Lew Waters asks: Why Would Anybody Ever Vote Republican?
An excellent question.
In an ideal world, politicians would live up to our expectations. They’d put the greater good ahead of themselves. The first question they’d ask about their strategy is this: How does this move the ball forward?
Benton, obviously, does not live in that world.
In some respects, being a GOPer seems to be much like being a part of a religion… a political religion, if you will, where the acolytes are far too concerned about differences than similarities. In geopolitics, think in terms of sunni and shia… protestant and catholic. And think of it in terms of killing people who don’t agree with you or follow your agenda… kind of a Brancaccio/Benton kind of thing.
I know all of the players in this particular drama. I maintain several contacts in Olympia, staff that I spent a great deal of time with over the years… In both Houses.
The battle between Benton and Rivers is a symptom of the usual problems in politics, fueled by a lack of self-awareness and the vanity of putting slights, real or imagined, ahead of the greater good on Benton’s part… and purely defensive measures by Rivers on her part.
There are reasons why Sen. Rivers received, by several hundred, the highest number of freeholder votes. I stated at the time:
In this instance, what we have is a senator with a certain reputation that has built up over his tenure as something of a "bull in a china shop.” Regardless of any other element, the perception is going to be, upon review of the records and the story involved: Benton started it.The same kind of thing happens to the democrats, but the media is rarely interested in exposing those spats except when doing so, in their eyes, will somehow harm the GOP or harm the GOP-supporting democrats, i.e., Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon. We rarely hear about the other internecine battles of the democrats, most recently a few days ago when they bitch-slapped Gov. Inslee by dumping his candidate (rather unceremoniously, I might add) for state democrat party chair… just as one example. The information is out there, but like so many other stories the Lazy C covers, if it’s harmful to the “D” brand, you’re much less likely to see it than if the opposite is true.
There is a reason that Sen. Ann Rivers was the number one vote-getter for all of the freeholders in Clark County. That is to say, that without actually going out and running what anyone would call a campaign, Sen. Rivers proceeded to gain more votes by a substantial margin than any other freeholder candidate in the county.
All parties to this court of public opinion should remember that it is all together likely that neither Sen. Don Benton nor Commissioner Tom Mielke would be where they are it not for Ann Rivers.
Rivers handed over in excess of $85,000 in campaign funds to get Benton elected with entirely legal campaign fund transfers. There is little doubt, given the close margin of his race (74 votes if memory serves), that he would have lost to Probst and they’d already be breaking ground on that hideous CRC Scam as a direct result.
Benton does not care about this; he’s never given a dime to the GOP Senate Caucus, but has had no end of monetary demands made upon them for his own purposes… some rather nefarious where he has made personal money off the expenditures.
Oh, it’s all perfectly legal, of course, wink, wink; nudge, nudge. But Benton has benefited handsomely from his campaigns, and I don’t just mean his election victories.
On the other hand, Commissioner Mielke was elected back in 2008 largely because of a PAC called “FETISH.”
Friends To Elect Tom In Spite of Himself.
Ann Rivers was instrumental in organizing and funding this PAC with $60,000 plus from donors in the area who did not trust Tom to properly use the money provided… which resulted in a television campaign that switched over 4000 late voters based on televising Tom’s opposition to the CRC and the Cowlitz casino… while pointing out his opponent’s support for both.
Tom knows nothing about this, or can’t remember it (On more than one occasion, I have told him about it), primarily because the PAC’s purpose was independent expenditures, and Tom could NOT know under the rules and laws in effect.
It is blindingly clear that Don Benton or someone working on his behest wrote the damning email in question. Tom can get his point across, but he can’t write that well on his best day. And that Mielke is acting as a surrogate for Benton speaks volumes to the motivations involved here.
I condemn political stupidity no matter where I find it. I don’t have or need surrogates to do it for me, and that Benton required Mielke to put this out there shows beyond any doubt that he knows he, Benton, is wrong. Otherwise, he’d take ownership of it… as I take ownership of what I write.
