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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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May 27, 2008 4:37 PM

Our team loses a good one

Posted by David Postman

KING 5's Robert Mak is leaving TV to be Mayor Greg Nickel's new communications director. Mak is one of the best journalists of any sort in Washington state, and one of the very few TV reporters who continue to follow politics closely.

His award-winning work on KING 5 will be missed. He's also a nice guy and I'll miss hanging out with him at news events as I've done for years. But it seems like he's already fitting in at City Hall:

"Mayor Nickels has led a successful agenda addressing climate change, improving transportation, and fostering healthy neighborhoods," said Mak. "With the Mayor committed to supporting better schools and creating more economic opportunities for all, this is an exciting time to join the City of Seattle."

UPDATE: I see from Jim Brunner's story that Mak will be making $160,000 a year.

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May 27, 2008 2:42 PM

Rossi warms to climate change

Posted by David Postman

I see in the P-I that Dino Rossi is going to battle Gov. Chris Gregoire for the environmental vote. (He’s already got a hybrid campaign SUV.) It’s going to be tough for Rossi to overcome the Democrats’ traditional alliance with the environmental movement.

And there's no doubt that Democrats will play on Rossi's particularly close connections to the Building Industry Association of Washington. The BIAW is the group the environmentalists love to hate. The BIAW opposes the state and King County’s efforts to tighten environmental regulations as a way to combat global warming. The builder’s group called one of this year’s major climate change bills “the foundation for more enviro lawsuits.”

In a global warming report sent to its members, the BIAW listed a number of things it was doing to oppose the state’s efforts to reduce global warming. The list includes potential litigation to stop the Department of Ecology’s climate-change rulemaking, intervening in environmentalists’ lawsuits, and “Endorsing Dino Rossi for governor.”

But Rossi has had a recent epiphany on global warming. The P-I reports that “Rossi said there's no doubt the planet is warming.”

Rossi was asked about global warming at the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce in March. There he said “there’s still a lot of debate going on in this.”

I know a lot of people say, ‘Why bother with long-term planning if Al Gore says the world’s going to end in 10 years or 15 years. But there are a lot of scientists who disagree, so we’ll see how this debate goes.

Two weeks ago, Rossi wouldn’t say whether he thought global warming was real. He was quick to say it didn’t matter whether it was real because it was important to clean up the air regardless of whether there is scientific consensus on climate change. He told Times reporter Andrew Garber:

It doesn’t matter whether you believe in one scientist or another. The bottom line is we need to make reasonable plans to reduce carbon emissions and make improvements in our environment.

Despite repeated questions, Rossi refused to say whether he personally believed global warming was real, saying, “I’m not a scientist.”

That puts Rossi somewhere between the BIAW and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. McCain believes global warming is real and that there is a strong scientific consensus about the issue. He thinks most of the world agrees with that assessment. I asked McCain earlier this month how he responds to leaders in his own party who won’t say whether global warming is a fact.

Well, I’ll be glad to continue the debate on climate change. We will continue to accumulate scientific data. NASA, I think, has proven to most Americans and most people in this world as we’ve seen pictures of the globe and the receding ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic and the profound changes that have taken place.

McCain uses a similar line to Rossi’s about how it really doesn’t matter what you think about global warming as long as you believe more environmental protection is needed.

I asked Tom McCabe, executive vice president of the BIAW, what he thought of Rossi’s global warming position.

“That’s fine,” he said. “He has his own perspective.” McCabe doesn’t think Rossi will be able to win much environmental support. “No matter what he does it’ll never be enough for them,” he said.

Rossi and McCabe agree in their opposition to this year’s major legislative action on global warming. House Bill 2815 set up goals for carbon reduction, but does not fund those efforts. Gregoire signed the bill and has called it a major accomplishment.

Rossi, according to spokeswoman Jill Strait, would not have signed the bill. Strait said Rossi believes “we should focus on rewarding people, not punishing them.”

The bill she just signed aims to use the power of the government to force people to cut vehicle miles traveled down to the level of 1980 in just ten years, and that is only the first step.

Dino’s vision is based on personal freedom and engaging Washington’s creative economy. His plan provides incentives for people to use new, clean technology.

After the jump, read more from Rossi on global warming.

