After losing not one but two misguided and naïve assistants with secretarial promise to the misguided and naïve McGinn for Mayor campaign, I did not learn that the mayor's race was decided early Monday evening. With no one to "boot in" and operate my portable computer on my behalf, I have been relying on the print edition of the Seattle Times to keep me informed. On Monday evening I did manage to reach my erstwhile bridge partner, Tina Podlodowski, who honorably toiled for Joe Mallahan's campaign, by phone, but I couldn't understand, or perhaps fathom, what she was saying over the sputtering and wailing. Struck down by the flu, I assumed. And I simply refused to believe what I read on the front page of the Times that appeared on my from porch the next morning. I presumed that my next-door neighbor, David Brewster, was playing one of his legendary pranks. It wasn't until later Tuesday morning, over a breakfast of steak Diane with Times editorial page editor Ryan Blethen (the only mind in the newspaper industry firing on all cylinders and perhaps the brightest mind produced by Blethen stock in three generations), that I learned the awful truth: unkempt insult had been heaped upon electoral injury.
Mike McGinn is mayor-elect.
As Times readers will glean over the next few months if they dig deeply enough into the pages of the only functioning organ of democracy left in our fair city, almost none of the candidates the Times endorsed did well in this election. Some of them did so poorly as to suggest that the Times has ceded its political influence to the vile, profane, and cannibis-encrusted force that is The Stranger. I tried to reassure young Mr. Blethen that this couldn't be the case—after all, I write for The Stranger too and I have seen how it is made. I have sat in on one or two of their infamous editorial endorsement meetings, filled with "[expleteive] this" and "[profanity] that" and the impertinent questioning of successful businessmen like Mr. Mallahan, who deserve to be treated with respect and deference and not grilled about their commitment to homosexual unions of spotted owls. "It's these grassroots," Mr. Blethen said, and at first I thought he was referring to the scant vegetation lining the sidewalk outside 13 Coins' windows. In fact he was talking about young people like Ainsley and April, my aforediscussed departed assistants, who truly did have promising futures under my aegis, and about a certain cover of The Stranger, which appeared during the primary, credited with bringing news of Mike McGinn's spotted- owl platform to the masses.
Like all young heirs, Mr. Blethen generally warms up after his third Bloody Mary, but not this time: Sullenly stirring his fingers through the runny yolk of an over-easy egg and utterly unable to account for what had happened, he began despondently reciting numbers—a poignantly depressing stream of facts and figures. Evidently, it wasn't just the mayor's race the Times failed to influence. Jessie Israel, the secretary for the parks department whom the Times enthusiastically endorsed over Nick Licata for a city council seat, lost 43 to 56 percent. Wilson Chin, whom the Times sagely endorsed over after-school secretary Betty Patu for a school board seat, lost 31 to 67. Robert Rosencrantz, whom the Times endorsed over effeminate chicken farmer Mike O'Brien, had his proverbial eggs handed to him 42 to 57 (something not even O'Brien's campaign saw coming, Ainsley and April tell me). And Susan Hutchison—fair-haired, redolent of flowers, kind to children, yet nevertheless subjected to the most puerile mockery in these pages, including a cover of The Stranger last spring that self-righteously mocked her for having been a pioneering board member of the Discovery Institute and for having lent financial support to Mike Huckabee, Dino Rossi, and George W. Bush (to a man, extraordinary public servants)—lost the King County executive seat to the limp-wristed ferryboat aficionado Dow Constantinople by a point spread of 40 to 58. It is almost beyond comprehension, beyond the capacities of speech, the violence to decency and sense these margins represent. On the other hand, every candidate The Stranger endorsed (with the exception of a candidate for King County assessor) won decisively.
"Do you think our newspaper is dying?" young Mr. Blethen asked abruptly, his eyes darting this way and that, at last fixing on the figure of a homeless woman with tangled hair across the street who proved to be, upon closer inspection, Joni Balter. I began to answer, but before I could, Mr. Blethen blurted out, "Do you think I'm a dinosaur?" The thought had not occurred to me. We watched Ms. Balter unlock a purple Lexus and begin to unload Mallahan for Mayor yard signs from the trunk. She piled them on the parking lot asphalt, set them on fire, and stared hollowly into the blaze. "I'm a stegosaurus," Mr. Blethen added absently and then unexpectedly belched.
That gaseous odor I will never forget, as it perfectly represents the city's collective postelection gloom. Walk by a playground—do you see anyone smiling? Pass under any tree you used to love—where are its leaves? If you are sick with disgust at the results of the civic catastrophe perpetuated on November 3, reader, you are not alone. Short of alerting the authorities to the marijuana paraphernalia stored in the desks of no less than four members of the Stranger Election Control Board, and publishing the address where said desks may be found, which is 1535 11th Avenue, and pointing out that the marijuana "reform" activist and known homosexual Dominic Holden, promoted last week to news editor, does not even have a high school degree, and that his superior, Christopher Frizzelle, the editor of The Stranger, does not have a university degree, I know not what more can be done. These are the people now in command of our politics? I predict, in the next few months, rampant, drug-fueled sodomy in the streets; the outlawing of Christianity by our new Nazi overlords; and a law forcing all male citizens of Seattle to go shirtless from now on so that our new homosexual overlords can leer at our naked flesh. Heil McGinn! Heil Constantinople! Even annexation by the snide Francophones and radical Islamists in Canada would be preferable to the nightmarish socialist fantasyland we will soon be residing in.
I tried to raise issue of simple formal-education requirements for editorial staff members with Tim Keck, the publisher of The Stranger, who has blindly been letting his writers look into the biographies and experiences of candidates for office and then write whatever they damn well like, decency be damned, and—staggeringly—Mr. Keck whispered, "I don't have a college degree either." For anyone with tender memories of the city as it used to be, a city defined by the editorial page of the Times, a city where money and family connections always prevailed (after all, what else matters?), this is a sobering, saddening new era.