Brendan William's frank analysis of the Rodney Tom debacle, and the Dems' dilemma

Former progressive legislator Brendan Williams says, in The Inevitable Republican Coup and Its Inevitable Silver Lining, that the Democrats’ embracing of Rodney Tom a few years go had a predictable outcome: his turning on them the way the scorpion turned on the frog.

By rejecting the man [Rodney] Tom refers affectionately to as “Rob” [McKenna], Washington voters made it clear that after decades of Democratic governors they still want to chart a progressive course. The actions of Tom and Sheldon are, quite simply, aimed at invalidating the election. Every eight years the frog gets a chance to drown the scorpion. Will we take it? …

We were told an all-cuts bipartisan budget was equivalent to the moon landing! We heard the safety net was saved and the budget “spectacular”! We read education and higher education were, by not being cut further in a supplemental budget, saved!

Meanwhile, in truth, the safety net was gutted; the state workforce was cut to a degree greater than any other state; and education funding plummeted while tuition rates soared.

Perhaps the Democrats would reply: “if we didn’t go along with the Tim Eyman-inspired budget cutting, anti-tax mentality, we’d get booted out of office.  Blame the misguided voters, who consistently vote almost two to one against income taxes and for 2/3 super-majority initiatives.!”  After all, 64.5% of Washington voters approved Eyman’s I-1185 this year: see

Washington Two-Thirds Vote Required to Raise Taxes, Initiative 1185 (2012)

I think Gov. Gregoire should now be using her soapbox to educate the public about these issues. She’s called for new revenue but needs to be louder about it.

Governor-elect Inslee has vowed not to raise revenue.

The Left in Washington State needs to mount a concerted effort to educate the public about how they’re getting screwed by the regressive tax system. The voters’ ignorance is the fundamental problem.

There also should be a cleaning of house in the Democratic Party, in which progressives kick out the DINOs (Democrats in name only). But such a battle would be difficult, because ex-Republicans and “centrist” Dems abound, and some of them are quite good on women’s rights, gay rights, and the environment.

Democrats Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon hand control of State Senate to Republicans

The Olympian is reporting Republican-led coalition takes control of state Senate:

Senate Republicans joined by maverick Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon announced a new majority coalition today to run the Senate in January, calling their plan a bipartisan effort to share power in a cooperative way the public is demanding. Tom will serve as majority leader of the new Majority Coalition Caucus, while Sheldon will take over as president pro tem, presiding in the absence of Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

The consensus dirt on this is that Rodney Tom is out for himself, while Tim Sheldon is an honest (if misguided) conservative.

This is from an earlier report inRodney Tom’s political games threaten our schools:

Dec. 10, 2012.  Today, Democratic state Sen. Rodney Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon joined with minority Republicans to announce the takeover of the state Senate governance structure. They are calling themselves the Majority Coalition Caucus. Here is their news release.

Their education platform refers to “reforms and enhancements,” but fails to mention funding. Under this scheme, Sen. Steve Litzow – not Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe – will serve as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee.

Here is an OurVoice cyberlobby page you can use to email your state senator to protest this misguided and harmful political ploy.

Here are key points to consider regarding the takeover of the state Senate:

• Instead of amply funding K-12 public schools as mandated by the state Supreme Court and Constitution, Senators Rodney Tom, Steve Litzow and Tim Sheldon have bashed and blamed teachers while slashing school funding by $2.5 billion.

• This bullying behavior has to stop. Rodney Tom has played political power games for too long, and students in our state’s classrooms have paid the price. We are 4th worst in the nation in overcrowding of our classrooms.

• It’s time for public school supporters to stand up to Tom and his political cronies and demand they fulfill their constitutional obligation to our kids and start amply funding our schools.

• Scapegoating teachers is not leadership, and our students deserve more than Rodney Tom’s teacher-bashing antics and political-power grabbing tactics.


  • We’ve seen reform added with more standardized testing of students, adding costs and reducing instructional time.
  • The legislature also completely reformed teacher evaluation, but hasn’t fully funded implementation of that program.
  •  It’s time to restore the recession-era cuts and begin funding basic education as required by the Supreme Court and our state Constitution.
  •  A good starting point would be restoring educator pay that has been cut and reducing overcrowding in the classroom to improve student learning.
  •  We’re not that surprised by the power-sharing moves occurring in the Senate. We know that Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe will continue to put the needs of students front and center in the Senate.