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November 29, 2004

Bush does worse on Eastside, better in outermost exurbs

The Seattle Times analyzes precinct-level Presidential vote results, and finds that Bush lost considerable support in the wealthy Eastside suburbs, but gained a bit in some of the farther flung suburbs.

Places where President Bush did better this year than in 2000

City	Bush % (2004)	Bush % (2000)
Auburn         45% 42%
Enumclaw 52% 49%
Maple Valley 54% 51%
Marysville 51% 46%
Monroe    52% 50% Places where President Bush did worse
City Bush% (2004) Bush% (2000)
Bellevue 42% 45%
Medina  53% 60%
Mercer Island 39% 43%
Mill Creek 51% 53%
Redmond         40% 44%
Sammamish 50% 52%
Seattle  18% 20%


Posted by Jon Stahl on November 29, 2004 at 10:48 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2004

Oh the arrogance!

In a generally lame article in today's Seattle Times, the following 'graf jumped out at me:

Even under normal circumstances, the roughly two months between Election Day and inauguration can seem like a mad rush. Having the race in doubt nearly a month after Election Day makes matters much worse, according to the Rossi campaign, which complains that the uncertainty not only delays filling key positions but also bogs down preparing a state budget and getting ready to assume power in general.

The arrogance of Rossi assuming his 42-vote lead is going to hold up when all the votes are counted by hand is unbeliveable -- but I guess Rossi doesn't lack for arrogant role models.

But what really gets me is the Rossi campaign's blatant disrespect for the law -- which clearly states that Gregoire is entitled to ask for a hand recount in any county she wants to. (If the results change the outcome, the entire state is automatically recounted.) But I guess Rossi also has some pretty good role models in the disrespect-the-law deparatment as well.

Next thing, he'll probably be trying to claim some sort of "mandate."

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 28, 2004 at 10:33 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2004

Democracy for Washington wants to hear from you! | Democracy for Washington

Democracy for Washington, the local chapter of the post-Howard Dean organization, is planning its future and wants to know what you think they should do next.

I'm pleased to see that they are planning an in-person meeting for sometime in January, somewhere in Seattle. 

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 26, 2004 at 09:08 AM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2004

November 3rd Theses

Adam Werbach and some friends have published their  November 3rd Theses, and are nailing them to the doors of Democratic Party offices in 23 states (and counting).

Looks like Washington State's "posting" will be tomorrow.  Email Adam at info@3nov.com to get involved.

It's a nice symbolic gesture, and the theses themselves aren't half bad.  Perhaps my favorite is this one, which anyone involved in Chris Gregiore's campaign should read, then read again..

XV.
Candidates who intend to win should no longer hire consultants who repeatedly lose. Those who counsel caution when dealing with the indifferent, the disaffected, and the undecided do not understand American history. Consultants who advise their clients against offering a clear and compelling vision in fear that it will be attacked should find themselves without a home in the Democratic Party. The sooner they retire, the better.

You can read the 3 November Theses in their entirely below, because Adam et al. have only published them in PDF format, which is not very blog-friendly.

3 November Theses

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

- Benjamin Franklin

I.
The 2004 presidential election was lost not by John Kerry over the last several months but by the Democratic Party over the last several decades. Democrats have lost control of all three branches of government for the foreseeable future. We are now a minority party.

II.
When the Senate Democratic leader is defeated while spending $16 million attempting to get the majority of 500,000 votes, the problem is not a lack of funding or effort.

III.
The failure of the Democratic Party to connect with America's desire for fulfillment is political death.

IV.
Democrats are now history's spectators, Republicans its actors.

V.
The obsession with denouncing the radical conservative project as a "lie" has become a useful substitute for vision.

VI.
Renovating Democratic politics is not a question of moving to the right or talking more about religion. It is about creating a framework that once again communicates to the core needs of the American people.

VII.
America is not now, and never was, simply "the economy, stupid." What the American people want is a deeper sense of personal meaning, a national mission, and passion in times of fear.

VIII.
Returning the Democratic Party to majority status will require a political realignment no less sweeping than that which was accomplished by conservatives over the last 40 years.

