Gregoire Wins First Debate with Rossi

I guess it all depends on whether or not you like to hear anecdotes and personal stories or whether or not you want to discuss problems and solutions for Washington State. Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire came to the first debate Saturday on KOMO TV to talk about issues. Republican Dino Rossi came to do his imitation of George Bush.

I know, that’s a low blow and very partisan. But do you really think Rossi is not going to be partisan if he’s elected Governor? The probability is that the Washington State Legislature will remain heavily Democratic. Rossi would have no choice but to work with Democrats if he wants to have any impact on legislation.

But you can expect that Olympia will probably grind to a halt on resolving many issues as Rossi tries to impose his free market, anti-environmental anti-regulation agenda on Olympia. He is certain to use his veto power to stop environmental legislation and land use legislation. Rossi will act to stop progressive change and try to maintain the status quo.

Rossi’s campaign for Governor is one of vagueness and undefined messages, just like last time. The less he is specific, the more he leaves for people to fill in the blanks. It almost worked for him last time.

Like Rossi’s message that he’s for change – that says nothing because change can be for the better or worse. Tornados and hurricances bring change – that doesn’t make them something to emulate just for the sake of change.

For Rossi change means less environmental regulation. His BIAW supporters who have spent over $2 million so far in independent expenditures want to see a gutting of land use regulations. Rossi and the Republicans are all for the free market approach and no regulation – which is what has brought us the current economic meltdown on Wall Street.

Republican’s and Rossi are misrepresenting what they claim is a $3 billion dollar budget deficit. As Goldy over on says, we do not have a $3 billion dollar deficit. Just as Governor Gregoire says, we have an actual surplus in this budget year – something most other states don’t have.

There is a projected budget deficit for the next two year budget cycle – but there is no deficit yet because a new budget has not been prepared. Next years Legislature will prepare a new budget.

Governor Gregoire is right – the main cause of this projected deficit is the national economic downturn caused by the Party that Rossi belongs to – the Republican Party of George Bush. Governor Gregoire is pushing for change that makes sense – like promoting green power and green jobs with renewable energy like wind and solar that will keep energy dollars in Washington State.

She has a track record and all that Rossi has is a slick ad campaign that says little about what he will actually do. And what he does say is full of problems – like building more roads. That is not an answer to congestion but a prescrition for more congestion. In the debate he specifically avoided discussing public transit, partly because he has opposed it in the past. He seems to favor more road building just like Tim Eyman does.

Rossi’s campaigns are very reminiscent of the campaigns George Bush ran – say as little as possible about what you will do and let folks use their imagination to fill in what he will actually do. We see what that got people who voted for Bush. We don’t need to repeat that mistake in our state.

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