On the last day of Barack Obama’s first year as president, the voters of Massachusetts, one of the few states more reliably Democratic than Washington, sent Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate.
There is a mood developing; you can almost feel it… of increasing anger toward government borne of mistrust. It’s not just about taxes, spending, deficits and debt. It’s about people in both parties and even no party looking at their federal, state and sometimes local government and saying: “I don’t trust you anymore”.
When the media went looking for an authority on national security after the attempted airline bombing on Christmas Day, they called a former U.S. senator from Washington. The one who’s been out of office for nine years, Slade Gorton.
When Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to receive more than 50 percent of the popular vote in 32 years, much of the world rejoiced. All that bellicose rhetoric from George W. Bush about fighting “evil” was replaced by the lofty eloquence of the new president with a new tone who promised to extend America’s hand to its enemies “if you will unclench your fist.” Nine months into his presidency, he even received the Nobel Peace Prize.
It is easier and quicker to buy someone a gift card at a bookstore than shopping for a book. But what makes shopping worthwhile is taking the time to think for a moment about the kind of book that your friend or relative would enjoy or benefit from reading.
It’s not unusual to walk into a Starbucks and see several cops sitting at tables chatting while on break or getting ready to go on shift. Nor is it unusual to see a squad car pulled over by the side of the road, with an officer talking to his partner or jotting down notes. These are the moments in an officer’s workday where he or she can feel safe.
A friend told me the other day that he enjoyed Thanksgiving even more than Christmas. “There’s less emphasis on shopping and gifts and more on just being thankful for what you have,” he said.
Within days of last November’s election, stories throughout the media began comparing Barack Obama to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The FDR era transformed people’s relationship to the federal government by greatly expanding its role in their lives. Would President Obama, his party armed with big majorities in both houses of Congress, do the same?
When Jennifer Dunn first ran for public office, many people scoffed. Yes she was attractive, even a bit glamorous. Yes she was articulate. But her previous job was running a political party, which made her too partisan to effectively work together and govern. Oh, and she was also too conservative.
Strange, how recent history sometimes repeats itself.
In 1992, Democrats swept to power in both Olympia and Washington D.C.
A popular young liberal president with commanding majorities in both houses of Congress set out to reform health care. And closer to home the Democratic governor enjoyed expanded majorities in the Legislature. Republicans were divided, out of touch and facing longtime decline.
Every year for the past half decade or so, a holiday controversy has turned the Puget Sound area into a national laughingstock.
In 2005, the giving tree at Medina elementary school was taken down because some people speculated that other people might be offended by a Christmas tree in a public school.
Sometimes you can step into controversy while trying to avoid it. This happened a couple weeks ago when the Bellevue School District opted not to carry President Obama’s speech to school kids, and instead made a video available to teachers on request. Rather than irritate the few, the district angered the many.
One of the great things about call-in radio is that you get to hear ordinary people connect reality to public policy.
Take health care. Last week a caller on KOMO Newsradio told of his mother being diagnosed by three different physicians that an ache in her upper chest wasn’t serious. A fourth doctor caught it: cancer. She was instantly admitted for surgery, which was successful.
The caller’s point is that in a world with Obamacare, four different opinions on a medical diagnosis would be out of the question, especially for an elderly patient. That is why he ardently opposes the health care legislation in Congress.
Baseball season traditionally opens in early April. The National Football League season starts in mid-September. And Washington’s political season traditionally begins on Labor Day weekend, about two weeks in front of the September primary. That tradition has changed in three ways.
Columnists love feedback. It means their work is likely encouraging conversation in the community. A few times a year, starting today, I’m going to share some responses sent to me or The Reporter editor from listeners who took the time to sit down and tell me what they did or didn’t like.
It’s being called a “teaching moment”.
But the lesson being learned is not what people thought it would be when it was first reported that Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after a confrontation at his home with a white police officer investigating a reported break-in.
Underfunded or poorly run? Two wildly different pictures about King County government are being painted by the current King County Executive and one of the contenders who wants to succeed him.