Midday Scan: Obama affirms same-sex marriage, Mckenna prepares to eat his words

Obama's declaration in favor of marriage equality yesterday puts Rob "my views are the same as Barack Obama's" McKenna in a tight spot. Meanwhile, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng may find a new home in the university district.
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Rob McKenna

Obama's declaration in favor of marriage equality yesterday puts Rob "my views are the same as Barack Obama's" McKenna in a tight spot. Meanwhile, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng may find a new home in the university district.

With the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Lyndon Johnson told his aide, Bill Moyers, "We have lost the South for a generation." North Carolina's anti-same-sex marriage Amendment 1 notwithstanding, this analogy does not extend to President Obama's affirmation of marriage equality (marriage opposition tracks along generational more than geographic lines.) And the juxtaposition of the president's embrace of same-sex marriage and his dinero barnstorming in Seattle today only galvanizes Northwest boosters relapsing into delirium de Obama, circa 2008.  

The Seattle Times' Lornet Turnbull writes, "Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington state are collecting signatures for a thank-you card they expect to present to President Obama during his visit to Seattle on Thursday. They are hailing Obama's embrace of gay marriage, saying his endorsement on Wednesday could boost support for an issue that's been divisive in this state and is the subject of two measures aimed at the November ballot."  

If politics revolves around timing, Republican-nominee-to-be Mitt Romney is having a lousy day. This morning's Washington Post  features a fairly damning profile by Jason Horowitz, reporting that as a teen, Romney was something of an anti-gay bully. Ouch.

For months, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna has responded to the marriage-equality question with a shut-em-down, "my views are the same as Barack Obama's." Now that response will need to be retooled. As the Seattle Times' Jim Brunner writes, "When questioned on his opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage, McKenna and his allies have frequently compared his views to the president's public position -- essentially using Obama's postion as a shield to make Democratic criticism look hypocritical." McKenna will need a new mantra, and this time his word parsing may not resonate quite as well with McKenna-friendly Democrats. Brunner writes, "As of Wednesday afternoon, the McKenna campaign said he had no new comments to make on the subject."    

Investigative journalism, once the exclusive domain of print media, has found a home in local television (cue fingernails scraping a chalk board, that was painful to write). It seems KING 5 investigators helped prompt the resignation of Cathy Conorro, the director of the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE.) It's a sobering investigation.  

"The KING 5 investigation has exposed fraud, waste, and abuse in the program," KING 5's Susannah Frame writes. "Examples include OMWBE allowing a contractor to stay in the program even though its owner was found to be gaming the system. In another case, KING 5 found evidence that a woman-owned trucking company, making millions of dollars on government transportation projects, should never have been allowed into the program in the first place."  

Soon Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng will be hanging out with this Midday Scan's author, jawing about international human rights (I'll need a Mandarin interpreter) and frequenting the U District's famed Blue Moon Tavern. That's the plan at least. As first reported by the Seattle Times' Katherine Long, University of Washington President Michael Young and Provost Ana Mari Cauce  have offered Chen a fellowship to study here. Now the big news has hit the New York Times. Can the UW elbow out NYU? (And can U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke infect Chen with Husky fever?)  

Lastly, Washingtonians are often nonplussed when learning about the latest mega donation to a local philanthropy or university. Oregonians, however, tend to be a wee less blasé. As the Oregonian's D.K. Row reports, the Oregon Community Foundation has something humongous to celebrate. "The creation of a new $150 million fund using the largest single gift in its 39-year history."  


Link Summary

Seattle Times, "Local gay marriage supporters revel in timing of Obama's visit" 

Seattle Times, "Where does Obama's gay-marriage pivot leave McKenna?"

King5.com, "Official steps down after fraud exposed in Washington's minority contracting program"

New York Times, "University of Washington offers fellowship to blind China dissident"

The Oregonian, "Oregon Community Foundation receives historic $150 million gift"


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson