Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Washington Unserious Job Creation

The good news is that Washington experienced a net gain of 5900 jobs in October. The bad news is that more than two thirds of those jobs were in the public sector. Admittedly, my formal training in economics is limited to about 8 units several decades ago, but I’m reasonably confident that a job market that creates two public sector jobs for every private sector job is not sustainable. It is the private sector that creates the wealth that provides sustenance for the public sector, and there is simply no way that a single private sector employee can generate enough wealth to support his own family and two others. The 5900 jobs “created” in October bring the 2010 total in Washington to 6000. That’s all. For the whole year.

October’s private sector job creation included 1500 professional and business services, 800 service jobs in the wholesale trade, 400 service jobs in information, 400 service jobs in the financial services sector and 300 jobs in retail sales. All of these jobs are in the service sector. No one was hiring “activists.”

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector lost 400 jobs, as did transportation. Another 200 disappeared from the mining and logging industries as did 300 in hospitality and leisure.

So if you’re coming to Washington looking for a job, don’t plan on actually creating or building anything.

Another news story I read this last week noted that the few private sector jobs that our country is creating are mostly in low tax, right-to-work states, which certainly makes sense. Washington’s high tax, union dominated political climate recently drove Boeing to start construction of a new 787 assembly plant in South Carolina.

Even someone with my limited economic training can figure out that this is not going to last. If Washington is ever going to dig itself out of its economic hole, its ruling class will have to look past the interests of its traditional campaign contributors and power brokers and take difficult decisions.

Unfortunately higher education in this state (and in every other state for that matter) is not contributing as much as it could to economic vitality. For all of the hand wringing and political posturing dedicated to the problem of underwater mortgages, mortgages in which the principal balance exceeds the value of the property, higher education is creating a bubble of its own with underwater college degrees.

Universities are pouring out graduates with degrees in subjects that have little or no market value. And to get these worthless degrees the students have accumulated mountains of student loan debt which will weigh heavily on their own futures.

Mortgage lenders have become favorite targets of our ruling class for their supposed “predatory lending practices,” otherwise known as subprime mortgages. Subprime mortgages invited people with poor credit histories and lower incomes to purchase homes that they otherwise could not afford. This practice was forced upon lenders and was once touted by the same ruling class that now condemns it as a means to provide lower income people with an opportunity to accumulate equity. It worked until it collapsed under its own weight.

In its own way, higher education has engaged in its own predatory lending practices by encouraging student to incur heavy debt loads with the promise that a college degree will increase future earning potential sufficiently to make that loan a good investment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I recently stopped by a booth at an academic fair to pick up a recruiting brochure that was being handed out to prospective freshmen. It included a fanciful list of careers that this particular academic major supposedly prepared its graduates for. One of those jobs was as that of an “activist.” I don’t know that there are all that many jobs for professional troublemakers but I do know that the few that do exist don’t pay well and certainly do not contribute even one thin dime to wealth creation. It will take some time for an activist to pay off $50,000 or more in student loans. A recent New York Times article told the sad tale of a woman who accumulated $100,000 in student loan debt earning a degree in women's studies and is now discovering that her Bachelor’s degree is worth less than a high school diploma. Some investment.

Colleges and universities are not necessarily trade schools. But we do no one any favors by turning out graduates who won’t even be able to pay off their student loans.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Only Enduring Principles Will Cement An Enduring Victory

For two years now, Republicans have played the role of the dog that chases cars, in hot pursuit of a goal, but with no clear plan what to do once they attain it. But now they’ve caught it, or more accurately, it was handed to them, and now they have the burden of proving that they are worthy of the responsibility that the voters have assigned them. Up until now, the Republicans have profited primarily from their status as the default alternative to a Democratic Party that has given the voter every reason to turn them out.

And they don’t have a lot of time to present a plan. The landscape is not what it once was. It took 40 years of the Democratic Party’s arrogance and mismanagement to wear out the American people’s goodwill before they were thrown out of power in 1994. Republicans needed only 12 years to alienate America and return control to the Democrats. This time, the Democrats turned the trick in only four years. Clearly, Americans’ patience is not what it used to be.

One reason is that Americans have access to unfiltered information now. If we still lived in a world where Walter Cronkite and the New York Times held monopolistic control over information, there never would have been a Gingrich Revolution.

And this election should tell the Republicans what they need to do. After years of believing media advice that they needed to move toward the Democrats, the electorate demonstrated otherwise by tossing out moderates of both parties. On the day before the election a public opinion poll revealed that Nancy Pelosi’s job approval stood at 8%. Eight times that many disapproved of her work. Moderates rejected the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they failed to draw a significant distinction between themselves and the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi highlighted that distinction for them and independent voters rejected the Democrats’ vision.

The large majority of Americans have made it clear that they don’t want moderation. They want decisiveness. If Republicans are capable of learning, they could take lessons from what has worked. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell both won surprising victories by promising to govern conservatively. Both have grown in popularity by adhering to those promises. This is especially notable in New Jersey as that state is about as hostile to Republicans as any in the union.

If Republicans can demonstrate that they’ve learned their lessons and are willing to make the difficult choices necessary to steer America back on the right track, they are likely to be rewarded in 2012, because it’s unlikely that Democrats will be able to give Americans an affirmative reason to restore them to power.

Pennsylvania Governor Fast Eddie Rendell probably best summarized the fatal flaw in the Democratic Party on election morning as he predicted a better than expected result for the Democrats. He credited Barack Obama with appealing to the Democratic Party base to reinvigorate their enthusiasm.

Rendell identified the “heart and soul” of the Democratic base as “blacks, Latinos, gays and lesbians.”

The problem with having grievance politics as your strength is that even when you manage to win, your mandate is not the nationalization of one sixth of the economy, or an unprecedented intrusion of the federal government into every aspect of private life. You are only charged with retaliating against the dominant culture for the satisfaction of a few small slivers of the population.

Keeping that heart and soul enthusiastic also requires a constant refreshment of the culture of grievance. An outstanding example of just how difficult that cultivation has become can be found in columnist Eugene Robinson’s Election Day column in which he predictably exposed racism in the Republicans’ campaign battle cry: “Take back the government.”

Mr. Robinson inferred from this simple slogan that Republicans meant for white folks to take back the government from a black man. In fact the phrase is a call for a return to self government and away from the paternalistic path to serfdom that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi sought to drive us down as though we were cattle.

Mr. Robinson could not possibly have found this slogan offensive if his grievance mentality had not overwhelmed his sense of irony and his long term memory. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi used those identical words in 2008.

An appeal to tribal grievance will never be a match for a defense of liberty.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rossi Campaign Cautiously Optimistic As Voter Count Continues

As of 11:57 PM, the Washington Secretary of State was reporting on its website Election Day results showing incumbent Senator Patty Murray leading challenger Dino Rossi by a razor slim margin of only 14,005 votes out of 1,430,787 counted.  At the end of the first day of counting, Murray has a lead of 50.49% to Rossi's 49.51%.  However, Rossi For Senate Campaign Manager Pat Shortridge issued a statement by Email late last night outlining some points that should have the Murray campaign sweating bullets:
  • Historically in Washington, the Republican candidates improve their percentages in each county in votes counted after Election Day, usually improving their margins by 2 to 3 percentage points.
  • King County, which is providing most of Sen. Murray’s margin, accounts for 30.7% of all registered voters in the state. According to County Election reports, King County only has 26.7% of the remaining ballots left to count. The rest of the state, where Rossi has a comfortable lead, will count proportionately more ballots post-Election Day.
  • Spokane County, where Rossi is currently in the lead by more than 50%, still has at least 21.6% of the remaining ballots left to process, with more coming in.
  • Rossi is currently leading in Pierce County by nearly 2,500 votes
  • According to the Secretary of State, there are still over 508,000 estimated ballots left to process statewide.
  • Again, we will know more over the next several days as ballots continue to come in and counties continue to count. We are confident that the margins we are seeing throughout Washington State, combined with the state legislative victories, will put Dino Rossi ahead by an overwhelming margin.
This election is not like previous statewide races that Rossi has run.  It is a midterm, off-Presidential cycle election.  These usually favor Republicans, that traditionally exhibit more faithful voting habits.  In addition, a Republican tidal wave is sweeping the nation, with Republicans gaining a solid majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Turnout in more conservative Washington districts is running above normal this year.  This trend is elevating Republican Party hopes, as Washington is poised to send a Republican majority of its Congressional Representatives back to D.C. come January.  Five of Washington's nine Congressional seats appear to be in Republican hands:
  • District 2 John Koster is leading his opponent 50.41% to 49.59%.  This is a Republican "gain".
  • District 3 Jaime Herrara is leading her opponent 52.92% to 47.08%.  This is a Republican "gain".
  • District 4 Doc Hastings is leading his opponent 68.31% to 31.69%.  This is a Republican "hold".
  • District 5 Cathy McMorris Rodgers is leading her opponent 64.51% to 35.49%.  This is a Republican "hold".
  • District 8 Congressman Dave Reichert is leading his opponent 55% to 45%, this is a Republican "hold".
Republican gains in west-side Congressional Districts are exceeding local Party expectations.  In addition, a number of voter initiatives regarding taxes have shown a conservative voting streak.  An initiative for a state income tax has gone down in flames, while another requiring a 2/3 majority of the state legislature to raise taxes appears to be passing.  In addition, a rollback of Democratic Party approved taxes on food and bottled water appeared to be passing as well.
While the race is still too close to call, it looks like we may be calling Dino Rossi our Senator very soon.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Momentum On Dino Rossi's Side

The Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling gives Dino Rossi a two point lead a day before Judgment Day.
Every time PPP has polled the Washington Senate race this year it's found the race to be within 2 or 3 points and our final poll there is no exception. But there is one twist - for the first time we find Dino Rossi leading Patty Murray, by a 50-48 margin.

Neither candidate has much in the way of support across party lines- Rossi's winning 93% of Republicans and Murray's winning 91% of Democrats. That means
independents, as they are in so many races across the country, are making the difference for the GOP here. Rossi leads Murray with them by a 54-42 margin.

The most worrisome number for Murray within the poll, beyond her small overall
disadvantage, is that among voters who say they've already returned their ballots Rossi's advantage is wider at 52-47. Murray's ability to keep the race close is predicated on the 24% of respondents who have not yet done so returning their ballots. That group supports her by a 51-45 margin.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dino Rossi Rocks Silverdale

by Johnny Walker
@KingstonJW on Twitter

“Who here wants to remove Patty Murray’s tennis shoes from Washington?” The packed house roared. Classic. It was a perfect Dino Rossi moment at the Community Center in Silverdale yesterday, as Rossi supporters came together for a final dash rally in the last week of their campaign. Tightly packed into an A-frame conference room, you would never have guessed that the race to unseat incumbent Patty Murray (D) was so dangerously close.

After a short but lively introduction by Representative Jan Angle of the Washington 26th Legislative District, Rossi charged the crowd with well timed and familiar talking points designed to keep his team passionately involved to the finish line.

Rossi championed a theme that “when government grows, your freedoms decrease,” and pounded incumbent Murray for her unapologetic authorship of massive new health care laws that are increasing costs and eroding the relationship between doctors and patients; reducing both choice and quality of services. He countered liberal rhetoric that Republicans were a “party of no” by emphasizing tax-free ways to improve health care. He cited that tort reform, competition across state lines, health care accounts, and volume bargaining by small business as ways to vastly improve healthcare without any increase of taxes.

Rossi focused on jobs, detailing his own expertise and what he has learned from business on the campaign trail. “Small business wants a modest tax, fair and predictable regulation, and then let lose to pursue the American dream,” he said. Government shouldn’t punish small businesses for being successful, but instead should enable them “so they can do it again and again and again!”

In closing remarks, Rossi left the charged crowd with two key messages. “The moral issue of the campaign” he defined as a political class that has borrowed, spent, and handed the bill off to their children. He wants to stop that. And his “final pledge” to supporters; “with your help November 2nd, when I become your next United States Senator, I am actually going to represent Washington State and not Washington D.C.”

Some observers might have found the rally predictable, but the undercurrent in the room was a story in itself. Folks were impressively undeterred by recent polls benefitting Patty Murray after local visits by Democratic power brokers. In a matter of days, Murray held campaign events with President Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and prior President Clinton. “How does that happen?” said one supporter. Another spoke with cautious optimism, “we have a week to go.” It was pretty clear leaving the event that the “hoots and hollers” to carry Dino signs was not an admission of anything about the future, except for success.

In the final week of this significant election year, I trust that you all are doing your part to support the candidates of your choice. I’ve written an article on phone banking that shows how easy it is to do, and sign waving is another easy way to help and have fun at the same time. But most of all, in the final days, remember to vote and encourage the vote. This is what will ultimately prevail.

Know your candidates and issues. Vote Smart. November is almost here.

Photos top to bottom; author Johnny Walker, Dino Rossi addresses supporters in Silverdale, Rep Jan Angel introduced event, enthused Dino supporter Jo Nelson

Rossi Surges

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Rossi picking up 48% of the vote, while Murray draws support from 47%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and two percent (2%) are still undecided. 

The race remains a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings.
Just over a week ago, Murray inched ahead 49% to 46%.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dancing the Sidestep

Johnny Walker
@KingstonJW on Twitter

One of my favorite movies of all time was a 1982 musical comedy featuring actor Charles Durning as the Governor of Texas. He was only one of many big names, like Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, but Durning had the singular honor of dramatizing The Sidestep by Carol Hall in political song.

