While researching my column on Senator Maria Cantwell a few weeks ago, I came upon a blogger complaining about living in Washington State. The link escapes me now, sorry, but the guy was saying how miserable it is to live in Seattle. He was complaining about the weather, and the fact that Senator Patty Murray is supposedly the dumbest US Senator in the country. I think he also said something about the monorail.

It was obvious the guy knew not what he was taking about with any of his points. I won’t say anything about the weather, because as far as I am concerned if people want to believe we have bad weather here, that is fine with me. Keep them believing it, I say as I watch another beautiful sunset over Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

But I do have something to say about Patty Murray.

When I first met Patty Murray 25 years ago, she was campaign manager for State Senator Donn Charnley, a great liberal legislator for many years from the Shoreline area of North King County. She seemed to me like a mousy little woman and I didn’t pay much attention to her. Later she ran successfully for the local School Board, going door to door with her small child in tow. I still wasn’t that impressed with this 5 foot tall, earnest woman, even as she won her election.

Much to my surprise she ran for State Senator a few years later, while i was her Democratic District Chair, and easily won the Democratic primary and then the election, and even then I was incredulous.

It was only when my new State Senator Ray Moore (I moved to Ballard in 1987) of the 36th District told me how impressed with her he was that I started to pay attention. Moore, who I greatly admired, predicted great things for her.

Shortly after that US Senator Brock Adams had a sex scandal of sorts when an intern accused him of drugging and raping her. Like most Democrats, I could not believe it or didn’t want to, especially since Brock made such a great liberal Senator. He had been Secretary of Transportation under Carter after a distinguished career in Congress. We were in denial that he could have done something so stupid. (We’ll talk about Mike Lowry at another time).

So anyway, the next thing I knew was that Patty Murray, a lowly state senator from Shoreline, announced she was running for the US Senate in the Democratic primary. It seemed like a crazy stunt at the time, but amazingly Brock decided against running again, and the next thing we knew Patty was the nominee of the Democratic Party. Then she went on to defeat that TV guy from Channel 4, Rod Chandler I think was his name, and became US Senator. He underestimated her, too.

When President Bush declared war on Iraq, Senator Patty was one of the few senators in the country to have the courage to vote against it. It seemed like a foolish thing for her to be doing, since she was up for re-election and the country was so gungho to invade Iraq. (I bet right now Maria Cantwell wishes she had been that foolish.) Once again, Senator Patty proved to have more political prescience than any of us. Even after a careless speech she had made about Osama Bin Laden, and even with the full force of the national Republican Party and their President opposing her, she swept to re-election easily with over 60% of the vote.

As far as I am concerned, if the Republicans want to continually underestimate Patty Murray, they can be my guest. I have done the same thing myself many times. At this point I wouldn’t even take a bet against her being President some day.

Anyone underestimating the ability of Senator Patty Murray would probably also believe that it rains all of the time in Seattle.