In Seattle for a business meeting. Checked into my hotel, walked around the corner looking for a cafe with free wireless, and wound up at the city library (brand-new and very nice; I’m typing this from near the Microsoft Auditorium–hopefully I won’t get booted out for using an iBook).

The DNC has college kids staked out all up and down the sidewalk. Their pitch to passers by: “Would you like to learn about defeating George Bush?”

I’m not in the habit of giving advice to the DNC, but the thought that keeps coming to my mind is, these guys have forgotten 1996. Remember that one? War hero nominated by the out-of-power party, but that party’s entire focus was on how much they couldn’t stand the incumbent. And they got shellacked.

Hatred didn’t beat Clinton, it didn’t beat Reagan, and what the hell, it didn’t even beat Richard Nixon.

At any rate, it’s sunny and beautiful outside, and I don’t have any meetings until tomorrow morning. I’m off to dodge the DNC gauntlet and start enjoying myself.


51 Responses to “Roadblog”

  1. rosignol Says:

    Welcome to my hometown. Enjoy the scenery, and please tell everyone it rained non-stop once you get home.

  2. Frank Martin Says:

    Seattle Center – upper floor – Palominos. That’s all I’m going to say.

  3. Bill from Says:

    You should talk to the Kerry-Kidz…I’d be interested (amused) to hear their sales pitch.

  4. The Other John Hawkins Says:

    Hey, welcome from me too! If you’re looking for things to do, check out the Boeing Museum of Flight.

    If there are DNC cannon fodder badgering people in downtown Seattle, then either Bush is headed for one doozy of a landslide victory, or the DNC doesn’t know how to read a map. San Francisco is probably more likely to vote Republican than Seattle.

    As far as the weather, summer is really great up here. We always enjoy all three days of it. Glad you could be here to share!

  5. Frank Martin Says:

    You gotta hand it to the geniuses at the DNC, pay people to hand out flyers in one of the single biggest Democrat voting centers anywhere. That’s money well spent. Gosh I hope Kerry gets over to Massachusets soon and starts canvassing Boston Neighborhoods. I wonder if they are spending lots of time canvassing Eugene Oregon too!


    Funny how they can’t be bothered to go up the road to Everett.

  6. rosignol Says:

    Ah, Frank, the Palomino is at 5th and Union, not Seattle Center.

  7. Mike M Says:

    I really wish I’d be at home for a political poll call or run into some DNC goons like that. Alas, I’ll have to settle for the internet…

    Latest Kerry self-destruct watch: his speech in Ohio today promising to bring our allies to our side in Iraq. Would love for someone to ask him when he stopped considering the UK (and all the other countries with troops on the ground) to be allies.

  8. Joy Says:

    It Always Rains In Seattle. There used to be a little public announcement thingy you would hear at SeaTac asking returning visitors to say that. Really. And don’t tell the DNC kiddies, but Protest Warrior is on the prowl in the Seattle Metro area. We aren’t all raving ABB types out here.

  9. brett Says:

    Frank, I can say for sure that they have people in Eugene. I was just there the other day. Although, if you think about it, they might need some persuading down there not to vote for Nader or some other hard-left nutbag. To them, Kerry is a Republican and Bush is just inconceivable.

    Signature-gatherers are everywhere up here in Portland too.. Not where they are needed. More power to ’em – let them waste their money.

  10. HT Says:

    Well, you haven’t said that you’re looking for advice, but since someone has brought up the subject of dining, what the heck. Although Palomino is a perfectly nice restaurant, it is a chain and thus you might want to consider something with a bit more local flavor.

    If you’re downtown, then Etta’s (down by Pike Place Public Market) and the Dahlia Lounge are good for unique local dining experiences (or try the Metropolitan Grill if you like steak).

    For sushi, you can try the Nikko (in the Westin) or Shiro’s or I Love Sushi. All are excellent.

    Top Gun in the International District is good for Cantonese seafood, and Wild Ginger is a Thai fusion place more centrally located that isn’t bad. Or for a burger (or a smoked turkey sandwich that is to die for), fries, and beer (try the IPA) you might want to head up Pike to just east of I-5 and try Six Arms Pub.

    In any case, you certainly won’t starve. Please do as rosignol says, however, and tell everyone it rained the whole time you were here.

  11. The Applicant Says:

    I’ve seen the same thing in Minnesota. There have been a pair of DNC operatives frequently outside of the Student Union at the University of Minnesota, trying to get people to support them.

  12. Freeman Says:

    Whenever I see one of those people in NYC who’s female, I’m always tempted to ask her “don’t you think you’d get a better response if you asked people if they wanted to lick Bush?”

  13. Mango Joe Says:

    Go to the Queen City Grill. Great food, superb wine list, killer martini’s.

  14. aodhan Says:

    I recommend El Gaucho’s. It’s a 50’s style lounge/restaurant with /incredible/ food. Presentation is stylish, not chic. Ask for the bananas foster. It’s in Bell Town on first.

    The Metropolitan Grill has an excellent thirty year old MacAllen single-malt. If you have the cash, it’s a rare treat.

  15. Pejmanesque Says:


    Quoth Will Collier: In Seattle for a business meeting. Checked into my hotel, walked around the corner looking for a cafe with free wireless, and wound up at the city library (brand-new and very nice; I’m typing this from near…

  16. Cupie Says:

    Oh, Oh, go to the Pink Door at the Market, hell just go to the Market! And Jazz Alley is too hip to be hip. Enjoy your stay in our loverly city, I’ve found that hissing at the political minions adds in avoiding there spew, as does staring and drooling.

  17. Cupie Says:

    *their spew, even and oh yeah, tell ’em it rains like a mofo. Thanks and have a Super visit.

  18. Frank Martin Says:

    ros – sorry about the mislocation. But a good bar and restaurant is like the 60’s, if you remember it in complete detail you didn’t really have a good time.

    I didn’t even know it was a chain until I just looked it up on the net, and found another one not a block from my old SF office!

    Seattle and San Francsisco, Two of my favorite places anywhere. San Francisco, where your cab driver could be from another planet and no one would bat an eyelash and Seattle, where the constant rainfall keeps down the musky smell of urine.

    Constant – EXCEPT for this summer! what the hell happened? I was up for 6 weeks this summer and I rained ( sort of ) one day! I felt so ripped off! If I want constant sunshine, I’d stay in california.

    Frank “Clueless Murphy” Martin.

  19. Ed Driscoll Says:


    If you’re still looking for dining suggestions, try Mistral’s. Incredible food, nice, intimate atmosphere.

  20. rosignol Says:

    Wow. I had no idea so many of the people reading this blog had spent time in Seattle.

    Frank- don’t worry about it. The only reason I know where it is is because my sister works in the same building- I’m more of a Metropolitan Grill kinda guy.

  21. Scott Says:

    rosignol, I think the building is called City Center hence the confusion. You’re right though, it’s at 5th and Union.

    Here is one of the DNC minions in action.

    He does seem to be campaigning FOR his candidate rather than just against the other candidate though. But he’s still pretty frothy.

  22. Scott Says:

    I’m with Frank, if I wanted constant sunshine I would have stayed in Santa Fe.

    I would recommend any of the Tom Douglas eateries, Etta’s, the Dahlia lounge. I’m more of a Sam’s Steakhouse or Mecca/5-point cafe kind of guy though. Gotta love a dive cafe/bar that only closes the bar for four hours a night. 🙂 Tini Bigs for the best martini in Seattle is what I’ve heard. (

  23. Sarah Brabazon-Biggar Says:

    Born and raised there. Get the best teriyaki ever at Manna Teriyaki in Burien–it’s on the way to the airport.
    I’ve been living in Phoenix for a year now and Manna Teriyaki is the one thing I miss
    (regretfully, the current state of Mariner baseball keeps me from including them in the above sentence).

    Probably the funnest thing to do in Seattle is to get the heck out–drive out to Snoqualmie or take a ferry to the San Juans.

