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Originally published January 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM | Page modified January 28, 2013 at 9:28 AM

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City haters at root of Senate grab

Is Seattle what’s wrong with Washington state politics? Maybe we should find out by breaking up.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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The truth has finally seeped out about the real cause of the recent political dysfunction in this state.

Seattle did it.

Yep, it’s our fault, Seattle. Two state senators who pulled a coup in Olympia to put Republicans in charge have taken to giving a one-word critique as to why they rebelled: “Seattle-centric.”

As in: Seattle rules the roost. It’s not fair. Because Seattle is “just not like the rest of the state.”

So said Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Dogpatch, I mean D-Potlatch, who last week handed control of the state Senate to the GOP despite their thumping in the last election.

Sheldon says he’s weary of Seattle influencing everything. Time for some fresh ideas from the hinterlands.

Such as, I suppose, a few years back when Sheldon reacted to police budget cuts by suggesting that locals, upon encountering a criminal, could go ahead and treat said criminal with a “hot Mason County lead enema.” (Translation for Seattle yuppies: They’ll shoot the criminals themselves.)

When others said such a return to vigilantism might be costly, compared to just paying for a few more cops, Sheldon crowed that his rhetoric already had worked to “drive some criminals back to Pierce and King Counties.”

Where they belong!

The new Senate Majority Leader, Rodney Tom, D-Medina, got into the spirit when he said he’s promoting “middle-class values” instead of a “Seattle-centric approach.” (Translation for Seattle yuppies: You’re insufferable.)

I know, I know — what’s new? Seattle haters gonna hate. Plus it’s true, Seattle can be a smug town with lockstep politics.

But Rodney Tom is about as qualified to hold forth on middle-class values as Mitt Romney. Tom lives in a 7,700-square-foot, $5 million waterfront house in Medina.

I thought my Seattle manor was kingly, but you could fit three of it inside Tom’s palace (four if you don’t count my unfinished basement with the asbestos).

More to the point, Mr. Middle Class Values has begun his crusade by saying he wants to go after collective bargaining rights for ... teachers. That’s really sticking it to The Man.

Anyway, the Seattle-bashing is odd. It’s not like big-city liberals have been triumphant in Olympia of late — it’s been all spending cuts and no new taxes. So I don’t get it. (But I wouldn’t, being from Seattle.)

Maybe there’s a clue in a remark by former GOP chairman Chris Vance, who, analyzing the election, noted that, “If you take away Seattle, (Republican) Rob McKenna wins the election by 88,000 votes.”

The conservative dream. Seattle is all that stands between blue turning a fantastical shade of red.

I don’t know, it seems the rest of the state is becoming more like Seattle, not less. Whitman County, way out in the Palouse, just voted for both legal pot and gay marriage!

But if Seattle is such a thorn, maybe we should break it off. We’ll be our own city-state. The hinterlands can have the rest.

For civic symbols, we get the Space Needle; they get the Tacoma Dome.

We get the Seahawks; they get the Thunderbirds.

We get the UW; they get Evergreen.

We get Pike Place Market; they get the Auburn SuperMall.

As for politicians, they get Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom. We get ... well, it doesn’t matter who we get. As long as they get Sheldon and Tom.

Danny Westneat’s column appears Wednesday and Sunday. Reach him at 206-464-2086 or dwestneat@seattletimes.com

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