January 17, 2013
Answer To Monday's Problem

I had thought the answer was obvious, but some commenters failed to see it, so I suppose I should explain.

Which reminds, me, naturally, of an old joke.

A very famous mathematician was explaining a complex mathematical proof to a class.  He had gotten to step four in the proof, wrote it down, and then said:  "From this, it is obvious that . . . .. "

And then he stopped, and thought for a few minutes.  (Since he was very famous the class waited to see what he would say next.)

After those minutes, he left the classroom and went back to his office, where he stayed for many more minutes.  (Since he was very famous, the class kept waiting.)

At last he returned, strode up to the blackboard, and said:  "Yes, I was right; it is obvious."

And then wrote the next step in the proof.

The Inslee joke is only mildly funny, but it deserves a chuckle or two.  During the campaign, and after the campaign, Inslee told us that he was a Olympia outsider and that he would be a "disruptive force".

For example.

[McKenna asked:] "Do you think that you'll be better off four years from now if we put the same people back in charge of Olympia that have been running it for 28 years?" he said looking into the camera.

Inslee, 61, a former congressman and state lawmaker, contended he will do a better job shaking up the establishment.

"Olympia needs a whole new culture of how we do business in state government and it needs a disruptive force to bring those changes," Inslee said.  "I intend to be that disruptive force."

And he plans to be that "disruptive force" with the help of the same people who have "been running Olympia for 28 years".

When Joel Connnelly wrote his posts, he was assuming that his readers knew about those Inslee promises, and would understand that Inslee was on his way to breaking them — even before he was inaugurated.

I thought that was obvious, too, though — now — I see that I was wrong.

Elected officials break promises all the time, but it is unusual for them to break promises before they take office.  When they do, unless there are some extraordinary circumstances, I think it fair to make negative judgements about their honesty.

(One or two commenters thought I was criticizing insiders in general, even though I hadn't said so.  In fact, I think, in most cases, a successful administration will have a mix of insiders and outsiders.

That said, it is unclear to me that Suzan DelBene was an outsider when she was collecting our taxes, or whether she had become a party insider by then, after her unsuccessful run for Congress.

Nor is it clear to me that she was a great success as head of the State Department of Revenue, considering the very serious charges of corruption within the department.   (If you haven't seen those charges, you can find them here.)  I don't know whether those charges are true, but they are the kind of thing we should expect when one party controls a government for decades.)

Posted by Jim Miller at January 17, 2013 01:41 PM | Email This