While we’re talking about the budget, I’ve got three words of advice for House and Senate Democratic leaders as they ponder their vision of Washington’s future: Governor Rob McKenna.
I’m as big a fan of Rep. Jay Inslee as any Puget Sound area progressive, and despite some recent harsh words, I’m not unfond of Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, but in my opinion, either Dem would be the definitive underdog against Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna in the 2012 gubernatorial race. Really.
Sure, I don’t trust him as far as I can spit, but McKenna is by far the most adept politician in Washington state at the moment. And while yeah, McKenna is totally in the pocket of Boeing, the realtors, AWB and those corrupt bastards at the BIAW… who in Olympia isn’t these days?
McKenna has meticulously crafted a moderate image despite his conservative credentials and his slavish devotion to the business interests who finance his campaigns, but unlike Dino Rossi, he’s managed to do it without coming off like a used car salesman. Listen to him on KUOW, or even on my old show on 710-KIRO, and he comes off eminently reasonable and rational… even likeable, in his own gawky, geeky sorta way.
But most importantly, he has made a career out of pandering to a political press corps that lovingly felates him in return. McKenna’s communications people are good. How good? When I lost my radio show, his was the only state office from which I received a personal note of condolence and best wishes.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and all that.
So again, as Democrats in Olympia ponder what to do with their huge majorities during these extraordinary times, I hope they fully understand that their window for effectively using these majorities may soon be coming to a close. In another few years Republican Gov. Rob McKenna may be setting the agenda and wielding the veto pen. And if I were betting man, I’d bet he will.