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McGavick Confesses, Will Voters Absolve Him?

"There is always something," Gov. Willie Stark tells his right-hand man, Jack Burden, when instructing him to dig up dirt on a political opponent in Robert Penn Warren's classic political novel All the King's Men. But Burden argues there may be no dirt to find on the man in question. Willie then sets his underling straight. "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption... There is always something."

Digging for political dirt -- often called "opposition research" -- followed by dramatic revelations of damaging truth has become standard, perhaps even cliche, in American politics. A newer technique, one employed last week by Washington U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick, is the "pre-emptive confession" -- voluntarily unveling embarrasing facts about yourself in an effort to minimize any political damage they might cause.

McGavick (R) has run an unorthodox -- and effective -- campaign to date against Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) but his mea culpa could be the make or break moment in the race.

In an "open letter" posted on his campaign blog over the weekend, McGavick admitted to several personal and professional transgressions including a divorce from his first wife, a drunk driving arrest, and a false promise to employees at Safeco Insurance that no more layoffs were likely during the company's restructuring.

The letter was prompted, according to McGavick by "character attacks" against him by Democrats. "How about I just tell you directly the very worst and most embarrassing things in my life for you to know, and then I will get back to talking about how much the U.S. Senate needs a new direction," he wrote.

He goes on to offer some details on each of the events:

- McGavick's first marriage ended in divorce meaning that his son, Jack, was raised with a "part time" Dad.

- In 1993, McGavick ran a yellow light and was pulled over. He was returning from "several celebrations" of his second marriage and was issued a citation for driving under the influence. "Thankfully, there was no accident but it still haunts me that I put other people at risk by driving while impaired," wrote McGavick.

- As campaign manager for Slade Gorton's 1988 Senate campaign, McGavick okayed an ad that accused then Rep. Mike Lowry (D) of supporting the legalization of marijuana. The article upon which the ad was based was incorrect but the ad ran for a full week anyway. "Though we never raised it again, we should have pulled it once the evidence mounted that the article was not an accurate reflection of his views," wrote McGavick.

- After laying off Safeco employees in 2001 as part of his attempt to turn the company around, McGavick told his "team that I thought the worst was behind us." Unfortunately, several months later more layoffs followed. "While Safeco's turnaround is one of the greatest things I have ever participated in, the heart wrenching decision to let people go will stay with me forever," he wrote.

This sort of airing of dirty laundry is a rare commodity in campaign politics where candidates often keep their deepest, darkest secrets away from even their closest advisers in hopes that they will never come to light. Of course, they always do.

Take businessman Blair Hull for example. Using his considerable personal wealth, Hull had catapulted himself to the front of the pack in the 2004 Illinois Democratic Senate primary when rumors began to swirl of a nasty divorce. Although Hull believed that the court documents surrounding his divorce could not possibly be made public, they were and his campaign self-destructed -- opening the door for the ascendancy of a little known state Senator named Barack Obama.

If Hull had disclosed in the early days of his campaign that he and his ex-wife went through a tumultous time and he regretted how he acted would things have been different? It's impossible to know but it is also hard to imagine a scenario that would have played out worse than when the documents were unsealed just weeks before the primary.

McGavick's mea culpa drew mixed reactions among the local press.

Robert Jamieson, a columnist for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, praised McGavick's "refreshing candor" and added: "McGavick will recover from his disclosure. He even stands to benefit from it."

David Postman, a political reporter for the Seattle Times, was more skeptical, noting the political calculation inherent in McGavick's decision to acknowledge previous shortcoming on a campaign blog.

"McGavick chose to make the announcement on his campaign blog, not in a press release or a press conference," wrote Postman on his own blog. "Some reporters were alerted to the posting, but it certainly was a softer opening to the story than it would have been if a reporter had dug up the DUI charge."

Postman also points out that while "the DUI is the most explosive bit, and the only one previously unreported" it is the second item McGavick mentions, not the first "where it would have attracted more attention or at the bottom where it would have led people like me to say it was buried."

