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Postman on Politics

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

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June 30, 2008 1:09 PM

"GOP" is a mystery to 1 in 4

Posted by David Postman

Dino Rossi's rebranding effort may pay off with voters who say they don't know what it means when a candidate declares himself a member of the "GOP Party." That's what Rossi used when he filed for office, saying that it is an insult to voters to suggest that they don't know the initials for Grand Old Party, an old Republican nickname.

A recent poll by Stuart Elway says that about 25 percent of respondents didn't know what GOP meant. In the most recent Elway Poll voters were asked which party they thought was meant when a candidate lists party preference as "GOP Party."

75 percent said Republican party.

15 percent didn't know.

7 percent said Democratic

3 percent said other.

And it will come as no surprise that of those who said they didn't know, or got it wrong, the biggest chunk, 27 percent, describe themselves as independent. That's where the greatest benefit of rebranding could come for a Republican trying to buck a 24-year gubernatorial losing streak for the party.

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June 30, 2008 8:15 AM

What Gregoire did, and didn't do, to bring plant to E. Washington

Posted by David Postman

I was talking to a smart friend over the weekend who bemoaned the oh-so-careful approach Gov. Chris Gregoire is taking to governing. He’s a supporter. But he worries that out of fear of alienating someone, somewhere, Gregoire has traded activism for near-paralysis.

Not that I would ever argue with said smart guy. But his point was made for him in an in-depth piece by Chris Mulick of the Tri-City Herald. Mulick dug into Gregoire’s role in the Tri-Cities’ push for a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant that would have created 400, high-paying jobs. The plant ended up in Idaho.

But rather than champion a project she feared would be controversial in some environmental circles, Gregoire deployed a "balanced approach" of not publicly promoting or opposing the project. …

Gregoire's unwillingness to play a more active role in recruiting what would have been a major economic development score for the state, Eastern Washington and the Tri-Cities has left even some of her strongest supporters shaken.

"There is a real disconnect between many of us in the Tri-Cities, including your friends and supporters, and you concerning your effort in support of siting the Areva plant in Richland," wrote Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Mike Lawrence, a longtime friend of the governor, in a May 7 e-mail.

Gregoire told Mulick that her support was unambiguous and that no one from Areya ever expressed any concerns about her support.

Read the well-told story.

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June 27, 2008 7:30 AM

Anti-Rossi ads hit the air today

Posted by David Postman

A new union-funded PAC launched a $500,000 ad campaign today against Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. The political action committee, Evergreen Progress, is airing three 15 second TV commercials that focus on Rossi's record as a state senator.

The ads begin with the line, "What do you know about Repubican Dino Rossi?" and refer people to the group's new website, don'tknowdino.com. There, viewers are greeted by the line:

Dino’s Washington isn’t a place most of us want to live.

Continue reading this post ...


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June 26, 2008 10:07 AM

Gregoire mum on claim of Dems' ethnic slur

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire has nothing to say about a Democratic Party video that used the Soprano’s theme song as the soundtrack for an attack on Republican Dino Rossi, an Italian-American. The president of the Italian Club of Seattle wrote Gregoire yesterday, saying the video was an obvious slur and urged her to call for the video to be removed from the party’s Web site.

The party agreed to change the music.

The letter from Italian club president Brian DiJulio was sent to Gregoire’s official office. Her communications director, Pearse Edwards, referred questions to campaign spokespeople, “given the political and campaign issues.”

The video was not produced by Gregoire’s campaign. It was done by the state Democratic Party, which said yesterday it will replace the music. For a while this morning, a headline on the Seattle Times Web site incorrectly referred to it as a Gregoire video.

Campaign press secretary Debra Carnes said the governor would have no comment on issues raised by DiJulio. “It’s not our ad, and that’s why it’s important we get a correction.”

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June 26, 2008 9:45 AM

Radio's Jenkins gets TVW gig

Posted by David Postman

Public radio reporter Austin Jenkins was named today as the new host of TVW's Inside Olympia. That's the channel's longest-running program, now in its 11th year, that features indepth interviews.

Jenkins is the Olympia reporter for the Public Radio Northwest News Network and also writes at Crosscut. Hosting Inside Olympia is a part-time job. The show will go on hiatus until the fall when it will return with a new look to go along with the new host.

Jenkins and I have been filling in on the program since Dave Ammons left to take a job with the Secretary of State's office. In January, I'll go back to hosting another TVW show, Olympia On Call.

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June 26, 2008 6:53 AM

Cantwell has Countrywide mortgage

Posted by David Postman

Politico reports that Sen. Maria Cantwell "has a mortgage with Countrywide Financial Corp. — the same company that provided special VIP mortgage deals to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)"

Politico requested mortgage information from senators and as of yesterday only Cantwell had failed to respond.

Presented with public records Wednesday, Cantwell spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton said that Cantwell originally obtained the mortgage on her Edmonds, Wash., home from U.S. Bank but that U.S. Bank subsequently sold the loan to Countrywide.

It’s a common practice for mortgages to be sold after they’re originated, and the transfer often happens without any involvement by the homeowner.

Asked if Cantwell had any contact with Countrywide during the transaction, Clayton said, “Not that I’m aware of.” Asked if Cantwell received any special terms on the loan, Clayton said, “I don’t know the details.” Clayton said Cantwell’s Washington, D.C., condominium is financed through U.S. Bank.

Yesterday Gov. Chris Gregoire accused Countrywide of predatory and discriminatory lending.

UPDATE: Clayton just called. She says Cantwell received no special terms on her loan. She said the office did not see the written request for mortgage information from Politico and there was no intent to avoid the questions.

When a Politico reporter called, Clayton said she answered all the questions posed to her.

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June 25, 2008 3:01 PM

Italian group says Dems Rossi attack is "racist"

Posted by David Postman

The Italian Club of Seattle sent a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire today complaining that a video produced by the state Democratic Party about Republican Dino Rossi is "racist" and "beyond offensive."

The group says the video, which criticizes Rossi's connections to the Building Industry Association of Washington, "aims to link Italian-American gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi to Italian-American criminals through the use of the theme song to The Sopranos .

The letter, from club president Brian DiJulio, mentions that former Democratic Gov. Albert Rosellini is a member. DiJulio says the video is an attempt to "associate Dino Rossi with criminal activity through the use of negative ethnic stereotyping" and is "beyond offensive."

Whether the State Democratic Party thought it clever to link Rossi to Italian-American criminals through the use of a popular mobster TV show is irrelevant; it is distasteful, and it is racist. Governor Gregoire, we believe we have your sympathy when we assert that using someone's ethnic heritage as a negative should not be condoned in this campaign.

DiJulio said in the letter he wants the video pulled from the Democrats' Web site and from YouTube and that Gregoire should ask that Democratic Chairman Dwight Pelz resign.

