Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Art Of Political Spin

(Editor's Note: I had no way to actually verify this when I originally posted it, but thought it was just too good not to share. I later came to learn that this is fact not true, and was actually circulated on the Internet several years ago with Hillary Clinton instead of Harry Reid as the relative in question. No matter what, you have to truly admire someone's exceptional ability at political spin.)

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Senator Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.

This is the only known photograph of Remus — standing on the gallows in Montana territory:

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: "Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.’

So Judy recently e-mailed Senator Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.

Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

“Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”

Now THAT’s how it’s done folks! That’s REAL political spin at its finest. It just doesn't get much better than that!.

Monday, May 09, 2011

CEO Magazine Says Washington Slid Five More Spots In Business Friendliness

CEO Magazine, which issued its annual “Best/Worst States for Business” this week, ranked Washington state below average at 34th. The more telling statistic from this survey of over 500 CEOs is that our state has fallen 18 spots over the last five years. In 2006 Washington ranked an above average 16th.

The survey takes into account “Taxes and Regulation,” “Workforce Quality,” and “Living Environment.”

The best states: Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.

The worst states: California (50th), New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan.

From the survey results,

“’Do not overtax business,’ offered one CEO. ‘Make sure your tax scheme does not drive business to another state. Have regulatory environment and regulators that encourage good business — not one that punishes businesses for minor infractions. Good employment laws help too. Let companies decide what benefits and terms will attract and keep the quality of employee they need. Rules that make it hard, if not impossible, to separate from a non-productive employee make companies fearful to hire or locate in a state.”

Seems like pretty good advice. It’s unfortunate that enough CEOs nationwide think Washington is doing a fair-to-poor job at implementing such policies. But at least we’re not Illinois, which has fallen 40 spots in five years. Ouch.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Is Cantwell Vulnerable?

A new Elway Poll says Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, who is facing re-election next year, could very well be vulnerable — IF, and it's a BIG IF — the Republicans can actually field a credible candidate. But then that's their usual problem with getting anyone elected. The R's can't seem to find moderates — folks whose message resonates with the majority of Washington voters — usually opting instead for right-wing extremists.  

A new Elway poll finds Cantwell's “Job Performance” rating at 52 percent “negative” to 42 percent “positive" — nearly the exact opposite of her 2005 numbers a year out from re-election. Back then, her numbers were 52 positive vs. 38 negative.)

The Elway Poll supposed an imaginary open primary against a group of Republicans that included former KIRO TV anchor Susan Hutchison; Tea Party activist Clint Didier; U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert; and Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant. Cantwell won big over all of them with 47 percent of the vote.

You may recall that in 2006 Cantwell beat former Safeco Insurance CEO Mike McGavick, 56.9 percent to 39.9 percent. Obviously, she could do a lot worse in 2012 and still win since the Republicans don't have anyone waiting in the wings that according to Elway would be a credible challenger.
On the other hand, I've heard it said more than once that Elway couldn't poll himself accurately.

Cantwell's approval numbers in the most recent poll aren't higher now because there are fewer undecided voters. Clearly, between a May 2005 poll, until the Summer of 2009 Cantwell’s approval numbers have been more volatile, with six of the last 20 polls showing her with higher disapproval, ratings but with an overall trend of a higher approval. So given the absence of any strong Republican opponent on the horizon, it doesn't appear to me at least that she has too much to worry about.