Cantwell's campaign is already using the letter against McGavick, issuing a release yesterday that called for the Republican to pull radio ads he is currently running that allege that the incumbent doesn't support a state and local sales tax deduction. "Using his own standard, McGavick should pull this ad from the air right now," said Cantwell campaign manager Michael Meehan.

We hesitate to predict the ultimate impact of McGavick's decision to pre-empt the leaks of negative information about him by disclosing it himself. Such candor has the potential to appeal to voters looking for a change in what they perceive as business as usual in Washington. But, McGavick's past could also turn some voters off from supporting him regardless of the way in which he disclosed it.

This race remains -- for the moment -- Republicans' best chance at capturing a Democratic held seat in the fall. We will monitor the repercussions from McGavick's letter in the weeks to come to see what impact -- if any -- it has on the contest.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 29, 2006; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Who gives a rat's patooty over a 13 year-old DUI arrest when there is much more relevant material to be considered. He shouldn't have been DUI, obviously. Just like Ted Kennedy shouldn't have been and left Mary Jo. It's ancient history. How about Maria Cantwell earmarking funds for people who owe her money? Talk about a conflict of interest. And this is NOT ancient history. Dems who want to hold this seat need to get real about what is more important.

Posted by: Bryan | September 8, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris, I found this blog because someone followed a link in the post about Nicholson to my blog... Nice commentary. I do not agree with everything but it is well though out here. As for Michigan politics, I do not expect that an observer from the beltway could get heads here. We find it impossible at times to understand mental processes of DC denizens out here in flyover country. Our view here is that illegal immigration will be a much impediment for those RINOs who are looking at a run for the presidency. McCain remains a loose cannon with a short fuze. He has a very disarming smile and charisma which fortunately has a short half-life.
He does like to use misdirection when asked about the $2000 price tag for citizenship. Unfortuately, all the senate RINOs use the patois in the same accent. Same speech writer? Ask any of them about the senate amnesty program and you get the canned answer as to how it is not amnesty.

Illegal aliens will very much be a litmus test issue for the GOP nomination. McCain, Frist, Brownback, Hagel, Martinez, and more all fail.
Congressman Pence would have been a good conservative candidate until he put forward his Pence Ploy "No Amnesty" amnesty proposal. To find out more check the No Amnesty blogs.

Posted by: James Foley | September 8, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

There's a typo in line one of my earlier post: an = another.

Posted by: RobertinSeattle | September 2, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Great point by an reader that it's the cover-up that gets politicians like Nixon, Clinton and McGavik in trouble - not the underlying act. It's not a true mea culpa if you trivialize and lie about the serious mistake you made. But his recent cover up isn't the only set of lies McGavick told on this subject. He lied to the police officer about how much he had to drink. He told the police he had maybe two drinks. His BAC shows he had approx 10 drinks that night. Many crimes are committed while the suspects are drunk and/or high on drugs; it's not any less a crime just b/c it's done by a middle age white man with an eight figure income, instead of an unemployed 18 year old African-American youth. It's a separate, additional crime to lie to a police officer who's conducting an official criminal investigation. False statement, punishable by up to a year in jail. What's his excuse for lying two weeks ago in his mea culpa? Was he drunk then, too? Nor are these the only times he's lied. Helping to run another politician's campaign, he ran an ad against an opponent even after it was clear the ad was untruthful. And he lied to Safeco employees about how many people would be fired to pay for his enormous golden parachute when he retired.

Posted by: RobertinSeattle | September 2, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The release of the arresting officer's report clashes with Mike's version. I cannot believe McGavick's staff didn't check the facts. This is not likely to blow over easily. D's are charged up over it now.

Posted by: todd from seattle | September 2, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

so Chris Cillizza
are you going to update your column - now that it is quite evident that McGavick obviously did not tell the truth in his "confession"

And are you still as positive in your support of McGavick?

