August 19, 2004
The likely Republican nominee for Governor of Washington, Dino Rossi, is actually a slick huckster whose carefully-manicured image as a likeable suburban moderate - and experienced state legislator - masks an extremist conservative soul.
At least, so writes Sandeep Kaushik in Seattle's funky alternative weekly, The Stranger.
A lot of things about Rossi give Kaushik indigestion. Here are several. Hold on tight, and have the Maalox handy.
*Rossi doesn't believe it's government's job to "curb the social dislocations caused by the hard realities of capitalism." (Damn, he's not a socialist. Yep, that could sure cost him votes aplenty in the fertile suburban crescent).
*Rossi stands for traditional values (another killer, at least in Seattle).
*Rossi's for law and order (lawless disorder is so much better; a la WTO '99, and our Mardi Gras riots in '01).
*He believes in "black and white delineations of right and wrong." (There goes the deconstructionist vote).
*He's opposed to abortion, with just a few exceptions. (Like some Democrats, are too. This is a deeply personal issue, and the politically savvy Rossi - if he does manage to get elected - might, for instance, sign a parental notification law affecting minors seeking an abortion, in the unlikely event GOP legislators were actually cut loose to vote their consciences on this one. But he'd not go much further. Besides, Roe v. Wade is a federal matter).
He's against "affirmative action." (Unlike more sophisticated "progressive" liberal white Democrats, who understand that blacks can't compete in school or the workplace without preferential treatment).
*He admitted, in front of what had up to that point been a positively-disposed bunch of UW law professors, to actually reading Ann Coulter's "Treason." This dismayed them greatly. (There goes the UW law professor vote).
*He doesn't believe in government as a jobs creator. (Hasn't he heard about "the social dislocations caused by the hard realities of capitalism?").
This is the best the Washington state Democratic spin machine can come up with. No wonder liberal Seattle-Post Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly writes:
Democratic strategists claim confidently they will blow Rossi out of the water. They've yet to lay a glove on the guy.
Kaushik sounds the alarm well enough for worried liberals, writing that Rossi has "John Edwards star power," a "1,000 watt smile," and "is for real." And there's this: Rossi outpolled both Democrats in a recent, independent poll by Elway Research, and was within six points of their combined total.
Posted by Matt Rosenberg at August 19, 2004
04:57 PM | Email This
1. I dunno, a politician who wants to ban abortion keeping it quiet kind of covers it.
Any governor from either the left or right has absolutely no influence or the ability to ban abortion. The Supremes gave us Roe V. Wade and found a constitutional right to abortion. At best they can nible around the edges with waiting periods, parental notification or other such devices. These too, will be subject to inevitable Supreme Court review.
Will Roe go away? Not likely, unless the Courts see conservative appointments. Last time I checked, this was still in the hands of the president.
3. conservative cocksuckers must die!
First off I'd like to thank "some troll" for illustrating that leftist intellectual nuance we hear so much about yet rarely see.
One has to wonder if Mr. Troll actually knows what it means to be philosophically conservative.
Somehow I doubt it.
As to the stranger. Anybody that characterizes Mark Sidran as a rabid right winger is not to be taken seriously on political matters. The key to any sort of political understanding is knowing where the center lay. The stranger - as well as much of its target audience - lacks this ability.
Is it any wonder Seattle is the political ghetto it is.
With Talmadge gone, this state might just have some hope. A matchup between Talmadge and Rossi would have been a to close to call. Rossi can ignore Gregoire, and I don't think Sims can measure the damage of his 65% land theft ruling, especially in rural KC.
The Stranger's screed should be on Rossi's website: condemnation from them is equal to high praise from sane individuals. I hope they attack me one day, it'll be an honor.
I'm looking forward to seeing our economy improve.
6. Bleeding Heart C - I would love to see Simms torpedoed by the CAO, but does anyone outside of rural KC even know about this land-grab? There aren't enough of us to swing a statewide election.
7. Given the number of huge Dino Rossi signs I'm seeing along the I-5 corridor, his campaign is certainly not hurting for money. I expect Rossi will alert the voters outside of King County about Simm's destruction of property rights.
My, my, I don't think Matt was too impressed with my critique of Dino. Maybe he's been spending too much time with Jim Vesely. I'm not, by the way, actually as liberal as most Seattleites (or as most of my colleagues at the Stranger). At least not in the same way, since I veer towards liberal-libertarian iconoclastic individualism (wow, that's mouthful) as opposed to the kumbayah communitarianism that holds sway in this town. What bugs me about conservativism, on the other hand, particularly since the rise of the religious right, is the simple-minded moralizing that seems to have infected the movement. We live in a fluid, complicated society, which is increasingly part of an even more complicated world. Absolutist delineations of right and wrong in that context strike me as rather facile.
As I said in my piece, I think Dino is a good politician. He's also pretty conservative.
(As a side note, the idea that government exists to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism is not really socialism. Capitalism unfettered has a tendency to produce big economic winners and big economic losers -- it tends to create stratified economic classes; democracy work best, however, as Thomas Jefferson correctly believed, under more egalitarian social conditions. The trick is finding the correct balance between the two: enough government intervention to make sure that democracy functions well, but not so much that government stifles capitalism. I think the right, with its naive faith in the magic of the unfettered free market -- as no less an authority than George Will admits, markets do not just appear abiogenetically, they require regulations and enforcement mechanisms provided by government to function smoothly -- has pushed the pendulum too far in favor of capitalism, at the expense of democracy.)
Rossi is a pretty standard exemplar of this kind of conservative thinking. That the GOP can tout him as a moderate is, I think, an indication of how far right the party has moved in recent years; true moderate Republicans, a la Dan Evans, are a vanishing breed in Washington (and around the country). In this state, that's a problem for Republicans -- in part because of the large liberal vote that comes out of Seattle, party-line conservatives usually have an uphill struggle statewide. This year, though, Dino has two things going for him. First is his sheer political skill. As I wrote in my piece, I find I like him despite the fact that we don't agree on much. That's the mark of a talented politician (or a born salesman). Second, polling this year consistently shows that 55 to 60 percent of voters in this state believe the state is headed in the wrong direction. Personally, I think that is a function of the fiscally cuckoo policies pursued by the Bush administration, but it nonetheless provides an opportunity for the GOP in Washington state, since they can blame 20 years of unbroken Democratic control for the state's problems (as Rossi does).
Anyway, blah, blah, blah. Gotta run. I think there are some innocent babies that need killing, and some dope that needs smoking, and some innovative entrepreneurs whose creativity needs to be stifled.
By the way, I did write a more positive story about Rossi a couple of months ago for the Boston Globe, but I think you'll have to pay to read it.