In case you can’t guess, I’ve been reading the Seattle Weekly this morning, and you absolutely, positively must read Mike Seely’s piece on Sen. Maria Cantwell. Really.
Stepping in for Knute Berger in the “Mossback” column, Seely, who worked as Cantwell’s deputy press secretary during the 2000 campaign, presents the most honest and straight forward analysis of Cantwell’s strengths and weaknesses I have ever read. Finally, a Cantwell insider publicly says what most people who have worked for her at Real Networks or on the campaign trail will tell you privately, if you pour enough booze them… though probably not quite so emphatically.
Cantwell is far from perfect. In fact, she ranks high among the most difficult people I’ve ever worked for or with. The seven months I spent in her charge felt like seven years. The campaign, larded with her RealNetworks stock windfall, spent more money on Red Vines than most candidates spend on direct mail. And conspicuous consumption during happy hour became all but a necessity, as it was invariably better to be half in the bag when Cantwell, a paranoid hellcat of a boss who rolls through staff like toilet paper, would make her daily sweep through the office, berating everyone in sight.
On the trail, Cantwell often handled small groups of constituents in closed settings well. But she was not what you would call warm