Kierkegaard once confided in his personal journal that he would have been much happier as a police spy than a philosopher. As for Richard Nixon, he always yearned to be a sportswriter. Then there's young Michael Baumgartner, who appears to have lived a life as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar -- a life, whose trajectory, he suggests, would be nicely accelerated if he were the next U.S. Senator from Washington.
The Seattle Times wrote about him today, this Pullman native who was elected to the state senate two years ago at the age of 34. His pedigree sparkles: economic-development expert, lecturer, a master's degree from Harvard. He's worked as a counter-narcotics adviser in Afghanistan (where he met his British wife, Eleanor Mayne) for the U.S. State Department. He's been a VP of a private consortium doing telecom network startups in Saudi Arabia. There was a 13-month stint, too, at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq as an economics officer.
Next stop, the U.S. Senate?
Anything is possible and every boy can grow up to be president -- and all of that. But the odds that Baumgartner must encounter are as long-shot difficult as those that the "The Mom in Tennis Shoes" endured in 1992 -- which goes to show you: anything is possible.
As the Times notes, Baumgartner has raised just $120,0000 through December. Cantwell's got more than $3 million ready to unleash. Another problem that looms is the possibility that the far better known and better financed Rep. Dave Reichert may seek the GOP nomination and forego another run for the 8th Congressional District seat. All indicators say the state GOP will get behind Reichert if he gets in.
Then there's the simple matter of geography and history. Baumgartner's is from Spokane, and it has been decades since any candidate from eastern Washington has won a statewide race.
Baumgartner was the recipient of incoming fire last year when he pointed out that Cantwell is unmarried and, as a result, "has frequently voted to undermine the role of parents in child-rearing." His first child, Conrad, was born in June. Baumgartner says he regrets having made that statement and that he was only trying to say that Cantwell is more liberal than President Obama.
Whatever the case, Baumgartner is moving head -- uphill fight or not. As he told the Times:
Really, running an underdog, insurgent political campaign against an opponent many folks think can't be beat, and going out and meeting folks and talking about your ideas for America and Washington is a lot of fun and a real privilege.