August 12, 2006
The Politics of the Gadfly

Those readers who are familiar with the political scenes of mid-to-small town America are likely familiar with a particular form of curmudgeon, who thinks local politics is their raison d'etre. Such individuals tend to dislike change, because well, change is bad in their vision of static small-town life. In addition, such individuals tend to look with disdain on other persons who achieve greater success than they (which often does not require much exertion). Allow me thus to introduce readers to one such curmudgeon in Edmonds, Finis Tupper.

Let me be clear, I am not without bias in this matter since Mr. Tupper has long opposed, seemingly, the very existence of my father, Dave Earling, on the Edmonds political scene. In congruence with his opposition to change, Mr. Tupper tends to violently oppose any move that expands development in Edmonds. Since my dad once owned a small, residential real estate company AND served on the Edmonds City Council for 12 years, that makes him at least moderately Satanic in Mr. Tupper's eyes.

Mr. Tupper and his associates have a long record of hyperventilating in the Edmonds political scene, which can be witnessed in assorted letters to the editor (as noted above), rambling testimony at City Council meetings they are wont to attend, and various hit pieces against local candidates not enamored with their stuck-in-time expectations of how the city of Edmonds should exist.

Likewise, those persons who rise through the muck in which Mr. Tupper frolics promptly become objects of scorn and derision. If they should succeed, why by heavens, they must be cut back down to size. Thus, comes Mr. Tupper's nearly comical letter lamenting the choice of my dad to fill the traditionally Republican seat on the Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board. Never mind the fact the change in policy by the City Mr. Tupper laments was due to serious concerns regarding the City's legal liability in the previous status quo. Likewise, disregard the fact subsequent City Councils (including those with a majority more inclined to support Mr. Tupper's position on this matter) have declined to reverse course. The crux of Mr. Tupper's complaint, is that Dave Earling is doing well.

Imagine the loathing that must fill one's soul that requires one to write a such a letter knowing full well it's purpose is not actually to change the Governor's mind as the author suggests, but simply to impugn an individual who for years has been getting the better of him in politics and policy.

I have long suffered through observing such events with a bitten lip. Regrettably for Mr. Tupper, I now have a proper forum to address his behavior. I could elaborate, but I believe Charles Krauthammer roughly captures my sentiments on this score in this splendid column.

Posted by Eric Earling at August 12, 2006 09:12 PM | Email This
1. Edmonds politics? you're really boring me here, Earlie. Can't you type up something about something in this state?
Like Mike McGavick calling for U.S. military involvement in Lebanon. It's the first decently strong thing out of his mouth I've heard. No one is out and out saying it, but the war on terror needs to escalate into boots on the ground where it counts.

Posted by: lon on August 12, 2006 11:44 PM
2. Maybe this one should go into the Public Blog?

Posted by: Me on August 13, 2006 12:29 AM
3. That was really funny.
A long, rambling story that ends with Eric telling the guy to himself. But done subtlily and with tack. Well done.
Indeed an approriate place to rant. Next I want to see you challenge him to a duel to defend your family's honor.
You could sell tickets and make it a mcGavick fundraiser.

Posted by: francisco on August 13, 2006 12:49 AM
4. Hello.

Am I allowed to call Steve a jackass, or is that impolite? I have read several of his posts on several of the blog topics here, and he seems to represent the newest tactic on the left: pretend to be a staunch conservative to try and shame us all into voting Democrat so we can get better, truer conservatives. Do you mean like Ellen Craswell, Steve? This dog is nowhere close to being a staunch conservative, but I can smell something stinking up the placee reeeeeaaaaal good. Hell, I am practically called a Neocon around here, but if I lived in just about any other state, I would still be considered a Democrat. Washington state needs to get rid of the one party rule we have going so we can get some real change here.


Posted by: Left Behind by the New Democratic Party on August 13, 2006 02:06 AM
5. Steve:

You are absolutely right about Evans Republicans. The current Secretary of State and his minions are the ones who gave us Gregoire for Governor. A "moderate Republican" is a liberal when push comes to shove.

