Tag Archives: Mike McGavick

McGavick and Kerry Swiftboating and Lapdog Press and Election Day 2006

Senator Maria Cantwell and other Democrats need your vote and deserve your vote today. It’s time to have a Congress that deals with real issues not those of Republicans who have shown they will do anything for corporations and multi-millionaires and prefer to spend time critiquing one’s ability to tell a joke rather than discuss solutions to Bush’s Iraq quagmire.

The national Republican noise machine and the wimpy media that can’t think for itself caused most Democrats and others to cut and run from John Kerry after he supposibly messed up the telling of a joke.

In Washington State Republican Mike McGavick, Cantwell’s opponent, chimed in by joining the bandwagon of people willing to continue swiftboating tactics on Democrats. They speak of civility yet their actions speak otherwise.

The question today is how many voters will see through all the smokescreens and deceptions and manipulations and voter suppression efforts and dirty campaigning and decide to just walk away from Republican candidates like McGavick.

Because that is what this election is about – choosing which party you trust that has your best interests at heart and is straight forward in addressing the tough issues America face today – like getting out of Iraq or catching Osama bin Laden.

Republicans like Senate candidate Mike McGavick were so desperate for an issue to give them traction that they hypocritically resorted to literary and drama criticism. Somehow they thought that attacking John Kerry’s joke telling ability was a campaign issue that voters would get excited about. The whole point was to take peoples minds off of Iraq.

Was Senator Kerry’s joke telling ability really a campaign issue?

Republicans nationally turned up the right wing noise machine. As usual the media which loves to have “controversy” did their bidding – even when the controversy was contrived and artificial. The lap dog media, loving car crashes and fires and any type of controversy, followed willing and became Republican attack dogs themselves by giving the huge attention they did to this Republican diversionary tactic.

They joined a very orchestrated crowd attack by the Republicans and it worked. Senator Kerry became persona non grata – again a slickly run campaign attack about a mangled joke became an issue that took everyone’s attention off of the Bush Administration’s failures in catching Osama bin Laden and the failure of the war in Iraq. Bush and Rove succeeded beyond their dreams.

The media once again was cleverly manipulated to do the Rove’s bidding. Bush mangles language all the time. He is socially inept and late night comedians are always supplied with lots of video clips and Bush speeches to laugh at. So why was the media so quick to do the Republicans bidding and get off covering real campaign issues?

If the issue was jokes, then was it a joke that 103 Americans were killed in Iraq last month? Or was it a joke that Republicans like Mike McGavick were still fumbling around trying to find something to talk about? What is the joke that the main justification for being in Iraq is being answered with the statement that we must support the troops?

In a recent ad McGavick attacked Cantwell for changing her position on Iraq from 3 years ago. Should she have kept her head buried in sand like Bush has done in Iraq?

McGavick’s solution. “Beat the Terrorists. Partition the country if we have to and get our troops home, in victory” Besides partition the country – isn’t that cut and run – beat the terrorists is supposibly what Bush has been doing the last 5 years. Stay the course.

As part of his plan to beat the terrorists, McGavick decided to use a botched joke is part of his plan to sell his lack of a plan on what to do in Iraq. Republicans are using political jutisui to turn the Democrats criticism of the Republicans back on them.

Bush’s campaign attack is now asking where is the Democratic plan to win? That’s just turning the question back on itself. That’s just trying to take attention off his failures. Where is Bush’s plan? Oh right its stay the course but we’re not calling it that.

And that’s all Mcgavick’s position is on Iraq also. “Beat the Terrorists ….bring the troops home, in victory” His partition the country is just what’s likely to happen on its own.

So it was informative that lobbyist and insurance man Mike McGavick joined the Bush Republican chorus on attacking Kerry. Same swiftboating by Republicans as before. I don’t find any mention on McGavick’s website of his having served in the military yet here he is “defending the troops” from “troop hater” foreign war veteran John Kerry.

What is wrong with the main stream media that it made what Kerry said an issue? What is wrong is that they joined the Republican strategy of making “waving the flag” and “supporting the troops.” the patriotic thing over waging a just war or facing the reality of the hornet’s nest Bush stirred up in Iraq.

