“It takes large murder to turn rocks in the shade and expose the strange worms beneath. The lives of our discontented madmen are revealed.”
~ James Douglas Morrison, “THE LORDS, Notes on Vision,”©1969
I will never forget those few minutes last year, seeing the ferocity of a beast on the face of a man; the Chairman of the King County Republican Party, no less, sitting a few feet away. It was a suddenly open window on the soul of Michael Young. I won’t forget it and you shouldn’t either. It was during the second official meeting of the County Platform Committee. Young’s appointed 2006 Platform Committee Chair, Lori Sotelo, had spent most of the first official meeting, a week earlier, trying to pass a secrecy (gag) rule. She wanted to prevent me from publishing (here, at TheReaganWing.com) the extent to which she and Party Chair Michael Young were going to take conservative principles out of the Republican Platform. The truth getting out could have been devastating to their re-election in December. Their plan was supposed to be all subtlety and secrecy. But, while Mrs. Sotelo had no intention of using them, I was familiar with Roberts Rules of Order. In the First Meeting I had insisted on proper procedure, full debate, specific wording of proposals, and a full definition of what would be considered a “violation” of the proposed censorship. During debate I frequently resorted to our rules of debate. I pointed out that the Chair, as “referee” was not allowed to enter debate. So Lori stepped down, temporarily. I made motions. I proposed amendments. Lori’s first proposals were defeated and the issue, each time, should have died. But one of Lori’s allies on the committee would always invent new wording. I kept pointing out that each proposed gag rule would prevent delegates from reporting back to their districts. (The final wording actually did (!!). If you got a report on the Platform Committee from your representative in a District meeting any time between March and the County Convention, it was in violation of the censorship rule.)
The Second Meeting
During the second meeting Young made rulings for Lori (the actual Chair) who mouthed his words like a ventriloquist’s dummy. Michael would quietly say, “Move adoption of the minutes,” and Lori would repeat, “I move adoption of the minutes.”
The minutes, as it happened, had been falsified. They implied that the authority to appoint members of the Platform Subcommittees had been properly delegated to Lori, when, in fact, no such authority existed. Young and Sotelo intended to impose their Subcommittee scheme on the group in violation of the rules.
So when the minutes were moved for adoption, I moved to amend them to reflect what had actually happened. Young, sitting immediately to the left of, and slightly behind Lori, said, softly, “The motion is out of order.” Lori, speaking to the whole group, repeated, “The motion is out of order.” Michael Young’s statement, as “Parliamentarian” was just a lie. Sotelo’s parroting of it, as Chair, however, was official cheating.
I made a point of order. I was told that was out of order.
I challenged the ruling. My motion was not recognized.
I asked the reasoning. Michael said, “The motion is not germane.”
I asked how a motion to amend the minutes could possibly fail to be germane to the minutes. Michael said, “You’re out of order.”
Everything he said was a Parliamentary lie. Every ruling was blatant cheating. And so it went. When Lori presented her “Subcommittee Assignments” (She had no authority, under the rules to make “assignments” without a vote, and possible amendments by the Committee). I moved to amend them with a written counterproposal, printed for each member. I was, once again, illegally ruled out of order. Young and Sotelo needed to control the subcommittees to control the Platform; to get, for one example, every strong social conservative OFF the “Life and Family” subcommittee (to make it amenable to abortion “CHOICE” and “CIVIL UNIONS”).
Now the fact is, and I was well aware, that most Platform Committee members, indeed, most Delegates at Conventions and Precinct Committee Officers are not certain of much of Roberts Rules of Order. I knew that to overturn this parliamentary despotism, I would not only have to move without parliamentary flaw, I would, simultaneously, have to avoid appearing strident so that I could be persuasive and win the Committee over to my point of view. So I was deeply concentrating on the exchange of motions and rulings, trying to restrain my anger at Young’s cheating. I would make a legal motion, Young (repeated by Sotelo) would rule it “out of order” I would object or challenge the ruling on parliamentary grounds and Young would make up some fictional rule (like the “prerogative of the Chair”) to steamroll the committee.
I moved. He counter-moved.
I struggled to keep the issue alive, legally. He struggled to expunge the rights of the Committee, illegally.
If Young won this battle, he and Sotelo could simply dictate their decisions to the Committee. If I secured the Committee’s right to vote on procedures, I would still have to convince everyone, by discussion, to vote my way on process. It was mentally exhausting.
I was seated immediately to Lori’s right, and Young sat back from the table, on the other side of her, slightly behind us. In the midst of this verbal struggle, my curiosity became aroused and I leaned back in my chair to look around Sotelo, at my actual opponent.
I was looking into the visage of hatred.
Young had been staring at my back as he made rulings for Lori to repeat and by turning I could now see him. He was focused on me with an intensity and viciousness on his face that cannot be overstated. It was extreme. It was like the ferocity of a predatory animal. If looks could kill I would have been on the floor writhing in agony. You have probably never seen a face like that except in a film or some horror drama. He was possessed.
It was not anger. It was not like, say, the face of someone whose car has just been stolen. For one thing, it was Michael Young, in this case, that was doing the stealing. You would think a man engaged in theft or embezzlement or parliamentary cheating would proceed dispassionately, without animosity for his victim. But Young was not simply robbing me (and the rest of the Committee) of our rights, he also hated me. Fiercely.
Several times in my life I’ve been in the presence of human beings that gave every appearance of being “possessed” by a force that gripped them with that kind of obsessive intensity. Since that event I’ve met three people that have experienced that same phenomenon from Michael Young. One of them, who was a well-respected and longtime elected leader in the Republican Party for decades, believes Young is mentally disturbed. Whatever the diagnosis, I saw a man liberated from any hint of reticence to do anything: to tell any lie, to violate any ethic, in pursuit of his goals, a man zealous, in fact, in the pursuit of evil.
That man of lawlessness
On the outside, Michael Young can be the soul of grace: articulate, charming, friendly.
Behind the scenes he is the dirtiest political operator in Washington since the retirement, from Party office, of Chris Vance. Young’s zeal, like Vance, to move the GOP to the left is prodigious. His methods are Machiavellian. His skill is considerable, perhaps even eclipsing Vance. But Vance was never so personally vindictive.
As I write this, in 2007, the Young/Sotelo administration is sponsoring a website, put up with a clumsy attempt at anonymity, to viciously slander former Republican, now Democrat County Council Candidate, Richard Pope. It is merely the latest in a series of such Young/Sotelo attacks, although most of them have been attacks on Republicans. But this outpouring of mudslinging and defamation cannot avoid smearing the Council campaign of Pope’s opponent, Jane Hague, one of Young’s closest allies and, like Young, a Pragmatic Big Business Republican. Unless she disavows it there is a proper assumption she is in on it and equally guilty of the lies. So she is stuck. She could disavow the website, highlighting it, helping Pope, or fail to distance herself from it, getting the mud on herself, helping Pope.
This is lose/lose for Hague.
Young’s best skill is lying. His primary method is Character Assassination. His primary goal is the end of the Republican Party as an independent voice. His primary motivation is hate. I saw all this in his eyes, sitting five feet away from me, March, 15, 2006.
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