June 15, 2005


Blue City Conservatives: Meet Seattle's biggest closet cases: the Republicans next door. (Matt Rosenberg, 6/15/05, Seattle Weekly)

Seattle's liberals and "progressives" need to grow up. Seattle's conservatives need to speak up. So far, the latter looks more likely. And what follows could prove worrisome for local Democrats. Their grip on Seattle politics might loosen considerably over the next decade. Especially if a low-key GOP marketing campaign now under way in Seattle helps more Republicans and others who vote for them to brave the tangible social risks of "coming out." [...]

Gradually, the political hooliganism of the Loud Left will become less intimidating to Seattle's quiet and mild middle, especially as Republicans continue to build their ground game. "The party will grow in the city," predicts ex-Texan Beeman over coffee at Starbucks on 12th Avenue, hard by Seattle University. "Not because we will convert Democrats, but because we will discover each other." Beeman helped organize a 37th District GOP election night party at Piecora's Pizza on Capitol Hill, in the belly of the Democratic beast. An encouraging crowd of 40 showed up to celebrate as Bush locked up a second term and, for the first time in 20 years, a Republican seemed on the verge of capturing the governor's mansion in Olympia. There were the old, the young, students, couples, party stalwarts, and newcomers. "There is a lot of opportunity here in the city for Republicans. You can do a little bit and shine," says Beeman. Peterson, the former state legislator, recounts a lot of positive feedback while waving signs for Bush in Seattle last fall, from "guys in plumbing trucks" and "folks bringing us coffee and pizza."

There have been other rays of hope in the recent past. Despite well-documented financial support from suburban Republican business interests, former city attorney and tough-talking law-and-order mayoral candidate Mark Sidran lost by only six-tenths of 1 percent in 2001 to regular Democrat Greg Nickels in the nonpartisan contest. Thanks to his reign as city attorney, conservative Democrat Sidran had been roundly reviled during the campaign by liberal Seattle interest groups as another Rudy Giuliani (read: heartless Republican). Yet Sidran, who spoke compellingly about Seattle's dangerous political isolation in Puget Sound, obviously struck a chord with local voters. Since last year, Republicans have been building organizational muscle in Seattle. At regular GOP meetings in Seattle's 34th, 36th, 37th, 43rd, and 46th state legislative districts, they're organizing right now around the candidacy of Irons.

More importantly for the long term, they're continuing to grow the ranks of the precinct committee officers (PCOs) who identify local R's as they come out of the woodwork or move in from other locations. Like counselors to gay and lesbian youth in red America, Seattle Republican PCOs tell stories of encountering "questioning" individuals, wondering if, in fact, despite discouraging social strictures, they might not actually be Republican. They are looking for more information and a local support group with which to discuss their concerns and perhaps affirm their identities.

It's also clear from the Seattle Republicans I've been meeting over the last several months that they'll draw energy and inspiration from the King County vote-counting debacle that they believe robbed Republican Dino Rossi of the governor's office. The Irons candidacy is especially important right now to Seattle Republicans, who, like their brethren elsewhere in the county, remain appalled at the sloppiness counting votes in the Christine Gregoire–Rossi nail-biter. Irons, currently in his second term as a County Council member, optimistically predicted to me in Magnolia that he'll pull close to vulnerable incumbent Democrat Ron Sims in fund-raising and take 50 percent of the Seattle vote while defeating the county executive this November. If anything, Rossi's loss—just confirmed in court—will heighten grassroots zeal for Irons-backing GOPers countywide.

Does Seattle have catacombs?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2005 5:18 PM

Yes. We do have catacombs. I am one of the "know-how-to-keep-my-mouth-shut" survivalist conservatives in Seattle. My car is not keyed and my house windows not broken because I wasn't dumb or brave enough to put a Bush sign on my lawn. I voted for Bush, of course, but a picture window is very expensive and the rocks might have hit the wife or kids. The catacombs are in our minds. The hatred and viciousness of the Soviets in Seattle cannot be overstated. They literally want to kill you. So, you keep quiet and vote R. I literally cannot believe the Weekly printed this story. It will scare the crap out of people here.

The coffee in the catacombs is excellent, by the way. But if you don't tip a dollar you're a scumbag.

Posted by: Qiao Yang at June 15, 2005 6:41 PM

Of course, the sensible ones among us just (or at least, those who can't keep their mouths shut) visit Seattle for things like work and Mariners games, and live in the slightly less vitriolic suburbs, where you don't need to worry about keyed cars.

Posted by: Timothy at June 15, 2005 7:44 PM

The sensible avoid the time zone like an inner circle of Hell.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 7:48 PM

Reminds me, oj, of the Boston widow who retired to Palm Springs and complained the rest of her days that the ocean was 3000 miles away.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 15, 2005 8:05 PM


Yes, it DOES!

Posted by: TimF at June 15, 2005 8:13 PM

Oops...Cockpit error.

Yes, it DOES!

Posted by: TimF at June 15, 2005 8:17 PM

Seattle can't join with Vancouver and secede fast enough.

Posted by: bart at June 15, 2005 8:42 PM

Naw. We just to turn it into a city-county like San Franciso so it can be properly quarantined.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2005 8:56 PM

"The sensible avoid the time zone like an inner circle of Hell."

This coming from a guy who's wedged in between Mass., N.Y. and Quebec, with the Circus on the Potomac just a short Amtrak ride away.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2005 9:00 PM

My suburb of DC is as lefty as Seattle. My wife outed us to our neighbors at a party we threw right after Christmas. This happened after I had implored all of our guests not to out me to the new neighbors who assumed, based on our Saab and general life's stores that we were on their team. Fortunately everybody was pretty tipsy by the time it happened and nobody mentioned it the next day.

Posted by: JAB at June 15, 2005 10:12 PM

Raoul, you are leaving out the next state to the east of NH, whose former governor is now DNC chairman:-)

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 15, 2005 10:26 PM

Hmm, catacombs? None that I know of, but there are cemeteries -- or as the Democratic election organizers in King County call them, "the fourth precinct."

Posted by: Rick at June 16, 2005 12:27 AM

Robert: Vermont is, of course, to New Hampshire's left.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 16, 2005 8:03 AM

I was trying to be generous to Time Zone Boy by not pointing out that county disguised as a state to his Left, or even his own home county, which has been targeted to become the Loosertarian Homeland if the Kennedylanders don't annex it first.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 16, 2005 11:22 AM

And Robert, to the left of NH is West young man ... West!

Posted by: Genecis at June 16, 2005 11:30 PM