Inside Opinion

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Tag: Rob McKenna


Open government needs a vigilant champion

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

When it comes to being as open with citizens as required by state law, government doesn’t always get it right.

One thing it is doing right: employing a person whose sole job is to increase openness whenever possible. That’s the open-government ombudsman in the state Attorney General’s Office, a post created in 2005 by former Attorney General Rob McKenna and held since 2007 by Tim Ford.

In 2008, the position was a casualty of budget cuts and became part time. New Attorney General Bob Ferguson ought to preserve it and return it to full-time status as soon as feasible.
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McKenna on why he lost

Erik Smith has an interesting interview with Rob McKenna on the Washington State Wire, dissecting the former attorney general’s thoughts on why he lost the gubernatorial race to Democrat Jay Inslee in November. Read it here.

McKenna points to the lack of success all but one Republican had in getting elected statewide in Washington and cites growing partisan polarization and being hurt by the national party’s image problems. Even though he had most newspaper endorsements (including The News Tribune’s) and carried 47 of the state’s 49 a majority of the state’s legislative districts, he couldn’t overcome the overwhelmingly Democratic

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State Republicans have a way back, if they want it

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

As of this writing, Rob McKenna appears to have lost his bid for governor, and Kim Wyman is clinging to a minuscule lead for secretary of state.

That’s a shame – for the state, not just them. Despite the strengths of their Democratic opponents, Jay Inslee and Kathleen Drew, McKenna and Wyman were far better prepared for those offices. Tuesday should have brought them both decisive victories.

The chief reason that didn’t happen is the scarlet letter behind their names: R. The Washington electorate has turned from purple to blue to indigo over the last 15 years or so. If Republicans as qualified and moderate as McKenna and Wyman can’t get statewide mandates here, it’s hard to think of any Republicans who could.

The toxicity of the GOP brand in statewide races may make partisan Democrats giddy, but it’s a big problem for the rest of us.

Any party that knows it will stay in power from one election to the next becomes arrogant, complacent and beholden. A state without competitive politics is only a step away from misgovernment.

The GOP could be competitive in Washington. The continuing success of anti-tax initiatives reflects public alignment with Republican fiscal policy. Education reform is a golden issue that much of the union-dominated Democratic Party has all but ceded to the GOP.

Ethnic groups now welded to the Democratic coalition – blacks, Latinos and Asian-Americans – could be pried loose. Most are hungry for accountable public schools. Many are cultural conservatives whose religious beliefs get ridiculed by secular liberals.

These might be low-hanging fruit if only the Republican Party didn’t come across as angry about change, indifferent about the safety net and insensitive to the concerns of minorities.

The state GOP must put the so-called “social issues” – which come down to abortion and gay marriage – on the back burner and keep them there. Legal abortion is simply not in play in this state. Gay marriage is a done deal. Don’t waste time and capital on these arguments. Move on.
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6 days from election, the scariest Halloween of all

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print editon.

Witches, zombies, ghosts and ghouls. Lions and tigers and bears. Dare we venture out after dark with election day so close at hand?

A pall of horror shrouds the ballot from top to bottom.

It begins with revelations of Barack Obama conniving with top advisers to let terrorists kill his ambassador to Libya – perhaps in expiation for any sins he didn’t cover in his apology tour of the Middle East.

Mitt Romney is no less spooky: He said “binders of women” instead of “binders of names of women,” a telling omission that betrayed his plot to put half the human race in manacles.

But let’s not forget about Obama gutting the Navy by having fewer ballistic-missile warships than Woodrow Wilson had gunboats.

Washington’s elections are haunted by frightful apparitions. Put on the “Shriek” masks, everyone.

Charter schools are fluttering in the twilight, poised to feast on the blood of public education. Just ask the Washington Education Association.

Jay Inslee, running for governor, has exposed a terrifying truth about his rival, Rob McKenna. As attorney general of the nation’s most plaintiff-friendly state, McKenna actually settled lawsuits against the government.

In the race for attorney general, it’s Alien vs. Predator.

According to Democrat Bob Ferguson, Republican Reagan Dunn bought a $707 rug for his office.

According to Dunn, Ferguson bought a $707 table skirt for meetings.

According to Ferguson, Dunn has been charged with a “serious crime.” Which appears to consist of doing doughnuts in a Camaro on a snowy parking lot – at age 17.

According to Dunn, Ferguson once – as a law student, 20 years ago – helped a death row inmate get an attorney. Two would-be attorneys general, both steeped in criminality.
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Washington will fare best with McKenna as governor

Rob McKenna

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Washington has two substantial candidates for governor this year, state Attorney General Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee. McKenna is the standout.

Inslee, a Democrat, has had a creditable career as a federal lawmaker. He represented the 1st Congressional District from 1999 until earlier this year, when he stepped down to focus on the governor’s race.

One stark difference between the two is administrative experience. Inslee’s résumé has nothing to compare with McKenna’s eight years running the
Office of the Attorney General, which amounts to an immense law firm employing hundreds of attorneys.

It’s not just that he ran the office; he ran it well. His most impressive achievement, perhaps, was his multi-pronged, multi-state offensive against banks that had preyed on homebuyers and homeowners with dishonest lending and foreclosure practices.

This year, he and several of his peers from other states pushed JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, City and GMAC into a $25 billion settlement. Read more »


Dunn for attorney general, Watkins for auditor

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

With state Attorney General Rob McKenna running for governor and state Auditor Brian Sonntag retiring, voters have to fill their big shoes Nov. 6.

The attorney general contest presents a particularly tough choice. Democrat Bob Ferguson of Seattle and Republican Reagan Dunn of Maple Valley are about as evenly matched as two candidates could be. Both are moderate, personable attorneys who serve on the King County Council – Ferguson since 2003, Dunn since 2005.

They’re not far apart on most of the important issues, and both have shown independent streaks with their

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Democrats twist truth in attacking McKenna on education

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna says he wants to add $1 billion to the state’s public education budget. Now some Democrats are claiming that he favored cutting money for the state’s schools.

Somebody’s peddling an election season falsehood, and it’s not McKenna.

It would be convenient for McKenna’s opponent, Democrat Jay Inslee, if the Republican were trying to strangle K-12 funding. That stance would destroy McKenna’s standing among the centrist and independent voters he needs to get elected.

But that’s not the case, as the Seattle Times reported Monday. Read more »


In these primaries, the best candidates are self-evident

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

We put a fair amount of work – interviews, homework, discussion – into most of our primary endorsements. In a few cases, we don’t have to.

We don’t interview or endorse statewide candidates who don’t have a major party behind them. We like the idea of electing a good maverick as much as anyone, but the odds only stretch so far. The days when George Washington could get elected by ladling out rum from town to town are long gone. If you don’t have a big organization and at least some money behind you, you can’t beat an opponent who does. Like it or not, that’s the way elections work.

Nor do we invest time in felons, cranks, vanity candidates, candidates who’ve invented their own parties, candidates whose statements are riddled with spelling errors, and other sure losers. Their names may appear on the ballot; that doesn’t make them viable candidates.

Here are three primary races in which the strongest Democratic and Republican candidates are self-evident:

• For the U.S. Senate, it’s incumbent Maria Cantwell and challenger Michael Baumgartner.

Cantwell we all know. Baumgartner is a state senator, former U.S. diplomat and economic development specialist.
They’re opposed by Mike the Mover, perennial pest Will Baker and several more respectable candidates with minimal or no experience in public office. Enough said.

• For governor, the only real choice is between Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee.
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