Meet Brent Boger.
OK, OK, he will be the first one to tell you my point about why he’s leaving the country is a bit of a stretch. Except that — well, he’s actually said it. Yes, there are other reasons why he will no longer call Washington his home. He’s a world traveler. Unlike some of us who have spent our entire lives in Yacolt, Boger has seen the world. And world travelers (he’s logged at least 2 million air miles) are more likely to live in different places. The cost of living is much cheaper in many foreign countries. And then there’s love. We may get to that later.
But I need to focus here. There’s no question he is happy — very happy — to get out from under the thumb of our state’s liberal leadership. More specifically, he’s not a fan of Gov. Jay Inslee.
“Inslee is typical of Democratic governors’ and presidents’ faith in what they can do when they control the reins of government,” Boger said. He concedes Republicans also do this on occasion. “But they are more aware of government’s limits.”
In other words, Boger sees way, way, way too much governmental control under Democratic leadership. Boger is a minimalist when it comes to what government should do. Boger calls himself a “classical liberal” but he really means libertarian and that really means he wants government to stay out of his grill. Republicans mostly believe this and Democrats mostly do not.
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So who is Boger? He’s one of my favorite local conservatives. He was an assistant Vancouver city attorney for a couple of decades, once headed the local Republican Party and was elected to a Washougal City Council seat. And unlike some of Donald Trump’s supporters (he voted for him twice), he’s a bright guy. Most important, he’s willing to mix it up with me and others who might disagree with him.
And at age 64, he just retired.
Now, as he reads this, he is likely sipping a Chicha de Pina on an Ecuadorian beach. That’s right. He just packed his J.C. Penney duffel bag and moved to South America. But before he left I had a cup of joe with him at the Java House to get his impression on a few things:
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Did you think about just moving to somewhere else in the country?
“I did think about Spokane. But it’s still the state. Maybe across the state line in Idaho, but have you seen real estate prices in Idaho? I was looking at the southeast. I looked at Florida.”
What will you miss about Washington?
“Friends and the weather.”
Excluding the liberal political leadership, what won’t you miss about Washington?
“High cost of housing, the traffic.”
You were the staff attorney to Vancouver’s Salary Review Commission when they recommended a gazillion percent pay increase for the mayor and city council. Was that the strangest thing you’ve ever been involved in?
Ultimately the huge pay increase fell apart after people launched a petition drive to overturn the review commission’s decision. Boger said he immediately saw what the commission was doing was going to be “big trouble,” but he said his role was to advise, not to counsel, the commission members.
And what about Trump? Do you think Joe Biden won the election?
“I think it’s likely that Biden won.”
You don’t think it’s very likely?
Do you believe that all of the states that are tightening down voting — all Republican-led — is not being done to give Republicans an advantage in future elections?
“I do believe that. Just like the Democrats are opening up the borders because that will be a new pool of voters in five years. But what the Democrats are doing is not in the best interest of the country. What Republicans are doing — even though it’s motivated primarily by electoral advantage — is in the best interest of the country.”
When Boger delves deeper into this point, he’s suggesting that those potentially future voters who are streaming into this country over the Mexican border is not a good thing.
“This will probably get me strung up for what I’m about to say but I don’t care, I’m never running again… I’m not sure it’s a good thing to have marginally engaged voters, voting. To take it one step further, should we make it that easy to vote?”
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Huh? Look, we’d all love to have all voters strongly engaged in the issues at hand. But what Boger is saying here is just goofy. And the irony of his point — to try to better assure America has more engaged voters — is obviously completely lost on him. If — if — there was some sort of litmus test to only allow engaged, informed voters to cast a ballot, guess who likely would be the biggest losers in that? You guessed it. Trump supporters. And Boger does concede some Trump supporters would land in that category.
We ended our coffee, as we always do, with a laugh and a handshake. And I don’t think Boger is gone forever. He loves to travel. Heck, he’s coming back to the Northwest later this year. On one of those return visits he’s getting married. He met an English translator in Ecuador and they’re heading back this way for a wedding.
I’m sure my invitation will be in the mail.