IX.
Only the breath of a serious and new moral-intellectual vision will be sufficient to resuscitate the Democratic Party.

X.
Democratic candidates will continue to lose as long as they treat Americans as rational actors who vote their "self-interest" after weighing competing offers for health care, jobs, and security.

XI.
Conservatives have spent the last 40 years getting clear about the values they represent. They have even developed a "family values" brand to represent a framework that coheres traditional prejudices around prayer in school, gun rights, restricting abortion, and restricting gay rights.

XII.
By contrast, liberal or 'progressive' groups and Democrats have spent the same period of time defining themselves against conservative values, even 'morality' in general.

XIII.
If resources continue to flow to the same leaders who have failed to construct a new vision and have thus left the Democratic Party in ruins then we can expect more of the same. And worse.

XIV.
Those who resist the process to create a new vision will be left behind.

XV.
Candidates who intend to win should no longer hire consultants who repeatedly lose. Those who counsel caution when dealing with the indifferent, the disaffected, and the undecided do not understand American history. Consultants who advise their clients against offering a clear and compelling vision in fear that it will be attacked should find themselves without a home in the Democratic Party. The sooner they retire, the better.

XVI.
Unconnected at a values level, the Democratic Party's laundry list of policy proposals is a confusing and alienating hodgepodge of special interests bound together by a vague sense that 'we're all on the same side.' Such a conflation demands no critical self-examination of the interest groups whose turf, and very identities, are treated as inviolable by Party chieftains.

XVII.
The progressive vision must be a direct challenge to fundamentalism in all of its forms: political, religious and economic. It must match fundamentalism's power without replicating its authoritarianism. It must appeal to the values of liberty, equality, community, justice, unconditional love, shared prosperity, and ecological restoration, among many others.

XVIII.
Democrats serious about returning to majority status must:

  • Retire any leader who believes that we are currently on a winning path that simply needs more money and effort.
  • Define and articulate a coherent set of values of our base, and be willing to lose those allies who do not share these values.
  • Fight battles, win or lose, that define and advance our values and expand our political base.

XIX.
In despair and defeat lie the seeds of
triumph and victory. In that loss lies the opportunity to define a new
progressive politics for the new century.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 24, 2004 at 11:37 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to Talk Turkey With Conservatives

For those of us unfortunate enough to have conservative relatives (hey, sometimes the apple does fall pretty far from the tree, eh?) the fine folks at the Rockridge Institute offer How to Respond to Conservatives, a chapter from George Lakoff's fantastic book Don't Think of an Elephant.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 24, 2004 at 10:59 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

Let's Look West. Or is that (slightly) east?

Evergreen Politics ally Kari "BlueOregon" Chisholm has just launched Western Democrat to advance the idea that Democrats need to look to the West to reconnect with middle America and rebuild their electoral strength

Let us look west. In the mountains and ranchlands of the West, there are Democrats who understand real America. Out here, far from the nation's capital, there are Democrats who understand skepticism of the federal government. Out here, Americans will find Democrats comfortable in jeans and boots. In the West, we can find Democrats able to speak plainly in the language of real America.

Good stuff.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 22, 2004 at 08:59 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mousepads and Shoe Leather

Political blogger and grassroots Democratic activist Kayne McGladrey is running for Legislative District Chair over in the 5th District on the suburban Eastside.

I've spoken to voters from Sammammish to Maple Valley. I spent a day driving under the power lines south of Issaquah, on muddy backroads, finding households which had never been visited before by political campaigns. I spent another rainy day on the ground with a new volunteer in North Bend, visting neighbors he'd never spoken with before. In all of my conversations over the last year with voters, one message has been consistent: most people said that they didn't think there were other Democrats living in their area.

The recent local election cycle shows that Republicans still maintain an Election-day majority in the Fifth. They have something that we don't have right now - a community. Democrats in the Fifth have told me about a sense of isolation. The GOP has effectively built their community since 1992, and many people outside of our area think of the Fifth as a Republican stronghold.