Continue reading this post ...

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May 27, 2008 2:06 PM

Gingrich to headline Reichert fundraiser

Posted by David Postman

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will be in Bellevue next month for a special Father's Day fundraiser for Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn.

(It was during his Bellevue stop for Reichert in 2006 that Gingrich said the U.S. was in the midst of World War III, and urged President Bush to say that publicly.)

Sandeep Kaushik, a spokesman for Reichert opponent Darcy Burner, said Reichert says "he is saddened by the partisan tone in Washington, D.C.," "the truth is he is tied at the wallet to some of the most partisan and extreme Republican leaders, whose support he actively seeks and enthusiastically welcomes."

Reichert has benefited from, among others, fundraisers headlined Gingrich, President Bush and Vice President Cheney. But it's hard to measure the fallout, if any, given Reichert's 2006 re-election over Burner.

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May 27, 2008 9:39 AM

As end nears, Clinton reverts to type

Posted by David Postman

Over the weekend there was much discussion about Hillary Clinton's comments about Robert Kennedy’s assassination. She quickly apologized and, of course, said she was quoted out of context while her campaign blamed Barack Obama for fanning the flames of the Memorial Day story.

The Kennedy comment follows her jarring bit of analysis about her appeal among white voters.

Not to get all Gail Sheehy on Clinton, but I think as her chances for the nomination go to the other side of dim, she is reverting to type. It’s not that there are sinister undertones to either comment. She’s saying the sort of thing you can hear from political consultants, campaign staffers, TV pundits or reporters.

The problem is you don’t normally hear candidates - particularly for president - talk like that. Most of Clinton’s vaunted experience has been behind the scenes. Until being elected to the Senate, her political experience was as advisor and strategist to Bill.

Maybe it’s frustration that reporters don’t see the race as she does. Or maybe it’s that voters don’t see it her way. If this were a Bill race instead of a Hillary race, I can imagine sitting with Clinton in a bar - and we now know how much she likes a shot and a beer - and listening to her analyze the race, talking about the racial breakdown of votes and maybe even saying, “Hey, it’s only May and in 1968 the race was far from over at that point.”

There are a couple of problems, whether Clinton is a candidate or a strategist. First, why would a Democrat talk about 1968? As a friend pointed out last night -- I was only 10 that year -- Richard Nixon won the presidency that November.

Also, Clinton has repeatedly mentioned that Bill was still fighting for the nomination at this point in 1992. That just doesn't seem to be the case.

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May 27, 2008 7:09 AM

Huckabee says he doesn't want to be VP

Posted by David Postman

Mike Huckabee was in Seattle last week to play a little rock and roll and talk some politics, of course. Laura Mansfield and Will Mari of seattlepoliticore interviewed the former GOP presidential candidate. Huckabee tried to clear one thing up:

According to Huckabee, he is not seeking out the Vice Presidency. However, with the latest controversy surrounding McCains support of Rod Parsley and John Hagees endorsement, both whom McCain rejected publicly yesterday, it may be McCain that seeks out Huckabee for VP. In short, the evangelical vote.

You can read a transcript of the politicore interview with Huckabee here. The former Arkansas governor gave a hint, but no details, of a book he’s working on.

How are you doing after the election and the primary season?

“Almost as busy as I was during the campaign,” he said, adding that that he’s done a lot of speaking on behalf of people running for the House and Senate, and, of course, Sen. John McCain.

“Then also, [I have] been working on my future of what I’m going to do, and some of that involves writing a book that will come out in November,” he said.

Huck declined to give much in the way of details.

“I have to kind of keep it very general. The publisher wants me to keep things very mysterious for now, but essentially it’ll be a book on the overall direction of American and where it’s headed.”

Along with his book project, he’s “looking at some media opportunities that I’m trying to nail down … I’m certainly not lacking for something to do.”

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Recent entries

May 27, 08 - 04:37 PM
Our team loses a good one

May 27, 08 - 02:42 PM
Rossi warms to climate change

May 27, 08 - 02:06 PM
Gingrich to headline Reichert fundraiser

May 27, 08 - 09:39 AM
As end nears, Clinton reverts to type

May 27, 08 - 07:09 AM
Huckabee says he doesn't want to be VP







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