I stand by every word I have spoken, every word I have typed, and every action I have taken thus far in the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Washington State. To Mark Wilson, I say thank you for your efforts to this point and to Senator Cantwell I say, congratulations on your savvy in bringing Mark into your campaign. For me, however, little has changed. In September, I will have little reason to vote in the Democratic primary (except, possibly for myself as a PCO). In November, I will vote for the Democrats because I must.
There will be some who will ask of me (as they did when Howard Dean dropped out and endorsed John Kerry), if you were a Mark Wilson supporter and he now endorses Cantwell, why don’t you follow. To them, my answer remains the same. Mark Wilson, just as Howard Dean, gave voice and a face to my issues and values. However, the race was never about him but, rather, about those issues and values that I care about most. I have not seen the shift in Cantwell that Mark alludes to in his statements of new found support. As a matter of fact, Seattle Times columnist and new Blogger, David Postman relates in his Blog Postman on Politics “Asked specifically about Cantwell's position on the Iraq war and occupation, Wilson said, "I'm seeing an evolution." But Cantwell was clear -- at least as clear as she could be in the very short time allowed for questions at what was billed as a "major campaign announcement" -- that she has not changed her position on Iraq. She said recent statements she has made and the recent Senate vote calling for troop withdrawal beginning this year have been "a reaffirmation for people of what I've been saying."” (Bold emphasis mine. TLS)
In a personal phone conversation that I had with Mark on Saturday (confirming that he would be dropping out of the race and going to work for the Cantwell campaign), he told me that after a face to face meeting he had with the senator, he felt that she had indeed shifted her stance on Iraq. He said that he had asked her the important question about, “If you knew then what you know now…” He said that she told him that under those circumstances there would not have been a vote. I felt concerned that I had to point out to Mark Wilson that the answer only dodged the question and did not say how she might vote in the future (think Iran). I suggested to Mark that the issue was not about this vote but instead should be focused on her position on the policy of unprovoked pre-emptive war. To my mind, Senator Cantwell, just as Joe Lieberman and the rest of the DLC crowd has yet to criticize the policy – only the way Bush has bungled the job. He said that he would continue to press her to be clearer on the subject. Mark was not able to reassure me on the issue of the Patriot Act and if he felt Cantwell “got it” on the question of civil liberties. He certainly did not have any answer on her “Free Trade” votes (as recently as last week). Please do not misread these comments as a harsh criticism of Mark. I respect his decision and wish him the very best. I expect to see him sometime soon as the new “Progressive Outreach Guy” (I just made that up).
To those in the larger Progressive community who would suggest to me that I move toward a 3rd party candidate in November, I say this: While we agree on most things, you have not earned my support at this time. Where have you been for the past six years? In the case of the Green Party, you can’t even present me with a candidate who has bothered to vote never mind stand up publicly against these issues coming from our Congress. I know even less about Mr. Guthrie of the Libertarians. You have not done the vital work necessary to build a party that can attain more than a single digit percentage of the vote. While I do have extreme reservation about Senator Cantwell’s desire to represent my values in the senate, I am absolutely certain that this state and this country cannot benefit from sending Mini-Slade to Washington DC. One area where Mark and I continue to agree is this, anything short of voting for the Democrat in November assures a republican pick-up in this seat. Voting 3rd party to prove a point or punish Cantwell or even just staying home simply increases McGavick’s advantage. If you want to make a real difference in 2008 or 2012, get to work building a real statewide party structure. Or, to quote John Lennon, ”You say you want a Revolution, well you know, we’d all love to see the plan.” Without the plan, you will still just be part of the problem.
In an interesting piece of (unintended?) irony I just ran across this in the Seattle PI piece on Wilson's endorsement of Cantwell: "On Sunday, Cantwell said that instead of the immediate withdrawal many Democratic activists want, she believes the U.S. should stay in Iraq until the situation is stabilized. She said she supports benchmarks and deadlines for turning over the running of Iraq to the newly elected government.
"No one believes we should write a blank check," Cantwell said."
Gee Senator, we didn;t think you should be issuing blank checks in October of 2002 either.
Chad (The Left) Shue