A large crowd showed up at South Bellevue’s Drinking Liberally tonight, due to the special guest: US Congressman Adam Smith.
Adam Smith

Because of redistricting, South Bellevue, Renton and South Seattle have become part of the new 9th CD. See US Rep. Adam Smith’s Town Hall in Bellevue for an earlier article on Smith.  The previous rep in Bellevue was Republican Dave Reichert.

Smith (no relation!) spoke briefly, promising to work to overturn parts of NDAA. This generated applause. Smith said that President Obama had acquired too many powers. But according to Wikipedia, “In 2012, Smith cosponsored the National Defense Authorization Bill that would grant the President of the United States unprecedented powers to wage war freely against persons abroad[7] and detaining and restricting access to the civil court system by persons suspected of terrorism.[8][9] ” So, Smith’s change of heart is significant if it’s real.

People also applauded when Smith spoke against the proliferation of voter suppression efforts by the GOP.

Smith said he aims to represent all constituents. When his district included areas around military bases, he had to deal with many quite conservative citizens, he said.

Smith is the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, so he must be somewhat friendly to the military. My earlier article gives evidence that Smith is a moderate liberal (not a progressive), but at the event, Smith called himself a progressive.

Everyone agreed that Smith is a far better rep than our previous rep, Reichert (who, amazingly, didn’t know what Glass-Steagall was when asked at a forum!).

So far Smith will be running unopposed for the 9th CD position.  His GOP opponent in his last two election no longer lives in the district.

In response to questions, Smith acknowledged voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq.

Someone asked about the Palestinians. Smith said he supports Israel but a two-state solution is needed, with some adjustment to the ’67 borders.

I asked him if Wall Street controls Congress. He said they don’t control it but they have too much power. The fact that Congress passed a Wall Street reform bill that Wall Street is fighting shows that Wall Street doesn’t completely control Congress.

Smith said he may move north. He now lives in Tacoma. Since his district has shifted north, so should he.

I spoke with people at the table. One knowledgeable woman complained about her Republican relatives who just don’t get it.  And she said that she knew one rather unsuccessful and very middle class guy who nonetheless voted against the high earners’ income tax initiative I-1098 because “You just wait. They start with the top 1%, but they’ll eventually extend the income tax down to the rest of us.”   So sad that people vote against their own self-interest, she said.

Another interesting thing she said was that nowadays soldiers returning from service have few marketable skills; they can just shoot.  Years ago they’d learn a trade, like welding. But nowadays, due to outsourcing and privatization, those jobs go to private military contractors. She also mentioned that unemployment is tough now because so many jobs require high skills. Even blue collar jobs often require four year degrees to run equipment.

(Added 2012/05/20: Congressmen seek to ‘legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences‘, by way of Jeff Lyles.)