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Report on the 2010 Washington State Democratic Convention

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Still, the caucus voted to endorse Burr over Murray. I'm not sure, but I think the vote was close.

Burr had no chance of beating Murray in the primary, and this truth was openly acknowledged at the caucus meeting. The progressives just wanted to make a point.

Patty Murray

There was a massive showing of support for Murray at the convention: most of the speakers spoke highly of her, and she brought an entourage of colorful, cheering mostly young people, who held signs, cheered before she appeared on stage, and stood behind her during her speech.

During the Saturday morning vote to approve the nomination of Murray for US Senate, only a couple of delegates voted "Nay."

Murray is not as progressive as, say, Maria Cantwell, who was has taken a lead in pushing for financial reform and was selected by The Nation earlier this year as the most effective (progressive) senator. But Murray courageously and presciently voted in 2002 to opposed invasion of Iraq. She said:

Mr. President, if we do take action in Iraq, there is no doubt that our armed forces will prevail. We will win a war with Iraq decisively, and, God willing, we will win it quickly. But what happens after the war? That will have as big an impact on our future peace and security. Will we be obligated to rebuild Iraq? If so, how? Our economy is reeling, our budget is in deficit, and we have no estimate of the cost of rebuilding. And with whom? As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman points out, there's a retail store mentality that suggests to some -- if "you break it, you buy it."

Murray recently voted to mandate a nonbinding timetable to end US deployment in Afghanistan. (See this article.)

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That's My Congress rates Murray as a weak progressive. According to, Murray has been rated as more liberal than Maria Cantwell or Bernie Sanders -- which seems inaccurate. News Max says that the National Journal rated Murray as the most liberal senator. but Publicola makes a convincing case that the National Journal can't be trusted, since that's the same publication that said that Obama was the most liberal senator in 2008.

It's been a truism among progressives that Murray has been too centrist. Maybe so. On what issues?

Hospitality Suites

Friday night from 9:00 PM til past midnight, there were "hospitality suites" hosted by various candidates and groups. These were held in hotel suites and involved food, booze, and loud music. As the evening wore on, and people became drunker, the parties became noisier. Two guys from hotel security came to one such party and demanded that the participants quiet down or they'll have to shut down the party. One benefit of these parties was that I was able to learn useful information.

I spoke with Gregory Scott Hoover, who is running for State Representative in the 5th Legislative District, which encompasses North Bend, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, and portions of unincorporated King County. His endorsements include the King County Democrats, 5th Legislative District Democrats, Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle, and 41st LD progressive State Senator Randy Gordon.

The issues section of his website suggests that Hoover supports environmentalism, education funding, a State Bank modeled after North Dakota's highly successful and well-established State Bank, and green energy programs. Yet Hoover told me he's in favor of second amendment rights. Apparently, his district is very conservative, and he would never get elected if he were too liberal. I asked him what he thought of the Road Kill Caucus, and he said, "They got it right, man." They had advised him on how to run. Due to the Tea Party influence and the rebellion against Obama, voters are moving to the right, he said, and the Road Killers suggested that Hoover do so too.

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Progressives are upset about centrist Dems, but it's a fact that in conservative districts -- and there are many such districts -- a liberal Dem would get slaughtered in the polls. Those darn voters....

Hoover has a degree in taxation from the University of Washington and suggests that the legislature consult with the tax specialists at UW. Hoover isn't impressed with I-1098, which will establish an income tax for Washington State. (Washington has one of the most regressive tax systems in the country.) He said it was too short: only 18 pages. I asked, "Isn't shorter better? Shorter means simpler and fewer loopholes." He suggested taxing dividends and wages above a cutoff, not income. His website says:

Where initiative 1098 is a good message that we need to change our tax system in Washington state, 1098 lacks substance to cover all issues of a new tax code that our state desperately needs. Our current system is regressive, unfair with too many special favors, and is not stable enough for long term revenue goals of the state of Washington.

He opined that I-1098 won't pass; Washingtonians are committed to no income tax.

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DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my writing, my (more...)

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