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The Appearance of Being Earnest: Democrats, Climate Change and…

I looked up the most recent Real Clear Politics aggregate poll (averaging all the polls) for the 2020 Democratic nominees and was shocked and dismayed by what I saw.  I saw that Governor Jay Inslee of Washington was dead last. Behind Gillibrand. Behind Yang and Gabbard. Behind Tom Steyer and John Delaney. And yes, behind the star of The Dark Crystal(s) – Marianne Williamson.  I knew he was not yet at the 2% threshold, but I was not prepared to see that he was listed last, even among those only averaging 0.3%.  So this blog is not a call for donations for Inslee, which I have been doing (and will continue to do so) like it’s my job over the last several months.  This is a plea to the Jay Inslee team to face reality.  Democrats say they care about climate change.  At best they are committed in word, but not deed. But it may just be that Democratic voters are liars. It’s time for you to find out.

In November 2018 a CNN poll revealed that the issue that ranked as most important to Democratic voters was climate change.  82% of respondents listed it as “very important.” Second place, right after it, was health care.  Now I understand that this doesn’t mean that everyone who said it is “very important” means that it is their #1 issue.  But more than any issue, according to Democratic voters, it was recognized as a priority.  So I don’t begrudge Governor Inslee for believing there was a viable candidacy in climate change focus, both because he believes it in his heart as THE priority, and because Democratic voters indicated so in polling data.  But he was wrong.

Now, a friend yesterday showed me 2016 data indicating that climate change was barely a top 10 issue to voters at the time of the Clinton-Trump matchup.  But a few things as to why that data is misleading. One, it included Republicans. Less than 20 percent of Republicans view climate change as a very important issue.  Two, since 2016 there has been even more dire data about climate change as well as a host of epic natural disasters that have heightened the public’s awareness of the “climate crisis” as Kamala Harris Jay Inslee originally dubbed it among the nominees.  So because it is the Democratic nomination I am concerned with, there is literally no reason to consider GOP voters in this discussion.

Democrats/Progressives have a grand tradition of saying the right thing and insisting that someone else do it. Starting with desegregation – the North adopted a strong NIMBY approach. They loved pointing the finger at the South, as well they deserved. The North had the historical benefit and moral authority of fighting slavery in the Civil War, but when it came to desegregating housing (“Chicago could teach Mississippi something about hate,” said MLK Jr when marching to desegregate housing in the Windy City), schools (e.g. Boston) and even windfarms (Ted Kennedy did not like the eyesore of windmills) Democrats have been much better at launching rhetoric against the worse villains, but not adjusting or sacrificing on their own end.  This is not to say that progressives have not made sacrifices or changes, enforced change and done many good things.  But the modern progressive generally excels at things like marriage equality, civil rights legislation, etc. – things that require political will and moral strength, but no real tangible sacrifice unless you are a bigot crippled by prejudice (the same energy that Trump has weaponized – a robot took your job, but it feels more tangible and actionable to your hate if you can blame it on a Mexican). In other words if it doesn’t cost any money and won’t require you to pause Netflix, a majority of Democrats are warriors for justice.

Now the GOP is basically a lost cause at this point, but needless to say I believe they are a lot worse than Democrats on issues of justice, equality and the environment.  But no issue more than climate change and no candidate more than Jay Inslee demonstrate the disconnect between Democrats’ words and deeds.

As a quick recap, Jay Inslee has the best track record and experience of any candidate running for the Democratic nomination. 8 terms in Congress with a great progressive voting record, 2 terms as the governor of Washington and a brief social media campaign of thirst for the strapping, bespectacled man:

  • Lost his first seat in Congress supporting the assault weapons ban of 1994 (and yet the New York Times failed to mention him in an article today about the 1990s battle over assault weapons – but they managed to mention Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper. Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.  HALF OF THESE PEOPLE WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN INSLEE WAS SACRIFICING HIS JOB ON THIS EXACT ISSUE AND THE NY TIMES CANNOT EVEN MENTION HIM
  • voted against the Iraq War, the repeal of Glass-Steagall and against the Hyde Amendment
  • As Governor he has pushed through gun control laws, the country’s best clean energy plan, the first public option health plan, the best teacher pay increase in the country, a long term care plan for seniors and has pardoned thousands of non-violent drug offenders while also banning the box. Oh and his state has the #1 GDP in the country, the highest minimum wage and is rated #1 in business AND employee satisfaction.

But above all, Inslee has staked his campaign on an issue he has fought on for 25+ years and that polls say is “very important” to Democratic voters: climate change.  He has a progressive record of accomplishment second to none in the campaign (all due respect to Kamala Harris’ mile wide, inch deep policy knowledge and Elizabeth Warren who was a registered Republican when the 1994 crime bill was passed (just a fact to illustrate the point that not everyone is a “perfect Democrat”… though Inslee is as close as I have ever seen).  Well I am here to tell Governor Inslee that I think he is wrong.

Not wrong that climate change should be the number one issue.  He has issued the best plan and most comprehensive climate plan because it addresses everything from the environment to climate justice to enhancing organized labor and using the USA’s prestige and leverage to move the world along.  But all that has fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes.  Let’s start with everyone’s favorite punching bag: the media.

Other than MSNBC, Inslee has been an afterthought on CNN and in the New York Times.  He was the first to call Trump a “white nationalist,” during the debate ON CNN, and yet a few weeks later he was not even listed on a very crowded graphic of Democrats who had called Trump a white nationalist.  The Times last week had 3 straight days of climate change related articles on the front page and yet in every article about candidates on issues that Inslee is a LEADER on, including climate, he is never mentioned.  That is a fu*king disgrace and disservice.

CNN leaving out the candidate who said it first… on their network WTF

But the real and deeper problem is Democratic voters.  Jay Inslee will likely make it to the donor threshold by the August 28th deadline to qualify for the September debates, but it will take a miracle for him to get to the polling threshold. And I think, quite simply that Democratic voters don’t really care about climate change. They care about saying they care. It’s what a good Democrat does. You sound better than the GOP, who admittedly seem to want to poison the Earth. You have the same opinion as Leonardo DiCaprio! Tesla and Prius!

Inslee made the ethical and moral decision to campaign on what he actually believes. But if he also believed that Democratic voters were more than talk he should be dissuaded of that opinion now.  He has two options and I think he should do both:

Highlight His Entire Record

I suggested months ago, assuming budget constraints, that Inslee’s team should make a series of YouTube videos – at least 5, where he splices leading candidates talking about their plans, followed by a clip and graphics of Inslee making that policy law as a legislator or governor. His tag should be “Vision to think it. Experience to get it done. Jay Inslee – ready on day 1.” I suggested he go after Warren during debate 1 with this backhanded compliment technique. He chose to make it generic of “plans vs accomplishments,” which was good, but not good enough. I still think his digital team should make these videos ASAP.  They would be cheap, insightful, informative and headline grabbing.  What is the defense to an “attack” of “I like your idea. I already did it”? There is none. And when just trying to get to 2% it is inexcusable to not be audacious.

Call the Democrats to Action

Jay Inslee strikes me as a truly good man. But also a man who could beat the sh*t out of Donald Trump’s Type II ass if he creeped behind him during a debate.  And it is time for that combination to be turned on the Democratic electorate.  I am not optimistic about Inslee qualifying for the September debates.  I have given him more money than my Manhattan rent so don’t take this as a retreat.  It is a strategic shift.  He should be planning on the October debates (and if September happens then that is a bonus) and on top of the guerilla digital approach he must deliver an address to galvanize the real progressive spirit in all Democrat voters.  I wrote in early July a speech that I thought tapped into this. Obviously it was not used or adopted, but THIS IS IT if you want to read it.  Right now I feel like the Inslee campaign is being run like Shiny Happy People:

But it needs to be a more desperate version of JFK’s plea of asking “what can you do for your country?”  I suggest months ago a possible large speech – bill it to the media as a major address.  Do it in your home state if you need to, in order to guarantee a larger crowd.  And make the theme that it is time to call all Democrats to re-capture the spirit of JFK.  In the speech I wrote I make the connections to the great things Democrats and progressives have done but also link climate change inaction (or mere words of support) to issues like affordable housing, windmills, etc that Democrats have often NIMBY’d (Not In My Backyard).  I would title the speech “The Time of NIMBY Progressivism Has To End Now.”  Climate change is the big issue, but unless Inslee can inform more voters of his second-to-none record of accomplishments ACROSS THE BOARD and how climate change is the chance at redemption for a party that, while driving change, has often slow-walked change in their own world, all while talking a good game against Republicans and their sins.  Governor Inslee is at the cross roads of no time left for the planet and nothing left to lose in his campaign. It is the time for bold action – he is asking the country to take bold action and he is right. It is time for his campaign to do the same damn thing.

