The Real Crock of Shit: How Marcus Charles Out-Strangered The Stranger

David Choe
Marcus Charles, owner of The Croc, founder of the Progressive Conservative PAC.
Voting for someone who does not support gay marriage does not mean you are anti-gay, hate gay people, or oppose gay marriage. I know this because everyone who voted for Bill Clinton voted for the man who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. I know this because everyone who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 voted for a man who had emphatically and publicly declared himself to be in support of civil unions and opposed to same-sex marriage. And I do not think all of the people who elected Presidents Obama and Clinton hate gay people.

Similarly, I do not believe that Marcus Charles -- the owner of the Crocodile, and the founder of the Progressive Conservative PAC that supports Republican Rob McKenna for governor--hates gay people, is anti-gay, or opposes gay marriage. I think he's a conscientious, well-informed, politically active business owner. He's also an anomaly in a town where it's unpopular not to join the crowd; where residents overwhelmingly dress, think, talk, and vote in lockstep while purporting to champion diversity. (Ever joked with someone by telling them you're a Republican? Try it.) We're not just one of the whitest cities in the nation, we're also among the most ideologically homogenous.

Charles has taken some heat this week after The Stranger revealed that he is the force behind a PAC distributing flyers and ads asking voters to pull the lever for Obama/Biden, vote yes on same-sex marriage (R-74), and elect Republican Rob McKenna for governor instead of his Democrat opponent, Jay Inslee. In a piece titled "Croc of Shit" in today's paper, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eli Sanders writes that "the entire effort appears intended to make the Republican seem innocuous to progressives (even though McKenna opposes gay marriage and Obama's health care reform act)" and that Charles' effort seems "like an exercise in politically reckless inconsistency."

Yes, it is inconsistent with how his friends and neighbors feel. But it's not a "Croc of Shit." If anything, Charles outdoes The Stranger at its own game. The paper has long positioned itself as perennial outsiders, but there's nothing outsider about being a bankable voice for the most popular policies in a solidly left-leaning city.

Enter Charles. He has done his homework, met with both candidates, studied the issues, and decided that the best way to vote this November is in support of Obama, R-74, and Rob McKenna, who he thinks will be the best executive to manage all the state's issues, not just the hot-button ones.

That's not a "croc of shit," it's an informed citizen standing up for what he believes, even when it's unpopular with his friends and neighbors. There's nothing more rock and roll than that.

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