Gordon Smith may have lost some of the perks of power since losing his U.S. senate seat in November, but he still has plenty of opinions about what goes on inside the Senate chamber.
Sitting on the sidelines, he often finds humor in what he hears on the evening news and CSPAN.
"I smile a lot," he said. "I find more amusement than anger."
So, would he have voted for the recently-debated stimulus package?
"Not a chance," Smith said.
He likened the legislation to "a game of gotcha."
"The stimulus package," he said, "is a cobbling together of pent-up Democratic spending demands denied to them by eight years of George W. Bush."
The bill, he said, is about growing government, not jobs, and he believes calling it a stimulus is disingenuous.
"The whole predicate of the stimulus package is that government can manage the inevitable cycles of supply and demand," Smith said. "If that were true, we would still call the Russians 'Soviets.'"
Smith worries about a creep to socialism.
"The whole point of the American Constitution is limited government," he said. "We're getting away from fundamental concepts that made us a great nation."
Smith has enjoyed watching the country's fledgling president try out his wings.
"President Obama is a very smart guy and a savvy politician," he said. "His long learning curve is apparent, but he'll surmount that."
Smith said he believes in America's system of government even while finding fault with specific congressional and presidential decisions. He quoted another master of the sound byte, Winston Churchill to explain the apparent discrepancy.
"Churchill said, 'It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.'"
Congress is also something of a mirror of society.
"Congress, in all of its folly, is a reflection of the American people," Smith said. "Right now, the American people are moving hard left."