Wednesday Jolt: Cheryl Pflug Strikes Back

By Afternoon Jolt July 11, 2012

No winner or loser today, just a thunderclap of a Jolt from former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug.

Obviously stung by (frankly condescending) remarks by state Republican Party chair Kirby Wilbur in response to her denunciation of the state party's choice of Dino Rossi to replace her in the Senate, retired state Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5) shot back today with the second lengthy letter in two days explaining why she chose to speak out against her party.

The back story: Pflug retired unexpectedly earlier this year to take a job at the state Growth Management Board. Earlier this week, the King County Council appointed two-time gubernatorial (and one-time US senatorial) loser Dino Rossi to replace her. In a letter to county council members, Pflug denounced the decision as purely political, a ploy to ease the election of Republican Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman Pflug accuses in her letter of having "a history of egregious and disreputable behavior." In response, Wilbur claimed that Pflug---a moderate who voted for gay marriage---is no longer a Republican, that "nobody cares what she says," and that she "should keep her irrelevant thoughts to herself."

Today's letter was a response to those comments. We're quoting it at length because---well, you'll see.

As I leave office, I have the unique opportunity to speak out, from an insider's viewpoint, about the unfortunate processes by which decisions are too frequently made by in your government, ostensibly for your benefit.  Those who believe that the end justifies the means are likely thrilled by the appointment of Rossi to fill my vacancy.  Those who, like me, have come to believe that the means defines the end may be more interested in the game by which the end game is being played out.

Succinctly, this is about putting the proverbial lipstick on a pig.  Republicans know that their candidate, encouraged by a pharmaceutical lobbyist and Wilbur and now promoted by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, is an inferior candidate.  Toft has a long history of disreputable behavior, and a current history of trying to cover it up - including intimidation those who seek to expose him.  Yet they act together to promote him to an unwitting populace.  It's wrong, and I told them ahead of time that I would not suffer it silently.

I've tried to minimize the rant that wants to slip out because of my strong feelings about about politicians who treat the electorate disrespectfully, here by concealing and misrepresenting.  Instead let me respond to likely questions/assumptions.  This is not sour grapes.  I leave office in good standing, not voted or pushed out of office, to accept a great opportunity as a graduating law student/bar candidate.  And I haven't "flipped" to become a Democrat.  I believe in the Republican platform, emphasizing accountable government and individual freedoms, and I will be voting for Rob McKenna precisely because his integrity and wisdom will hopefully preclude this type of manipulation of the people in the future.

Grassroots Republicans do not show up for meetings, doorbell, donate, and put up signs for candidates with the expectation that those candidates will quietly sell out to corporate lobbyists and personally-beneficial tax decisions.  I take this action precisely because I came from the Republican grassroots, and I now return to the Republican grassroots.  I know for a fact that Democrats have similar issues, but I'm a Republican and I believe that you clean your own house first.  Further, in elected office my first loyalty is to the people I represent, regardless of their party affiliation.  That is why I chose the term "Independent Republican" when I filed for re-election this year.*  ...

I am speaking out after Rossi's appointment, initially thwarted by skeptical Councilmembers, because it is the next step in the campaign to get Toft into the Senate.  No one seriously believes that Rossi is there to do my constituent work for 5 months.  There were certainly other, better "caretakers."  I believe Rossi is there to use his stature as Senator to lend credibility to Toft and to continue to work his "friends" for money and endorsements.  His appointment also effectively shut out a write-in campaign by another Republican with credibility.

Today's inside backlash is instructive, "What is she thinking?  She'll be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life!"  Are they serious?  It was OK to accuse me of corruption, of selling my soul, to take my children's name as a verb, and to openly declare that they would “burn Pflug to discredit [Democratic 5th District candidate Mark] Mullet?”  Yet if I speak the truth, which media investigation will soon confirm, I should live in fear of retaliation?  Such abuse of power only stops when you put your grown-up pants on, look the bullies in the eye, and call their bluff.  I call.



In her letter yesterday, Pflug endorsed Mullet.
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