[This story originally attributed the email below to a Democratic legislator. Since publication, we learned the true source of the text and printed a correction in addition to making the appropriate changes to this article.]
In the midst of Friday night’s dramatic action on the State Senate floor, at least one liberal blogger in Seattle was openly calling for the heads of three moderate Democrats–State Sens. Jim Kastama, Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom–members of the swing Roadkill Caucus who helped Republicans advance their budget proposal to the floor.
In a never-ending blog post, notable progressive bombthrower David “Goldy” Goldstein at The Stranger’s “Slog” blog screeched that a bipartisan maneuver employed by Senate Republicans with the help of the Democratic trio was “at best a political stunt, at worst a coup” and suggested that political retaliation against defecting Democrats should be taken:
Utilizing a parliamentary maneuver called the “9th Order”, and thanks to the support of alleged Democrats Jim Kastama, Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom (a man who doesn’t even deserve a “D” in his name, let alone next to it), Republicans have just seized control of the Washington State Senate Floor in attempt to force through the Republicans 233-page budget proposal, without hearings or review. You can watch the debate right now streaming on TVW. It’s pretty dramatic.
So much for bipartisanship. Or even decorum. This is at best a political stunt, at worst a coup.
UPDATE (4:57 PM): Kastama, by the way, is running for Secretary of State as a Democrat. Given his betrayal today, I’d vote for a Republican in November before marking my ballot for him. Not that it matters, as I can’t see how he now gets enough Democratic votes to make it through the top-two.
UPDATE (5:10 PM): How many times does shit like this have to happen for Democrats to realize that Republicans view Democrats’ unwillingness to go nuclear as a sign of weakness to be exploited at every opportunity? Hell, conservative Democrats view Democrats unwillingness to go nuclear as a sign of weakness. Kastama, Tom, and Sheldon should be expelled from the Democratic caucus. That might teach ’em. And besides, if Republicans are going to have a majority in practice, they might as well have one in reality, so that a Democratic so-called “majority” doesn’t get blamed for the Republicans’ cruel budget.
So, what was in that budget that has Goldy ready to unleash the dogs of war on members of his favored party? According to the highlights offered in the release issued by Senate Republicans, it would allocate a greater portion of the budget to education, address the growing danger posed by underfunded state pensions, while reducing spending:
The bipartisan Senate budget accomplishes what no other budget proposal would.
It responds the state’s fiscal situation in a sustainable way, free of gimmicks or tricks or tax increases. Not only does it close the $1.1 billion gap, it would be projected to be in balance for 2013-15.
Further, it prioritizes spending in two key areas:
- Education – Appropriates more for K-12 & Higher Education combined than any other budget proposal. Less than 1/10th of cuts are to education.
- Most Vulnerable – Programs for elderly, disabled, and mentally ill are reduced less than any other budget proposal.
And it preserves reforms enacted last session that have already yielded fruit, plus assumes enactment of four more critical measures to help ensure long-term sustainability:
- 4 year balanced budget requirement (Senate Joint Resolution 8222)
- Pension reform (Senate Bill 6378)
- Modifying non-basic education mandates (SB 6618)
- Debt-service constitutional amendment (SJR 8221)”
[photo credit: Bethany L King]