Fellow Texans, I am proudly standing here to humbly see.
I assure you, and I mean it- Now, who says I don't speak out as plain as day?
And, fellow Texans, I'm for progress and the flag- long may it fly.
I'm a poor boy, come to greatness. So, it follows that I cannot tell a lie.

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't-
I've come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

32 years after the original 1978 Broadway production of the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, we can look back and smile at the comedic stereotype and appreciate the humor. Less humorous; however, is knowing that at a time when our country is at the crossroads of social, economic, and political upheaval, the lie of the sidestep will likely have major consequences. I’m not talking about big institutional conspiracies like hiding UFO’s or something, but the small individual lies that reflect the health of a politician’s morality and core values; the stupid and unrepentant lies of avarice. Let me give you a few examples of sidestepping liars.

In the hotly contested race between 14-year incumbent Jay Inslee (D) and challenger James Watkins (R) for Washington’s 1st Congressional District, Jay Inslee had been sidestepping arrangements to debate Watkins throughout the campaign. Inslee finally agreed to a single debate on the evening of October 18th on Bainbridge Island, a Monday night late in the season after mail ballots were on the way, and a ferry too far for most working constituents to take advantage of. Hosted by American Legion Post 172, it would be on his home turf to guarantee the friendliest audience plausible; “neighbors” as he put it. During the event, Inslee sidestepped a question about his probable bid for the 2012 governorship (again) and then further sidestepped into a lie. When asked to explain his absence from a ceremony he sponsored legislation for honoring Bainbridge High School graduate Bud Hawk, World War II veteran and medal of honor recipient, Inslee said he was in Washington DC “fulfilling his constitutional duty.” But it turns out he wasn’t there. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, he was at Seattle's Convention Center hobnobbing with Ford Motor Co’s Alan Mulally. Why was it so important to lie about that?

34-year incumbent Norm Dicks (D) of Washington’s 6th Congressional District did a little sidestepping recently as well. After not showing up to a September 20th scheduled debate with challenger Doug Cloud (R) in Sequim, his campaign manager told the waiting crowd that Inslee was on his way to Washington DC to cast some important votes. But there was a problem with that. There apparently weren’t votes scheduled for that day or the next, and KOMO news placed Dicks in Everett, WA, attending a Boeing labor rally. Norm Dicks sidestepped into a lie. A debate between the two was finally cemented in Sequim on October 13th, a Wednesday early afternoon in the cozy town 90 miles from the district’s dense populations centers; another sidestep I have reported on in some detail.

Just to be clear that dancing the sidestep is not a sport constrained to the Pacific Northwest, consider the campaign of Richard Blumenthal (D), Connecticut Attorney General campaigning for the Senate against Linda McMahon (R). You would think that a man of such legal stature would be careful about sidestepping lies but apparently not. Speaking at an event honoring veterans, Blumenthal told the audience he served in Vietnam. But the New York Times reported that just wasn’t so. Instead, Blumenthal received a series of deferments that allowed him to finish studies at Harvard and then he joined the Marine reserve in Washington to avoid deployment to Viet Nam. He also claimed to be captain of the Harvard swim team; not so.

Democrat Warren Buffett, billionaire activist, is quoted to have said this:

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. But if you don’t have the first, the other two could kill you.”

Over the decades, a number of politicians have let us down with sidestepping and lies from all parties. Dancing the sidestep is not nearly as funny in reality as it was in the movie. I think Bill O’Reilly would probably call them all pinheads. But I think we should just call them all "retired."

Vote for integrity in 2010. Know your candidates and vote smart. November is coming.

When Great Nations Fail

Patty Murray Has Illegals Doing The Work That Americans Won't Do

When Maria Gianni is knocking on voters' doors, she's not bashful about telling people she is in the country illegally. She knows it's a risk to advertise to strangers that she's here illegally—but one worth taking in what she sees as a crucial election. 

The 42-year-old is one of dozens of volunteers—many of them illegal immigrants—canvassing neighborhoods in the Seattle area trying to get naturalized citizens to cast a ballot for candidates like Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who is in a neck-to-neck race with Republican Dino Rossi. 

Pramila Jayapal, head of OneAmerica Votes, says the campaign is about empowering immigrants who may not feel like they can contribute to a campaign because they can't vote. 

"Immigrants really do matter," Jayapal said. "If we can't vote ourselves, we're gonna knock on doors, or get family members to vote."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rossi Surges In Polls

Within one point! Independents breaking strong for Rossi.

With two weeks to go, the Washington state U.S. Senate race is a virtual dead heat, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray holding a 1-point lead, 48-47 percent, over Republican challenger Dino Rossi among likely voters, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll released Tuesday.

The outcome could determine whether Republicans pick up the 10 seats they need to regain control of the Senate.

“This is indeed a cliffhanger, any way you carve up the numbers,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which conducted the survey. “The road to a Republican majority in the Senate could go through Washington state.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

636,840 Unemployed

Washington State’s Economy in the Tank!

In a stunning report today the Washington State Department of Employment Security is reporting that the number of people collecting unemployment benefits increased slightly over August in September to 319,400 folks. That is the 9% number, the number of people who are unemployed in Washington State is at 18% according to the US Department of Labor and that adds up to 636,840 devastated citizens in this state. The unpleasant number was about 6,000 or the number of people who left the workforce and have given up trying to find a job here in the Obama era. Hit hardest is Aaron Reardon’s economy in Snohomish County where the unemployment rate remains at 19% and the percentage of the workforce collecting unemployment benefits still stands at 9.6%.

On the home foreclosure front RealtyTrac is reporting that year to date some 24,724 homes have been foreclosed on since the first of the year in just King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties. Unfortunately the trend is about to go into high gear now that Bank of America and GMAC have decided that they will suspend their foreclosure freezes. I also understand that Chase is also going to resume their foreclosures (mostly a backlog of WAMU loans!). The glut of homes on the market absolutely grantees that the housing market in this state will remain in the tank for at least 5 years with little or no home construction.

Equally devastating was the news this week that industrial production in the US was down dramatically. In Washington State I understand that industrial production was down right about at the national average in September. This was the first decline since June and the sharpest decline in decades. Not good news for the future.

On the Obama death care front, Boeing announced yesterday that they were substantially increasing the costs to some 90,000 non union employees of their healthcare costs. The primary reason was Obama’s healthcare package that may end up bankrupting the United States.

I remind everyone reading this that in this upcoming election there is only one issue and that is the ECONOMY! “It’s the economy, stupid” was what James Carville told Clinton during the 1992 campaign.

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Inside Story About Phone Banks

by Johnny Walker
@KingstonJW on Twitter

Experienced political strategists and politicians tell me simple phone calls by volunteers are an inexpensive and effective means to survey for likely voters in geographically specific zones. This not only gives campaigns a good feel for their progress but also helps them target spending in the most effective ways. During the last few weeks of a campaign, phone banks are one of the most effective tools to help encourage voter turnout.

