Washington state gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee set high standards for clear solutions and a decorum presidential candidates fail to meet.
Attorney General McKenna refused to release his tax returns to the public after Inslee asked him to do so during an Aug. 21 debate. He argued it took away from voters'opportunity to learn about each candidate's stance on the issues.
In modern politics, some voters have decided candidates should toss privacy to the wind and share personal records for all to see. This ideology applies to both the state and national stages.
Unfortunately, politicians such as President Barack Obama and Inslee, are focusing on irrelevant items, such as Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney's tax returns. Voters' interests have disappeared in the political throw down between candidates, and the significant issues have suffered from neglect. However, at least both Inslee and McKenna have clear political strategies, unlike their national couterparts.
Inslee, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, released five years of federal income-tax returns on Tuesday, Aug. 21, demanding McKenna do the same. A week later, he even corrected an error in his 2009 tax returns regarding a deduction from selling a country club membership, according to the Seattle Times. Good for him.
Aside from learning Inslee may want to invest in a better accountant before he willingly releases such documents, nothing is revealed about him as a candidate. A tax return discloses annual income, annual federal income taxes and the amount of deductions claimed, but holds little importance when considering voter interests.
For example, Inslee’s strategy to lower unemployment or increase state revenue is not included in his returns.
A debate, on the other hand, tells a much clearer story. In a debate, we see how quick candidates think on their feet, how they weather pressure, how well they can prepare and their stances on pertinent issues. I know, it's shocking.
The latest debate between Inslee and McKenna took place on Aug. 29 at the WSU-Vancouver campus.
Inslee's challenge to McKenna to release his tax returns during the debate backfired. McKenna reversed the argument, saying tax returns distract voters from real issues. Regardless of Inslee's opinion, he has disclosed far more financial information on his F1, financial-disclosure reports. His response is quite clever, and I encourage you to watch the video.
Luckily, the diversion only lasted a moment. Inslee and McKenna are both a credit to Washington state and often maintain a civil, respectful attitude. When they debate, they take a clear stance.
If only the same could be said regarding Obama and Romney. Obama cannot seem to move on from Romney’s tax returns, demanding Romney release an additional five years, according to the Washington Post.
By no means am I saying either candidate has failed to talk about the main issues. They have simply failed to meet the decorum and clarity that seems to come so easily to McKenna and Inslee.
I can clearly outline both Inslee’s and McKenna’s strategies to reduce deficits from watching one debate. But, upon reading numerous articles about Obama and Romney and their opinions on important topics, I cannot discern a clear course of action.
Obama said Americans are better off today than four years ago on Monday, according to The New York Times. Republicans countered on CNN, saying half-a-million more people are unemployed today compared to four years ago. They have clear opinions, but no clear solutions.
Romney’s and Obama’s tax returns receive more coverage than either candidate’s stance to lower unemployment rates. Both candidates have mentioned their ideas, however those ideas are far from a complete course of action.
It is a sad day for the U.S. when local gubernatorial candidates appear far more competent than those running on the national stage. It is a standard that bodes well for Washington state, but promises an uncertain future for the U.S.