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Jay Inslee is What Democrats Say They Want

After last night’s Tarantino-length debate in Detroit I am pleased with the performance of my preferred candidate, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state.  He had some good lines, only made attacks or corrections on areas well within the bounds of good decorum and stayed true to his message of defeating climate change.  He highlighted some of the things he has done as governor and also seem to become a Twitter sex symbol for a few hours (my favorite nickname given him by someone on Twitter was “Plant Daddy”).  Now before I go any further I need to make clear I am not an Inslee or Bust person (if those even exist). The eventual Democratic nominee will have my vote and my donations (though likely not to match the month of NYC rent I have thrown Inslee’s way).  But I have to say, even for a cynical comedian who just turned 40, I am surprised that Inslee is not doing better in polls.  He is literally what polls of Democratic voters claim to want. So what gives?

First off let’s see Inslee on issues – THAT HE HAS DONE AS A GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATOR, NOT JUST AS A CAMPAIGNER:

  •  Passed the 1st public option for health care in the country.  This may not be the Bernie plan or the latest draft of whatever Kamala Harris is trying to do, but it represents the most popular approach according to Democrat polls
  • He is THE climate change candidate and along with health care this is a top concern for Democratic candidates. I have read his Evergreen Economy Plan (it was like a text book for a course I was not fully qualified to take) and it is, as he said at a fundraiser, “a governing document,” not just a wish list. The only reason to say climate change is a top issue is if you really believe it is a crisis. And Inslee is the only candidate who actually wants to talk and govern like it is a fu*king crisis!
  • Highest teacher pay increase in the country.  And STEM education is one of the cornerstones of his climate/economic plan
  • Organized labor – I wish he had highlighted his commitment to union labor in last night’s debate, because I was surprised when I read his plans just how central organized labor was to his vision – a group of voters that used to be a pillar of Democratic support
  • Criminal Justice – as he said last night, while other candidates were bickering over who has done or not done enough – he has pardoned thousands of non-violent drug offenders, banned the box (which I didn’t even know until last night) and has pushed for more de-escalation training for officers
  • Immigration – has encouraged refugee settlement in Washington and was the first to sue Trump on the Muslim ban
  • Economy – #1 state GDP, #1 state for employer AND employee satisfaction
  • College – passed a law offering free state college to tens of thousands
  • And in his nearly 20 years as a Congressman before becoming a governor:
    • voted for the assault weapons ban (lost his first Congressional seat doing so)
    • voted against Hyde Amendment
    • voted against the repeal of Glass-Steagall
    • voted against the Iraq War
    • voted for Obamacare (duh)

And one thing that is not really a bullet point, but something I have noticed about the way Inslee, a man married to his high school sweetheart for 47 years and who writes children’s books for his grandkids, carries himself with a decency that is uncommon in politics. There appears to be no cynicism in him. He is a fundamentally decent man who knows that climate change is a crisis and will not pander to polls to make his campaign more broad, despite a record that really is second to none in the field.  For people looking for the opposite of Trump, there is no one more opposite in their core than Inslee. So a great record, great experience, fundamental decency and honesty and blue eyes that made him a “Plant Daddy” on Twitter. But the problem is that MAGA does not have a monopoly on stupidity.

After the two debates – the names Williamson, Yang and Gabbard were getting much more buzz than Inslee. And I fear all three of those will make the September debates either before, or in place of, Governor Inslee.  An anti-vaxxer who voted for Jill Stein and has no experience; a guy who actually seems to have some brains and ideas, but no experience; and a woman who, despite her tremendous 1980s sex-scene chest sweat during the debate and a vibe of “what if young Catherine Zeta-Jones was also a combat vet,” has several issues on her record that would and should disqualify a Democratic candidate; these are people who based on donors and post-debate buzz seem better placed than Inslee to make the September debates.  And that is an absolute embarrassment.

There are several top tier candidates that I think would make good presidents.  Cory Booker, Elzabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders and Michael Bennett have all gotten money from me at some point during their careers (most during this run, but not all). These are all different candidates in demeanor and policy, but I appreciate their different views and think all of them would govern in the right direction (ignoring electability for the moment).  But Inslee is a cut above them all when you add up the factors usually desired (experience, policies, values, accomplishments, electability vs Trump). But instead of at least being in the mix, like where Cory Booker is, he is now in danger of falling behind the lower 2nd tier candidates and some 3rd tier candidates!

I hope I am wrong. I hope Inslee sees a polling bump and a fundraising bump, but if Jay Inslee is not on the September debate then there is a lot more stupidity and hypocrisy in the Democratic electorate than we might like to admit. I gave to Bernie in 2016, despite voting for Hillary, because his issues were important and he pushed the nominee to the left.  If climate change is not worth $1 donations from hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters then we are already doomed, because as Governor Inslee said last night, there is only one party with a chance to save the country and the planet.  If you need a superficial comparison – think of Inslee vs Trump as Aquaman (Seaweed Daddy?) vs Fat Bastard – who would you rather have saving the country?

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How Gov. Jay Inslee Must Approach Detroit and His…

After the Miami debates I posted a blog on what I believe Governor Jay Inslee had to do in the Detroit debates, which he will be participating in on July 31st.  You can read that HERE. For those of you who don’t want to read two blogs today I will sum up the gist of it – Labor. Labor. Labor. Confront rivals by name. Don’t let Kamala Harris steal your lines or ideas.   Those all still apply, but this also includes more specifics now that I know who Governor Insee’s specific opponents will be after the CNN Draft Lottery last night (to no one’s surprise the New York Knicks selected Marianne Williamson). Based on my substantial donations to the Inslee campaign and the fact that several people on his communications team are following me on Twitter I have self-appointed myself the poor man’s Sean Hannity For Good – offering a NY comedian/lawyer/political junkie’s insights into how an accomplished politician with big ideas and a good heart can land some more meaningful punches in the debates.  Some of my tips were employed, coincidentally or not, in Miami, but some were ignored to the Governor’s detriment in my opinion.  No one went after Elizabeth Warren, so like a boxing champion she left the debate with a unanimous decision victory for basically pulling a Floyd Mayweather Jr. in librarian garb.  This debate cannot go that way, so first I will give a few general tips (all Labor because I know he needs no push to discuss climate) for the Governor and his staff and then some specific lines and lines of attack against his debate opponents (and if two blogs is not enough for you, here is a speech I offered for Inslee with many usable soundbytes).