I think he's on to something here. Props to Kayne for showing what 21st century progressive politics looks like -- this is the "mousepad and shoe leather" approach that Howard Dean spoke so passionately about.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 22, 2004 at 08:49 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who Lost Ohio? And What Does It Mean For Washington?

Matt Bai had another solid piece on the 2004 election cycle in the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday. Who Lost Ohio? is an interesting look behind the scenes of Americans Coming Together's get-out-the-vote efforts in Ohio, and why they ultimately fell short of delivering the state for Kerry despite exceeding all of their organizing goals.

Earlier in the year, I had spent weeks on the other side of the lines in Ohio, writing an article for the magazine about the Republican plan to vastly increase turnout using an all-volunteer network, modeled on a multilevel marketing scheme like Amway, that would focus on the new and growing exurban counties around Ohio's major cities. Democrats, traditionally the masters of field organizing, had dismissed the Republican effort as an exercise in self-delusion, insisting that volunteers could never build a turnout model to compete with professional organizers. In ACT and its partners, Democrats told me, they were building the most efficient turnout machine in political history. I returned to Ohio in the final days of the campaign to see the power of this grass-roots behemoth in action. I did -- and I came to understand its limitations as well.

Cut to the chase: Bai finds that while Democrats executed a tight, successful traditional field operation that effectively mobilized traditional Democratic constituencies, the Republicans were able to organize in entirely new places:

[T]he Bush campaign had created an entirely new math in Ohio. It wouldn't have been possible eight years ago, or even four. But with so many white, conservative and religious voters now living in the brand-new town houses and McMansions in Ohio's growing ring counties, Republicans were able to mobilize a stunning turnout in areas where their support was more concentrated than it was in the past. Bush's operatives did precisely what they told me seven months ago they would do in these communities: they tapped into a volunteer network using local party organizations, union rolls, gun clubs and churches. They backed it up with a blizzard of targeted appeals....

And, the clincher:


Therein, perhaps, lies the real lesson from Ohio, and from the election as a whole. From the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and especially after the disputed election of 2000, Democrats operated on the premise that they were superior in numbers, if only because their supporters lived in such concentrated urban communities. If they could mobilize every Democratic vote in America's industrial centers -- and in its populist heartland as well -- then they would win on math alone. Not anymore. Republicans now have their own concentrated vote, and it will probably continue to swell. Turnout operations like ACT can be remarkably successful at corralling the votes that exist, but turnout alone is no longer enough to win a national election for Democrats. The next Democrat who wins will be the one who changes enough minds.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 22, 2004 at 08:42 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2004

Follow up to Local TV News Sadists

In case you missed it, South Park spoofed local TV news tonight.

I hope Jean Enersen and Dennis Bounds were watching!

Posted by Jeff on November 18, 2004 at 12:31 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2004

Holy Frappataxbreak Batman - Howard Schultz wants a new Sonics stadium

This is clearly the outrage of the week. Howard Schultz wants a new stadium for the Sonics - and just doesn't know how he's going to make his $200 million business succeed without the help of more taxpayer subsidies. And we should care, right?

More dispicable behavior by Seattle's wealthiest elites...read more here.

Posted by Jeff on November 17, 2004 at 10:45 AM in The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2004

Local News is for Sadists

I haven't been watching local news for a while - must a long while - tuned to KomoTV News at about 11:10 pm tonight. Oh my god: toddlers starve and die in an abandoned apartment, armed robbers hold up 7-11 with a shotgun, killer from 1970's home robbery escapes half-way house, and then I tuned out before they could cover the 17 year old girl who survived 10 days in a crashed car.

If I was from outer space, I'd think a culture that tuned in to this crap was truly sick.

It should be illegal for companies to give people such a skewed sense of what's happening in their communities. How about covering issues that are really important to our community?

Posted by Jeff on November 15, 2004 at 11:29 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

158

158 votes now separate Chris Gregiore from Dino Rossi, with ~21,000 ballots left to count.

Yow.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 15, 2004 at 06:57 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gregoire pulls ahead by 657 votes

Gregoire takes a small lead!

