(In better days: from left; former KVI PD Dennis Kelly, former politician Dino Rossi, John Carlson, former talk host Kirby Wilbur; forefront: former Santa Glenn Beck)
We'd heard that Kirby Wilbur has been champing at the bit to get back on the radio.
After being fired in 2009, KVI, his 16-year radio home is gone to flowers every one; but next for former morning host Kirby Wilbur is a challenge to Luke Esser for the chairmanship of the state Republican Party in 2011, according to Jerry Cornfield at HeraldNet.
From Seattle talk radio to Washington Republican leadership is akin to jumping out of the Hindenburg onto the Titanic.
The GOP in Washington, despite a national wave election, got their ass handed to them in the November election. Their pre-washed-up senate candidate lost badly. Their only gain in congress was an open seat: Democratics pretty much stayed where they were. There will be blood.
The party has been so crazypants, right-wing Christian for 30 years, they've rarely elected anyone statewide, and when they do: it's a moderate (or what passes as a moderate in the WA GOP). Could the avuncular nice guy, Kirby Wilbur bring them into the glorious moderate middle of old with wartless candidates who appeal to both Seattle and Eastern Washington?
The answer to that is: Hell no. And he won't try. Kirby is extremely conservative, was part of the insurgency in the 70's and '80's that threw out the dominant, moderate, and election-winning, Dan Evans faction. We're guessing Kirby will run on reshuffling the deck chairs... again.
But The Kirb is a longstanding conservative workhorse; his long radio run was the gateway onto Seattle air for dozens (hundreds) of Republicans and their issues over the years; he led a street protest in Seattle against Hillary Clinton that embarrassed her nationally; he's been active among talk radio and political circles; he and John Carlson won a state supreme court case which let them do direct campagn organizing from their microphones at KVI. (it was momentarily great for right-wing politics, but not so good for KVI. After winning the case, neither host ever tried it again).
Kirby told Cornfield in an email:
"We did make some gains last Tuesday, but not as many as we should have, given that the voters rejected the income tax and candy tax so overwhelmingly and reinstated 960 as well by a large margin. I have gotten a lot of support and encouragement from within the party and have a vision for the state party and I think the skills and talent to bring it about."
But Kirby has been Washington director of the Washington state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, far-right activist front funded by the Koch brothers, (whose money and political activities make dear old George Soros seem like a kid with a nickel) that raised 10's of millions of anonymous $ to dump in races all over the country. And they've got some 'splainin' to do, locally.
Kirby's a nice man, a friend of this blog: Will he reign in the gum-ball right in the party and encourage the so-called "mainstreamers" in order to get back into political relevance? We doubt it. (Attorney General Rob McKenna is the next big thing in the Party... he's pro-choice. His grassroots, Kirby Wilbur's homies, will not support him).