On the flip side, it turns out that I am a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to answering the phone from people I don’t already know. If I see a 1-800 number I might not even answer it, and when I do I better get a prompt “hello” or they get the big click. So just imagine my response when a campaign actually asks me to volunteer with a phone bank. They can’t be serious, right? What kind of person actually does that? I decided to find out.

To help me reconcile the mental catch-22 between making calls and answering them, I visited a real life phone bank to check it out for myself. What I learned might surprise you.

I started my trek for enlightenment by visiting the Dino Rossi and James Watkins phone bank operation in Silverdale, Washington, where 21-year-old Braden Unger, Field Coordinator of the Rossi for Senate campaign, welcomed me. With a desk full of cell phones, bar coded lists, short scripts and pizza boxes; Braden was energized to be there. “We now have a chance to really make a difference,” he said. “Not like this is a glorious job but it is an important one,” and “It’s a cool opportunity,” for people who are looking for an easy way to help their candidates. He told me that making phone calls was not only easy to do, but they only rarely came across anyone who was rude. Besides, not only could it be fun to hang around people who are of like mind, “there is the pizza,” he said with a big grin.

With one of the biggest smiles I’ve seen in years, 61-year-old Margo agreed. Sitting on the carpet in an unfurnished office, the Bremerton resident brought her 63-year-old friend, Kathy, so they could be together doing something important for the future. Margo said, “I felt like I had to get in and do something, and this was something I could do.” Kathy, from Silverdale, seemed thrilled to be helping with Margo and said, “I just couldn’t watch it go on anymore and wanted to make a difference.” She also said that working on the phones “helps my attitude as an outlet.”

Another friend of Margo’s, 56-year-old Michelle was surprised at the austere working conditions. “It’s not like a Jerry Lewis telethon,” the prior Navy Nurse chuckled but she was comfortable. Michelle had some prior experience fund raising for cancer research and told me that, “10% of people will donate if you just ask them.” Making calls works. Tired of being told she was somehow a “bad” person for not believing the “100% progressive line,” she decided to help encourage change along by helping on phones.

Matthew told me he has had a “long time interest in politics” and wanted to “find some way to be involved in the political process.” The 21-year-old didn’t have money so volunteering was a natural first step. His 18-year-old-brother, Daniel, was dialing a cell near by. Having recently enlisted in the Army, he enjoyed sharing the time with his brother for a good cause.

In another room, Pat told me he was “fed up and wanted to help take our government back.” The 58-year-old man had prior call center experience and minimized any hint that rejection on the phone was much of a problem. “It rarely happens;” he just doesn’t take it personal and moves on to the next call. 67-year-old Karen was matter of fact about why she was there. “If you’re not doing something for the election, your part of the problem,” she told me. It was easy. She doesn’t take anything personal and revealed, “that more often than not, I leave a message.”

The most experienced politico on my office tour was 60-year-old Larry, who told me that making phone calls was his least favorite job but still “very important to do,” and it was an easy way to help for a few hours and go. Larry said he preferred “door belling,” so he could get an opportunity to talk to people face to face, but phone banking is a great place to start for the “political newbie wanting to do good at an easy comfort level.”

After seeing their faces and talking with some of the volunteers behind the phones, I think I’ve developed a better understanding about phone banking than I had a month ago. These were all real, down to earth, volunteers who were there to make a difference. Every one of them had a heart to be involved in the best way they could, within the precious time they could give, and quickly learned that taking a first step making calls was very easy to do. It turns out there is almost no confrontation, and the information they collect for campaigns is vital to the outcome. Because they were with people who felt the same about why they were there, there was great camaraderie growing between them as a team. And, of course, there was always the pizza.

The political strategists I spoke with told me that making phone calls during the last few weeks of the campaign were incredibly important to getting the vote out. There is still time to help. Check with your favorite candidate and see if phone banking is for you. Or maybe there will be something else. Don’t be one of those who wake up the morning of November 3rd and worry whether or not you did what you could. Be able to say, “I did.”

Support your candidate and get out the vote. November is coming.

Photos from top to bottom; KingstonJW; Field Coordinator Braden Unger manages people, phones, and even pizza; Michelle from Silverdale dials a call, Matthew from Silverdale.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Patty the Parasite

While most of our Congressmen and Congresswomen are lawyers, there is probably no better preparation for the job than the study of parasitology. At least one author has made the case that parasites are actually at the top of the animal kingdom. He reasoned that, once established on or in a host, the parasite lives a life of leisure while the host becomes little more than the parasite’s slave. Whereas politicians present themselves as humble servants of their constituencies, the truth is that their service they give us is barely distinguishable from the service given by a tapeworm.

To be successful, a parasite must have at its disposal all the machinery to grip tightly to its host and to siphon off what it needs. Parasites have grown so successful at living off hosts that have dispensed with all superfluous tissues required by free living organisms, such as muscles and nerves. The typical parasite has no brains. There is no such thing as a clever, calculating parasite. In fact, once the parasite established itself in its host, the parasite permits its nervous system and musculature to simply atrophy away as it settles into a life of absorbing nutrients from its host. In other words, the life cycle of the parasite closely resembles the political career of Senator Patty Murray.

It is past time for Washington’s immune system to expel Patty Murray from the Senate. Or to put it more broadly, America needs a change from politicians like Patty Murray if there is ever to be any hope for change. In her 18 years in the Senate, Patty Murray has grown to represent the very worst of our ruling class.

Never the sharpest knife in the drawer, Patty Murray was a natural for the occupation of political parasitism.  Patty Murray’s political career began when her career as community college teacher ended in failure. She took her degree in “Leisure Studies” and when it became clear that she was not up to teaching a class in “parenting” at a junior college, she attached herself to the United States treasury and allowed her political operation to operate on autopilot.

During her reign of mediocrity, Patty Murray has assembled a machine that funnels taxpayer dollars, in the form of pork barrel spending, to political supporters who gratefully repay a portion of their take into her political campaign coffers.

Patty Murray’s senate office has served as an internship program for future lobbyists who use their access to Murray to gain big government contracts that enrich themselves and stuff bucks back to Murray. Seventeen former Murray staffers are now K Street lobbyists. And these former staffers have shown their gratitude by making Patty Murray the second largest recipient of lobbyist campaign contributions. Only the execrable Harry Reid (D-Dimlight) rakes in more cash from lobbyists than Patty Murray.

Harry Reid and Patty Murray are both outstanding examples that simple minds, when combined with an unprincipled ambition, can assemble powerful political machines that reward allies and generate enough campaign cash to purchase re-election ad infinitum. Neither of these people is especially bright, as evidenced by their mutual incapacity to speak extemporaneously. Unshielded by their praetorian guard, and off script, both are prone to utter inanities that would embarrass the average 12 year old. And even when Patty Murray reads from prepared remarks, her speechwriters are careful to omit polysyllabic words and complex sentences that she might stumble over.