Supporting the troops was only really a clever way for Bush and Rove to create another can’t lose issue – like supporting motherhood issues which are falsely packaged in can’t lose names like supporting ‘healthy forests’ or supporting ‘clear skies.’ That may be clever marketing by former corporate types scattered around the Bush Administration but pooh is still poop even if you call it something else.

How the hell are you really “supporting the troops” if you don’t face the reality that the troops are engaged in a quagmire of a civil war that a botched effort by Bush helped create. That’s where the outrage should be directed because even when Kerry stumbled over his Bush joke, he was still right.

The reality is that the military is a place that recruits people who haven’t gotten a good education. If they had a better choice, do you think they would give it up to go to Iraq to spend their days worrying about being blown apart everytime they leave their base?

What is wrong with saying that? It’s the emperor has no clothes. The media in joining the Republican attack on John Kerry showed that they are still unwilling to face the reality that they need to deal with the issues, not whether someone didn’t tell a joke the way they had written it out on a piece of paper.

The media became Republican lapdogs when they did the bidding of a bunch of right wing fanatics desperate to justify an unnecessary war looking for scapegoats on the other side when they joined the once again swiftboating of Kerry. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Our country is being run by a bunch of nuts who have been able to use the absurd logic that we are supporting our troops by keeping our mouth shut about whether we should even be there. Its not a joke that the mainstream media types spent so much time over a joke made by a past candidate rather than dealing with the real issues involved.

Hopefully today the American voters will show the Republicans you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. I think Democrats are going to win big today. They are tired of Republican lies and deception. It’s time to deal with real issues, not joketelling.

Enough Mike, It’s Time for You to Apologize!

Mike McGavick’s campaign for US Senate has degenerated into a joke. I kid you not. McGavick is calling on his opponent Democratic – US Senator Maria Cantwell – to apologize for Senator John Kerry’s inability to tell a joke.

I really don’t think this campaign is about who can tell a joke better. But apologizing that’s something else.

So if we’re down to the apologizing phase of the campaign, let’s forget the jokes Mike. Are you ready to apologize for a few things your chosen party, the Republicans, and Congress and President Bush have done that really matter to Washington voters? Things like:

-falsely involving us in an unnecessary war in Iraq
-not finishing the war in Afghanistan
-creating more terrorists worldwide, making us less secure
-increasing the tax burden on future generations
-not raising the minimum wage
-using earmarks to pay for pet projects
-weakening the U.S. Constitution
-giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest and token tax breaks to the rest of us
-increasing the cost of student loans and college education
-selling out to corporate interests on environmental issues
-supporting oil companies’ interests over consumer interests
-opposing efforts to decrease global warming
-opposing making cars and trucks more fuel efficient
-not working to make us energy independent
-drafting legislation behind closed doors
-unethically accepting money from corporate lobbyists
-working to divide our country rather than bringing us together
-supporting drug company profits over helping seniors on low budgets
-creating a world hostile to US interests
-not working for affordable healthcare
-pushing to reduce the security of social security
-letting legislation expire to make the polluter pay
-trying to sell off public lands to private interests
-trying to turn social security over private interests

The list could go on and on, but I think you get my point.

And by the way Mike your Iraq ad is rather pathetic, criticizing Cantwell and saying your plan is to “Beat the terrorists, partition the country and get our troops home , in victory”

Yes Mike that is some plan. Why don’t you talk to your Leader and tell him to “beat the terrorists.” He hasn’t made much headway has he?

Any other ideas Mike?

Mike McGavick – the un-Success Story at CNA Financial Corporation

Washington’s Republican candidate for Senate, Mike McGavick, likes to toot his horn about turning around Safeco – his campaign website talks repeatedly about his leadership and experience. McGavick in his KING 5 debate with Senator Maria Cantwell specifically made a point about turning Safeco around.