MORE: Waiting for a response from Gregoire and the Democratic Party. Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser sent out a statement. It said, in part:

“It is outrageous that the Democrats would stoop to this level on Gregoire’s behalf. What’s next? Dino is also part Tlingit, Alaskan Native. Are they going to attack him for that, too? This type of racial stereotyping is unacceptable. Gregoire and the Democrats know they can’t win on the issues so instead they turn to ethnic attacks. It’s shameful and an insult to the voters of our state.”

MORE: Democratic spokesman Kelly Steele responds:

Our video is in no way meant to allege or imply that Republican Dino Rossi or his extremist, right-wing developer allies have ties to the mafia or organized crime. It's a catchy song, which we thought jibed stylistically with our communication about Rossi's designated attack squad -- the BIAW -- who continue to pour millions into false and misleading attack ads against Gov. Gregoire. That being said, we’d like to apologize to Rossi’s friend Mr. DiJulio, his organization, and anyone else we may have inadvertently offended. The video will be replaced shortly with an identical message regarding Rossi and the BIAW’s sleazy attack campaign, using a different song.

As an aside, Rossi doesn’t seem to have a problem with referencing The Sopranos when he’s attacking Gov. Gregoire. Here’s what he said in a speech just yesterday on Mercer Island:

“[Rossi] criticized the state's reliance on the gas tax and ‘sin’ taxes from alcohol and cigarette sales. ‘Sin taxes are so easy to raise,’ he said. ‘But they are already so high they are one of the highest in the nation. If we raised them anymore, Tony Soprano would want to get some of that action.’”

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June 25, 2008 2:01 PM

Gregoire ad says she "cleaned up Dino Rossi's mess"

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s re-election ad campaign began today with this radio spot. It hits back at ads run by It’s Time for a Change, the BIAW-controlled PAC, that criticize Gregoire on her policy toward sex offenders.

The builders' ad

features a woman who says her 12-year-old granddaughter was sexually assaulted. "The governor has made it easier for these perpetrators to get away with what they want to do," the woman says in the ad. "I don't know how she can go to sleep at night."

Gregoire’s radio spot says:

It’s hard to believe Dino Rossi and his special interest friends who are attacking Governor Gregoire on crime.

It’s Dino Rossi who wrote the budget that cut millions from supervising felons. Rossi’s budget meant more than 14,000 felons would no longer be monitored. And it’s Rossi who opposed funding for a commitment center for sex predators. Check the record.

It’s Gov. Chris Gregoire who cleaned up Dino Rossi’s mess. Crime is now at a 14-year low and no one’s been tougher on sex offenders. She started Operation Crackdown to hunt them down, expanded the DNA registry, required sex offenders to wear electronic ankle monitors. And Governor Gregoire has increased sentences for sex crimes.

No wonder that every major police and law enforcement group has endorsed Chris Gregoire.
When it comes to crime, the choice is clear: It’s Governor Gregoire who is making our community safer and getting results.

More to come …

The governor's campaign says the claims about budget cuts come from the spending plan approved by the Legislature in 2003. Rossi was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee that year. He was a major force in writing the budget. But, in what I've always found problematic about this line of attack from Gregoire, Rossi worked very closely with Democratic Gov. Gary Locke. And the final plan - no matter who wrote it - was approved by the Democratic-controlled House. The suggestion that "Rossi's budget" cut children from health insurance or, in this case, made it harder to monitor sex offenders means that some Democrats in the House today went along with the plan, too.

MORE: Gregoire campaign spokesman Aaron Toso says in reaction to the previous paragraph:

We feel that it is fair game. If Rossi wants to take credit for writing a budget, he has to own the entire budget and can’t pick and choose.
I don't disagree. It is certainly fair game to talk about the budget that Rossi has, in fact, made a centerpiece of his legislative career. But I do think that line of criticism is complicated by what I said. Of course, radio or TV ads will keep it simple. I wonder, though, if Rossi will respond with an ad listing some of the Democrats who agreed with him at the time. It'd be a long list.

UPDATE: Rossi's campaign responded to Gregoire's commercial with a press release sent this evening. And, as expected, the campaign points out that Rossi worked with Locke on the budget, adding, "The budget was passed by the Democratic-controlled House and signed by Democratic Governor Locke."

The campaign says that the prison budget was $46 million more than Locke proposed and tightened the law that allows early release.

On the question of the commitment center, Rossi says he opposed a proposed center in his district, in North Bend, because there was not prior notice to him and it was located near a children's camp.

The ad claims Gregoire has been endorsed by “every major police and law enforcement group.” But Rossi has been endorsed by local police groups, including the police guilds in King County, Renton and Kitsap County.

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June 25, 2008 10:36 AM

More than $1 million in union-funded PAC

Posted by David Postman

A new, largely union-funded, PAC has raised more than $1 million over the past six weeks. It’s still not clear exactly how Evergreen Progress will spend the money. But it’s looking more likely the political action committee will soon be weighing in on the governor’s race on behalf of incumbent Democrat Chris Gregoire.

Evergreen Progress has collected money from 14 labor unions and labor PACs, including the Service Employees International Union, which gave $495,000. The Democratic Governor’s Association gave $250,000.

The donors, most of whom have also donated heavily to Gregoire’s campaign, consistently referred questions to campaign manager Rick Desimone. Last week he wouldn’t say much about how the money would be spent. But today, echoing a bit of Gregoire’s campaign theme, he told me via e-mail:

In the future, Evergreen Progress will focus on the facts and do our best to ensure that every citizen has an opportunity to consider them as they make up their own minds about the direction they want the state to go in. Governor Gregoire and Dino Rossi both have records and both have positions on important issues that are informed by that record. For months we’ve heard and read a lot about what some people think about Governor Gregoire’s record - it’s been pretty hard hitting. I’m pretty sure the folks advancing this line of argument feel justified in their work. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander - the truth will get out - and I hope we’re part of it.

Continue reading this post ...


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June 24, 2008 4:21 PM

Michelle Obama to raise money for Gregoire

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire's campaign says that Michelle Obama will be in Seattle July 17 for a fundraiser. The event will be at noon, but the campaign has not released any other information. and there are more details here. The luncheon is at the WaMu Theater at Qwest Field. The minimum donation to get in is $200.

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June 24, 2008 7:01 AM

Two Republicans with two views of one meeting

Posted by David Postman

From a press release sent by the state Republican Party at 9:52 a.m. Monday:

Just four days from the legal cutoff to spend taxpayer money, Senate Democrats will hold a Ways & Means Committee meeting on June 26th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon (Sen. Haugen represents part of Mt. Vernon and part of Skagit County).

