Gov. Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee addressed a crowd on March 16 at the Governor’s Mansion. Inslee is running for president in the 2020 election with a focus on climate change.

It’s absurd for Washington taxpayers to pay a large bill for Gov. Jay Inslee’s quixotic campaign for president.

As well reported by the Seattle Times, Inslee — who is paid $182,000 to be governor — spent 90 days out of 153 on the road between March 1 and the end of July. Even when in the state, he spends a big chunk of his time pursuing his national aspirations.

What has really caught the public’s attention, though, is his Washington State Patrol security detail, which trails him around the country like an Evergreen State honor guard. Between March and June, state taxpayers ponied up $313,000 for state trooper travel expenses and $268,000 in overtime — not counting the fact that state patrol employees ought to be spending all their regular time in Washington state ensuring the safety of motorists.

It is pretty farfetched that any Washington governor needs his or her own security detail. While this “Executive Protection Unit” is a creation of the Legislature, it smacks of little but vanity.

Inslee has no realistic chance of obtaining the Democratic nomination for president and is in effect auditioning for an appointment as something like U.S. energy secretary. In such a role, he could play a genuine and useful part in getting the U.S. back on track in continuing our transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Inslee is right in thinking that climate deserves much more attention than it gets from the Trump administration. It may not threaten human existence but will certainly start costing billions along the world’s coastlines in coming decades and centuries, including here in coastal Washington state. But it is foolish to think nationwide Democratic voters are going to select a white West Coast governor to run against Donald Trump in 2020.

Inslee deserves some degree of praise for having the gumption to run for national office from the Pacific Time Zone. Far too many national decisions are in the hands of a small eastern elite, further skewed by the disproportionate political power from interior states and the old Confederacy. It will be great if the Pacific Coast can someday wrest national control away from them. But this probably isn’t the time and Inslee definitely isn’t the candidate.

The governor should wrap it up and stay home. He also should immediately announce he isn’t running for a third term, clearing the way for good possible successors in Olympia. It’s unfair to state citizens — and to his potential replacements — to keep dragging this out.

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