October 17, 2006

Washington State Senate Debate Results

Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell had a televised debate tonight with her Republican challenger, insurance executive Michael McGavick, and a libertarian candidate.  Polls have shown Cantwell to be leading the race ever since it emerged that McGavick covered up a drunk driving conviction. This debate was one of the McGavick's last chances to redeem himself while facing a national political environment that is increasing favorable to Democrats .

Unfortunately, the debate format allowed no real face-to-face interaction between candidates. It was also puzzling that Libertarian candidate Bruce Guthrie participated in this debate even though he has little to no chance of winning the election.  But despite the constraints of the format, a clearer picture emerged of both major candidates.

I have volunteered for Senator Cantwell's campaign, and though I have never met her and though I disagree with her on some issues, in the debate I found her to be articulate, informed, and in touch with key Washington State issues like the Hanford nuclear reservation, the methamphetamine epidemic, and environmental concerns.  I liked her suggestion to reward veterans with a "GI Bill for Life" - if you serve your country, you should be entitled to education for the rest of your life without the benefit expiring.

McGavick, who said he voted for Bush in 2004, agreed with many of Bush's policies, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He proposed a bi-partisan study group to get further ideas on Iraq, apparently unaware there was already one being led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton.  As a former insurance company executive, he suggested that his experience working in that industry has given him several ideas about how to deal with health care, though he did not make specific proposals.

On North Korea, he said it "reminds us of what an extraordinarily dangerous world we live in."  Both candidates favored diplomacy with North Korea, with McGavick supporting Bush in outsourcing our diplomacy to China and other Asian nations.

On Social Security, McGavick apparently wants to privatize Social Security while having the government manage the program (as Bush has done with Medicare), though there was not enough time in this debate for him to flesh out this proposal.

The question for McGavick now is whether his performance was strong enough to keep the national Republican party from withdrawing funding from this race in order to defend seats it has a better chance of winning.  The GOP has withdrawn from Ohio for similar reasons. According to today's New York Times,

Republicans are now pinning their hopes of holding the Senate on three states — Missouri, Tennessee and, with Ohio off the table, probably Virginia — while trying to hold on to the House by pouring money into districts where Republicans have a strong historical or registration advantage, party officials said Sunday.

By Will Friedman in Politics | Permalink  | 


I do not understand why you are concerned about the Libertarian being in the debate.

What is really funny is that Cantwell voted for the Bush agenda on most of the egregious issues- for the patriot act, homeland security, the war, and she also supported many of what Washington Progressives oppose. NAFTA, CAFTA, the national ID card, etc.

I am always amazed at Democrats (big D) that do not like to see the other parties in the debates. Remember the precinct was designed to give people in outer regions a chance to be heard in the primary??? Why does region allow for representation, but when it comes to ideals, you should be excluded because you do not take money from any lobby or special interest?

Look at Canada, they have debates where ALL candidates running get on the debate stage. They consider the people intelligent enough to know the difference (my friend from Canada thinks that is why they have single payer healthcare).

Here in America are we dumbed down and can not be expected to tell the difference between Macdonald's and Burger King. . . er, republican or democrat?

Until we start trusting and INFORMING the voters more we will have less and less intelligent discussion on the political front.

Look at the presidential debates between Kerry and Bush as compared to the ones between Nixon and Kennedy.


Democracy should not be tooled to work for you and your interests above that of real Democracy. You can not be a real democrat if you abide by the winning of your candidates at the expense of liberty and a true democratic process.

I am glad to have the alternative parties in the debates.

What has Cantwell done to "Change Direction" in Iraq?

What other promises has she broken to we, her constituents?

I like the alternative parties if for no other reason than it makes the lifetime politicians not think they are going to win reelection so easily.

Should Maria Cantwell be handed the office when she votes contrary to what so many people in Washington demanded of her and the flood of Democrats in 2006?

Just found this article, forgive the late reply,


Posted by: scott | Dec 28, 2007 11:14:10 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.