It is the only time in recent memory a Ways & Means Committee meeting has been held in Skagit County. Could it have anything to do with the fact that Sen. Haugen faces another tough race this year after winning in 2004 with 50.1% of the vote?

"Sen. Haugen and the Democrats have no shame in using hard-earned taxpayer money to pay for what is little more than a staged campaign event," said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser.



From a press release sent by Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, at 3:31 p.m. Monday:

Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, is urging citizens to take advantage of a unique opportunity: Telling their stories directly to the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which will be hearing public testimony on property taxes Thursday, June 26 from 1 - 3 p.m. at Skagit Community College.

“Scores of people in Skagit and Snohomish have told me that property taxes are an urgent concern,” Stevens said. “For most, they finally own their home and have retired, but their property taxes have climbed so high, they can’t afford to stay in the home. Our seniors need property tax relief or they face being taxed out of the homes they’ve spent a lifetime purchasing.”

The committee is meeting in several cities around the state this summer in order to hear from people about their property taxes. So far, local governments and powerful special interests have captured this committee’s full attention. If you want to be heard, now’s the time!”

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June 23, 2008 4:46 PM

FOX News on Republicans shying away from party brand

Posted by David Postman

FOX News this afternoon reported on Republicans’ efforts at re-branding themselves on the primary and general election ballots. Dino Rossi is one of “scores” of Republicans that correspondent Dan Springer says are “leaving the Republican moniker behind.” Anchor Britt Hume said the Republicans were "shying away from the Republican Label." And that may be a bigger crime on that network than failing to wear a flag pin.

When Rossi filed to run, he listed his party preference as GOP Party.

Curtis Fackler, a Republican candidate for insurance commissioner and the chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, will be listed with no party preference. He told Springer that there are 30 percent of voters in the state who will vote against a Republican “no matter what.”

And we want to get around that. We want them to read our statements and see where we’re coming from.

Rossi says in the piece that Democrats are insulting the intelligence of state voters by suggesting they don’t know what GOP means. But, as it has been pointed out, even some people who should know better have been ignorant of that Republican shorthand. And Fackler's comments certainly make it clear that at least some Republicans are using their new freedom on the ballot to distance themselves from the battered party brand.

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June 23, 2008 2:32 PM

Weekly newspapers look for new revenue in big campaign year

Posted by David Postman

The state’s weekly newspapers have a new plan for making money from politics. The Washington Newspaper Publisher’s Association, which represents weekly and community papers, is building a Web site to compile state political news in the hope of selling politicians their names. WNPA President Bill Marcum said in this month’s newsletter put out by his group and Allied Daily Newspapers, representing the dailies:

We can also sell hot links to candidate, party and consumer Web sites. What does this mean? We would sell Dino Rossi his name every time it appears on the site. The name would be in light blue, hot linked to his Web site. WNPA would get paid (say $3) every time a reader clicked on this link and went to Rossi’s site.

An e-mail pitch to candidates explained it this way:

As you can see, each time your name is mentioned it will be hyperlinked and you can choose the website that the user is taken to, your campaign or donation page would be a prime spot. It is free to set up an account and only requires a $25 to begin receiving traffic. Click costs start at only $0.05/click and you can see exactly what each site is charging before you spend any money. Register today and let Washington voters find out who you are, what you stand for and create a name for yourself in the upcoming election.

There is a site under construction that is, at this writing at least, publicly available and obviously a work in progress. Other money-making ideas for the site are to sell display ads and host campaign videos.

Candidates could put their TV commercial on the site and would pay for the space and each time the video is viewed.

The site is being managed by an intern for now. WNPA General Manager Bill Will told me that when the site goes live in a few weeks it will include work from the weekly papers, but that the dailies, through Allied, will be welcome to join the effort. He says by e-mail:

The crux of the effort is to let users browse some headlines (or the RSS feeds of the papers that offer them) and nudge them back to the originating site if they want the whole story. We think that's a good way to fight back against bloggers who are playing fast and loose with copyright by lifting whole stories and slapping them in their blogs.

Marcum says in his article the aggregator site is one way for newspapers to fight declining revenues.

We as an industry need to work together to compete in the political arena, and over the past 20 years we have failed miserably in the political revenue category. Here is a chance to reverse the trend, using a medium that politicians want and need to get their messages to the public. They will find a way to do it with us or without us … why not make it with us, so we will make a few bucks along the way?

RELATED: Papers Facing Worst Year for Ad Revenue

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June 23, 2008 11:52 AM

Republicans overthink race, while black voters go elsewhere

Posted by David Postman

NPR asked the question yesterday morning, “Where Did All of the African-American Candidates Go?” And by that, they mean all the black Republican candidates. It was only two years ago that Republicans had African-American candidates in high profile races for governorships in two states and for the U.S. Senate in Maryland.

But in a piece by Allison Keyes on Weekend Edition Sunday, it is clear that some of those candidates and other prominent African-Americans from the party say Republicans have not followed up with a concerted effort at minority voter outreach. As Michael Steele, the former Senate candidate put it, Republicans need to “stop overthinking this problem.”

I get the question all the all the time, how do we reach out? … Well, first off, stop asking the question and just do it.

Keyes' piece makes clear that there has not been a lot of visible progress within the party since 2005 when then-RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman went to the NAACP convention to make a notable public apology.

“Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

And, of course, the problem is made much more difficult in a year when Democrats will nominate an African-American for president.

Listen to the NPR piece here.


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June 23, 2008 10:11 AM

Councilman moves to challenge Sims

Posted by David Postman

King County Councilman Larry Phillips took a step toward challenging Executive Ron Sims with the opening of an official exploratory committee to raise money and test the waters for a 2009 campaign. Phillips said yesterday in an e-mail to supporters:

Running for County Executive is a big undertaking and one I do not take lightly. I have a deep respect for the incumbent, as he's done many good things in King County, and I realize that it's hard to move on. But 13 years in office - with an unprecedented fourth term on the horizon - is a long time. The times are changing, the problems are changing, and too often they are left unattended and without effective Executive leadership.

Sims describes Phillips as "a naysayer and a complainer.”

Phillips’ website, GoForItLarry.com, isn’t yet live. His early strategy for challenging fellow Democrat Sims, now in his third term, relies in part on the state’s new top-two primary system.

With the new "Top Two" elections system, the opportunity presents itself even more - there's plenty of room for two from the same party to run.

Phillips’ and Sims’ party doesn’t like the top two and is likely to challenge it in court before November 2009. As more intra-party challenges surface, though, we may see some Democrats and Republicans lobbying their leaders to keep the top-two.

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June 23, 2008 8:22 AM

Former DOT chief argues against light rail

Posted by David Postman

Doug MacDonald, the former secretary of the Department of Transportation, says Sound Transit's expansion plans would cost a lot but do little to untangle the region's transportation mess. Writing at Crosscut, in the first of three pieces, MacDonald says ST's tax proposal would create a "river of new money ... flowing to the board of directors for decades."

