Seattle City Councilman Mike O'Brien may have dug himself into a bit of a political hole with his backing of the aggressive-solicitation bill, but over in the mayor's office his pal Mike McGinn is nicely positioned now that he's promised to veto the bill no matter what.

Say the bill does come out of the council with only five votes, which isn't enough to override a mayoral veto. In that event, McGinn gets to torpedo the major resumé-building initiative of his likely challenger for the mayor's office in 2013, Councilmember Tim Burgess. At the same time, he gets to do exactly what his populist, civil-liberties-defending base wants by killing a bill that has alarmed leading Seattle liberals.

Say, on the other hand, the bill comes out of the council with a veto-proof six votes (as now seems most likely). In that event, McGinn gets to say he was opposed to the bill to begin with, and continues to have doubts about it, but will respect the new law and—more importantly—will work to actually solve concerns about downtown safety by continuing to increase police foot patrols while looking for ways to improve social services so that fewer people feel they have to beg on the streets. In other words, he will get to credibly be on both sides of an issue without appearing to be a weasel or a flip-flopper, which is a rare sweet spot for a politician to find himself in.

Win and win.