However, prior to Safeco, McGavick worked for CNA Financial Corporation in Chicago for about 6 years. CNA Financial Corporation is a large insurance company in Chicago that is owned 90% by the Loews Corporation.

The media has paid very little attention to McGavick’s time at CNA Financial. Yet I think there is more to McGavick’s story than we have been told.

From McGavicks website:

“In 1995, Mike went to work for Chicago-based CNA Financial Corporation. He held a number of positions and was responsible for developing CNA’s e-commerce strategy. Soon, however, CNA tapped Mike’s problem-solving leadership, naming him president and chief executive officer of the company’s largest operating

Mike’s professional career is testament to his leadership abilities. It’s also a testament to Mike’s unwavering focus on what real leadership is: taking responsibility and solving problems.”

O.K. well lets look a little closer.

McGavick worked for CNA Financial through 2000. It was announced in late Jan. 2001 that he had been selected to head up Safeco. But what happened at CNA Financial Corporation while McGavick was there and after he left?

In an
official announcement written for the May 7, 2003 annual meeting there is an interesting graph that states the following:


The following graph compares the total return of the Company’s Common Stock, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Stock Index (“S&P 500”) and the Standard & Poor’s Multi-Line Insurance Index for the five years ended December 31, 2002. The graph assumes that the value of the investment in the Company’s Common Stock and for each Index was $100 on December 31, 1997 and that dividends were reinvested.

————————–1997 — 1998– 1999 — 2000 — 2001 — 2002
CNA FINANCIAL CORP…..100 — 94.52–91.44–91.00–70.13–61.55
S&P 500 INDEX …….100 –128.58–155.63–141.46–124.65–97.10
MULTI-LINE INSURANCE..100-119.3-155.16-215.58-177.65-130.53

Thus $100 invested in CNA Financial Corporation between 1997 and 2002 became worth $61.55 while the same $100 invested in the S&P Multiline Insurance Index was worth $130.53

That doesn’t exactly sound like a company you’d want to invest in. And this was the company Mike McGavick worked for from 1995 through 2000. Maybe there’s more to the story about Mike McGavick’s time at CNA Financial than he’d like us to know.

One place to start is to look at what Mike McGavick actually did at CNA Financial. The story isn’t quite as usually told. McGavick was not the CEO at CNA Financial as has sometimes been said. See as just one example Seattle Times 4/17 2006 which erroneously lists him as “President, chief operating officer, CNA Financial, 1995-2000”

McGavick’s exact position in CNA changed over time, but he was on a senior management team starting in July 1997. He headed up the largest division of CNA Financial – the commercial insurance division, starting in 1997. As such he was the COO of the CNA division entitled Agency Market Operations.

As The National Underwriter in 2002 noted,when he left CNA Financial his “ most recent position prior to Safeco was as head of Agency Market Operations

The 1999 CNA Financial Report to shareholders noted that CNA conducted its operations at that time through 7 separate units of which Agency Market Operations was one. The others were Specialty Operations, CNA Re, Global Operations, Risk Management, Group Operations and Life Operations.

In looking up Loews Financial Statements I came across the following in their 2003 Financial Report:

“Much of Loews’’s attention in 2003 was directed towards CNA, which made great progress in restoring and realigning its balance sheet to reflect claims development on policies written before 2001. CNA conducted a thorough review of its reserve base over the course of much of the year, which resulted in two significant charges in 2003. While this outcome was certainly undesirable, it represented a committed, genuine initiative to create a profitable commercial property-casualty insurance company. In support of these efforts, Loews lent its financial strength to the capital plan that CNA devised to augment its statutory surplus. In total, Loews invested $1.1 billion in CNA during the fourth quarter of 2003… “

Sounds like McGavick left an unprofitable company that had lots of problems that were the result of policies at least partially written during the time McGavick was with the company. Was McGavick just leaving a bad situation? What role did he have in creating or trying to solve the situation mentioned in the 2003 financial report?

In the 1999 CNA Financial Report released in March of 2000 McGavick gives the following perspective on his job at CNA Financial:

“Could you tell us about your efforts in commercial middle markets?

MCGAVICK: First of all, we are aggressively getting off accounts that have been unprofitable. Where we can’t find a solution that is acceptable to us, we are getting off the risk. Secondly, and a much more difficult task, is getting adequate price on business that we want to retain. Usually, this is business that many companies would like to have. We have steadfast resolve in getting an adequate price, even in this business. In 1999, we did not renew nearly $750 million of commercial premiums on a base of $3.4 billion as we worked through critical underwriting and pricing initiatives.
It is also important to look at the quarter-to-quarter trend. In middle-market business, as we work to attain rate adequacy, average price increases were 2 percent in the first quarter, 6 percent in the second quarter, 8 percent in the third quarter and 9 percent in the fourth quarter. Retention has been holding steady in the 70 to 75 percent range throughout the year.

You increased prices in commercial middle markets and still produced an underwriting loss. Has anything really changed?

MCGAVICK: When you look at the fundamentals of our book of business, we are in a much better position now than at the start of 1999. At that point, we were coming off two quarters of price decreases – 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 1998 and 1 percent in the fourth quarter – and these rolled over into our 1999 operating results. Now we are sitting on four consecutive quarters of necessary price increases that reached 9 percent in the fourth quarter, and we expect these actions will work their way into our results for 2000.”

The following 1997 through 2000 figures are from media release.

The 2001 through 2005 net income figures from the The 2005 Annual Report of CNA Financial Corp.( page 2 ).

Agency Market Operations saw net income (loss) figures of :

1997————–($326 million) loss
1998—————($54 million) loss
1999————–($201 million) loss
2000————– $110 million

They list the following net income (loss) figures as a whole for CNA Financial:

1998————- $228 million
1999————-($172 million) loss
2000————$1,182 million * see note below
2001————($1,605 million) *restated loss
2002 ————–$163 million *restated
2003———– ($1,417 million) *restated loss
2004—————$425 million *restated
2005—————$264 million

The year 2000 deserves special note “…this significant increase in net income is attributable largely to realized gains on our superb Global Crossing and Canary Wharf investments…” SEC info

The year 2000 for CNA Financial as a whole showed a good profit on paper but when you look at the next three years it disappears. As noted, this increase was due mainly to investments separate from daily operations. If you add all the earning from 1998 to 2005, CNA Financial Corporation shows a cumulative loss of close to a billion dollars or $932 million to be more exact. If you exclude 2004 and 2005 as years beyond correcting for 1990’s losses, the loss becomes ($1.611 billion) after the input of funding by Loews.

Remember McGavick headed up Agency Market Operations since 1997 through 2000. In 1999 looking at the income from premiums of $4,799 million and investment income of $686 million and comparing it with the income of $13.282 billion for CNA as a whole, the sector that McGavick headed up brought in $4.799 billion or 36% of the total revenue.

Yet Agency Market Operations that year recorded a loss of $202 million. In 2000 with similar revenues it only recorded a $100 million gain after McGavich’s leadership for 4 years. Agency Market Operations did not contribute much to the income gain in 2000.

After McGavick left to join Safeco in Jan 2001 , the CNA Financial Corporation in 2001 underwent significant restructuring and Agency Market Operations disappeared as a division and as a separate entity that one could individually break out for an on-going income (loss) comparison. What was McGavick’s job no longer existed as such in the reorganization.

As noted in Loews 2001 10 – K report filed 3/08/2002 Loews reduced its seven operating groups to five – “Standard Lines, Specialty Lines and CNA Re (these groups comprise the Company’s Property-Casualty segment); Group Operations and Life Operations.” The group entitled Ageny Market Operations , that McGavick had headed, ceased to exist as such.

“CNA underwent significant management changes, strategic realignment and restructuring in the second half of 2001. These management changes as well as the strategic realignment and restructuring have changed the way CNA manages its operations and makes business decisions; and therefore, necessitated a change in CNA’s reportable segments.
The changes made to CNA’s reportable segments  were as follows: (i)Commercial Insurance and CNA Excess & Select (formerly  included in AgencyMarket Operations) and Risk Management Operations, were  combined into Standard Lines; ….”

In Loews 2003 Annual Report they note that

Over the course of the last two years, CNA has been replatformed, re-positioned, re-taffed, and re-underwritten. It has demonstrated unparalleled initiative and resolve in coming to terms with its past, all in an effort to lift any and all clouds of uncertainty as it works to become a strong, focused, and profitable commercial property-casualty insurance leader. Although the nature of the insurance business is to take calculated risks, which from time to time can imply a volatile earnings profile, CNA believes that its recent actions have positioned it to perform at a high level in the years ahead.”

One could speculate that McGavick in late 2000 saw the writing on the wall and decided it was time to get a new job. As noted in the same report above there is this further discussion of CNA’s reorganization in 2001 after McGavick left :

CNA’s organizational structure was streamlined and its infrastructure costs were reduced. From 2001 to 2002, roughly $200 million in annual operating expenses were eliminated, while cost reductions to bring overhead in line with the current size of the company are still ongoing. Selective staff reductions were made at the same time that high-caliber managers and technical underwriting professionals were recruited through investments in compensation plans and training and development programs.”

It definitely seemed like an opportune time for McGavick to move on in Jan 2001. Maybe he had no choice considering the circumstances. You’ll have to ask him.

Final Note:
To cover myself in case I made a mistake or two in interpreting this information cited above I give the following excuse. Sid Cato of Cato Communications made the following statement in a news release reviewing the best and worst company annual reports.:

CNA Financial, “an insurance company regardless of what it calls itself.” He said that traditionally its annual “is awful. As it is this year.” he said CNA “more than once” has made his list of world’s worst reports. Its ’98 product, he said, contains “precious little of substance.”

Feel free to comment.

Mike McGavick – Know Him by his Past Business Associates

For about 6 years Mike McGavick worked for CNA Financial Corporation based in Chicago, Illinois. He started in 1995 and left to go to work at Safeco in Feb 2001. Mike McGavick is the Republican challenger to incumbent Washington State U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

CNN Financial Corporation is a large insurance corporation that is a 90% owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation. But Mike never mentions this relationship of CNA Financial Corporation to Loews.

Just what is Loews? The following is taken from the earliest posted Annual Report at Loews websitehttp://ir.loews.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=102789&p=irol-annualreports 2003 Annual Report:

LOEWS CORPORATION, a holding company, is one of the largest diversified financial corporations in the United States. Its principal subsidiaries are listed below. www.loews.com

CNA Financial Corporation (90 percent owned) is one of the largest property-casualty insurance organizations in the United States. www.cna.com

Lorillard, Inc. (wholly owned) is America’s oldest tobacco company. Its principal products are marketed under the brand names Newport, Kent, True, Maverick and Old Gold.Substantially all of its sales are in the United States. www.lorillard.com

Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (54 percent owned), one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies, offers comprehensive drilling services to the energy industry around the world. It owns and operates 45 offshore drilling rigs. www.diamondoffshore.com

Loews Hotels (wholly owned) has established itself as one of the country’s top luxury lodging companies. It operates 20 hotels and resorts, of which 18 are in the United States and two are in Canada. www.loewshotels.com

Texas Gas Transmission, LLC (wholly owned) owns and operates a 5,800-mile pipeline system that transports natural gas from the Gulf Coast, east Texas and north Louisiana to markets in the southern United States and throughout the Midwest. www.txgt.com

Bulova Corporation (97 percent owned) is a major distributor and marketer of watches and clocks. Its brand names include Bulova, Caravelle, Wittnauer and Accutron. www.bulova.com

And Now for the Rest of the Story by Mike McGavick.

“It’s part of the crap you can expect from the party of Karl Rove.It’s totally taken out of context.” That was my wife’s reaction to hearing Republican Mike McGavick’s new radio ad on KIRO this morning. I couldn’t have said it better.

In the radio ad McGavick accuses Senator Maria Cantwell of voting against this state’s soon to expire sales tax deduction on our Federal income tax. He basically accuses her of stealing a $550 sales tax deduction from Washington families. It’s desperation politics time I guess.

As the Seattle PI notes this morning in an editorial, the real vote was also on reducing the minimum wage for tip workers in this state and reducing the Federal estate tax on multimillionaires. But McGavick fails to mention this saying only that “she disagreed with parts of the bill”. In Washington State thousands of restaurant workers and others that rely on tips to get by, would have seen a real reduction in their actual take home pay as they saw their minimum wage go down under one of the “parts” of this bill.

My analogy of McGavick’s ad is, its like someone calling to say your son is coming home from the war, but neglects to say he is also dead. If this is the type of Senator that McGavick will be, then we can expect he will never tell us the full story. We can’t expect him to tell us the truth as a Senator because he can’t do it now. By the way, he did say that he approved the ad.

McGavick claims Cantwell’s vote (against decreasing the minimum wage for thousands of Washington State workers) was part of the partisan nonsense that causes people to vote against families of your own state.

Well you have that right Mike. The partisan Republican run Congress, that does not consult with the Democrats, is not interested in helping working families or they would have run the sales tax deduction as a separate bill. One also might wonder why they didn’t make the sales tax deduction permanent in the first place. Likewise they could have run increasing the minimum wage as a separate bill and allowed for amendments. They were previously unable to pass the inheritance tax bill on its own. And Republicans have repeatedly stopped any vote on the minimum wage year after year.

Why are they having to vote on it again except for partisan Republican advantage to do things like helping the National Restaurant Association lower what their workers make or helping their wealthy patron donors avoid paying tax on appreciated property or stocks by allowing them to transfer it tax free when someone dies.

If you really want to avoid further partisan Republican steamrolling over American families and voters, then do as McGavick suggests. Lets end this one party rule and boot the Republicans out of Congress. It time to get back to the business of America and really help families with education, health care and jobs that pay a living wage, rather than worrying about things like whether “under God” is in our Pledge of Allegiance.

McGavick is right on ending strident partisanship in Congress. However electing another Republican to the Senate is not the way to do it.

Is Karl Rove Laughing his Head off at Washington’s Progressives?

Of course! If Karl Rove wanted to misdirect progressive Democrats away from the national strategy of taking control of the U.S. Senate and/or House, what better way than to have the Democrats fighting each other over, of all things, Bush’s never ending War in Iraq.

It’s time for those Democrats who question Senator Cantwell’s position on Iraq to realize that Iraq is not her war. She did not start it but she is part of the dialogue looking for a solution. She is a member of a minority party. Republicans run Washington, not Senator Cantwell or any other Democrat.

Democrats are fighting amongst themselves about a war they didn’t start and about which they and the American people were lied to by Bush. Meanwhile these same Democrats ignore other things the Republicans and Bush are dismal on, like not raising the minimum wage over the last 10 years or not fighting global warming or not aggressively working for energy independence from foreign oil or Bush’s giving tax breaks that only increase the share of the money the very rich have.

This issue was discussed several weeks ago in MSNBC’s Newsweek Politics.Rove’s Trap
The president’s strategist is politicizing the Iraq war for partisan political gain. Will the Dems figure out how to fight back?

Lets pick just one quote from that article : “….It’s very Rovean; they’re trying to turn a weakness into a strength.” Another Democratic strategist noted the irony that after four years of no accountability on the mistakes made in prosecuting the Iraq war, the administration was hanging Democrats out to dry. This strategist called it “reverse accountability” shift the blame to those not in charge.”

shift the blame to those not in charge” Can it be any clearer?

Left wing peace and progressive Democrats in Washington State are falling into this trap. They are doing Karl Rove’s dirty work by attacking Senator Maria Cantwell on Iraq. They are dividing the Democratic Party because she is not willing to sign off on some left wing purity test which one commenter on my previous blog post phrased as having her say “she was either duped, pressured or just flat wrong” when she joined 29 other Democrats in the US Senate who voted in 2002 to give Bush authority to invade Iraq.

Frankly I don’t know what this would do to get us out of Iraq. As I’ve said before this is George Bush’s war. Republicans control the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate and the Presidency. Democrats are the minority party and do not control any committees and can not conduct any hearings on the Iraq War.

And yet some progressive Democrats continue to attack Senator Maria Cantwell like this is her war and she has some kind of stronghold over what happens? If Senator Maria Cantwell suddenly changed into a Russ Feingold Democrat, what would that do to end the war? Nothing – because it does nothing to change the fact that the Democrats are the minority party and do not have the votes to do anything. Congressman Jay Inslee has commented in the past how Democrats in Congress are not even consulted on bills the Republicans run – there is no bipartisanship going on in Washington DC. We have a one party government and that is a Republican Party controlled government.

For the life of me why aren’t these progressive Democrats putting pressure on Mike McGavick about his position on Iraq. Am I missing something here? Because if there are some of you who do like you say and won’t help Cantwell get elected and won’t vote for her then you are supporting McGavick for Senate and are acting to support Karl Rove and George Bush and the Iraq War as it now stands.

Strategic thinking is important. What is it you want to accomphlish? Will you do that by the tactics you are using or are you falling into a Rovean trap?

Lets look at what Cantwell’s opponent says on Iraq.

Going to McGavick’s website there is scant information on Iraq: I could find only these two written statements.

The U.S. cannot retreat from the War on Terror or countries like Iraq will turn into the worst hotbeds of terror the world has ever witnessed.

U.S. forces will come home from Iraq when the job is finished. Setting a timetable for troop pullout gives the advantage to America’s terrorist enemies.

These statements say very little except that McGavick supports Rove and Bush and Rumsfeld. The reality is McGavick is a vote for Bush’s War in Iraq. This is the alternative to Senator Maria Cantwell?

Some people are upset that Mark Wilson is no longer challenging Senator Maria Cantwell in the Democratic primary. I would argue that there really was not much of a challenge going on in the first place. Wilson publicly stated on the David Goldstein show on KIRO 710 radio that he never really intended to file for the Democratic Party primary but was trying to give a voice to opposition to the war. Huh?

While I can appreciate Wilson trying to raise important issues in the Democratic Party – maybe he was just a little bit dishonest in trying torepresent himself as a serious candidate for U.S. Senator. Or maybe he is just trying to put a face saving spin on the fact that his campaign didn’t get the support he needed to run a successful race and he didn’t want to be known as the Democrat who helped Mike McGavick get elected.

But to anyone looking at the state Democratic Convention in Yakima last month it was obvious that Wilson never stood a chance. While I support progressives and consider myself one, there really is no organized unified progressive movement in Washington state. That was obvious when the “Progressive Caucus” met at the state convention.

There was no organized game plan of how to increase the influence of progressives in the party and when volunteers were asked to help recruit more, the hands raised were few. Mark Wilson attended the caucus but he did not seem to have a vision of how to organize the state. It appeared that he was waiting for others to put it together.

I mention this because any organized movement is difficult. But it does need leaders and it does need a plan. It needs vision and it needs people ready and willing to help. I saw well intentioned good people involved but it was not going to help Mark. He was on his own.

As a result Mark Wilson never was a really viable candidate, having neither the money or volunteers or widespread backing to run a statewide campaign against the incumbent.

I believe it’s time for progressives to move on. A few vocal voices and bloggers do not make a movement. We need to not make Washington a swing state in the Senate race, so national Democratic resources need to be directed here, at the expense of other Democratic candidates.

Besides helping Senator Cantwell get re-elected, we need to assist in races where new Democrats can win – like Darcy Burner (WA-8) and Peter Goldmark (WA-5). Picking up seats in Congress to give Democrats a majority in at least one branch of Congress will be the best strategy to end the War in Iraq.

Asking Senator Maria Cantwell to submit to some progressive purity test right now won’t mean anything if Democrats don’t win control of the U.S. House and/or Senate.

This election is certainly a referendum on Iraq for Bush. Unfortunately if Democrats don’t pick up seats in Congress, it will be used as an confirmation by Bush that the American people support his position on Iraq. And we will have missed our best opportunity in 6 years to change American politics for the better.