LABOR 

I had the honor of interviewing Governor Inslee for Sirius XM on Wednesday and the only thing that gave me pause was Inslee’s potential stubbornness to reframe his climate cause.  What I mean by that is one of the big issues in the Midwest has been the loss of jobs and the weakening of organized labor. In Miami, Governor Inslee was the only one to mention it at all in the two debates.  And that is because in his state he has been a successful pro-labor AND pro-business governor and in his signature plan, the Evergreen Economy, he devotes pages to the role that organized labor will play. I think saying “I will create 8 million jobs, develop new industries and help transition those in affected industries with a new GI Bill.  In growing our middle class and reinvigorating organized labor you will be on the front line of also helping fight climate change. It’s not an either-or; it’s a win win!” will reach more people than “We have to take drastic climate action (which we do)… but I will also create millions of jobs.” One places workers, some of whom may be skeptical, at the center of change and progress, instead of sort of giving them dessert only after they’ve had their rhetorical vegetables. So here are some general things he could say on the debate stage:

  • “Not one person on this stage mentioned organized labor in Miami, except me. I didn’t come here to pander to organized labor, who many in this party have forgotten or never really paid attention to. I came to let them know that, as the backbone of our 20th century economy, under my plan they will be the engine of a new 21st century economy. Washington has the best economy in the country because we have embraced workers and the future together.  You can look at my record, my results and my Evergreen Economy plan to see that I’m not here to pander, but to promise that the jobs and the growth of a President Inslee economy will go to the middle class, with empowered union workers leading it, not just being thrown promises and talking points.
  •  (as Inslee has said in some form) “Fossil fuel workers helped build this country. Donald Trump lies and says that coal is their future because to Trump and the GOP the future is a spreadsheet next fiscal quarter and a Rassmussen poll. To me, the future is knowing that your kids and grandkids will be able to grow up in your town and city and find a good job and follow in their family’s footsteps if they want to. My plan calls for a GI Bill for workers in the fossil fuel industry – to help them be part of the transition to a 21st century economy. It’s worked in Washington state and I know it can work for this country. Because for me there are two essential truths relating to our economy and our planet – climate change must be defeated and under an Inslee administration America’s workers will be the ones to win that victory.”
  • Please stop saying “wind turbines don’t cause Cancer; they cause jobs” – it’s not a great line. Instead – “Donald Trump says stupid things like THE SOUND of wind turbines causes Cancer (actually what Trump said, which is even dumber).  He is that committed to fighting science and new jobs because coal and oil lobbyists pay him compliments.  The science of climate change is real, but so is the money that can be made in making America the leader in combatting it.  But Donald Trump, through sheer ineptitude and insecurity would rather lie about science and deny working people a great future because coal and oil executives will tell him what a good boy he is. This is no longer a right or left issue. It is a right or wrong issue.  Washington State has the best economy in the country because being on the right side of science and on the right side of working people is a win-win, not an either-or (only use this one time, even though I used it twice in these bullet points).

SPECIFIC CANDIDATE TIPS

  •  Joe Biden – It will be tempting to attack Biden (as I call it to “Beto” him) after Harris drew blood and donations from attacking him.  But I could see this being a tiresome, almost hacky theme for the night. Score points on Biden when clear (“middle ground” on climate change is a good and unforced area to exploit), but don’t make him the Governor’s whipping boy.
  • Kamala Harris – This is where Governor Inslee cannot be afraid to attack BY NAME if the occasion arises. She is polished and also inconsistent and not too grounded in a lot of her policy positions.
    • “She is a sharp and talented politician, but replacing Trump will demand something more than a steep learning curve. This country will need someone ready on Day One.  16 years in Congress and 2 terms as a governor you can bet that I know my position and policy on health care and the other vital issues of our time.”
    • (if in a climate change exchange) “I’m glad Senator Harris has embraced climate change and my terminology” – bait her into “Governor, you don’t have a monopoly on the issue of climate change” to reply with “But I do have the gold standard plan to fight it and not just borrowed platitudes.” Boom goes the dynamite. But don’t engage her unless the Governor is prepared to take a knockout punch. It can be a winning moment FOR SURE, but only if going for the final line.
  • Andrew Yang
    • $1000 a month to everyone is a nice idea, but what’s worked for me as Governor in Washington is to continually look to the future by embracing new industries and focusing on workers’ rights. I find that that has put more than $1000 a month in the accounts of many Washingtonians.”
  • Tulsi Gabbard – She’s peaked at 1% – nothing to go after here. At least Yang provides an angle for a good soundbyte
  • Bill DeBlasio
    • “Perhaps if you interrupted your own governor as much as you interrupt me the NYC subway system would be in better shape”
    •  “Mayor DeBlasio has done some great things for working class families and everything he’s done as a Mayor from minimum wage to Pre K, etc. I have done and more as a governor (careful though – population of NYC is bigger than the state of Washington – but argue forcefully that Governor Inslee accomplished some things without the convenience of one-party rule in NYC)
  • Cory Booker – I like Booker, but don’t see a lot of areas for confrontation, nor really the need to as I think his candidacy will never break into the top tier
  • Julian Castro – the candidate most likely to go overboard (he endorsed abortion rights for trans women in the last debate, which seems like something out of a science fiction novel parodying the modern left). He is probably going to try and follow Harris’ tactic of attacking Biden, but then also try to attack Harris on criminal justice issues. Potentially a positive contrast with Castro on issues like immigration to show you have had success with liberal policies and court action, but perhaps look somewhat moderate in comparison (maybe if a Castro-Bennett argument occurs Governor Inslee can look like a moderate success by comparison)
  • Michael Bennett – I like Bennett and he will probably act as a moderate attack dog, perhaps as a more energetic alternative for Biden voters. I would leave him be for now.
  • Kirsten Gillebrand
    • “When I was in a conservative district I voted for the assault weapons ban and lost my seat. My opinions on guns didn’t change based on what district I was representing.”
    • “Please stop interrupting”

The goal from Detroit is not to become a front runner. It’s 2% or more – I think that’s possible, but it will require more than a good record and a kind demeanor.  Go get it!

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The Jay Inslee Fundraiser Recap

Last night I went to a fundraiser for Governor Jay Inslee – the candidate I think should be and needs to be the next President of the United States.  Before I give you the recap, a reminder that if you are a Democrat, Independent or (gulp) Republican reading this and believe that climate change is a huge issue, then go give Governor Inslee $5. It’s not a lot of money, but it counts as an individual donor to reach the 130,000 threshold for the Fall Democratic debates.  I think Governor Inslee should be president (I will give my face-to-face impressions shortly), but in 2016 I gave money to Bernie Sanders before voting for Hillary Clinton. I did that because I liked the direction Bernie was pushing the campaign and his discussions of income inequality. Even though I thought Hillary would be the better and more effective president, I thought Bernie’s message and voice was an important driving force (I wish he could have given that same energy to supporting her candidacy in the general election…).  Similarly, I think if you believe climate change is an issue of vital importance, giving any amount to Governor Inslee will guarantee that the most prepared and substantive voice on the issue can speak to the nation and make sure that whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2020 will make it a central issue.  So if you agree (and especially if you have not yet given) click on the following link to make a donation DONATE TO JAY INSLEE

Now on to the fundraiser!

My girlfriend (when you give a fat check you get to bring a +1… or maybe anyone who gave lesser amounts could, but I am telling myself that what I gave came with extra perks) arrived at the swanky Central Park West address and made our way through the lobby about 20 minutes after the start time (we both took a quick coffee shop break to cool off from the Summer subway sweat puddle we had become) I heard a voice that was very familiar.  As we approached the service elevator that was to bring us up to the fundraiser I said to my girlfriend “that’s him.”  As we turned into the elevator there were about 5 people in the elevator and a pair of tall blue eyes (I’m talking the Walkers on Game of Thrones blue) looking out from the back of the elevator.  My girlfriend and I then stood facing forward and she turned around and mouthed a “that’s him,” at which point I realized she wasn’t really listening to me as we approached the elevator 20 seconds earlier (admittedly dating a comic is probably exhausting on the ears).  We exited the elevator and were greeted into the apartment that was (at least) 2 stories. It was already fairly full and fairly hot so we made our way to a less crowded room where I found a small tray of cookies (it’s like they were calling me) – there were snacks of varying level of class around the apartment – the wine was near the shrimp cocktail and sushi, but I had found cooler air and cookies so I had no plans to move.

So first impressions of Governor Inslee can be summed up from the conversation my girlfriend and I had had afterwards:

Me: He’s like a legit 6’4″

GF: He’s kind of got a Kennedy thing going

Me: Minus all the issues and baggage – And those eyes were Blue AF!

GF: It was hot in the apartment, but he was in a full suit and didn’t seem to be sweating.

Me: You think his suit was made of dry-fit?

