President Obama Visits Democrats in Oso
President Obama is currently en route to Paine Field in Air Force One, where he will go up to Oso to visit with locals, including Snohomish County Councilman Dave Somers. Oh, but Somers isn't a local: he's from South Snohomish County. The Councilman who actually represents the district, Ken Klein, who lives just a few miles from Oso, wasn't invited. Somers is a Democrat, and Klein is a Republican. Maybe it's not directly partisan: maybe Somers just has connections (which are probably partisan, to a large degree). But if the President is going to spend a ton of money coming out here and tying up traffic, shouldn't he at least invite the only local representative that the Oso residents have?
The don't have any municipal representation, and while they have three fine state legislators in the 39th Legislative District -- Senator Kirk Pearson, Representative and Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, and Representative Elizabeth Scott, all Republicans, none of whom were invited -- who have been up there almost every day since the slide, Klein is the one guy who is most important to the residents in representing their interests to the government. After Klein, though, it's those three who matter most.
He has also invited other Democrats, all of who make sense: Representatives Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Snohomish County Executive John Lovick, and, of course, Governor Jay Inslee. They are all important to Oso's residents. But the four closest representatives who matter the most aren't there, and it just so happens all of them are Republicans.
This looks to me like nothing more than a convenient Earth Day photo op (and how much are we betting that he blames the slide on global warming?). It isn't going to help anyone or accomplish anything. I've never been a big fan of presidential visits to disaster sites. While Bush at Ground Zero was an important event, generally, he just gets in the way. I never understood why it mattered that Bush didn't visit New Orleans: I figured it was best for recovery efforts that he stayed away. Obama has put enough time between the event that he won't significantly impact recovery efforts, but it's still not helpful for him to be here, and the fact that he is not even meeting with any of the state or local representatives for Oso just highlights that this is about himself, not Oso.