Posted by: sara seatte | September 2, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

so Chris Cillizza
are you going to update your column - now that it is quite evident that McGavick obviously did not tell the truth in his "confession"

And are you still as positive in your support of McGavick?

Posted by: sara seatte | September 2, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Note the news is burning even hotter - as proof shows that he didn't run a yellow but a steady read and blew 0.17 ninety minutes after being arrested, handcuffed to a police desk, and basically being proven a liar about the secret hold by his Fundraiser-in-Chief the Alaskan Senator.

This story is burning up the local papers like a wildfire while the National Guard is over in Iraq.

Lies have consequences around our state. We've kicked out Governors and US Senators for that - repeatedly.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 1, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I think this admission by McGavick is interesting. It is definately part of his campaign theme of civility. Which is an interesting, yet seemingly effective and popular theme. However, while it fairs well in surveys people love dirt. Giving dirt to Cantwell and her warchest to expose it may or may not be the best solution. In the end, I don't see this contest going down as one of civility. Mayby McGavick would play that way, but Ted Stevens and his Washington interest groups won't, and neither will Cantwell. Stevens hates Cantwell with a passion for blocking the oil drilling in the Artic, and he will spend and have his interests spend heavily and often to defeat Cantwell and elect McGavick this year.

So, will this hurt or help McGavick in the end? I think that's going to depend on how much people really value honesty and civility over dirt and mudslinging. I see this race being very close, and coming down to what % of the vote Aaron Dixon swipes away in the anti-war movement from Cantwell. McGavick, I think, at least gets 45%, maybe more. Any way you look at it, really close election and these comments propably won't matter much.

Posted by: reason | August 31, 2006 11:38 PM | Report abuse

So CEO of major insurance company recieves DUI. Knowing that that Safeco are cherry pickers when it comes to evaluating risk and they probably wouldn't touch me or thee with
a DUI on our record, who does Mike have his auto insurance with? Just wondering.

Posted by: Alan Coltharp | August 31, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why no one in the media has mentioned that as of tomorrow, the U.S. war in Iraq will last longer than the U.S. war in Europe during World War Two...I haven't actually calculated the days, but it's possibly actually already been longer since there were four short Februarys during World War Two and only three Februarys in the Iraq War. I think Democratic candidates could use this as a great way to frame the message that even those who supported the war cannot stand for an open-ended commitment.

Posted by: Jonathan Skolnick | August 31, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why no one in the media has mentioned that as of tomorrow, the U.S. war in Iraq will last longer than the U.S. war in Europe during World War Two...I haven't actually calculated the days, but it's possibly actually already been longer since there were four short Februarys during World War Two and only three Februarys in the Iraq War. I think Democratic candidates could use this as a great way to frame the message that even those who supported the war cannot stand for an open-ended commitment.

Posted by: Jonathan923 | August 31, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"So let's not act like the Democrats are perfect. It is just a shame they manage to fool the voters."

All this over the Republican "divorce issue"?

What about all the other factors listed? And really, the problem is not that they are divorced, it is that they are so self-righteous about "marriage and family" when they are campaigning for the soccer mom/nascar dad votes.

Don't you get it? If the Republicans weren't so religiously self-righteous, their divorces could reasonably be compared to the Democrats you mention.

But because they (The repubs) all claim some sort of self-constructed marriage and family moral high ground, then their messy divorces tend to lend much substance to the hypocrisy label Republicans wear so comfortably.

It always astounds me, a man who has been married for almost 30 years to the same woman, when one of our Republican multiple divorcees gets up and spouts "family values".


I always used to wonder, whenever Newt pontificated about "protecting marriage" just what his ex-wives and almost-wives thought at the time.

Our philandering Republican congressmen need to be very careful with the "marriage" issue.

"People who live in glass Houses should not throw stones..."


Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Look at this comment about McGavick:
regarding his divorce, his wife said that what drove her away was his ambitions, he missed the birth of their son to attend a rally for many family things did some of the political men who are Democrats do which led to their wives divorcing them?

Tom Daschel of S Dakota, Ted Kennedy, Kent Conrad of N Dakota (had an affair with a woman who worked by Byron Dorgan), and also Byron Dorgan with his abusive history and affairs. John Kerry's first wife had problems with his ambitions, too.

Voters from the Democrats side in many states have no problem with people who hid their money in freezers, cheat on their wives, fail to attend family events and want to seek higher office at the risk of their own marriages. So let's not act like the Democrats are perfect. It is just a shame they manage to fool the voters.

Posted by: Republican Voice | August 30, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

McGavick's move is manipulative and incredibly cynical. He has chosen to phrase everything in an unrealistic light. For example, his divorce, his wife said that what drove her away was his ambitions, he missed the birth of their son to attend a rally for Gorton, and as for his tenure at Safeco, he left with a 28 million dollar payout, how about he justify those layoffs in light of that?

Posted by: aaroninla | August 30, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The real question on the Safeco 'apology' is whether McGavick personally profitted from firing thousands during the restructuring. Often companies that are in the midst of restructuring lie to their employees to keep them around until the company is ready to fire them. If McGavick was paid any kind of incentives for the restructuring, I don't believe a word about this being heart wrenching for him.

Posted by: freelunch | August 30, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

McGavick must have gotten out his GOP credentials checklist:

Divorced (messily)? Check
Drunk driver? Check
Crook? Check
Mudslinger? Check
Liar? Check

All bases covered!

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 30, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

As a Wash resident my sense is that McGavick will fall short. When crunch time comes we'll be seeing lots of ads conflating McGavick/Bush/GOP, which of course will all be true. Wash is at heart a blue state and in the current political climate Cantwell will prevail if for no other reason than the (D) next to her name.

Posted by: PatD | August 30, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Cantwell only won by about 2000 votes out of 2 million cast and a long long long recount which was not settled until sometime in Nevada. She is now less than 50% in polls.

On the issue of money in the 2006 race, she is complaining that McGavick is using his own money and wants the "millionaire clause" implemented so that she can get more than the $2100 limit. This is so funny coming from a woman who spent $10 million of her Real Networks Fat Cat bucks to run in 2000.

If Maria stopped paying her anti-war challenger the $6000 a month to get him off the primary ballot, she would have the money to defend herself. So she has GOBS and GOBS of money to finance her 2006 race. In fact, she has been able to survive the anti-war ground attacks by primary challengers by getting rid of them. She sounds like Hillary as she defends her vote for the Iraq War back in 2002. "I voted for it before I was against it".

Finally, McGavick was smart to get all his baggage out now so that the Dem political attack machine can't pull the election rug out from under him in 2 weeks before the November day to vote. So we shall see if his plan works or not.

Posted by: Republican Woman | August 30, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh please Tina stop whining. You sure are thin-skinned and hysterical about condi. I suspect there are a lot more democrats who admire 'self-made' women than republicans -- after all, we aren't the party of the religious right, which thinks women should be subservient and 'obey' men - that would be you.

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

oh brother - to me McGavin's confessions was more a "Dear Abby".

Rather overboard - oh yes I had a DUI, and a messy divorce - and I had Safeco pay big bucks for my morgage (still paying) - and I was an absentee father.

All in all your normal "moral" Republican.

Give me a break.

Posted by: sara seattle | August 30, 2006 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, I guess the Democrats hate any person who can rise up in life on education and hard work. Did Condi have a rich daddy like Al Gore to get favors from Occidential Oil and pollute with zinc mining? Did Condi get into the White House because she is married to the president or was it based on her smarts? Big deal, she got her name on an oil tanker a few years ago. As I said, she is not from a wealthy family or from a political family. Her mother was a teacher and her father was football coach, teacher and preacher.
Condi was in Utah today speaking at the American Legion Convention. So as long as her name came up by the Dem ATTACK machine, I am coming to her defense.
If Condi invested her earning from work, then she has earned her wealth the hard way, by effort and brainpower. As I said, it would be really easy to marry into wealth or to be born to a wealthy family, but my hat is off to a woman who made a success of her life based on work and smart investing. I guess the Dems don't hear much about self-made women in the world of success?