    All you xenophobes encouraging the “rain all year and slugs” meme ought to reconsider–Seattle could do with some red-blooded immigrants. The organic granola crowd will retreat to Portland in disgust.

  24. Mike Says:

    “Dodge the DNC gauntlet?” In Seattle? Good luck with that one, Will. That’s a bit like trying to avoid “homeless” punk-rock kids from Westchester on St. Mark’s Place. Or dodging neo-Deadheads at a Phish concert. Or drunk frat boys in Buckhead bars. Or bad drivers on I-285 at rush hour. Or…well, you get the idea. 😉

  25. BillB from Says:

    Immigrants from California is part of what helped turn Seattle into lefty-land. Well, it certainly didn’t hurt.

    I can vouch for the Pink Door. Go to the Market and have a local help you find it. If you get lost just fall into Kells and drown your sorrow in something from their single-malt menu.

    Oh, and Go Seahawks.

  26. caltechgirl Says:

    I think it’s just that the DNC ops are lazy and can’t be bothered to go very far from home. Case in point: I live in Chapel Hill, the town about which Jesse Helms once said “Why build a zoo in NC? Put a fence around Chapel Hill”. There are anti-Bush people EVERYWHERE on campus and in downtown, but they don’t seem to be able to drive 35 miles to places like Siler City or Fuquay-Varina (for those of you who have never been here, let’s just say these are actual rural towns within 50 miles of Chapel Hill which are really the reason that NC is a “red” state despite John Edwards) to take their message to people who MIGHT change their vote. In fact, despite the fact that they are out in CH, most of the liberals I know here are not likely to be motivated to vote because they assume that GB will win here in Nov.

  27. Paul Says:

    DNC uses the same strategy in Chicago. I work in the heart of the Loop, in the financial district. They have kids in their red DNC shirts on the sidewalk asking passersby “Would you like to help get George Bush out of office?”

    Nothing about Kerry. I have been incredibly tempted to ask them if they could explain why I might want Bush out of office and why Kerry would be an improvement. It would be interesting to hear the case they make.

    I saw a person stop once to talk to them, he was asking for literature or a handout or something, the girl told him they were only looking for cash/check donations. She couldn’t even provide him an address or means to send a check later, it had to be there on the spot. He walked away frustrated and baffled.

    As an aside, as I was walking home one day, two college age guys in DNC shirts (who were walking to the train – not working the sidewalks) were passionately debating both sides of the abortion issue. I wonder if these kids are even Democrats or just working summer jobs.

  28. JackJ Says:

    Hey, Vodka, where’s all your comments about Larry Thurlow’s inconsistent statements about being under fire in Vietnam. Turns out he himself said all the Swift Boats were under fire on March 13 (
    You’ve given so much time to these Kerry critics, so why not say something when their own inconsistencies are exposed?

    Oh, wait, I know why.

  29. midnightindustries Says:

    Yeah, the little DNC hitler youth are all over the place in Chicago as well–including on state and city property (constitutional problems, anyone?) ONe of them asked me if I would like to help defeat George Bush this November, to which I replied “Hell No! Are you on crack?!” The little punk got immediately flustered, and tried hard to think up a comeback, which finally consisted of a stammered-out “No!”. Of course, the crowd of people walking by began to laugh at him….

  30. BillB from Says:

    Jack – I think the media can handle reporting the rebuttal quite nicely. It’s the accusations themselves that they have trouble reporting.

  31. Nick Says:

    My mother had a similar experience which I blogged about here.

    It went something like this:

    Campaigner: Hi, my name is Kimberly with the Democratic National Committee and we’re fighting to defeat George W. Bush.
    Mom: Sad for you, you’ve come to the wrong house.
    Campaigner: Well, you have a great day.

    In my mind at least, I would think that the first words out of her mouth should have been “Hi, my name is Kimberly with the Democratic National Committee and I’d like to encourage you to vote for John Kerry.” It’s upbeat. It’s positive. It’s for something, not against something. I personally think that voters respond better to a positive than a negative.

