The Party of the Future

Preface: To waste some time I wrote the riff below with the deluded idea that I might get it published in the Seattle Times, but upon submission was told they don’t publish op-eds that tout one candidate over another. Except their own, apparently. The “Party of the Future” meme was inspired by local brainiacs Alex Steffen and Roger Valdez, and isn’t mind-shattering stuff for the HAC bubble, but my big fat blogger ego compels me to post it anyway.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in the introduction to his early lectures about how the continuum of politics in any society flows from the party of the past to the party of the future. And Seattle’s upcoming mayoral election is a textbook example of this dynamic.

Joe Mallahan is backed by the status-quo political establishment, and as Mayor can be expected to do their bidding by resisting meaningful change if it threatens the status-quo. If you believe that Seattle is doing just fine, and that everything will be okay with more of the same, then the party of the past’s Joe Mallahan is your man.

But if you believe that the reigning political establishment is unlikely to fulfill Seattle’s potential to become a city that will prosper in the face of serious future challenges; if you believe Seattle needs to step up and passionately respond to a rapidly changing world; and if you believe that these challenges and changes actually present inspiring opportunities, then please consider voting for Mike McGinn and the party of the future.

Mike McGinn is running a campaign that is almost entirely powered by volunteers, and funded primarily by small contributions from individual donors. And the promise of a McGinn mayorship is a future in which the establishment is compelled to follow the will of the people. As in when McGinn bucked conventional wisdom and led a campaign to reject a 2007 transit funding ballot measure because it was tied to excessive funding for roads. McGinn believed that enough people wanted light rail for it to stand on its own, and the passage of Proposition 1 in 2008 proved him right.

When a leader’s power is derived more directly from the people, that leader has more freedom to challenge establishment proposals with dubious public merit. Take for example the State’s funding legislation for the deep-bore tunnel that puts the City of Seattle on the hook for any cost overruns. The Mallahan campaign is packed with advisors who are influential tunnel supporters, including the author of the cost overrun provision, Representative Judy Clibborn. Not surprisingly, Mallahan has said that the tunnel should move forward even though cost overruns could put a massive burden on Seattle taxpayers, while McGinn says we shouldn’t start boring anything until we know who’s going to pay for it.

But more importantly, McGinn’s position that the tunnel is a bad idea overall—which is shared by all of the City’s most respected environmental leaders—reveals his capacity to question the way things have always been done. Why spend billions on infrastructure for cars when we are striving to get off the fossil fuel rollercoaster that drains our economy, and when cars are the region’s single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions? And ultimately, at the heart of the party of the future is the recognition that the alternative is no sacrifice, but will help create a city and region that are better than what we have now.

In tough economic times people tend to focus on immediate concerns, and the security of an establishment candidate like Joe Mallahan becomes more appealing. But we all know that short-sighted choices will come back to bite us in the long run. A vote for McGinn is a vote for an optimistic vision for how Seattle can make bold moves and become a model of sustainable prosperity for the world. A vote for Mike McGinn is a vote for the party of the future.

27 Responses to “The Party of the Future”

  1. David Schraer

    The party of Mike McGinn is the party of robocalls, push polls and deceitful smear tactics straight from the Karl Rove playbook. Character is the defining issue of this campaign.

    http://lightandair.wordpress.com/

    This campaign was Mike’s to lose – he blew it.

  2. Renee

    David –

    Have you seen Mallahan interact with with community members who question/disagree with him? I saw it for the first time last night.

    Mallahan got very angry that anyone questioned him aboout the tunnel and the gun ban and was nearly yelling at a community member while talking about his “open and accountable management style.”

    I know you are sold on Mallahan, but I personally worry how he would treat anyone who disagrees with him if he was mayor. It was a bit troubling to watch. He clearly gets frustrated when things aren’t going the way he wants them to go.

  3. David Schraer

    Renee,

    I have not heard any such reports. My complaint with McGinn is his unethical campaign, not his personality. There is no reason to believe McGinn, or any politician, will act more ethically in office than on the campaign trail. All Mike had to do to win was tell the truth, elucidate rather than obfuscate.

    David

  4. Wells

    I contacted the McGinn campaign regarding Mr Schraer’s claim about a “dishonest, deceitful push-pull poll” and was told it was a “run of the mill research poll” and that Mike had cleared up any confusion. Thanks David, for demonstrating how dishonest Mike’s opponents can be.

