Jim Camden is a reporter and columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the City department. He serves as the Washington state capital bureau chief in Olympia covering state issues and politics and writes the Spin Control column.
After viewing last year's Apple Cup as a Cougar fan in the midst of a room full of Huskies, it strikes me that would-be secessionists could learn a lot from the annual intrastate rivalry. That's saying quite a bit about the position on the outer ring of craziness of those petitioning the White House to leave the Union, considering the passion that accompanies the game.
There is an axiom in legislating, that when you have the votes to pass something, you shut up and cast them. When you don't have the votes, you talk. A corollary to that in this year's legislative session seems to be that when you don't have the votes, you offer up comments as quotable as possible. When you have the votes, you don't need to be pithy or clever; you speak as little as possible and cast them.
OLYMPIA — When a federal Cabinet secretary stopped by the Capitol earlier this month, trying to prod the Legislature into action on a big multistate project, he got a warm welcome from Gov. Jay Inslee. Not so much from Senate Republicans. So what would one expect for a member of a Democratic president's administration, you might be thinking. Considering it was Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, some folks were expecting something a bit more politic.
A sign that Washington's campaign season remains in the doldrums despite the fact that ballots are in voters' hands arrived on July 27 with the announcement that two gubernatorial debates had been scheduled. One will be in Vancouver on Aug. 29 and another in Yakima on Oct. 2. This is great news, not solely because putting Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna on the same stage is instructive for voters and good theater for political junkies. These are also two places that often have little chance to get up close and personal with gubernatorial candidates, let alone host a debate.
Last week marked the official start of campaign season. Would-be officeholders filed the paperwork and plunked down the fees for the political position of their choice, or perhaps their dreams.
Candidates should act as though cameras are everywhere, because most likely they are. That’s the lesson of a 30-second exchange between Rob McKenna, the state attorney general who is running for governor, and a young woman on a Seattle sidewalk that went from pointed conversation to YouTube video overnight and resuscitated an issue Republicans were probably glad to have killed during the legislative session.
A week after the Legislature’s overtime session wrapped up, Democrats accused GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna of delaying the final compromise by politicizing the process. Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, joined members of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee’s staff to accuse McKenna of using the budget stalemate “for political purposes” to push reform proposals.
OLYMPIA -- Now that the Legislature has wandered, bleary-eyed, out of town, would it be too much to hope they took some of their overworked phrases with them and didn’t bring them back?
Whether there’s a War on Women being waged by politicians around the country is open to debate. There is definitely a War Over the War On Women, and Washington state has a top commander on both sides of the battle lines.
During this legislative session in Olympia, transparency seems to be like one of those windows one sees on television cop shows, where officers watch through one-way glass as a detective grills the suspect. It’s transparent from the dark little room where other cops watch but reflectively opaque to the suspect.