by Goldy, 07/26/2009, 10:45 AM

Everybody knows that Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01) has long had his eye on the governor’s mansion, and is widely expected to give up his House seat to run for our state’s top office in 2012. But who of note has his eye on Rep. Inslee’s coveted House seat, once it becomes vacant?

Word is that noted travel writer and TV and radio personality Rick Steves is seriously considering giving up his globetrotting ways for an extended stay in the other Washington, and is already working the local Democratic circuit in preparation for a potential run. The latest evidence? Steves jumped at the offer to be the keynote speaker at the Snohomish County Dems’ Annual Gala fundraiser on Sept. 12.

Yes, I know, 2012 is quite a ways off, but it wasn’t so long ago that Inslee was a top candidate for the number one or two position in President Obama’s Department of Energy, giving Steves a more immediate opportunity to explore his own political ambitions. And it was during this time, with a potential special election looming, that Steves reportedly firmed up his intention to run.

Through his popular guidebooks, website, radio and TV shows, the ever likable and seemingly unflappable Steves has expanded his Edmunds WA based tour business into a low-key, travel empire, making himself a nationally known public figure in the process. And in recent years, Steves has increasingly leveraged his national audience and stature to insert his own unique experiences into the public debate.

While his website is still largely devoted to his tour business and travel guides, it now contains an entire section devoted to “Social Activism,” including commentary arguing for a “European perspective” on drug control policy (he urges America not to be “hard” or “soft,” but rather, “smart on drugs”), and a link to his controversial ACLU-sponsored video urging the end of our nation’s failed “prohibition on marijuana.” Steves has also recently earned himself the unbridled hatred of many on the knee-jerk right for his thoughtful documentary on traveling through Iran, in which he shows the Iranian people as anything but an axis of evil.

But rather than protect his business by pulling back from his activism in the face of increasingly strident attacks, Steves chose to respond to his critics with a new book, “Travel as a Political Act.” Indeed, it appears that the harsh reaction from the right has only served to further politicize Steves.

For the life me, can’t understand why Steves would want to give up what appears to be one of the best jobs in the world for one which often appears to be one of the worst (I once phrased the same question to KIRO radio host and former WA-08 contender Dave Ross, who genuinely, it seems, believes in something he calls “public service”), and with 2012 such a long ways off, Steves still has plenty of time to come to his senses. But if he doesn’t, I think he’d make a great candidate, and while not everybody will be as thrilled as fellow HA blogger Lee, I know a lot of folks who would welcome Steves to the race.

32 Responses to “U.S. Rep. Rick Steves?

1. Roger Rabbit spews:

Funny how the knee-jerk loudmouth right mouths platitudes about “freedom” and offers cheap talk in support of Iranian demonstrators but excorciates Steves for supporting freedom for the Iranian demonstrators. This proves righties just like to shoot off their mouths and will criticize anyone and anything merely to hear themselves talk.

2. Stinky Friedman spews:

Rick Steves knows more about the real world (because has actually traveled) than nearly all of the right-wing screamers who sit on their fat ass and venture no where…but always believe the mantra that the US can never be wrong.

Take for example George Bush. Or Sara Palin, who just today said, “never, never criticize your country.” She would have fit right in, in 1941 Germany.

3. typicla political consultant and party leader spews:

We can’t have him, he’s a pot head who says he likes it in Europe, so he’s a socialist, too, and my god, we can’t be out in public talking about those things.

4. Spawn of RC Reprobate spews:

He’s finally sick of the Rue Cler in Paris or the Cincoterre in Italy.

5. VWRC spews:

From Inslee to Steves? thats like going from garbage to crap.

6. Broadway Joe spews:

No, going from Dumbya to McSame would be from going from garbage to crap. IMHO Steves would make a fine Congressman, maybe even a future Secretary of State or UN Ambassador with the proper experience.

7. Roger Rabbit spews:

@6 Steves has an education and knows what he’s talking about, so of course he has to be a Democrat, because those traits would get him run out of the GOP.

