November 27, 2006
Make Or Break Time For The Washington GOP

Hitting bottom affords a certain sparkling opportunity for the Washington GOP to regain relevance. (About which, more below the fold). First, the backdrop. The Seattle Times today documents with a sobering legislative district map and an equally sobering majority/minority chart appended to this story, just how vast now will be Democratic control of the state legislature, and how central are Puget Sound's suburbs to political fortunes of both parties. It is easy enough to predict that unleashed Democrats could dig their own hole, as evidenced by comments from Seattle Democratic State Senator-elect Ed Murray in the Times piece. Murray says Murray effectively says: expect more spending on education, transportation, and environment. That spending could (and in the case of education certainly will) be ineffective and wasteful.

So perhaps it's comforting for some Rs to continue assuming that the key Central Puget Sound suburban electorate is a fickle, impatient beast, and Ds could be on the outs soon if they don't deliver. That's not a smart approach. State Republicans likely now stand at a precipice.

If they are unable to inspire suburbanites who are far, far closer to the political center than most Sound Politics readers - the party will fall into the hands of blindered zealots fixed on banning abortion, insisting on deportation of 12 million illegal U.S. immigrants, and reviewing school fiction picks for suitability.

Lacking a fresh, responsive and inspiring agenda significantly decoupled from the political hackery and boilerplate of the official party "platform" process, the state GOP will fare quite poorly; and their expected '08 gubernatorial challenger Dino Rossi will fall far short compared to his highly-contested loss in '04.

Put briefly, the state GOP agenda must embrace, with substantial particulars:

a Central Puget Sound transportation plan which yields real congestion relief and future capacity expansion, via major spending on roads and transit;

prioritized coalition-building with Seattle minority commmunities and suburban parents around real school choice, starting with charter schools and leading over time to the likely state-level changes needed to enable vouchers;

a tenable, sincere, yet authentically GOP environmental agenda which is about much more than land-use and business regulation gripes;

a high-profile push for state performance audits of the billions currently granted in special corporate tax breaks by Olympia, to see whether quantifiable economic benefits to the state actually exceed the value of the favors granted;

a new "tough on crime" agenda - including funds for more prisons, fixing loopholes in "Three Strikes," a critical review and likely excission of the much-abused Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) program, and tougher sentences sooner for auto theft and drunk driving;

publicly-funded online databases showing the key decisions by county judges (i.e. sentences dispensed to first-time and repeat offenders versus established sentencing mimimums and maximums, DOSA dispensations granted to repeat offenders, alleged murderers declared "mentally incompetent" to stand trial).

As for macro-level factors, state legislative candidate recruitment for the Washington GOP remains as challenging as ever, as the jobs are part-time, the pay modest, and many of the top potential GOP recruits busy and satisfied in the private sector. Nationally, Democrats swept to power, with long coattails here in Washington state, based on a generalized and well-deserved dissatisfaction with the GOP. It was borne not only of doubts on Iraq, but also profligate spending, a discordantly conservative social agenda, and especially, corruption.

A prime case in point was the spectacular drubbing given to the eminently qualified and capable GOP U.S. Senate challenger Mike McGavick, despite the weak record and ineffectual verbosity of Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell.

So despite the pitfalls facing any majority party, it's unwise to assume the Ds will move into '08 with negatives anywhere near as high as those which burdened GOP challengers and incumbents nationally and statewide earlier this month.

For these reasons, the state GOP's new playbook needs to start with the conviction that a strong, suburban-oriented crossover platform will not be allowed to merely gather dust on a shelf, but will help breathe life and purpose into future state legislative candidacies. Accordingly, the party's leadership at the state and suburban county level, plus its communications appartatus and key donors will be challenged to do more, and to do it more smartly.

Platforms are a tricky business. Something like the political agenda the party really needs to regain influence in Seattle's suburbs (see above for my stab at that) would never, ever result from the wearisome sausage-grinding of the annual state GOP platform process, or even those of the more suburb-attuned King, Pierce and Snohomish County GOP organizations.

So, what to do? First, realize that those platform exercises are already largely symbolic, a necessary sop to loyalists who often care more about "being heard" than formulating a workable GOP political agenda for high impact districts. The latter can be partially informed by the official state party platform and the King, Pierce and Snohomish GOP platforms, but it must not be mainly defined by any of those.

The relevance of hidebound party loyalists is eroding. This trend will intensify as today's 18-34 cohort - so attuned to picking and choosing from among myriad entertainment and news sources - grows older and votes more frequently, while still applying the same a la carte approach to political engagement and voting. Revulsion with the GOP indeed led to more straight-party ballots being cast last month, nationally and in many Washington state districts. But ticket-splitting by independent-leaning voters is the future. As indicated by the narrow escape of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8th) from the anti-GOP tsunami in Washington state.

