This afternoon I attended Rep. Adam Smith’s salmon bake in Bellevue. I mentioned problems with our military: ex-military generals whose punditry is corrupted by connections to military contractors; cost over-runs and design flaws in the F-35; and our history of supporting the wrong side in conflicts.  As always, Smith acknowledges the existence of the problems.  He pointed out, too, that the Saudis are funding ISIS.   Still, he voted to fund the training of opposition groups, since ISIS is a real threat. (Only Jim McDermott in Washington State voted against it.)  I asked if Congress approved of the current bombing. Smith said that he thinks Obama should get approval from Congress before bombing. After recalling the trillions of dollars wasted in disastrous wars, I asked him to err on the side of pacifism in future votes.

In his speech to the assembled people, he repeatedly used the word “progressive” and so when it was time for questions, I asked him why he doesn’t join the Progressive Caucus. He responded that he cares about issues not labels, so he’ll stick with New Democrats he’s been a member of.

When moderate Democrats speak to the Democratic base, they often repeat the “p” word (progressive). Do they really mean it?

Someone asked about the TPP. He explained that whenever you trade with another nation you need independent rules and tribunals to deal with conflicts. He concurs that any agreement must have worker and environmental protections. Afterwards,  I mentioned to him that the state Dems’ platform includes opposition to TPP, and I pointed out the widespread opposition of the Left to TPP, which is regarded as a corporate giveaway.   Yes, parts of it are still secret; but the parts that have been leaked suggest it is bad.  Smith said it won’t be coming up for a vote soon.

He said that nothing will get accomplished in D.C. because Congress is under control of Tea Party people who don’t want Congress to work.

His seat in the 9th CD was gerrymandered after the 2010 census to make it safe for a Democrat, just as the 8th CD was made safe for Dave Reichert, whose Democratic opponent Jason Ritchie attended the event.

For a related story, see Adam Smith’s appearance on Face the Nation and CNN.