“They all sucked,” the “outcome shows a lack of understanding about governing” — lobbyists had harsh words about lawmakers and this year’s legislative sessions.

Share story

OLYMPIA — “They all sucked.”

How’s that for feedback?

Those words came courtesy of a lobbyist reviewing state politicians and this year’s marathon of legislative sessions.

That memorable gem and others were included in the survey released Monday by The Elway Poll, where lobbyists assessed lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee.

Politics Extra

News and musings from the Seattle Times reporting team covering national, state and local politics

In the survey, lobbyists graded state legislators a “C-minus.”

That sounds pretty ugly in a world of grade inflation, but the survey said it’s actually the best mark for a session that lawmakers have gotten since 2011.

In comments, lobbyists reflecting on the season — which ran into three special sessions and bled into July — heaped disdain on lawmakers and the governor. Names were withheld, but here are some choice quotes:

• “The outcome was predictable at the beginning. The fact that it took into July and there was so much consternation about the outcome shows a lack of understanding about governing when both parties control a chamber.”

• “Staying in session for 6 [months] is inexcusable. There needs to be another constitutional amendment limiting the number of special sessions or cut pay to legislators after the first special session.”

But lobbyists disagreed on which party — and which strategies — deserved the blame:

• “One caucus — the Senate Republicans — has become so extreme they struggle with basics like negotiation, compromise and governance. The session wouldn’t have gone on so long if they had been able to compromise.”

• “It could have been a lot shorter had the Democrats not felt obligated to hold out for revenue for constituency.”

• “Senate Rs should be jailed for contempt.”

• “House Democrats were obstructionists. They can’t handle not being in total control.”

• “The Senate Republicans need a broader vision and more collaborative approach. Too much kow-towing to the right wing fringe is causing them to miss an opportunity to grow their brand.”

• “My people (Democrats) got out foxed. Republicans beat them on messaging and substance. Governor floundered.”

And as one equal-opportunity judge put it: “They all sucked.”

Even the Capital campus food drew fire from one commenter: “Also, MUST change provider for food in Pritchard [cafeteria] … disgraceful and disgusting!”

Of course, if lobbyists are forced to spend more and more time in session, maybe the quality of food in Olympia will become an increasing topic of debate.