Was that Inslee or Clark Kent?
By Jean Godden
Odds are that our governor, Jay Inslee, won't be the next president of the United States. But, although some (mostly Republicans) are saying he'll step down any day now (and may have by now), it would be a mistake to count Inslee out.
The governor had one of his most encouraging weeks in days following the second Democratic debates. Jay was not only was getting great press for some of his accomplishments, but he was being seen (hide the children's eyes) as a sex symbol.
Part of his appeal was the fact that, although he had not previously won eyeglasses to debates, Inslee had donned heavy-rimmed spectacles, a style that looked like the square frames worn by comic-strip character Clark Kent, meant to disguise his true identity as Superman. Was that Inslee on stage or the Man of Steel?
Glamour magazine called Inslee "hot as hell" and they didn't mean that he was melting from his emphasis on global warming. Meanwhile Jezebel, the feminist on-line magazine, wrote about Inslee's "orca agenda." Who could dislike orcas?
Katherine Krueger of Splinter decreed that Jay was "one of the few bright spots of the (second debate) night." Certainly those glasses set him apart from a look-alike group of male candidates wearing dark suits and graying hair. Skeptics could ask if his specs were prescription lenses or rose-colored glass.
The flurry of random tweets about Inslee was awesome. One simply called Jay "the man your mother left your father for." Another tweet confessed: "My heart votes for Bernie or Biden, but my body votes for Inslee."
Washingtonians know a winning campaign launched from this state has scant chance of success. There have been past attempts. Most notable were two campaigns on behalf of Sen. Henry Jackson, nicknamed Scoop because he delivered the Everett Herald as a kid.
Jackson announced for president on Nov. 19, 1971. He was a promising candidate, never having lost an election in 13 tries. However, despite a vigorous campaign on his behalf, he lost the nomination to George McGovern, who -- as we know -- was handed defeat by Richard Nixon.
In 1976, Scoop was again among frontrunners during a second campaign for president. This time, he lost to Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter. Although Jackson was known for his staunch liberalism on issues such as the environment, he was faulted for a hardline approach to wars and international issues. They called him a "hawk."
Jackson's bids for the presidency were the most successful near-wins in the state's history. However there have been "mentions" of other local politicos. Some back-roomers suggested that Gov. Gary Locke as a perfect running mate for Al Gore in 2000. But the crowded field included everyone from North Carolina's John Edwards to New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. Eventually the VP slot went to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.
This year's campaign for Jay Inslee is the most serious attempt at obtaining a place on a national ticket since Scoop Jackson's foray. The Inslee campaign is far more promising than the toe-in-the-water attempt that Starbucks mogul Howard Schultz mounted early this year.
If Inslee remains in the race today, his chances aren't great. Still it is important to review what he could bring to a national ticket. The Northwest native is a former congressman, serving both in Eastern Washington and in Seattle suburbs. The son of a coach, he was a star athlete (basketball and football) and has worked as a small-town lawyer, an author ("Apollo's Fire") and a two-term governor known for awesome accomplishments in health care, family leave, reproductive issues, environmental initiatives and -- very important these days -- gun control.
These are perilous times when we need all the muscle we can muster to present good choices to the American voters. Is one of the best options Jay Inslee, the man who is now gaining folk fame as a Clark Kent (aka Superman) look-alike? Could be. As one of his campaign staffers slyly commented: "You never see both at the same time."
Sorry, but when you call the president of the United States a "white nationalist," you've pretty much eliminated yourself as a serious contender. This remark was made on national television on a platform ostensibly provided to bring Americans together. By the way, his other exaggerated claims about reforming a medieval WA mental healthcare system is pure malarkey.