Mistake #1: Attempting to paint the Rainier Club as just another run-of-the-mill 7th District institution while physically standing in the Rainier Club, thus allowing Lewis Kamb of the Times to print observations such as: "As he talked to a reporter in the corner of the club's lobby, outside, in a crowded private parking lot, valets jockeyed to park arriving members' cars. Among the occasional Honda and Scion, the lot included several BMWs, Mercedes, and a vintage Rolls-Royce."
Mistake #2: Comparing the Rainier Club to the African-American Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the University of Washington, which he noted possesses a "huge endowment."
That may be true. And it may also be true that, as McDermott notes, a request does not equal approval, or that he "sort of doesn't think" the request will be fulfilled. But the Rainier Club is not the University of Washington. Nor is it SAM. Nor is it the African-American Museum. The Rainier Club may be housed in an historic building, but it is an ultra-exclusive private club for the well-heeled that has virtually no benefit to the 99.9 percent of Seattleites who are denied entry into its front doors.
The other three institutions offer extreme cultural, educational, historic, and public benefits. To mention the Rainier Club in the same breath is an insult to the intelligence of McDermott's constituents. The earmark is, contrary to McDermott's belief, "a ridiculous request" -- and the Congressman blew his opportunity to recognize it as such.