Friday, December 31, 2004

Counting the Count

The election has been certified for Christine Gregoire. The Rossi team, having pushed hard for the past two months to stop counting votes, now wants to find more votes and count them. Most of the counties are saying "no" to yet another recount, including many counties that went towards Rossi in the first place. Rossi is also pushing a "new vote", which was a possiblity he ignored when he was up by a smaller margin. And Rossi also wants to check out and make sure all our servicemen's and -women's votes were counted, somthing he was silent on when he was ahead. This last one may have legs, but some Republicans are steamed that the Rossi team only embraced counting every vote when it became clear it could not suppress enough votes to win.

I don't think that Rossi can afford to stop fighting, though not because he wants to be Governor. At the end of next month the state GOP is meeting down in Tukwilla. Party chairman Chris Vance, a man who is always there for the Seattle Times with a quick quote about how Democrats are evil, serves at the pleasure of the state's leading Republican. Currently that is still Rossi. Vance pushed the slightly-right Rossi, supressing the hard right in the primaries (to the point of refusing to allow other candidates to speak out against Rossi), and Rossi in turn supports Vance. The hard-core is not pleased at all with Vance and Rossi and feel that they had betrayed a lot of their core values in the run, and, more importantly, then lost anyway (Vance also pushed George Nethercutt in front of the speeding truck that was Patty Murray). But so as long as Rossi is a viable candidate, Vance keeps his job.

Coming from the left, I sympathize with the "Reagan Republicans" in the state. Their adventures within their party match my own on the local level where I walked into the caucus and confronted a gaggle of hard-core Kerry supporters. Dean was dangerous, was their mantra. Kerry was electable. Sure, he's not as lib as you would want, but he's electable. They kept coming back to that. Electable.

Of course he wasn't elected. Neither was Rossi. And I am sure the core state GOP is thinking that if they had only stuck to their guns, they would have walked away with this in better shape. And they might have - Gregoire performed much weaker than expected in the state.

As for Gregoire, I can't see the election having a greater effect on her policies - her democratic predecessor was heavily pro-big business, and she shows little intention to overturn his work. I think she will be more responsive to consumer and environmental issues, but I don't think its a leadpipe cinch for these advocates, only an opening of the door. And looking at the budget (Washington State is not allowed to go into massive debt like the national gvt.), she has some hard choices ahead of her.

Meanwhile, Rossi, Vance and company are going to continue the dance, despite what members of their own party say. And they are dancing because once they stop, the show's over.

More later,