Smith Turns Out To Be A Real Crab
As a lawyer, Congressman Adam Smith should know the old bromide about not asking a question unless you already know the answer. But there he was this week at the state Democrats' annual crab feed in Lacey, just one of a long list of Democrats awash in rabid partisanship and derisive jokes about hapless Republicans.
"One last suggestion that I would make, that I don't know how it will be taken: I think we should work with Republicans where possible. We should be the ones to show that we can be bipartisan because the country right now doesn't just hate Republicans; they more or less hate government."
How was it taken? Mostly with silence. Although they were eating crab, the record 650-strong turnout was a "red meat crowd," as party chairman Paul Berendt said. Most of the speakers served up appropriate fare, including emcee Attorney General Christine Gregoire.
But Smith, D-Kent, used the occasion to remind Democrats that they might need more than a good monologue in 2000.
"As much fun as it is to bash on Republicans . . . " he told the crowd enjoying just that, "and I've heard some great speeches and there is funny material out there right now, but what the Democratic Party needs to do is talk about what we are going to do when we get in charge, when we govern."
Smith again. The two-term congressman did give special thanks to voters in Thurston County, which makes up just a bit of his 9th Congressional District. "They had as much to do with me getting
re-elected as anybody, as they provided me with Ron Taber as an opponent."
Taber is the colorful millionaire businessman - it is said he once painted some cows to pass them off as purebreds - Smith trounced last fall.
Smith already has an official opponent for 2000. Republican King County Councilman Chris Vance this week filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission declaring his candidacy.
Of course, Smith may not run for his own seat. He's known to be considering a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Slade Gorton, as is Gregoire, as is Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn, as is Congressman Jim McDermott, etc.
Gourmet lobbying. King County officials threw an after-work reception and dinner party for legislators last Thursday at one of Olympia's finest restaurants, La Petite Maison. About 30 King County lawmakers attended, to eat, drink and discuss what can be done for the county this session.
The menu: fresh local seafood appetizers, seasonal greens with champagne Roquefort, Olympic mountain sorbet, beef tenderloin filet with porcini mushroom demiglace topped with Dungeness crab and bearnaise sauce, wine-poached Bosc pear with warm chocolate ganache and coconut ice cream.
The bill: $3,038.80, paid for by the Washington State Association of Counties.
Tom Tom Foley Foley. The U.S. Capitol occasionally is called an echo chamber, but a recent effort to honor former House Speaker Tom Foley of Spokane suggests a more suitable name would be "plagiarism chamber."
On Jan. 6, Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Spokane, introduced a minor bill to rename the federal courthouse in Spokane after Foley. Here is what he said in remarks printed in the Congressional Record:
"Mr. Foley personified the high ideals to which all of us aspire as members of Congress. First and foremost he was a gentleman who sought consensus. . . . He loved Congress, believing it to be the best forum for democracy in the world."
What a speech! The words were so inspiring, apparently, that a month later, when Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the companion bill in the Senate, here is what she said:
"Mr. Foley personified the high ideal to which all of us aspire as public servants and members of Congress. First and foremost he was a gentleman who sought consensus. . . . He loved Congress, and believed it to be the best forum for democracy in the world."
The rest of Murray's speech is a virtual carbon copy of Nethercutt's.
Murray's spokesman, Rex Carney, said he wasn't sure how it happened but that there was "a lot of back and forth" between the two offices.
"This shows that regardless of party, regardless of chamber, there is universal support and admiration for Speaker Foley," Carney said.
Just pick up the phone. Sen. Dan McDonald, R-Yarrow Point, was on the Senate floor sharing real war stories with a colleague when it struck him that he'd never properly thanked a courageous admiral who had once visited McDonald's outfit in Vietnam.
The Senate minority leader went to his desk and made a call on the long shot he could track down retired Adm. Thomas Moorer, who had given a timely pep talk at a dismal moment in July 1967, when McDonald was in danger in Cua Viet, four miles below the Demilitarized Zone.
Yesterday, the Navy hooked the two men up, and McDonald got to thank Moorer, who recently celebrated his 87th birthday. Moorer invited McDonald to visit him at his home in Bethesda, Md.
Inside Politics is written by The Seattle Times politics staff and compiled by Times Olympia Bureau reporter David Postman. His phone-message number is 206-878-3337. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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