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To weed out odd candidates, ask right questions

Tue., Aug. 3, 2010

I was appalled and aghast to read about the strange and scurrilous antics of one of the Democrats running for the congressional seat now held by Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

David R. Fox called Spokane’s finest the other night. He claimed he had been assaulted by a man he had approached for oral sex.

“I don’t understand,” Fox reportedly said of his rough treatment. “I asked him nicely.”

Whoa. I realize Miss Manners is always encouraging polite behavior.

But I don’t care if a guy’s offering a box of Godiva chocolates and a dozen red roses. Any dude hits on me for a Lewinsky is getting popped in the proboscis.

And all this time I thought serial candidate Barbara Lampert was the Democratic wingnut in the 5th District race.

My bad, Babs.

I wouldn’t wish this Fox on Glenn Beck.

According to our news story, Fox was accused earlier this year of “demanding a client expose himself during a consultation in the Clallam County Jail.”

Fox subsequently denied this. But he apparently did admit to, ahem, pleasuring himself in a jail interview room.

You can’t make up stuff like this.

Sometime after that the West Side lawyer decided to move over here and inflict himself on us.

Sometimes I think of Spokane as a giant magnet for miscreants.

If I were in charge I would make every candidate take an entrance test before being allowed to run.

Sorry, Fox. This will be a written test. No oral exam for you.

The answers would then be scored to weed out the total whack jobs from the run-of-the-mill liars and thieves that we can’t do anything about.

Or here’s an even better plan.

We could revamp the profile pages that we’ve been running in The Spokesman-Review as a service to inform voters on the candidates and the issues.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all the hard work and good intentions that have gone into this project.

The problem is that we keep asking candidates the wrong questions.

For example, we asked Fox for his views on issues like the economy (“Help small business startups …”) and Afghanistan (“I’m reminded of another place, Vietnam …”).

Do these responses tell us anything about Fox?

Of course not.

See, I don’t want to hear candidates regurgitate a bunch of hooey that they think will win them votes. I want to start publishing candidate responses to revealing questions like …

• When you think of the term “romantic getaway,” does the image of a highway rest stop come to mind?

• Which have you experienced more, Elvis sightings or alien abductions?

• If you got all the multiple personalities living inside you together, would there be enough of them to make up a quorum, fill the seats of the Supreme Court or clean up the BP oil spill in the Gulf?

Unfortunately, it’s too late to do anything about it this year.

But I hope you agree with me. Fox’s behavior is completely unbecoming of someone seeking to serve in the United States Congress.

Oh, yeah. This is more what we’d expect from someone wanting to be Spokane mayor.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or at

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