JAY INSLEE: THE RIGHT PERSON,
WITH THE RIGHT ISSUE:
STOPPING CLIMATE CHANGE
We know: “Jay who?” Or to put it differently: “Who’s Jay?”
Like you and millions of other Americans, we at the Tracking Trump blog (Phoebe and Cat) knew nothing about him until recently. But of all the 20-plus Democrats running, he’s our candidate.
We’re not content to put off our decision, unlike so many fence-sitters who are engaged in magical thinking, hoping that by waiting long enough, maybe some candidate will suddenly catch fire.
What’s the rush?
First, it’s now clear that many Democrats and Independents believe that Trump has a good chance of winning a second term. It’s a realistic, but dangerous fear, since even common house pets like us know the mischief that defeatist thinking can cause. So, let’s get some positive focus going before it’s too late.
Secondly, Friday, July 31, is the final session of the second round of TV debates, and to put it bluntly, it could mean curtains for Inslee, since he’s in what’s politely known as the “Second Tier” group of low-ranking candidates who could be forced out of the race for poor poll numbers and feeble fundraising.
If that happens to Inslee, it will be a tragedy and a lost opportunity for democracy, for the country and for our planet.
There are two things you need to know about Jay Inslee:
One. He's the governor of Washington. For those of us on the East Coast, that would be the Other Washington. It’s an actual state that you can find on most maps, in the uppermost left corner, fronting the Pacific Ocean and just below Canada. Inslee is a whiz at that job.
Two. Inslee is the only candidate who’s made reversing climate change the centerpiece of his campaign. (“Oh, THAT Jay Inslee,” you're saying now.) He says climate change is the most important fight of the 21st Century, even more than the exorcism urgently needed at the White House.
It’s so obvious a position that, as animals who are particularly sensitive about our environment, Phoebe and Cat are surprised that no other candidate sees the urgency of keeping the home planet habitable for man and beast alike. No Earth: no country, no Amazon Prime, no nothing.
There’s a third reason Inslee speaks to us. It’s about an award that the governor made in 2015 to a …. But that's our closing argument, so we’ll get to it later.
Early on, the Tracking Trump blog developed a short list of qualifications required of the challenger to the Sociopath, and Inslee meets them, although more so on some points than on others:
- Political experience.
- Administrative skill
- Youth – relative to Bernie and Joe
- The Vision Thing
Jay’s got tons of the political kind. He’s served in the Washington legislature; in the U.S. House of Representatives; worked at a federal agency; and now is in his second term as governor of that Other Washington. And along the way, he lost a couple of races – excellent training for politician.
Let’s get something straight. The Tracking Trump blog liked - loved - Barack Obama. He did an amazing, although hardly perfect job. And he had two dogs. But Obama hadn’t been in politics long enough to get the requisite basic training.
He was late in recognizing the enemy, including contemporary Republicans, who really, really are different breed. Mitch McConnell and the boys must have laughed themselves silly - "A real knee-slapper" - when they heard Obama's stirring but totally wrong proposition that there are no red states, no blue states, only the United States of America.
Also, Obama was so tied to his opposition to the Iraq war that he was too timid in using U.S. power, and he let Syria’s war crimes evolve into the humanitarian disaster that forced millions to flee, destabilizing European politics.
Jay’s experience at every level of government and politics will help him think rationally and practically, and will get him safely through the inevitable bad times.
Somebody who wants to be president should first run something big, like a state and know how government works. Actual presidents, as opposed to psychopaths, have to manage Congress, make sure agencies do their jobs, create budgets and figure out, before anyone else, what’s important.
Inslee’s campaign makes the case that he’s gotten a lot done in the Other Washington. Raised the minimum wage. Promoted strong unions. Backed paid sick leave. Adopted Obamacare. Instituted a moratorium on the death penalty. Increased money for schools to boost teacher pay, provide smaller class sizes. Enacted background checks for gun purchases. Championed reproductive rights.
This is important, not only as job training, but to demonstrate that Inslee knows how to chew gum and fly around in Air Force One at the same time. Proving that, as, committed to climate change as he is, he’ll get the other things done, too.
Okay, Jay Inslee isn’t the next Barack Obama, Jack Kennedy, Oprah or Beyoncé. He doesn’t have star power. It’s why most of us don’t know that he exists.
But he’s a solid public speaker. He can handle Trump on the debate stage, and he can inspire, educate, inform and communicate. He looks and sounds the part.
You can imagine him giving a solid Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 2021, and you won’t be embarrassed when he delivers the State of the Union later You'll be proud when he goes to the UN, the G8 or presides over the opening of the new super-battery factory that may be part of his climate change program. If your team wins the World Series, the Super Bowl or the World Cup, you’ll be glad President Inslee will invite them 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
It’s a good bet that Inslee won’t get much speaking time at this week’s Democratic debate on CNN. But if you want a sample of how he sounds, the New York Times has a nice site reprising video interviews the paper did with the candidates, and you can see and hear Jay for yourself. CLICK here.
Come on, Man, we like Our Humans – the Nice One and the Grouchy One – who invited into their home, "Marble Steps," their unmansion in Newport, R.I. But by November, 2019, they’ll both be 77.
So, trust Cat and Phoebe, we know what it’s like be around Humans who are running short of their allotted time. Simply put, you don’t want 77-year-olds operating heavy equipment or running Big Government.
We’re not being cavalierly ageist. Phoebe herself is 9 years old (multiply by 7), and Cat is 13 and can’t remember the multiplier that compares a cat’s age to a human’s. We’re admiring of and grateful to the Notorious RBG for hanging in at the Supreme Court. And we cheer other “senior” Marathoners who defy the inevitable. We realize humans, and even pets, are living longer, better, happier these days, and that none of us age physically and mentally at same rate.
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., if he takes office Jan. 20, 2021, will be 78.
Bernard Sanders will be 79.
The National Disgrace will be 74 if he gets sworn for in a second term, although that will also be The Day the World Ends, so age won’t be a worry.
By contrast, Jay is a mere lad at 69.
So he makes the age cutoff.
Phoebe and Cat implore you to take this seriously. We live the horror every day. Our Humans take naps during the day. Do you want the leader of the free world doing that? People in their 70s forget things; they get sick; they make weird sounds getting out of cars; hair grows out of their ears.
Biden already looks and sounds like something a grave robber just dug up. Bernie seems spry enough – now. But two years into that commander-in-chief shtick?
So our relative spring chicken, the Boy Who Would Be President, is young enough.
Inslee is both eloquent and spot-on in declaring climate change should be Job One.
He puts it this way on his campaign website:
We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it. The science is clear – we have a short period of time to act. Whether we shrink from this challenge, or rise to it, is the biggest question we face.
So, other than exiling Trump to Mar-a-Lago to keep an eye on rising ocean levels, there is no issue that comes close to climate change.
Whether you want Medicare for All, or the public option; whether you streamline the asylum process, allow the Dreamers to stay put, get back into a no-H-bomb deal with Iran, recruit transgender soldiers, get rid of college debt, figure out what to do when robots take over every job – all of these things are immensely important and must be addressed, and fast. But nothing matches the devastation of climate change. In just a few years, we won’t have to worry about a mission to Mars, because we’ll be living (or not) the Mars-equivalent life.
Inslee likes to say that he’s got a plan to tackle climate change and create 8 million jobs. His website spells out some of this:
- Setting a bold national 100% Clean Electricity Standard, requiring utilities to achieve 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, and all-clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation by 2035. This builds upon and accelerates momentum toward 100% clean electricity – policy that has been adopted in Washington state, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and a target to which more than 100 American cities and counties are committed, from Concord, N.H., to Columbia, S.C.
- Guaranteeing support for workers and community transition – following Washington state’s model to ensure that the creation of clean energy projects results in many good, family-wage jobs, and that all communities benefit in the transition to a carbon-free power future. Includes promoting projects with businesses owned by women and people of color; apprenticeship utilization; prevailing wages determined through collective bargaining; and community workforce and project-labor agreements.
The fact is that Inslee’s plan has enough detail in it, some based on stuff tried already in the Other Washington, to assure us that he’s serious and can hit the ground running. Like all things, the actual program will be far different as it plays out, because there will be better ways, new technology, smarter ideas.
But it’s the vision thing at work. Jay Inslee has it. None of the other candidates do. Spread the word. Tell your neighbors. Invite strangers to dinner. Call the relatives. Phone 911. Assure your grandchildren that their planet will be alive and kicking when they are reading bedtime stories to their grandchildren, but insist that they must vote now.
Here’s the part that put Inslee over the top as far as us fur-bearing creatures at the Tracking Trump blog are concerned.
As governor, Inslee has cooked up an award – Washingtonian of the Day. Instead of (or maybe in addition to) handing out patronage jobs and low-number license plates, a tradition here in Rhode Island, he hands out awards that make good people feel good.
In mid-October, 2015,” Inslee presented the Washingtonian to Tillie, admonishing on-lookers and a larger-than-usual press contingent to celebrate her “bravery and loyalty.”
Tillie, of Vashon Island, an Irish-setter-spaniel who wandered away from home with her basset-hound pal named – we are not kidding – “Phoebe.” This Phoebe, of the short legs, fell into a shallow cement cistern and couldn’t climb out. For about a week, Tillie tried to alert people to the crisis, rushing to civilization and back to her trapped friend again and again. Finally, someone alerted the all-volunteer Vashon Island Pet Protectors to Tillie’s pleas, and Phoebe was freed.
We are not sure whether Cat would have been as diligent, had our own Phoebe experienced a similar problem. But both of us admire Governor Inslee's instincts.
Animal stories are killer material for the media. Inslee received worldwide coverage on this bit of stagecraft – a lot more ink and clicks than his climate change plan has received so far, or for coverage of the .00003-seconds he was allotted during the last debate.
Dogs are truly a politician’s best friend..
FDR, in a famous speech, used his dog, Fala, to mock his rabid New Deal critics.
Richard Nixon had Checkers, who saved his political life when he was running for vice president and been accused of taking improper gifts. Nixon gave a TV speech in which he noted that someone had sent a dog to the Nixon family:
It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.
Of course, it might have been better for the country had Checkers been delivered to the wrong address, but that’s not our point.
Jay Robert Inslee, like one of the greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and one of the worst, Tricky Dick, understands politics and dogs.
Donald Joseph Trump doesn’t have a dog, (lucky for the dog).
In conclusion: It’s too early to throw away someone who may be one of the great presidents, simply because, with more than a year to go, his poll numbers are between 0.0 percent and 0.4 percent.
We're not arguing that Inslee deserves to be the 46th president. It’s that the nation deserves his kind of leadership.
If he makes it to the White House, we’re hoping Inslee will invite Tillie and Phoebe, maybe to award them the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Certainly, the duo will have earned that honor, having helped demonstrate that Jay Robert Inslee is the kind of leader that the nation desperately needs, and that he can be a president who knows a thing or two about what really works, and what’s really important - in politics, as in life.