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, October 31, 2007

Exhibit A in why the Seattle Times' crystal ball can't be trusted

Two days ago, I published a lengthy takedown of the Seattle Times' Sunday endorsement of Tim Eyman's Initiative 960, intended to paralyze our government and put an end to democratic decision making.

In that post, I referenced the Seattle Times' recent history of making bad calls in its yearly recommendations to voters, and pointed out the obvious inconsistency of the editorial board's positions on I-960 and two constitutional amendments before voters - SJR 4204 (simple majority for schools) and SJR 8206 (the rainy day fund).

I wish I could discern what is behind the editorial page's wildly ridiculous shifts between progressive and conservative views on different ballot measures and issues, but other than musing over the possibility that the publisher (Frank Blethen) is dictating the outcome some of the time and leaving the editorial board to reach its own conclusions the rest of the time, I don't have many ideas.

When the Times recommends a candidate or a ballot measure it typically tries to justify its position by predicting how the policy will turn out or how the individual will govern once in office. The I-960 endorsement was no exception - here's a snippet from the editorial that contains sentences easily recognizable as predictions:
This is not a great solution, but it's about all the people can do by ballot. We think it [I-960] would have a wake-up effect on legislators.

Opponents say Initiative 960 would bind the hands of lawmakers too much. We don't think it does.
If you want to see evidence as to why you can't trust the Seattle Times' broken, erratic crystal ball, I present Exhibit A - two editorials from the October 4th and October 22nd, 2000 editions of the Times.

Both editorials concern a certain person named Dubya. Here's an excerpt from the first editorial, "The case for Bush".

Warning: The rest of this post may cause your head to temporarily explode.
GEORGE W. Bush did well. His father may have been weak on "the vision thing," but the son was strong. Unlike Vice President Al Gore, Gov. Bush expressed the central political idea that united his domestic policy agenda: The federal government should step back and "enable Americans to make decisions in their own lives."
Checking the fine print from the dead tree version (had to go to the library!), I found a disclaimer that cleared up the confusion that was suddenly threatening my sanity: Bush was only referring to imaginary U.S. citizens in this context, not Michael and Terri Schiavo or any other real American family.

It gets better:
Unlike Gore, Bush said he would not commit troops abroad without a clear mission, an exit strategy and the ability to win. He said he did not believe in "nation-building" as a reason to send troops into a country. He said the military had been weakened, and that he would restore it. Gore denied that it had been weakened, but given the military's well-publicized re-enlistment problems, he is not credible on this.

Nor is Gore credible on a host of issues. He is the expedient man, the candidate of demagoguery on Social Security and of theatrical sighs. He is so intent on making a point, he lacks the measure of unscripted grace that comes with a president secure in his own beliefs.
Before you pound your desk, please realize that there is a possible explanation for this: the editor was simply being mischievous with the names, and played a prank before sending the copy off to the printing press. You see, if you switch every mention of "Bush" and "Gore" in those paragraphs, you'll get a visionary passage from the future that makes much more sense.

On to the next editorial. This one is the actual "endoresement" (yes, it's misspelled on their website) from October 22nd, 2000:
The thread that binds last year's early endorsement of Bill Bradley for president to today's endorsement of George W. Bush is ethical behavior, as a candidate and as an opponent. Gore's attacks on Bradley during the primary debates were a glimpse of his hunger to win at any cost.
I'm, uh, starting to run out of excuses for these guys now.
Bush promises to bring a sense of bipartisanship to the White House and has shown that ability with Democrats in the Texas statehouse. Gore shares the blame for one of the most divisive and partisan periods in recent federal history.
The Texas governorship is sometimes a muted office, but what emerges about Bush in public forums is his natural embrace of diversity and education. He is not an artificial man.
Bush understands, possibly better than Gore can ever know, the dynamics of taxes, regulations and enterprise that form a successful business.
This time and under these circumstances, we believe the overpowering need for integrity and civility in office, for a realistic balance between government and commerce, for a new, bipartisan era to confront the needs of the nation all point to the election of George W. Bush.
On an accuracy score of one to ten, with ten being the best score and one being the worst, I give the Times minus one hundred. This is beyond dead's so overpowering in its blunders that it can cause mild dizziness.

The Times screwed up on everything.

This recommendation was so off the mark that Frank Blethen apparently had no choice but to okay the endorsement of John Kerry in 2004 to avoid the humiliation of having to justify the impossible. The Bush administration was such a disaster by 2004 that even federal estate tax repeal couldn't save a Dubya endorsement.

I see strong parallels between the Bush endorsement and the I-960 endorsement, namely backwards thinking and unbelievably silly statements.

Unless you look at the above excerpts and find yourself in agreement with them (you would probably be wise to seek medical attention if you do) ignore the Seattle Times' advice on Tim Eyman's latest ill-advised measure.

Instead, preserve our cherished tradition of majority rule and your right as a citizen to be equally heard in this democracy by voting NO on Initiative 960.


Anonymous Jake said...

Unbelievable...they said this in 2000? Idiots.

November 5, 2007 12:57 PM  

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