Pubicola Smears Koster Again

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Apparently Josh Feit is so interested in the 1st CD race that he is willing to smear Republican John Koster every chance he gets. His latest missive pretends to be a "fact check," when it's really an intentional distortion of the facts.

He sets the stage with the unverified claim that Koster "has a reputation as a hard-core partisan." If by that one means that Koster believes in his principles and works hard on them -- which is exactly how his opponent, Democrat Suzan DelBene, promises to operate -- then so be it. But Feit's trying to imply that Koster doesn't work well with others. That he takes his ball and goes home if he doesn't get exactly what he wants. It's funny, then, that the moderate Democrats on the Snohomish County Council actually have worked very well with him over the past decade, on many bipartisan measures.

So where's Feit's evidence? He links to a 2000 Bellingham Herald story where Democrat Hans Dunshee says so. Well, that settles it! As everyone knows, Hans Dunshee is a sunbeam of moderation and bipartisanship (in case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic). Dunshee had recently lost the race for the 39th LD to Koster, and he says Koster had "never voted for a bipartisan solution to anything," and that he never offered fixes to the spending bills he opposed. Where's the fact checking on that, Josh? You just accept it blindly, even though it's so obviously false?

Well, someone else does offer a substantiating quote: none other than Democrat Rick Larsen, obviously also an impartial observer, as he was currently opposing Koster for the 1st CD seat. Larsen attacked Koster for voting for (bipartisan, Hans and Josh! bipartisan!) bills for a patients bill of rights and pipeline safety,* but then refusing to vote for the budget that funded them. Larsen said, "Just voting for legislation isnít enough. If you have to fund it to make it happen, then you have to be voting for that funding."

No, in fact, you don't. This is an old sort of lie. It expects people to believe that just because you voted against a bill, that means you don't share the goals of the legislation, and didn't work to improve the legislation. It's nonsense.

Feit's evidence that Koster is a "hard-core partisan" was similar: Koster "voted against five of the six budgets passed by the legislature" during his time in the state legislature. So?

The way this works is simple. You agree with some of the bill, and disagree with significant portions of it. So you vote against it. If you are successful in winning the vote, you then get the opportunity to change it. If you are not successful, at least you went on the record that you disliked significant portions of the bill. This is, in my book, legislating with integrity.**

And worse, in this case, Koster voted against Republican budgets, so it obviously isn't about partisanship. Feit doesn't mention that fact, despite being well-aware of it (since it's in the text of the story from 2000 he's writing about), because it doesn't fit his narrative of Koster as a "hard-core partisan."

Frankly, I think the Democratic line here, that Feit is echoing loudly, is just the sort of attitude that many voters are sick and tired of: that you have to vote for someone else's wasteful spending or else you're not doing your job as a legislator. It's irrational and -- if I may borrow a phrase -- a mark of a "hard-core partisan" to criticize someone for honest disagreement over a budget, saying they have to vote for it if they voted for something that's in it.

* Honestly, when Hans Dunshee says John Koster "has never voted for any bipartisan solution to anything," and just a few sentences later Rick Larsen refers to specific bipartisan legislation that Koster voted for -- one of which was sponsored by both Dunshee and Koster! -- and Feit (and the Bellingham Herald) just accept the claim blindly without even looking up the evidence Larsen handed them, you no longer have to wonder how much these people care about the facts. For Feit to claim he is "fact checking" is a riot.

** I made the same argument to defend John Kerry when he ran for President, when he infamously voted against a military spending bill, even though he said he was in favor of the spending. He opposed it because he wanted it funded with "tax increases on the wealthy." He was wrong to want that method of funding, he was stupid to say "I voted for it before I voted against it," but the tactic he used -- voting against a bill to mark his disagreement with some significant portion of it -- is perfectly reasonable, and would not have led to the bill's demise, despite what many Republicans falsely claimed at the time. Feit's using the same dumb argument Republicans dumbly used against Kerry.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on August 28, 2012 4:35 PM.

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