Posted by: Tina | August 29, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

McGavick made a calculated political move to release this dirty laundry now and try to get it out of the way.

He is a smart professional politician, the former Campaign Director and then Chief of Staff for Senator Gorton, whom Cantwell defeated 6 years ago. So of course at the very beginning of his decision to enter the race, months ago, he thought through any problems in his past and how best to bury them or release them with the least impact. That's all he has done with his announcement of his DUI and divorce and other moral failings.

I'm only surprised that Jamieson from the Seattle paper didn't see the obvious poltiical timing and method of McGavick's annoucement. McGavick is clearly getting out any dirty laundry at the tail end of a week in the dead quiet of late August when many are on vacation and few voters are paying any attention to politics. Then he slips it out on the internet rather than talk to any press about it and buries several issues together to reduce the impact of each.

Not exactly the way to make an honest open revelation of past errors, is it? Looks kind of underhanded to me.

Posted by: Dwight from Seattle | August 29, 2006 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, F&B, but I'm sorry, every time I see condeeza I think of an oil tanker. Like a leaking oil tanker spilling crude all over an island full of seabirds.. all stuck together and gasping for breath.... it's just a mental picture I have. Hi Tina...enjoy...

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, in the interest of fairness and accuracy, I wanted to point out that the tanker was NOT called The Condoleeza. It was called just "Condoleezza Rice". And also, it was owned by Chevron, not ExxonMobil. Just want to be accurate so bhoomes doesnt get all worked up.

Here's a classic:

Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide
Condoleezza Rice drew too much attention

- Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Saturday, May 5, 2001

Leaving a wave of controversy in its wake, one of the most visible reminders of the Bush administration's ties to big oil - the 129,000-ton Chevron tanker Condoleezza Rice - has quietly been renamed, Chevron officials acknowledged yesterday.

"We made the change to eliminate the unnecessary attention caused by the vessel's original name," said Chevron spokesman Fred Gorell.


Asked if Rice or the White House had specifically requested the name change, Gorell said, "that's not for me to discuss."

Posted by: F&B | August 29, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I think I would have been more impressed by McGavick's mea culpa if he hadn't included all the goopy, pseudo-sensitive "regrets." It would be more effective to lay out the dirt, shoot his wad in one breath, and let it go. Trying to convince us he sat up late at night, dabbing at his tears with a lacy hanky, because he told some employees there wouldn't be any more layoffs when he was going to have more layoffs is downright silly.

Posted by: Staley | August 29, 2006 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Mark, thank you for bringing Occam's Razor into the discussion--especially in the context you cited it.

Bravo. You elevate it the discourse. Don't forget the ExxonMobil tanker called, The Condeleeza, in recognition for everything she's done for them...

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The GOP candidate to US Senate from Washington says he wants to change the direction of the US Senate, so he offers a messy divorce, drunk driving and betrayal of employees as his background.

Doesn't sound like much of change of direction to me.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, NY

Posted by: robert chapman | August 29, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"As much as I oppose the war in Iraq, I disagree that it was done for money. I think that Bush and many around him were acting out of idealistic motives and that they really believed that toppling Hussein would usher in a new age of freedom throughout the Middle East."

Um, no offense, but how does the fact that nearly every high-ranking member of this Administration has close ties to the oil industry not factor into a realistic view of why we went to war? You probably don't realize this because it's a taboo subject in our Land of the Free Press here, but the Coalitional Provisional Authority quietly handed control of the second largest oil reserves in the world over to British and American companies awhile back.

At what point do people give even the faintest nod to Occam's Razor (the notion that the simplest, most straightforward explanation of the known facts is most likely correct)?

Posted by: Mark | August 29, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

As much as I oppose the war in Iraq, I disagree that it was done for money. I think that Bush and many around him were acting out of idealistic motives and that they really believed that toppling Hussein would usher in a new age of freedom throughout the Middle East. Now this was patently unrealistic, but when has Bush ever let facts be in the way of what he wanted to do?

In this way, Bush and the neocons are like the ivory tower communist professor who wishes that the evil capitalist regime be toppled so that a new golden age of sharing and caring could be brought in. The only difference is that Bush had the power to do ridiculous things, while the academic can only say ridiculous things.

Posted by: Zathras | August 29, 2006 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The question, or one question, becomes: "how important should a DUI conviction in a candidate's past be?" I mean, in 2000 we elected someone with one to the highest office in the land. Oh, wait - he proceeded to take the wheel of the country and lead us on a reckless, drunken, ill-planned and lie-enabled careening through the now Islamic Republic of Iraq. And it's not clear that he's sobered up yet.


Posted by: B2O | August 29, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

McGavick's tactic is most direct analogous to what Murkowski tried ("I may be a S.O.B., but I'm your S.O.B.") Acknowledging one's character flaws might be good psychology or religion, but it seems to be an abject failure in politics.

Posted by: Zathras | August 29, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey, ya gotta give the guy credit for coming out with this stuff. I really applaud this kind of transparency that is all too rare in politics and the world in general.

And I agree wholeheartedly with bhoomes that anyone who tries desperately to act like theyve never done anything wrong, is A) hiding something and B) abnormal. I believe the quotation goes: "To err is human, to forgive divine."

Speaking personally, I would even go so far as to forgive President Bush if he, at some point in his life, decides to admit his numerous mistakes and commits to working hard to correct them (though that would mean he has a LOOOOT of work to do).

Politically, in WA, I dont see the admission helping either party, and it seems likely that the race will come down to the wire any way you slice it.

Posted by: F&B | August 29, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

-Neighbors: 'Dungeon girl' often left alone
-We're fat, getting fatter | Chart
-New leg for girl, 2, after dad mows hers off
-Bruce Springsteen denies breakup rumors
-Jessica Simpson ordered to rest voice
-Polygamist nabbed

>>Front page of CNN--is it any wonder we're getting stupider every day?

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

'The most dangerous gap in intelligence that we have is the gap between Bin Laden and Bush. And the fact that Bhoomes thinks that "liberals" are the problem is just astonishing.'

Exactly choska. We cannot afford to continue to be led by simpletons and incompetents, when we are being attacked by nasty characters who unfortunately are not stupid. It will be the end of us.

You shouldn't be surprised at bhoomes. The other important intelligence gap is between educated voters and easily-led, simple dittoheads, of which there are far too many.

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

BTW, really interesting ad for the game of Risk out of Singapore.

The rest of the world understands what Howard Dean, Al Gore, and Wes Clark understand: If we continue to "Stay the Course" with business as usual from George Bush and his enablers like Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman then the United States is done.

Posted by: Choska | August 29, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Although it may be well for a candidate to "scrub his dirty laundry", I believe there is a pretty strong momentum to reduce the possibility of letting more foxes guard the henhouse in Washington. Most of us retired Washingtonians have enjoyed high quality politicians with a proper moral compass and have prospered under good political policymaking. We want to continue that ethos and will very likely reject McGavick because of his many personal and business mistakes. Lets keep it clean.

Posted by: Morris | August 29, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

And if the Republicans had any character they would send the White House an open letter demanding they resign for ineffectual and incompetent leadership in a time of war.

If Republicans had any character they would write an open letter to the rest of the country apologizing for voting for Bush who was asleep at the switch when Bid Laden murdered Americans on 9/11.

If Republicans had any character, that letter to the country would also announce that they are going to stop voting entirely After all, they continue to support George Bush despite the fact that SOB Bin Laden is still alive.

