March 3, 2006

ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THE VALUE OF 60 (via Timothy Goddard):

Stevens drops oil-tanker bill to give Cantwell's GOP foe an edge in race (Alicia Mundy, 3/03/06, Seattle Times)

In chess, it's a bold gambit. A player sacrifices a valuable piece in order to take down his opponent's queen. This time, the player, Sen. Ted Stevens, is giving up one of his favorite bills in the Senate in an effort to take out his nemesis, Sen. Maria Cantwell.

The chessboard is the Washington Senate race, where Cantwell, a freshman Democrat, is facing re-election against Republican Mike McGavick. Stevens, R-Alaska, who has fought Cantwell on several fronts, wants to find ways to help McGavick defeat her.

Yesterday, Stevens handed McGavick a gift. Stevens took to the Senate floor to announce he will withdraw his own bill introduced last November to open up the Puget Sound to more oil tankers at the Cherry Point docks near Bellingham.

In doing so, he credited McGavick for persuading him to undo his legislation. He also gave McGavick an opportunity to claim as his own a corner of Cantwell's election platform of energy and environmental issues.

"I have never in my 38 years in the Senate asked to have any bill I introduced be permanently postponed, but that is my intention now," Stevens said from the Senate floor.

"One letter from a Washingtonian convinced me," he added.

Mr. Goddard has more.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2006 6:39 AM

Folks, if a Senate CANDIDATE can have this much pull, then there is no reason why half the current bunch in the Senate outside those elected in the last two election cycles should even be allowed to be in the Senate.

Talk about a stratified, do-nothing bunch of gentry.

Posted by: Brad S at March 3, 2006 10:18 AM

Looks like Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) may be learning a similar lesson about not appreciating what neighboring states may want:

This was after Sen. John Thune gave him the business.

Posted by: Brad S at March 3, 2006 10:20 AM

Ah, but will this overcome the King County Advantage (mysteriously appearing Democrat voters)?

Posted by: pchuck at March 3, 2006 10:57 AM

One thing it does mean is that RealMaria's not going to be able to use all that footage of the Exxon Valdez in the Puget Sound in an endless loop this fall. And McGavrick on the defensive saying , "no I'm not an ogre who thinks everything looks better coated in oil." We need to have RealMaria defending her record, not McGavrick defending against hypotheticals.

It's also nice to see, after being in the majority over a decade, that the Stupid Party may finally be figuring out that power has its advantages in shaping the agenda.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 3, 2006 12:43 PM

And maybe somediy I remember his name doesn't have an "r' in it. D'oh!

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 3, 2006 12:47 PM

Raoul-- It also takes away the entire Stevens issue from Cantwell. It's one of the deftest political moves I've ever seen a Republican make in Washington state. That's not a high bar, admittedly, but it bolsters what I've heard people like Dino Rossi say about McGavick--if he's elected to the Senate, there's a good chance he'll be running the place within a few years.

Posted by: Timothy at March 3, 2006 1:04 PM