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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday at the Races

Washington's 4th District runs from Chelan down through Wenatchee, Ellensburg, on into the Yakima Valley, all the way to the Tri-Cities. It is currently represented by House Corruption Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. He has a formidable challenger in Democrat Richard Wright. (See our interview with Wright.) This seat is as ripe as an apple in October and ready for picking. Contributors and, particularly, volunteers can make a big difference here.

Hastings has not quit the other Washington, where he will no doubt remain even after his defeat, in the offices of one or another lobbying firm, to collect some of the vouchers he has accumulated. But he has begun to show signs of discomfort. His web site has been updated for the first time in two years.

His weekly letters back home studiously ignore the Iraq War or Hastings' role as Coverup in Chief to the most corrupt Congress of the past one hundred years. Immigration is also not present as an issue. He does mention the Ice Age, which has some association with the environment, I suppose. And he does try taxes, where his "responsible tax relief" is, as you might guess, code for the irresponsible tax giveaways to the wealthy that have lifted the burden of $7 trillion in new debt onto our and our children's' shoulders.

Symptomatic of Hastings contribution remains his role in holding the vote open on Medicare Part D long enough for billions in corporate profits to squeeze through. Completely descriptive of his integrity and moral force has been his chairmanship of the House Ethics Committee.

As Ethics Watchdog he has been a Lapdog. He kept the lights off Republican indecencies without major exception. Light has come in other windows, to be sure; Duke Cunningham is in jail; Hammer DeLay has resigned; DeLay and others are being actively prosecuted. A more complete accounting will arrive with a Democratic victory in November, should that blessed day ever arrive.

But Hastings has been ever the loyal corporal in the Right Wing Army, doing what he is told, marching our soldiers in front of him into Iraq, deeper into Iraq, facilitating the feeding of the predatory corporations on his constituents, and generally making nice with the nasty.

The Democratic Party has chosen to soft pedal this race. Republicans attack their enemies with big dollars and smear. Tom DeLay was famous for it. Why the party establishment ignores this one is beyond me.

Hastings is the poster boy for what is wrong with Congress. When he finally has to defend himself in public, he'll be in plenty of trouble.

Wright, on the other hand, is a genuinely capable man and a genuinely good person. He has a lot of energy and a good plan. Right now he's organizing 600 volunteers for the next push. If you have phone skills, personality, experience, or just motivation, you could be a part of a major grass roots coup. Learn more and sign up to volunteer here.