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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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February 1, 2008 4:15 PM

A view from the left

Posted by David Postman

ABERDEEN - I stopped in Mike Gyde’s antique store to look around and stretch my legs. There was an elegant disorder to the place, with low-light and crowded aisles I found inviting. There were ornate picture frames, chandeliers, art deco jewelry, boxes of country western LPs, antique photographs and a saucy pin-up of a bathing beauty in a glass display case.

Gyde was sitting in a rocking chair surrounded by so many antiques it looked like they had grown around him. I almost missed him when I came in. I had flipped through only a few of the LPs before he asked what brought me to the Harbor and I found myself taking down what he was saying.

Gyde among his treasures.

Like some of the other people I’ve spoken to in the past two weeks Jyde isn’t very happy about his choices for president. But unlike all the rest, Jyde looks at the field from the left. He’s a proud, self-proclaimed “lefty” unimpressed with the mainstream candidates of both parties.

“I don’t see anything exciting there. There’s no difference among any of them. It’d be nice to see a woman president. Too bad it has to be Hillary.”

What about Barack Obama, I ask, given that he seems to have excited many Democrats.

“With Obama, there’s some hope of change. But he’s a politician first and foremost.”

Gyde, 55, and his partner of 28 years, college professor Gary Murrell, have been here for about 15 years. Murrell has been involved in county Democratic politics and is now considering a Green Party run against Democratic Congressman Norm Dicks.

Gyde wishes he could be more excited about the Democratic candidates. Four years ago he kept up a large “Kerry/Edwards” billboard-size sign on the side of his store even after the election, saying he wanted it up there until George Bush left office.

People complained, wrote letters to the editors saying the sign should come down. “People were just livid,” he said.

One man came into the antique shop and offered to buy it just so he didn’t have to see it driving in to town every day. He threw a $20 bill Jyde’s way. But Jyde told him it was a collector’s item and it would cost him $500. The man left angry and the sign stayed up until Gyde and Murrell replaced it with one for a local mayoral candidate.

Obama and Clinton seem too restrained, too careful, too polite for Gyde. He wonders why neither talks much about protecting abortion rights or about expanding gay rights.

He applauds Gov. Chris Gregoire. He and Murrell registered as domestic partners after Gregoire signed that bill into law and he’s watching this year to see if Democrats are successful in expanding partnership rights.

“I’m much more excited about Gregoire’s campaign than the presidential campaign. She and Rossi are going to have a real race.”

He says Gregoire will have to fight some sexism as well as the “ruling families of the Harbor” who want to see Rossi elected.

He calls the conservative state lawmakers from here “our Republican senators from Seattle.” He just doesn’t feel like they represent him.

“We keep electing Republicans in Democratic clothes.”

He doesn’t blame the candidates as much he does the voters.

“I can’t believe the people in this country have such a short memory that George Bush can run as a uniter and then divide this country more than it’s ever been divided. And then he gets re-elected.”

CORRECTION: I have corrected spelling throughout of Gyde. I had originally written it as Jyde. My apologies to Mr. Gyde.

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