Don't hold your breath to see new transportation services from these projects anytime soon. Most of the new projects would not go into service until 2020, when today's four-county regional population is expected to have grown by an additional half million people, from today's 3.6 million.

Nevertheless, some of those eventual projects certainly will be big - in dollar cost, anyway! ...

At the same time, they will — in terms of contributing to regional transit needs — also be very small.

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June 17, 2008 2:54 PM

Nothing to see here

Posted by David Postman

I'll be away from the blog until Monday.

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June 16, 2008 4:27 PM

Rossi, but not all supporters, confident of clean vote count

Posted by David Postman

Visitors to Eastern Washington report seeing Dino Rossi for governor signs emblazoned with this line:

Don't Let Seattle Steal This Election!

That seemed at odds with what I've heard Rossi say about changes implemented since the problematic 2004 governor's election count. He assures voters that Secretary of State Sam Reed has purged the voter rolls of felon voters and names of deceased voters.

Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait says the signs are not an official product of the campaign. And she says they do not reflect Rossi's view.

Dino wouldn’t be running again if he thought it was going to be the same playing field.

Since the last election, Secretary of State Sam Reed has created a statewide voter database and wiped off thousands of registrations that shouldn’t have been on the voter rolls. This is a good thing and we are confident that the election will be managed properly.

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June 14, 2008 4:46 PM

Democrats approve platform

Posted by David Postman

The draft platform was just approved by unanimous consent, with no amendments. I pointed out some interesting points in the document here.

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June 14, 2008 2:12 PM

Pelosi has big plans for country

Posted by David Postman

I had an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Seattle yesterday. She was there for a fundraiser, to make a video for Congressional candidate Darcy Burner and to visit the Seattle VA hospital.

Pelosi and Burner talked with me at the Fairmont Hotel and we covered a lot of ground. My story isn’t on the homepage this afternoon, but you can find it here.

pelosi_for_postman_blog1.jpg

MORE: Linda Jansen, a Seattle reader, saw this morning's story and sent this e-mail:

You forgot to mention that Cindy Sheehan is running against Pelosi. She was the power center that kept the Dems from cutting off the funding for the war in Iraq, which you so blithely quote her as saying requires better management. How about the fact we never should have gone there and need to GET OUT!

Since Sheehan was just here in town and you are a political reporter, I'm assuming you knew about Sheehan's challenge. Shouldn't you include the above info about Sheehan, just to have the appearance of fairness?

I'm going down to SF to help Cindy get rid of Pelosi. We've got to get these Congress people to respond to the will of the people or this whole place is going down.


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June 14, 2008 12:26 PM

Objection from the Gregoire camp

Posted by David Postman

A Gregoire campaign staffer says my post below made it sound like there was no genuine support for the governor among the more than 1,000 Democrats here. For the record, there was genuine support for the governor in the room, and even among those organized and encouraged to show support. It was just an awful lot of organization for a candidate, with no primary opposition, before her own party's convention.

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June 14, 2008 11:33 AM

Democrats' draft platform

Posted by David Postman

Here is the current draft of the Washington state Democratic Party's platform.

A few interesting items in the draft. Many speakers in the past two days talked about how the extended battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was good for the Democratic Party. But the platform calls for:

Significantly shortening the process of selecting Presidential nominees and allowing for
accessible and meaningful citizen participation;

Democrats mention free trade in several places in the platform. It says Democrats want

  • International trade based on fair trade including living wages and environmental protection; …
  • Only those multilateral trade agreements that are conditioned on environmental , health and safety standards, human rights and workers rights, and which support transparent democratic processes;
  • Strict health, safety and environmental standards worldwide, as well as worker rights and welfare internationally. …
  • Renegotiation of treaties such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that fail to promote human rights, labor rights and environmental protections;

The draft calls for a federal “cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence” and a “progressive tax system at both the federal and state level,” and “Immediate restoration of voting rights of felons upon completion of parole.”

On education, the party’s draft is in opposition to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s support of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, and calls for

Abandoning the WASL as a mandatory high school graduation requirement;

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June 14, 2008 9:42 AM

The Democratic convention

Posted by David Postman

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz was just talking about the race for attorney general between incumbent Republican Rob McKenna and Democratic challenger John Landenburg, the Pierce County executive. He said McKenna was best remembered for "his role as Sherman from Rocky and Bullwinkle."

Pelz also had amoment of silence for former state party chairwoman Karen Marchioro who for the first time in 40 years was not attending a state convention. She died last year.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is the chairman of the convention.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is about to speak. Her campaign organized an orchestrated demonstration to show excitement about her appearance. Staff handed out signs to volunteers who were strategically placed around the hall and told to give the signs to people on the convention floor.

But apparently the spontaneous show of excitement didn’t come exactly as planned. “They’re supposed to be walking right behind her,” said one Gregoire staffer. “What just happened there?” asked another.

I’m not sure who this show is designed for. It’s not the press, because the organized volunteers were lined up to block our view of the stage and the video that played on big screens. I suppose, though, it is meant to excite Democrats here, to rev up the base.

Gregoire is now attacking Dino Rossi for the budget he helped write when he was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Left unsaid, as always, is that the budget was co-written by former Democratic Gov. Gary Locke and approved by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Gregoire told Democrats that there is a great story to tell about progress over the past four years. She told them are the “story tellers” and sid they need to tell everyone they know, “because if we can get the word out about what we have done we win in November.”

She also criticized radio ads sponsored by a PAC controlled by the Building Industry Association of Washington. The ads criticize Gregoire’s record on transportation.

I thought I was running against Rossi. But I guess I’m running against the BIAW. So in November we’ll send them a message as well.

The governor even has a marching band. It just marched in at the conclusion of her speech.

MORE:
Sen. Maria Cantwell just spoke to the convention. She was a Hillary Clinton backer and she said:

I do want to see a strong Democratic woman in the White House and that’s why I’m so glad that Michelle Obama will be the First Lady of the United States.

Cantwell got big cheers for saying she plans to continue to investigate high oil prices.

Just like with Enron, this senator is going to stay on the task until we have transparency in oil markets and understand why we are paying record oil prices.

Sen. Patty Murray and Gregoire lost Spokane County in their last elections. But Cantwell won here in 2006, showing, she said, “that a Democrat can win in Eastern Washington.”

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June 13, 2008 6:26 PM

At the Democratic convention

Posted by David Postman

This was supposed to be posted last night. My bad. But here's the not-so-live blogging from Friday night.

SPOKANE -- Yes, the sun is shining. I hope it is raining back in Seattle.