It’s not easy to fail as a community college teacher. For someone so incompetent in the real world to fail in an almost fail-proof job and then rise to become the fourth ranking Democrat in the United States Senate should tell you all that need to know about the skill set required to succeed in politics. It only requires a senator who is willing to give her office over to sub-parasites who know how to trade favors for cash without crossing the blurry line into flagrant illegality. The knowledge that a few years of service to the über-parasite is all the resumé enhancement needed to move up into the more enriching job as a lobbyist ensures that even a dimwit will have a steady supply of talented sub-parasites willing to work hard to guarantee their future benefactor’s success.

To fight parasites, hosts must possess an immune system that can be “educated” to respond to parasitic invasions. Our immune system is the ballot box. Consider yourself educated.

Friday, October 15, 2010

WA-23rd Endorsements Reflect Red Shift in Kitsap County

by Johnny Walker
@KingstonJW on Twitter

Acting as a liaison between almost 13,000 readers and the politicians who would have their vote, the North Kitsap Herald published key political endorsements Friday that will certainly influence November elections. As these endorsements reflect the editorial boards confidence readers have come to rely on, I want to use this opportunity to give an independent and perhaps alternative perspective. You should take the time to read the Herald’s endorsement in print or on their online service when published, but more importantly research the candidates yourself to make the most informed vote.

With the exception of the Kitsap Public Utilities District (KPUD) race, I’ve followed each of the following candidates at several forums and events during the campaign season, testing them for consistency of message and foundational approach to governance.

Incumbent Sherry Appleton (D) v. challenger Pete DeBoer (R):

The NKH endorses Pete DeBoer and I agree. Pete is the right stuff for north Kitsap. He has strong and implementable positions on job creation, fiscal accountability, reduced spending, education, and the value of limited government. He understands the tactical problems inherent to our ferry system, and is well positioned to improve that vital service. I’ve written much more about Pete here.

The case against Sherry Appleton is equally persuasive. I don’t have to be as polite as the NKH. She epitomizes the problem with State spending and out of control government. Appleton is unapologetic about taxes, voted to suspend I-960 and would look forward to a State income tax. She believes the State should continue to retail liquor and is not generally supportive of privatization. Appleton’s philosophy is clearly to tax, spend, and grow government services and has directly contributed to our State’s budget crisis. This makes sense to her because she believes the role of government is to give services, when it is constitutionally chartered to protect individual rights.

Incumbent Christine Rolfes (D) and challenger James Olsen (R):

The NKH endorses Christine Rolfes and I strongly disagree. While I commend NKH for transparency in its rational, I’m surprised by the conclusion. To be clear, the NKH advisory board voted 4-3 in favor of Olsen but was over-ruled by the managing editor and publisher to support Rolfes. I won’t question the personal motivations of this override, but I will question the rational: “the Herald’s editor and publisher were not convinced he made a compelling argument for change. Furthermore, Rolfes’ professionalism and calm demeanor worked strongly in her favor.”

So let’s be clear, the differences between Rolfes and Olsen are night and day, and quite similar to the difference between Appleton and DeBoer. In almost every respect, Rolfes and Appleton have walked hand in hand on taxation, growing government, suspending I-960, and support of a State income tax. Rolfes is a self-acknowledged progressive who is part of the spending problem. Like DeBoer, James Olsen is a career Coast Guard vet and small business owner who understands how small businesses create jobs. There is clear contrast between Olsen and Rolfes, and they are unmistakable to those who will look. The NKH knows this.

What I suspect the real reason is behind the vetoed endorsement is that Rolfes is perceived as more “professional” and “calm” than Olsen; something I can acknowledge.

James Olsen is a self-identified “fighter” who does not mince words, expects the truth and is harsh on those who prevaricate. I actually like that. The advisory board was correct to think he would be the one to “shake up” Olympia. Yes, Olsen is an energetic, passionate, and incisive communicator that ruffles feathers. So the question is this; “Do 23rd district voters want performance in government or style?” Vote for James Olsen if you want change in performance because we know what the progressive performance of Christine Rolfes has delivered. She helped create the problem. Why does anyone think she would change?

Incumbent Josh Brown (D) and challenger Abbey Burlingame (R)

The NKH endorses Josh Brown and I disagree. The case for Josh Brown is a little too easy. Yes, Brown has served for one term and it was a steep learning curve, but to suggest that Burlingame could not overcome the same curve in the same time is disingenuous. Short of evidence to the contrary, I dismiss it. There are two other Commissioners to balance the load and the County will not fall apart if Josh isn’t there. It could be true that the NKH did not believe Burlingame made a compelling argument for change but they didn’t say that. I suspect the endorsement for Brown was that he presents himself well as a career politician (style) and has a good management of detail. Burlingame inherently will have less grasp of detail because it isn’t her full time job. Go figure – the incumbent has the advantage, and that shows during tactical discussions at the forums. So why, then, Abby? There are lots of good things to say about Abby Burlingame but I’ll mention just a few pragmatic points here.

Personally, I’d like to see a conservative (R) balance on the otherwise Democrat controlled Commission. Both of the other Commissioners are Democrats. Look what has happened in Olympia and D.C. after years of total Democrat control. Balance is a good thing.

Burlingame has the right foundation to deliver prioritized core services that are required by law and rationalize these transparently to voters. She advocates a zero based budget process. Josh Brown has prevaricated on this issue in recent forums.

In my observations of Burlingame over several months, I’ve noticed she has a good connection with every day working folks. She will represent them well. What I’ve observed about Josh Brown is that he has a tendency to be elitist policy wonk, condescending, and arrogant; the kind of career politician that rules instead of represents. We’ve had enough of those.

I’ve also observed Brown to distance himself a little too hands-off from the performance of other elected leaders. The County Commission is critical in the balance of power, and Josh should be more interested in how other Departments are influencing the pulse of the county. It is not enough to say he collaborates well. He also should balance County power and protect individual rights.

Incumbent John Armstrong v. Linda Gabriel

The NKH endorses Linda Gabriel and I agree. I admit that I know least about these two, having only observed them once at the North Kitsap forum in Hansville, but the truth is that incumbent Armstrong neither asked for my vote nor compelled the audience as to why he was a better choice. Linda Gabriel asked for the vote, told us that her impressive credentials in finance were important and could be put to good use. I agree that in this time of increased scrutiny of government expenditures, Gabriel’s experience could be well put to use.

In the final analysis, it seems evident that the North Kitsap Herald’s endorsements mirror increasing disenchantment with an oversized and overspending government but I think they miss the mark on Christine Rolfes and Josh Brown. I'm not as quick to reward incumbents for creating an unsustainable mess by returning them to office.

Know your candidates and vote. November is coming.

Thursday, October 14, 2010



“Acorn” Rick Larson’s campaign is apparently in disarray. He has gone negative alright but with items that just don’t make any sense. The idea that John Koster has shipped jobs “overseas” is ridiculous and drew a hail of laughter over at Koster campaign headquarters. Rick, update your resume and take that lucrative lobbyist job that your wife wants you to take.