It is blindingly clear that this is just another case of Benton going off the rails. What does he hope to accomplish with his idiocy over the past 14 months? There is precisely zero possible gain to be had here for him, but he doesn’t care. To me, it’s clear that his sole motivation is to further his obsessive revenge against Ann Rivers for having the now-obvious common sense to vote against him for a leadership position and then having the courage to confirm to his face that she did so.
Because, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what this is all about. Sen. Benton told me to my face that he’d rather “burn the entire place down” than do the right thing (My wife witnessed it) in the last conversation we ever had a little less than a year ago.
Things are going to be coming out about Sen. Benton relatively soon… things that will drive the final nail in his political coffin. Meanwhile, Benton looks around and understands that his brand is so damaged at this point that he couldn’t get elected dogcatcher. All that does is reinforce to him that’s got nothing to lose in becoming the political equivalent of an IED… which is what he has done.
It is equally clear that the desired impact on Benton’s part is to destroy Ann Rivers politically. I have to wonder why Tom Mielke is being complicit in this. Who’s the boss here, anyway?
For me, perhaps the most telling aspect of this charade of transparency that Benton/Mielke is at the very end of the email where anyone reading this tripe is asked to call either Sen. Benton or Sen. Roach with their numbers being provided to enable that.
Missing: Sen. River’s number. And in the business, that’s what’s known as a “tell.” Benton isn’t interested in enabling people to hear Sen. River’s side of these issues… because he knows that Rivers’ response to all of this would make him look like a bigger idiot than he already does.
Since 1995, I have worked with and occasionally for Don Benton. Good times and bad, ups and downs; I’ve seen one of the most politically astute players ever. My family and I have been guests at his house for holidays, birthdays and other special events. The Benton’s were at my wedding.
But I’ve also seen a petchulant jerk; a bully who is so selfish it makes me want to scream. The man has become so shortsighted and self-centered that he can’t even see straight. This is an example of that.
He has bullied his own caucus. He has repeatedly threatened to “blow up” (leave) the caucus as a method to get what he wants. And instead of Leadership cracking him in the jaw, they began a pattern of caving.
In everything from modifying caucus rules to jamming the democrat chair of Financial Institutions and Insurance (because as a member of leadership he can’t chair a committee) and a host of other idiocies, Leadership of the caucus has failed to LEAD. Those closest to this have gone so far as to complain: “There is a huge riff between River and Benton that our leadership has failed to adequately address.”
And this kind of thing is the result.
Lew demands: “Don, Ann, I don’t care how you do it, but stop this nonsense now!”
I couldn’t agree more. But don’t even bother to run this through the filter of what you would expect normal people with normal thought processes to do.
Benton’s hatred and actions towards Ann Rivers exceeds even the single-minded jihad of Lou Brancaccio’s hatred of Benton. And until now, I never thought that to be possible.
As a result, Benton will not stop until he is destroyed or Ann Rivers is destroyed. As long as he is in the Senate and even afterwards he will do everything in his power to injure her. He’s made that clear to me. His actions make that clear to me. His efforts to put me in the middle make that clear to me.
His desire to damage her exceeds his common sense; he does not care how damaged he is politically by this stupidity… and more importantly, does not care how damaged David Madore and Tom Mielke are from the fall out of his idiocy.
Lew and the rest of the public, of course, are unaware of much of this; the struggle it’s been to contain Benton’s monumental, self-destructive ego… the things Leadership SHOULD have done but lacked the guts TO do as they caved to an out of control bully…. Over and over and over again. The result?
This is the kind of thing they’ve wrought.
Benton and Rivers SHOULD get along. But she can’t do it herself, and the only way to “get along” with Benton is to do precisely and absolutely what HE wants, when HE wants it… and, of course, to kowtow to every one of his whims.
Not that it would matter in this case, since everything he’s doing is hatred driven. And people like Benton… or Brancaccio… who operate on hate and hate alone?
When do they ever think straight?
So, Lew, in direct answer to your question: Why Would Anybody Ever Vote Republican?
I will be dammed if I know.