Tonight the Democrats hold their big banquet prior to tomorrow's convention floor session. Gov. Chris Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray will speak tonight. Chairman Dwight Pelz is speaking now. He says he's proud to be a Democrat. (Yes, hold the presses.) But, he said, not everyone is proud.

Dino Rossi will not allow the name Republican appear after his name on the ballot. Dino Rossi is ashamed to be a Republican.

Pelz also took a shot at Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed and the top two primary, saying Rossi could call himself a member of the GOP because of "Sam Reed's flakey, goofy, childish ballot."

I ran into Randy Dorn, the former Democratic lawmaker running for superintendent of public instruction, and he said the party's executive committee endorsed him today. He says that will make it easier for him to win an endorsement from the Washington Education Association.

MORE: The featured speaker tonight is Kansas Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson.

Murray is speaking. The crowd is giving her mention of Sen. Hillary Clinton a sustained standing ovation. Murray says America was changed by the Democratic presidential primary and that every boy and girl in the country now knows that "anything is possible."

But this is the biggest applause line so far: "I know I was right when I voted against going to war with Iraq." She said Iraq veterans have been mistreated by the Bush Administration. "Our heroes have had to fight their own government for the treatment they have earned," she said.

Murray is talking about the Air Force tanker.

By giving this contract to Airbus we are undermining our abilty to provide for our military and decimating the U.S. aerospace business.

Murray said that there is one person to thank for Washington state avoiding the economic problems facing much of the country: Gregoire. That's a lot of credit for one person.

And now Gregoire is speaking. She said Democrats should spend the next couple of days really thinking about why they are Democrats.

She said that Rossis is one of “those Republicans who are exactly in lock step with” President Bush. She said people like “do not see the world with the vision and the values we do.”

More from Gregoire:

Today we are at a watershed moment. Now is the time for us to stand up and say, ‘No more.’ Now is the time for us to stand up and elect those people who share our vision and our values. Now is the time when we here in Washington state can continue to live in a common vision with a partner in the White House. Ladies and gentlemen, it is an inspirational year, a year of change and hope. … It is time for us to take this country back. It is time for us to travel the world and be proud because we put the USA ticket on our luggage.

MORE: So why is Kansas Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson here? He's just starting to speak, so maybe there are more reasons. But Pelz explained in his introduction that Parkinson was first elected as a Republican legislator. He switched parties at the urging of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

"Being the Lieutentant governor of Kansas is not that big of a deal," Parkinson said. He said that Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen has real power. Boy, Parkinson must not have much to do in Kansas because Owen has a very slim official portfolio. He says that in the political food chain he comes right after the single-cell amoeba.

Parksinson is the Rodney Dangerfield of politics. But it is the party-switching that makes him a draw as a speaker. He said he considers very carefully invitations like the one that brought him to Spokane.

I don’t want to be the Zell Miller of the Democratic Party.

He said that if his speech had a title it would be "Is Mark Parksinson an opportunist."

The issue arises because after I switched parties the folks that had been asking me to leave the party for a long time suddenly got upset and they called me a lot of things. The thing that they were able to publish was oportunist.

He said he registered as a Republican in 1976 because that was the tradition in Kansas at the time, in the style of Dwight Eisenhower or Alf Landon. He said he fit fine with the party even as he supported abortion rights and thought "the government should not tell us where and what to pray."

But he says the Republican Party in Kansas was taken over by regligious conservatives. The final straw, he said, was when a conservative Republican attorney general began to subpoena medical records of women who had abortions performed by Kansas doctors.

Parkinson became chairman of the state Republican Party when the moderate GOP governor asked him to take the post over from a conservative who was daily criticizing his party's governor. But as he toured the state as party chairman, he realized the party had changed permanently.

"I decided I would quietly slip away," and gave up party politics. Still a Republican, he endorsed a Democratic candidate for attorney general and figured his political career was over. But the governor called him and asked him to consider switching parties to run with her as lieutenant governor.

I realized that the Republican Party that I had been a member of for 30 years was no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln. It was no longer the party of Alf Landon or Dwight Eisenhower or Nancy Kassenbaum. Instead it had become the party of George Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

And he gave a nod to Gregoire, by adding, “It had become the party of Dino Rossi.” That brought hisses from the dinner crowd.

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June 12, 2008 4:03 PM

Dem gov group, unions, fund new PAC. But what for?

Posted by David Postman

A new PAC backed by big bucks from the Democratic Governor’s Association and local unions has amassed more than $800,000 in the past two months.

The DGA gave $250,000 to the PAC, Evergreen Progress, on May 11. The Service Employees International Union State Council has given a total of $495,000. All but $100 of the rest of the money came from other labor unions and the state Labor Council.

With that much money from the Democratic Governor’s Association, a group whose job includes electing and re-electing Democratic governors, it appears this may be a group about to launch independent expenditures on behalf of Gov. Chris Gregoire.

But the chairman of the group wouldn’t say which races Evergreen Progress will be involved with.

“I’ll let you draw your conclusions at this point,” said Rick Desimone. He said the group was going to focus on “progressive approaches” to health care, the environment and the economy.

I wouldn’t categorize us as a group focused on anything other than advancing these progressive issues. I think we will focus on events and choices that people have that will make or break progress on these issues.

But I’m not going to say we’re limiting ourselves to any type of communication or advocacy at this point, partly because I don’t know all that we’ll be doing.

The PAC was formed April 12, according to documents filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. Two Seattle residents, Sandy and Steven Larson, each gave $50 to Evergreen Progress April 27. The rest of $805,100 came from labor unions and the Democratic governor’s group.

In addition to SEIU, the largest donor by far, other unions that have given are the Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 PAC, Washington Building and Construction Trades Council, the Washington State Labor Council, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Iron Workers District Council of the Pacific Northwest, Carpenters Local 131, and the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

Dino Rossi, Gregoire’s Republican opponent, has been getting help from a conservative-backed group, “It’s Time for a Change.” That PAC is funded by the Building Industry Association of Washington and other Rossi backers. It recently began airing radio commercials criticizing Gregoire’s record on transportation.

The BIAW-run independent expenditure has brought much criticism from the Gregoire campaign and Democratic Party staff. Lisa McShane, Gregoire’s campaign field director, wrote in an e-mail to supporters today:

Our Republican opponent’s backers at the BIAW - Olympia’s most powerful special interest lobbyists - are already attacking Gov. Gregoire on the airwaves.

They have already spent more than $250,000 on attack ads and this is just the beginning of their attempts to buy the race for our Republican opponent.

Our campaign is different.

The BIAW certainly is a powerful special interest in Olympia. But the SEIU, the biggest union in the state, is clearly one of the most powerful, and these days it is far more successful with its agenda than the BIAW.