ME and GF: quick chuckle

(This is the conversation we actually had)

So around 6:45 pm the Governor addressed the crowd.  He gave a nice talk, which was probably more to convince the people who attended who are curious about his candidacy than people like me who are like “I don’t have money to invest in curiosities, so if I’m here I am fully on board.”  At one point the Governor referenced his Evergreen Ecomony Plan and said (paraphrasing) “It’s not just some wish list; it’s a governing document. And whoever the nominee is can use it.” (Having read it I must say it feels like something that would be on everyone’s desk in Washington D.C. on day one of an Inslee presidency.  It may not be a “fun” read, but my God is it deep and comprehensive and honestly, sort of inspiring to see someone put so much depth and care into an important issue.  But when the Governor said any nominee could use it a woman “awwwww’d” and I almost laughed out loud.  But then the Governor opened it up to questions and comments from the crowd. Here I am at that moment:

So a few questions got asked and then I raised my hand and was called on.

To summarize my comment (though I was more nervous than I think I had ever been since in my mind I was talking to the person I think should be the next President):

  • All my friends who are responsive to what I tell them about you seem to want to pigeonhole you as a future EPA administrator
  • The Evergreen plan I read it (teacher’s pet – for which the Governor said I should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize) and there’s 5 pages dedicated to organized labor’s role in an Inslee economy
  • At the Miami debate you were the only one to mention organized labor but in Detroit everyone will fall over themselves to be the candidate of labor – please don’t let them without reminding and informing the viewers that you are the one with it baked into your plan and you were the only one who talked about it in Miami.

Basically in a room full of fairly upper crust liberals I wanted to say face to face what I said in my post-Miami blog, which is basically “you can seize some or a lot of the blue collar Democratic vote not by pandering, but just by showing what you’ve done and what your plan entails (but be sure to brand others as pandering).  A few minutes later someone asked “How will you get blue collar Democrats worried about tomorrow when they are worried about today (meaning climate vs paycheck)?” I leaned over to my girlfriend and said “That shit is in the plan!  The GI bill for workers in transition!”  Now the reason Inslee is running for President and I am sitting in a Starbucks blogging is because he spent the next 5 minutes kindly explaining the things he has done in Washington state and apply that nationally. My response would have been closer to: “What did I spend my life putting together a plan that will save the world if you are going to come to me and ask me that?  Get your ass to a Marianne Williamson event before I make climate change out of your (checks donation list) $250 dollar ass!”

I then met Hailee, Governor Inslee’s tri-state finance director and chief target of my Inslee-positive Twitter harassment, who promised me a photo with the Governor.  Eventually I got to get a photo with the Governor and also a few minutes to speak with him. A quick shot of our conversation:

Don’t believe me? Here:

“In Detroit you need to Ron Artest the rest of the Democratic field!”

In the few minutes I got with him he thanked me for reading his plan and I then told him as quickly as possible that I had not really known of him 8 months ago but because climate change is my #1 issue his candidacy seemed immediately worth supporting. But the more I read about him and his record the more I realized that he was clearly the best candidate and that more people needed to know about his entire record.  I then told him that some people (hint – KAMALA HARRIS) were already ripping off some of his lines in debates and that in Detroit he couldn’t play second to anyone on the issue of labor or on his record, when the candidates undoubtedly will try to pander to the Rust Belt.  We then said our goodbyes and I left to have dinner with my girlfriend.

Here is my assessment overall.  Governor Inslee strikes me as a fundamentally (and uncommonly) good man, with a great record, a great and meaningful platform and if casting a President for a movie I think he would be the first choice.  Seriously – imagine a Kennedy with an unblemished moral compass, a strong family man with a strong progressive record of leadership and accomplishment. A TV producer would yell at you and say he was too Norman Rockwell. So as a bonus, after meeting him I am also convinced he could beat the crap out of Donald Trump. Not in a Joe Biden, back in my day way, but in a serious Stone Cold Stunner way if Trump rolls up on in him in a debate:

So after reading his plans, studying his record, watching what feels like at least 50 media appearances and meeting the man I cannot stress enough that if you are not settled on a candidate to give him a real look.  And if you are settled on a candidate the way I was with Hillary, keeping Governor Inslee in the debates will only strengthen the party and perhaps allow more people to see his record (and his Blue AF eyes).  But just to show my restraint during the meeting here is what I said to my girlfriend before meeting the Governor:

“What I want to say to him is ‘A lot of these candidates have plans. Well you know what Mike Tyson said about plans? Everyone has one until they get punched in the mouth.  So in Detroit go METAPHORICALLY punch some of these candidates in the mouth and let them know that you are already beyond the plans phase in Washington State – AND CALL THEM OUT BY NAME.”  I thought better of saying it, but I hope after a visit to NYC he brings a little “Take-No-Sh*t attitude to Detroit.  And here is me photo bombing (with Hailee’s blessing) the future POTUS before speaking with him:

A solid starting front court for a 40 & over rec league
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Bored on the 4th of July

I am currently off for the first day since May 27th (started writing this on July 4th, published on July 9th). I wish I could report that I was touring the country’s comedy clubs, but I have focused the last 16 years of my comedy career trying to become good at stand up comedy, which is a way of saying “I need to make money.” The pattern basically goes like this:

  • Get booked for a bunch of clubs getting paid at 1988 wages for whatever spots have not been claimed for the mediocrities most of today’s “headliners” bring with them to clubs
  • Realize that if you have 52 weeks of work at those rates you could survive barely but would have all that free time to work on comedy writing and related endeavors to hopefully improve your work and standing in the business
  • Realize 15 seconds later that you only have 17 weeks/weekends of work in a good year
  • Find the best work you can for someone who has postponed (and possibly killed) the hope of a real, non-comedy career.  Must take work in those 30+ weeks that pays enough (thus requiring heavy work hours that preclude writing and a life) to support the ungrateful, illiterate goth teen of a stand up career that you are still trying to raise.
  • Blog about it. Eat cookies.

So I have been sitting in a law firm in midtown for 38 days in a row, unable to do anything comedy related.  Or really anything life related. The only breaks for me have been Big Little Lies on Sundays and laundry on Saturday nights (the laundry rom in my building is surprisingly empty on Saturdays at 10pm) Fortunately I have kept my creative side of my brain by pursuing 2020 politics and tweeting speech fragments to myself during breaks in my quioxotic quest to get Governor Jay Inslee of Washington (state) elected president.  Maybe its just my affinity for people with undeniable talent and credentials, with J in their name, who America seems to be inexplicably rejecting. Maybe it’s just the idea that if you are going to create great work that will go unappreciated, unheard and/or unread you might as well do it for a great presidential candidate than in comedy clubs for teeming masses of navel gazing, non-reading, culturally ignorant, cell-phone staring dregs who would sell their children to starfu*k a fecal sample from the Kardashians (and that is just the other comedians I am writing about – the audiences can often be worse, with exceptions carved out for every audience member who has bought one or more of my albums).

In this age of convenience (written through the lens of stand up comedy by a brilliant commentator HERE) to paraphrase JFK, “I waste my life trying to write things that matter or make people laugh, not because it is easy, but because it is haaaaaaaahd.” So while I was sitting, making my way through Jay Inslee’s Evergreen Economy plan during work breaks, I started writing the following on my phone, gave it more structure on America’s birthday and finished it on the 9th of July (and my bigger set of tips and strategies for Inslee at the Detroit debates can be read HERE). I have no idea how this speech could be used or given, but I still think it makes a lot of good points with a lot of good lines and rhetoric punches so feel free to use some or all of it Inslee campaign (and then holler at me communications team!). OK – here it is:

THE FOUR PILLARS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Women’s Health. Labor. Civil Rights. The Environment.  These are pillars of the modern Democratic Party.  In recent years the Democratic party, our party, has paid lip service to some of these pillars. Pillars that for so long have been the heart and soul of our party. Pillars that, if we didn’t know before, certainly know now, require constant vigilance. We are the party that protects women’s health and choice. We are the party that protects the environment. We are the party that stands for union labor, collective bargaining and a higher minimum wage. And we are the party that since Lyndon Johnson has been the party of protecting and expanding civil rights for the people of this country.  Make no mistake – that is what our party stands for, however imperfectly at times.  But now is the time where we must stand taller than ever for these things.  Comparing favorably to Donald Trump, a man whose contempt for our institutions and traditions, is only exceeded by his incompetence as a chief executive, is no great feat.  And offering a host of plans and ideas and passionate speeches is good, but this country needs a leader not only with great ideas and consistent, forward-thinking, progressive ideals, but one that has the experience and leadership in implementing those policies to make Americans’ lives better. We know that being better than Trump isn’t even a sufficient moral baseline – we must be the best WE can be and nothing less than that will be enough. And I think to move forward we must take some responsibility for where we are as a country.

