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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 2:46 PM

A voter looking for a candidate who can do more than win

Posted by David Postman

OCEAN SHORES - One of the surprising things I’ve found as I’ve made my way around the state is the level of detail people know about the presidential candidates and their policies. This would be just as big a surprise if I was in Seattle or Bellevue because we’re told most Americans know or care little about politics.

I sought out some of the people I’ve spoken to. But others, like all I’ll see today, I find during random stops. But without fail they have an impressive depth of knowledge about the candidates.

Ed Mitchell owns Beacon Pest Control right across the street from the entrance to Ocean Shores. When I came in his small roadside office, filled with sounds of his parakeets, Mitchell told me he wasn’t sure how much help he’d be in my efforts.

“Let me be real frank about my politics. My impression is all politicians lie given the chance.”

Mitchell with his electric truck.

Mitchell says if he had to be labeled it'd be as a Libertarian, with a qualifier that he was “smart enough to know they can’t win.” He doesn’t think Ron Paul could ever be accepted by voters because he’s “too laissez faire about government.” There are parts of the platform he likes, but says Paul goes too far in his vision of a sparse and isolationist federal government.

He also had praise for Republican Mike Huckabee for the candidate’s support of the Fair Tax, which would eliminate the income tax for a series of sales and consumption taxes.

“He’s the candidate who seems to understand the Fair Tax best,” he said. But like Paul, Huckabee probably isn’t long for the campaign.

“The guys that are the most electable are the guys I’m least likely to vote for.”

He kind of liked Rudy Giuliani and was sorry to see him drop out. John McCain? Mitchell shakes his head.

“Kind of hard to see how you can be that liberal and still be a Republican.”

Mitchell says McCain “was on both sides of the immigration issue and that’s a problem.” He’s not sure how big a problem illegal immigration is in Grays Harbor. But Mitchell is bothered by how bad the problem is across the country with politicians having done little to control the problem.

“It’s insulting to hard-working Americans to have that just sitting on the table.”

Mitchell is 48 and has been running his business for 18 years. He came to Grays Harbor after nine years in the Army. And he says he doesn’t share the deep Democratic, New Deal, roots of many in the Harbor.

“I didn’t grow up here,” he says by way of explanation. His roots aren’t in the Harbor. He was born in Anchorage and raised in foster homes in Pierce County.

He says people usually vote their self interest. But in the Harbor, history seems to trump even that.

“Their dads and granddads were Democrats so they figure they’re Democrats. But I think a lot of these folks have lost track of what the Democratic Party is really about.”

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