September 17, 2006
Democrats Who Republicans Can Work With

It's not often in Western Washington conservatives find elected Democrats worth working with to pass good public policy. King County Councilman Bob Ferguson has passed that test, as has state Senator Tim Sheldon, even if they obviously don't agree with Republicans on every issue. The key is sometimes they do, and even when they don't, they remain civil and reasonable. To the chagrin of some, I have to add Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon to that group.

The Seattle Times profiled Reardon this past Wednesday in an interesting article, though one that was notably lacking of the evenhandedness of a similar profile done by the Everett Herald earlier this year. Regardless of tone, the pluses and minuses of Reardon are fairly transparent. He's young, a bit brash, and quick to claim credit for success. Yet, he's also a resolute administrator, an energetic leader, and a bright political mind.

The astute reader will know this author has just cause not to like Aaron Reardon, he beat my father to become County Executive in 2003. It was a close, hard fought campaign, one on which I logged more hours and stress than I care to recall, and one in which lingering bitterness is not entirely absent. However, I had past experience with Reardon when he was in the state Senate and I was handling government affairs at the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association. I can attest to all the qualities revealed in the two recent profiles of him, though can also attest he's simply a likable guy. Perhaps it's similarity in age, perhaps it's similar interest in policy and politics, perhaps it's the same devious sense of humor, but we get along exceptionally well in the political world for people of disparate political backgrounds.

In fairness, I've also been involved with some work in the Reardon administration, serving on the "Guidance Team" as part of Reardon's "Priorities Based Budgeting" initiative, described in greater detail here. [Full disclosure: Reardon also endorsed my successful campaign for the Snohomish County Charter Review Commission last year] Through that work, and in other conversations with him, I've found Reardon is more serious about restraining government budgets than seemingly many Republicans in Congress. He takes a lot of heat for pushing hard on some issues, in part because his self-confidence borders on cocky to some people, but on the issue of restraining taxes and prioritizing spending he's the real deal.

One of the more notable complaints voiced against Reardon, especially in the Herald profile, is that he's shaken things up too much in county government. Such complaints are beyond ironic given that many Republicans my dad and I talked to in 2003 wanted to "clean house" entirely if the Democratic hold on the County Executive's office was broken that year. At their root though, I personally sense that a number of complaints against Reardon are motivated by something not always articulated directly: he's young, he's smart, he's successful, and he's not shy about it. He has a greater combination of talent in governing and winning elections than most people in Snohomish County, regardless of party affiliation. And that irritates some individuals to no end, on both sides of the aisle.

Such praise will annoy some Republicans, and even some Democrats, immensely. Some will complain I'm saying decent things about Reardon when Sheriff Rick Bart is stepping up to the plate to take him on in next year's election. True, and Sheriff Bart is a great sheriff, a highly admirable public servant, and a truly likable man. But he faces a damn difficult challenge to beat Reardon, who has done ample work in support of the business and development communities (much to the annoyance of his own party's left wing) that traditionally support Republican candidates at the county level. My dad's campaign tried to convey to certain Republicans that 2003 was their one shot to beat Reardon before he was able to entrench himself in higher office with his combination of skills in policy and politics; we weren't kidding.

Reardon might stumble between now and the 2007 election, but that's not highly likely. He might even face a spirited challenge from the left in the Democratic primary, it wouldn't be surprising since he's not shy about pushing policy opposed by certain factions of his base, notably far-left environmentalists, and since he doesn't suffer fools in silence well. But whatever the lay of the land come next year's election I know this: Reardon is the kind of Democrat Republicans can work with; not a common occurrence in partisan elected offices these days. Given political realities in the Puget Sound area, that's worth keeping in mind.

Posted by Eric Earling at September 17, 2006 10:16 PM | Email This
1. Eric you are a real hypocrite and a damn traitor you know that.

With McGavick it's all PARTY LOYALITY, PARTY LOYALITY, 11TH COMMANDMENT, 11TH COMMANDMENT, but then you have the nerve to post something like this.

Why don't you include Mike Lowry in your list of Democrats Republicans can work with because your leader Sid Morrison actually WORKED FOR him, didn't he!

But of course Sid Morrison was a Republican in Name Only.

Just like you are Eric. And a backstabbing hypocritical traitor, again, just like you.

Posted by: truth on September 17, 2006 10:36 PM
2. Eric- be very careful. Praising Democrats makes you very suspect to many in the GOP who cannot underrstand that there is a time to be partisan, and a time to be a statesman.

