Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for August, 2009

On the Mound – Bush vs Obama

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 31, 2009

I’m sure this one has been around the net but it’s still funny, unless of course, you’re a beauty queen or a Democrat.

First_Pitch_Breakdown

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Write-in for Seattle Mayor

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 30, 2009

It seems that the 38.45 percent of the electorate that bothered to cast a vote in the Seattle Mayor’s race just didn’t choose wisely. Voters were so fixated on which of the seven candidates would be selected to oppose Mayor Greg Nickels in the General Election that Nickels failed to make the Primary cut. A minor panic has resulted. Unions (public employee and construction) and businesses with close ties to Nickels (Paul Allen’s Vulcan) are rumored to be polling the chances for State Senator Ed Murray as a write-in candidate for mayor. Seattle Times columnist Joni Balter lent her support for Murray in an August 26th piece – “Sen. Ed Murray for mayor? Let’s hope so for Seattle’s sake”. Her thesis is that neither Mike McGinn nor Joe Mallahan has enough political experience or inside knowledge of how government operates to hit the road running. After all, Nickels had worked for then City Councilmember Norm Rice and spent “many years on the County Council” before winning his first of two terms as Mayor. She worries “about the somewhat scary prospect of a novice running City Hall.” Another concern is the City Council would fill a power vacuum resulting from a weak mayor. I wonder if she has similar concerns at the national level but I don’t want to bring up consistency just now.

Among Murray’s qualifications according to Balter are he’s a “Democrat”, helped “secure two gas tax increases” and he’s a “crusader for gay and lesbian rights.” That’s enough to make any Seattle liberal swoon. But you pretty much get all that with either a
Joe Mallahan or Mike McGinn but at least in the case of Mallahan, some real, live private business experience too. Seattle could use a dose of that. I didn’t support either of them in the Primary but of the two finalists, Mallahan is clearly the better choice. The problem with a Murray write-in is that it may well siphon enough votes away from Mallahan to give McGinn the winning plurality. McGinn is blindly anti roads and wants to reopen the Viaduct/tunnel wounds, positions that will ensure nothing gets done until “The Big One” drops the Viaduct in a heap of rubble along the waterfront. He supports the City taking over the Seattle Public Schools. The Seattle City Council already acts as an amateur utilities commission, adding the school system to their plate makes little sense.

We had a primary election. The voters chose Mallahan, in the face of a negative campaign by the unions against him, and McGinn to advance to the General Election. Pick one.

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

Parsing Dave Reichert

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 23, 2009

I agree with the President on some things. I don’t agree with the President on a lot of things.” Congressman Dave Reichert – November 6, 2006 CNN interview on support of President Bush.

Just under the surface, conservatives have had their concerns with Congressman Reichert but it erupted into the open when Reichert was one of only eight Republican House members to vote for the flawed 1,300 page, written on the fly, Cap and Trade bill. One well-known conservative Seattle talk radio host called his vote “a deal breaker.” The dreaded RINO (Republican In Name Only) label was applied but is that fair? To judge him on his support for President George W. Bush, not fair, but on his stands on issues is fair.

Comparing Reichert’s ratings by eleven special interest groups to those of Steny Hoyer, House Democrat Majority Leader, on the Left and John Boehner, House Republican Minority Leader, on the Right, Reichert lands in the moderate center.

ReichertChartpr025

Source data web sites for each of these organizations are listed in pdf format at the below site:

Reichertrating031

Looking at his sponsorship of legislation, he is a moderate Republican. Most of his major campaign contributions come from traditional Republican sources.

Bottom line, Dave Reichert is a centrist Republican not likely to bolt the Party, particularly with Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair. Equally unlikely would be a successful Primary challenge from conservatives. Parts of Reichert’s 8th Congressional District include once solid Republican state legislative districts east of Lake Washington. Once because they are now firmly in the D camp meaning there is no strong conservative base upon which to build a campaign. Reagan Dunn, a popular King County Council member and son of the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, Dave Reichert’s predecessor, might be able to parlay his council district base (largely outside the 8th Congressional District, however) and his famous name into a credible challenge but at the high risk of ultimately losing the seat to the Democrats. Additionally, with a new baby in the house, he may not relish a yearlong, no doubt, contentious campaign. Congressman Reichert plays well in his swing district. He has been elected three times by increasing margins. Next year should be a good year for Republicans. Bottom line, go with Dave in the 8th and concentrate on defeating Democrats like 3rd District Congressman Brian Baird.

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Medicare

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 20, 2009

It was an in office surgery. The total bill submitted to Medicare including pre and post operation office appointments came to $5,000. Medicare allowed only 55% or $2,750. The doctor has to accept the lower amount, that’s the rule. Medicare paid 80% and the patient paid the balance. This may explain why a friend of mine, when his doctor retired, had to contact three doctors before he could find one that accepted new Medicare patients.

One study puts the Medicare unfunded liability at $74 trillion, larger than Social Security and simply not sustainable. Now President Obama and most Democrats in Congress want to expand Medicare like health care to the currently uninsured and eventually sweep all Americans into a government run single payer system.

Congress, regardless of which party is in control, is by its nature incapable of crafting a healthcare program that meets the need and is affordable. Every member horse-trades to include something for his or her district, state and/or supporters. Liberals shut out conservatives and vise versa. Special interests dominate. Politics, not best business practices, good medicine or innovative ideas, prevail. Congress should set some broad, minimum guidelines for health care reform (portability, coverage for pre existing conditions, affordability etc.) then give carte blanche authority to a commission to propose implementing legislation with an up or down no amendments vote of Congress. There are pros and cons to the commission approach but it is far superior to the current rush to judgment of Obamacare. It provides an opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper, time to evaluate ideas and tone down the rhetoric.

There are many bloggers, pundits and web sites covering the issue of healthcare reform. Below are two sites worth viewing:

http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/Centers/healthcare/index.html

http://www.takebackmedicine.com/health-care-reform-myths/

Posted in National Politics | 1 Comment »

Housing Bubble Deja Vu

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 5, 2009

Glancing at the August 1, 2009 Seattle Times’ New Homes advertising section, I noticed an article (remember, this is advertising) offering; “zero-down financing” on some town homes in Issaquah. Curiosity peeked; I read the story, which included the following quote:

“This offer is truly spectacular,” says Jeff Smallwood, vice president of sales and marketing for Intracorp, Centerra’s developer. “We’re offering zero-down financing with no mortgage insurance, including a 4.123 percent (interest rate) on a 30 year fixed loan, 3.25 percent on a seven-year ARM or 2.875 percent on a five-year ARM interest-only loan. So potentially, you could purchase a home at Centerra for $329,990 and your monthly payments could be as low as $791 (excluding taxes and HOA dues).”

I immediately double-checked the date. No, it wasn’t August 1, 2007 or even 2008 but the words certainly sounded familiar. Nothing was said about qualifying for these loans and hopefully the standards are higher than before the bubble but come on, $791 a month for a $330,000 house! Is the real estate/mortgage industry about to sucker in a new generation of gullible homebuyers? Are they laying the groundwork for Bailout II? Sure, the pressure is on to unload the large volume of unsold homes and every sales ploy in the book is being used, but really, has the burst housing bubble taught us nothing?

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

 
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