Blogging the Inauguration: Seattle on the Potomac

Is anybody left in Seattle to run the city? And what is Jan Drago doing being honored at the Uzbeki Embassy?
Is anybody left in Seattle to run the city? And what is Jan Drago doing being honored at the Uzbeki Embassy?

This may be the moment for Nick Licata to stage a putsch. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and at least three of Licata'ꀙs City Council frenemies are in Washington, DC, for'ꀔwhat else?'ꀔthe historic inauguration of America'ꀙs first president nicknamed Barry.

The Mayor flew out Friday, and your correspondent, who was seated nearby, is not above reporting that hizzoner spent the flight playing a Palm Pilot game with wife Sharon and occasionally glancing at Jon Meacham'ꀙs new biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion.

The next day, on the street outside the Phillips Collection (a gem of a museum with a first-rate collection of early modern paintings, including a remarkable set of small, early Jacob Lawrence panels portraying the movement of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North beginning in World War I), a lost woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked, 'ꀜAre you from around here?'ꀝ It was Jan Drago. Councilmember Drago was looking forward to that evening'ꀙs dinner in her honor at the Uzbeki Embassy. Something to do with her work with Tashkent, but it was a freezing 19 degrees outside so if you want to know more, ask her.

Drago turned up again on Sunday at the Washington State Society reception. (Our state has no balls, inaugurally speaking). So too did the Nickelses, with daughter Kerry, job seeking after earning a master'ꀙs degree in international relations at the London School of Economics. Sen. Maria Cantwell was there, chatting amiably with a one-time primary foe, former state Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn. Once standoffish, Cantwell now seems comfortable making small talk.

By some fluke, this reporter was invited to a swanky dinner for campaign high rollers on Monday at the National Building Museum. The bipartisan inaugural event feted Colin Powell, who spoke well. Powell was toasted by Joe Biden, who spoke long, and well, and by Barack himself. Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, Sarah Silverman, and Larry David mingled with the likes of Montana Sen. Jon Tester and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.

Seattle was well-represented here too, by such as RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser, a bunch of Microsofties, and City Council member Tom Rasmussen, who was greeted heartily by incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The two have known each other for more than 20 years and (I'ꀙm told) have gone scuba diving together in Belize. Rasmussen told me Councilmember Tim Burgess was in town too, and expressed uncertainty as to who was acting mayor at the moment. But Rasmussen himself would seem to have the most valuable pipeline into the new administration.


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