  5. Wells

    Nice piece, Dan. I couldn’t have stated it better myself. Vote for reform. Vote against the establishment the same way we voted against a hotheaded old grouch and his sidekick bimbo a year ago.

  6. David Schraer

    Wells,

    Great fact-checking! I received two McGinn push polls with misleading information and one McGinn robocall that featured a despicable smear. A push pull goes like this: Q1: Who would you vote for today? (wrong answer from the poll’s perspective) Q2: If you knew that candidate XYZ was a convicted embezzler, would you still vote for XYZ? This type of poll is not used for research but to change opinion. A smear is a smear.

    David

  7. Roger Valdez

    Yes! Let’s keep this going. This is true:

    “Joe Mallahan is backed by the status-quo political establishment, and as Mayor can be expected to do their bidding by resisting meaningful change if it threatens the status-quo. If you believe that Seattle is doing just fine, and that everything will be okay with more of the same, then the party of the past’s Joe Mallahan is your man.”

    McGinn’s win on Tuesday will only be the beginning. We are appalled by the behavior of those in power trying to foist this tunnel(and other things)on a previously unsuspecting populace.

  8. chrispy

    Sigh. This website has officially lost the plot. Jumped the shark. Whatever you want to call it.

  9. City Comforts

    I was at the Maple Leaf election meeting last night and I asked Mr. Mallahan how he expected us to pay for the tunnel’s cost overruns.

    His response was that with his leadership there wouldn’t be any cost overruns.

    Such an answer is absurd and patronizing.

    What strikes me about Mr. Mallahan is that he simply is not a good politician. A smart politician would have said something like “Wait a second. I am committed 100% to the tunnel but we do have to clarify this issue of cost overruns. I am fiscally responsible and I want to make sure that Seattle is not stuck paying for management errors when we are not responsible for management.”

    Such an answer would have reassured the tunnel advocates AND the tunnel skeptics (though not tunnel adversaries, I admit.) But as it was, Mr. Mallahan’s answer mahe him look like a patronizing fool — trying to tell us that HE can prevent cost overruns. Talk about arrogance.

  10. Wells

    Mr Schraer. Your last post is questionable. You state, “I received two McGinn push polls with misleading information and one McGinn robocall that featured a despicable smear.”

    Oh really? Why then does Mr Schraer follow this ’smear’ charge with this:

    “A push pull goes like this: Q1: Who would you vote for today? (wrong answer from the poll’s perspective) Q2: If you knew that candidate XYZ was a convicted embezzler, would you still vote for XYZ? This type of poll is not used for research but to change opinion. A smear is a smear.”

    Mr Schraer. You did not provide evidence to prove your charge. You gave an example, but quoted neither the push/pull questions nor the robocall which you insinuate was a smear upon Mr Mallahan. In other words, David, you use the Karl Rove tactic of charging ’smear’ to smear.

  11. Chuck Wolfe

    Leaving you all my usual message: Seattle is not alone. No matter where you stand, there will be challenges and opportunities beyond the “Westneat Dilemma (http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/19136/).

    See “New zoning and an outgoing mayor–in Miami, not Seattle!” at http://blog.seattlepi.com/chuckwolfe/archives/183656.asp.

  12. holz

    if we get mallahan, i’m pretty sure the weak green policies put in place by sugimura and nickels will be rolled back even further.

    when we should be going the exact opposite direction.

  13. Chuck Wolfe

    Revised link for the land use vision/Miami mayor story mentioned above:

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/chuckwolfe/archives/183656.asp

  14. Who Will Be Drinking At 4:30pm Today? | hugeasscity

    [...] was a good night for hope and the Party of the Future.  Every one of my WTFs has gone the right way.  Assuming McGinn hangs on.  Hurry up and [...]

  15. Babs

    The birth of the real Party of the Future happened in the Spring of 2007 in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was led by the fantastical minds of PQ, Rambo, EZEE, Eli, Jakie, and myself. With a small budget and large imaginations, our group made it the best party known to living Man! A party one can only dream could take place…in a future realm. Sharks with fishbowl helmets, roaring red rocketships, and ice cream cones. Yummy BBQ, taco salad and that “aw damn” juice!! The planets will be aligned once again in that small beach community in the Spring of 2010. I wish you all could experience the awesomeness of “Back…to the Party of the Future”!!!

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  27. Density Pays | Sightline Institute

    [...] of Seattle. (Sightline has no involvement with these organizations.) The Party of the Future came together out of frustration with local decisions that seem to be widening the Sustainability Gap on [...]

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