Reagan Dunn and the making of a political career | Editorial

It was a hot week for political announcements and the making of a political career.

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she was not running for a third term as governor, Attorney General Rob McKenna said he was running for the Olympia sleepover in the mansion and King County Councilman Reagan Dunn said he intends to fill McKenna’s vacant chair.

Now these releases were about as big a surprise as the late breaking alert that Franco died in Spain 30 some  years ago.

All three announcements have been making the political merry-go-round for more than two years.

The part of the story that piques my political antenna is Reagan Dunn. He reminds me of a hot minor league prospect. He has shown he can hit a fastball, but, the difference between a good hitter and the best is keeping your hands back when the changeup comes.

Unlike many political leaders at the local commission and council level who back into running, and back away when the body blows start landing in contested races, politicians who play for keeps have to be much more careful and calculating.

A political career is built step-by-step using the strategy of a one-run baseball game. Do you bunt and get on base or swing for the fences.

People often look down on politicians who plan out their careers. I remember hearing people talk derisively about Bill Clinton plotting his presidency in his crib.

Despite what many believe, these guys aren’t suddenly touched by a light from heaven and all the right words come to them chiseled on a dusty rock.

For the best it is a planned process and it should be. We want thoughtful people in office, not some guy who drinks two Buds and decide it will be fun to be a senator for six years and fly to Bermuda to look at cute girls.

Building a political career takes a complex mix of will and desire. Sometimes those skills mesh together to make great leaders and political thinkers and at other times a little bit of darkness wins out and things go south.

We are dealing with people who have complicated — and at times — conflicting motivations.

It will be very intriguing to watch Dunn craft his course. He has the pedigree for a high-rise political career. Now it is a matter of picking the right races at the right time and keeping his hands back when the changeup comes — and it will.

Winning or losing both carry perils for a political future. Good politicians must have an endgame in sight. They may not get there, but, it’s the trying that is so much fun to watch and analyze.

Dunn’s plans to run for attorney general is interesting and expected, but, his next steps will show the pieces of the puzzle the will reveal the political road in the making.

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