    Better for Bush I guess.

  32. Clockwork_Soul Says:

    My family had a similar experience with a DNC girl who game to our house to solicit signatures and donations. My dad opened the door, and was immediatly hit with the line, “Hi, I’m ____ with the DNC. Would you like to help defeat Bush.”
    My father, staunch Republican that he is, politely said no, at which point the college aged girl burst into tears. My dad, not being a callous man by any means, tried to soothe her, but at the same time advised her that, “You gotta have a thicker skin if your gonna be involved in politics.”
    Later on my mother, who was gardening outside and who also helped soothe the girl when she had another crying fit while walking past our house, overheard her while talking on her cell phone, “No one here is signing, they’re all a bunch of racists.”
    There you have it, kindness and support met with frustrated accusations.

  33. Razor Says:

    Never been to Seattle, which is just as well as I hear it rains all the time.

    As for everyone’s outrage over the college-aged Kerry Kidz, did any of you ever take a rabid stance on something in college which you later grew to regret?

    How many former vegetarians are out there? How about those who loved to scold their parents on how wrong they were on various points of view? How many of you have let your PETA memberships expire?

    Point is that during college we’re all exposed to a giant influx of left-wing ideals from our professors, which is then echoed and reinforced by our classmates. We’re convinced that we have to get out there and do something NOW before it’s too late. Only later do we realize that the world is more nuanced than that, and well, sometimes there’s two sides to any argument that are both worth considering before placing judgment.

    Give these kidz a break, they’re just like you and me 5, 10 or more years ago.

    Although licking Bush does sound like something I could support.

  34. JackJ Says:

    Nuance? Nuance?!?

    Republicans embracing a nuanced view of the world? Since when?

    Sounds an awful like being sensitive to me. Wimp.

  35. Larry Says:

    Oh yeah, it rains all the time here in Seattle. That’s why my grass is brown every summer. Rain, that’s it.

    Anyhoo, I volunteered for the Republican Party booth at Seafair – Seattle’s verson of the miilitary air and water show. We greeted each person with a brochure by saying ‘Hello, do you support the President?’ or ‘Would you like some information about the President?’

    Quite frankly, I was stunned at the positive reception here in the city, though it is a Nascar-type crowd. We signed up over 350 new volunteers over the weekend, only by giving away Bush/Cheney pins. I’ve heard that we now have over 25,000 volunteers in Washington.

    The Democratic Party did not even buy a booth inside, and they were quite surprised that we did! We were just a few booths down from all the military booths, where they loved us.

    The Dems set up a free booth outside, which we promptly did as well. The next day they set up outside the gate, but within the park. We got the Seafair people to chase them away. Then they set up on the sidewalk where city buses were dropping off event-goers. We asked the police if that might be a safety issue, and the police ‘shooed’ them away. They ended up down the block, across the street, in the front yard of someone with a Kerry/Edwards sign. Typical.

    President Bush just had the largest fund-raiser in the history of Washington State, and the state will be visited by the White House many more times before the election.

    It’s a great strategy. Either the Republicans have a chance here, or they’re forcing the Democrats to spend money where they’ve never had to worry about it before! And we’re seeing how effective this new Democratic campaigning is up close and personal!!

    Attack terrorists, not Presidents!!

  36. Atlas Shrugged Says:

    Bush wishes he had Nixon’s 72 poll numbers. Anger was enough to defeat Ford and Carter and Bush 41 in 1976. Those voters didn’t know a lot about their opponents. They were angry about the pardon, about his dopey Baptist preacher nature and broad incompetence, and about the economy and being out of touch, respectively. It’s not just Bush hatred. It’s Bush anger and disillusionment. That’s enough when you have a weak incumbent.

    It wasn’t enough to beat Nixon or Reagan or Clinton because they were all far stronger incumbents than Bush.

  37. rosignol Says:

    All you xenophobes encouraging the “rain all year and slugs” meme ought to reconsider–Seattle could do with some red-blooded immigrants. The organic granola crowd will retreat to Portland in disgust.

