Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Week In McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn furnished a shining example of his demagogic dexterity when he refused to sign, at the last hour, a supplemental draft environmental statement that had been available for study for months.

Had the City Council known of his intent, they would have passed an ordnance directing him to sign- hence, the need for trickery on the part of McGinn. Had McGinn been successful, the city would have lost 'co-lead' status in the replacement of Highway 99, and also lost other coordination in the process that is intended to reduce the delay, and thus the cost, of the project. If McGinn had managed to lose Seattle's 'co-lead status', he then would have complained loudly and bitterly about how Seattle was being 'excluded' from the project

The clever part is that the successful deception of the City Council gave McGinn a win-win situation. If the Council was unable to save the agreement, the costs and delays of the tunnel would increase- all grist for McGinn's unceasing mill of complaints about the costs and delays of the project, and how Seattle is being ignored by the process. When the Council moved to save the agreement, the barking dogs howled, and the myth of McGinn courageously refusing a last-minute ultimatum was born- with the Council castigated as a cabal usurping power.

The howling, to McGinn, is as important, or more so, than any one move in his program of delay. Two weeks ago, it was the turn of the Seattle Museum of History and Industry to be the elitest cabal (according to McGinniacs) intent on starving the babies of poor immigrant women.

But what does McGinn know about budgeting for a major city? Every governing body in the US is facing a disastrous budget shortfall because of the recession. Sales are off, tax revenues are down, and this on such a massive pandemic scale that nobody could fail to see it. Except McGinn, who offers this viewpoint- "We give away millions of taxpayer dollars to an organization and then they loan it back to us and we call it a good deal. It's no wonder our budget situation is so bad," McGinn said.

It's not true, but McGinn saw another chance to crank up the decibel level and took it. It's what he does. It's what a demagogue does. The game plan is to render our representative government helpless, by a series of tricks such as we have seen from McGinn, and substitute government by a series of plebiscites proposed by- naturally- the demagogue. I doubt McGinn will have much of a run as demagogue, but we'll see more like him as public fear and confusion rises along with global warming. Those nasty things the rightwing said about environmentalists weren't true- until McGinn came along.

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