When folks observe your humble blogger pushing the new Troy-Bilt bad boy over the lawn of the palatial parental estate, they are no doubt tempted to ask, “Jeremy, how do you mow so well? Such speed, such precision, how do you do it?” If they ever suppress their awe long enough to pose the question, I shall wipe the sweat from my brow, point to my chest, and answer them, “It’s the shirt.”
Washington state Republicans and fellow independents have a pretty good idea how bad Wisconsin Democrats are feeling today after their bid to recall Governor Scott Walker came up snake eyes. We know because we’ve been there.
In 2004, Republican Dino Rossi won the governorship of our great state only to have it clawed back from him by opponent Christine Gregoire through a combination of selective recounting and outright voter fraud. We viewed her as an illegitimate governor, much as Wisconsin Dems viewed Walker.
Had we the right of recall available, we’d have taken it, but the Washington state government has put that remedy effectively beyond our reach. The next best thing was a rematch. Rossi challenged Gregoire in 2008 after she had been governor for a whole term and got his clock cleaned as Obama ran up the score on the West Coast. It was one of the most depressing election night defeats of all time.
“How exhilarating, to be fired on without effect!” wrote a young Winston Churchill of one of Britain’s lopsided colonial battles in Africa. But just try experiencing it from the point of view of the modern tribesman — red or blue — and you’ll have a modicum of sympathy for Wisconsin Dems today.
Today: I woke absurdly early this morning in Lynden, Washington and decided to go for a walk and get breakfast at Dutch Treat. There was a slight chill in the air at 6:20, it had rained recently and the sun was still fighting with the cloud cover. In all likelihood, it would rain again. Did I reconsider or go grab a jacket or an umbrella? No. It did rain on and off on the way to the restaurant, but I never for one moment regretted my decision.
A few years ago: My younger brother Andrew had just moved to Kansas City, Kansas to work as an assistant baseball coach at MidAmerica. He was going out and the weather forecast called for rain. A friend told him he’d better take an umbrella. He said, “Why? It’s just rain.” I got a call after. When people in Kansas tell me you’d better take an umbrella, a very wet Andrew told me, you had better take an umbrella.
The usual rap on western Washington is that it rains so much here. And it does, but “rain” means something very different here than in much of the rest of the country. Rain here is usually light and sporadic and not altogether unpleasant. The real issue is that it’s cloudy a lot and therefore can be depressing.
Of course, we play up both of these things to convince Californians to stay put. Given that our state has a moderate climate, a lush landscape and no personal state income tax, the rain is the only thing standing between us and sky-high property values.