I remember Aaron coming into the Spar with other moderate Democrats to meet and drink and smoke with reasonable Republicans. And get some good work done. That is how government gets turned around. His willingness to bring John Pennington on board demonstrated that he will look for talent anywhere.

The bigger threat on Tuesday is that if Sheldon loses, a message is sent to other reasonable Democrats in the Senate- to Marilyn Rasmussen, Mary Margaret Haugen, Jim Hargrove, Jim Kastama, Paull Shin- all those who talked with- and sometimes voted with- Dino Rossi and the GOP.

It is similar to the threat made against Helen Sommers by the SEIU. Now Helen is a liberal Seattle Democrat- but she is no pushover for liberal interest groups. If she had lost, the House would have moved harder left.

If Sheldon loses, the Senate moves harder left.

Hopefully most Republicans are more tolerant than the Democrats. We understand the need for the Lincoln Chaffees and the Fred Jarretts.

We better, or we are in the minority forever.

And we better work with those Democrats who will work with us. Rossi understood the ideological majority- they don't all have to have an R after their name. They don't have to be with us all the time. And we have to listen to their concerns, and look for win-win situations.

That is how governing majorities are built, no matter how the elections turn out...

Posted by: Captain Wierd on September 17, 2006 10:40 PM
3. Wow, truth, Eric says some nice things about the guy and makes the point he will probably be hard to beat, and you call him a backstabbing traitor. That's a bit harsh, don't you think?

Where exactly did Eric say he was supporting the guy?

Posted by: Mike H on September 17, 2006 10:44 PM
4. "Truth" is our old friend who also goes by Steve/Conservative not Republican/Alice/Alex/Betty/Sue, etc. Regular readers will recognize his usual talking points.

I'll leave his 1st comment at this thread up as a reminder of what his work looks like, and to serve notice that he still reads Sound Politics. After that, they'll be deleted since he has been banned from this site by Stefan and I for his total inability to engage in civil discourse.

Posted by: Eric Earling on September 17, 2006 10:52 PM
5. Truth,

Had a bad night mate.....Geeeeesssssss

Lighten Up a bit

Posted by: GS on September 17, 2006 10:56 PM
6. "Yeah," formerly at #7 is "Steve."


Posted by: Eric Earling on September 18, 2006 12:29 AM
7. ..."Beth," formerly at #6 was also "Steve," in a valiant yet feeble attempt to change writing styles. IP addresses, however, are not as fungible.

Posted by: Eric Earling on September 18, 2006 12:36 AM
8. If we have to have Dems as US Senators, I will take Reardon over over the two we have.

One thing you didn't mention, Eric, was in the primary when some older people (with cash from Reardon supporters and maybe with Reardon okay) put out this nastiest negative ad I have ever seen against Quigley. Somehow, he got away with it from the PDC.

Funny thing, the older couple's son ended up with a six figure salary in the administration.

Posted by: swatter on September 18, 2006 07:28 AM
9. Steve, your first name should be "Loose" instead of Steve. I bet you are called Loose Cannon anyways, aren't you?

Posted by: swatter on September 18, 2006 08:29 AM
10. "Steve" formerly at #9 is deleted again. As readers can tell, he really, really likes me...especially when I don't write posts that agree with his theory that Democrats and Mainstream Republicans are the spawn of Satan.

He also thinks I'm loaded, based on this in one of his deleted comments: "Those like Eric are known as 'Country Club' Republicans. They would be Democrats except they feel that due to their tax bracket they have to be a Republican." Oh, that such wealth was true.

Posted by: Eric Earling on September 18, 2006 08:38 AM
11. Arrogant Reardon leaves the sheriffs under funded, traffic unfixed and sits in paranoia behind bullet proof glass...oh please he is not JFK. Takes the voting process underground where ballots are exposed to miscounting uh wait mishandling no wait I mean 'adjustment' about 6 times. Anyone want to work with this guy? Bather like this is bizarre. I'll work with AR when he gets some principals and values and carries them out.

AR's excellent use of the feigned support until I can kill it for other reasons and save face politics on the NASCAR track and then sending out the siren call to confusedniks like EE is what makes him a great politician but a shallow hollow man not leading but Clintoning his way up the ladder. I would hate to have to change his diaper everyday.

Snohomish County is a doormat he?s wiping his feet on to build a cabal of henchmen to build upon. Look busy, spin around the room, execute those that don't follow the Readon line and tighten the grip on those that will. Take the gang to the next level and slough off those that are needed to take the fall along the way all the while it is PR PR PR PR. This guy idolizes Bill Clinton.