Posted by Jeff on November 15, 2004 at 04:54 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 14, 2004

KING-5 offers fairly unbalanced Social Security coverage

Just caught the tail end of KING-5's "Up Front" broadcast on the controversial topic of privatizing Social Security. [Now there's an oxymoron. --Ed.]  I was really bothered by the disparity between their talking heads.

Representing the radical right was Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute.  He appears to have no significant academic credentials or peer-reviewed publications to his credit, but he is quite telegenic and well rehearsed.  Of course, that's his job -- Cato is a radical right think tank whose sole function is to sell policy solutions to the media and politicians.

Across the screen from Tanner was Doug Orr, Professor of Economics at Eastern Washington University.  Now, Doug seems like a genuine expert, and I'm sure he's a nice guy.  But he's not very telegenic, he didn't have a clear message or the media training to effectively present it. 

Lazy, lazy journalism at work here.  If they wanted to have a "balanced" coversation about the Social Security issues, then they could have at least reached out to "experts" with similar backgrounds and functions -- either both speakers should have been serious academics, or both should have been media flacks.  But to put up a trained right wing flack against a non-media-savvy academic is hardly "balanced" journalism.


Posted by Jon Stahl on November 14, 2004 at 05:12 PM in Candidate Races, Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 13, 2004

Excellent letters regarding Washington state sex education

There are some excellent letters to the editor in today's Seattle Times regarding state sex education. This is another battle where the radical clerics will have their followers out in force trying to create an abstinence-only curriculum.

Excerpt:

Without it, life is limited

As the mother of two daughters who had the benefit of a comprehensive sex-ed program in their schools, I would like to register my unqualified support for a sex-education curriculum in our Washington schools that provides factual, comprehensive and medically accurate information.

To not do so, I feel, is irresponsible and naïve in the extreme and puts the health and welfare of our youths at great risk. Information of this kind will serve them for a lifetime. Without it, how can our children be expected to make wise and informed decisions? Without it, what reasons have they to abstain? Without it, isn't their sex education reduced to that of "trial and error"? Without it, they have no chance to act responsibly.

In order to make our children informed and responsible decision-makers, they need to be equipped and entrusted with the honest truth.
—  Laurie Hughes, Seattle


Posted by Jeff on November 13, 2004 at 11:25 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2004

Gregoire down by only 663 votes

Gregoire has closed the gap in the latest vote counts from 4,000+ to only 663. Latest count is here. Final, pre-court-battles result may not be known until Wednesday.

Posted by Jeff on November 12, 2004 at 05:09 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Dark Side of "Not in My Backyard"

I was deeply involved in neighborhood level politics for years in Seattle, as President of my neighborhood council and as head of a citywide grassroots political organization. There is a tremendous power to neighbors getting together, but it has its dark side as well.

In Wallingford right now, neighbors are rallying around trying to prevent the opening of transitional home for low risk sex offenders. Some particularly enterprising community members have taken it upon themselves to shoot out the windows. It reminds me of the kind of fear and hostility that greeted a transitional home for people with mental illnesses proposed for my neighborhood years ago.

The isolation of those that are most at risk or who have been institutionalized is an enormous contributor to the very problems that these neighbors fear. I guess they just want someone else to be the ones who welcome them into society.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on November 12, 2004 at 08:49 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 10, 2004

Stay Out of the Culture War (a cure for the post-election blues)

Barbara Dudley, writing on BlueOregon, offers some sensible advice for progressives of all stripes: BlueOregon: Stay Out of the Culture War.

We should simply refuse to debate the Bible in the political realm. Period. We should talk about civic virtues, and we should make our list now, and use it as relentlessly as the right wing uses guns, god and gays.

Barbara enumerates four key "civic virtues" that we should rally behind:

1. Public education
2. Protection of public health
3. Building a sustainable economy
4. Building respect for taxes

Well worth a read.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 10, 2004 at 09:45 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Something to look forward to - leaky viaduct tunnels

This article on MSNBC talks about how the Boston tunnels built as part of the $14.6 billion 'Big Dig' are leaking and will take a decade to fix.

