Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Times chief political reporter says Mike McGavick wants it both ways on Iraq

Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman was on KUOW's Weekday earlier this week talking about "all things political", including Washington's U.S. Senate race, with host Steve Scher and two other members of the traditional media (Angela Galloway and George Howland).

They also talked about right wing initiatives (and couldn't quite associate the proper numbers with the subjects), judicial races, and the 8th Congressional District contest between Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert. But the most interesting discussion concerned Cantwell vs. McGavick, which will be generating the most headlines this fall.

The four got to talking about Mike McGavick's attempt to portray himself and Senator Maria Cantwell as being in agreement on the Iraq War. McGavick was quoted a month ago by Associated Press reporter David Ammons as saying very simply, "The senator and I agree on Iraq."

He made similiar comments to KING 5's chief political reporter on the July 16th edition of Upfront with Robert Mak:
Mak: Is there any significant difference between you and Senator Cantwell [on Iraq]?

McGavick: Not that I can discover. I mean we might have, we might have voted one way on this little thing or that little thing but in general...I think the Senator and I agree."
Yeah, right. Mike McGavick would have us believe it just boils down to tiny little insignificant details.

Unfortunately for Mike, that's just not the case.

Earlier this summer, at the end of June, the U.S. Senate took a vote on two Democratic backed measures calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. As the Seattle Times reported:
An overwhelming majority of the chamber's Democrats — including Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell — backed a resolution that urged President Bush to start the troop redeployment by the end of this year but stopped short of setting a deadline for complete withdrawal.
The Levin amendment, as it has become known, specifically called on the President to "submit to Congress a plan by the end of 2006 with estimated dates for the continued phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq." (The amendment text is available here).

Earlier this month, David Postman wrote about the AP article for the Seattle Times, excerpting McGavick's quote ("The senator and I agree on Iraq"). He noted that McGavick had announced his opposition to the Levin amendment:
Cantwell voted for a measure calling on the Bush Administration to start bringing troops home by the end of the year. McGavick spokesman Elliott Bundy said McGavick opposed that move.
So let's get this straight: Mike McGavick tells reporters and supporters in no uncertain terms that he and Senator Cantwell share the same position on Iraq.

But then, when Senator Cantwell casts an important vote in favor of troop withdrawals - something the administration refuses to even talk about - McGavick's campaign says he would have voted the other way. How can they be in agreement and disagreement on the same issue at the same time?

The answer is, of course, they can't. There's a phrase that's often used to describe this game Mike McGavick is playing - and it's called trying to have it both ways. Here's Postman's take from his KUOW appearance on Monday (transcripted):
David Postman: The problem is —I just happened to watch on C-SPAN the Senate debate on the two Democratic resolutions about troop withdrawal from Iraq.

They were big, long, ugly debates—remember this was the cut-and-run, cut-and-run, cut-and-run debate — and Republicans right down the list said, ‘If you vote for either one of these, you’re putting troops in danger, you’re doing this, you’re doing that, you’re doing all these other things.’

Well, McGavick says, ‘Well you know, there’s just politics on both sides. Sure Maria voted for Carl Levin’s amendment for a non-specific withdrawal date, and I wouldn’t have done that. But, you know, that’s neither here nor there – it’s just a tiny little thing.’

Well, wait a minute — I listened to the debate...Didn’t sound like a tiny little thing, it sounded like the difference between loving America and putting troops in danger. So, can you have it both ways? I don’t know.

Steve Scher: At some point... somebody will have to push him to make a clearer statement, you’re saying.

David Postman: Yeah, I mean he says, on one hand, ‘I support the president’ and then on the other hand ‘Maria and I agree.’ Well, both those things can’t be true.

George Howland: Yeah, well who’s going to hold him accountable? I mean, maybe the press...

David Postman: I will, George.
The reality is that Mike McGavick represents nothing more than a rubber stamp for George W. Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress. We already have enough of those in the U.S. Senate.

What's needed is accountability and oversight. The Levin amendment was a good step in that direction, but McGavick is already on the record saying he opposes it - while Cantwell is on the record as having voted for it.

The difference between the two candidates is not "this little thing or that little thing". Senator Cantwell wants to start the process of bringing our troops home now. Mike McGavick and George W. Bush do not.

As Rahm Emanuel has remarked, they want to stay the course, stand pat, and stay put. They want to continue the status quo - waste more taxpayer dollars, and needlessly sacrifice more precious American lives.

This country can't afford that.

That's why we need to retake the Congress this year. We need people like Maria Cantwell on Capitol Hill who will stand up to the administration and chart a new direction for the United States - both at home and abroad.

And we certainly need people in our state's press corps like David Postman, who will challenge candidates like Mike McGavick when they try to play games with voters and have it both ways at the same time.

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