McGavick, McCain, Mc????

Senator John McCain is a conservative Republican running for President of the United States in 2008. He is doing what any potential candidate for President must do if he wants to win. He must build up debts that others owe him that he can call in later.

Mike McGavick is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat in Washington state that is currently held by Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell. McCain was the star attraction at a McGavick fundraiser held Tuesday night at a hotel in Seattle, WA. McGavick hopes to emulate McCain.

However, nationally there is a debate emerging as to just who is John McCain. See Daily Koz’s blog, Bushier Than Thou! as one example. See also the article in The Nation entitled, The Real McCain. That same debate needs to occur for McGavick.

McGavick has not run for office before in Washington state. He is hoping that he can appear to be all things to all people just like Dino Rossi did in his run for Governor of Washington state. And he is hoping for a little of Senator McCain’s overrated independent status in the media.

I don’t think that Democrats can let that happen. McGavick needs to be asked now what he stands for. For instance, what is his position on proposed Initiative 933? I-933 is the initiative being pushed by the Washington State Farm Bureau. It is an attempt to end zoning laws in Washington state by requiring that developers and others receive tax dollars from the state if the state won’t let them build whatever they want, where ever they want.

Initiative 933 is being opposed by the Community Protection Coalition.

If McGavick positions are vague then one needs to look at things like his cozying up to McCain. What is McCain’s record on so called property rights issues?

Well one place you can look is at his voting record. And actually that voting record has been tallied up by none other than a national organization based here in Washington state.

Chuck Cushman, who was involved with the infamous so called Wise Use Movement that attacked environmental regulations in the past, now runs an organization called the American Land Rights Association. They recently changed their name from the “League of Private Property Voters”. Cushman is based in Battleground, Washington.

Their “mission” is “dealing with private property issues including government land use controls, federal and state growth management, wetlands and the Endangered Species Act.”

Their 2003 Private Property Congressional Vote Index is the last one listed. Rating issues such as repeal of the Estate Tax, reducing legal barriers to timber sales and cutting environmental and conservation program funding it gives McCain a positive rating of 67% in 2003. In 2001-2002 he received a rating of 70%, in 2001 a rating of 86%, and a 62% rating in 2000.

By way of contrast Senator Maria Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray in 2003 both scored “0”‘s . On the House side Jay Inslee scored “0”, Brian Baird “8” Rick Larsen “25”, Norm Dicks “8”, Jim McDermott “0”, Adam Smith “8” and Doc Hastings “100”.If McGavick does not like this associating and guessing where he is on issues, then he needs to clearly state his positions. If you go to his website and check on environmental issues it sounds just like what Cushman and the private use people would say because it is so vague. It sounds like something Chuck Cushman would write frankly. I have taken the liberty of making bold those words and sentences that in particular raise a red flag.

Environmental conservation and productive development are not mutually exclusive. We can protect and improve our environment while at the same time allowing responsible human development.
In Eastern Washington especially, the choice to save the salmon or keep the dams has been presented as an either/or issue. This simply isn’t the case.
Washingtonians know what’s best for their communities and its time the federal government let us solve our own problems.
The environment can be protected while allowing for development such as the dams that make Eastern Washington a bread basket rather than a dust bowl.
The federal government must step aside and allow us Northwesterners to deal with the problem as we see fit for we have the greatest at stake when it comes to keeping our state beautiful and our economies strong.

This “environmental statement” does not say where McGavick is on the Endangered Species Act, on protecting Federal Regulations on Air and Water Pollution, on cleaning up Puget Sound, on making polluters pay for cleaning up their toxic waste, protecting wilderness areas, or global warming or much else. It’s emphasis seems to be on his saying we should get the Federal Government out of our state and let us develop whatever we want. This sounds like an appeal to the Chuck Cushman’s of the world, not to most of Washington’s voters who love Washington State because of it’s environmental qualities. These people do not want to trade for the sake of some dollars in developers’ pockets the quality of life we now enjoy.