In other words, by the time they've stopped the leaks in their tunnels, our new viaduct tunnels will just have BEGUN leaking. See Peoples Waterfront Coaliton for info regarding our no-build option.

Well, of course - ours isn't planned to be underwater --- at least until the next big earthquake. Humor over scientific accuracy on this blog...

Posted by Jeff on November 10, 2004 at 04:32 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2004

Governor's Race Update

Chris Gregiore pulled a bit farther ahead in today's ballot counting.  There are still about 213,000 ballots left to count, 46,000 of them in King County.  Still looking reeeal close, from any point of view.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 8, 2004 at 11:25 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Amen

If your inbox is anything like mine, it's been filled with a flurry of relfections on the election.  Some of it has been funny, some bitter, some inspiring.  I want to share with you a couple of standout paragraphs from a longer email I've just received from Lisa Andrews, whose day job is organizing at Climate Solutions, but who recently returned from an "election vacation" in Florida.

Amid all the questions about this election, I want to tell you this: we are at the beginning, not the end....  I am reading a history of the right's construction of their movement, from the think tanks to the nurturing and investment in conservative idealogues whose careers have been consciously networked and advanced in the media, on K Street and in corporations.

I am not daunted by the hugeness of what they have done. I am incredibly relieved to understand it, because like so many others, I have felt it but couldn't name it. I felt that there was a reason that they lied with impunity, divided so successfully, and have begun to win more, and win more determinedly....  Like so many others I felt the iceberg below the surface, and felt its force. Now, I can see it. It is big, but we can be bigger.

We have the capacity and the moral strength to be so much more than they are. They will always have hate on their side, and lies and anger, but they can never have love and hope and the truth.

Every great victory, seemingly impossible victories that have been won in this country, was won by love: abolition of slavery, the women's vote, civil rights. Each of those was a triumph of the same magnitude that we now look for.  And now, the path is cleared, because of this Bush victory.

Until now, the Democratic party has been beholden to corporations, trying to please big business while placating the base with token environmental, social justice and economic justice moves. An impossible task. Small wonder they've had no moral clarity, no spiritual authority. They believed they had no choice because corporations provided 73% of all campaign donations.

It is a new world. Business now has little reason to continue to make even token donations to the party without power, especially in light of the Bush White House's habit of tracking Democratic donors and denying access to anyone who contributes any amount of money to Democrats, even their own major donors.  The democrats are left with the base that can and must be future of our country.

Though I have little faith that the democrats will provide the boldness, cunning or integrity that is required, I strongly believe in the rest of the progressive movement. We could not fail to thrive in the load of manure that this administration has dumped around its own ankles, even if we lacked talent, money, grassroots power, intelligence and passion. We lack none of those things. We will take this country back with such a vengeance that it will not be undone for a hundred years, though it may take a decade or more to get there.

The future is ours. Only fear can defeat us.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 8, 2004 at 03:04 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 07, 2004

Quality of life crimes up in Seattle

One thing the Tim Eyman and Republican tax cut utopian vision fails to do is police our cities effectively. Nick Licata's been fighting for more police on the streets - but has yet to win votes.

This article in The Seattle Sun talks about a burglary spree in Fremont against small businesses. An earlier article in the Times discussed the Seattle Police admitting that they are failing to effectively police against property-based crimes.

I know because my house was robbed in the fall of 2003. The detective follow up was so slow that they never arrested the culprits --- despite the fact that I was able to trace my credit card usage to a nearby merchant - who took photos of the suspects and their license plate when they came to return the item for cash - and shortly after I found one big ticket item from my house for sale on eBay replete with serial number. The detective was so overburdened - he lacked the bandwidth to respond in a timely manner - and the bad guys got away. The insurance company picked up the $20,000 tab.

This is all too common. It's a shame, and the problem is growing.

Posted by Jeff on November 7, 2004 at 07:50 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 06, 2004

Rossi v. Gregoire, continued

Timothy Goddard runs some numbers on the still-damn-close Governor's race, where Christine Gregiore is hanging on to a 4000 vote lead, with about 360,000 votes still uncounted.

I ran these numbers and determined that, if each county’s uncounted ballots line up with their counted ones, Gregoire will come out ahead by just under 2,000 votes, triggering an automatic recount.

However, the Rossi camp does not expect that to be the case. The polls were swinging his way in the final days of the campaign, and they anticipate that the absentee ballots mailed in closer to the election will be more favorable. So, I ran some more numbers. Right now, Rossi is pulling in 41.3% of the vote in Seattle’s King County, one of only three counties he lost by more than 10%. If he pulls in 43.3% of the 120,000 ballots left to be counted there, and all other counties maintain their trends, he’ll win by 2,700 votes, no recount needed. In fact, even if he only increases his lead by 0.9%, he’ll pull ahead by 100 votes.

The trend is clearly moving in Rossi’s direction, and as long as he does only slightly better in these late ballots than he has done so far, we’ll have our first Republican governor in 20 years.

Wishful Republican thinking? Hard to say until all the votes are counted -- and quite probably recounted. You can run your own scenarios using Timothy's spreadsheet.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 6, 2004 at 12:57 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The best post-election map I've seen

The Internet and newspapers are buzzing with all kinds of maps and info graphics depicting Red and Blue America.  This map, by Princeton University professor Robert J. Vanderbei, shows counties by their percentage of Republican and Democrat votes, and I think best depicts the fact that there are Republicans and Democracts most everywhere.  Conclusion: we better figure out how to get along.

Purple_america_2004b_small


Here's the close-up of Washington State, also very very purple:

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 6, 2004 at 11:31 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Regional significance of the election results?

At the end of a long wrapup of election results from across "American Cascadia," Alan During offers his summary thoughts:

Where does this all leave us? What are the implications for the health and wellbeing of Cascadia?

The key thing to keep in mind, I believe, is that party label matters less than values. Although progressives have embraced the concept of sustainability more readily than conservatives, the concept itself is neither left nor right. In the short term, conservative advances tend to slow progress on sustainability, but in the long term, sustainability cannot succeed if it is pigeonholed as a partisan cause. It needs to become a given--the conventional wisdom--of the broad mainstream of public thought and political discourse.

That can happen. It can happen because sustainability is ultimately a moral issue founded on nearly universal values. It’s about freedom and responsibility. It’s about protecting our freedom against trespass by the polluters and depleters of our homeland. And it’s about our responsibility as stewards of our heritage--a heritage that prominently includes our own kind, our cultures, and our communities.

As a movement for sustainability, our success ultimately depends not on the success of right or left (as currently configured) but on the resurgence of these values in many, even most, parts of the body politic. The German Greens got many things wrong, but their slogan was perfect: neither left nor right, but out front.

It seems to me that this strikes many of the right notes. What it misses, though, is the unpleasant fact that radical American conservatism (as opposed to the more mainstream conservatism of a bygone era) is driven by a theological worldview that doesn't admit a need for sustainability, for it believes that the End Times are upon us. I'm less sanguine than Alan that this (currently dominant) extremist minority will ever embrace sustainability -- its eschatology neither requires nor permits a long-term view.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 6, 2004 at 10:24 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2004

Some people just want a sheriff

It's interesting to me to reflect on Dave Reichert's victory over Dave Ross in the 8th congressional district. To me, Reichert represents everything that is wrong with American politics: the modern tough guy, stern father figure that appeals to the electoral majority in this country.

Although I couldn't vote against him, since I'm in the 7th district, I take his election quite personally, since many of his officers who were responsible for abuses during the WTO police riots here in Seattle. It was his officers who tossed a flash bang grenade in my face when I stepped outside my Capitol Hill apartment to find out what was going on. (I was not, in fact, a protester. Not that that should matter.) It was his officer who chased me down with pepper spray when I tried to ask a question. Reichert nurtured that sort of culture and was a strong supporter of the paramilitary model of modern policing.

