If you’ve noticed an absence of substantive posting from me over the past couple days, it’s not from a lack of writing. In fact, I’ve written a couple of rants, several thousand words total, responding to the editorial endorsements of Dave Reichert by the both the Seattle Times, and even more disappointingly, the Seattle P-I.
It was cathartic. It felt good. But, well, sometimes one can be too honest, and at this point, really, what’s the point? So I’ll just keep my least constructive comments to myself.
But I’m sitting here watching the debate between Darcy Burner and Reichert on KCTS-9, a debate in which Darcy is clearly kicking the incumbent’s ass, and so I just can’t let this all pass by without at least one blunt critique, and that is that both paper’s editorial boards appear to have knowingly endorsed the least intelligent, least knowledgeable, and least capable candidate. As my 11-year-old daughter just aptly observed, Reichert “sounds like a little kid giving a report that he didn’t practice on, and knows nothing about.”
Or perhaps I give the editorial boards too much credit?
You see, I have always started from the basic assumption that the vast majority of voters would prefer elected leaders who are at least as smart and capable as they are. These are our leaders after all, and we entrust in them huge responsibilities. I accept that there are multiple intelligences, and that being book-smart is not a qualification on its own, but generally, it seems like a good idea to populate Congress with our best and our brightest.
And the fact is, Dave Reichert is, well, average. There’s no getting around that. He’s not well educated, he’s not well informed, and he has few if any accomplishments to show for his four years in the House. Indeed, neither the Times nor the P-I argue that Reichert is exceptional in any way, instead, they argue, he is, well, good enough.
So if Reichert is good enough for our two dailies, what does that say about the editorial writers themselves?
Unlike me, do these editorialists simply not mind being represented by somebody who is less capable than they are? Or does my assumption hold true, and are these editorialists simply as mediocre as Reichert? Do they accept Reichert as good enough because they really do find him to be an intellectual equal?
I know I may come off as sounding a little elitist, but Congress is a very elite organization, and it just seems that our region would be best served by selecting the very best representatives we can find. And Reichert simply is not that.
He is, however, the incumbent, and what we have seen from both papers is little more than a defense of incumbency, a circular logic that argues that Reichert’s experience in Congress, however unremarkable, is the singular qualification that makes him a better choice than Darcy. And if that is the curious logic by which our region’s opinion leaders determine their endorsements, then my original assumption is left unchallenged.