Much to the relief of liberal bloggers throughout the region, former KIRO-TV news anchor Susan Hutchison has finally announced her candidacy for King County Executive, providing a much needed object of mockery in what was otherwise shaping up to be a tedious contest over who supports public transit more. Oh God, is this going to be fun.
Hutchison, for all her benign, if fading, public profile, is a genuine Republican of the corporatist/religious wing-nutty persuasion, who’s about as out of step with the values of the majority of King County voters as she is with their middle class lifestyle. And what exactly are her qualifications for higher office? According to the Seattle Times:
Hutchison has been executive director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences since 2003, chairs the Seattle Symphony board of directors and sits on the boards of several other nonprofit organizations.
And by “other nonprofit organizations,” of course the Times means the board of the Discovery Institute, the folks whose main claim to fame is their well-funded effort to destroy science education in our nation’s schools by promoting the creationism-cum-voodoo they call Intelligent Design.
So if your natural history education came half from the Bible and half from The Flintstones, Hutchison is likely your candidate of choice.
As for the rest of us, I’m not so sure Hutchison’s not-for-profit background provides exactly the kind of experience we’re looking for in a county executive. Widely feared in the arts community as a “tyrant” and… well… just plain crazy, her many board appointments have long been understood as the unavoidable string attached to Charles Simonyi’s money… you know, just the cost of doing business. And for her part, Hutchison has never been shy about making it clear that the road to Simonyi’s money runs straight through her:
One sunny morning a few weeks ago, Susan Hutchison woke up with a persistent Barry Manilow tune on her mind.
“I turned to my husband, and sang, ‘I write the checks that make the whole world sing,’ ” says Hutchison of the new take on the Manilow hit, “I Write the Songs.”
One of the Northwest’s most recognizable faces as a former KIRO-TV news anchor, Hutchison does indeed make a lot of people sing with the checkbook for the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, of which she is executive director.
Which makes her campaign kickoff comments about King County’s budget deficit all the more amusing.
Declaring that “our county’s financial house is in disorder,” Hutchison questioned the need for new taxes to close a projected $50 million budget deficit next year.
“We need a new direction in King County, with new leadership that does not believe the answer to every problem is a new fee or a higher tax,”
Taxes? Who needs ’em? No, the last time Hutchison needed $50 million (and a job), she just asked her good friend Charles to write a check. But I suppose we can trust her to spend our money wisely, considering she works for a guy who just spent $35 million going into space, for a second time, and you can’t get much more fiscally conservative than that.
Still, it looks like Hutchison’s days as a philanthropic kept woman may be coming to an end, Simonyi’s recent marriage to a much younger and prettier real wife reportedly marginalizing Hutchison’s influence on his daily affairs. So it’s probably a good time for her to move on to the exciting new challenge of seeing whether she can draw more votes in a King County election than Richard Pope.
To that end Susan, I wish you the best of luck, and my sincerest hope that you stay in this race until the bitter end. (That would be August 18, about 8:20 PM.) And to the many enemies you’ve made over the years through your tyrannical, solipsistic behavior, I welcome your contributions of gossip and innuendo, and promise to always respect and protect the anonymity of my sources.
Wow. That was quick. Sometime shortly after I posted, Discovery scrubbed Hutchison’s name from their list of directors. But they couldn’t scrub Google’s cache.