Whom do mean by Sid?

Posted by: Alan on August 13, 2006 02:11 AM
6. Steve and Alan,

The only republicans who even have a chance of winning statewide are moderate. Why don't you get it???

There is a reason why people like Dan Evans, Slade Gorton, Dino Rossi, and Mike McGavick have or have had a fighting chance. Not Craswell, Linda Smith, or John Carlson.

They have a lot more people to represent than you, so you are never going to get your way 100 percent of the time.

Instead of picking someone who would rant on SP exactly the same way as you, why don't you pick a winner who has a chance of representing you--and your less conservative neighbors--in Congress?

Posted by: Tired of being represented by Democrats on August 13, 2006 04:20 AM
7. How about Eikenberry?

Did he have a chance of winning?

I mean before you stabbed him in the back.

You sound exactly like the people who said Ronald Reagan couldn't win. The country would never go for such an extremist like Reagan.

Republicans should have gone with someone who had a chance of winning in 1980. You know, someone like John Anderson.

Posted by: Tired of being represented by liberals on August 13, 2006 06:01 AM
8. well, anybody appointed by the GovLady in my book is suspect--appointees are carefully picked for their "talents"--as for gadflys, so what; don't like them? then don't be their bait; leave office, attachk them back or whatever;

as for local politics, i never cared, but quickly realized that these pol's micromanage your life, so one had damn well watch them closely and how they lean;

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on August 13, 2006 07:58 AM
9. Can somebody kick Steve out--- this egotistical troll deserves to go!

Posted by: MarkJ on August 13, 2006 08:08 AM
10. Steve, (or whoever he or she really is), is going to vote for Cantwell and Burner in the fall.

Sounds to me like he wants Nancy Pelossi to be Speaker of the House, and Harry Reid to be Senate Majority Leader.

On the original topic, thanks Eric for the link to the Krauthammer column. I'm a regular reader of his but somehow I'd missed that gem.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on August 13, 2006 08:40 AM
11. I've deleted Steve's 8 comments for being utterly off topic, and since I have been more than generous in allowing Steve/Betty/Sue to run his/her/its course in the previous comment thread.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 13, 2006 09:12 AM
12. ...and Domo @ 4, yes, you can call Steve a jack ass. I can't in good conscience object to that.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 13, 2006 09:14 AM
13. Finis Tupper = a dog who barks to hear itself bark, annoys the entire neighborhood in the process and in the end, gets nothing done anyway.

Posted by: jimg on August 13, 2006 09:31 AM
14. This is off topic but readers here owe it to themselves to check out the more recent comments on the earlier topic "Al Gore is an Energy Hog". Incredible.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on August 13, 2006 09:59 AM
15. Even calling her "GovLady" is giving too much credit for her dishonestly obtained position.

Of course we have Evanite Sam Reed to thank for that.

So continues the Evanite/Mainstreamer legacy of backstabing.

Posted by: Steve on August 13, 2006 10:04 AM
16. Poor Tired of being represented by liberals,

There you go again. Reagan was not an extremist, he was moderate. In fact for the first 20 years of his political career, he was a Democrat before joining our side. He won both the 80 and 84 election in landslides, capturing all but the most liberal states.

You sound exactly like the people in the self-proclaimed "Reagan Wing" of the party that have no clue what Ronald Reagan actually stood for. Optimism, inclusion, freedom, economic opportunity, and a hands-off government.

You and your ilk are just as bad as the other wish to use the government to impose your beliefs on others. It doesn't matter if substantively your beliefs are right or wrong, using the power of the government to impose those beliefs on others is un-American.

Posted by: Tired of being represented by Democrats on August 13, 2006 11:36 AM
17. Eric, first of all I should think that you would avoid mentioning your father at all after what he did to the region during his tenure as head of Sound Transit, I can only surmise that he spent a great deal of time trying to force the people of Edmonds to bend over they way he did the rest of us and people like Mr Tupper had the audacity to take exception to it.

Now you are allowing people to call names on here and when others say things you don't agree with you just delete it. As for the adjective you permitted Domo to use in #4 well if anyone here fits that description it is certainly you. With your new proclivity for deleting posts that oppose you not only are you a good RINO but a bit of a totalitarian as well.

Your latest tactic seems to be to attribute all comments that disagree with you to Steve, I say you are not being truthful about that, no doubt you will be telling folks I'm Steve as well in order to dismiss me and as an excuse to remove this.

As for your constant blathering regarding your unbounded excitement over Mr McGavick you can delude yourself all you wish, but he is not going to win, there are just too many of us who will not vote for such a person. If you really think there are enough of you "Rodney Tom" Republicans to put him over the top then more power to you.

The only reason the state party headquarters recruited him is because he was the only millionaire they could find who would agree to pretty much fund the whole effort himself.

Posted by: Mike on August 13, 2006 03:46 PM
18. Dear "Tired" You and your ilk ARE the other side so what's your point? Sounds like you are really confused about the Gipper.

Posted by: Mike on August 13, 2006 03:51 PM
19. Wow Eric, you draw more flak than a B-17 over Schweinfurt.

Posted by: Reporterward on August 13, 2006 04:07 PM
20. An apt analogy at times, Reporterward. Mike of course ignores the fact I gave "Steve" umpteen comments to vent himself at the previous post on the Lieberman race, without deleting a one. Steve really has done some fine work when you think about it since the only comments I've ever deleted are from him and spammers...and his in this thread only because they were rehashing the debate he was already having with others elsewhere.

Luckily for Mike, I have a post coming the next couple days on Rodney Tom's efforts against Luke Esser. Luckily for Mike as well, his IP address is different from Steve so I'll leave him to continue his clear adoration of the Earling clan.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 13, 2006 05:10 PM
21. You mean "the debate he was having with himself" don't ya? ;'}

Posted by: alphabet soup on August 13, 2006 06:41 PM
22. I find it interesting and annoying that Eric chooses to use SP to smear Tupper with ad hominem attacks.

Seems to me that Tupper raises some interesting points about public review before an elected body. That the public body continues the questionable practice is no defense of past bad policy.

Get off your hobby horse Eric and write something significant.

Bashing a minority opinion on public policy, with little substance, is below your "compassionate conservatism".

Your acorn is not reflecting well on your tree.

You're quickly becoming the worst writer on SP.

Posted by: EarlingTheWhiner on August 13, 2006 07:30 PM
23. Somehow I don't think that is a genuine email address...

And with bloggers like Stefan, Matt, Andy and Jim leading the way, I'm sure Eric admits himself that he's the worst compared to them.

Although I think they're all equally as good...well, except for Rosenberg...

Posted by: Reporterward on August 13, 2006 08:17 PM
24. You totally missed the point about Reagan.

Back in 1980 liberal Republicans WERE calling him an extremist. It got so bad that a liberal Republican did run for President as an Independent and as Independent candancies go, did pretty well, though really wasn't an factor in the ultimate outcome.

But the point was, back in 1980 liberal Republicans were giving people the line about how Reagan was an "extremist" and "unelectable" but history shows of course He DID win against Carter and in 1984 won in one of the biggest landsides ever. And he did all that without shifting to the left as the mainstreamers always says Republicans need to do.

And, John Anderson, well, he has faded into history with few people even remembering he ran in 1980.

Oh, and Reagan didn't cause a nuclear war.

Posted by: Tired of being Represented by LIBERALS on August 14, 2006 07:27 AM
25. Reagan proves that a conservative candidate CAN WIN. Reagan proves that to win a Republican doesn't need to become more liberal but instead be confident about what he or she believes.

So, to steal from Reagan, when I hear from mainstreamers that a conservative is unelectable and must become more liberal to win I say - there you go again.

Ronald Reagan, despite what liberal Republicans were saying about him at the time about him being an extremist and all that, became one of America's greatest Presidents, ended the Cold War, and didn't start a nuclear war.