Snohomish County GOP State Committeewoman Dullain Ehrlich was the subject of a very funny e-mail that is circulating all over Western Washington and in particular Snohomish and King County. Why? Well she is in a photo holding one side of a banner that says FIRE PELOSI and the funny part is that the person on the other side holding the banner was none other that Republican hating Jerry Cornfield. Jerry is the hated political writer for the Washington Post owned Everett Herald. Jerry is embedded deep inside the Washington State Democratic Party and I am sure that he is going to regret that he allowed that picture to be taken.

Rob McKenna is at it again! As the lead representative of the “global warming” wing of the Washington State GOP, Rob decided to take aim at mortgage companies and banks with a comment in today’s Seattle Times to the effect “Corners likely cut in home seizures!” Rob, this is a non-judicial state with regard to foreclosures and how in the hell could you know that corners were cut without conducting an investigation? I suggest you are a failure as an Attorney General and I can assure you that you will end up as the GOP candidate for Governor in the election in two years over a whole host of dead bodies and one of them will be mine!

Success story of the year is Heidi Munson over in the 1st District. She went into the primary with no money, very little support and proceeded to knock on thousands of doors and ended up winning a stunning victory. Now with the support of a whole host of organizations, she is a shoo-in to be the Rep in position 2 in the First!

It looks like FINALLY that the James Watkins’ effort to unseat the unpopular Congressman Jay Inslee is off and running. My advice to Jim: KNOCK ON DOORS IN KIRKLAND.

Dan Kristiansen one of the main GOP leaders of State House Republicans is walking around with a big smile on his face! Why? Because the numbers coming in indicate that the GOP is going to take over the House in Olympia. Over on the Senate side, it’s a close call, but the GOP could take the Senate as well. Governor Christine Quagmire is in big trouble next January.

Patty Murray is so far ahead in the Senate race with Dino Rossi that it is all over? That is according to Seattle pollster Stuart Elway! Stuart, you are an idiot, you are a left wing jerk, and you have no idea what you are talking about. 5 national polls show that Dino is ahead by 2, 3 and in one poll 5 points. Patty Murray, widely regarded as the dumbest US Senator in history, is going down in flames! She went negative too early and some of the ads that she ran saying that Dino was a crook did not go over very well with the independent voters. By the way, I am hearing that the union get out the vote program is not going very well. Meaning? Low union turnout in the November election means defeat for Murray. The move by Boeing to take the second 787 line to South Carolina is the lead weight hanging around Patty’s neck!

On a national “take back the Congress bus tour”, RNC Chairman Michael Steele visited John Koster’s campaign headquarters in Arlington last Friday and did some campaigning. My question: Did he bring money?

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi sat down Thursday night for the first of their two televised debates, this first one in Spokane. Patty seemed tentative and nervous. Dino came off polished, knowledgeable and confident. Patty has no chance of even coming close to carrying Eastern Washington, where she is VERY unpopular.

Finally, over in the OTHER Washington

Charlie Gasparino, insider news reporter for the Fox Business Network, learned that Rahm Emanuel, outgoing Chief of Staff for Obama, had begun calling the CEO’s of the Fortune 20 yesterday asking them why they were not hiring. Charlie’s report about this matter on the air Thursday drew howls of laughter from inside the studio. Clearly the Obama Administration doesn’t have a CLUE about much of anything. The late Johnny Carson once said on the Tonight Show, “When they start laughing at you, it’s all over!”

Rob McKenna's Winning Streak Still Alive

First he successfully defended Washington's law that prohibits felons from voting until they've paid their debt to society. And now he's on the winning side in a court case against ObamaCare. And the judge gave the Obamatons a bit of a scolding.
A federal judge in Florida on Thursday said he will allow some of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care law to proceed — and criticized Democrats for making an “Alice in Wonderland” argument to defend the law.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson allowed two major counts to proceed: the states’ challenge to the controversial requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance and a required expansion of the Medicaid program.

In his ruling, Vinson criticized Democrats for seeking to have it both ways when it comes to defending the mandate to buy insurance. During the legislative debate, Republicans chastised the proposal as a new tax on the middle class. Obama defended the payment as a penalty and not a tax, but the Justice Department has argued that legally, it’s a tax.

“Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing, after which the defenders of that legislation take an “Alice-in-Wonderland” tack and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely, thereby circumventing the safeguard that exists to keep their broad power in check,” he wrote.

Doug Cloud Prevails in Sequim

by Johnny Walker
@KingstonJW on Twitter

As I rode my bike into the cozy waterfront town of Sequim, Washington, early Wednesday afternoon, I imagined that after 34 years in office and having carefully negotiated the venue, incumbent Congressman Norm Dicks (D) of Washington’s 6th Congressional District would be feeling pretty confident for this one and only public debate with challenger Doug Cloud (R). Sequim is roughly 90 miles or more from the district’s most dense industrial population centers of Tacoma, University Place and Lakewood, and another hour’s travel from the port cities of Grays Harbor. Even Bremerton is 60 miles. The mid week early afternoon time all but cherry picked a limited audience, mostly senior voters who would remember his years of service. They would be a warm and polite crowd, almost friends who remembered “Norm” as always being there. But such was not the case. Yesterday’s titan of Washington politics crashed harshly against the reality of change and the failure of hope. With stark differences in style and content, Doug Cloud routed Norm Dicks.

The clues were certainly there. Norm Dicks stepped silently onto the stage at Sequim Community Church about 10 minutes before the 2:00 PM debate, sat quietly studying his notes and speaking occasionally with organizers. The League of Woman Voters had coordinated well for the moderated event and it showed. But then “the Cloud” arrived and a spectacle happened. Just moments before starting time, an enthusiastic and almost spontaneous applause erupted in the room as Republican Doug Cloud walked in. It was a rock star moment, and Cloud seemed almost surprised by the clatter; he turned toward the audience extending his palms out, smiled broadly and waved, thanking them from the stage. Game on.

