Saturday, October 07, 2006

Local Politics - GOP Blues

It sucks to be Republican Candidate out here in Washington State right now. Part of it is the craziness that is going on in the "Other Washington" (where it seems the national party is using every excuse in the book all at once in the desperate hope that something, anything, sticks). And part of it is that the President has an approval rating of only 34% here (Utah, by the way, seems to be the only thing that is keeping that man's grade point average alive - Utah, the Art Appreciation Class of conservative politics).

Actually, the big problem is that the media has, for reasons unknown, suddenly decided to pay attention to the candidates, with the result being that the candidates are really being, you know, examined. Questioned. Challenged. And the results have not been pretty.

Let's start with Congressman Dave Reichert, incumbent GOP, who had a few weeks ago had a piece in the Seattle Times, which quoted him about doubting the existence of Global Warming. This particular quote has not played well in the WA-08th, and even nationally the conservatives have fallen back to "Well, there may be Global Warming, but it's not our fault" excuse. Anyway, Reichert's campaign went after the papers, but in the process muddied the waters and reinforced the original statement.

Follow that up with a fund-raising event with gun enthusiasts, at a venue notable for its poor gun safety.

And follow that up with a in-depth report from the P-I (about two years late) about Dave Reichert's career as King Country Sherriff, which was more than a bit, um, truthful, in its descriptions of Reichert rounding up on his resume and claims to fame, making some poor judgement calls and general bad management. This one picture, with Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway, is particularly damning, in that it makes the Sheriff look like Leslie Neilsen from the Naked Gun movies.

But no more damning than the photos that the Burner campaign has been running, trying Reichert strongly to Bush, and using footage from the President's fundraising visit early in the year - again and again and again. This is a little unfair, since the visits from Bush and the other GOP national leaders have raised a lot of money for the Burner campaign, and helped move the race from Leans Republican - to Tossup in the rankings.

And Reichert is being "helped" by the NRCC, known on a national level for protecting skeevy congressmen, with anti-Burner attack ads. The latest, arriving at the house as I write this, has a picture of and alarm clock and that "You should be Alarmed" that Burner has missed critical votes as a citizen, and so cannot be trusted to run for Congress. Yep, you've heard that before - they've already hit summer reruns - the NRCC is creatively as well as morally bankrupt. Burner, for her part, has set up a rather sharp-toothed Truth Page to swat down the accusations.

OK, so it is bad to be an incumbent right now. How about in the Senate Race, where GOP Challenger Mike McGavick is going after Maria Cantwell? That should be going better, particularly since McGavck (who is using the tagline MIKE! on his signage) is past his truthiness problem about a DWI arrest a few years back (The truthiness being involved with the fact that he was arrested when he said he was warned, and that he was very, very D at the time).

Unfortunately McGavick's relationship with the truth continues true to form, as he has denied that he worked as a lobbyist while in DC. One of his campaign's big things is that, as a new broom, he would sweep through that old corruption and logjams in other Washington (I don't know how that played with the incumbent Riechert campaign, but hey, at least he's standing for something). Yet despite numerous reports of him lobbying, he is not a lobbyist. He hired lobbyists. Such subtle shades of grey may be lost on an electorate that doubts him already.

Then, a few months back, he came out for privitizing Social Security. This stood for a couple months, and was even mentioned on the challenger's web site. Then he suddenly comes back and declares that he never had said that, instead favoring some grey nebulous system with some modicum of government oversite. Similar to Reichert and Climate Change, he didn't mean what he said at the time, though he might have thought he meant it.

Meanwhile, he has made a lot of him turning around Safeco Insurance, and promises that he can show that can-do experience in office. The problem there, of course, is that he threw a lot of employees out the doot in order the manage this particular miracle, and may have involved the company in Credit Scoring, an illegal activity. I say may have, since the court in the documents refers to maybe-Safeco as "Company 1" in its judgement against the activity. So leading with your Safeco experience is not the best.

And finally the (other) Washington Post weighs in to kick the man around about his commercials, stating that they give the impression that either McGavick is a moron, or he thinks the voters are morons. Now, as someone from Washington State, I'm a little insulted by this. McGavick is a (mostly) native, and I think we're quite capable of determining who the moron is here, thank you very much.

The only good news for McGavick camp is that the NRCC has yet to offer him any attack ads. And he should send them a thank-you note for that.

More later,