And John Anderson, well, John Who?

Posted by: Tired of being Represented by LIBERALS on August 14, 2006 07:32 AM
26. Eric, most often I don't care who is posting because I always feel that ideas speak for themselves regardless.

But it is interesting knowing that you are an insider for that does give me a perspective of why you write what you write.

You probably do have a personal interest in getting McGavick elected. Perhaps you think you can get to go to DC with him if he wins.

Sound Transit is a boondoggle. I am sure you are in the position to know that, but the problem is you are also in the position not to be able to criticize it.

Believe it or not, I am sympathic to the situation you are in. After all you have personal relationships associated with all the politics on Sound Transit. People who personally have done great things for you and therfore feel indebited to. I get that. It is hard to criticize a friend, and of course even more a parent. And I would never ask you to do it. Even if a father was a drunk, it would be inappropriate to ask a son to publicly criticize his behavior. There is a sacred bond there, and I get that.

This is why I am inherently distrustful of people who have lots of personal friends who are politicians for even if you are 100 percent opposed to some public position they took, you would be hard pressed to criticize them for that due to that relationship.

It is also what separates a talk show host like Hannity from one like Savage. Savage doesn't personally associate with politicians because he knows it could restrict his objectivity on their actions, whereas Hannity develops personal social relationships with alot of these politicians which makes it hard for him to criticize these people when they do wrong.

Posted by: Steve on August 14, 2006 10:42 AM
27. I guess what bothered me about this post was not your critcism of this particular Gadfly, but the general attacks you made upon Gadflies in general.

I have known lots of conservative Gadflies who on the local city level has devoted lots of time and energy holding city politicians to account in often nearly empty meeting rooms. It is a sad fact that most don't spend any time trying to learn what is going on in city politics even though it is the city politics that is what effects people most directly.

Gadflies are up against people who have much more resources than they do. They are often not as sophisicated in matter and style as their opponents. Still often I have found the Gadflies successful in showing the local government's arrogance, and indeed uncovering inapproprate behavior.

So, when you criticize gadflies in general, I personally think of the gadflies that I have known who were conservatives and who I have great respect for. They sure spend more time and effort than I do, and without time I am sure that local officials would get away with even more than they already do.

Posted by: Steve on August 14, 2006 10:56 AM
28. Yada yada yada.....

Posted by: alphabet soup on August 14, 2006 11:14 AM
29. Ion said: Mike McGavick calling for U.S. military involvement in Lebanon. It's the first decently strong thing out of his mouth.

Decently strong which is good, but unfortunately also Decently stupid.

I don't want our troops on the ground in Lebanon getting shot at blown up and killed. And that isn't what the Israelis need. They can handle this without US troops. The IDF is trained to do so.

All they need from the US is for us to provide them political cover as they get the job down, which we were doing up to quite recently, but unfortunately Bush has now double crossed them by forcing them to enter into a "peace treaty" which clearly benefits their enemies and hurts them (and us since they were clearing out terrorists who have come after us in the past).

Bush was handling this situation correctly up to now, but now he has made a critical devestating mistake.

Posted by: Steve on August 14, 2006 11:26 AM
30. I like the curmudgeon.

At times they can really provide a check on local government and uncover some very bad practices of local officials.

Posted by: Steve on August 14, 2006 11:28 AM
31. "Steve" -

A couple issues:

The "gadfly" you note @ 27 is really an informed citizen, acting as a watchdog on local government. I applaud that effort, which is notably different than the kind of annoying individual I was discussing. You're playing a semantic game in objecting to my specific gadfly description, which didn't seem to difficult to grasp since what you're talking about and what I was referring to are quite dissimilar.

As to my own interests and motivations: I have zero interest in working for McGavick in DC or locally. It's fairly obnoxious of you to presume that without knowing me in the least. I already could have moved to DC for my current job but didn't for family reasons; and generally have little interest in returning to a Senate staff at this point in my career.