Women’s Health

We allowed a President in office that, thanks to the rubber stamp of the most amoral and devious Senate Leader in modern memory, has flooded our judiciary from the district courts all the way to the Supreme Court. Some of those judges are woefully unqualified other than their willingness to adhere to Fox News’ version of jurisprudence. Other judges have been academically and professionally qualified, but have demonstrated moral failings that should have stopped them from serving on our highest Court, especially as deciding votes concerning women’s health. The name Merrick Garland may be a sick badge of honor for Mitch McConnell, but it will also remain a stain on the history of the United States Senate.  Now we may not have voted for Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump, but does that absolve us completely? Did we vote for a candidate with the best chance to defeat Trump or did we sit on a progressive high horse thinking Hillary Clinton would win anyway?  Did we encourage friends and family members to vote or to register to vote? And by the way have we donated to Amy McGrath who wants to make sure Mitch McConnell never sits in the United States Senate again?  The threats we face from the Trump-McConnell Devil’s Bargain, from our courts to our communities to the very air we breathe demand a greater collective commitment than we have demonstrated in recent years.

I have been and always will be a defender of a woman’s full autonomy over her health and her choices regarding her body. I understand this is an issue with strong emotions on both sides, but frankly I am embarrassed that at this point in 2019 we are still debating and legislating to what degree a woman in the United States of America can control her own body. I voted against the Hyde Amendment while in Congress because it was the right thing to do. I have not just spoken or fought for gender pay equity – I signed it into law in Washington State as governor. My commitment, as well as our entire party’s commitment, to women’s health and women’s equality must be total and it must be fought for every day. We have many people doing their part to protect and strengthen this legacy, but ask yourself – are we doing enough?  Could we do more?

Labor

We allowed our commitment to labor to waver, once a bedrock of Democratic support. Are we absolved because Trump outright lies to them about what jobs are coming and going? On our watch we have seen right to work laws, which might as well be called “Right to Kill Union” laws thrive.  Time has always shown that the stronger our unions are, the stronger our middle class is.  The party of Trump has been waging a war for decades on unions, not because they care about the rights of labor, but because they cared how labor voted.  Pitting states against states in a race to the bottom, cutting benefits and fighting against a higher minimum wage – these are the policies of the party that has given us so called “Right to Work” laws.  They want you to believe that immigrants are the source of your oppression. So they promise you jobs that are going away, while simultaneously suppressing the jobs of your town’s future. That is because to them the future is a spreadsheet next fiscal quarter. To me the future is whether your son or daughter will have the same opportunity to work in the same town or city as you.

I am the Governor of a state that has the highest minimum wage in the country and I have fought for union labor my whole career. And most importantly, as people brand me the climate candidate, as some token acknowledgement of the importance of the climate crisis at best and a shorthand dismissal of my campaign at worst, know that the centerpiece of my Evergreen Economy Plan is a commitment to, and a reinvigoration of, organized labor. Millions of jobs will be created because they are necessary to reshape our economy and save our planet. Under a Jay Inslee administration labor will not be left behind or given token acknowledgement – it will be the driving force at the head of a new 21st century economy. My state of Washington has been thriving for both businesses and workers and my plans plainly put workers at the center of a new industrial age for America.

We need middle class workers, and union workers to know that we still have their back and are the party to strengthen their future. We have many people doing their part to protect and strengthen this legacy, but ask yourself – are we doing enough? Could we do more?

Civil Rights

Over just the last 3 years we have seen some of our front line communities further marginalized as they fight for their survival amidst voter suppression, criminal justice bias, and the stripping of basic rights, even the ability to serve this country in combat based on gender identity. Donald Trump has shown the world our worst side on these issues.  And now we confront the issue of uninhibited, partisan gerrymandering at the same time as Donald Trump threatening to defy the Supreme Court and put a question on the census demanding citizenship status. Make no mistake the census question is a hideously perfect triple threat of the Trump regime: use a tactic with racially biased implications, to corrupt the political system, while ignoring the rule of law.  The Trump regime has been disdainful at its best and hateful at its worst toward people of color, women, LGTBQ people and, most perniciously of all, to immigrants whether they be Muslims from around the world or children from Central America. Whatever Trump property they choose to turn into a book-less library when his presidency is over should have the quote “Very fine people on both sides” over the doorway and pictures of children in cages filling its hallways, because that is the legacy he will leave this country to confront. Diversity, in all its forms, is one of America’s greatest strengths and what has helped make this country both a leader globally and a beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the world. We will not just have to resist Trump now, but will have to work hard to restore America as a moral leader when he is gone.

We have many people doing their part to fight this attack on the values of America and the demonization of the people who come here to help themselves, as well as our nation, but ask yourself – are we doing enough? Could we do more?

Environment

And yes, I have fought and now hope to lead the fight against the climate crisis which can be America’s latest and possibly greatest opportunity to lead the world, but only if we confront it with the courage, the moral force and most importantly the will that only the people of the United States can muster.  There is no longer a debate on the science on this issue. The only debate now is do we confront the issue head on with a plan to make the world healthier and make our economy a leader for the next century or refuse to act because the Republican Party clings to the cash of the Koch brothers while asking its voters to cling to a vision of yesterday and ignore the promise of tomorrow.

We have many people doing their part to protect the environment, but ask yourself – are we doing enough? Could we do more?

The threats to women, to civil rights, to our strong labor class and to the health of our planet are at stake. If there has been one silver lining to the gold-plated presidency of Donald Trump it is that he has shown that the day of Not In My Backyard Progressivism has got to stop. Defeating the problems we face, from a wannabe dictator to the destruction of our environment requires both a resolve and also a sense of unified purpose, that we have not shown as a nation recently, but that I have to believe we still possess. As Governor I have shown how fighting climate change and fighting for the middle class can lead to a thriving economy for businesses and workers, as well as a cleaner environment for all of their children and grandchildren to enjoy. Protecting women’s rights and promoting civil rights are two of the many reasons why Washington state is considered the best state in the country by so many metrics. But this is not just about my record as a legislator and governor. This is deeply personal. My father was a high school biology teacher and coach and from an early age he instilled in me an appreciation of the world entrusted to us. And as I look at my three grandkids, my three favorite people in the world, I believe it is my duty, not as a governor, but as a grandfather to ensure that my grandkids have a country that is healthy, just and prosperous.  I’m running for President because I want that for them and believe that with your help and commitment we can make it a reality.

