The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

30 January 2006

Eyman sour grapes

Tim Eyman once again became the darling of Washington's right wing that can't get elected to statewide office in filing a referendum bent on overturning the recently-passed gay rights bill. I'm not surprised, and not to be overconfident, but I think this state would sooner elect Doc Hastings to the US Senate than overturn this infant law. In the lead-up to the vote this year, most news sources cited polls showing strong support of passage statewide, and I only expect that to grow stronger the longer it stands on the books. Bring it, initiative boy.

29 January 2006

Leaders abound

Yesterday, both the state Democratic and Republican parties elected new party leaders. The Democrats, expectedly, chose former King County Councilman Dwight Pelz over former state Rep. Laura Ruderman by a margin of 95-70. The Republicans, somewhat unexpectedly, jumped for national GOP Committeewoman Diane Tebelius over sitting Vice Chair Fredi Simpson.

The analysis:
Democrats -- I've made it no secret that I don't much like Pelz, as I find him too liberal and blustery. I think the Democratic Party made a poor decision here in passing over Ruderman, a suburban moderate liberal who would seemingly be more effective outside of urban areas. Ruderman was twice elected to the suburban 45th district before launching a losing bid for secretary of state in 2004. At the issue's core, the Democratic Party already dominates Seattle and they aren't going to lose that for the forseeable future. Therefore, Pelz doesn't make much sense to me. On the contrary, Democrats are on the rise in suburbs, and that was what Ruderman brought to the table more than anything else.

Republicans -- In contrast, I think the GOP choosing Tebelius was a good choice. She's more well-known and more experienced than the unknown Simpson, and, from what I know about Simpson, Tebelius is much more of a fighter. The modern lackadaisical GOP needs somebody to push them, and Tebelius shows that better. From what i've heard the last couple years from her, she's also a sharp woman, an immediate advantage over the gaffe-prone Chris Vance. Not that it was a Tebelius advantage, but the GOP was also smart to choose a woman for their top post in a state practically run by Democratic women. You can't keep writing off the so-called "soccer moms" and expect to win. Good show, Republicans.

27 January 2006

Senate victory and the bellyaching in defeat

In case you hadn't heard, the state Senate passed HB 2661 today, with amendments, by a margin of 25-23 (Sen. Bob McCaslin of Spokane Valley was absent). The House must vote again on the bill to send it to Gov. Gregoire, to accept the Senate amendments. This culminates decades of work by gay rights supporters and more recently by Rep. Ed Murray [D-Seattle], extending non-discrimination rights to gays and lesbians statewide (some cities already had such laws passed). While I'm extremely happy to see this finally pass, and for once am happy that Chris Gregoire occupies the governor's office, I can't help but chuckle at the reaction of the opposition in loss. First, Sen. Val Stevens [R-Arlington] claims, "this is a very sad day for the state of Washington." Yes, Senator Stevens, i'm sure you'll be up late each and every night damning the day that I can't be fired from work for the gender of my significant other. So unfair, I know. Second, and even more ludicrous, is Sen. Bob Oke [R-Port Orchard] in voting against these basic protections despite supposedly having a lesbian daughter, based on the oft-mentioned biblical (Old Testament, mind you) condemnation of homosexuality. Judge not lest ye be judged, Senator. Only those without sin should cast the first stone.

Amazing, even us deviants can read that thing.

23 January 2006

Off-topic: Canadian federal election

This site's connection is a little volatile, but after taking a handful of quizzes this afternoon on issues in today's Canadian parliamentary election, I enjoyed this one most. On a variety of issues, it offers platform statements from the four major political parties in Canada, and allows you to pick the one you most agree with. I'm personally a little torn between the top two contenders, as the quiz apparently showed, in that i'm probably ideologically closest to the incumbent Liberals and their mostly centrist government, but am dissatisfied with their past scandals. Were I able to vote in a riding, it would likely come down to the specific candidates rather than the national party figures. I scored:

Four Conservative Party platform positions
-Health Care
-Parliamentary Reform
-Provincial Relations

Four Liberal Party platform positions
-Employment Insurance

Three Bloc Québécois platform positions
-Early Childhood
-National Defence
-Gun Control

One New Democratic Party platform position
-International Aid

22 January 2006

City Council, reality television-style

Yeah, I hate reality television more than most, but this thing is fun. I meant to post it a couple rounds ago, but there's still plenty of time to play. The Seattle PI has been allowing readers to "vote off" potential appointees to the Seattle City Council. Unfortunately, my first choice, ex-Councilwoman Dolores Sibonga, appears next to be voted off. Bookmark this link to vote each round if you're as big of a nerd as I am.

21 January 2006

Not going down this road again

Seems that the city of Spokane doesn't want any more ethically-challenged executives in the future -- the city council recently approved a new ordinance placing members of the city's government under a seven-member ethics committee, with the aim of putting a speedy end to any misuse of office by future city employees. It specifically bars using one's office for personal benefit.

19 January 2006

Legislative endorsements -- second round

Adding ten more candidacies worthy of support this fall, five for each party.

1. Rep. Glenn Anderson [R-Fall City]
2. Sen. Tracey Eide [D-Federal Way]
3. Sen. Bill Finkbeiner [R-Kirkland]
4. Sen. Ken Jacobsen [D-Seattle]
5. Rep. Kelli Linville [D-Bellingham]
6. Rep. Ed Murray [D-Seattle]
7. Rep. Toby Nixon [R-Kirkland]
8. Rep. Ed Orcutt [R-Kalama]
9. Rep. Jan Shabro [R-Bonney Lake]
10. Rep. Helen Sommers [D-Seattle]

The story is mostly the same, the Democrats here are fair-minded mainstream liberals less-beholden to interest groups (see Woldt v. Sommers, 2004). The Republicans are social moderates and liberals who are willing to break with their party's evangelical wing some of the time. Outside these definitions are Murray and Orcutt, both on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum but both passionate and outspoken on issues of their choice (gay rights for Murray, limited government for Orcutt). These two irk me part of the time, but still worthy of support. Besides, who could possibly be more fun to watch ranting about overspending on TV-W than Mad Ed?

18 January 2006

The tale of two Dans

This Seattle Times article underscores with one Dan, Sen. Dan Swecker, everything that is wrong with the modern Republican Party. It also underscores with another Dan, former US Senator and Gov. Dan Evans, everything that was once right with the pre-Reagan Republican Party.

Dan Swecker apparently fancies himself some physical incarnate of Saint Peter, someone who he himself is destined for eternal heavenly bliss and doesn't hate gays -- he just wants to completely change them and allow them no rights -- so they too can be authoritarian pricks and get into "heaven." Swecker points out the verse of nutty-ass Leviticus declaring homosexuality an abomination, and then arrogantly talks as if he holds the secret of who does and does not partake in heavenly rapture. He believes businesses and landlords should have the right to deny a job, housing, etc. because they share his bigoted worldview. Methinks Swecker would shit himself if somebody attempted to grant the same parties the right to discriminate based on religion. Senator Swecker represents far too many in the Republican Party, one that is socially-intolerant and increasingly apt to abandon economic and fiscal conservatism in the name of big government. This is what we used to call a Dixiecrat. President Lincoln should be rolling over in his grave based on the actions of nationwide "Republicans" the past decade.

On the other hand, Dan Evans represents an ever-dwindling sect of the once-great GOP. When Evans ran the state, Republicans were the party of the libertarian-minded, people who believe in social and economic freedom. It was Republicans who gave the Johnson Administration the necessary votes to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was Republicans who set Roe v. Wade in place. Evans, in direct contrast to his first name counterpart, was quoted in this article as saying, "both our constitution and our form of government down through the two centuries we've been a nation has been to keep religion out of government. I think this is a case where that really applies...People can have their own beliefs, but to use those beliefs to deny equal rights to citizens ... I think is wrong." Imagine that, we are still not a theocracy.

The Republican Party of Evans is shrinking, and has been since 1980. I'm not in the business of disrespecting President Reagan, but his rise to power opened the GOP up to many of the current blowhards running the government. There still are plenty of Dan Evans Republicans in this state and in this country, but as the intolerance of the majority of Republicans grows, I fear the remaining reasonable few will be pushed out. We are lucky to reside in a so-called "blue state," where Evans-school Republicans can still flourish. Take a look at the Sam Reeds and Fred Jarretts of this state, we owe them a debt of gratitude for their perseverance.

17 January 2006

Microsoft has little to worry about

As expected, bigoted Rev. Ken Hutcherson and co. have renewed their call to boycott Microsoft for their, gasp, support of adding sexual orientation to anti-discrimination laws. Ed Murray is correct, naught but a right-wing fringe of this state oppose this basic bill, and they aren't going to buy into Hutcherson's bigotry. Microsoft has little to worry from this little (not physically, of course) bigot from Redmond.

09 January 2006

More news!

Upon migrating to the Slog just now, I found a post containing a press release from the state GOP saying that Chris Vance is also stepping down as party leader. This makes me quite happy, in that Vance more often than not left himself open to be chewed up and spit out by Paul Berendt. The GOP needs to choose a chairman who is more mainstream, more intelligent, and more tenacious.

Fink flips

As predicted by many in recent days, state Sen. Bill Finkbeiner [R-Kirkland] announced today he intends to vote in favour of the long overdue gay rights bill which would add sexual orientation to the state's non-discrimination laws. As Senate GOP leader, Finkbeiner voted against the legislation last year, which failed by one vote after three conservative Democrats sided with a unified GOP caucus to defeat the bill. Finkbeiner voted in favour of the legislation while a Democratic member of the House. This appears to nearly ensure passage of the legislation, passed repeatedly in the House but annually stymied in the Senate, and may well allow some other legislators to vote in favour now that they have little to lose politically. Principled, huh? Regardless, it's nice to see Finkbeiner come out in support of basic equal rights, even if he did vote against it as GOP leader.

07 January 2006

Talmadge out

Ex-everything Phil Talmadge has announced he is ending his campaign to become chairman of the state Democratic Party. This leaves assumed frontrunner Dwight Pelz and three others still seeking the chairmanship.