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The Nose: Where have you (and your fashion sense) gone, Susan Hutchison?

The joy on the faces of these Washington delegates as they dance at the GOP convention in Cleveland screams, “These hats smell great!”
The joy on the faces of these Washington delegates as they dance at the GOP convention in Cleveland screams, “These hats smell great!” Tribune News Services

You know those old pictures of the kids you stick on the fridge door and forget about? The embarrassing ones with the braces, the bad hair and the cringe-worthy outfits?

The Sniff, prone to occasional sentiment, likes to think of state Republican Party Chairwoman Suzerain — oops, Susan — Hutchison in that wistful, once-upon-a-time way, especially after her jolly antics at this week’s Republican National Convention.

Ah, memories … once upon a time, Suzerain had hair every bit as huge as presidential wannabe Donald Trump. Just check the Google machine if you don’t believe it. The Sniff has the image on a fridge magnet.

Once upon a time, she was a local TV anchor, smiling sweetly and reading the news for KIRO-TV with all the professionalism we’ve come to expect from professional news reader types. But then she grew up, turned politico, switched hairstyles, ran for King County executive and got trounced by hair-challenged Dow Constantine. It’s sad when the kids leave the nest.

Now Hutchison has ascended to the throne of state party chair. Tuesday, at this week’s Repub convention, the TV cameras caught her and the rest of the state’s Republican delegates dancing badly and wearing green tree-shaped foam hats while candidate Trump gained the party’s official seal of approval.

Now Hutchison has ascended to the throne of state party chair. Tuesday, at this week’s Repub convention, the TV cameras caught her and the rest of the state’s Republican delegates dancing badly and wearing green tree-shaped foam hats while candidate Trump gained the party’s official seal of approval.

Look, the Sniff has nothing against funny hats (though it’s hard to wear them without a head). If Wisconsinites can wear slabs of foam cheese, who are we to judge? Plus, it’s the Evergreen State, right? How can you mock a hat shaped like a tree and call yourself a homer?

Good points. Granted. Here’s a compromise: Wear any hat you like in the privacy of your own home. We promise not to tell HR.

The real trouble with the tree hats was their more than passing resemblance to those pine-scented little doodads designed to make your car smell like a forest instead of old burger wrappers. The spectacle made the Washington delegates look like refugees from an auto-parts store’s company picnic.

The real trouble with the tree hats was their more than passing resemblance to those pine-scented little doodads designed to make your car smell like a forest instead of old burger wrappers. The spectacle made the delegates look like refugees from an auto-parts store’s company picnic.

The trees come in all colors now, you know — nothing like the power of Extra Strength Wild Cherry scent troweled onto a red cardboard tree to replicate that new-car smell. The Suzerain we knew and loved used to have a modicum of fashion sense.

Confronting the Zodiac Killer: If Suzerain’s convention story ended with bad dancing and funny hats, passing mockery would be more than enough. But wait, there’s more!

Wednesday marked Day 3 of the convention. Presidential contender Ted Cruz, the choice of Washington delegates if not the national party, took the stage for one of his patented orations, complete with hushed, overlong pauses and strange smiles that cued awkwardly delayed applause from the audience.

Near the end of the 20-minute riff, the crowd began to realize Cruz wasn’t going to endorse their favored orange-headed nominee, and started booing. Note that “not endorsing” in convention-speak is a mysterious code known only to political insiders, though booing is universal.

Cruz congratulated Trump on winning the primaries, and urged delegates to vote their consciences. But he didn’t use Trump’s name when he said it. Boom! Before his speech ended, Trump entered the hall, stealing the moment by design or luck, depending on which talking head and conspiracy theorist you believe.

Cruz walked off the stage with an upraised thumb, and this was where things got a little crazy. Security teams escorted Cruz’s wife out of the hall as unhappy delegates shouted stuff at her, news reports said.

According to multiple reports, Suzerain herself confronted Cruz outside the convention hall near an elevator and went “bananas” on him (That was the official term from Buzzfeed News).

By her own admission to two news outlets, Suzerain called Cruz a “traitor to the party.” Security had to step in to clear some space between Cruz and Hutchison, though Suzerain said she didn’t recall that part.

By her own admission to two news outlets, Suzerain called Cruz a “traitor to the party.” Security had to step in to clear some space between Cruz and Hutchison, though Suzerain said she didn’t recall that part.

“I just told him I thought his speech was inexcusable, and I was so disappointed in him,” Hutchison told a Buzzfeed reporter. “I was angry, everybody was angry. You heard everybody booing him. We were astounded at what he did.”

Quite the scene, no? The Sniff would have enjoyed a front-row seat. We can’t help dreaming of Suzerain in the old KIRO broadcast chair, having a Howard-Beale-style meltdown, losing her studio-style cool, turning to the camera with a pointed finger and shouting “YOU TRAITOR” in that news-reader voice. Combine that effect with Cruz’s patented who-me smarm, and you’d have some viral video.

With all that said, the biggest question remains unanswered. Was Suzerain still wearing the tree hat when she blasted Cruz? That would be the pine-scented cherry on the hot mess sundae.

Got news for The Nose? Write to TheNose@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @thenosetribune

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