Monday, August 23, 2004

Electoral Storm - Potpouri

A scattering and a smattering from our Electoral Stormwatch Center:

King County Initiatives: I've been waiting for these to surface among all the other things I've listed, but they still haven't jelled. An initiative on raising gas taxes for city/county road maintenance is quietly dying from lack of support and won't go on the ballot - part of that is the presence of I-844 already on the ballot to raise taxes for schools, and our potholes aren't at the Pittsburgh level yet. Another initiative one that won't go on is the Monorail recall intiative. A judge declared "no do-overs", which means the voters can't try to scuttle the Monorail they voted for twice already. Which is a pity, because I was looking forward to putting forward my own positive views of the Monorail (I may anyway - just you watch).

Senator: The Post-Intelligencer, one of Seattle's two major newspapers, took the unusual step of endorsing incumbent Patty Murray for Senator before the primaries. Usually the papers wait for the primaries to be over before making a call. While they admire Murray's abilities and even-handed support of Washington's citizens and security issues, most of this is about presumptive Republican challenger George Nethercutt cheesing the P-I off. Nethercutt bailed on debates with his even-more-conservative Republican opponent, Reed Davis, even refusing to sit with his intermural opponent for a TV interview. Nethercutt feels he has the Republican nod wrapped up, so why bother? So the PI is dismissing him the way he dismissed his opponents.

R-55, the charter schools initiative, took a couple hits in the past couple weeks. First, the California Charter Academy collapsed under a state investigation of its finances, closing around 60 schools and leaving 10,000 students high and dry. Then the New York Times publishes a government report (one of those released-late-Friday reports) that shows that 4th graders from Charters were about a half-year behind Public students on Math and Reading. Supporters of Charter Schools wheel out the "few bad apples" theory that usually goes with corporate malfeasance, but this is not good news to the charter school cause.

President: You know, I think someone at the Republican think-tanks is reading this journal, since this is the only way to explain their most recent goofiness - mainly my idea of the Incumbent running against Washington (which was a JOKE, people!). Back in the old days, the Incumbent would tend to run a "rose garden campaign" - using the power of the office to highlight new legislation, new intiatives, and the power of his office. Let the other guy run around looking for support, the President is busy Running the Country. Yet in this spindizzy world, we have the Incumbent spending as much time as possible out of Washington, either raising support with core groups, or on vacation (though saying that a President ever really gets a vacation is a stretcher to start with - when is the press going to start calling his Crawford brush-clearing excursions "Work at Home" days?) Someone thought this a good plan, but they're forgetting you can't spell "President" without "Present".

One place that the President is not going to be spending a lot of time next week is New York City. You know, a year ago, it probably sounded like a smart thing - The epicenter of a National Tragedy, a showcase for how well things have gone since, late in the season to benefit from a bounce and take things mainstream. Instead, its going to be the Grand Central Station for protesters, and the city, a Democratic hotbed to start with, has more sympathy for the protesters than the convention-goers (there's a chance that the protesters will take in a Broadway show - the Republicans, like the Democrats in Boston, are operating in a self-sealed micro-economy of the economy). So there is ground-level mutterings that the President will do little more than parachute in, accept the nomination, then get the heckoutta Dodge (I guess that means the protesters have already won). Maybe there will be a crisis to justify his absence. Anyway, the thing that amuses me in all this is that the guy who thought up New York City for the Republican Convention probably still has his job despite all this.

And he's reading this journal. Cool.

More later,