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June 11, 2008 4:06 PM

Gov's court pick gets free ride

Posted by David Postman

Tacoma attorney Jack Hill withdrew from his Supreme Court race today, leaving incumbent Justice Debra Stephens with no opposition. Stephens was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Chris Gregoire last December.

Stephens had served a short time on the Division III Court of Appeals and prior to that had practiced law in Spokane. She replaced Justice Bobbe Bridge, who resigned from the court to take another job.

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June 11, 2008 10:27 AM

UPDATED: Gregoire got big party cash last month

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s re-election campaign touted her May April fundraising success in a press release yesterday, saying it “shows strong, early support for the governor.”

“I’m happy to see such enthusiastic support for our campaign,” said Gov. Gregoire. “It proves that voters want us to continue to take on challenges and get results on the issues that matter to them most, like education, children’s healthcare and global climate change.”

She did raise a lot of money. But the single largest chunk, by far, came from the state Democratic Party. The press release said Gregoire raised $785,000 in May. Not mentioned was that $200,000 of that came from the state party. That is more a sign of the party’s commitment to her re-election than it is a measure of early support from voters.

And where did the state party get its money from in May? Mostly from two tribes. The party’s filings with the Public Disclosure Commission show $276,000 raised in April. Of that, $250,000 came from the Tulalip Tribes and the Swinomish Tribal Community.

Of the $2 million Gregoire reports raising since she formally kicked off her campaign, $511,000 has come from the state party.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi got some party help, too. Of the $701,000 he raised, $40,000 came from the state Republican Party. That’s all he’s gotten so far. That wasn’t mentioned in Rossi’s press release, either.

The state Republican Party doesn’t show any big May donations. But this week it did get $50,000 from the Republican Governor’s Association.

Both parties are sure to play major roles in the governor’s race. That makes it hard to know the real source of campaign money. We can see which groups make large donations to the parties, but of course it’s impossible to say precisely which dollars flowed through to the candidate. It’s all legal. But it leaves voters in the dark about important campaign finance details.

MORE:
The Rossi campaign was quick to put out a press release this afternoon criticizing Gregoire for taking the party money and for donations she’s accepted from out of state residents.
But Rossi’s campaign is getting some outside help itself. And Rossi benefits from a different sort of loophole in the campaign law.
A political action committee called “It’s Time for a Change” paid $272,047 on May 28 for radio ads criticizing Gregoire on transportation issues. The ads feature women who complain that gas taxes went up but traffic hasn’t improved.

The ads are so-called independent expenditures. By law, an independent expenditure committee is prohibited from coordinating its activities with a candidate’s campaign. The Building Industry Association of Washington - the builders’ lobby whose ardor for Rossi is matched by its his animus toward Gregoire -- has made no secret of its control of that PAC.

So where did the money come from? Just as with Gregoire’s party money, it’s impossible to say precisely which dollars flow from one committee to another and what they pay for.

But on the same day It’s Time for a Change reported its ad spending, it showed it received $245,000 from ChangePAC, where all its money has come from.

And where does ChangePAC get its money? May 28 was a busy day. That’s also the day the Building Industry Association of Washington donated $245,000 to ChangePAC.

The BIAW already gave Rossi $3,000 directly to his campaign, which means it can only give another $200.

ChangePAC also gets money from others who have either hit their limits in donating to Rossi or are close, including Rossi campaign treasurer Howie Meadowcroft, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Washington State Farm Bureau.

The tribes that gave recently to the state Democratic Party are close to reaching the limit for donations directly to a candidate. So both sides have methods for spending money from maxed out donors.

It is all legal. And it all makes it a little harder to track donations and spending.

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June 11, 2008 7:54 AM

UPDATED: More on Republican re-branding

Posted by David Postman

I wrote below about Dino Rossi's decision to list himself on the ballot as a member of the "G.O.P.," meaning primary and general election voters will not see him identified as a Republican.

That raises the question about how many people know that GOP stands for Grand Old Party.

The Rossi campaign says voters get it. But a reader reminded me this morning that not even every Republican in office knows what it means. In 1999, Washington's late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent, a former Seahawk, gave the Republican response to President Bill Clinton's State of the Union Address.

Largent said, in describing his lack of political background,

Prior to 1994, my wife and I, we weren't political. We were like most families, raising four kids, hustling from one school or sports event to another - our car littered by fast food wrappers and French fries.

In fact, it wasn't until after I was elected that I attended a Republican function where a banner hung that read "GOP." I had to ask someone what those letters stood for.

They said, "Grand Old Party, of course."

(Thanks, Anthony.)

UPDATE: Another reader sends along a piece from CBS about the Wall Street Journal’s Decision in 2002 to drop the use of GOP in news stories and headlines.

In an internal memo issued to staffers last week, Journal higher-ups said the term GOP will be dropped because not all readers know what the letters mean, and some may not realize that they are a reference to the Republican Party.

That doesn't mean that the time-honored letters will disappear forever from the pages of the prestigious financial newspaper.

Reporters and editors will still be allowed to use the term in a quotation, if someone else says GOP. But an explanation of the acronym will be provided for any readers who might be stumped.

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June 10, 2008 5:20 PM

Top Republican leader to help Reichert

Posted by David Postman

U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner will headline a local fundraiser for Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, June 28. Boehner will be at a Bellevue hotel for a $100 per person breakfast.

Reichert is getting money help from a top Republican who recently was awarded $1 million from another member of the delegation. Congressman Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, was ordered by a federal judge to pay the money to Boehner to end a long-standing dispute over an illegally taped telephone call that McDermott leaked to the press.


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June 10, 2008 4:47 PM

Primary ballot allows candidates to re-brand

Posted by David Postman

There is much talk this year - the eighth of an increasingly unpopular president - of damage done to the “Republican brand.” John McCain’s campaign manager says the political environment for Republicans is “one of the worst in our party’s history.” And retiring Virginia Congressman Tom Davis told E.J. Dionne recently that if Republicans "were dog food, they'd take us off the shelf and put us in a landfill."

What’s a Republican to do? Re-brand of course. On Washington’s 2008 primary and general election ballots, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi will be identified as a member of the “G.O.P. Party.”

Continue reading this post ...


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June 10, 2008 10:23 AM

McCain v. Boeing in TV spot

Posted by David Postman

A group pushing for public financing of political campaigns is airing a TV spot in D.C. criticizing Sen. John McCain’s role in the multi-billion dollar Air Force tanker deal. The contract went to Airbus, prompting a formal complaint by Boeing and much criticism from Washington state lawmakers.

The non-profit Public Campaign Action Fund is considering airing the ad in Washington state and Missouri - both places with heavy Boeing employment, said spokesman David Donnelly.

But what’s the connection between public financing of campaigns and the Boeing deal? Donnelly said:

Our mission is to promote public financing and hold politicians accountable who oppose reform while doing favors for special interest donors and lobbyists.