8. sparky spews:

He is a LUTHERAN Democrat…hotbed of wackos, I tell ya! :)

9. Thorn spews:

I’m all for it. Steves for congress!

10. Piper Scott spews:

Goldy,

Edmonds is the city in south Snohomish County.

Edmunds is the car manual.

You need to get out of your HA Happy Hoolihovel once and awhile and mingle amongst the great unwashed.

Rick Steves is a great travel writer, and his shows are as entertaining as anything. But is he wants to have his finger and toenails ripped off, then I suppose it’s OK for him to run for Congress.

The track record, however, of those who start at that level isn’t very good. What was it that said – can’t remember…Sam Rayburn or Mike McCormack – you wish that he’d run for some sort of office like dog catcher before trying for Congress?

How much of his personal fortune is he willing to toss into a race? It’s golly-bob expensive – is he up to it?

And those of us on the right aren’t mad at Steves – we feel sorry for him because he got suckered by the Ayatollahs into painting an overly kissy-face portrait of a country where the people get crushed, nice though they may be. How’d that recent election turn out again?

The Piper

11. Lee spews:

@10
And those of us on the right aren’t mad at Steves – we feel sorry for him because he got suckered by the Ayatollahs into painting an overly kissy-face portrait of a country where the people get crushed, nice though they may be. How’d that recent election turn out again?

At a recent Iranian-American event in Seattle, the attendees were strongly supporting the protestor’s cause while also screening Steves’ documentary at the same time. If Steves was “suckered by the Ayatollahs”, why on Earth would that have happened.

Steves wasn’t “suckered” into anything. You, on the other hand? LOL.

12. Piper Scott spews:

@11…Lee…

Why are you asking me why that happened – I wasn’t there. I’m sure there were lots of ordinary Italians in Italy under Mussolini, but that didn’t stop us from waging war against them.

But you also have to ask yourself whether the north King and south Snohomish County turf (Bainbridge Island aside) that is the 1st Cong. District will find Steves’ positions palatable. Inslee is your typical Dem pork-pie-producer (he was the one who had the stupid idea that it was Congress’ job to buy America HDTV converters – insane!), but is Steves?

Will he be attractive to those voters?

The Piper

13. through the back door spews:

Steves would be a more respectable U.S. Representative than any of the decidedly lackluster crew representing the 1st congressional district in the state legislature, with the notable exception of Bainbridge Island’s Rep. Christine Rolfes, who has young kids and presumably wouldn’t be interested. I’d love to hear more from Rick Steves, if he is indeed interested.

14. Lee spews:

@12
Why are you asking me why that happened – I wasn’t there.

Neither was I, but you didn’t have to be there to understand the point I’m making. You claimed that Steves’ documentary was pro-regime, yet it was shown by a group of Iranian-Americans who were gathering in support of the those protesting the regime. Clearly, there’s a very big hole in your theory then. Have you seen the documentary yourself?

I’m sure there were lots of ordinary Italians in Italy under Mussolini, but that didn’t stop us from waging war against them.

How is that even relevant to what I’m talking about here? Do you even understand what you’re saying, or are you just programmed to sputter gibberish whenever everyone starts laughing at you?

But you also have to ask yourself whether the north King and south Snohomish County turf (Bainbridge Island aside) that is the 1st Cong. District will find Steves’ positions palatable. Inslee is your typical Dem pork-pie-producer (he was the one who had the stupid idea that it was Congress’ job to buy America HDTV converters – insane!), but is Steves?

We may get to find out. It’s an overwhelmingly Democratic district, so as long as he gains the support of most Democrats, he’ll represent them.

15. Piper Scott spews:

@14…Lee…

Never said Steves’ film was pro-regime – what I said was that he got snookered by the regime, which is different. A little cynicism is a good thing in someone going into politics – does Steves have it?

The Piper

16. Steve spews:

@10 “Edmonds” “Edmunds”

Hmm, I sees we’s gots ourselves a new spulcheck cop in town. Bout time! I betchya he teaches us’n some gud grammah to!

@10 “But is he wants” “What was it that said”

Er, my bad. But you keep up wit the gud spulcheckin, Piper.

17. Piper Scott spews:

@16…S…

Should be “But is what he wants…” and “Who was it that said…”

Mea culpa for not proofing better. At least I’m man enough to own up to a mistake.

That Goldy can’t even get the name of Rick Steves’ hometown correct should make Steves, should he decide to run, run also from Goldy’s support.

The Piper

18. lostinaseaofblue spews:

I’m what the rabid reactionaries like the crazy rabbit and Broadway Joe would call a wingnut and I think he’d make an interesting candidate.

He is, as someone else pointed out, well travelled. Nothing like seeing the way other people do things to make a person realize most social conventions are just habit, not automatically right. I’ve loved my time abroad and wish I could spend more time travelling. It doesn’t follow, as most progressives and liberals believe, that the way we do things is automatically wrong, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

He was smart and courageous enough to find something he enjoyed doing and do it well enough to make a good living by it. This is what conservatives celebrate and liberals hate. He is a democrat so is axiomatically anti-business, but he might actually have some sense as well. A liberal with sense! Amazing.

His stance on drug policy is imminently sensible. Like prostitution and other consensual crimes, we will have a certain number of people incapable of dealing with reaity without drugs. Let the idiots fry their own brains if they like, I say. If they are behind the wheel of a car or watching kids get them for that, just like with alchohol. And tax the living daylights out of it to pay for those who do want treatment.

Failing a good conservative candidate he would be interesting, but is probably too smart to run.

19. Lee spews:

@15
Never said Steves’ film was pro-regime – what I said was that he got snookered by the regime, which is different.

You wrote:

And those of us on the right aren’t mad at Steves – we feel sorry for him because he got suckered by the Ayatollahs into painting an overly kissy-face portrait of a country where the people get crushed, nice though they may be.

I’m sorry, but there isn’t much of a distinction there, and anyone can clearly see it. I caught you being full of shit, just be a man and own up to it.

A little cynicism is a good thing in someone going into politics – does Steves have it?

Considering his grasp of the history of our marijuana laws (and I’ve obviously heard him speak on the subject a number of times), I’m pretty well satisfied of the level of cynicism he possesses. I think one can be both cynical and optimistic, believing that the world can be really screwed up but that we have the power to make a difference in small ways.

20. Lee spews:

@18
It doesn’t follow, as most progressives and liberals believe, that the way we do things is automatically wrong, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

No, that’s not what most progressives and liberals believe. Not at all. Not even close.

He was smart and courageous enough to find something he enjoyed doing and do it well enough to make a good living by it. This is what conservatives celebrate and liberals hate.

What? Exactly which “liberals” hate that? Liberals celebrate that as much, if not more than conservatives.

He is a democrat so is axiomatically anti-business, but he might actually have some sense as well. A liberal with sense! Amazing.

Democrats are not “axiomatically anti-business”. They may believe that the rights of corporations are not on equal footing with the rights and basic needs of individuals, but that’s not the same thing.

I’m glad you’d be willing to support Steves, but you’ve managed to convince yourself to believe a number of things about “liberals” than simply aren’t true. You may want to take a step back and ask yourself why you ended up believing such things.

21. YLB spews:

He was smart and courageous enough to find something he enjoyed doing and do it well

I celebrate some right wing fools’ inclination to “enjoy” being a total idiot. and yes some of them do it very, very well…

Well, carry on, is all I can say. It worked well for progressives last November.

22. YLB spews:

That Goldy can’t even get the name of Rick Steves’ hometown correct should make Steves, should he decide to run, run also from Goldy’s support.

Well, well we have yet another quote to post-it mark in the book of right wing stupid.

I mean seriously…

23. sarge spews:

U.S. Rep Rick Steves?