Finally, although Washington state legislative candidates must always exhibit fundraising prowess of their own, it's supposed to be a team effort. Funding of viable campaigns by the state Republican party and county GOP organizations is another concern, which certainly deserves corrective emphasis.

So. It's all fairly straightforward, really, if nonetheless daunting.

Will the leaders step up?

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at November 27, 2006 12:25 PM | Email This
1. :)

Posted by: huckleberry on November 27, 2006 12:29 PM
WA is now a one party state. There are many such states in the US, and the one thing they have in common is that the out-party (the GOP in WA) can sometimes win the executive's office, but the statehouse is lost basically for a generation or more. The WA GOP should concentrate on finding its version of Mitt Romney or George Pataki and forgot about regaining the legislature. It is a waste of time and money to go down that road in the next few decades.

Posted by: spammer-not on November 27, 2006 12:39 PM
3. Sorry, Matt... I really have no intention of becoming a democrat. Better to lose with conviction then to win for expedience... as you follow the failed strategy of out-democrating the democrats.

Posted by: Hinton on November 27, 2006 01:13 PM
4. Hinton--

What do you find so objectionable to this Agenda?

Posted by: Andrew Roberts on November 27, 2006 01:20 PM
5. This is an excellent start, Matt. I'm inclined to agree that the Legislature is lost (at least the House) for our lifetimes. But the Senate should be a lot closer--and, if the GOP had a real policy for the suburbans, it could flip and stay Republican.

I wonder, though, what sort of buy-in for such a strategy you're likely to get from our friends on the other side of the mountains. Because of their political near-monopoly in the East and expertise on rural issues, the Republicans already basically write Washington's farm policy, water policy (that is, water for agriculture), and, in a lot of respects, fish and wildlife policy. You know, the kind of stuff that folks in Eastern Washington care about. And so long as the whacked-out leftists in the West don't fundamentally upset social policy and norms in the East--and, so far at least, there's no concern for that--what do the farmers and ranchers care if the D's nominally run the show?

So if Republicans in the Sound start calling for the Party to moderate it's positions, why would the Eastern Republicans want to go along--especially if that means that money for road projects in Yakima are now, thanks to the GOP, going to go to Bellevue instead?

Bottom line: No doubt the state GOP needs a Contract with the Suburbans--if, for no other reason, to give Dino a blueprint for governance. But you gotta figure out a way to sell it first to the folks out East.

(Oh, and I couldn't help but notice that health care didn't make your list, Matt. With the near-monopoly of health insurers in Eastern Washington, costs and prices continuing to sky-rocket all over the state, and the Dems starting to clear their throat for a more state-interventionist approach, I think this is an issue the Republicans can win with. If the GOP can enlist the help of an attractive spokesman to preach the value of insurance market liberalization (I'd suggest James Whitfield), that would be a good start. But they need to move NOW.)

Posted by: DJ on November 27, 2006 01:21 PM
6. Grow up, Hinton. (Hat-tip, Barry Goldwater.) People who lose with conviction are still losers.

Posted by: DJ on November 27, 2006 01:25 PM
7. Correct (in the most narrow sense) DJ, but never forget...Goldwater was right.

Posted by: Danny on November 27, 2006 01:41 PM
8. How soon we forget. After the 43-percent Clinton "landslide" in 1992, the makeup of the House and Senate were similar to what they are now.

In 1994, the House GOP went from 33 to 58 (and eventually 60), while the Senate went from 21 to 24 ... and took the majority in 1996. At no time during this turn-around did the GOP adopt the Democrats policies or pretend to 'govern from the middle' by acting like Democrats.

No. It simply took some strong leadership in both chambers (something sorely lacking at the moment) and staking out key differences between what the Democrats were passing into law and what the Republicans stood for. Very little of that had to do with social issues, but fiscal decisions and an intrusive government.

It's very simple. Feed the Ds rope and they'll do it again. They can't help themselves. The point is to make sure the public is aware of what is happening in Olympia and how the Republicans differ from that. It will take a return of strong leadership in Olympia to make that happen ... not the state party.

Posted by: jimg on November 27, 2006 02:06 PM
9. Wait a second. No one is suggesting that the state GOP adopt Democratic policies or govern from the middle. If I understand Matt, he's uring the GOP to primarily push policies that appeal to suburban voters. If building roads and getting tough on crime are Democrat policies, then we'd better start sounding taps now for the GOP.