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July and Detroit for Jay Inslee

Just as Governor Jay Inslee is seeking to transition the United States to a green economy, I continue my transition from unpaid comedic genius to unpaid political strategist (despite loving The Dark Knight like a child I have never quite heeded The Joker’s advice of “If you’re good at something never do it for free”).  After watching the first debate I offered the Inslee campaign some reminders and some unsolicited advice on how Governor Inslee should adjust his messaging (right down to word choice) and debate approach. HERE IT IS if interested.  But with Kamala Harris taking over the second debate and possibly snatching frontrunner status from Joe Biden (with a combination of charisma, a deft challenge to Biden, a host of platitudes, a major inconsistency, usage of clichés and the lifting of not one, but two winning lines from Governor Inslee) I thought there was no time like 530am on a Tuesday in my underwear to start drafting my next set of tips for the Governor’s team:

  1.  Unions will be a big topic in Detroit at the end of the month.  Governor Inslee was the only one to mention them in the first debate.  Whether it’s Kamala Harris doing her second backflip on Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for all plan, Julian Castro guaranteeing the right to abortion for trans women or Beto O’Rourke busting out his Spanish, the debates are going to be full of pandering. And with the second debate, union labor and working class American will surely be courted heavily (won’t people find it odd if the economy only gets talked about for 15 minutes in 4 hours in Detroit the way climate change was only talked about for 15 minutes in 4 hours in Miami?) by the candidates.  Governor Inslee has made reinvigorating organized labor a centerpiece of his Evergreen Economy plan. And he drew some bipartisan pundit praise for being the only candidate to mention the need (and his plan) to strengthen unions.  Well, he will be one of 19 other candidates to do so in Detroit (I cannot guarantee what the hell Marianne Williamson will say). Without appearing to be whining he MUST make sure that the rust belt knows that he made unions a centerpiece of his plan and has not just talked about them while pandering in Detroit (language might seem strong, but so what – use it). “Not one other candidate talked about union labor in the first debate. But don’t trust what I say in Detroit. Look at my state of Washington. Highest minimum wage in the country. #1 in employee satisfaction and in state GDP.  And look at my Evergreen Economy Plan. Union labor and strengthening collective bargaining are the centerpieces of my plan to transition our 20th century economy into a 21st century economy.  It has a GI Bill to help workers move from fossil fuel industry to clean energy economy.  Labor and factory workers will not be left behind in a Jay Inslee economy – they will be out in front leading it. And you don’t have to take my word for it because I’ve already done it in Washington State.” and related to that…
  2. Make One Page Summaries for The Various Plans.  Governor Inslee’s plans are in depth and rigorous. They also don’t make for easy sharing except among the deeply interested and learned.  Make one page, bullet-pointed summaries of the plans, especially the Evergreen Economy.  Easier to share and digest for the average person and voter.  Debates do no play to all of Governor Inslee’s strengths, given the number of candidates and the brevity of answers allowed and 36 single-spaced pages do not allow for easy mass consumption.
  3.  Iowa Cynicism.  For much of the year Joe Biden has led in Iowa polls.  In second has been Bernie Sanders.  They could not be much more opposite as far as Democrats go, but oddly enough, in Iowa, the supporters of each had the other as their second choice.  Since we are all adults here, the message in that is clear – an older white man still represents tradition, stability, comfort and “Presidential” to that segment of the electorate. There is no other explanation since their politics are as different as their demographics are similar.  That simply means that from a political and, sadly, a demographic stand point, Governor Inslee can probably pick off votes from both of those camps, especially Biden.  This does not mean change messaging or pander, but facts are facts and Governor Inslee is a steady, telegenic leader like Biden (but not too old), but with a consistent and progressive record to assuage Bernie Bro concerns.  I guess this just means that making a big splash in Iowa in January is not just necessary for Inslee, but also possible.
  4. Do not let Warren skate and do not let Harris get away with stealing lines.  As I wrote last month naming one’s opponents is a clear winner, as those who attacked Beto can attest to. Saying that Warren has good ideas, but that Inslee has actually already made them law is more like a backhanded compliment than an attack and I think could work, at least in terms of making people look at the Governor’s record and give him serious consideration.  And Harris claiming “I call it the climate crisis” or using his winning line from the end of the first debate about Donald Trump being the biggest threat proves she is a Pitbull (yes as a prosecutor, but also as someone who samples others’ work and makes it shittier).
  5. Make Donald Trump’s incompetence a new, main line of attack. I am very proud Governor Inslee has repeatedly, forcefully and unequivocally condemned Donald Trump’s entire political career as a racism-driven movement. From Birtherism on, Governor Inslee has called it as it is.  But the cold facts are that some people are numb to the accusations of racism. Others are turned off by it.  I don’t agree with or condone that apathy or ignorance, but the goal is to win the nomination and beat Donald Trump.  As someone who has plainly called out Trump’s racism and has an impeccable progressive record, the lane that really could work well for Inslee (and yes, while courting some of those Biden and Bernie voters from #3) is to highlight the massive incompetence of Trump and his administration (thanks to Pete Dominick of Sirius XM who got me thinking about this line of attack):
    •  His diplomatic, ego-driven failures (Saudi, North Korea, Iran, etc)
    • That he exited the TPP, but then wanted back in when he realized it was the best way to fight China (but he was more concerned with continuing his attacks on our First Black President – double whammy – incompetent and racist, without saying the R word)
    • His tax cut failure – did not help the middle class, but sure helped real estate developers (self-dealing)
    • His record turnover of cabinet officials – claiming they are the best people and then within a year trashing them as (insert some of the insults)
    • The corruption within his administration
    • His lies about coal
    • His inability to heal the nation even in the most obvious and painful of tragedies like Charlottesville
    • etc

I made many other suggestions in my last three political blogs about how Governor Inslee should approach debating and how he should get his message out, so hopefully some people have read them (including a social media ad campaign of 30 second videos on issues where other candidates are scoring rhetorical points for policy, but Governor Inslee has already implemented them as law).  The voters are not set in stone as the Harris rise and Biden fall showed this week.  But Governor Inslee needs to be more forceful and carve out a unique path that highlights his considerable strengths while not treading the familiar ground of failed candidates past and present.

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What Next for Governor Jay Inslee After The First…

The good news for Governor Jay Inslee is that no one has him in the “had a bad night” category, and a few people have him in the “had a good night” category.  That might be enough for Senator Elizabeth Warren, the front runner of the first debate group, who basically spoke for the first hour and delivered a solid, but overrated performance, and did nothing, almost literally, for the second hour.  People gushing over her safe, not memorable performance feels more like confirmation bias of her status than any real analysis of her performance.

However, in my mind there were three winners: Bill DeBlasio, Julian Castro and Cory Booker.  They expanded the nation’s awareness of them and all had strong individual moments (word for word I think no one was better than Bill DeBlasio – and my friend John had presciently warned me that he thought DeBlasio might try for the same things I wanted Governor Inslee to do – tout specifics about your leadership, your progressive accomplishments and then attack at least one opponent by name.  He did all those with undeniable rhetorical flourish). I was satisfied with Governor Inslee’s performance for sure, but I wanted him to have more of a debate like one of my top three performers.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I believe Governor Inslee needed to name a couple of opponents (with Warren being the obvious) to make a personal distinction between a plan-maker and a lawmaker. He made that point several times (though Amy Klobuchars attempt at a moment, which did get pander-plause was a misguided “I’m a woman so I don’t need a man to tell me about protecting women’s health” when Governor Inslee was simply pointing out the fact that he has passed more laws on the issue as governor than any of the people on the stage. However, the crowd still ate it up so it counts as a point.  But DeBlasio, Castro and Booker, in that order, detected the awkward young gazelle named Beto (as I wrote on Twitter – The CW’s idea of what a president is) as a candidate that they could attack personally. And they did and they all scored points for it.  Governor Inslee scored many points during the evening and used my strategy (inadvertently or nor… I am starting to think his people may have actually read my blogs and tweets – can I have a job?) of invoking accomplishments over plans. And he got a few strong applause (called by CNN the line of the night “The greatest threat to our national security is Donald Trump.”).  But now comes the work (I’ve gotten about 10-15 people to donate to the campaign and at this point that is probably my ceiling as a fundraiser) of adjusting and improving messaging and debating going forward. So here are my tips and ideas for Team Inslee going forward:

  1. Stop saying “Donald Trump says wind turbines cause Cancer; they cause jobs.”  First off, don’t improve Trump’s stupidity. He actually said “they say the noise from win turbines causes Cancer.”  That’s actually dumber. So change the line to “Donald Trump, I’m embarrassed to even repeat this, but Donald Trump says that the NOISE from wind turbines causes Cancer.  The only things the sound of wind turbines indicate are the presence of clean energy and new jobs.” The line the Governor uses now is not as rhetorically catchy as he/the writers may think and it avoids the full stupidity of Trump.
  2.  The “deathbed” or “with my last breath” talk about climate change and the governor’s grandchildren is powerful, but might also be a little bit of a downer.  I would say something more akin to “My father was a biology teacher (humble roots, education – good points) and he instilled in me not only a love of nature, but a respect for it. And as I see my grandkids growing up I want to honor my father, but also honor my grandkids by ensuring that they have a country and a world that is as healthy and beautiful and prosperous as the one my father introduced me to.”
  3.  I must repeat this even though it was the focus of the last blog – NAME. WARREN. (and others who feel applicable).  BCD (Booker, Castro, DeBlasio) all attacked Beto and scored big. It showed they could be fighters (for those worried about Trump’s imposing presence) and it showed a willingness to make important issues personal.  Governor Inslee obviously cares deeply about a host of progressive issues and it shows, but his game on Wednesday night was like watching a great tennis player play against a wall at the park. You can see some of the skills, but only when blasting forehand winners past an opponent do people really get to see the skill and greatness.  Warren was treated like a figurehead at the debate by both the moderators and the other candidates.  Governor Inslee said a couple of times that “plans are great, but as governor…”  As correct as those comments were, he MUST name an opponent and draw blood. Saying some less condescending version of “I like Senator Warren’s plans so much I already made them into law in my state” and then drawing a distinction between ideas and ideas + executive experience is a legitimate one, one that will score points and the kind of attack that doesn’t feel like an attack, but more like a vicious backhanded compliment.
  4. Stop being so polite.  Bill DeBlasio scored points by basically seizing every moment he could. It wasn’t quite NYC rude, but whenever he saw a parking space he took it without hesitation.  I saw Governor Inslee raise his hand at least 4 times and get ingored.  And worst of all, as I feared in a pre-debate tweet, Rachael Maddow wouldn’t let Governor Inslee speak on guns (though he did get in a great quick line about the filibuster) but tried to appease him with being first on climate change (DUH – did anyone not think he would get that question first?).  And as someone who would like a climate debate, but did not demand it – I must admit the climate change coverage in the debate was appallingly low. I think, at the risk of appearing like The Lorax, the Governor should absolutelty hammer the almost GOP level of time devoted to the issue.  Be more like DeBlasio in style – confidently forceful, but not outright rude.  As far as content of those comments – email me! I will work for little money!
  5. Lastly – where to go from here for Governor Inslee.  There needs to either be a town hall or speech in front of a large crowd. Even if he needs to do it in his home state (also Van Jones spoke very highly of the Governor’s performance on CNN last night… and he has an hour long show on CNN on Saturdays…).  Or there needs to be a big ad buy.  He must call out some rivals by name to draw a contrast. He needs a list, but not a boring one of all his accomplishments, laws and progressive consistency through the years.  So here, sort of reiterated from a previous blog post, is my vision of an Inslee ad (or maybe even better a series of individual YouTube/Facebook/Twitter ads that in 15-20 second bursts take each of the bullet points I will share below one by one) that is needed now to change the perception of the candidate and set up the next several months of the campaign (if Inslee’s Super PAC is reading this – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?):
  • Beto talking about climate change followed by picture of Governor Inslee and graphic of various sources citing Washington State’s plan as the best climate change plan in the country and the Evergeen Economy labeled the gold standard by Greenpeace
  • Cory Booker talking about gun violence followed by a picture of a young Rep. Inslee voting for the assault weapons ban and “Vote to ban assault weapons costs Rep. Inslee his seat in Congress” and/or shot of Governor Inslee face to face with Trump about arming teachers in Florida (and I still think the Governor needs a meeting with the Parkland kids – between climate and gun control, the Governor should be THE candidate for young people)
  • Julian Castro talking about immigration followed by Governor Inslee’s debate answer of “fighting Muslim ban, protecting dreamers in Washington, etc. (one of his best answers all night)
  • Elizabeth Warren discussing free college, etc and (I think you get the pattern now – Governor passing tuition-related laws in WA)
  • Joe Biden on “middle ground on climate” followed by climate graphic and quote of the Governor’s choice
  • Bernie talking about taking on Wall Street (followed by Rep Inslee voting against the repeal of Glass-Steagall in Congress)
  • Lastly Trump talking about war with Iran and Rep Inslee voting against the war in Iraq

“My opponents many of whom have great ideas, do not have the track record of progressive accomplishment that I have as governor and as a congressman.  I know I can make it happen as President because while my opponents talk about that they would do; I’ve already made it happen as Governor.”

If Gov Inslee attacks or names so many opponents many will have to come back at him, but the good thing about that is it will reframe his candidacy. If one or two come after you you look like Beto (though the Governor would have a lot more substance to defend himself with), but if 5 or 6 want to show how good they are compared to him it makes him look more like a frontrunner and less like an also-ran.

And one more thing, great Twitter takeover by the Govenror’s wife of 47 years, Trudi.  That video of the Governor sledding at Tom Cruise stunt-level speeds with his grandson should be a viral video.  Embrace the Governor’s record and experience and also that he looks like a rugged westerner who will be able to save the country and beat (phsycially if need be… kidding) Donald Trump.

Donate to Jay Inslee HERE if you like Governor Inslee’s plans or just want more of a platform given to climate change, which he is prioritizing like no other candidate.

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It’s Time for Jay Inslee to Start Name Checking

For anyone following me on social media for the last few months, my usual cycle of Utah Jazz support, entertainment snark and Trump bashing has been superseded by a daily campaign for Governor Jay Inslee for President.  I was supposed to attend a private fundraiser for Governor Inslee earlier this week, but given my usual luck it was not completely surprising that bad weather and a helicopter crash (!) in NYC led to a postponement of the event.  So I must resort to my blog and social media to get part two of my message out to Inslee and his staff.  Governor Inslee can no longer play the role of The Lorax in the 2020 campaign. He cannot play the Eco John the Baptist to whichever savior the Democratic primary voters eventually pick. He needs to get out of the 1% pack and to do so he must start naming names in the Democratic party.

As a quick recap I wrote this about and for Inslee in March and although it took a while he has started to employ some of these things (almost certainly by coincidence, but still).

  • He has started to distinguish himself a little bit from the also-rans with his climate change militancy
  • He has name checked Joe Biden (at the time that I wrote in March, Bernie was the front runner and Biden had not declared yet, but the logic is the same)
  • He has finally started to tout his stellar progressive credentials and accomplishments

At least some of these represent positive and smart steps, even if it took too long to start.  But now the Governor has a bigger problem. He is basically headlining the 1% field. His climate debate request has gotten him a little more press, but it has not been able to get him to break into the Biden-Bernie-Warren-Buttigieg-Harris 1st tier.  He has not even broken into the Booker-Beto-Klobuchar second tier. Oddly enough, when Seth Myers took a dig at Inslee’s relative anonymity I thought “at least they were mentioning him!”  It reminded me of the Jack Sparrow line, when told he was the worst pirate someone had ever heard of… “but you have heard of me.”

And to be clear, my money is where my blog is – I have given so much money to the Inslee campaign that my girlfriend may be starting to think Inslee is a chick from California that I am seeing on the side since some of that money “might be better spent on other things” as she waves her naked ring finger.  But the Governor is in real danger of being stuck in the 1% crowd permanently if he doesn’t take some drastic action. That is why he needs to start naming his opponents and not just offering a list of great accomplishments as a legislator and governor (that not enough people are hearing anyway).  Because right now, Inslee’s goal must be to get to 3-5%. And to do so he must start going after those above him.

