September 10, 2004

Dave Ross (D WA-8th CD)

Radio talk show host Dave Ross thinks that he’d do a good job in the 8th district’s open Congressional seat. He decided to join the already crowded race after a poll initiated by the State Democratic Party indicated that Ross had 80% name recognition in the district, and some chance at winning the seat given enough effort. He believes that he’d be able to reach across both sides of the aisle, and points to long experience as both a reporter and talk radio host as an indicator of his ability to talk with people, and not just past them.

As a foreign policy priority, Ross says that the U.S. should make sure that we’re marketing our culture as effectively as Islamists are spreading theirs. He says that foreign aid is too low, and that the U.S. isn’t competing with other country’s cultural centers. From some perspectives, he says that the U.S. “looks to many countries like a money-grubbing, materialistic culture with no morals,” even though allowing people to be free isn’t the same as sanctioning their lifestyles. He says the U.S. should be reminding people that it doesn’t have territorial ambitions.

Ross cites the State Department as saying that the way to win in the Middle East is to tell them that policy is changing, and that the U.S. won’t support despots anymore. He says there are some improvements in smaller countries in the region that have the beginnings of democracy, and are moving towards more freedom and equal rights. Yet he says they see the U.S. supporting Cold War allies with little regard for human rights, and they blame the U.S. for bad conditions.

Ross now says that Iraq didn’t pose a sufficient threat; that the U.S. should not have gone without more solid financial support, and should have waited until Saddam got impatient and created an excuse. He says he doesn’t know how he would have handled it if he were in Congress. Ross believed that the evidence looked solid before the war, and he thought the administration wouldn’t dare get the intelligence wrong. At the time, he says the president implied that the resolution would garner international support, giving him a strong hand at the U.N. Now he says that Senator Patty Murray’s speech against the war “sounds better and better the more you play it,” and he says he wished that he’d given it.

Currently, Ross says that Iraq and the war on terror have become the same, with the war in Iraq becoming a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment. He says the war “made [the terrorists’] commute shorter.” Ross says he doesn’t think Saddam was the kind of person who would share power or weapons, and that it’s probably more important to prevent the abandoned Russian nuclear arsenal from falling into the wrong hands. Another consequence he says came from the Iraq war in that North Korea seems to have learned the lesson that the way to keep the U.S. from attacking you is to have nuclear weapons.

Domestically, Ross’ positions are similarly wide-ranging.

For healthcare reform, Ross says that a “critical mass of frustration” is necessary before reform is possible. He says that right now, many people think they won’t get sick and don’t want insurance. He proposes that doctors should accept credit card payments that would be tagged as a medical expenses, and at the end of the year, government should reimburse those expenses on a sliding scale.

Ross opposes what he says seems to be the position of some unions that laws should be made to stop outsourcing. He says that corporations always get around laws preventing the export of jobs, and what’s important is to create new industries and repurpose the existing workforce. As an example, he says that Boeing employees could be put to work building rapid transit. Going forward though, he says it’s important to educate people better, that you can’t tell people a high school education is enough anymore. Yet Ross expects increases in college tuition to continue. He says the United States is the envy of the world in higher education, and the government can’t guarantee the money for everyone to go.

Along those lines, Ross says, “Everybody’s in favor of [education], but nobody wants to pay for it.” He says it’s necessary to fund good schools in order to face increasing global competition. He opposes federal legislation that imposes costs on schools without providing the funding to pay for them, and also believes that education should be managed as close to the classroom as possible. He opposes the way standardized testing is being used in the state as more of a penalty than an educational tool.

Ross offers charter schools and greater flexibility as solutions to current problems in K-12 education, especially the care of disabled students. He says that schools should be able to pull disruptive or disabled children out of mainstream classrooms where they can jeopardize the learning process. Ross suggests that the funding for special needs education should be a national responsibility, instead of telling school districts whose students have extremely expensive cases, “too bad.” He says that charter schools could also be set up with teachers who specialized in care for disabled students, and that a charter school system wouldn’t end up leaving them out.

Environmental protection is another issue Ross says everybody is in favor of, but doesn’t want to pay for. He says the “burden of proof should be on people who want to pump bad stuff into the air, not those of us who don’t want to breathe it.” Yet he also believes that consumer responsibility is an important component of environmental protection, as reflected in choices about things like fertilizing lawns, buying highly packaged food, and car choices. He says that if dealerships were mobbed for hybrids like the Toyota Prius he drives, every manufacturer would have hybrid cars.

On affirmative action, Ross says that everybody should get their chance. He suggested that instead of changing standards, recruiters should look farther afield, and make a deliberate effort to recruit anyone who might have talent. He says that race is still a qualification for minority community policing, sting operations, and is sometimes used by schools looking for a certain mix. Ross noted that the successful 1998 Washington State ballot initiative opposing affirmative action had made an exception for law enforcement purposes, and said he thought it was odd that it was okay to use affirmative action to entrap someone, but not to help them.

Ross speaks about social issues like faith-based social funding, gay rights and abortion in terms of faith, but says that “nothing destroys a church like giving it state power.”

Ross says that he sees no problem with faith-based programs, that no one is compelled to use them if they don’t want to, and that they might have some good ideas. He says that money would be going to organizations responsible for showing results, not to churches, and that these organizations need to keep records and be evaluated. He says “you have to decide if you want to help people or make a political point.”

Ross described a Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage as “a ridiculous idea.” He compared it to endorsing gay promiscuity, and said he thought that religious people opposed promiscuity. Ross believes there’s no need for the government to either insist churches accept them, or take away people’s rights to enter a “solid, monogamous relationship.”

Ross, a Catholic, says he understands the concern religious people have about abortion. He says they think “God will punish America with fire because of the large number of abortions. And what I ask them is, ‘are you sure that outlawing it will reduce the number of abortions? Because if it doesn’t, God will still punish us with fire. …If you cover up the problem, he’ll still see it.’ …They think passing a law will avoid God’s wrath.”

Ross doesn’t think the anti-choice side is being upfront. He says that if they’re talking about giving full rights at the moment of conception, they should demand that conception certificates are issued. That if there’s no birth after nine months, a missing person investigation should begin, and without a satisfactory the mother be arrested and tried for murder. He says the problem is that laws against abortion probably won’t work and that they only affect half the population. Ross says that he doesn’t personally support abortion, wryly declaring that he “would never have one.”

As to making adherence to Catholic doctrine on abortion a political issue, Ross says that God is also against murder. He said, “the Pope spoke out against the Iraq war. Perhaps we should deny communion to every politician who supported that.”

To find out more, visit his website.

Posted by natasha at September 10, 2004 03:03 AM | WA Politics | Technorati links |