Cantwell Watch

A site dedicated to tracking what U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wa) does (or doesn't do) to warrant her reelection, or ouster, in 2006.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

McGavick begs off Bush fundraiser

Citing his son's high school graduation (in Pennsylvania no less!), Mike! has decided he can't attend a fundraising event with Bush.

O.K. So it's pretty obvious why Mike would not want to be in the same room with Bush, but why is his son going to high school in Pennsylvania?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The view from L.A.

The Los Angeles Times speculates that Cantwell may not be as vulnerable as previously thought, and that her confrontation with Ted Stevens last winter over oil drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Reserve has helped her. Nonetheless, the paper also acknowledges that Cantwell has still had a tough time rounding up volunteers.

Yawn. For anybody watching closely, this is all old news.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

93rd out of 100

That's where a private, non-partisan organization designed to facilitate civic participation ranks our friend Maria in the Senate. She merits a "Power Score" of 14.25. By comparison, Patty Murray ranks 46th, with a "Power Score" of 33.37.

Friday, May 26, 2006

McGavick colors himself green

Supported by Christine Todd Whitman, McGavick unfurled his position on the environment to Gig Harbor Republicans. Amidst the usual "global warming is real" banter he took Cantwell to task for her role in the ANWR battle: "She is entitled to vote against ANWR drilling," he said. But she should not have personally led the fight. Alaska has long and close ties to Washington. McGavick said it "set neighbor against neighbor."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Left on the warpath

While unofficial Democratic Party apologist Joel Connelly nicks at McGavick for associating with Alaskan Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who have publically announced their unhappiness with Cantwell, the Stranger presents more evidence that the Democratic faithful in Seattle are Voting with Their Feet, working for the Darcy Burner campaign in the 8th district, instead of Cantwell's campaign.

Meanwhile Mike Seely of the Seattle Weekly provides some insight as to why: Speaking of working on the 2000 Cantwell campaign, Mike describes Maria's lackluster charisma and abrasive style. Most who worked on the campaign were there not because they like Maria, but because they hated Gorton.

"Had a dead squirrel been the Democratic nominee for Senate that year, we would have busted our butts for the dead squirrel. Hell, we may have worked harder, because squirrels can't talk, especially dead ones," said Seely.

Nonetheless, after all of that, Seely says, "Whatever her personality shortcomings, she's a principled, thoughtful legislator who meets the consequences of her actions head-on and without apology."

Go figure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Record gas prices fourth-highest in U.S.

Turns out local gas prices are fourth-highest in the country.

Can you say "retaliation"?

No Longer 'Victory' in Iraq?

Great heads up Newsweek piece today describing how the US military is no longer planning for what was once called 'Victory' in Iraq. Now the watchword used by the Bushies and military will be 'Containment'. Let's see how quickly Maria begins to use it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Iranian Newspaper reacts to McGavick

According to the Persian Journal, McGavick has declared war against "people of Iran" for recommending that Iran be excluded from the World Cup soccer tournament.

The paper recommends, "Vote for democrates (sic) period."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dixon's roots profiled

The Seattle Times reports The story of Seattle's Black Panther Party, in which now Green Party Senatorial Candidate Aaron Dixon was a founding member, today.

P-I rates energy policies

In an apparently well meaning editorial the P-I gives the Democrats a zero on energy policy. And if the Ds are nothing, the Rs are, well, less than that. And so what is the point of this editorial? To show that the Rs are more evil than the Ds, and voters better wake up? Is that it?


Mainstream Rs counting on McGavick to lead state GOP to victory

The Mainstream Republicans of Washington, headed by Sam Reed, predicted big year for the GOP in Washington State this year. Basically the MRs figure the Ds are too much in disarray over the Iraq War to maintain their control over the Washington delegation to Congress.

Good press, perhaps. But except for Cantwell, more likely wishful thinking than not.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Not Just Rumsfeld's Fault!

In an insightful article today in Counterpunch, Winston T. Wheeler makes the case that although conditions are ripe for a major debate on America's defense budget and it is easy to go after the Republicans and Donald Rumsfeld, the Democrats advocate more of the same. He concludes, "The Democrats want us to ignore how they helped to create the mess and their current intention to do nothing about it. In fact, they are not even thinking about solutions--and the Republicans appreciate that." Link is I wonder what Maria Cantwell has done in the past 6 years to be part of the solution?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cantwell's position on Iraq dissected

Today's P-I reports: There's a disconnect between what Cantwelll 'sees' and reality.

Where have you gone Joel Connelly?

Dissatisfaction with Incumbents has a story in today's news regarding a new low in public confidence in the public's faith in the GOP. Today's Post-ABC News Poll indicates that 69% of the public think the nation is now off track. 56% says they would prefer to see Democrats in control of Congress. BUT third party advocates should take heart in the rest of the news-there is a "growing disaffection with incumbents generally...when asked whether they were inclined to re-elect their current representative to Congress or look around for someone new, 55 percent said they were open to someone else...the highest rank since 1994." Does that mean there is opportunity for Mark Wilson, Bruce Guthrie, Aaron Dixon, and the like? We shall see....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

McGavick closes gap

Well, insofar as McGavick is concerned, its a good thing. Rasmussen reports McGavick has narrowed the gap to 5 points.

But what about the others? Don't know? Neither do I.

Monday, May 15, 2006

So why is Tran running?

Alright. We now have a new challenger for the Democratic Party nomination for US Senate. Until now only Mark Wilson, who has been campaigning for a year, was the sole Democratic opposition to Cantwell. Then, out of the blue (pun accidental), political unknown Hong Tran makes her announcement to considerable fanfare. According to Ms. Tran's website, she entered the race against Cantwell to advocate:

"The quick withdrawal of US troops from Iraq ...
Renegotiation or withdrawal from trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA ...
Investing in programs that improve the quality of life for all Americans and restoring a social safety net...
Repealing the US Patriot Act and the other policies implemented by this administration ..."

Now, let's compare Ms. Tran's main campaign issues with those of Mark Wilson, the other Democratic challenger. Very briefly, Mr. Wilson wants to:

"Achieve an immediate orderly end to the occupation of Iraq...
Repeal the USA PATRIOT Act...
Begin a national back-to-work program to promote sustainable energy...
Revitalize and celebrate the American middle class...
Protect true equality for women...
Restore the trust of the people..."

There you have it. There is considerable overlap. The only distinctions appear to be a matter of emphasis.

So why is Ms. Tran choosing to muddy the waters now, less than four months before the primary? Why, when there are at least three other anti-war and anti-Patriot Act candidates in the field, does Mr. Tran enter this race? What could possibly be the value in yet another anti-war candidate on the ballot?

But wait!

What if Ms. Tran is more interested in helping Maria Cantwell win comfortably in September? Isn't Ms. Tran going to split the anti-war vote in the Democratic primary? Isn't Tran's presence in the race really a "spoiler" for Mark Wilson, to reduce his vote totals in comparison to Cantwell's?

In the game of basketball they are called "hatchet men," put into the game not to get points but to rattle the opposing team, by committing as many fouls against them as possible before fouling out.

This is an open question to Ms. Tran: Why are you REALLY in this race?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spinning the Spin

While columnists for the Seattle P-I and the Seattle Times take Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz to task for saying Cantwell isn't getting campaign volunteers because of her position on the Iraq War the Stranger reports Cantwell's non-responses to hard questions about on the Iraq War.

So, let's say Maria has friends, OK?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Making insurance an issue

Well here ya go! Senate Democrats, including you know who, will be joining Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler for a news conference to trash the latest Republican "fix" to the health insurance mess.

S 1955, entitled the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2005, amends title I of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 and the Public Health Service Act allegedly to expand health care access and reduce costs through the creation of small business health plans and through modernization of the health insurance marketplace. Critics say the bill gives insurers more power to raise rates and increase profits by selling junk policies to patients and small business owners.