The group also filed a complaint yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission. The group claims that a lobbying firm may have subsidized the salary of a McCain campaign staffer and that another lobbying firm - owned in part by campaign manager Rick Davis - improperly discounted a bill to the campaign.

A spokesman for the McCain campaign said that the senator should be hailed, not criticized, for his role in the Air Force tanker deal. Rick Gorka said people are unhappy with McCain because he stopped an earlier tanker contract from being awarded to Boeing. That contract was tainted by scandal inside Boeing and the Pentagon.

“That deal stank,” Gorka said. “John McCain is a guy who will stand up to these kinds of things regardless of the fallout. He ended up saving the taxpayer $6 billion.”

On the latest contract, McCain has been accused of interceding on Airbus’ behalf. (The claim is made again in the Public Campaign TV spot.) McCain has said that’s untrue. During a visit to Washington state last month, McCain said there’s no evidence of that and that he fully supports the government review of the contract prompted by Boeing’s complaints.

HEY COMMENTER JIM: I deleted one of your comments because it was so clearly over the line of acceptable debate. And others are clearly offensive. I have to say if I deleted comments just because I disagreed with them yours about McCain would be gone, too.

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June 9, 2008 2:14 PM

McCain says war top issue in NW

Posted by David Postman

John McCain’s campaign has posted a “strategy briefing” from campaign manager Rick Davis. These sorts of briefings or memos are made for external consumption, of course. But there are some interesting details in the PowerPoint.

Davis says that campaign polling shows that nationwide, the economy is the top issue voters are concerned about, with the Iraq war No. 2, and energy and gas costs in third place. But in the northwest, the war is the top issue. That’s true in only a few regions in the country, according to the McCain campaign. Here, the economy is second and gas prices are third.

Washington and Oregon are shown as “toss-up” states, though we’re not mentioned when Davis talks about swing states where the campaign thinks it has a good chance of winning.

You can watch the whole thing here.

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June 9, 2008 6:50 AM

Finally, some local VP rumors

Posted by David Postman

At The Herald, Jerry Cornfield points out the blog buzz that Patty Murray is being considered for the No. 2 spot with Barack Obama.

It’s an “exclusive” at OpenLeft, where a diarist says:

I have learned from a trusted inside source that the Obama campaign has approached, and held talks with, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) as a possible Vice-Presidential selection.

It’s not true, though. Murray spokeswoman Alex Glass said that while she “loves the rumor,”

Senator Murray is focused on doing her job for the people of Washington state.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, has a fan, too.

A writer at BlueNC, a lefty blog in North Carolina, includes Smith in a “Dark Horse” category in a VP handicap post, along with Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel and independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

These are my long-shot picks. One Republican, one Independent who used to be a Democrat before he used to be a Republican, and one guy you’ve probably never heard of (yeah he’s not that Adam Smith). Hagel would certainly feed well into a message of new politics and have crossover appeal; he’s also had a lot of nice things to say about Obama recently. Bloomberg also has a lot of independent appeal (and billions of his own money to spread that appeal) but is still questionable. However I think the one that emerges here is Adam Smith. An early Obama backer and effective surrogate he’s shown he can handle himself well with the media. An effective campaigner he was able to turn a Republican district into a safe Democratic seat. As a long serving member of the House he has served on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committee and is chair of the Subcommittee on Unconventional Threats (which might be handy if your administration was facing an unconventional threat like say…terrorism). This is a solid background on Foreign Policy that compliments Obama’s rather than overshadowing it. And what says “new politics” quite like picking someone that’s completely off the radar of the mainstream media? Bracket Winner: Rep. Adam Smith

Is there anyone in Washington state who you think would make a good vice presidential candidate for Obama or John McCain? Let’s start some rumors.

UPDATE: Gov. Chris Gregoire has an advocate for the job, too, though she is The Jed Report's second choice.

On a political level, Obama wouldn't pick Gregoire to deliver Washington state -- Washington will go blue in November no matter who he picks. Rather, the obvious political objective would be demographic, to cement Obama's strength with voters who want to see a woman on the ticket. (As a bonus, she's Catholic, and she's 61, which might put her on the old side for 2016, but is a perfect compliment to Obama in 2008.)

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June 5, 2008 2:08 PM

Burner's odds in 8th improve, says expert

Posted by David Postman

The respected Cook Political Report has reclassified the 8th District race between Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Democrat Darcy Burner. The experts there had listed the race as "Lean Republican" and now it is a "Toss Up."

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June 5, 2008 8:56 AM

Reichert gets Dems help on wilderness bill

Posted by David Postman

Washington’s greenest Democratic congressman has signed on to a proposal by Republican Rep. Dave Reichert to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, became a co-sponsor yesterday. Reichert’s office says that Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, also signed on last night.

Reichert’s bill has been praised by some environmentalists and by the P-I’s Joel Connelly.

Connelly’s pleased to see Inslee and Dicks joining Reichert on the bill.

Bipartisan cooperation is a tradition in major Northwest land-use decisions, never more than in legislation that created the 393,000 wilderness in the "land of 600 lakes" between Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes.

A pair of Democrats, Rep. Lloyd Meeds and Sen. Henry Jackson, shepherded the Alpine Lakes legislation through Congress. GOP Rep. Joel Pritchard debunked opposition from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz. And then-Gov. Dan Evans used an Oval Office meeting to persuade President Gerald Ford to sign the bill.

But supporters of the campaign Reichert’s Democratic opponent, Darcy Burner, and her amen bloggers have called the bill a cynical attempt at green-washing.

UPDATE: Burner's campaign says I was wrong about what I originally wrote above. Spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said that Burner did not question Reichert’s motive in introducing his wilderness bill. He’s right. The statement she released last fall didn’t do that directly. But it did raise a clear question about Reichert’s commitment to the environment, saying that his proposal was “the equivalent of focusing on a tree while losing sight of the fact that the forest is being chopped down around you.”

Even some environmentalists thought Burner was being critical of Reichert. At Sightline Daily, Eric De Place wrote last fall that “presumptive challenger Darcy Burner attacked Reichert for playing politics” in introducing the bill.

In last fall’s statement, Burner talked about the importance of saving wilderness and criticized Reichert for not supporting a Democratic proposal to protect roadless wilderness areas. She said:

Now I hear that Congressman Reichert, who is not even sure yet that global warming exists, intends to begin portraying himself as going 'green.' He is telling the press that he would like to consider designating some 26,000 acres of federal land of the Pratt River Valley a wilderness area. Many in the environmental community would like to see this area conserved and so would I. So I applaud Congressman Reichert for taking a small step in the direction of wilderness conservation.

