Mike! McGavick: Learning the Dark Art of Political Bullshitting

Sometimes even a small statement by a political candidate his helpful in judging character.

And from a brief statement by Senatorial hopeful Mike! McGavick! it looks like the former Safeco executive is rapidly acquiring skill in the dark art of political bullshitting. (You know, that thing called “lying” outside of the euphemistically enriched field of politics.)

Either that, or Mike! is just very badly informed about Senator Maria Cantwell’s political record and his own public statements.

Today’s Yakima Herald-Republic reported that

Sen. Maria Cantwell hoped to add some mileage to her campaign Tuesday by calling for an increase in fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2017.

Passenger car standards are currently 27.5 mpg.

“We know the technology already exists to allow American families to drive any car they want and still save hundreds of dollars a year just by getting better gas mileage,” the first-term Democrat said in a news release. “It’s time we ask for more from our cars and the companies that make them.”

When asked for comments, Mike! shot back that…

[…] he’s long supported increased vehicle fuel efficiency and suggested Cantwell is late to the issue.

“The senator’s been on the energy committee so she’s had plenty of time to work on CAFE standards. Too bad it didn’t come up six years ago,” he said.

Oh, really, Mike! You’ve long supported fuel efficiency standards and Cantwell is new to the issue, huh? Let’s bring out your record for Washingtonians to see.

According to On The Issues, a web site that tracks candidates on major issues, public statements by Mike! on energy boil down to two opinions:

Drill ANWR but also explore coal, nuclear, & biofuel

America needs a broad-based strategy for reducing its dependence on foreign oil. We must consider variety of domestic options for producing energy, including safely using nuclear power, devising cleaner options for coal use, developing the new frontier of biofuel, and expanding domestic oil resources-including ANWR. Source: Campaign website, www.mikemcgavick.com, “Issues” May 2, 2006

Keep existing dams to maintain clean hydro power

The dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers should not be removed. The hydro-electric power and irrigation capabilities provided to the region are too important to our economy to consider removal of the dams. The benefits of our system of dams are evident: clean and efficient hydro power lighting 8 million homes while turning a desert basin into a literal breadbasket to the world. Source: Campaign website, www.mikemcgavick.com, “Issues” May 2, 2006

No word on CAFE standards, there, Mike!

Has Mike! gone before Congress to testify about CAFE standards? Nope. The Congressional Record shows that Mike! only testified once, in November, 1993 on behalf of the American Insurance Association. His testimony on the Superfund Improvement Project, essentially, was asking Congress to limit retroactive liability for insurance companies.

Well…maybe Mike! has made statements to the press. But a Lexis-Nexis search of news sources, news wires, news transcripts, business news, legal news, and university news reveals no mention of Mike! and CAFE standards.

Finally, I did a general web search and could find no statements by Mike! on CAFE standards.

What about Maria Cantwell’s record?

In March of 2002, Cantwell gave a fiery statement on the floor of the Senate during a debate on the National Laboratories Partnership Improvement Act Of 2001 (148 Congressional Record S 1805):

Mr. President, I rise today to express my disappointment with the Senate’s inability to act on the important issue of corporate average fuel economy standards for our Nation’s vehicles. Addressing the transportation sector’s consumption of fossil fuels is an integral part of any energy policy designed to meet the needs of our 21st century economy.

I continue to believe that raising CAFE standards is absolutely critical in promoting more efficient fuel use—thus weaning this nation from its dependence on foreign oil—while continuing to meet our transportation needs. At the same time, CAFE standards promise environmental benefits and savings for consumers. Despite what some in industry might suggest—suggestions that harken back to Congress’ first debate on CAFE in 1975, when some claimed the current standards would render this Nation’s auto manufacturers extinct—I believe we have the technologies and the American ingenuity necessary to meet the goals set out by tougher CAFE standards.

Transportation accounts for 67 percent of U.S. oil consumption and one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Clearly, improving the efficiency of the U.S. vehicle fleet would serve the public interest by reducing individuals’ exposure to fluctuations in oil prices and emitting fewer of climate changing greenhouse gases.

