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.

Monday, October 30, 2006 Frank Blethen done insulting us yet?

"Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

- Yoda

A famous and oft-repeated line from the phenomenally successful Star Wars franchise, now ingrained American in popular culture, was Jedi Master Yoda's warning to Luke Skywalker about the Dark Side of the Force.

I couldn't help but remember that idea this morning as I read Frank Blethen's latest laughable editorial on the 8th District race between Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert, in which the haughty owner and his editorial board demanded that Darcy Burner tell the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to stop airing an ad which includes a clip of Reichert admitting he gets his orders from House Republican leaders. (Watch it here).

The Times has become so one-sided and partisan Republican these last few weeks that it is hard to remember this was the same editorial board which endorsed John Kerry and Patty Murray two years ago, and which over the last few years has editorialized against the Bush administration on issues such as Iraq, Social Security, Arctic drilling, and media consolidation.

But evidently Frank Blethen has grown so impatient waiting for his permanent tax break...the repeal of the estate tax...that a candidate's position on that became the supreme and overruling qualification for federal office.

In its endorsement of Mike McGavick
, the Times editorial board finally admitted that the estate tax was a factor in its endorsement process (no mention of the estate tax could be found in the earlier published endorsements of Dave Reichert and Cathy McMorris) but insisted it wasn't a deciding factor.

That was a slight to every reader of the Seattle Times, because if you look carefully to discern what possible other significant justification the Times could have for endorsing Mike McGavick, you just can't find any.

The Seattle Times' endorsements so far this year have largely been a series of insults to the people of Seattle and the State of Washington. In a Democratic city, in a Democratic state, in an election year where voters have clearly indicated they prefer the Democrats, Frank Blethen saw fit to endorse only Republicans in the state's three major competitive races.

That's because Frank is too greedy and too self-driven to care about the larger regional community. He just wants his tax break.

But even though Times editorial page has become a joke, at least the Times newsroom and reporters such as Jonathan Martin and David Postman have not been subverted into the ownership's agenda. On Sunday, the Times ran a large headline at the top of its front page which read as follows:
Democratic win would strengthen state's clout
If the party wins control of the U.S. House, at least two veteran congressmen of the state would become chairmen of powerful subcommittees
A Democratic takeover of Congress is of course in the whole country's best interest, but Washington State stands to benefit greatly if it happens.

A House takeover seems more likely than a Senate takeover, but if Democrats did get the Senate, veteran Senator Patty Murray would become the chairwoman of one of the most powerful Appropriations subcommittees in the chamber.

We could certainly use some federal money here in Washington State to help tackle a number of imminent projects which are vital to our state's economic well being. The replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the State Route 520 floating bridge come to mind. Our public infrastructure is ailing, and federal help would be both welcome and wise.

Frank Blethen know this. He knows the state wins if Maria Cantwell, Darcy Burner, and Peter Goldmark win. But Frank's priority isn't broad prosperity for the region, it's his own affluence. That's what the GOP is about, so naturally a sizable chunk of the Republican agenda looks attractive to him.

Estate tax repeal dominates his thoughts.

Yet Blethen would have us all pretend that he really puts the community's interests first, and not his. He would have us believe the Seattle Times editorial page is a voice of moderation. Perhaps years ago such a defense could have reasonably weathered a fair amount of attack from critics, but it can't now.

The truth has become too obvious.

Frank Blethen is not being honest, and that's an insult not just to his newspaper's readers, but to the entire electorate of the Evergreen State.

Frank has made his decision, and it's too late to turn back. He's started down the dark path, and now he can only focus on meaningless controversies that hardly anybody cares about. He's aligned himself with the GOP, so his editorial board really can't address truly important topics like Iraq...because Blethen doesn't agree with the Republican Party's positions on those issues.

Today's hollow commentary looks as if it had been drafted by Reichert's communications team, not a panel of an intelligent, thoughtful editorial writers. David Goldstein has already deconstructed it with elegance...and though I could have published a similar, thorough critique this morning, I chose not to.

I don't consider Frank Blethen's viewpoint to be all that relevant, so I put writing on this joke of an editorial at the bottom of my to-do list for the day. I suspect that most of the Times' actual subscribers contentedly yawn through the opinion pages morning after morning on their way to the sports section or the comics, not even bothering to look at the latest Blethen follies.

Occasionally there's a nice guest column from a local writer in there, but much of it (besides the mostly incoherent ramblings of Blethen and his editorial board) is syndicated right wing nonsense from the likes of Charles Krauthammer.

Fortunately, the people of Puget Sound have a choice. If they like getting a newspaper, they can subscribe to the area's other major daily - the Seattle P-I, where they can get serious commentary and discourse as they flip through the end of the metropolitan or local news section.

And they can go online, where blogs and alternative media offer diverse analysis and commentary....not a boring, "we know what's best" establishment viewpoint.

So go ahead, Frank. Keep picking on Democrats, endorsing Republicans, and stripping apart the few shreds of credibility you have left. We'll pause to laugh at you every now and then as we continue to build a grassroots movement to return American political power to the people.

(Oh...and by the way, Frank, if Democrats win next week and I-920 loses...not an unlikely scenario... you can kiss goodbye to any possibility of getting that tax break for a long time).

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