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Postman on Politics

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

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July 9, 2008 9:41 AM

Another (losing) case against McDermott's re-election

Posted by David Postman

I’ve been reading about the liberal case against Jim McDermott for years. Many have said Seattle’s congressman is out of touch, worries more about foreign trips than local pork and even when he’s on the right side of an issue, can hurt the cause with his sometimes controversial statements.
But voters in the 7th District return him to office by consistently huge victory margins. I believe Seattle voters know McDermott’s record, as well as his shortcomings, and must believe he is doing just what they want him to. I have no polling to back this up. But I’d be surprised to find that many 7th District voters are unhappy that their congressman spends so much time worrying about, for example, health care in Africa.

Today comes yet another argument against McDermott. This time it’s at Crosscut, where former reporter, former Democratic staffer - now Group Healther - Don Glickstein covers some familiar territory. He writes about the war, McDermott’s travels and his legal troubles. He does so, though, with a level of detail and a thoroughness usually missing from more strident rants against McDermott.

But Glickstein also pokes at McDermott’s financial holdings. As he writes,

… McDermott doesn't let his progressive ideals interfere with his investments.

This was news to me. Its’ the piece of Glickstein’s story that I bet could rile McDermott’s voters.

The man who opposed the Medicare prescription drug program because he felt it "was set up to maximize profits for the pharmaceutical and HMO companies" owned more than $52,000 of Pfizer, Merck, and other pharmaceutical company stock at the start of 2007.

McDermott talks the language of addressing global warming. "A prime challenge facing our nation is the reduction of our dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and oil," he notes on his Web site. Yet he owned shares valued at more than $40,000 in Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal mining company and the target of at least two environmental campaigns.

This issue, in the hands of a capable campaigner, could possibly keep McDermott’s re-election numbers down to the low 70s.

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