To me, the numbers suggest a very clear choice.

If my colleagues truly wanted to take the environmentally and economically responsible vote—to mitigate our exposure to foreign oil and economically devastating price shocks—they would have acted today to increase our fuel efficiency standards.

I believe many in this Chamber agree on the theoretical goals of this bill—increased energy independence, diversification or our energy resources and improving the energy efficiency of our economy. But my colleagues must realize that to meet these goals we must address both supply-side and demand-side of the equation. And we cannot wait to take action.

Simply cranking up oil production and ignoring the efficiencies at our fingertips will ensure that we will be in the same place 20 years from now—or worse yet, even more dependent on foreign sources of oil.

Estimates suggest that if the status quo is maintained, our dependence will grow from 51 percent today, to 64 percent in 2020. If the status quo is maintained, we will be asking ourselves the same questions about economic and energy security as we are asking ourselves today.

I believe that the CAFE provision proposed by Senator Kerry and Senator McCain, like its predecessor in 1975, would have gone a long way toward meeting the multiple goals of the overall energy bill. In addition to the energy security and environmental benefits I’ve already mentioned, it would have protected consumers against disruptions in oil supplies that increase the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

The current CAFE standard—which has saved 14 percent of fuel consumption from what it would have been without CAFÉ—has not been updated in 20 years. By increasing fuel economy standards, consumers would travel farther on a gallon of gasoline than ever before. Since the introduction of the first CAFE standards in 1975, vehicle operating expenses have been halved, mostly due to decreased expenditures on gas and oil.

Increasing fuel efficiency has a second impact, which is to help to stimulate the American economy by keeping dollars at home. At present, Americans spend over $300 million dollars per day on foreign oil. By reducing how much of that oil we consume, Americans save billions of dollars a year at the gas pump. This money would be available for reinvestment in our own economy and to help improve the lives of American families.

Opponents of CAFE standards have argued that increased fuel efficiency will result in decreased vehicle safety. To the contrary, provisions to maintain vehicle safety are written directly into the language. Furthermore, by bringing SUVs and light trucks under the rubric of the CAFE standard, CAFE will without question save lives.

Opponents also argued that CAFE standards hurt the American auto industry and American workers.

In reality, a high fuel economy standard would put existing technologies into vehicles and spur technological innovation—something in which American industry is a proud leader. The CAFE proposal provided for gradual improvement in fuel economy over time, allowing manufacturers the opportunity to retool processes and redesign product lines over time. Consumer fuel savings and technological innovation will lead to an infusion of capital in local economies and investments in the auto industry, making U.S. vehicles competitive in a global market and creating—not destroying—jobs.

The first time around, CAFE was created in response to rising oil prices. Today, volatility in the oil market continues to be a concern, along with our energy security and the environmental impact of fossil fuel emissions. We had before us an opportunity to alleviate threats to our national energy and economic security posed by foreign oil dependence, while protecting our environment and taking a positive step in the battle to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Now is the time to make these changes.

I thank Senator Kerry and Senator McCain for their leadership on this issue. I want to add that I agree with my colleague from the Energy Committee, Senator Carper, who has suggested that we should—we must—return to the issue of CAFE standards before we finish our work on this bill. Hopefully, we will all come to our senses.

Maria Cantwell voted no on the Levin Amendment No. 2997 (an amendment to terminate CAFE standards) to Bill S.517 in March 2002.

In summary, Maria Cantwell has a track record of strong support for CAFE standards.

Mike! McGavick’s long record on CAFE standards is…umm…

(*the sound of crickets chirping*).

Mike! has no record whatsoever!

There you have it. Mike! has been working on his skills in the art of political bullshitting by making a blatantly incorrect statement about his opponent, and at the same time making misleading statements about his own record. (Either that, or he has some serious cognitive difficulties.)

