Jay Inslee has always been known as an extreme partisan. It’s what makes him an elected leader who is incapable of, well, leading.
During each of his four legislative sessions, Inslee has done two things – proposed tax increases to fund his government-expanding budgets and tried to be a “player on the field” as opposed to the “negotiator in chief”. Inslee has approached his gubernatorial position using D.C.-style hyper-partisan politics from the very beginning, despite facing a legislature with each party in control of one of the bodies.
Of course, that should come as no surprise to those who’ve looked at Inslee’s track record. His extreme partisanship is a reality that not even members of his own staff could ignore.
This Throw Back Thursday, we’re taking a look back on what David Postman —a former Seattle Times political reporter and current Chief of Staff for Inslee — thought about his now boss back in 2008.
Our walk down memory lane starts in 2008 when Republican Congressman Dave Reichert proposed a bi-partisan bill to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area in the Cascades. Given that the bill was bi-partisan in nature and impacted Washington State, Reichert asked Inslee to co-sponsor the bill.
One would think that Inslee, who bills himself as an environmental champion, would want his name on the widely supported measure. After all, Inslee even (allegedly) co-wrote a book that advocated Republicans and Democrats working together for the good of the country.
However, that’s not what happened. Inslee initially refused to support the bill for strictly partisan reasons, and Postman recounted Inslee’s vulgar response to Reichert’s bill in an article he wrote in January 2008,
“But when it comes to protecting open space, non-partisanship is apparently not as important. When Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, asked Inslee to co-sponsor a bill to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, Reichert says Inslee told him no.
“‘We want to beat your ass in 2008,’ Reichert quoted Inslee as saying. (Inslee’s office declined to comment.)
“‘Jay, I’m not feeling the love here,’ Reichert responded.”
You see, in 2008, Reichert was up for re-election against Democrat opponent Darcy Burner. The Alpine Lakes bill promised to make Reichert an even stronger candidate. So, Inslee threw away the opportunity to work across the aisle on an environmentally friendly bill in order to play a partisan game.
It took months of shaming for Inslee to finally change his mind. And, when he did, Postman was right there to offer a rather poor excuse for Inslee— something Postman is now paid to do. Postman wrote in June 2008,
“Reichert had been frustrated that he wasn’t getting any co-sponsors from the delegation. Inslee said earlier this year that he’d consider signing on only after a bill creating the Wild Sky Wilderness Area, in Snohomish County, became law. That happened early last month, and the opening ceremony was last week.
“Inslee told me this morning:
“We wanted to clear the decks of Wild Sky. We had seven years of work on it and we wanted to make sure it crossed the finish line first. … Now we’ve got another wilderness area we’re excited to move forward on.”
Just to be clear, Inslee saying that he could not support two bills at once… and Postman is reporting his excuse as if it is valid. Conveniently enough, the later story makes no mention of what Inslee originally told Reichert.
Inslee’s record—and the records of those he appoints to serve in his administration—point to a simple reality: Inslee does not have the skills a good leader requires. He was and remains a petty partisan.