SEQUIM, Wash. - Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., now seeking his 19th term, showed up to join a street-corner "wave" to reelect Sen. Patty Murray here Oct. 13. Dicks spotted someone holding a Murray sign that read "No offshore drilling on the West Coast." His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "I introduced a bill in the House to ban offshore drilling. Come on over here, friend. I want a picture of you and your sign." Others gathered around to get into the picture.
Asked how the midterm elections are going, Dicks told this reporter, "I think we're on a charge. I think we're going to win this one. President Obama's campaigning is going to make a big difference."
Every corner was crowded with people holding signs like, "If you want more JOBS, reelect Patty Murray" "Vote Hope, Not Fear!" and "Honk if you love Patty!" There was a steady din of motorists honking.
Dicks had come to town to debate his Tea Party Republican opponent, Doug Cloud, in a debate sponsored by the Clallam County chapter of the League of Women Voters. About 300 people crowded the Peoples Community Church as Dicks vowed to fight for another economic stimulus package to create millions of new jobs and rebuild the nation's crumbling roads, bridges, schools, water mains and wastewater plants. "I think we need more wastewater plants in the Puget Sound region," he said. "I support cleaning up Puget Sound."
Dicks hailed the $50 million from President Obama's $789 billion economic stimulus to remove two dams on the Elwha to restore the salmon run that once teemed in that river. He said he was successful in funding construction of a new Veteran's Administration clinic in Port Angeles, as well as funds to keep the Hurricane Ridge road open year around and more money to build the highly popular North Olympic Discovery Trail.
"I'd love to see a new CCC program right here on the Peninsula," Dicks added, referring to the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps that employed millions of jobless young people during the 1930s including at Camp Louella just outside Sequim.
The hapless Cloud denounced government job programs. "Prosperity comes from individual people," he intoned. "We must allow business to make enough profits so they can expand. Jobs are out there when business is not impeded by unnecessary regulations... We need to get away from the idea that Norm Dicks is a sugar daddy. " He called for extension of Bush era tax cuts for the rich. "Absolutely," he said, "the health care bill should be repealed." He endorsed "privatization of Social Security for members of the younger generation."
Dicks snapped back, "I'm against privatization of Social Security. Don't take the risk of the Stock Market controlling what we get in Social Security. I voted for the health care bill. I'm for it. It will provide millions of dollars for the Olympic Medical Center and extend coverage to 32 million people who are not covered."
Earlier at the street-corner "wave, " MoveOn member David Desautel held up a sign that proclaimed "Failed Stimulus? Dino Lies!"
Desautel told the People's World his sign is a rebuttal of Republican Senate candidate, Dino Rossi's claim that President Obama's stimulus package created no jobs.
A bar graph on Desautel's sign shows the nation's plunge into the deepest recession since the Great Depression during the final years of the George W. Bush administration. It reached its lowest point just before Obama took office in January 2009. Obama pushed through his stimulus package and the hemorrhage of jobs slowed dramatically. As shown in the bar graph, the economy in recent months shows a net gain in new jobs---until last month when a wave of public sector layoffs added 95,000 workers to the ranks of the unemployed.
"Basically, this graph is an upside-down pyramid with the lowest point being the month that Obama took over," Desautel said. "Since then, the loss of jobs got smaller and smaller until we actually started adding new jobs in November of 2009."
Desautel continued, "Dino Rossi's ads talk about the ‘failed stimulus.' But this chart shows that the stimulus had a tremendous positive impact on jobs. Its just that we were in an eight-year hole that was dug during the Bush Administration. Obama has had less than two years to dig us out of that hole. We just have to keep moving in a positive direction. Rossi's claim of a ‘jobless stimulus' is a deception if not an outright lie."
Photo: PW/Tim Wheeler