But I would also hope that he would join so many of his colleagues in co-sponsoring the bipartisan Cantwell-Inslee legislation. Otherwise, his willingness to consider protecting one small area while threatening 2 million acres elsewhere in the state is the equivalent of focusing on a tree while losing sight of the fact that the forest is being chopped down around you.

And in a follow-up today, the same point was made again by Kaushik:

When you consider more closely the totality of Congressman Reichert's record and statements on the environment, and take a look at who his campaign backers are, a much more mixed view of his environmental record comes into focus.

More after the jump.

Continue reading this post ...


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June 4, 2008 7:42 AM

The rough draft of the historic day

Posted by David Postman

Top stories from the Web sites of state papers:

Obama: "This is our moment" The Seattle Times

Historic Night for Obama Seattle P-I

Election pits McCain vs. Obama The Olympian

Obama clinches Democratic nomination The Herald

Bonney Lake says scantily clad baristas break city law The News Tribune

Review: Kenny Chesney charms with rich voice, average-Joe persona The Columbian

UPDATE: It's been suggested that I was too subtle here. Here's my point: On a day when most newspaper websites used the Obama story as the top item on the page this morning, a few had other top stories that were far removed from the big national political news of the day. I was not suggesting that Tacoma and Vancouver are hick towns, or that the editors of those papers don't like Obama, or don't like African-Americans or that The Seattle Times never makes mistakes. Frankly, I don't care if those headlines were automatically generated by some super newspaper computer that decided the scantily clad coffee server story should be the top story. Whatever the reason, a few papers all but buried the Obama story on websites this morning and I thought that was worth pointing out.

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June 3, 2008 7:39 PM

Sims switches to Obama, Inslee holds with Clinton

Posted by David Postman

King County Executive Ron Sims, a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton since last year, tonight endorsed Barack Obama. He said in a statement:

As a superdelegate and President of the National Democratic County Officials, I supported Senator Hillary Clinton early on and am truly honored to have been co-chair of her Washington State campaign. She is an extraordinary leader, and I have maintained my support for Senator Clinton through the grueling national primary and caucus process. Through it all I have been impressed by the wealth of riches we have had with two exceptional candidates. Now it is time for me to join other Democrats to unite behind Senator Obama. Senator Obama will bring much needed change and excitement to this country when he is elected President of the United States.

Sims becomes the first state superdelegate to switch in the drawn-out campaign for the Democratic nomination. Two superdelegates, Ed Cote, and Sharon Mast, have yet to say who they back.

Congressman Jay Inslee, a Clinton co-chair here along with Sims and former Gov. Gary Locke, is sticking with Clinton at least until tomorrow. He said in an e-mail:

This is an historic moment where two candidates have advanced historic causes, so we should all be proud of what Democrats have acheived. Sen. Clinton has asked for our thoughts and I will give her my advice privately tomorrow. I know we will be a united party for this noble cause.

Sims was a (relatively) early backer of Clinton. He endorsed her last September and was named to her Environment and Energy Task Force and was named a co-chairman of her state campaign.


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June 3, 2008 4:11 PM

Locke, a Clinton co-chair, now backs Obama

Posted by David Postman

Former Gov. Gary Locke told Seattle Times reporter Ralph Thomas this afternoon that he has switched his support to Barack Obama. Locke was one of three co-chairmen on the Clinton campaign here. We're waiting to hear from Ron Sims and Jay Inslee.

It’s clear that the primary contest is over. Sen. Obama has done an incredible job of inspiring and energizing voters. We need to bring this to an end. We can not wait. This can not go to the convention. It’s time for us all to rally around Sen. Obama.

We should and must rally around him. I am very proud to support Sen. Obama.

Locke said he's not worried about the long, bitter primary fight. In fact, he thinks it will help Obama because it fired up the Democratic base, brought in a lot of new voters and given a lot more exposure to key Democratic issues such as health care, the environment and the economy.

The Democrats have had the luxury of two incredibly outstanding candidates.

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June 3, 2008 9:19 AM

SEIU's new political plan

Posted by David Postman

One of the nation’s largest unions revamped its constitution at a convention in Puerto Rico yesterday. Among the changes at SEIU is system that will send more money from locals to union headquarters in D.C. SEIU Leaders say will use that to launch an unprecedented campaign to help elect Barack Obama president and send pro-union lawmakers to Congress.

In Washington state, the Service Employees International Union is the largest active unions. But the new union rules will see more dues money from members here going to finance campaign activities in states more likely to decide the presidential election. David Rolf, president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, said:

I think there’ll be an exporting of resources and talents to some of the swing states to mobilize union members.

Rolf says SEIU will still be active in campaigns here. But, he said, “We aren’t seeing competitive races emerging all over the state.” That means money and resources can be sent elsewhere.

Continue reading this post ...


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June 2, 2008 3:28 PM

A superdelegate goes for Obama

Posted by David Postman

The AP is reporting that David McDonald is endorsing Barack Obama. McDonald is a member of the Democratic National Committee's rules committee. He had held off making an edorsement until the weekend's meeting where the rules committee decided how to handle Florida and Michigan delegates.

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June 2, 2008 2:42 PM

UPDATED: Republicans and babies

Posted by David Postman

When a politician says

I think the attention span of the public on party platforms is very brief,

you can be sure that there’s something in that platform the politician hopes voters will soon forget.

And in this case, the quote came from Attorney General Rob McKenna, whose Republican Party approved a platform that called for denying citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants to the United States.

Continue reading this post ...


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June 2, 2008 8:39 AM

Dems field secretary of state candidate

Posted by David Postman

Election reform advocate Jason Osgood says he’ll file today to run as a Democrat against Secretary of State Sam Reed. Osgood, known at washblog as zappini - he also has his own blog -- writes about election issues.

Osgood is 40 and lives in Seattle. He is a computer programmer with a medical records company.

I wrote about him last September when his work stopped the King County Council from spending $345,000 on ballot tracking technology. The company that would have gotten the contract appeared to be out of business at the time. As I wrote about Osgood,

He has quietly established himself as the No. 1 opponent of the county's plan for all-mail elections. He's done it from the left, in contrast to the opposition we have come to expect from the right and done much to make the movement a bipartisan success.

Continue reading this post ...


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Recent entries

Jun 30, 08 - 01:09 PM
"GOP" is a mystery to 1 in 4

Jun 30, 08 - 08:15 AM
What Gregoire did, and didn't do, to bring plant to E. Washington

Jun 27, 08 - 07:30 AM
Anti-Rossi ads hit the air today

Jun 26, 08 - 10:07 AM
Gregoire mum on claim of Dems' ethnic slur

Jun 26, 08 - 09:45 AM
Radio's Jenkins gets TVW gig

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A look at the local Ferrari dubbed the nation's top carnew
It's been called the most prestigious car show in the nation, and possibly the world. Every summer, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance attracts the ...
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