Update: Goldy at HorsesAss.org picked up this post and he did a great job “judging character.” As of Friday afternoon, three newspaper blogs have also picked up the story. On Wednesday, Josh Feit selected this as the “Blog Post of the Day” over at The Slog. On Friday morning, David Postman at his Seattle Times blog did a nice job framing McGavick’s comment for what it was–a cheap political shot. Later in the day, Chuck Taylor at The Seattle Weekly blog then commented on Postman’s posting. This is getting so meta!

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7 Responses to “Mike! McGavick: Learning the Dark Art of Political Bullshitting”

  1. thehim Says:

    Good research, man. Thanks.

  2. howieinseattle Says:

    Many more lies to come from Slade’s evil co-conspirator.

  3. BLICKA Says:

    Um…. I hate to be the bearer of common sense here, but in what capacity would an individual in the private sector have to lobby congress regarding CAFE standards? Especially one in the insurance industry……

    In contrast, someone who’s been in the senate 4 years now has one statement on the CAFE standards. Hardly what I’d call a ‘go getter’!

    More liberal drivel spewn about, go figure. When your highpoints are the stranger and horsesass picking up your story, you’ve got a credibility problem.

  4. Darryl Says:


    “I hate to be the bearer of common sense here, but in what capacity would an individual in the private sector have to lobby congress regarding CAFE standards?”

    Exactly! I mean, why would he even attempt to compare his record to that of Cantwell’s on the issue? If he had actually done something or written something that might be different. He hasn’t. Instead, he has offered us a little white lie.

    “In contrast, someone who’s been in the senate 4 years now has one statement on the CAFE standards. Hardly what I’d call a ‘go getter’!”

    Huh? Where did you get the idea that Cantwell has only made one statement on CAFE? Perhaps because I only cited one of her statements? You need to do a little more research. In fact, she began her Senatorial career by cosponsored S.597 (Comprehensive and Balanced Energy Policy Act of 2001) her first year in office. If you actually look at her Senatorial record (and even her 2-year stint in the house in 1993-1994) you will find that Maria Cantwell has a solid record on energy conservation, air quality and the environment.

    McGavick? Ahhhh…not so much.

    The simple fact remains that McGavick claimed long support for increasing CAFE standards; but, there is no record of any statements or action. McGavick said, “Too bad [Cantwell’s support for CAFE increases] didn’t come up six years ago” In fact, she did exactly that, and has continued to do so. Cantwell has a strong, demonstrated Senatorial record of support for CAFE standards and increases in CAFE standards.

    “More liberal drivel spewn about, go figure. When your highpoints are the stranger and horsesass picking up your story, you’ve got a credibility problem.”

    Could be worse, I suppose…I could be a mere commenter trying to justify a politician’s lie in the comment thread of a blog. :-)

  5. uppitymenschwench Says:

    Interesting … if you read the McGavick PR puff piece, er, lead article page 1 of Sunday’s Seattle Times, you’ll see McGavick’s total dependence on Ted Stevens and I suggest you evaluate for yourself the likelihood of any kind of Stevens-independent energy policy on the part of (Not in our lifetime) a Senator McGavick. Even if you’re mad at Maria, think about depleting a little of Stevens’ rumored clout, which would be called bullying anywhere but the senate. Reelecting Maria might make it possible for a few more people to stand up to The Incredible Bulk and may even make him understand it’s time to retire.

  6. OLiver D. Burgan Says:

    Mike No one every brings up the fact, that 25 miles from Anwar is the Canadian border, where they are drilling oil>>>>Why isnt this reported in Seattle Times???? Why dont you report it???

  7. Darryl Says:


    “No one every brings up the fact, that 25 miles from Anwar is the Canadian border, where they are drilling oil. Why isnt this reported in Seattle Times???? Why dont you report it???”

    Because it is not true. In fact, the proposed site of development is well over 100 miles from the Canadian border. The site is closer to the Sourdough oil field and the Prudhoe oil field (both in Alaska) than it is to the border of Canada.

    But, in any case, what does the proximity to Canada have to do with it? I mean, the major rationale for developing ANWR is not to “keep up with the Joneses!” Likewise, the arguments against developing ANWR is independent of anything about Canada.

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