Winners and losers: Gingrich stock going down; an unlikely lift for McGinn

Space, is it the next frontier, or political dead end? Plus, the staying power of potholes.

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Space, is it the next frontier, or political dead end? Plus, the staying power of potholes.

You don't need sunglasses to pick this past week's loser in sunny Florida.

Two words: Moon base.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a space romantic just like Newt Gingrich and I favor bases on all the moons and planets in the Federation. I've also been hanging around astronauts on the Space Needle, so you know where my heart lies. But space is a political loser with conservatives (they don't like "Space socialism") and liberals (we'll just rape another planet while poor people starve).

Also, you're going to need more than hot air to kick the manned space exploration/exploitation era into Warp drive. You gotta pay taxes and spend like crazy. Who does Newt think we are, the Chinese?

One example of how bad this issue worked for Gingrich: Romney flanked him by making fun of the idea in the last debate, then formed his own group, Astronauts for Mitt.

Newt is right about one thing. We do need to incentivize (Romney word?) the private sector to grab the big brass ring around Saturn or whatever. Remember the old idea that the fastest way to build a moon base would be to tell a bunch of Alaskans there's gold up there?

Grandiose Idea: Newt should pledge to put Sarah Palin in charge of NASA and all its spacey-changey stuff.

Another loser this week, Ron Paul, whose funny uncle act at the debates is very getting old. While we're all slack-jawed that Romney makes $400,000 a week for just being Mitt and the millions Gingrich has made for "not lobbying," it's happy-go-lucky Paul's skeezy business practices that deserve contempt. Quoting from a Washington Post story looking into the Ron Paul newsletter, well, here's what was behind its nauseating racism:

A person involved in Paul's businesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Paul and his associates decided in the late 1980s to try to increase sales by making the newsletters more provocative. They discussed adding controversial material, including racial statements, to help the business, the person said.

There's gold in them thar neo-Nazis too!

It's time for uncle Paul to leave the stage.

On the local front, Gay Marriage is a big winner now that state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) is in the fold and gives the state senate enough votes to pass it.

In Seattle, city council member Sally Clark is another winner as she debuts as Mayor of Munchkin Land, aka as Seattle City Council President. Clark is thoughtful, deliberative, smart, nice, and often glacially slow to make decisions. But she's a good egg and loves the details. From the Seattle Times: "Sally at the core is a city geek. She loves city policy, city process and how to create great urban areas," said Clark's friend and mentor, former City Council member Tina Podlodowski."

In Mossback's view, a big upside with Clark is that she doesn't believe urban density is the universal panacea. The downside: She grew up in Portland.

A big local loser of the week is Wall Street Journal editorial board member Matthew Kaminski for a Mayor Mike McGinn-bashing column brimming with contempt for folks who ride bikes and wear parkas (a Seattle Weekly writer called it "cliche cluttered"). Even Joni Balter thought it was stale. It actually made you sympathize with the mayor: When Rupert Murdoch's minions call you out, time to put a feather in your fair-trade winter cap.

The column highlighted McGinn as a "war on cars" guy, but Kaminsky did the mayor a big favor by offering evidence that McGinn is less radical than Seattle's mainstream cycling community. The Cascade Bicycle Club apparently feels let down by the mayor, despite the fact that skinny McGinn is a poster-child for weight-loss-by-bike. The Cascade revelation gave McGinn a chance to strut his car cred and brag that his first car was a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix, which seems very Jim Rockford

So, Mayor McSchwinn is out of the closet as a muscle car fan. Should be good for the summer vote at Alki.

Suggestion: Leak to the press that the mayor is a Click and Clack addict.

The column also helped set up the mayor's post-storm follow-up focusing on potholes (roll the video tape). With maps and charts, the mayor showed that he had filled 25,000 potholes last year, more than double the number filled in the two previous years.

Putting Potholes First is just smart politics in Seattle.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.