The Seattle Times' Joni Balter had a post today about Ron Sims' departure that was dead-on in at least one respect. As Balter wrote (speaking as if the Executive himself were now dead):
Sims always seemed like the real thing, a politician, yes, in every sense of the word, but a human being behind the public face.
True. Sims doesn't comes across like the sort of coldly ambitious, unreachable egomaniac that you often encounter in politics. It is a strength, as far as making him sympathetic and likable, but also a weakness. In writing and editing stories about the county, I've been impressed at how thin-skinned he can be.I was amazed in 1997, when I accompanied him to a debate against Republican challenger Suzette Cooke, that he seemed totally enraged afterward by the few little digs she'd made. How could he possibly get so worked-up over what, in his business, seemed like just another day at the office? He'd already been an elected county official for a dozen years by that time.
He seems to react intensely to criticism or skeptical questioning of any kind. He often seems ready to see personal vendettas in what is simply the media doing its job. And that's in a city known for its incredibly benign politics.
Admittedly Sims is not going to be in elective office in D.C., but still, you have to wonder: Does this guy really have the stomach for what the Washington press corps dishes out, to say nothing of Republican hatchet men?