If Norm Dicks had ever been confident coming in to the debate, this moment was his reality check. Staring almost blankly at Cloud, he melted into his chair and worked to ignore the din. This was not going to be easy and it wasn’t for him. Here are some “blog bites” of analysis:

  • Doug Cloud ripped into Norm Dicks’ repeated claim of bipartisanship and proposed bipartisan solutions, noting that Dicks has voted with Democrat Nancy Pelosi 99% of the time. After 34 years, why would he change now? It isn’t likely.
  • Norm Dicks earned an almost universal groan from the audience when he blamed the “prior administration” for the current deficit. While the Bush administration was culpable, Dicks hides his leadership role in a Democratic Party majority for the past 4 yrs. Norm Dicks was and is part of the problem.
  • In consideration of earmarks, Doug Cloud wants Americans to stop relying on sugar daddies in DC, while Norm Dicks has historically used earmarks for patronage, even at some risk of ethics violations. Acknowledging, “Earmarks may have gotten out of control,” Dicks insists Congress should keep this selective power of the purse. Cloud called earmarks “a means of corruption” to buy votes and I agree. Earmark style initiatives should stand on their own merits with transparency.
  • Norm Dicks’ approach to job creation is to federally fund infrastructure projects and to attack fraud, waste, and abuse. At first blush, this seems like a good idea but why hasn’t he been doing this all along? With 34 years in office, Dicks has not worked to build sustainable budgets that support critical infrastructure and now wants to use the unemployment crisis to pander temporary jobs. He has failed in his oversight position to proactively manage the money he was entrusted with. Doug Cloud is a bit more pragmatic about “make work jobs,” saying they “make people temporarily happy just long enough to vote.”
  • Doug Cloud’s approach to jobs is to reduce taxes and cut federal spending. He has strong positions on how to dismantle and potentially eliminate both the Department of Energy and Education, reassigning necessary functions to other departments while eliminating overhead and putting self governance back in the hands of local citizens. Norm Dicks says this will cut jobs. Dicks is correct that it will cut government jobs but transfer necessary work to the private sector. And because it will allow business to keep more money, they can invest in job creation in viable markets that create wealth. I don’t think Norm Dicks grasps the value of reduced government spending to control the deficit, nor does he understand how to infuse dollars in a private sector that can actually create new jobs without taking it from someone else first. This is fraud, waste, and abuse.
  • In a revealing discussion on taxes, Norm Dicks defined tax cuts as the same thing as government expenditures. Think about this a moment; Dicks is saying that not taking your money (taxing) is the same thing as spending it on you. Dicks has trouble reducing the budget because he thinks your money is the government’s already. “You can’t cut taxes without paying for it,” said Dicks. Yes, you can. You can reduce government and give it back to the people, stop spending money that you don’t have and you can stop borrowing .40 on every dollar you want to spend.
  • On health care, Cloud was clear on expectations to repeal and replace (I always have to emphasize replace) with Norm Dicks defending the plan that nobody read or fully understands even today. Unintended cost increases, limitations in choice and services are already manifesting regardless of government promises and there is now open talk on rationing. A strong majority of voters now understand this is a bad idea. Does anyone remember Dicks being bipartisan on health care?
  • The Second Amendment discussion was equally polarized. Cloud answered the question unequivocally in support of the Second Amendment and articulated why, including the defense against tyranny. Norm Dicks avoided addressing the Second Amendment directly and talked about bolstering budget for the National Guard. He did acknowledge that sportsmen had a right to get a license, but avoided discussion on the individual right to bear arms. He blinked. Don’t trust Dicks with your gun rights.

Of course there was a lot more to the debate and I have only chosen a few snippets here within my time and space.

If the 2008 elections were a time of “hope and change,” then the 2010 elections are an opportunity for “change and deliver.” I haven’t seen a lot of results from hope and change so far has put us even deeper in debt, stolen our liberties, and made us even more reliant on government than ever before. The government has even implied I am a racist for simply questioning their wisdom. This is the Norm Dicks, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi model of governance. It is progressive Obama-ism in the context of transforming America. The transformation has to stop.

After 34 years in office, it is time to say goodbye to Norm Dicks as a revered titan of progressive Washington politics and patronage that has stayed past his time. It is time for Doug Cloud.

Doug Cloud will restore individual liberties and government accountability; he will seek to reduce government spending to sustainable levels and narrow government power to constitutional levels. It is time to restore our house.

Ballots came in the mail today at many Washington homes. The time for change and deliver is now.

Know your candidates and vote. November is coming.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can We Call Barbara Boxer and Henry Waxman Anti-American Yet?

I don't know how else to describe people enabled the delivery of supplies to the families of Iraqi insurgents who were trying to kill US servicemen and were often succeeding.
Two top California legislators are coming under fire after new evidence has emerged that they helped a group of radical antiwar activists cross the Iraqi-Jordanian border in order to deliver aid to families of enemy insurgents in the war-ridden Iraqi city of Fallujah. In December 2004, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D) each sent letters of diplomatic courtesy to the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, requesting assistance for members of the radical group Global Exchange and the antiwar group Palisadians for Peace...
“...It’s bad enough that Congressman Waxman voted against funding our troops in combat, but to actively support those opposing forces who kill our own brothers and sisters is beyond forgiveness. This borders on treason.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/10/13/boxer-waxman-under-fire-for-approving-radical-mission-behind-enemy-lines/#ixzz12HBYwmZE

Patty Murray's An Old Fashioned Kinda Gal

Who prefers to buy her re-election with generous servings of pork.
Sen. Patty Murray, the incumbent Democrat seeking her fourth term, is basing her appeal to voters on her ability to bring home the bacon. The pork pitch has usually worked in the past, but as outspoken former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson has made a habit of saying, “The pig is dead.”

Polling shows the race in a dead heat, and Democrats in Washington D.C. are “worried,” one senior operative said. Washington is the most likely place where Democrats’ hopes of retaining the Senate majority will fall or stand.

But Murray is hoping that enough voters will decide that spending is still sexy, at least when it’s on their behalf. One of her campaign videos features a rock soundtrack accompanying these words on screen: “Murray secures gang prevention funding for Yakima County … she secured $44 million to repair the Howard Hanson Dam.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/10/13/washington-senate-seat-control-of-senate-rest-in-dem-hopes-to-keep-spending-sexy/#ixzz12FUA09CE

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ohio Republican Senate Candidate Extend Lead to 23 Points!

Democrat Lee Fisher doesn't even show up in the rear view mirror anymore.
Republican Rob Portman has now jumped to a 23-point lead over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race. 

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Ohio shows Portman, a former congressman and Bush administration official, earning 57% support, his best showing in the race to date. Fisher claims just 34% support, a new low, while two percent (2%) prefer another candidate and seven percent (7%) are undecided.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

North Kitsap Forum Explodes with Coroner’s Race

by Johnny Walker
@KingstonJW on Twitter

It was a packed house at the Greater Hansville Community Center Friday night, as 2010 political candidates vied for undecided votes with only three weeks left on the campaign trail. Co-hosted by the Community Center on the week of its 69th birthday with the League of Women Voters of Kitsap County, the evening began extraordinarily well with the local tradition of pie and genuine fellowship that small communities love to evoke. Unfortunately, the levity did not last.

The surprises came quick for this forum as moderator Fred Nelson made the rounds to turn off video cameras in the room. A last minute rule made by the hosts decided to censure accurate reporting and accountability of this public forum by video. To be fair to Nelson, he was clearly the messenger. I’ll follow up on this unusual hindrance at another time. This entry will cover Congressional and State House commentary with one exception at the tail.

First up under strict rules of time and engagement, were the federal candidates for Washington’s 1st Congressional District; Jay Inslee (D) and challenger James Watkins (R).

