“I am going to build a wall around Washington to keep Scott Walker and Donald Trump out of Washington.”
That’s just one of the ridiculous comments Jay Inslee made to a group of labor leaders at the King County Labor Council last week. With the 2016 elections approaching, labor leaders are (once again) embracing Inslee as their best hope to grow the size of state government.
So, apparently, they’ve taken to re-inviting him to speak at meetings, just to give him opportunities for whacky pandering.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Washington State Labor Council uninvited Inslee from his role as a keynote speaker at its annual convention. The snub was reportedly due to the Boeing Aerospace Machinists’ “lingering resentment” over the state providing Boeing tax incentives to employ Machinists in the state building more airplanes.
Though our green governor attempted to make good use out of the labor doghouse, he couldn’t quite escape the Boeing tax breaks issue. One leader of the Machinists asked what Inslee intended on doing to “increase accountability” by proposing government regulations to force Boeing to keep jobs in Washington State.
Either he was not prepared for the easily predictable line of inquiry or he merely forgot what his answer was supposed to be (either are real possibilities with our green governor), because Inslee’s response was terrible. Here’s how the Seattle PI put the cringe-worthy response:
“Not much, was the answer. Inslee said he was ‘frustrated,’ then that he is ‘increasingly frustrated’ at the Boeing job exodus. ‘I am more frustrated than I was five months ago,’ he added.
“As for what is to be done, said Inslee, ‘I’m going to be looking to you for what the possibilities are.’”
Just to be clear, Inslee (the governor of a state) responded to a policy question by first pointing out he was frustrated by his own lack of leadership on the issue, then saying he would submit to preferences of labor leaders. Apparently, Inslee needs to be informed that (1) public appearances are not his opportunity to engage in a group therapy session, and (2) that he, not any particular labor union, is (technically) the leader of Washington State government.
Inslee’s comment is not surprising. After all, our green governor is courting labors’ financial support for his re-election campaign. And, perhaps more than even the promise of campaign dollars, the comment falls perfectly in line with Inslee’s long history of deferring to big labor.
Inslee has risked quite a lot to support unions—particularly those that pumped millions into his gubernatorial campaign in 2012—during the course of his first term. Through the years, he conceded millions of taxpayer dollars to labor unions in an attempt to satisfy the special interests that consider him special.
You do not have to go very far back for a specific example of Inslee catering to the whims of special interests. At the labor meeting last week, Inslee highlighted how far he would go to placate big labor when he excused away his decision to neither sign nor veto the bill to save charter schools by disparaging public charter schools.
Choosing sides amid another lawsuit instigated by the Washington Education Association (WEA), Inslee reassured labor leaders that he is not “a fan of charter schools.”
Oh, how quickly our green governor would sacrifice the thousands of underprivileged children attending public charter schools for the support of big labor.
Inslee’s promise to look to labor for “what the possibilities are” in terms of establishing new government regulations may have not been a practiced answer, but it was an honest one. Time and time again, Inslee has catered to the whims of big labor. For Inslee, deferring to his campaign donors for policymaking was a natural response because it’s something he’s done in the past.