Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, twitter.com/lounews or email@example.com.
Places often fascinate me.
I was on a work assignment several years ago that went to every state.
So I've seen a few … places. And it seems like every place has something unique about it.
I was thinking about this when I was looking at the 49th Legislative District in Vancouver.
No one would disagree that it's likely the most liberal place in our county.
It has continually re-elected Democratic state Rep. Jim Moeller. No further proof required. In other words, my buddy Jim isn't your average "let's move closer to the center" kind of Democrat.
If this were poker, he'd be all-in on the far left. He'd make filmmaker Michael Moore look normal.
Thus my fascination with where Jim hangs his hat in the 49th District. Who lives in this place? I know, I know, they're just regular folks like me and you. I'm sure that's true.
Still, I suspect there are a few pockets of my all-time favorite groups: Beatniks, hippies and governmental workers.
(I strive to have a little of all three in me! They're the best!)
Clearly, Jim knows how to keep his constituency happy. Spread the wealth.
This year, Jim is running against Republican Carolyn Crain.
Now, let's be honest. Jim has about as much chance of losing this race as I do of having a landslide of voters writing my name in for president. (I don't think there has ever been a president with Italian DNA. Whatsamatta u! )
Still, Carolyn is very well-informed, has likely been to more public meetings than most public officials, and knows — really knows — the issues.
But like Jim and me, she's far from perfect. I suspect someone has told her more than once she "doesn't play well with others." And she can be a little more than rough around the edges. Just a wee bit combative. To her credit, if you're looking for someone to hold the line on taxes, she's for you.
But I just don't think that's the 49th District's cup of tea.
So say good night.
• • •
Speaking of taxes, when we had both Carolyn and Jim in for a discussion with our editorial board, I couldn't resist putting Jim on the spot.
I asked Jim this question:
"If this election were only about saving taxpayers money and you had to vote, would you vote for you or Carolyn?"
Now let that question settle in a little bit. This is a tough question for most Democrats, but it should have been a backbreaker for Jim.
After all, I don't think Jim has ever — ever — seen a tax hike he didn't cuddle up with.
Back to this question. Most politicians likely would have pivoted away from it and answer this way:
"Look, this election isn't only about saving taxpayers money. It's about making tough choices in a tough economy and assuring we continue to protect those who are most vulnerable among us."
So I give Jim huge props for not pivoting. Instead, he answered the question directly:
"I'd vote for me."
Well, maybe he should have pivoted. I mean, huh?
Come on, man! You'd vote for you if the only issue was saving taxpayers money? Cavallo sterco!
Since I didn't believe it, I had to go back and look at a short video I took of the exchange. Check it out on our website.
And good luck, guys. Love ya both!