It has taken us awhile at Shift to recover from Jay Inslee’s “performance” in Monday’s gubernatorial debate. In fact, we took yesterday off from publishing anything about the debate, to see if the mainstream media would call Inslee out for poor taste, evasiveness, and just outright lying.
Alas, that was not be the case (at least in the coverage we’ve read). Seems that the bar is never set very high for a debate featuring Inslee – you can see it here – and yet he still managed to limbo below it.
The most disgusting part of Inslee’s defense of his “record” was when he attacked legislative Republicans – none of whom are actually running against him – on public education spending. He guessed that maybe they didn’t want to give teachers more money “because they must have been abused as first graders”.
You read that correctly. Inslee made a joke about public school teachers abusing elementary school students.
A Seattle Times editorial board writer even pointed out Inslee’s joke on Twitter during the debate, adding an “ugh” for editorial comment. Yet, where was the outrage from other reporters for this sick joke – outrage that would likely had been deafening had a Republican made the remark?
Indeed, where was the press release from the Washington Education Association – a million-dollar donor to Inslee’s last election effort –defending its members from such a scurrilous allegation, and demanding an apology?
Evidently mentioning Inslee’s “joke” on Twitter was enough for the Times, as it did not merit a mention in the paper’s article about the debate.
And from the teachers union – nothing but crickets.
Of course, maybe Inslee’s supporters – and reporters – were just hoping people would forget about the debate. After all, maybe nobody would notice Inslee’s stumbling performance, since it took place after the presidential debate (and opposite an exciting Mariners game), with guidelines that Inslee’s campaign must have written since they prohibited the candidates from actually engaging with each other.
It was the format that kept Republican challenger Bill Bryant from pointing out directly Inslee’s biggest lie of the night – that he has always opposed a state income, ever since he was a legislator in the 1980’s. Because the truth is, Inslee himself proposed the creation of a state income tax in December, 2014. Even the Times reminded voters that “After taking office, Inslee proposed more than $1 billion in new taxes including a capital-gains tax targeting the wealthiest Washingtonians.”
As Shift has often reminded the media, according to the IRS (and common sense) capital gains are “income.” Therefore, a tax on capital gains is an “income tax”.
But, Inslee was able to get away with his lie unchallenged by the moderators of the debate, who spent more time trying to keep Bryant from asking Inslee any questions or correcting his inaccurate statements.
However, Inslee had no answer for one of Bryant’s key points from the debate: “You don’t build a community on incompetence and broken promises.”
Even though that’s all Inslee’s re-election campaign is built upon.