My guess is that if Bin Laden was President and it was George Bush in Afghanistan, that Bin Laden would have caught Bush years ago.

The most dangerous gap in intelligence that we have is the gap between Bin Laden and Bush. And the fact that Bhoomes thinks that "liberals" are the problem is just astonishing.

Posted by: Choska | August 29, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Most people have skeletons in their closet(myself included) So I just do not see as that big of a deal. As matter as fact the only people I have trouble trusting are those who are squeeky clean and have never done anything immoral,sinful ir illegal. Those people just are not normal.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 29, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

These first few posts are quite,shall we say "interesting", telling. The Wa. race will be around 3 or 4% Cantwell based on what we know now. The release on his web site will give fodder to the media because they did not get to "out it".

Posted by: lylepink | August 29, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

politically what he did was wiser than trying to cover it up.

don't know whether it will play... if it any more sordid details about what he's already confessed emerge, "underconfessing" will hurt him. can't say outside of that.

Posted by: peter | August 29, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The comment bhoomes refers to, by the way, was made by Louisana governor Edwin Edwards and goes "The only way I could lose this election is if they catch me in bed with a dead girl, or a live boy!". Edwards was one of those Southern crackers elected on a platform of racism and segregation, 1971 - 1987. In his 1991 campaign he was endorsed by then President Bush! This in spite of the fact that he had been caught taking some 600 supporters on an all expenses paid European vacation, had taken 2.5 million dollars in money from some of what turned out to be George Bush's "Pioneers", and was under indictment.

bhoomes, it appears to us that everything touched by a Bush is corrupt.

Posted by: MikeB | August 29, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Change the subject for a minute, Chris, Don't you think all of your liberal media friends owe Karl Rove a very big apology. Now that we found out Armitage was the accidental leaker(something you guys knew all along)where is Chris Mathews and other idiots who made a living telling us it was only a matter of time before Rove was indicted. If the libs had any character they would send the Bush White House an open letter apologizing for their disgraceful conduct that hurt this country in a time of war.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 29, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Just a lille tidibt for all you wondering what is happening to all the gazillions of $ being flushed in Iraq:

'Yet when the two whistle-blowers sued Custer Battles on behalf of the U.S. government--under a U.S. law intended to punish war profiteering and fraud--the Bush administration declined to take part. "The government has not lifted a finger to get back the $50 million Custer Battles defrauded it of," says Alan Grayson, a lawyer for the two whistle-blowers, Pete Baldwin and Robert Isakson. In recent months the judge in the
case, T. S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court in Virginia, has twice invited the Justice Department to join the lawsuit without response. Even an administration ally, Sen. Charles Grassley, demanded to know in a Feb. 17 letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales why the government wasn't backing up the lawsuit. Because this is a "seminal" case--the first to be unsealed against an Iraq contractor--"billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake" based on the precedent it could set, the Iowa Republican said.'

Oh btw, they just got a new contract from Rumsfield. You should really read this -- it would be astonishing if it had happened in any other administration.

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe he can now lock up the drunk driving/divorced vote. "

Bhoomes is hilarious. Given the incredibly long list of Republicans with multiple divorces, and Cheney and Bush's own records of driving under the influence, I thought driving drunk and having a few ex-wives was a requirement for being a Republican.

(And let me write this so Bhoomes doesn't have to. Yes, we all remember what happened with the Kennedy clan. Maybe we can get Ted and Laura Bush together to discuss the risks of drunk driving.)

Posted by: Choska | August 29, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse


Pointing out the flaws in a candidate's personal background and saying that those flaws suggest someone is unfit for office is always a character attack. Whether the attack is justified or not is a seperate question. The whole series of things Clinton went through were character attacks and so is much of what Tom DeLay has been subject to. And McGavick didn't suggest any sort of double standard with regard to attacks on Democrats vs. Republicans. He said that he was concerned about character attacks against himself. Wouldn't you be if you were in his shoes? There's nothing wrong with that and he did the right thing in getting out in front of it. I think that this will be rewarded with polite applause but no real effect on voting behavior one way or another.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | August 29, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes wrote: "have to give the dems credit in this category, they are much better at sifting and snooping in people's background than we are."

