunk the Seattle Times 2008 anti-light rail position.

Re: Bailout Deal Collapses

posted by on September 29 at 12:30 PM

And Republicans blame Nancy Pelosi's speech. Seriously.

“I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said, adding that Pelosi “poisoned” the GOP conference.

Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) held up a copy of Pelosi’s floor speech at a press conference and said she had “failed to listen and to lead” on the issue.

The Speaker had blasted the Bush administration in her speech and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asserted that some GOP lawmakers, who had reluctantly agreed to support the bill, might have changed their minds following Pelosi’s remarks.

Hmm... here's how the votes broke down:

140 Democrats voted for the bill. They were joined by 65 Republicans. However, 95 Democrats voted against the measure, along with 133 Republicans.

Meanwhile, you can just refresh this page every few minutes to watch the stock market. The Dow was at 10,590 when I took the screen grab above but has dropped about 100 points in the last 10 minutes. Yikes.

UPDATE: It's Barack Obama's fault, too, says McCain's campaign.

McCain senior adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said in a statement on Monday that while the Republican presidential candidate had tried to lead on the issue by suspending his campaign and returning to Washington last week, Obama had not been involved with the negotiations and other Democrats had put partisanship ahead of finding a solution....

This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country,” Holtz-Eakin said.

Interesting that this bill, a compromise between both parties yesterday, failed due to unexpected opposition from Republicans. And it was such surprise that Republicans could turn around moments afterward with unified talking points and a press conference.

UPDATE 2: Barney Frank characterizes the Republican response as, "Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the country." (Video link from Mike in Renton.)

Bailout Deal Collapses

posted by on September 29 at 11:30 AM

The House of Representatives shit-canned the bailout deal—the one Bush said they had to pass "or else"—and the Dow tumbles toward 10,000.

Good times.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Gub Debate

posted by on September 26 at 4:48 PM

Due to a schedule conflict and a lack of cable, I missed last night's debate between Dino Rossi and Gov. Christine Gregoire in Blaine, but Josh (AKA the Competition, nee the Boss) was there (word is he stayed in a SWANK hotel), and he blogged about it for Horse's Ass this morning.

Josh focuses in his post on the debate over the minimum wage (a Rossi-supporting convenience store clerk he talked to is "pissed" that Rossi opposes Washington State's inflation-indexed minimum wage), but the thing that jumped out at me from the coverage of last night was this: Gregoire, who has bent over backwards to differentiate herself on "values" from "George W. Bush Republican" Rossi, vowed not to fund a paid family leave program passed by the legislature, a response to the projected $3.2 billion budget deficit. That program has been a major priority for Democratic legislators; targeting it as a cost-cutting measure smacks of pandering to exactly wrong audience.

The next Rossi-Gregoire debate will be on Wednesday, October 1, at 7:00 pm; it will air on PBS affiliates.

The Danger is Clear

posted by on September 26 at 1:29 PM

Did you see this? It's great.

Someone turn on the bat signal. We need help.

Because What the Country Really Needs Right Now Is Less Financial Regulation

posted by on September 26 at 10:29 AM

Defying a federal tax law they consider unjust, 33 ministers across the country will take to their pulpits this Sunday and publicly endorse a candidate for president.

They plan to then send copies of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service, hoping to provoke a challenge to a law that bars religious organizations and other nonprofits that accept tax-deductible contributions from involvement in partisan political campaigns. ...

Organizers said they wanted a range of clergy of various faiths and political persuasions to join the protest, but acknowledged that the participants might be “weighted” toward the conservative end of the spectrum and more likely to support the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, than the Democrat, Senator Barack Obama.

Yes, nothing could be better than freeing right-wing financial entities from government regulation! That's been been great so far! Hell, let's allow businesses to be free from taxes, banks free of accountability, candidates free from reporting requirements, and just replace libraries of law with a thin little book with some red type. What could go wrong?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Re: Gregoire Tops Rossi

posted by on September 24 at 12:54 PM

Don't believe it.

First of all, the SurveyUSA poll identified Rossi as "Republican Dino Rossi." As the recent Elway poll confirmed, describing Rossi as "Dino Rossi, who prefers the GOP Party" gives Rossi a three-point boost--a boost that would put him above Gregoire in the SurveyUSA poll, though still within the margin of error. That's why the Washington State Democrats are suing to force Rossi to correctly identify himself as a Republican--because the label "GOP Party" confuses so-called low-information voters. In June, another Elway poll revealed that fully 25 percent of likely voters didn't know that "GOP" meant Republican, and seven percent thought it referred to the Democratic Party. A court hearing in that case is scheduled for 9:00 Friday morning, in King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie's courtroom.

Republicans, far more than Democrats, are capitalizing on this confusion. According to the state Democratic Party, 31 candidates on state general election ballots have identified as something other than a Democrat or a Republican. Of those, 27 are claiming to belong to the "GOP Party," the "Grand Old Party," or the "R Party"; just one Democrat has identified as a member of the "Progressive Dem Party." (A Green, an Independent, and a Libertarian round out the roster.)

Perhaps more importantly, Rossi is proving himself to be a far more robust, compelling candidate than Gregoire this time around. Much as she did four years ago, Gregoire is running a lackluster, defensive campaign--painting Rossi as a right-wing monster, pitting him against crying moms, and associating him with George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Rossi comes across as calm, soothing, and folksy--the antithesis of Gregoire's agitated, alarmist, out-of-touch-with-regular-folks persona.

At the gubernatorial debate last Saturday, for example, Gregoire smiled condescendingly and stuck to her speaking points in her answers to nearly every question. Rossi, in contrast, used folksy anecdotes about his daughter's allowance ("little Jillian") and his "small-business background" ("I started out with $200 in the bank and a $200 car and nowhere to go but up") to avoid answering questions--a dodgy tactic that might not have worked so well had Rossi not seemed so world-weary, honest, and direct. Never mind that he frequently was lying--about Gregoire planning to raise voters' taxes; about the size of the state's budget deficit; about his position on stem-cell research. Rossi sounded like he was telling the truth. In the 30-second-sound-bite format of a televised debate, the appearance of honesty matters more than honesty itself.

And Gregoire, in contrast, sounded nervous and canned. Even when she was talking up her blue-collar roots--"When you grow up with a short-order cook and you're making ends meet, you know how important a job is"--Gregoire sounded stiff, defensive, and out of touch. (Note to Gregoire's campaign consultants: Please coach her in the proper use of the word "literally." our nation is not "literally on its knees.") She also repeated herself too often and too angrily, throwing around phrases like "green-collar jobs," "I just don't believe that's the values of the people of the state of Washington," and "the failed policies of the George W. Bush administration" like talismans to ward off Rossi's slick, smooth-talking charm. Instead of going on the attack, Gregoire stayed on the defensive, passing up opportunities to take specific stands on issues like the viaduct ("we're saying, what do we do, literally, from I-5 to the waterfront"), taxes ("absolutely nobody is talking about taxes in the state of Washington except my opponent"), spending priorities ("It's called priorities of government budget setting"), and economic development ("there's a lot of good work being done there.")

Seattle may have a lot of Gregoire signs--I saw a half-dozen on my way to work this morning--but in Eastern Washington, north of Everett, and Pierce County, Rossi's support is strong. If Gregoire wants to hold on to her job, she's going to have to do a lot more than snipe that Rossi's distorting her record--she's going to have to make the case that her record makes her worth keeping.

What He Said, Too

posted by on September 24 at 12:01 PM

Man, I can't remember the last time I was actually proud of Congress.

More, please.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What She Said

posted by on September 23 at 9:19 PM

Except when she said "lockbox."