But this is not necessarily a call for attacks and I don’t think from Inslee’s character he is looking to tear down fellow Democrats. Instead here examples of what he should do (in both an ad and in the debate at the end of the month):

  •  “I think Senator Warren has a great idea for paid family leave. That’s why I already implemented it as Governor.”
  • “I think Senator Booker has great ideas on criminal justice reform and gun control. I lost my seat in the House voting for the assault weapons ban and have commuted sentences/pardoned thousands of non-violent drug offenders as governor.”
  • “Beto has a cute climate change plan.” (Ok that’s just for me, but you get where I am going)
  • “Bernie is a passionate progressive, but my progressive record is second to none and I did it in signing bills and risking my seat in Congress, not just in debates and campaign rallies. My state has the highest minimum wage AND the highest GDP.”
  •  “Senator Warren has a good plan for college tuition, but I have done that in Washington as well. And as someone who had to leave Stanford after a year for financial reasons I understand this issue on a personal level.”
  • “Pete Buttigieg has a great future in this party and is an important voice going forward, but when we get Donald Trump out of office we need someone with the experience and the vision to tackle our probelems on day one. He may be a quick study, but I already know the book.”
  • “Joe Biden was a great VP under a great President, but Mitch McConnell needs to be dealt with as the SCOTUS thieving, Trump enabling, corrupt wife-having enemy to our Constitution that he is. WOOOOOO!” (sorry a Ric Flair exclamation seemed appropriate after all the rhyming).

I hope that makes my point clear.  Govenror Inslee is at the point where getting to 10 or 20% is something to worry about in the Fall. The immediate mission (for the survivial of his campaign and message) is to get to 5%. And to do that contrasts must be made by name.  Most of those are not attacks, especially the Booker and Warren comparisons – but they will make people wonder if maybe Governor Inslee is the best person to make ideas into laws.  The message must be “Yes I think climate change is the lens through which we must view most, if not all, issues, but before you brand me some tree hugging, one issue candidate, know that my record as a Congressman and a governor is a progressive powerhouse. Many of the candidates you support now are great people with great ideas. But I have spent the last 25 years turning great ideas into great laws. And when it comes to not just defeating Trump, but governing and leading a great new century of American hope and prosperity there is NO candidate more prepared on day one than me.”  They cannot attack Inslee on his record from the left and if the moderates of the party want a Biden – they should be looking at the younger guy with a sterling economic record as governor – where business AND workers have thrived.

Too many people think of Govenror Inslee as a one issue candidate and relegate him to the EPA under an administration of a candidate polling better.  That’s like saying Lebron James would make a great 6th man. Yes, it’s true, but the resume, the accomplishments and the experience demand a bigger spotlight and that starts, for Governor Inslee, by naming names and getting to 5%.

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The Case (and possible strategies) for Jay Inslee

In 2000 I cast my first Presidential vote for Al Gore.  I had been a big fan of Gore’s since middle school when I read Earth in the Balance and was happy to vote for someone who had the experience, intellect and foresight to confront the issues critical to the country’s present and future.  Obviously he sighed at a debate, lost the election and seems to have (understandably) lost his passion for politics. I have since voted for John Kerry, President Obama twice and Hillary Clinton.  But the candidate I am supporting for 2020 may be the most enthusiastic vote I’ll cast since popping my presidential voting cherry for Gore (though being the bi-racial son of a black immigrant man and a white American woman I did feel a personal affinity for then-candidate and President Obama). I am supporting Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and am hoping that he can start to gain some real national traction.  Here are some relevant facts about Governor Inslee for those who don’t know much about him:

  • Voted for the assault weapons ban in 1994, which cost him his first Congressional seat after one term
  • Returned to Congress in the late 1990s and voted against the repeal of Glass-Steagall – one of the key factors that precipitated the financial collapse of 2008
  • Has been a consistent voice regarding climate change for decades
  • Voted against the war in Iraq
  • As governor (currently serving his second term in Washington state) – signed first net neutrality law, declared a moratorium on the death penalty, introduced a state public option for health insurance in January 2019, and has pardoned thousands of low level drug offenders.  Washington was also the first state to sue to stop Trump’s original travel ban on Muslims.
  • Personally – has three kids, married his high school sweetheart, drives a Chevy Bolt (green and ‘Murican!), won a state hoops title in high school and is 68 years old

So basically Jay Inslee was a progressive martyr in his first stint as a Congressman, supporting a gun control bill that passed but cost him his job.  He was right on Glass-Steagall, the Iraq War and his commitment to his signature issue, fighting climate change, has shown foresight and leadership.  He has federal legislative experience and strong executive experience.  Plus, his state is home to Starbucks and Amazon, so it would be hard to claim his progressive vision and leadership have been incompatible with capitalistic success.  But right now Inslee is polling in the 1% range.  Among his “problems” – his social media following is weak and he is a “straight, white man” in a party and liberal climate that yearns for a candidate more reflective of the Democratic party’s diversity.  My main issue with this is that the Democrats have last nominated a black man and a woman. John Kerry was the last white man the party nominated (in 2004).  This is not an argument that “it’s time to go back” or anything stupid like that. My point is that, unlike the Party of Trump, the Democrats have not shown themselves averse to voting for people other than straight white men, and yet it seems more than ever the Democrats and liberals seem to be acting like selecting a candidate who happens to be a straight white man would automatically be treated like a step backward.  I think that is counterproductive both in the primary phase and in potentially damping enthusiasm in the general IF the party happens to nominate a straight white man.  I think the roster of candidates is really strong (Pete Buttigieg is running a surprise second in my own personal choices), but I will vote for whomever wins the Democratic nomination.  Worrying about too centrist or too progressive a candidate when Trump is the other choice is like declaring chemo or surgery as terrible choices for dealing with Cancer – you better choose one because the result of not supporting either is Cancer.

So with this heartfelt, but mostly useless endorsement I would like to suggest some advice for Governor Inslee’s campaign (since the campaign is running with fighting climate change as its overarching theme I will not address that, but I wholeheartedly endorse that emphasis):

  1. Make it clear you are not Governor John Hickenlooper – I write this only half in jest.  You announced your candidacy the same week as Governor John Hickenlooper (a more centrist candidate, who is also a white male, but who unlike you, saw Deep Throat in the theater with his Mom).  The media sort of labeled both of you alternatively as “centrist governors” and “here come the straight white guys,” which is sort of a lazy (and false) branding of your track record. You are as progressive as anyone in the race, except that you have the votes and record of actual progressive actions, not just rhetoric.
  2.  Meet with the Parkland kids and other gun control activists – the only thing that young people have been as vocal about as climate change in the last few years has been gun control.  You could really be THE candidate of young people if they learn that not only are you a climate change warrior, but also lost his your first Congressional seat voting for gun control (how many politicians on either side of the aisle these days would you expect to risk career for conscience?). Working with kids like the activists from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas would bridge your 25 year old vote to today’s concerns. This should be your way to approach other large issues where your record is clearly a strength.
  3.  Take on Bernie Sanders – Bernie’s fans are probably as devoted to Bernie as Trump’s supporters are to him. Taking on Bernie (not in a dirty politics or insulting sort of way) would highlight that you are no less progressive than Bernie (and on gun control more so). Your voting record and policy priorities cannot be criticized from the left and your record of accomplishment stands favorably to Bernie’s mostly rhetorical star power.  Also, being almost a decade younger than Bernie cannot hurt.  Now you may be saying, but if Bernie’s fans are ride or die for Bernie why take him on?  Well, there are many voters, whether they be people of color, women, or other demographics who still feel either an affinity for Hillary Clinton or a wariness of Bernie.  Showing that you are able to make a compelling challenge to Bernie’s front runner status might make some people notice and might make others who felt that Bernie was not sufficiently supportive of HRC feel that they have a progressive alternative that doesn’t feel like a betrayal of Hillary.  There are many candidates, but according to polls around 50% of voters favor Bernie or Biden in the primary (at least right now). So you know that these are voters who are not writing off straight white men based solely on their demographic (not that other candidates’ bases of support are based strictly on that, but certainly there is enough talk in progressive circles that it is also not a negligible concern).  Aim for 8th place and you will stay in 11th. Aim for 1st and you might get yourself into the top 6 in time to become a real contender.
  4. Highlight your personal story and your consistency as a progressive champion for 25 years – my 100 blog readers now know your personal and professional details, but most of America does not.  Change that.  Continue to highlight and feature climate change, but letting the American people know your consistent progressive bona fides else won’t detract from it. Your other accomplishments and experiences might just make America feel even more certain that you are the candidate to successfully win the battle against climate change.