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Posts published in “Day: January 15, 2008”

WA: Address and counter-address

Chris Gregoire

Chris Gregoire

Dino Rossi

Dino Rossi

Short of, and up to the point of, the actual debates for the candidates for governor of Washington, we got an early version of that today in some ways superior to what may show up later.

The major event, and the larger headlines, will go to the institutional event, the state of the state address to the legislature by Governor Chris Gregoire. Those always get strong news coverage (more, we started to think over the years, than they really merit - referring here to SOSes generally, not Washington's in particular).

With some wisdom, Gregoire's probable Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, posted on his web site what amounts to a counter-SOS speech. (Warning: no telling how long the video will remain posted there.) It seemed to be posted before Gregoire delivered hers, and didn't constitute direct rebuttal as such. But it did cover much of the same territory - education, law enforcement, transportation and budgeting were highlighted - and watching the two back to back you can get a sense of where the policy battlegrounds are, and how the two of them stake them out. (Click on the video for the full deal; the text link only includes a shorthand description.)

Gregoire's speech generally was a conventional SOS speech (with a few uneasy moments at the beginning about family matters, including her daughter's wedding), but a bunch of statements scattered through jump out as useful campaign fodder. Rossi's was almost the reverse: A campaign talk on its face, but often with the sound and feel of a formal address.



Curtis Bowers

Curtis Bowers

Back in the 50s and 60s, and to a lesser degree into the 70s, you heard this sort of thing from time to time: Communists are for it, and they're trying to destroy our country, so we do this at our peril. "It" varied, but in the early 60s civil rights was a regular target, along with most anything that smacked of social liberalism; never mind whether any of it made any kind of sense in terms of what actual Communist leadership on the other side of the world had in mind.

With the devolution of Communism in the late 80s, and its transition by the early 90s into something of a sick joke, this line of argument has faded away - at least, we don't often hear it any more. But at the Idaho Statehouse, it has surfaced again, courtesy of new Idaho Representative Curtis Bowers, and his recent guest opinion in the Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune.

In it, he writes about a meeting (of the Communist Party USA he says in the guest op, later amending that to a meeting of a spinoff group) he says he attended at Berkeley in 1992, for which he says he grew a goatee and donned a radical t-shirt. And he listened to their plan to "take America down."

Firstly, to destroy the family, they would promote co-habitation instead of marriage. They would also try to get children away from their mothers into government programs at the earliest age possible. They felt the best way to do this was to promote the feminist movement, which had been very effective at making women discontent with marriage and motherhood.

Secondly, to destroy businesses, they aimed to wipe out the profit potential that motivated people to start them. If people couldn’t make good money off their ideas and hard work, they would eventually be content working for someone else. They were sure the environmental movement (modest at the time) was the only vehicle capable of creating enough regulation and expense to discourage business growth.

Finally, to destroy our culture, they needed us to abandon our heritage of religion and morality. They believed the homosexual movement, if accepted, would begin to effectively extinguish these values.

At the time they laid out this strategy, I wasn’t overly impressed. It seemed very unrealistic and certainly not something to worry about in my lifetime. Yet as I sit in my office, recall their plan and consider where America is today, I am shocked.

As he counterparts in the 50s and 60s were shocked too, except of course that then there was a real live Communist party, in real power with real clout, which really was adversary to us, instead of the toothless shadow we've known for going on two decades now. One blogger asks of Bowers, "Seriously, where do they find these guys?"

The Idaho Press Tribune tracked down a man who said he was at the meeting Bowers refers to, but says “It’s some fantasy that he’s concocted to describe something that really didn’t exist." Bowers' fellow legislators, asked what they think, seem to be stepping carefully. Understandably.