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Not much to hear, but plenty to see at political forum

August 22, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

Here are some actual comments (or pretty close) from last week's Washington County Commissioners candidates' forum:

· "We need to all play in the same sandbox."

· "Cooperation is a two-way street."

· "We need more affordable jobs."

· "I was going to read that (charter government) report today, but my computer crashed."

Wow. Does this get you stoked to get out there and vote in the September primary, or what?

I had the added luxury of watching the forum with that known politico, the Don Imus in High Heels, who, truth be told, is probably a better gauge of what the average Washington County voter is thinking than I am.

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Her tolerance got pushed to the brink after the second question, which asked candidates for a specific example of how they would address a pressing need in the county.

The first candidate looked puzzled and indicated he hadn't understood the question, leading moderator B. Marie Byers to take a deep breath and repeat it with the admonishment that the inquiry was really "pretty simple."

Well, not that simple, apparently, as Andrea perceptively pointed out, with one-line editorials:

"That guy's not answering the question."

"That guy's really not answering the question."

"None of them are answering the question."

"Are they deaf?"

Then by chance someone happened to mention the county's comprehensive plan, a document whose chloroform-in-print attributes had left a bad taste in her mouth from years past.

"Oh, I had to cover that once. A public hearing on the comprehensive plan. It was the worst night of my life. I didn't want to write about the comprehensive plan, I wanted to write about dresses."

Because she does not suffer fools (with one notable exception), Andrea has a bare tolerance for politics in general, and it didn't take long before she had stopped considering the candidates forum as an article of political discourse and started to consider it as an article of fashion statement.

"I like her, she's smart. But I don't know about the glasses."

"I hope he doesn't wear that jacket after Labor Day."

"Short sleeves and a tie? Oh dear."

Meanwhile, I'm trying to take copious notes so I could offer up some intelligent commentary. I leaned forward in my seat when one candidate launched into a parable about the number of seats in the auditorium, then asking us to picture doubling the number of seats and then double them again and then putting a million dollars under each seat, and then picturing the county budget and ...

I was keenly interested to find out where this story was going, but I never found out, because by then Andrea was bored with candidate criticism and started in on husband criticism.

"You're looking kind of rough tonight, honey."

"What?"

"Just a little."

"I'm trying to listen, here."

"You've got your gardening clothes on and you spilled something on your shirt.

"OK, fine."

"You're looking kind of weekend and it's only Wednesday.

"Stop it."

"And your face is kind of scruffy, too."

"Get out."

"No shavey, shavey."

"Please get out."

Which by this time she was more than happy to do, so she flitted off to watch something more relevant to her life, like "Rock Star."

She was long gone by the time the Republican candidates took the dais, so her opinion of them is unknowable. And since she's a registered Democrat, there was no reason for her to stay tuned.

Of the Democrats she was hearing for the first time, she had this ringing endorsement: "Hmm. That guy doesn't sound too horrible."

For the record, "that guy" was Mike Spinnler, and although he might or might not consider that pronouncement to be what they call a campaign energizer, I would tell him that coming from a woman of exceedingly high tastes (with the above-noted exception), it's not shabby. Or it could have just been that he was wearing long sleeves.

And besides, it might make a nice slogan. "Vote Spinnler: He Doesn't Sound Too Horrible."

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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