Jimg is right that this is mostly a question of leadership and salesmanship. The GOP needs its most appealing and persuasive people to go into eastside communities and tell voters why the GOP's plan will work. But, as Matt's made clear here, we need a plan first. A Contract with the Suburbs.

And, no, we CANNOT just wait for D's to self-destruct. It's too risky: what if it takes years of bad policy? And it's not right: parties with ideas must lead with those ideas. In 1994, Gingrich and Armey gave people a reason to vote for the GOP: the Contract with America. That turned a wave year (like 2006) into a tsunami. And it helped sustain a GOP majority for 12 years. That should be out model.

Posted by: DJ on November 27, 2006 02:18 PM
10. PUBLIC EDUCATION....The way to get control of the state legislature is through public education. The WEA owns the legislature and the voters hearts are entwined in this state with education. Can't have a prescription for the GOP without addressing this in a positive way rather than a confrontational approach that sends the message that Republicans are only for private education.

Posted by: Doug on November 27, 2006 03:18 PM
11. An entirely sensible analysis, Matt. But I do not know how either the state or national Republican parties can convince independent voters that they will actually promote, not merely pay lip service, to the policies they purport to stand for, when they cannot even convice voters who once thought of themselves as Republicans.

I propose an even more modest beginning. How about some connection between what legislators profess to support and what they actually vote for?

Posted by: Tom Rekdal on November 27, 2006 03:39 PM
12. Ahhh, DJ... thank you so much for your oh, so constructive suggestion.

That said, I have never been about power for power's sake; I am not willing to water down my principles to achieve an equally less palatable outcome: a Seattle-centric, damn the rest of the state view not unlike the political version of metrosexuality advocated by Matt.

If sticking to principles makes me a "loser," then I'll live with that. I have never been about situational ethics or principles, and if keeping those while working towards conservative positions, positions found so frequently laughable by my obviously much more educated and urbane brethren such as yourself and Matt; if those keep me away from the center of political power, well, that is clearly best for all concerned.

I would have thought, however, that the disastrous results of the Vance Plan would have taught you at least something.

Apparently.... Not.

In the end, assuming what amounts to democrat positions provides no incentive for democrats to vote for the GOP... nor, for that matter, independents. After all, why vote for the faux variety when you can get the real thing?

The GOP that I seek is not of the weaselly, Sam Reed - Don Carlson - Lincoln Chaffee types.

The GOP that I seek actually stands for something. It actually does what it says it's going to do. It actually demonstrates something approaching competency in candidate selection, candidate preparation and candidate support, not to mention an actually functioning GOTV ground game, something clearly missing on November 7. It actually views smaller, more efficient government as something besides a bumper sticker slogan. It despises pork and corruption at any and every level. It never sells out. It actually, and this will stun you, has a plan, a plan talked about repeatedly, a plan that makes sense, a plan where each and every voter in this state knows EXACTLY what they're going to get if they elect us.

Can anyone here tell me what the plan was? Can anyone here tell me what electing the GOP to control the legislature in this state would have accomplished in this state?

Well, I can't either. And I suggest that if someone like me can't tell you, then the vast majority of voters in this state couldn't tell you either... and that is a recipe for disaster far beyond the issues that Matt has brought to our attention here.

Focus on sexy issues like those discussed by Matt all you like. Neglect these other, much less questionable and, IMHO, much more important requirements for political success and I don't give a damn what issues you believe will bring success... because hell will freeze over before you find it.

Posted by: Hinton on November 27, 2006 04:14 PM
13. Matt, you might want to reconsider your education plank:

"prioritized coalition-building with Seattle minority commmunities and suburban parents around real school choice, starting with charter schools and leading over time to the likely state-level changes needed to enable vouchers;"

We need to make the public schools WORK. There are lots of ways to actually work towards this objective, consistent with traditional Republican values.

Instead, Republicans have this obsession with destroying and/or ignoring the public school system, and instead setting up charter schools or voucher programs.

Don't even mention charters or vouchers, without some actual constructive ideas to improve things in the regular public schools.

We will NEVER get a majority of votes by focusing on charters and vouchers -- not among minority voters (where GOP strength is low), nor among suburban families (which has traditionally been a GOP stronghold).

Your ideas on transportation and the environment, however, are pretty good.

Posted by: Richard Pope on November 27, 2006 05:15 PM
14. Well, let's see. Seventy percent of the voting public wants to see illegal entry to the US stopped. The response of both the Republicans and the Democrats is essentially "duh." Well, actually, they use quite a few more words, and words with more syllables at that, but that's what it comes down to.