In addition, since my dad is no longer involved with Sound Transit that's a non-issue as well. Moreover, I've been critical of decisions made while he was associated with the agency at other posts here at SP. And if I go further than that, he's man enough to deal with his son disagreeing with him.

What you'll find if you keep with my posts related to transportation is that I tend to favor mass transit as part of a broader system that includes significant road construction. That's the reason I support Sound Transit at times, not the more parochial reasons you and others have tried to toss around at times.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 14, 2006 06:26 PM
32. "a particular form of curmudgeon, who thinks local politics is their raison d'etre. "

That was the description I was going off of. Someone who would spend a whole evening in a near empty public meeting, bringing issues up and challenging the local politicians, etc.

The local officials ridicule them, and sometimes even go after them when the Gadfly might actually be having an effect of waking people up on what is going on with a particular issue or in uncovering some bad practices by local officials.

So, I respect the curmudgeon. In a way, although, in your definition you are describing Stefan, although not exactly because curmudgeons are usually elderly people and Stefan isn't.

Stefan thinks shining a light on what is going on in the King County Elections is his raison d'etre. And I know that the politicians there just wish he would "get a hobby" and just go away.

Now, although he has lost my respect on other ahings, I strongly respect him for and apreciate all that he has done on this issue. Thank God he has chosen to be King County Elections Gadfly.

As to you and Sound Transit. Well you said that your your dad is no longer involved with Sound Transit. Didn't he develop any friendships with people while he was? You know connections that he has mantained even after he left?

"generally have little interest in returning to a Senate staff ". I am sorry, I didn't realize that you HAVE BEEN on a Senate Staff. Which one? Slade's?

Surely you have developed friendships there with people who are now public elected officials and therefore who would wouldn't think of criticizing.

The point is that you are connected. You see things from the inside out while the rest of us sees it from the outside in. Totally different perspectives, and therefore I get why you hate Gladflies so much. Sure Hyperactive constuents can be a bother, always having to write them letters in the Senator's name that sounds he agrees with them but really saying absolutely nothing ("I appreciate your comments regarding" - yeah appreciate but don't agree with.) And sometimes the gadfly is off base and really doesn't understand what is going on. Still without the Gadfly local governments would get away with even more than they do now.

Understanding that you are an Insider makes me understand why you have such contempt for average citizens. Let's face it, lots of really stupid people write letters to their Senators and respond in very stupid ways to surveys the Senator may send out. It is very easy to get disenchanted and start to think all Outsiders are like that and that only the Insiders can save the Outsiders from themselves.

Now I know where you are coming from I see why you write what you do. You are an product of your environment and while you do have some legitimate grevances against those outside your political social sphere, mostly you are because of the relationships you have developed unable to make criticisms against certain people who really should be criticized. It's a trap that you have fallen into, I realize. It happens when you get too close to politicians.

Posted by: Steve on August 14, 2006 09:14 PM
33. "Steve" -

Based on your behavior at this site I have no interest in debating you at length, but I will say this: you place an almost conspiratorial value on who someone knows, associates with, and or has professional relationships with. You give people little if any credit for having an independent mind, and are quick to assume broad implications about someone simply based on your perception of what has influenced them. It is poor lens through which to analyze people and does not speak well of you.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 14, 2006 10:27 PM
34. "you place an almost conspiratorial value on who someone knows, associates with, and or has professional relationships with."

Sure do. Because I know how the game is played more than you think I do. And personal relationships play a key and often deciding role in politics.

You wouldn't jeopardize such relationships with these people by speaking out publicly against what they are doing. Well perhaps once in a while if you really, really, really feel strongly about an issue, but not normally.

You are trapped because you have a personal relationship with these people which makes you unable to hold their feet to the fire when need to. What would you say to them the next time you are at a dinner party if you did? Would you even be invited to the next dinner party?

Look, I know where you are coming from. It's not a easy position to be in.

By the way, you didn't say whose Senate staff you worked for. Was it Gorton's?

Posted by: Steve on August 14, 2006 11:15 PM
35. Eric does not debate Finis Tupper, he attacks him. He does not even disagree on any substantive issue, but impugns Tupper's motives, ridicules his position and gloats over his father having triumphed over him in influence. Eric frequently asserts that he is in the majority or his side is politically successful as an alternative to being able to justify his position philosophically (because he can't). Eric works for an unconstitutional agency of the Federal Government, helping destroy our Educational system, and comes from a background of the staff of a Ted Kennedy liberal who succeeded as a Washington State Republican by pure deception and power politics, but, don't you know, he was SUCCESSFUL! That, to Eric, is an adequate raison d'etre. His use of the term "Gadfly" is name-calling, pure and simple. And in his next breath he will decry criticism of his liberal wing of the Party as "counterproductive" to victory. The Left controls the Party and that, alone, to Eric is justification to silence the opposition. They are running the Party, yes... into the ground. The numbers are indisputable. People do not rally to "nothing." But that is what his allies believe. Nothing. They take positions, yes, but they are not consistent with any rational interpretation of reality, this, one day, that another. All they believe in is self-interest. "Winning" is everything, at the expense of our nation.
Eric gives every indication that he does this sincerely, as if he were, not only adverse to truth, but incapable of perceiving it.

Posted by: Doug Parris on August 15, 2006 01:25 AM
36. "Steve" - Yes, it was Slade's. Though these "dinner parties" of which you speak are delusions of inside-the-Beltway fantasies rather than any reality that is part of my life. You keep thinking you know "the game," I'll keep living in the real world.

On a somewhat related note, I'm disappointed Doug didn't include my bad breath in the morning in his indictment of me...disappointing.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 15, 2006 07:15 AM
37. Really, declusions?

I have been to one or two of them.

Now are you saying you never have get togethers with your friends. You never have parties with them. You never invite them over to your house or go out to dinner with them? Maybe go out on their boat?

Wow, you are sure anti-social.

I do things with my friends all the time. The only thing that is different is my friends aren't political power brokers and decision makers who effect governmental policy.

Posted by: Steve on August 15, 2006 08:19 AM
38. Slade, huh.

Well that explains a lot too.

Posted by: Steve on August 15, 2006 08:21 AM
39. I love it. So, dinner parties don't exist. You never talk to your friends about political issues or how to get your people elected to office or how to enact any policies and stuff like that.

Well, Mainstreamers like all liberals lie. That is just what they do. And if you ever put any trust in them keeping their word like when they sign the 11th Commandment or such, well you are just going to be disappointed.

Posted by: Steve on August 15, 2006 08:28 AM
40. Most of the friends I and my wife choose to spend time with are not political junkies, and while I know a lot of people who work in politics and policy, I don't find myself socializing with them at great length. When I do, it's generally just to enjoy each other's company, not plot politics as you would like to think. Indeed, I have good relations with people across the political spectrum because I have the capacity for human discourse without acting like an idiot hiding behind multiple screen names until someone calls your bluff. The people I choose to associate with, regardless of their political beliefs, have the same capacity to understand the amazing concept that disagreement over politics is not in and of itself a reason for loathing someone, as you seem to enjoy.

Again, you've made some huge assumptions about me simply becuase of who you think I know and presume I hang out with, for purposes you claim to have a better understanding of than I.

Have a nice life.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 15, 2006 08:45 AM
41. That you would associate with evil tells me alot about you, Eric.

Posted by: Steve on August 15, 2006 09:51 AM
42. It is obvious that too much time spent in isolation has rendered you incapable of rational thought there stevie-boy.

You might want to request that they up the meds...

Posted by: alphabet soup on August 15, 2006 11:41 AM
43. It has been brought to my attention that Eric has bad breath. He attempts, In his own defense, to claim that this is only "in the morning." Ha!

Posted by: Doug Parris on August 15, 2006 12:13 PM
44. Now that was a good retort, I'll give credit where credit is due.

Posted by: Eric Earling on August 15, 2006 12:37 PM
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