The Herald is bankrupt commenting on him by his marrying a former staffer, Kate, who still has connections.

EE continues to make compromises with unprincipled individuals and compromise any position he takes. R's like this are like Neville Chamberlain's to England, worthless. 50 cent bet that the hit piece on Rick Bart next year on this site comes from EE.

POV's like EE's are dangerous in politics because anything anyone does can be justified EXCEPT those POV's that call someone on the carpet for what they are doing is wrong. Looking at EE's deletions of the replies it is hard to tell what is an acceptable reply except to say AR for King and EE for sidekick.

Posted by: Col. Hogan on September 18, 2006 10:11 AM
12. Aaron does seem reasonable and all, but there's a good reason for that: He's an empty suit.

He wants to be Governor, and he realizes that, of our past 5 Governors, 3 of them have been moderate-leaning County Executives, and the other two (Lowry and Gregoire), won by much, much smaller margins (to say the least in Gregoire's case) and one didn't and the other probably won't serve two terms.

Reardon is dangerous. He's a smarter, better looking Gary Locke, and has about the same amount of core beliefs and about the same amount of ideas (read: none).

I'll make another prediction: Come election time 2008, he'll be voting for Dino Rossi. Not because he likes Rossi, but because he wants to beat him in 2012.

Posted by: Cliff on September 18, 2006 11:33 AM
13. Want to bet that when Reardon does run for Governor that Eric Earling will be the chairman of the "Republicans for Reardon" Committee?

Posted by: Kit on September 18, 2006 11:49 AM
14. Ah jeez, not this **** again?!

Posted by: alphabet soup on September 18, 2006 12:44 PM
15. For those interested, I'm up to about 27 comments from "Steve" deleted in this thread, which is why some of the comments appear unrelated to those actually remaining.

The amusing thing is, he keeps posting the exact same junk, word for word, and I keep deleting it the exact same way.

Posted by: Eric Earling on September 18, 2006 12:57 PM
16. When the moonbats go unhinged it's funny....when someone from the right loses their mind it's just pathetic.

Steve - go drink some draino or something.

Posted by: alphabet soup on September 18, 2006 01:25 PM
17. ...and Steve IS my real name. This "Steve" or "Truth" or "Beavis" or whatever has enough vitriol to be a liberal. The reason I like Sound Politics is that, even though you sometimes have to wade through garbage like this, you can get some interesting, reasoned differences of opinion. I don't mind wading through it, but I shouldn't have to swim in the stuff. Steve/Truth/Butthead (or was it Beavis?), take some medication, cancel your ISP subscription, and return to sanity.

Posted by: A Different Steve on September 18, 2006 02:01 PM
18. Eric, the future of sound politics is at stake here. You guys gotta do something to control these Democratic Party paid trolls.

Posted by: swatter on September 18, 2006 03:45 PM
19. Swatter - Point well taken, though I've deleted about 60 of his comments in this thread today (mostly the same three he keeps trying to post). But, given that he keeps changing IP addresses, through probably one of two easy ways to do it, the only thing we could do is turn off the comments to truly shut him down...and that doesn't seem like a good solution. I'll keep deleting his comments as soon as I run across them, but in the meantime my best advice is to ignore the lunatic.

Posted by: Eric Earling on September 18, 2006 03:53 PM
20. ...though I've deleted about 60 of his comments in this thread today... But, given that he keeps changing IP addresses...

Steve/Truth/Beavis/Butthead/Beth/Or whatever your name of the moment is, really, that isn't healthy behavior. Have you ever thought of seeing a shrink? You sound like the right wing version of the moonbats.

If you've posted 60 comments, all spouting more or less the same thing, you look and sound like a 5 year old throwing a temper tantrum. Get over it and get a hobby or something.

Posted by: Mike H on September 18, 2006 05:35 PM
21. agree with 18-20; 60 comments? wow--reminds me of liberal choice behaviors that brought us nasty, penecillin-resistant STD's and other San-Fran "viruses." they keep popping up like a chancre. Doc Earling, keep up the fight. this guy's a real cold sore. like an angry patient who spits at the care provider--"i'll take you all with me!"

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on September 18, 2006 07:56 PM
22. You probably should ask the Republicans on the King County Council if they are finding Bob Ferguson someone they can "work with".

Sure he is a better person than Carolyn Edmonds, but that bar is set so low that a snake might have a hard time getting under it, but since his election he has become very difficult to work with and has been voting for the big issues that Ron Sims wants, only taking him on over smaller issues so he can act independent.

Posted by: Truth Detector on September 19, 2006 12:34 PM
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