Norm Dicks Has a Defender in Seattle

A few days ago I referred you the Dana Millbank column in the Washington Post offering criticism of the idea that Norm Dicks, our longtime Belfair/Bremerton/Tacoma Democrat in Congress, should ascend to the top of the House’s Appropriations Committee.

Now comes Seattlepi.com’s Joel Connelly offering a stinging rebuke to Millbank for ignoring other parts of Dicks’ history and to Rachel Maddow for snubbing her nose at Oregon. Most of the column inches focus on Millbank’s critique.

Milbank, a Yale grad and Skull and Bones man, showed that preppy arrogance can promote anti-government populism. A dose of the latter will come with unsigned anti-Dicks hate e-mails pointing out that the congressman’s son works for the Puget Sound Partnership.

Look at the bigger picture, however, how Dicks has demonstrated that government can do good stuff. He helped restore a once-seedy downtown Tacoma. He secured vital dollars for removing dams and bringing salmon runs back to the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula.

He doesn’t stop there. Connelly provides quite a lengthy resume of Dicks’ work, and bona fides supporting the idea Norm will be a budget hawk.

Speaking of Skull and Bones (John Kerry and George W. Bush are alums), I’m reading a book about a guy who was a member, worked for years at an ad agency but then got too old for them and ended up working at Starbucks.

And if you want to know more about Skull and Bones, read this piece from The Atlantic, published in 2000. I loved this part:

In an article in the 1968 Yale yearbook Lanny Davis, a 1967 Yale graduate and a secret-society member who would go on to become a White House special counsel in the Clinton Administration, described how Bones, famous for its distinguished list of members, held more sway than the others.

Come “Tap Day” … if you’re a junior, despite the fact that you’ve banged your fist at the lunch table and said, “This is 1968,” and have loudly denounced societies as anachronisms, when the captain of the football team is standing by your door and when the tower clock strikes eight he rushes in and claps your shoulder and shouts, “Skull and Bones, accept or reject?” you almost always scream out, “Accept!” and you never, never, pound your fist at the lunch table, not for that reason ever again.

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