Sunday, September 09, 2012

Things I Couldn't Say During The Primary Election...

As you probably know by now, I ran in the primary election for the District 2 (South Kitsap) County Commission seat. To say I got my butt kicked would be putting it politely, coming in third out of four candidates — even with a fairly respectable number of votes.

After swearing I would never run for office again after losing re-election as Port Orchard Mayor by five votes in what would be graciously characterized as a “contentious” race, what changed my mind?

About two months before filing, I began getting phone calls — one or two a week at first — along with private messages on Facebook — many from people I’d never met, urging me to run for Commissioner. I was polite, but firm, saying that while I sincerely appreciated their confidence in me, I really wasn’t interested. And I meant it — I truly wasn’t.

As the filing deadline approached, the calls increased — from Democrats and Republicans alike — including past and present elected officials. Frankly, I was stunned, but remained firm.

But two last-minute calls on the last day of filing from prominent local Democrats, and a surprising conversation with my wife, tipped the scales.

The Democrats in question claimed a significant number of party members felt incumbent Commissioner Charlotte Garrido was hurting the party, and they strongly believed a competent, personable Republican could beat her. I recently wrote that the conventional wisdom was since Charlotte isn’t too popular in her own district — losing it in the last general election by over 3,000 votes, but winning because of the sheer number of Democrats on Bainbridge — that if she was challenged by a credible opponent in the primary, where only the district votes, she could be taken out. They were quick to remind me of that observation, and seemingly concurred.

They conceded Republican Linda Simpson would be one of the top two, while openly admitting my qualifications as a Democrat were suspect among many party members. But they also said they understood my appeal was more Libertarian than Republican, and believed if I filed as a Democrat, considering the competition, I would attract enough business, crossover, and moderate Republican votes to beat Charlotte. Because of Bainbridge, they believe defeating Simpson in November is a given. Their bottom line was a moderate like me was better than a conservative Republican like Simpson — and certainly better than Charlotte.

Saying I was reluctant is a tremendous understatement, However, I was sadly idealistic enough to believe my record of solid fiscal management coupled with proven common sense leadership in Port Orchard, would lure the moderate voters alienated by the extremists in both parties. I was solemnly promised quiet support coupled with enough funding to make up any shortfall I might face because of starting so late. None of that ever materialized, and on election night, I knew I’d been played.

People have asked why I would even run as a Democrat. Considering what they read here, many tend to view me more as a conservative Republican — especially since I’ve never been shy about supporting good Republicans like Jan Angel and Rob McKenna.

Upon turning 18, I proudly registered as a Democrat. While certainly a staunch fiscal conservative, I've never made any secret of the fact I’m somewhat left of center socially. I marched early to end the Viet Nam War, championed integration while growing up in the South, strongly support a woman’s right to choose, and my first media job was as a voice for organized labor.

But after more than 40 years, I’ve come to disagree with much of what the Democratic Party has evolved into. It’s moved so far left it’s no longer the one I joined, but one supporting an ever-bloating, more intrusive government, steadily regulating away our freedoms. The party that once stood for independent thinking, hard work, and a strong America, today stands for just the opposite under Barack Obama — who in my view has weakened us as a nation on all fronts.

His blatant disregard for our Constitution, coupled with the premeditated weakening of the military in the face of increased terrorist threats; the intentional lack of enforcement of immigration laws — including retaliation against Arizona for attempting to compel Obama’s government to enforce its constitutional mandate. Then there's the targeted media lies perpetuating an ongoing economic class war supported by non-thinking Kool-Aid drinkers parroting party rhetoric because it’s easier than learning actual facts.

Using the lamestream media to relentlessly attack American business, while mobilizing the power of the federal government on the regulatory front and enlisting environmentalists as allies, Obama has chased American jobs overseas, while the party vilifies Romney for doing so to save some American companies from bankruptcy, and increased our energy dependence — while escalating the price — and then blaming Bush.

The Democrats have turned us into a nation of sheeple looking to the government for the next handout. They pay lip service to supporting small business, while quietly undermining everything that supports its success. Meanwhile, Obama claims you didn’t build your own business — that the government helped you. It’s the Big Lie Theory at work — repeat a lie often enough to enough Kool-Aid drinkers, and it becomes accepted as truth.

in my view, these things have bankrupted the Democratic Party of its integrity.

That isn’t saying the Republicans have the answer — they clearly don’t. Or to say there aren’t good Democrats that deserve your support. Derek Kilmer is one I truly believe in. He “gets It,” about small business and where jobs come from. So does Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen. He’s a straight shooter, and someone I trust. Retiring State Auditor Brian Sonntag would have been so much more effective had the Democratically-controlled state legislature not used the budget to disembowel the effectiveness of his office.

As I found out running for commissioner, it’s hard to win when both parties work against you. So at this juncture, I have no reason for political allegiance to either party — since neither has any to me. I will continue to work for, contribute money to, and vote for, pragmatic people I believe are honest and will do the right thing for the people they represent. I hope you will reject the Big Lie being told by both parties and the media. America’s future depends on you thinking for yourself.