October 11, 2011 in City

Easy to be frightened by such eerie electioneering

By The Spokesman-Review
 

This time of year is such a creepfest.

The ghouls. The goblins.

Tricksters shambling to knock on our front doors …

And those are the politicians.

Halloween’s pretty damned scary, too, I suppose. But nothing chills like an October campaign season.

Ask yourselves: What frightens you more?

Candy-craving kids in costumes?

Or the mongrel horde of self-serving politicians who want to suck the votes out of us?

Thought so.

Those electioneering phonies make the zombies on “The Walking Dead” look like the cast of “Sesame Street.”

The coming Spokane election does hold some special appeal.

We’re about to find out if the Curse of the One-Term Mayor holds true.

We’re also headed for a changing of the swollen egos at the City Council president position.

Will voters select a new face? Or will they choose the political equivalent of thrift store shoes?

Former Mayor Dennis Hession, I mean.

But here’s the weirdest thing. The race that intrigues me most won’t be settled until November 2012.

I’m talking about Mike Baumgartner’s surprise decision to go after the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Maria Cantwell.

Baumgartner has logged less than a year as a Republican state senator. Now he wants to jump to the Big Show.

After that I hear Baumgartner has his sights set on becoming the commissioner of baseball, winning an Iron Chef competition and paddling across the Atlantic in a washtub.

I don’t know how seriously the Dems are taking this upstart. But just to be safe the two-term incumbent is having her name legally changed to “Canwell” in an effort to promote a more positive image.

Baumgartner gained fame by snatching Chris Marr’s 6th District seat in what has been touted as the most expensive legislative run in Washington history.

I was observing the misery and the merriment on that fateful election night. My first stop was to visit the Democrat infestation at the Lincoln Center.

Marr was there and looking fairly chipper – until the numbers started piddling in. A few updates later, Sen. Marr’s grin became more of a grimace.

He made me think of a guy who wakes up to find himself bandaged and sitting in an ice-filled hotel bathtub with the sinking suspicion that one of his kidneys may be missing.

In time I meandered over to watch the Republicans wallow at the posh Davenport Hotel. Baumgartner was beaming like a Lotto winner.

You’d think obliterating Marr would be worth savoring for, oh, I don’t know, at least one full term?

So what gives?

Maybe Baumgartner finds his state Senate chair lacking in lumbar support.

Or maybe the vending machine snacks aren’t up to par.

True, Olympia can’t ever measure up to the pomp and pomposity of that other Washington. But whatever happened to the concepts of paying your dues and putting in your time?

I don’t want to push the panic button, but there’s an even more alarming element to the Baumgartner quest for advancement.

A few days before making his announcement, he called to let me know it was coming.

Most politicians won’t look me in the eye, let alone actually initiate a conversation with me. Some will cross over to the other side of the street if they see me coming their way.

Candidate Baumgartner, however, wanted to chat with me.

This should tell us all we need to know about the man’s lack of experience.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.


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