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.

27 February 2006

Burner needs to catch up

I came across a piece on fundraising for the 8th Congressional district race on Ridenbaugh just now, and it's pretty clear that Democratic challenger Darcy Burner needs to pick up the fundraising. Having $100,000 on hand long before fall is not a terribly strong position for what is purported to be among the DCCC's biggest targets, especially when the incumbent, GOP Rep. Dave Reichert, has nearly $600,000 on hand.

At this point, i'm behind Reichert, being that he's the only member of the state's GOP delegation that is actually reasonably moderate, but if Burner and the liberal so-called blogosphere really intends to knock off Reichert this fall, open up your wallets already.

25 February 2006

National Journal rankings -- Ridenbaugh

Yesterday, Ridenbaugh Press posted National Journal's annual list ranking the most liberal to conservative members of both houses of Congress, for the three Pacific Northwest states. The Senate, with lower numbers being most liberal:

Patty Murray [D-WA] 17th
Ron Wyden [D-OR] 18th
Maria Cantwell [D-WA] 28th
Gordon Smith [R-OR] 49th
Larry Craig [R-ID] 60th
Mike Cray-poe [R-ID] 75th

This appears pretty accurate. Cantwell is generally in the center of her party's caucus, Gordon Smith is among the most lovably moderate members of the Senate, and Idaho's two GOP members are surprisingly reasonable given their geography. For the House:

Jim McDermott [D-WA] 9th
Earl Blumenauer [D-OR] 46th
Jay Inslee [D-WA] 88th
Adam Smith [D-WA] 123rd
Peter DeFazio [D-OR] 127th
Rick Larsen [D-WA] 131st
Brian Baird [D-WA] 132nd
David Wu [D-OR] 135th
Norm Dicks [D-WA] 138th
Darlene Hooley [D-OR] 142nd
Butch Otter [R-ID] 224th
Dave Reichert [R-WA] 229th
Mike Simpson [R-ID] 303rd
Greg Walden [R-OR] 313th
Doc Hastings [R-WA] 337th
Cathy McMorris [R-WA] 352nd

This also appears quite accurate. McDermott is among the most nuttily left members of the House (no brainer), and save for Jay Inslee, the rest of the state's Democratic House delegation really don't differ that much ideologically. Butch Otter (who will continue the Dirk Kempthorne tradition of reasonable GOP Idaho governors) and Dave Reichert are in the center of the entire body ideologically, with eastern WA's representatives proving they are more right-wing than Idaho's. That is nothing to be proud of, though I'm quite sure whoever replaces Otter in Congress will be closer to the nutty Helen Chenoweth wing of the Idaho GOP than the moderately conservative Simpson/Otter wing. On a side note, it was a tad surprising to see Darlene Hooley the most conservative of Oregon's Democratic delegation.

20 February 2006

Hobbs files for Senate seat

Democrat Steve Hobbs, most recently a candidate for Snohomish County Council last year, has filed for the state Senate seat currently held by Republican Dave Schmidt. This district, already with a slight Democratic lean, should prove to hold one of the closest and most entertaining legislative matchups this November. Schmidt, a moderate conservative who jumps on fiscal issues and not social issues (in other words, the oft-mentioned Dixiecrat), ought to be concerned about the entry of Hobbs into this race.

17 February 2006

Remember Frank Chopp?

Chris Gregoire should listen to him. With already marginal popularity, aligning herself with rabid organized labour groups has the potential to set her back on what has been a yearlong climb to 50-50 approvals. This bill is a risk not worth taking.

16 February 2006

Gregoire still mixed

This month's national approval poll of state governors found Chris Gregoire at 47% approval and 47% disapproval. Among sub-groups, the usual case of in-denial liberals calling themselves "moderates" is present. Seattle-area residents kinda like her, easterners hate her, and westerners are as split as the overall numbers.

With that out of the way, let me just say I cannot comprehend why somebody could approve of this woman. She drives me absolutely insane. I suppose a good reason is partisanship, but come on, you don't have to worry about Dino Rossi for almost three years, why have on the hyperbolic blinders already?

Frank Chopp is one smart donkey

He knows how to say no to labour on an issue that's a no-win for his party in a high stakes midterm. This would have brought the silver hammer of business down on the head of the state Democratic Party as they hold both chambers of the legislature, but by far from insurmountable margins. The GOP needs to win two seats in the Senate and six in the House, and while the Senate seats up in 2006 are not favourable, many Democratic seats in the House are held by precarious margins. Because of this, Chopp's decision was very smart politically.

Big labour thought they could knock off Helen Sommers in the 2004 Democratic primary, and failed, but do they really think they can try such a stunt against the sitting speaker? Probably not, unless they're more pompous and/or stupid than they appear. This issue isn't a winner for Democrats, and if labour really wants it to have a chance, they have to do it at the initiative box.

14 February 2006

Ridenbaugh honoured

Political weblog yesterday gave northwest news weblog Ridenbaugh Press its Site of the Day award. As a longtime reader of Ridenbaugh, it's nice to see them honoured by a more big-time weblog for their superb reporting. Congratulations!

12 February 2006

Mixed news for Cantwell (Rasmussen)

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll on this fall's US Senate race has mixed results for the incumbent, Maria Cantwell. She continues to hold a decent-sized lead over GOP candidate Mike McGavick, but he's winning the shift in favourables/unfavourables. It's early enough that good news for McGavick is increasing those marks and name recognition marks, but in the coming months he needs to change those into gap closures for a chance to win.

11 February 2006

Claude Oliver to primary Rep. Hastings

In surprising news, Benton County Commissioner Claude Oliver has announced a primary challenge to US Rep. Doc Hastings [R-Pasco]. Oliver, a former legislator and two-time loser to Dan Grimm for state treasurer, by all apperances is also a conservative. However, it's hard to be more of a boot-licker than Hastings, so give him hell, Claude!

09 February 2006

Sick day news

Given extra free time as a result of recovering from this annoying recurring flu thing, I got a seven-hour head start on browsing for news. Two articles caught my attention this morning, both regarding a lack in tact from elected public officials.

First, we have today's Robert Jamieson column about US Rep. Brian Baird's less than gracious critique of a college student for not being gracious enough in accepting a scholarship from him. How this man, a pompous ass who is also far more liberal than his district, can continue to be elected, I do not understand. Incumbency apparently truly is everything.

Second, Tacoma's News Tribune reported today about an outburst from Tacoma City Councilman Tom Stenger at a recent meeting, where he told fellow Councilman Rick Talbert "fuck you." Mayor Bill Baarsma reprimanded Stenger but did not have him leave the meeting. Stenger then tried to pass the buck to Talbert, both Democrats, by claiming he is equally rude in closed-door meetings. Too bad that you were the one caught on tape. To Stenger's credit, at least his unsavoury tongue lashed out at another politician and not some poor kid.

07 February 2006

Ex-Gov. Gardner behind future assisted suicide initiative

Former Gov. Booth Gardner [D] is leading an effort to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state via a future ballot initiative. Following SCOTUS' ruling to uphold Oregon's law allowing the controversial procedure, other states (including this one) have been stewing about legalzing the practice as well. With Gardner, a centrist and sufferer of Parkinson's Disease, heading up the effort in Washington, this ought to give the campaign an early boost. Conventional wisdom would dictate that such a measure would be slightly favoured to pass here, and having Gardner on board ought to help those already positive chances.

03 February 2006

Duplicates, deceased found in voter record cleanup

Go Sam Reed. I'm glad to see the office of the Secretary of State is taking charge in cleaning the list of registered voters of duplicates and the deceased, and consolidating individual county rolls is a good start. Not to cast doubt on their ability to fix this, but I did receive two separate Christmas cards from Reed last December...

Washington Government -- the movie

A friend in Seattle showed me this website today, which has a fun thing where you can upload a photo and it matches the person in the photo to a huge database of celebrities from many different occupations based on looks, facial structure, and stuff like that. It isn't foolproof, but there is something to it -- upon uploading a handful of celebrity photos from my hard drive, it matched Tony Blair and Vicente Fox with the #1 pick, and Sean Connery with the #2 pick -- and that gave me the idea to nerd it up and present the cast for a fake film about our state and local political figures. The best match: Graham Chapman as Patty Murray. No bullshit. State Sen. Mark Doumit was also pretty accurate.

2005 matchups
County Exec. Jomo "Ron Sims" Kenyatta [D] vs. County Councilman Kevin "David Irons" Costner [R]
County Councilman Lance "Bob Ferguson" Armstrong [D] vs. County Councilwoman Annette "Carolyn Edmonds" Bening [D]

2006 matchups
Sen. Meryl "Maria Cantwell" Streep [D] vs. Matthew "Mike McGavick" Perry [R]
Rep. Martin "Dave Reichert" Scorsese [R] vs. Sharon "Darcy Burner" Stone [D]

And, you wanted to know -- Gov. Julie "Chris Gregoire" Andrews [D] in a rematch against John "Dino Rossi" Travolta [R].