    Red-blooded immigrants are fine- but if we get any more Los Angelinos the place will become as loopy as California. ‘Ten months of rain a year’ is the only thing we’ve been able to come up with that makes the Californians think twice about moving up here.

  38. George Says:

    What’s the alternative? “Would you like to learn about electing Jonh Kerry?” Fewer people care about that than they do about defeating George Bush, and the Dems know it.

  39. George Says:

    What’s the alternative? “Would you like to learn about electing Jonh Kerry?” Fewer people care about that than they do about defeating George Bush, and the Dems know it.

  40. JPS Says:

    Frank Martin:

    “Gosh I hope Kerry gets over to Massachusets soon and starts canvassing Boston Neighborhoods.”

    Well, I was walking through Kendall Square, Cambridge, a few weeks ago, and there were four kids in bright red shirts working for the DNC. One of them (entrancingly pretty, enough to make me briefly consider becoming a Democrat) approached me–I’d tried to just walk by–and said, “Hi, would you like to help us beat George Bush this fall?”

    “No,” I said. “But can I make a suggestion? Why not ask, ‘Would you like to help us elect John Kerry?’ It would sound so much nicer.”

    She waxed snotty on me, reeled off her talking points and explained that the president deserves all the negativity he’s getting. We argued a bit, not very interestingly, and I crossed the street.

    Where I was met by another extremely cute girl, who gave me the same pitch. And I said, “No, but as I just told your colleague across the street…” and I repeated my response.

    Now something really cool happens: She’s actually willing to deviate from the script and have a conversation.

    “Yeah, I know,” she said in a tone of good-humored regret. “I’d much rather stay on the positive side. But what can we do? They tell us how to go about this, and the sad fact is that we raise more money around here with the negative pitch, because people are angry at the president.”

    “But 85% of the people around here are going to vote Democrat anyway. Aren’t you preaching to the converted?”

    “Well, sure, but this is our core of support. We can raise money here to help swing the races that are closer, like in the Midwest.”

    Fair enough. We had a perfectly amiable discussion for a few minutes; her colleague, thinking I was haranguing her, crossed over to rescue her but apparently decided I wasn’t just out to heckle them; and we each went back to our work.

    Next time, unless they’re cute, I’ll just steal midnightindustries’ response.

  41. dleppa Says:

    “though it is a Nascar-type crowd.”

    You might find that lots of NASCAR-types support Bush.

  42. anonymous Says:

    Atlas Shrugged,

    Bush is no weak incumbent. He, like Lincoln, is a president in dangerous times.

    But mid-September will leave you with a better understanding of the fundamental strength of the Bush campaign.

  43. MartiniPundit Says:

    Bush Hatred II

    Will Collier has thoughts on hatred:

    I'm not in the habit of giving advice to the DNC, but the thought that keeps coming to my mind is, these guys have forgotten 1996. Remember that one? War hero nominated by the out-of-power party, but t…

  44. Frank Martin Says:

    JPS – I’ve had to most interesting conversations with people of the other persuasion since starting my blog. They usually start angry, but I have found with a few of them anyway that if I resist getting emotional and just talk to them their level of support for the other side is pretty thin. Most dont seem to have examined the reasons why they believe what they belive and many seem to care more deeply just about what other people might think.

    I had one thread running with a person who wanted to talk about “the prison scandal”, and in the midst of it I said that the person was being quite “bigoted” to believe what she was saying.

    The word hit her like a brick wall. She had never been called a bigot before, and was quite hurt to be called such a thing. In her world, “Bigots” were people in the south ,who obviously didnt like minorities. To her, an enlightened listener to NPR could not be a bigot. I explained that it wasnt my attention to hurt her feelings, but when she clearly was judging people in the military and people from the south with such sterotypes, there could be no other answer than to say that she was clearly bigoted.

    The short of it was, she had gone away and actually re-considered what she was saying, and had come back tp me later to say she had changed her mind.

