INSLEE BECAME THE INVISIBLE cANDIDATE;
THAT'S A TRAGEDY: FOR THE EARTH & U.S.
“What’s that?” Cat said glumly, obviously not yet adjusted to the disappointing news that broke last night.
“At least we got the T-shirt before it was too late,” I said.
“Phoebe – and I suspect our more sagacious readers know this by now – you can be alarmingly shallow,” Cat said.
“I’m just trying to lighten things up, instead of wallowing in disappointment,” I said.
I didn't want to admit it to Cat, but I actually was excited that we’d ordered the “Jay Inslee for President” T-shirt before he dropped out of the race, despite the urgency of his mission – defeating climate change – and because the Tracking Trump blog had given Inslee our unqualified endorsement exactly one month ago. CLICK to go to that posting.
For whatever reason, Inslee's candidacy never took hold, and he announced Aug. 21 on the Rachel Maddow program on MSNBC that he was dropping out. Cat and I stayed up late last night trying to figure out why.
It’s entirely possible that – despite the recent series of Old Testament-type wildfires, floods, constantly updating temperature records, rising ocean levels, hurricanes, torrential rain and increasingly dire warnings by scientists – that not enough of us are taking Inslee’s central issue, climate change, seriously, as in:
People of Earth: You are about to turn your planet into Mars if you don’t do something RIGHT NOW, you miserable, polluting, spoiled, selfish, car-crazed, Amazon-rain-forest-burning, carbon-emitting, stupid, climate-change-denying deadmen (& women) walking!
HERE AT THE TRACKING TRUMP blog, we are loath to blame the media, given our own superior brand of commentary and journalism.
Still, we are troubled by the fact that it was extremely hard to find out what Our Man was up to by following in the regular media. Cat and I had no idea whether he showed up at the Iowa State Fair (he did, according to one news story about his dropping out), whether he was adding planks to his climate change platform (he wast, according drop-out stories).
Inslee was doing so poorly that, in one New York Times article about how lower-tier candidates were struggling to meet requirements to qualify for the third round of debates, he wasn’t even mentioned. Let me repeat: Inslee was doing so horribly in the polls that the Times did not mention his name in an article about candidates doing poorly
And just yesterday, the Times had this totally superficial feature about what kind of music the candidates use to energize their campaign events, headlined What the Rally Playlists Say About the Candidates.
The world’s greatest newspaper devoted three entire pages to analyzing them. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s roundup included this paragraph: Ms. Warren turned 70 in June, making her among the oldest candidates in the race. Most of the songs in her playlist date from the 1990s and earlier. And Julian Castro’s review was meaner: Mr. Castro’s choices reflect the studious dullness of someone who learns about new records from supermarket speakers. Nowhere in the three entire pages was Jay Inslee mentioned.
Maybe that's just as well, given the snarky reviews for Senator Liz and Obama cabinet secretary Castro. But not even one measly paragraph?
Also, after receiving the campaign T-shirt, we - actually The Grouchy One, one of the two Humans we live with – wore it around town on his errands and no one even asked anything about it. It could be that the T-shirt itself gives us a clue about the effectiveness of the Inslee campaign.
It features a drawing of Inslee, emphasizing his dark rimmed glasses he wore during the second round of TV debates, since that was one of the things some reporters mentioned in fleeting references to him. Seizing on that “humanizing” feature, the campaign came up a depiction that shows only some hair, the glasses, no facial features except for a chin line and then a silhouette of a suit jacket and necktie.
Cat and I think that, while graphically clever,it has a cartoon quality to it, and it really doesn't tell
Cat, who loves old movies, noted that there is a resemblance to depictions of the main character in the “Invisible Man” series of films, which show only clothing when the Invisible Man wants to be “seen.”
And, in fact, the T-shirt inadvertently may symbolize the tragedy of the Democratic primary campaign – Jay Inslee was the Invisible Candidate.
WE SAY TRAGEDY, because we believe he is supremely qualified, with what one article referred to as an “easy-going” personality that well could have brought warring elements of the Democratic Party together, and again, because he has his priorities – and the country’s – correct: climate change is the most important issue: no earth, no nothing.
Inslee came up with this eloquent synthesis of his message that is both terrifying and hopeful:
Shortly after noon, Eastern time, Inslee sent supporters an email with a new campaign logo: JAY INSLEE FOR GOVERNOR.
"It has been a profound honor to have worked with you on our mission to defeat climate change, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished, both in the presidential race and in my role as governor of Washington, where we have established a model of progressive action for the country...."
So now the double challenge of the 2020 presidential campaign – saving the planet, and replacing the most frightening president in U.S. history – will be left to the remaining another Democrat.
Cat and I, with full heart and soul, will advocate for anyone that the Democrats pick to face Donald Trump.
But we believe that the country may have passed by a man who could have been our best hope of accomplishing both key political and environmental goals and helping to lead us out catastrophe.