Works for me!

24. Another TJ spews:

I love the CrackPiper’s comments. They’re such a wonderful melange of ignorance and illogic, and it’s cute how he’s so darn proud of them.

Shine on, you crazy diamond!

25. Broadway Joe spews:

@18;

I’m a ‘rabid reactionary’? Just because I’m not a blind pablum-puking follower like you? I walk my own path, asshole, and I don’t say things lightly. In my humble opinion Steves would make a fine Congressman, and with that same opinion I would suggest that if you don’t like it, perhaps you should leave America and never come back.

I don’t merely ‘react’. I think, then I act.

26. Bruce spews:

Did you know that Rick Steves voted for Ronald Reagan, twice. And he doesn’t just attend the Lutheran church, he makes religious videos for them. Then he works with anti-famine religious groups such as “Bread for the World.” To top it off, he and his wife set up a charity right there in Edmonds, helping actual deserving local residents.

How will most Democrats be able to disagree with my position that Rick Steves is much too religious, much too Christian, to be suitable for Congress? He just wouldn’t fit in there!

27. Broadway Joe spews:

Two words, Bruce:

Reagan Democrats.

28. proud leftist spews:

Bruce @ 26
I am a good Lutheran. That is why I’m quite left of center–I’ve read, for instance, Matthew 25 and cannot understand how a Christian could be a member of today’s Republican Party. I would welcome Rick Steves into the race, and would be happy to vote for him, except that I really like my current Representative, Jay Inslee.

29. correctnotright spews:

Bruce:
I applaud Steves for being religious and living his religion (but he is not a creationist and not being intolerant of others).

I applaud Steves for supporting anti-famine religous groups – while still encouraging the government to stop famine.

We all need to work together to make the world a better place. Govenment cannot do it all….but trying to make government do nothing is not the answer either.

30. proud leftist spews:

29
Amen, bro. I don’t understand how religious conservative people do not see how government can help achieve the ends that the Gospel suggests should be pursued.

31. lostinaseaofblue spews:

Sidetrack to his religion? By the way, a person cannot be a Christian and deny creationism in some form. A Christian can and should be tolerant. This doesn’t mean endorsing what is obviously wrong, by the way. I’m not advocating either side, but to believe in the bible, and the role of Christ means that you believe that God created the world. It would be the same as saying ‘I believe in Islam and Christ’. The two cancel each other out.
Then we go to the old bromide about religious conservatives are automatically morons with half their teeth. I’m curious when in this country being religious became sinister instead of a mark of character.
As for Matthew 25, in my copy, it says “Then he will say to those on the left ‘Depart from me you who are cursed.’” You really want to use that chapter?
Just kidding. I know you’re referring to the exhortations to charity for those less fortunate. I also know that most progressives and liberals are sincere and convinced that their way is, for lack of a better word, right. Charity is an obligation, but a personal one. For government to force people to do so violates their right to do so themselves. It is theft from the careful by the incompetent, which is to say government and those who rely on it. To the best of my dim Sunday School recollections neither is exactly pushed in the Missouri Synod church I went to as a kid.
As for Broadway Joe, he descends to abuse rather than argument, his usual form. He isn’t worth responding to.
Lee at leasts contests points. Still, most progressives use the word ‘business’ or ‘profit’ as some sort of expletive. Most liberals, by definition, believe that most of what we are doing with regard to government is wrong and needs changed. That is why a conservative is called that. A conservative wants to keep things the way they are. Just saying..

32. proud leftist spews:

lost: “Charity is an obligation, but a personal one.”

I don’t necessarily disagree with that. On the other hand, I believe that taking care of those who have not extends beyond what charity might provide, if charity is not enough. And, I most surely believe that charity is not enough. That’s where government comes in. If a kid is starving, we need to feed that kid, and that kid doesn’t care if the food comes from a Christian charity or a grant from the U.S. government. The two are not at odds, in my book, not at all.