OMFG. That (all the rest of you) should be everything you need to know about bhoomes' "credibility".

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | August 29, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

'have to give the dems credit in this category, they are much better at sifting and snooping in people's background than we are'

Once again bhoomes amused us with the funniest, most crackpot statement of the day. Tell it to Ken Starr.

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh well, now Washington will be treated to a whole flurry of terrorist alterts while Rove and Bush attempt to distract the voters from this and frighten the hysterical soccer moms into hiding under the McGavick-Bush bed.

Posted by: MikeB | August 29, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

have to give the dems credit in this category, they are much better at sifting and snooping in people's background than we are. He is being smart, this info would only kill him if it came out the friday before the election. Maybe he can now lock up the drunk driving/divorced vote. The voters of WA want to send Cantwell packing, As one famous pol once said the only way I can lose if they catch me with a live boy or dead woman. See Ya Marie

Posted by: bhoomes | August 29, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

'If those are the worst things' -- but then, perhaps they're not. ..perhaps they are a smoke screen to hide worse things.

Here's an interesting link:

'Races are listed by likelihood of a party switch. For race-by-race analysis and explanation of the rankings, you must be a subscriber to the print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report. For a subscription form, click here. Rankings updated August 25, 2006. Republicans currently hold a 232-203 majority in the House. Democrats need to net 15 seats for a majority (218 seats). We are currently predicting a Democratic gain of 15-20 seats.'

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to say it, and I really do, if those things are the worst skeletons in the guy's closet then he's probably better off than a lot of us.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 29, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I think to be consistent with what you have previously written, Chris, WA is not the GOP's best chance of taking a Democrat held seat, but the best chance of defeating an incumbent. You have previously rated Democrats' open seats as more vulnerable. Not sure I agree even on this, as I think Michigan is equally or more vulnerable.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

Posted by: Quentin Langley | August 29, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

It's beyond coincidence that Chris chose the example of Blair Hull when that of Jack Ryan is both more compelling and well-known. Both in Illinois and both connected to Barrack Obama. Why choose Hull instead of Ryan?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 29, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The letter was prompted, according to McGavick by "character attacks"

Right. Pointing out that a democrat did something wrong [let's think Bill Clinton here] is righteous and noble, but pointing out a republican's faults is a 'character attack' or 'the politics of personal destruction' as good ole Tom DeLay used to say.

It's sure hard to tell how this will go. If it was me and I was a working person in his state, the SafeCo would sure give me pause... here's a guy who admits he lied to a lot of employees and then canned them.

Posted by: Drindl | August 29, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Of course they always do."

How would you know? Because of course you only know about the ones that got out. Maybe the vast majority of big, personal secrets held by politicians never get out. Maybe it's not so irrational that these guys so often hold back information from even their closest advisors. Maybe they usually get away with it. There's just no way to know.

I think there's nothing here that will hurt McGavick. It's sort of like Al Gore or Newt Gingrish admitting that they smoked pot. Confess freely and you'll probably get a free pass and nobody will care. Not that I think McGavick has particularly good chances of winning. He'll lose for reasons totally unrelated to this admission. Maria Cantwell is polling at 56% right now according to today's new SUSA.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | August 29, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Hope this represents a trend. Tomorrow's headline: "George Allen: 'I Am A Complete Racist As Well As A Loon'."

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 29, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It may have been more explosive if these items had been revealed closer to election day but it is not a good day in the McGavick camp. Cantwell has already been inching away and has a major war chest yet to be used.

I doubt he benefits from the release but may cause less damage then if they had come out in the heat of battle in October.

Posted by: RMill | August 29, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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