The Pottery Barn Rule

State Sen. Murray should turn down the "power sharing" ruse and tell Sen. Tom: "You Broke it, You Own it."

By Josh Feit December 13, 2012


Majority leader quickly turned minority leader, Sen. Ed Murray. Photo by Robin Stein

Democratic state senate leader Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle) should respond to this week's GOP coup with the Pottery Barn rule: You broke it, you own it.

He should turn down the Republicans' "power sharing" offer because, let's be honest, with the Republicans controlling the Ways and Means Committee, the Health Care Committee, and the Education Committee (in other words, all the important ones), and with a Republican ally, ertswhile Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue) displacing Murray as the senate majority leader, the GOP's offer to "share" power is not genuine. 

Murray and the Democrats should force the Republicans to own the session. Moreover, by accepting the deal, Murray and the Democrats would legitimize the ruse that Tom and the Republicans have put together a "bipartisan" majority "coalition" by putting a Democratic imprimatur on the session.

Murray should say the Democrats don't want any part of the deal, don't want to chair minor committees such as the Natural Resources and Parks Committee, the Environment and Marine Waters Committee, and oooh, Agriculture and Water, and they should go with minority party status.

This would blow up Tom's phony framing and out the 25-member "bipartisan" coalition (23 Republicans plus Tom and arch-conservative Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-35, Potlatch) as a Republican majority.

That response would force the Republicans to own the session. They'd be in the public spotlight, forced to present their solutions to meet the McCleary mandate to find an extra $1 billion this biennium for K-12 education, fund key social safety net services, build infrastructure, and balance the budget. 

Murray and his minority party would be responsible for playing the loyal opposition—nudging the Republicans toward Democratic positions—something Sens. Sheldon and Tom evidently aren't interested in doing.

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