Whatever shred of doubt anyone had that Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna wasn't going to run for governor should have been dispensed with after Wednesday's speech in Seattle. But anyone expecting him to have a little Scott Walker scent on him while he runs will be sorely disappointed.
McKenna spoke in front of the Seattle Rotary Club at the Westin Hotel, where he slammed Gov. Chris Gregoire for resisting efforts to cut state employee benefits and add tougher performance-based evaluations.
"Performance management is about making any organization, in this case a large state agency, more efficient and more productive," said McKenna, adding that efficiencies are key because projected expenses for government are growing at an unsustainable clip. "It's never been more important to tackle the issues the underlie that enormous structural deficit."
Blah, blah, regular old moderate Republican talking points...
So what of union busting?
McKenna did not employ the pitched anti-union rhetoric that GOP governors in Wisconsin and Ohio have used to push through labor changes.
He acknowledged that specific changes to employee evaluations and pay would often have to be negotiated with unions. "I understand that and that's fine, then bargain it."
He said the people in the best position to ensure that state government is run more efficiently are the employees who staff the agencies. "State employees are not the problem. State employees are the answer."