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Posts published in “Day: June 9, 2008”

Veep NW?

The new piece on OpenLeft about Obama/Murray leaves us a little skeptical: "I have learned from a trusted inside source that the Obama campaign has approached, and held talks with, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) as a possible Vice-Presidential selection."

But maybe it's about time to run through the idea of a vice-presidential pick - either party - from the Northwest. And to suggest that it looks less than likely.

Start with the Republican side; we can deal with it quickly.

Without launching into debate over the exact meshing of qualities that Republican nominee-presumptive John McCain ought to look for, we could safely say that he would be looking for someone with substantial experience, a background of election to major office, with no important skeletons rattling around, someone broadly acceptable to his own party and at least not a drag elsewhere (preferably better than that). To that extent, not so different from Democrat Barack Obama. In McCain's case, you could also say someone younger, but not necessarily too much younger.

Who from the Northwest fits? There's one Republican governor, Idaho's C.L. "Butch" Otter, but Otter, skilled candidate though he is, wouldn't help with some components of the party and does have a skeleton or two for the national media to play with. There are three Republican U.S. senators in the region, but all three have disqualifiers: Larry Craig's issues are obvious enough to need no restating; Mike Crapo has had health issues; and Oregon's Gordon Smith is running for re-election (and, were he to withdraw, his seat would most likely fall to a Democrat). House members are rarely picked, and none of the Northwest's jump out as having the powerhouse skills and broad support to turn swiftly into national-level candidates. (Not on the Democratic side, either, for that matter.)

You could mention - it probably will be at some point - Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, formerly governor of Idaho, who has strong campaign skills and has spent some time on the national stage. But among other considerations, would McCain want someone from the Bush Administration, just as he's trying to do his distancing thing? Seems doubtful.

The possibilities open a little more for Obama, though not much. (more…)

Redoing the neighborhood

Tough run-down, crime-ridden areas do get changed. You can find a number of districts in Seattle or Portland that have been changed, and in many ways improved. But can you do it drawing out of the area's original character and without - it has to be said - gentrifying the area, to the point that few of its original residents can even live there anymore?

Question arises on North Aurora in Seattle, a street we've watched periodically over the years and which clearly needs, as the phrase goes, some spray 'n wash. How to deal with it well is a tough question. A useful piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today addresses some of that without glossing over the difficulties. It has some depth, and it's worth a good review.