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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Friday briefing: Al Gore blames Denver altitude; Big Bird’s whoopin’; Carlyle v. Eyman

Happy Friday:

Debate science: Former Vice President Al Gore  —he, a sighing menace to his own presidential debate performance years ago against George W. Bush  — had one of the more novel explanation for President Obama’s weak performance in Denver the other night — altitude. Gore who is very science-oriented offered up this doozy.

Tweet of the debate:

Big Bird, as you have heard, was unwittingly one of the stars of the presidential debate. Republican Mitt Romney said — and I paraphrase — he likes Jim Lehrer and Big Bird but wants to cut funding for public broadcasting.

Mentions of Big Bird promptly soared on social media.  It’s too soon to tell if donations are up or down at public TV stations around the country. Channel Nine Thursday received a phone call from a senior who railed against Romney for 25 minutes, because Romney says he is for education but won’t support PBS programming, which a lot of seniors adore.

The moment in the national spotlight, however, gave public TV a new chance to point out that some surveys show nearly 70 percent of Americans do not want to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, said Moss Bresnahan, president and CEO of KCTS 9.

Carlyle v. Eyman, in the ring: State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is hopping mad at initiative guru Tim Eyman for a blast email he sent Thursday that attacks the Everett Herald and its new editorial page editor, Peter Jackson, for changing course and opposing Initiative 1185, the measure that would continue to require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. Carlyle is pretty active in his opposition to Eyman measures. But the Eyman email hit a nerve because it attacked Peter directly. Peter Jackson is the son of the late Henry Scoop Jackson, whom Carlyle worked for in his younger days.

Here are some of the pyrotechnics:

From Eyman’s email:

 “Today, Scoop Jackson’s son wrote: We were wrong.” — http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121004/OPINION01/710049968/-1/opinion#

 Be careful taking at face value the word “we” in that sentence because the new “we” isn’t the old “we.”  I’m reasonably sure that Peter Jackson was against I-1053 also — he was simply one of the 36% who voted against it.  So it seems quite likely that no one at the Everett Herald changed their minds on this issue, even though it was presented that way today.

   Besides shifting their newspaper’s editorial position, they have also apparently shifted their endorsement procedures.  Allen Funk and Bob Bolerjack followed a common, respectful protocol of asking both sides to come in and discuss and debate I-1053 before their editorial board so they could listen to both sides before writing their editorial.  Since I-1185 qualified, I’ve repeatedly contacted Peter Jackson and asked when the editorial board would have us in to discuss I-1185 – he kept saying “we haven’t decided yet.”  There was no endorsement discussion; their shift in editorial position was taken without one.  Given their new position and how they handled it, it seems unlikely we could have swayed them, but we would have appreciated the chance to try.

   Of course it’s now their editorial board and they can have any opinion they want without listening to both sides — it’s still a free country.  But it’s quite doubtful that Scoop Jackson’s son previously supported I-1053 but now opposes I-1185.  It’s more likely that one of the no voters on I-1053 simply has a louder megaphone this time.”

Carlyle was not so happy with the above:

“There comes a time when public officials have a moral responsibility to stand up for civic dialogue.  Today is one of those days and this is one of those times. Tim Eyman’s unbelievable, nasty personal insult to Everett Herald Editorial page editor Peter Jackson, a treasured friend and son of one of our state’s legendary public officials in the late Scoop Jackson, went a step too far outside the dignity of Washington’s history of integrity in politics.  Merely because the Everett Herald objectively reconsidered its previous support for Mr. Eyman’s supermajority initiative, a patronizing personal attack on the paper, Mr. Jackson and the memory of Senator Jackson (whom I had the honor of serving as a page for in the United States Senate) was uncalled for.  We are better than this as a state and Mr. Eyman demeans us all in demeaning Sen. Jackson’s memory.”
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Comments | More in homepage, Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: al gore, big bird, Initiative 1185


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