    So, you can make a difference somethimes. I actually think that many on the left live in such an echo chamber that it shocks them to hear people not reporting the party line and they just react to it with shock and horror.

  45. Larry Says:

    I’m no expert on federal election law, but isn’t the point of these DNC canvassers that they are legally PROHIBITED from making a pitch for John Kerry? Doesn’t campaign finance law bar outright coordination between the soft-money-funded parties and the hard-money-funded campaigns? In short, wouldn’t these college guys be breaking the law if they told you why you should vote for Kerry?

    I had one of these guys knock on my door in Seattle the other day, and he seemed to be very careful about how he framed his pitch. Given how Al Gore and the ‘Rats have been burned before with their fundraising shenanigans, their carefulness here should come as no surprise.

    Summary: You are all missing the point.

  46. Larry Says:

    Hey, another Larry from Seattle?

    I’m the Larry who volunteered at Seafair, not the one who was door-belled by the Dems. I have some Bush/Cheney and Rossi signs up, so they ignore me. (But I have been picking up more of other people’s dog poop in my yard – go figure.)

    I think the other Seattle Larry is correct about campaign finances. In fact, I’m not sure that it was legal for their booth to be set up in someone’s property during Seafair (as I described above), but I’m sure they’d say they were on the easement.

    The problem the Dems face is that 76% of people voting for Bush support Bush (and don’t hate Kerry as a primary motivator). These votes can’t be logically or emotionally attacked – we will vote for the candidate THAT WE LIKE.

    Currently over 50% of Kerry’s base is people who are against Bush. All it takes is a little logic and good information to make them have to do the mental calisthenics of voting for someone they don’t know or don’t like. How many Democrats vote Nader, or write in Dean or Kucinich, or stay home? We shall see.

  47. Larry Says:

    Seafair Larry: My name may be spelled “Larry,” but it’s pronounced “Throatwobbler Mangrove.”

  48. Sarah Brabazon-Biggar Says:

    ‘Ten months of rain a year’ is the only thing we’ve been able to come up with that makes the Californians think twice about moving up here.

    It’s funny; most people I talk to here in AZ say they LIKE rain, and would move to Seattle in a heartbeat.
    They just don’t understand. Rain in Arizona is fun–it’s accompanied by thunder and lightning and hail and 50 mph winds. And after half an hour, it goes away and it’s sunny again.

    In Seattle, rain is dull. 55 degrees, sky like an old gym sock, and a fine mist that rarely even condenses into something you could call a raindrop. All freaking year except for August and September. (And that’s the truth, not a Californian-spooking gambit.)

  49. Nicole Tedesco Says:

    Here in Seattle as well — my problem when talking logic to my Democrat friends is that I come face-to-face with their bigoted universe in which the only logic is that “Bush is Evil” and all else is commentary. I have lost friends over this issue. I have tried really, really hard to see their points of view and then dig in to facts, only to come face-to-face with phrases such as “You have no heart” (Hell, I don’t!) or “I can’t talk with you anymore.”

    Why did I decide to talk politics with my friends? I asked them, in the beginning, if it was OK since–being one of the “undecided”–I felt I needed a liberal point of view. Sounded fine with them, that is until I started doubting ANYTHING they had to say. What kinds of people are these friends of mine? Software engineers, nurses and other professionals who should understand something of the critical thinking process.

    Sometimes it can suck being Republican-leaning in Seattelgrad. Then again, it can suck being a practicing “critical thinker” almost anywhere…

  50. Heavy B Says:

    Welcome to Seattle. While you’re here, you should take in some of our fine local beers and the night life in our State’s fine park system…

  51. Mic Says:

    Welcome to Seattle, Will!
    Just as a side note, my husband encountered one of the DNC youth who came at him with the same hackeneyed “Would you like to help us defeat George Bush?”
    He asked them why they didn’t ask him if he’d like to help them elect John Kerry. The response was that they got better responses by NOT mentioning John Kerry’s name.
    Telling, no?
    For those other locals on here, my husband met this person on the Ave.
    Glad to see not everyone here is a raving leftie.

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