I see a connection between this and the evils of George Bush's military and CIA. Even now, after the camera was turned on Abu Ghraib, I have no doubt that the torture continues among the world's disappeared. Electing a local version of such a leader makes me more than queasy.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on November 4, 2004 at 09:46 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

Washington's Silver Lining

Nationally, it was a tough night for progressives. I've never seen so many drawn faces on the bus.

But if you look at the statewide level, things went pretty well overall.

Democrats will expand their majority in the House, and take back control of the Senate. Assuming that Chris Gregiore hangs on to her lead, this is good news for getting a progressive agenda through Olympia.

All of our ballot measures and initiatives went basically the right way. (Although some might quibble with my hostility towards I-884.) The environmental movement's 68% victory on I-297 (Hanford Cleanup) is particularly worthy of celebration -- tihs is the first ballot initiative the environmental movement has passed in years. And of course Tim Eyman got (another) solid drubbing. Apparently he's not even a competent hack anymore, let alone a populist crusader.

What's your take?

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 3, 2004 at 11:21 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

Bad Taxes and Good Causes

The apparent defeat of the education tax measure reminds me of the ill fated Children's Initiative. It was a similarly constructed campaign: a straightforward appeal to the public to pay for the well being of the state's children. I ran the signature gathering portion of that campaign, which allows me to distance myself from its resounding defeat at the polls.

Of course, what we really need is to reform the state tax system, since it's the most regressive in the country. Although it's encouraging to see a nod to that issue in the Seattle Times piece on the current vote, in a nation where people vote their identity and not their self interest, I wonder how that will ever happen.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on November 2, 2004 at 10:33 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink

So, whaddya think?

Well, the polls are closed, and the results are trickling in. What went well? What went poorly? What surprised you? What didn't?

For me, the big (pleasant) surprise looks like the resounding defeat of the Monorail Recall here in Seattle. Guess it goes to show that a ton of money can buy you attention, but not much else.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 2, 2004 at 09:12 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voting in Washington So Far

Natasha over at Pacific Views reports that:


...you'll be glad to know that virtually nothing newsworthy is happening during our election here so far. At least, nothing confirmable. The Secretary of State's office, as well as the state Republican and Democratic Parties all agree that things are going well. The worst thing so far is minor complaints called in to Republican party headquarters about poor lighting or difficulty reading ballots.

Just saw some pro-Kerry folks marching [celebrating? -Ed.] down Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. We're feeling pretty good here ourselves.

If you're concered about any election problems nationally, check out Election Protection's election day updates.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 2, 2004 at 04:17 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

Deborah Senn and Rob McKenna

When I was in college, I briefly went back to my old high school to lecture to the debate team. There was a young, clean cut, pinkish fellow named Rob McKenna there at the time. Even then, I got a sense of steady, inexorable ambition from him. I figured out his politics pretty early, because I remember how enamored he was of the Laffer Curve. A few years later, he ran against a friend of mine for student body president at the University of Washington. With the help of the Greek system and the radical religious right, won the election on a platform of, in my opinion, making student government less of an advocate for student concerns. Eventually, he became a Republican King County Council member.

Around the same time, I was learning to be a lobbyist in the state capitol. This was around the time of the breakup of AT&T.; I was the lead public interest lobbyist on something we called the Telephone Buyer's Protection Act. Soon thereafter, I helped defeat a massive deregulatory campaign by the phone company. In both cases, I worked closely with a tough minded committee staff person named Deborah Senn. A few years later, she and I considered launching a consumer protection organization together. Eventually, she became a Democratic Insurance Commissioner. Sometimes it's interesting to see how little things change. Deborah is still a smart fighter for ordinary people. Rob is still an inoffensive public face for the alliance of business and the religious right. Illegal campaign activities in opposition to Deborah don't surprise me. When Rob ran for student body president, his religious supporters snuck out during the night and trampled his opponents yard signs. He didn't order them, but he didn't stop them either.

Since this is a weblog, I guess I need some links! So, here they are today: Deborah Senn for Attorney General. And Rob McKenna for Attorney General.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on November 1, 2004 at 04:08 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack