Washington

Why Isn't Gregoire Running on Her Record?

Christine Gregoire's campaign is now on its second radio ad, which can be found buried on her campaign blog in a July 7th entry (hint to the campaign staff: permalinks are a beautiful thing in the blogosphere). Much as with the first ad, more time is spent attacking Dino Rossi than anything else.

Why is a sitting incumbent attacking first and talking about her own accomplishments later?
 
Moreover, it seems as if Gregoire's campaign - as with the Evergreen Progress PAC attacking Rossi - is thus far rolling out the traditional Democratic playbook on "how to attack Republicans." Aside from the normal shots on health care spending (Dino Rossi hates kids!) and the environment (and their drinking water too!), the latest Gregoire ad trots out two less than high profile issues in this race: Roe v. Wade & stem cell research.

Unions Says Public Has No Right to Know About State Payments to Unions

What happened when the Evergreen Freedom Foundation decided to request the public government records of the negotiations between unions and government in Washington State? All hell broke loose, that's what.

The bloated public employee unions banded together to stop the public from finding out what went on between the government and the unions during the negotiations of state contracts -- that is contracts FUNDED by tax money, by the way -- for employee benefits and rules. They filed suit saying that the public had no right to know how their own tax money was to be spent.

One union official even said that if he thought his words would become public record he would "not be comfortable speaking" until he had "fully thought through" what he had to say. Of course, this forces one to wonder why he would open his yap without thinking about what he is saying whether his yammering would be public knowledge or not?

Yes, the Unions fought the EFF tooth and nail to keep their negotiations secret from the very public that is paying their bills.

Check out the whole outrageous story at Capital Research Center's "When unions negotiate with governments" and download the PDF report. Its a great read and a cautionary tale that supports our contention here on the Union Label Blog that unions are antithetical to good government.

Be sure and Visit my Home blog Publius' Forum. It's what's happening NOW!

Washington Governor's Race Continues to Defy Stereotypes

Eric Earling has been on the WA-GOV's race like white on rice. This is our best opportunity to elect a Republican all-star in a pickup this cycle, and we need to help Dino Rossi. -Patrick

Interesting developments in Republican Dino Rossi’s repeat contest against now sitting Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire:

1) Democrats Are The Ones Taking Heat in the Press for Ethnic Slurs

The State Democratic Party managed to secure itself some widespread, off-message PR for its web video attack on Italian-American Dino Rossi, set to the tune of the Sopranos. Though the party changed the tune accompanying the video, the state’s largest newspaper, the Seattle Times, weighed in with a Sunday editorial chiding both the deed and the lack of contrition. Thus, on the heels of Democrats complaining about building industry funded ads against Gregoire, Rossi is the one who comes out looking aggrieved.

2) Headlines Implying Corruption Aren’t Directed at the Republican

Washington State's Union Bought Governor

Democrat Governor Christine Gregoire won the governorship of Washington State in 2004 under a cloud of suspicion and possible voter fraud. The election was very close and after a recount Gregoire's Republican rival still had the win. But, the Democrats weren't happy with the recount. They wanted a second and calls went out for giant donations to get it done.

To steal the governorship Gregoire's biggest donors were unions. Teachers unions and labor unions donated big money. Once the miraculous second recount suddenly showed that the Democrats had won (by 129 votes), Gregoire settled into office.

And then the payback began with unions making out like fat cats.

Governor Gregoire's Gambling Contradiction

The defense employed by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and her allies in defending her actions regarding a gaming compact with the state's Native American tribes has been to say the goal was to stop a massive expansion of tribal gaming. The facts don't indicate that actually occurred.

Follow-up P-I coverage said this on the matter:
[Gregoire spokesman Pearse Edwards] said she had renegotiated the 2005 agreement that included revenue sharing in an attempt to keep gambling from expanding too quickly and after listening to concerns from a wide range of groups, including other tribes.

Likewise, Democratic spokesman Kelly Steele's recent appearance on Seattle talk radio station KVI's "The Commentators" show was replete with references to Gregoire not wanting to turn the Evergreen State into Nevada.

One might chuckle at the notion of Sin City coming north to the meet the nanny state favored by many elected officials in Seattle and Olympia, yet gaming itself continues to expand significantly since the compact was negotiated.

Early Lead for Reichert in WA-08

Tthe other hot race to watch this year in Washington state, besides Dino Rossi's bid to win a rematch of his 2004 battle, is Dave Reichert's re-election bid for Congress.

Rep. Reichert was a major Democratic target in the '06 cycle, running as a first time incumbent in a district (the 8th) carried by John Kerry in '04 and increasingly carried by statewide Democratic candidates as well.  He edged out a win over former Microsofite Darcy Burner by 2%, overcoming her surprisingly strong fundraising and rabid netroots support with his experience serving the district in Congress and as King County Sheriff.

Reichert is out to an early lead in a repeat of the 2006 contest.  Burner has been running almost constantly since that time, raising money at a fierce clip and overtaking Reichert on that score.  Yet, SurveyUSA pegs him with a 51% - 45% advantage.

1st Game Changer in the WA St. Governor's Race

 
There are lots of things a candidate and a campaign can control to a degree in a given race. How the press chooses to cover a particular story is usually not one of those. Thus, while today's Seattle P-I story on the tribal cash pouring in to support Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire is not necessarily a surprise given the details of the topic, the tone of the coverage means this story will leave a mark.

The lede starts out rough:

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire is benefiting from more than $650,000 in campaign contributions from Indian tribes that hit the jackpot in 2005 when she killed a gambling compact potentially worth more than $140 million a year to the state.

Unlike 22 other states that collect millions from revenue sharing agreements for tribal gambling, Washington gets no money from tribal casinos under the compact that Gregoire renegotiated with the Spokane Tribe.

There is little good that can come of that in Washington stat that seems to have a hypersensitivity to even the appearance of conflict of interest. And its not just the appearance:

"It's a payoff," said University of Nevada-Las Vegas professor William Thompson, who has been studying tribal gambling since 1988. "She shouldn't take any campaign money, nor should her political party, and it smells too quid pro quo for my liking."

One wonders if those tribal casinos would be willing to take wagers on that passage appearing in a campaign ad in support of Republican challenger Dino Rossi this fall.
 
Eh, probably not.
 
Regardless of the betting opportunities of the general public before November, the P-I even catches a Democratic legislator bemoaning the deal in question:
 
"Why would you give someone a monopoly without taking a cut?" asked Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle.
 
[snip]
 
But Jacobsen, the Seattle state senator, said there wasn't enough transparency.
 
"By the time anybody in the Legislature heard about it, it was a done deal. There are a lot of people, Democrats and Republicans, who were a little bit grumpy about that because, God, that's a lot of money we gave them without getting anything back."
 
Asked if there should there be a firewall between groups that negotiate with elected leaders, Jacobsen said: "When you start talking money, people are getting tempted," adding that even if there isn't outright corruption, it looks bad.

Yes, it does look bad. The local transparency-minded media loathes to see such appearances of back room dealing. And this is most definitely not the last the body politic has heard of this issue in the Evergreen State before November.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics.

Supply and Demand

I wrote this up because I've seen a fair number of odd arguments about drilling from the rightosphere. It was in response to a statement: "But we'll just ship all the new oil off to China! So drilling is pointless!"

What happens if we double US output, and every single drop was shipped to China? Stop reading me, and really think about it. The normal law of supply and demand - for normal things that you don't need (baseball caps, say) - is that when you draw a plot of "Price vs. Quantity". Wikipedia has a plot here: Supply and Demand Plot.

 

The 'free market price' is the intersection of S (Supply line) & D1 (Demand line) - it is (P1,Q1) initially. Any increase in demand is like moving the line D1 to the line D2. The 'free market price' moves along the curve to (P2,Q2). We'd be paying more, and consuming more. An increase in Supply moves the Supply Line. Imagine the S line being scooted down. Prices drop, and the intersection will be a little farther along the Q axis, so we'll be consuming more.

 

Now oil isn't baseball caps. We have a strong desire for oil, and we aren't too flexible about our usage. (We might knock off roadtrips completely, but fewer people will stop driving to work, etc.) This just means that the 'Demand Curve' is steep.

 

The Supply Curve is also steep - at-the-pump prices in the US have gone from $1.50 to $4 without any appreciable American drilling.

Now: An increase in Supply - even if it's going to someone else! - shifts the entire Supply curve. Even if China was able to consume all of the oil themselves, they would be changing their impact on the market. They stop pressuring Indonesia perhaps. Or relax export restrictions to Russia. Who knows. But any change in Supply causes the market to readjust - and the net effect would be the same as with baseballs: an increase in quantity, a drop in price.

We already know what the demand curve is going to be doing going forward. Both India and China moving into the middle-class and being able to afford personal vehicles pretty much swamps any discussion on that question.

Alternative fuels also affect supply, and alternative energy also affects supply. There's nothing wrong with investing in either. But these are NOT mutually exclusive options. We're in a hole that's big enough for us to jump on the nuke bandwagon, _and_ the solar/wind bandwagon, and the biofuels bandwagon, and still have plenty of demand to jump with both feet on Drill here, Drill Now, Pay less.

 

Dino Rossi Keeps Chugging Along

Promoted and bumped. -Patrick

The candidates for Governor in Washington released their May fundraising numbers today, showing yet another indicator of the competitive nature of this race.

Christine Gregoire's numbers came down from outstanding to merely good after her post-legislative session fundraising freeze month in April (incumbent Washington state elected officials are restricted from accepting contributions during the legislative session).  Cash receipts in May were $779,176, down from $1.3 million the month prior.  Her campaign reports $4.162 million in cash-on-hand through May 31st (source).

Dino Rossi's fundraising continued its steady pace, raising $690,169 in cash contributions in May, slightly above his $652,181 average for the previous six full months he has been raising money.  His campaign reports $3.439 million in cash-on-hand through the end of May.

Using Gas Prices as an Issue

This is a very creative use of gas prices as an issue.  A legislative candidate in a semi-rural, small-town district that’s dominated by blue collar Democrats listed his party as No Gas Tax (GOP) which means that on the ballot, voters will see:

Randy Neatherlin, Prefers No Gas Tax (GOP) Party

As of this year, Washington State allows candidates to list any party name within a set character limit on the ballot, and displays it as Prefers _____ Party.  The top two vote getters regardless of party move onto the general.  No runoff.

This race is pretty far down on the ballot and is going to be overshadowed by a very cluttered state political environment so most voters won’t know much about any of the candidates.  It’ll be an interesting experiment to see how he does, I suspect he’ll perform a lot better than he would have otherwise. 

This isn’t a professional candidate we’re talking about here.  He hasn’t raised all that much money, is facing a primary challenge and won’t have much else going for him beyond ballot title.  He’s also had some oppo worthy issues in the past, but a lot of the time it’s guys like that who pull ballsy moves before they go mainstream.  

Update: This isn't directly related togas prices, but Washington's candidate for governor Dino Rossi just filed as "Prefers G.O.P. Party."  I like that a lot, good sign his folks are willing to go outside the regular playbook.

 

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