Thursday night’s debate was the “big one.” Broadcast on multiple stations across the state in prime time, it was a good bet that many voters were watching. One would have thought that Jay Inslee would have studied, and practiced, and nailed down some facts and figures. Maybe even have known the finer points of all of his grand plans instead of just telling people to check them out on his website. Nah….
Opening remarks: Jay has repeatedly taken credit for the Boeing tanker contract, and did so once again in his opening remarks. However, what he fails to mention is that his amendment never passed the Senate and therefore never went anywhere. The tanker contract was brought to Boeing courtesy of Congressman Norm Dicks who, at the time, served as Chairman of Defense Appropriations. Also in his opening remarks, Jay pointed to his “very specific 75 point plan to get people back to work.” This would be the 75 point plan that no one has seen. And side note, if this great and elusive plan actually does have 75 points, exactly how specific can it possibly be?
Question 1: When asked about possible cut-backs and taxes if elected Governor….Jay made it clear that he is not an economist (but did study economics in college!) and then told us he is focused like a laser beam on job creation, spoke of embracing lean management (despite having never practiced that as a Congressman), and the need for preventative healthcare. In his rebuttal, Jay again spoke about addressing healthcare costs and told us “I have a plan,” but per usual, he didn’t feel it necessary to actually share that plan.
Question 2: When asked about proposals to meet the McCleary mandate and substantially fund an increase in K-12…Jay spoke about the collapse of Wall Street. In his rebuttal, he again dropped his favorite phrase “lean management,” and again called the levy swap a gimmick, proving that not only does Jay Inslee not understand the McCleary ruling, but that he also doesn’t read the newspaper.
Question 3: When asked about his approach to creating jobs…Jay mentioned my favorite new phrase, “secret sauce,” and then told us he had a plan, but again, neglected to actually share it. In his rebuttal, Jay mentioned that Forbes magazine “rated the state of Washington one of the best places to do business in” and that the tax foundation “said we are the 6th best place to do business.” Per usual, however, he only told half-truths. Forbes ranked Seattle #16 for “Best place for business and careers” because “Seattle’s IT industry counts more than 100,000 jobs thanks to Microsoft, Amazon.com and Expedia.” It was not ranked as one of the best places to do business in, as Inslee suggests. As for the Tax Foundation, it ranked Washington #6 because it has no income tax. It had nothing to do with other costs of doing business.
Question 4: When asked about adding more children to the state-funded head start program…Again, in lieu of specifics, Jay told us he is “fully committed” to making sure children have these services, said he believes we should have a specific plan for better coordination (at least here he admits that he doesn’t actually have one) and then in an odd turn, called UW the center of neuroscience on this issue and declared that “we’re going to lead the world.” In his rebuttal he stated that he’s the only candidate supporting his plan on health care (yes…) and then told us that he was at church in Seattle that morning and saw some of the most beautiful children in the state of Washington.
Question 5: When asked what his opponent may have said about him that isn’t true…Inslee opted out of this question, instead using his time to defend his unsubstantiated attacks on Rob McKenna.
Question 6: When asked about his views on same sex marriage, abortion, and contraception….Jay took a moment to falsely claim that McKenna has tried eliminate protections for women as part of the ObamaCare lawsuit. This despite that assertion being rated false already. Jay doesn’t understand a lawsuit, doesn’t let facts get in the way of his claims, and doesn’t read the newspaper…this is starting to become an uncomfortably familiar theme.
Question 7: When asked about the expansion of Medicaid…for some reason Jay again repeats the lie he told in answer to question 6 (just keep throwing mud at the wall and hope it eventually sticks?), referred people his website, and then says something he has said before – that we should take it because it’s federal money. Um…Jay? Who exactly do you think funds the federal government? He also ignores the fact that the federal match is only temporary, pays no mind to how much money it will cost the state, and thinks it’s a-ok for the federal government to dictate how to do things in Washington as opposed to negotiating with them to get the best benefits for Washington residents.
Question 8: When asked about Initiative 502…he again speaks of the destiny of the state. Is anyone else starting to think that if elected Governor, Jay would rule the state via Magic 8 ball?
Question 9: When asked about his top two priorities would be as Governor… “lean management” and “75 very specific proposals” for job creation. My head hurts.
Question 10: When asked about managing partisanship and working across the aisle…here Jay tries to tout how bipartisan he is. So bipartisan that while in Congress he voted with his party 92% of the time. He also spoke of his reputation for getting things done. Yep, he was so good at that, that the only leadership position he ever had was as the Ranking Member on a Subcommittee for one term. If that doesn’t scream “getting it done” then I don’t know what does.
Question 11: When asked about he would control gun violence as Governor…. “I think we should start by accepting a no tolerance policy for violence in all its forms: guns, knives, clubs, fists, or otherwise.” Then he complimented Rob on his work on domestic violence issues, and spoke about prosecuting drunk drivers.
Question 12: When asked about sales tax laws… “I’m pretty sensitive to small businesses, I was one.” And by that he means he joined a private practice law firm after law school. He then speaks of the “pickle” we’re in because of Wall Street.
Closing statement: He of course once again mentions the “75 specific ways” he will grow the economy (just don’t ask to see them!) and then steals President Obama’s slogan of “Forward” to talk about education. Except he doesn’t actually agree with the way President Obama is moving education forward with charter schools. So that’s…interesting.
Based on his answers, I wonder if Jay’s staff even told him he was going to be taking part in a debate Thursday night. Final debate is this Tuesday…one last chance for Jay to display some kind of understanding of the issues facing Washington state, and one last chance to actually put together some comprehensive arguments for his thinking. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll even share his 75 points with us? Who knows…anything is possible!