Jay Inslee and James Watkins continue to offer clear voter choices to the future of Congressional leadership, accountability and self-government. Inslee blamed the prior Bush administration at least three times for the country’s financial woes but failed to acknowledge his own role in the Democratic majority during that time. Using a blame and attack strategy to deflect from his own culpability, Inslee even accused Watkins of being against protecting health care coverage for pre-existing conditions. The accusation cherry picked the massive Obama-care package Watkins would seek to repeal and replace, a program the majority of Americans disapprove of, and echoed the false and misleading rhetoric most common to a candidate on his heels. James Watkins had perhaps the most impassioned speech of the exchange when debating the viability of social security’s future. Responding to an accusation by Inslee that Watkins would seek to put social security in the greedy hands of banks and investment firms, Watkins countered that he would protect social security from the “greed and avarice of career politicians” that have borrowed and spent the people’s security on other programs over the years. Watkins also pointed out that Jay Inslee voted with the majority Democratic Party to turn down efforts by the Bush administration to provide oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an exemption that apparently remains in the Inslee supported finance reform legislation.

The Washington State House candidates for 23rd District were equally polar and contentious in their positions. Sherry Appleton (D) and Christine Rolfes (D) continue to acknowledge the challenges of balancing the budget but make no indication that the State has a spending problem as the result of their progressive ideologies. This should be a problem for independent voters. Challengers Pete DeBoer (R) and James Olsen (R) are strong advocates of greater fiscal accountability and job creation. One clear indicator of party divisions erupted over I-1053, which would reinstate a super majority vote for the legislature to raise taxes (recall that the Democratic majority suspended the 2/3-majority rule earlier this year). Neither Appleton or Rolfes support reinstating the rule, with Sherry Appleton suggesting that if our democracy were really about majority rule, then a 2/3-majority was an inappropriate hindrance because 17 people could “stand in the way” of the majority [of legislators]. Challenger Pete DeBoer smartly countered that if it were really about majority rule, legislators should respect the majority will of the people and honor the 2/3-majority rule. James Olsen piles on by telling the audience that the 2/3-majority does not tie the hands of the legislature but forces them to work together” instead of just raising taxes. These are two markedly different positions and should be clear indicators for voters to follow.

I’m passing over the other County offices for now so I can focus a brief discussion on the Kitsap County Coroner’s race. I actually hesitate in this because I don’t want to give the more inflammatory details of this story unnecessary traction, but the story is important regardless for the lessons we could learn.

In an incredibly ill devised misstep, challenger Pete Favazza (D) lobbed several personal integrity and morals accusations against incumbent Coroner Greg Sandstrom (R) that immediately backfired. I will not detail the accusations; suffice the audience was universally appalled. The accusations were highly personal, embarrassing, and lacked relevance to the forum. The smear tactic was an obvious and epic fail of disastrous proportions for his campaign in the north end and easily overwhelmed any possible value the man could have had in the office. I emphasize “could have had” because I can’t imagine he’ll get any rational voter support from North Kitsap residents as a result of his atrocious behavior, regardless of qualifications.

In an attempt to be fair to Favazza, personal integrity is an important qualification for any office and can be a barometer for how a candidate might be expected to behave legally and ethically. That said, the lesson here is that questions of integrity must also be substantial, substantiated, and relevant. American voters are increasingly intolerant with the politics of destruction, false, and misleading accusations that lack relevance to performance in office. Favazza has become the victim of his own sword.

As the result of Pete Favazza’s public behavior, I call upon him to immediately issue a public apology to Greg Sandstrom and disqualify himself from the Coroner’s race. He has publically demonstrated a sufficient lack of personal integrity and ethics to manage sensitive information so necessary to an investigative office, has maliciously attempted to exploit the personal life of a public servant and his family for gain, and in doing so has most certainly caused personal, emotional harm to the friends and family of Greg Sandstrom. And all of it unnecessarily so. Pete Favazza earns from me an early “NO VOTE” level of confidence in a race that in most years would fly under the radar.

Know your candidates and vote. November is coming.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Will “The American Dream” Transform to a Delusion after November 2?

The motto “Reaching the American Dream” has traditionally meant an American could transform from rags to riches if he or she worked hard enough. Over the past decades, there have been countless stories of Americans reaching the dream by starting with nothing but building up to success. A legal immigrant arriving in the U.S. with only the cash in his pocket could have reached his dream by years later being able to buy his own house. Or an even larger dream could have been a person beginning as the janitor of a company and then eventually becoming the company’s CEO. In our country’s first 200 years, the sky was the limit for what Americans’ dreams could be and what successes could possibly come true. That is why the U.S. has been the dream destination of people from other countries.

But fast forward to 2010, and due to the last two years of having a combination of a weak economy, a radical expansion of our government spending, and an unchecked majority party in charge, “Reaching the American Dream” may soon be out of the reach of our children’s and grandchildren’s generations. We could be just a few weeks away from permanently redefining what the “American Dream” is and making it less significant and meaningful. This is because the more progressive politicians want to limit the dream, and if they continue to hold the majority in Congress after November 2, they will believe they have been given a mandate to limit and redefine.

The philosophy of limiting the American Dream can be heard in the words of President Obama himself, who said, “At a certain point you’ve made enough money.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0JkyZx1LdQ&feature=related) Another example is our state’s U.S. Senator Patty Murray, who is proudly making her record of votes for substantial earmarks the reason why she should be re-elected. Senator Murray does not see that her continual votes to direct Americans’ money to pet projects we can’t afford has resulted in mortgaging our children’s future. Case in point, our children and grandchildren are born today already $44,000 in debt. (http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/) In the bills they support and policies they champion, progressive politicians such as Obama and Murray seem to be saying, “Americans should be satisfied with a little success and a little money - based on our definitions of what those levels are - and then they should use the rest of their earnings to spread the wealth around.”

How can anyone live the American Dream if they start their lives already in a $44,000 hole, and instead of seeing a bright future in their vision, they see more government control and less liberty? The answer is they can’t live the dream – unless of course the American Dream is redefined to be less of a dream and more of a delusion. If the Democrats don’t suffer large scale defeats in November’s election and lose their unchecked majorities in Congress, as many are predicting, they will see this as a “victory” and thus, as a mandate from the citizens that we are okay with a redefinition and limit of our American Dream. So this upcoming election is not like elections of the past. It will be a referendum on what type of country the people want – one that gives citizens the freedom to pursue happiness and reach for the traditional American Dream, or one that limits freedom so the government, which knows best, can regulate and redistribute wealth. If the Democrats do not experience a “tidal wave “ defeat on November 2, then “Reaching the American Dream” will forever after be redefined by the Democrat majority in Congress from the original phrase “going from rags to riches” to the new slogan “going from rags to nicer rags.”

What type of American do you want to wake up to on the morning of November 3? If you vote for fiscally conservative challengers such as Dino Ross, you will help to preserve the American Dream. If you vote for progressive tax and spend incumbents such as Patty Murray, you will limit it.

-Dan Michael