Press Talk: Of IQ and the Wulle mess

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor



Should intelligence be a factor when you consider voting for a candidate?

I raised the IQ issue in an earlier column and — frankly — was surprised by the pushback I received.

One prominent local attorney said this:

“Among candidates of reasonable intelligence, I don’t believe IQ should be considered as a factor at all.”

My initial reaction was, “Huh?”

But then, I wondered if others might agree with him.

Certainly, there are a number of things that should be considered when voting for someone. I mean, how a candidate stands on an issue and how he supports that stand is huge. How a candidate might be able to articulate why his way is better than his opponent also is important.

But isn’t the pinning under all of that intelligence?

Sure, it’s a lot easier to look at a candidate’s stand for or against light rail on the proposed new Columbia River Bridge. But, in the end, shouldn’t elections be more about how you feel a politician can appreciate new, complicated issues that may be thrown at him? And isn’t intelligence key to that?

What am I looking for in a candidate? Someone who is smarter than me (admittedly a very large pool).

Think of it this way. If you were looking for an attorney, wouldn’t you want someone who is super smart?

OK, OK, maybe I would rather have my cousin Vinnie.

Wulle hearing

Speaking of attorneys, I suspect many of us are following the Judge John Wulle disciplinary hearing. Wulle lost his bid for re-election — in large part I suspect — for what is being detailed at this hearing.

He did a bunch of stupid stuff (I think Wulle would agree with this description) in his courtroom and at a conference. His being booted by voters did not stop the disciplinary hearing.

And what is his defense attorney essentially saying? “Well, sure my client goofed up a few times, but come on man! Look at his body of work and judge him by that, not these isolated incidents.”

Look — and I’ve said this before — defense attorneys do not have “seeking the truth” at the top of their to-do list. Their job is to — first and foremost — represent their client. The truth could be harmful to their clients.

And when you can’t defend a client with “he didn’t do it,” you defend a client with, “he did it, but … .” Defense attorneys look for the best possible way to frame their client. It’s Defense Attorney 101.

Hey, it is what it is.

What I find intriguing about Wulle’s defense strategy is I suspect Judge Wulle has heard it dozens of times … in his courtroom.

The “my client did it, but … .”

It’s a classic.

So now Wulle gets to use it … for himself. And how often does that defense work? Well, it’s sort of like a Hail Mary pass. Good luck.

Personally, I know folks who love Wulle. And I know folks who despise Wulle. It comes with the territory.

Regardless, after the judicial board members deliver their judgment, it’s time for the community to move on. More so, here’s hoping Wulle moves on to do good things, wherever he lands.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, or Twitter: