Writings and observations

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Ted Cruz is running for president. I’ve got to get the gutters cleaned this week. At most American homes, I’m happy to say, the latter is far more important than the former.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) said it best on a weekend talk show the other day. “Ted Cruz is unfit to run for president,” was the quote. Note he didn’t comment on whether Cruz was fit to be president. Didn’t have to.

So, we’ve got the Cruz “missile” and about 15 politico’s of various intellect making noises about wanting to live in the White House. Any of ‘em qualified for the job? Any of ‘em strike your fancy? Any make you want to run to the polls today?

Or this. Any of ‘em running – or likely to – seem like a person of honesty, intelligence, compassion, sincerity, common sense or experience that you’d turn to for help if you had a problem? Either party? Any one?

We’ll be bombarded with presidential candidate B.S. for more than a year before we get to the first national political convention. Primary after primary will prove nearly nothing. Various names will surface as “flavor-of-the-month” signifying nearly nothing. The names Cain or Paul or Bachman or Santorum from 2012 mean anything these days? National media will coronate one after the other as “front runner.” Again, meaning nothing.

Unless Hillary Clinton hits some sort of unexpected wall between now and July, 2016, Democrats will meet in Philadelphia simply to kiss the ring and spend five days partying and singing “Kumbaya.”

But Republicans – ah, Republicans. Only people who’ll make bet on who comes out of that convention at this point are those 1-800-California psychics. We’ve got about 20 GOP primaries to suffer through before convention and, in the end, most of those will signify- again – nothing, But there is something to watch on that side of the rabbit run.

For many elections, Republicans have used a divide-and-conquer strategy. From courthouse to White House, they put up more than one candidate of their choosing. If you go back a number of elections, you’ll find that’s how we got Bachman, Gohmert, Issa, Paul and the rest won. Multiple candidates in their own races so they never had to reach 51-percent to be elected. Some won with way less than 30 percent.

At the moment, we’ve got at least 10 GOP names out there. Statistically, the one getting 11 percent wins. Not 51 percent. Not 40 or 30 or 25. Just 11. So, what about the 89 percent who voted for somebody else? If the minority crazies can get just a few other, similarly inclined minority voters to join the cause, you’ve got another minority winner. Playing the numbers just like Vegas. Now, add to that several hundred millions dollars from ambitious billionaires who want to own one or more officeholders and you can win all sorts of elections without a majority. Marco Rubio’s already signed one up. Or, has been “signed up” would be more like it. Santorum, too.

Then, there’s the “binding” and “non-binding” primaries that may – or may not – mean anything at convention. A state containing rational Republican voters may elect a rational GOP candidate. But that same state may also have a “non-binding” clause that allows delegates to go to other, less rational candidates at the national convention. Happens every four years.

And this. Conventions are mostly controlled by party officers who’ve worked their way up. The current Republican bosses no more represent the rank-and-file Republican voter than Mickey Mouse. (With apologies to Walt.) Even if a candidate comes into convention with the most states “won,” the crazies at the top can nullify that with one barroom deal. So, winning some primaries before convention is important. To a point. Unless sanity suddenly comes to Priebus and his hand-picked loons, they’ll go on their merry way to the edge of their flat earth and nominate a member of the loser Paul family while loudly pledging “purity-over-winning.” Again.

As for Dems, Hillary’s got a heavy load. First legitimate presidential candidacy for a woman. Plus the name “Clinton.” That name conjures up all sorts of mixed national feelings. And, there’s the question of Bill being “First Husband.” I’d guess, if Sen. Clinton is the nominee, Republicans will deliberately run against both of ‘em. Interesting strategy if it comes to pass. Though not necessarily a winning one. Still, imagine Bill out their hustling the Clinton Foundation donors all over the world for eight years while sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom. “What a country!”

I don’t mean to say national politics in the coming months will be inconsequential. Far from it. But we’ll take it all with a grain – make that a tablespoon – of salt at our house. You’d probably be wise to do that, too. “Sound and fury signifying nothing” as that Brit writer wrote.

The real meat for this political buffet is a long way down the table. Between here and there, you’ll find a lot of tasteless salads, some limp vegetables, stale rolls and mashed potatoes with too much garlic. Wise buffet-ers usually pass on all the stuff meant to fill you up and concentrate on that big hunk of beef – or ham, in this case – at the end.

Now, about those gutters.

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Rainey

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho gets low score on ethics report (Boise Statesman)
Report says Idaho wasted $61m on school management (IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune)
Washington asked to alter salmon fishing rules (Lewiston Tribune)
What’s happening with WA auditor scandal? (Moscow News)
New Nampa library beset by weak budgets (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon liquor sales keep rising (Nampa Press Tribune)
Highway bill stalled again in House (Nampa Press Tribune)
House passes new concealed carry bill (TF Times News)

House agreed to county timber payments (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Klamath college considers bonding plan (KF Herald & News)
Medford considers change in rules on bees (Medford Tribune)
School funding bill for $7.3b advances (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Gay teacher sues local school district (Salem Statesman Journal)

Cold storage warehouse starts business in Lynden (Bellingham Herald)
Auditor inquiry focuses on employee (Tacoma News Tribune, Bremerton Sun, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Sheldon returns to lead Tulalip board (Everett Herald)
Former Marysville mayor Kendall dies (Everett Herald)
DOE take new look at Hanford waste removal (Kennewick Herald)
Two leading Franklin co managers departing (Kennewick Herald)
State considers changing retirement benefits (Olympian)
Most Olympia voters support $15 minimum wage (Olympian)
Interest grows in Port Angeles air service (Port Angeles News)
Amazon taking over huge chunk of Seattle downtown (Seattle Times)
Grain elevator may become superfund site (Spokane Spokesman)
Report says Idaho wasted $61m on Schoolnet (Spokane Spokesman)
Fife won’t let Tacoma use jail (Tacoma News Tribune)
Bill would allow state-tribal deals on pot (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take