The home stretch, down to the wire, the finish line — in the final stages of this year’s endless campaign, it’s time to mothball those political metaphors. As a public service, The Sniff offers a suite of new options, more suited to the tone and tenor of our current campaign discourse:
▪ Crawling, barely alive, toward the bitter end.
▪ Wearily resigned to the impending zombie apocalypse.
▪ Praying for the return of seminormal inertia and ordinary sniping.
▪ Desperately seeking patronage jobs.
▪ Preparing to sift through the charnel pit.
▪ Dusting off lyrics of old come-together songs when this misery ends.
No truth for you: Anyone interested in political scrapbooking will have to include extra pages for 2016. It’s been a fat chapter.
Sure, the annals of political dirty trickery in the Evergreen State are lengthy and wonderfully bipartisan. State Democrats have plenty of skeletons gathering dust in their closet — veteran observers will remember the old Dem ad in 2008 that linked Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi to the soundtrack of “The Sopranos,” and the 2010 campaign to run a fake Democrat up in Everett. Ah, memories.
But 2016 is something else. At the moment, it’s the state Rs carving new paths in the thickets of chicanery. Take Olympia’s own Stan “Cut and Paste” Shore, a specialist in the Art of Leaving Things Out. Shore heads the Good Government Leadership Council, a campaign arm of state Senate Republicans. The group owns the dubious distinction of failing Your Fishwrap’s Smell Test twice in one year.
Shore’s outfit could have hit the trifecta if smell-testing boundaries included the vast fields of Clark County’s 17th District, where Democrat Tim Probst and Republican Lynda Wilson are fighting for a state Senate seat that could determine partisan control of the chamber.
An attack ad against Probst, backed by Shore’s group, has blown up into a full-fledged confrontation between state Republicans and the state Public Disclosure Commission.
An attack ad against Probst, backed by Shore’s group, has blown up into a full-fledged confrontation between state Republicans and the state Public Disclosure Commission. The Rs, led by party chair Susan Hutchison and state Sen. Mark Schoesler, want PDC director (and T-town’s own) Evelyn Lopez suspended because she wrote a letter to Probst last month, saying the attack ad was “not correct” in its description of PDC actions. The nerve!
The ad in question runs three phrases together: “Pocketed $750,000 from taxpayers,” followed by “Hid money from campaign watchdog” and finally, “Found guilty and fined,” with a giant animated gavel providing the punctuation. So witty!
The ad is classic mismatched stitching, seemingly linking Probst’s collective salary over 20 years in public life with his failure to file a personal financial affairs statement (F1) for his current state Senate campaign. That last bit about the F1 is true. It prompted a complaint to the PDC and a finding of a campaign disclosure violation, which had nothing to do with Probst’s salary over the past two decades. At the PDC’s direction, Probst filed the F1 belatedly, and the PDC suspended any financial penalty, i.e., no fine.
That’s why Lopez’s letter to Probst said the PDC investigation didn’t address “an issue of you taking money and not reporting it to the PDC” (because it didn’t), while adding that the attack ad was “not correct” (because it wasn’t.)
Get this: state Rs aren’t arguing with Lopez about whether the ad was “correct.” They’re arguing that she has no business saying whether it is or it isn’t – in essence insisting that Lopez can’t describe the actions of the agency she heads, even if those actions are mischaracterized.
But get this: state Rs aren’t arguing with Lopez about whether the ad was “correct.” They’re arguing that she has no business saying whether it is or it isn’t — in essence insisting that Lopez can’t describe the actions of the agency she heads, even if those actions are mischaracterized.
Clever ref-working, no? Still, it could be improved. A more elegant answer would have said, “Look, the courts ruled a long time ago that you can lie in campaigns. So buzz off, Evelyn.” If nothing else, it would have been straight talk.
Got felonies? Admittedly, those word games pale in comparison to the hot mess of a legislative campaign in the 19th Legislative District, where Democratic Rep. Brian Blake faces a challenge from Republican James “Jimi” O’Hagan.
It wouldn’t be fair to describe O’Hagan as a member of the R establishment — a chatty account in the mighty Chinook Observer gives a distinct crank vibe. O’Hagan, a cranberry farmer and long-time presence in local legal battles, is a self-described “sovereign” citizen who wants to kick all attorneys out of the state Legislature, disbar all lawyers in Washington for good measure and disband the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct.
O’Hagan, a cranberry farmer and long-time presence in local legal battles, is a self-described “sovereign” citizen who wants to kick all attorneys out of the state Legislature, disbar all lawyers in Washington for good measure and disband the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct.
He’s had so many battles with officials in his home ground of Pacific County that the local prosecutor tried to tag O’Hagan with the immortal label of “vexatious litigant,” a perennial Sniff favorite.
So you can’t call O’Hagan mainstream, but as of this week, you can call him a criminal defendant. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer (also a Republican) charged him with two felonies Monday: possession of stolen property and possession of a stolen vehicle. The charges stem from a long-running dispute with a local fisherman, according to the Observer’s account.
Long live local news!