I love and respect the Seattle PI's Joel Connelly. Honestly, I really do. He was one of the first olde tyme journalists to take the local blogosphere seriously, and one of the few to consistently reach out and interact with us, if admittedly, often with ridicule. At least he cares enough to criticize. And I appreciate that.

That said, his piece yesterday on Seattle's "liberal group think"... really, Joel?

— Tolerance of Republicans: The national ones can be pretty awful, but a sub-species in this state has stood for government reform and environmental conservation. Washington Conservation Voters folk writing anti-Rob McKenna screeds should remember the wilderness protected by GOP Gov. (and Sen.) Dan Evans.

Um... Dan Evans last ran for governor back in 1972—almost four decades ago—so how exactly is Evans' reputation as a moderate Republican at all relevant to what we should expect from a Gov. Rob McKenna, who was 10 years old at the time of Evans' last inauguration? Besides, judging from what few but consistently party-line public statements I've heard from Evans during my 20 years in this state, I'm not convinced even Dan Evans would qualify as a "Dan Evans Republican," let alone Rob McKenna.

The moderate strain of Republicanism should not be allowed to go extinct.

Too late.

A left to far-left political spectrum is constrictive.

Good thing then we don't have one.

Non-competitive, one-party legislative districts yield mediocre legislators.

From my experience, so do competitive ones.

— Tolerance of Believers: Our society now rightly frowns at racist and sexist remarks — though Rush Limbaugh still serves up the same — derogatory remarks about a person's ethnic origin, or sneering at a person's marital status. Why can't we extend the list to anti-religious bigotry?

Really? The Christians-as-oppressed-minority thing? And, "anti-religious" or anti-Christian, Joel? I think you're complaining about the latter:

It's distasteful to see constant attacks — notably in The Stranger — on the Catholic Church as a domain of reactionary red-hats and child molesters. One of its writers should someday commit an act of heresy by walking up to St. James Cathedral and seeing its treatment of homeless and the hungry. Or report on religious groups that embrace the LGBT community.

I can't speak for Dan, but, well, the truth is, Joel... the Catholic Church does have an awful lot of reactionary red-hats and child molesters. Maybe not all of them, or even most of them, but they're there. We don't make this shit up.

As for the good things religious groups do, I didn't realize that there was some journalistic rule that dictated we must print a pro-church story for every anti-church story we run. Besides, I thought modesty was Christian virtue. No?

Suspicion has been ginned up against local candidates because they were — gasp! —Presbyterians. Ugly campaigns against King County Exec hopeful Susan Hutchison and Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess come to mind. A place in the pew should not be disqualification from public office.

Again, I can't speak for any of my colleagues here at The Stranger, but everybody knows I'm a Ron Sims fanboy, and I've got no problem with his faith... because he doesn't try to shove it down my throat. Hutchison, on the other hand, regardless of her denomination, is a holier than thou holy roller, who simply can't be trusted to keep her God out of our bedrooms or gynecologist offices.

And as for Burgess, last time I saw, The Stranger endorsed Burgess. (Against my objections.)

Tolerance for business: Seattle has, in recent years, lost jobs and payrolls. The business community is worlds removed from autocratic, insular "civic builders" of yesteryear. Yet, any hint of a "progressive business climate" is treated with suspicion.

Yes, that's right, along with Christians, business owners are an oppressed and under-represented minority too. (Christian business owners, now don't get me started.)

When called upon, our government leaders trot out business owners who have benefited from government largesse. A pizza shop owner and a cupcake entrepreneur have become staples at just about any big Democratic event.

Wait a second, Joel. First you attack liberals for treating businesses with suspicion, and then you dis two successful business owners—implying that they owe their success to "government largesse"—simply because they consistently back progressive causes. I dunno... that just strikes me as a tad intolerant.

The city needs, again, to welcome as candidates — and policy advisers — public service-minded folk. They bring us needed experience. Bryant, Albro and Gael Tarleton, for instance, are doing a far better job making the Port accountable than ineffectual "reform" commissioners of the past.

And Albro, Bryant, and Tarleton all hold elected office, the latter two with endorsements from plenty of so-called liberal-group-thinkers. So what's your point?

Job-supporting businesses need to be consulted — yes, and when possible accommodated — when they get impacted. Yes, that means "road diets" that close lanes on major streets, and jacking up parking rates, or requiring paid sick leave for employees.

But for Joel, nobody speaks for the voiceless.

— Tolerance for robust debate: The Seattle left gets vociferous when it disapproves of a public figure's local appearance, or does not like what it hears. The result is that certain bodies of opinion aren't heard here.

Really? If there's one thing my experience as a blogger tells me, it's that we have a very robust debate (on just about everything but tax restructuring). But at least Joel didn't fall back on some forty-year-old anecdote to support his flimsy assertion.

It's reminiscent of the New York literary lioness who wondered how President Nixon could have won a 49-state landslide when she didn't know a person who voted for him.

Oh wait. Yes he did.

We heard the suggestion — after George W. Bush won a second term in 2004 — that progressive corners of the country set themselves apart, do their thing and turn their backs on red state America.

We wanted to turn away from red state America, but we were afraid it would shoot us in the back.

Did the "strategic hamlet" program work in Vietnam? Nope.

Um... you totally lost me.

Seattle needs to reach out and debate ideas rather than defining heresies. That's the real inclusiveness.

Agreed, Joel, which is why I decided to honor your call, and bring this debate into the pages of The Stranger. You're welcome.