Be that as it may, isn't it interesting that a Washington Senator and a Washington Insurance Commissioner (both Ds) would want to hold a press conference regarding an insurance issue...when that particular Senator is facing a challenge from an ex-insurance company executive (an R).

Nah. Must be a coincidence....

Missing in Action

And, while Cantwell and McGavick are off in the ether, and getting regular media coverage, does anyone know where Aaron Dixon (G), C. Mark Greene (R), Brad Klippert (R), Hong Tran (D), Mark Wilson (D) and Bruce Guthrie (L) (no web site yet) are?

Of course nobody knows. And nobody knows because, except perhaps for Dixon, the media is not providing any substantial coverage.

And why is the media ignoring these others? Could it be because they, along with the major polling organizations, still think American politics can be reliably plotted on a single axis (left-right) political spectrum? In fact, the Pew Research Center has demonstrated the premise is patently false.

The next time a polling organization contacts you about this race, ask why there are only two choices.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Taking the high(er)--as in "really high, dude!"--road

As part of her continued push for alternative energy sources Cantwell announced plans for the country's largest biodiesel plant in Grays Harbor County today. So, uh, lessee...what does this have to do with government?

Meanwhile Mike McGavick, having a slow day on the campaign trail, offered his thoughts on Red Carding Iran from the international soccer championships in retaliation for its refusal to cowtow to pressure to abandon its nuclear energy program. That's right, soccer.

These are our frontrunners, remember?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Cantwell wows the mainstream Ds, draws another anti-war challenger

Speaking to a "rousing reception" by the King County Democrats, Cantwell stuck to her message, women's rights, alternative fuels, and "In Iraq, 2006 must be a year of transition". The question, of course, is transition to what?

This question was not lost on Vietnamese refuge Hong Tran, a 40 year old public-interest lawyer, who declared her candidacy for the Senate seat as a Democrat on Saturday.

Methinks the Democratic primary, which will require voters to pick a party before they pick a candidate, will be an interesting referendum on what the left thinks about the Iraq War.

Friday, May 05, 2006

P-I introduces newspeak

OK, so it was an in-state poll instead of a national poll, but the Seattle P-I says the most recent Elway poll reports Cantwell has a 29 point lead over McGavick. Meanwhile, of course, Strategic Vision shows Cantwell's lead at 8 points. Go figure.

Even more interesting, according to the P-I's own data when Green Party candidate Aaron Dixon is thrown into the mix Cantwell's lead shrinks to 22 points, though only 2 percent affirmatively support Dixon. Then the clinker--this from the P-I's Political Editor...

"Republicans were hoping Dixon's candidacy would bleed a signficant chunk of Cantwell's far-left supporters who are upset with the Democrat because of her position on the Iraq war. That doesn't appear to be happening."


If you didn't get it the first time, look at those numbers, then read the statement, again. Never mind that Cantwell's support drops by 8 points with Dixon in the race.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reports that Cantwell is losing campaign volunteers as a result of her stance on Iraq, and the Northwest Progressive Institute openly asserts, "Maria Cantwell's backwards position on Iraq is undermining her reelection bid."

Seems to me The Stranger has it pegged and the P-I's Political Editor is dreaming.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maria speaks out on the Iraq War

Today Maria comes out of the closet on the Iraq War in a Seattle Times guest column. Don't see anything new, frankly...

Meanwhile the The Stranger openly wonders whether the official Democratic position on the war has left its candidates in a quagmire. Hmmm...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mexican President to visit Washington

So, amidst conservative ruminations that the Mexican government is corrupt, Christine Gregoire invites Mexican president Vincente Fox for a visit.

Anyone want to bet on who shows up for the photo-op? Anyone want to bet on who stages a protest demonstration?

More later...

Monday, May 01, 2006

McGavick starts Blog

So, after a stint at Sound Politics blog and Tim Goddard now has a job hosting the Mike McGavick for Senate 2006 blog.

Hmmm. I'm sure we can count on lots of balanced commentary.