In a surprisingly angry editorial today, the Vancouver Columbian blasts US Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for "listening only to the people she chooses" during this year's summer recess. Herrera Beutler, unlike most of Washington State's congressional delegation, is holding no town halls during the summer recess, "and every flimsy explanation for this dereliction of duty only worsens constituents’ frustration."
Herrera Beutler has given a few speeches this month, conducted highly controlled “telephone town halls” and held tightly scripted, invitation-only listening sessions with a few hand-picked groups who were on their best behavior. But she has abandoned the town hall meeting, which she had entered several times earlier with fairly good results. But by dodging the public now, Herrera Beutler opens herself to accusations that she is too fearful, too impassive or too lazy to appear on a public stage before the real people. [...]
Why abdicate the politically profitable public perch when people want to ask about the contentious debate over extending the debt ceiling? Why vacate the limelight when people want answers about simmering issues such as health care, job creation, Social Security, Libya, Afghanistan, presidential candidates and President Obama’s performance?
It goes on. For 550 words.
The editorial is a particularly bitter blow given that the Columbian can hardly be dismissed as part of the liberal media elite. The paper endorsed Herrera Beutler last year over liberal Denny Heck, saying that as the candidate who will "help design and promote spending controls that are needed to guide the nation and the Northwest beyond the recession," she "understand[s] government's role in economic recovery."
Today's second loser: The state-run liquor industry.
In a bald attempt to show that state-run liquor stores can, like privately run stores, provide a high-end experience, more selection, and good customer service, the Washington State Liquor Control Board announced today that it will be opening its first "premier liquor store" in West Seattle, featuring twice the selection and floor space of a typical store, in-store liquor tastings, and an "upscale environment."
The effort may be too little, too late: Costco has already put more than $1 million into the campaign for Initiative 1183, which would privatize liquor sales but limit sales to large stores (like Costco).