Posted by: Boonie on November 27, 2006 05:23 PM
15. Richard, lets be very clear here... are you saying that Republicans must focus on fixing the government schools, and must refuse to fight for charter schools and vouchers?

I agree that "hoping for public education to collapse" is a bad strategy, both politically and for humanitarian reasons. But shuldn't we be working for a transfer of responsibility from the federal and state governments back to the local governments, where education rightly belongs? A tough sell, I'm sure, but isn't that the principle Republicans should be fighting for?

Posted by: huckleberry on November 27, 2006 05:23 PM
16. The GOP lost this state when they joined Gregoire last session and allowed all of her 27% massive tax hikes.

One would hope Chris Vance would disappear, but he is still there sucking Bucks off the GOP.

We need NEW GOP Leadership in this state, people who do not act like Dimocraps.

When we get those, we can procede. Until then,

we will lose.

Posted by: GS on November 27, 2006 05:25 PM
17. How the GOP can win in Washington state despite a landscape that is difficult at best is through stressing one issue and one issue alone: accountability.

Because of the state's population concentration in the urbanized areas of Puget Sound there will always be calls for more spending. Where unnecessary spending can't be defeated the GOP must call for measures to make sure that spending is as efficient as possible.

That means performance audits as well as the creation of online resources so that the average citizen can track spening on any issue or program.

I'm reminded of Rob McKenna's tenure on the Sound Transit Board here. Though seated on a panel charged with implementing Sound Tranit's projects, McKenna continually brought good and hard questions to the fore (And was eventually replaced by Ron Sims because of it).

The public generally trusts Republicans more on pocketbook issues. As a minority party the GOP needs to continually focus on the efficacy of state spending. Could there not be a spiffy campaign ad that says, "The Gregoire administration spent $250k on SayWA"?

There surely could, and there are much worse examples in terms of dollar outlays.

Posted by: David J on November 27, 2006 05:34 PM
18. Hey Glenn and Jay got free passes in the 5th legislative district. They better campaign hard because we will throw them out along with Cheryl Pflug in 2 years.
I know, I used to be in the 45th, where it was almost impossible to elect a Democrat.

Posted by: Mike Barer on November 27, 2006 06:06 PM
19. Hey Glenn and Jay got free passes in the 5th legislative district. They better campaign hard because we will throw them out along with Cheryl Pflug in 2 years.
I know, I used to be in the 45th, where it was almost impossible to elect a Democrat.

Posted by: Mike Barer on November 27, 2006 06:06 PM
20. Hey Glenn and Jay got free passes in the 5th legislative district. They better campaign hard because we will throw them out along with Cheryl Pflug in 2 years.
I know, I used to be in the 45th, where it was almost impossible to elect a Democrat.

Posted by: Mike Barer on November 27, 2006 06:07 PM
21. I don't feel Republicans have much to benefit from in joining ranks with the Democrats on issues such as Sound Transit, the GMA, WASL, Taxes or spending. Case in point, do we REALLY want more folks like Fred Jarrett in the legislature. I think not. With friends like him, we don't need enemies.

Posted by: Attila on November 27, 2006 06:21 PM
22. "If they are unable to inspire suburbanites who are far, far closer to the political center than most Sound Politics readers - the party will fall into the hands of blindered zealots fixed on banning abortion, insisting on deportation of 12 million illegal U.S. immigrants, and reviewing school fiction picks for suitability."

Matt, when have Republican candidates for the state legislature been "fixed on" any of those things? Particularly candidates in the Puget Sound area. That's a caricature, and a very poor one.

Posted by: stu on November 27, 2006 06:27 PM
23. "If they are unable to inspire suburbanites who are far, far closer to the political center than most Sound Politics readers - the party will fall into the hands of blindered zealots fixed on banning abortion, insisting on deportation of 12 million illegal U.S. immigrants, and reviewing school fiction picks for suitability."

Matt, when have Republican candidates for the state legislature been "fixed on" any of those things? Particularly candidates in the Puget Sound area. That's a caricature, and a very poor one at that.

Posted by: stu on November 27, 2006 06:27 PM
24. I would encourge you to look at the article in question, I never said anything about new spending. I talked about issues the suburbs care about like education and transportation. There is a whole lot we can do on these issues that does not involve new spending. Such my ideas for reforming the seattle school board. I am disappointed with the twisting of the facts.

Posted by: Ed Murray on November 27, 2006 06:45 PM
25. I'm trying to figure out how the GOP "went along" with the tax hikes...

IIRC, the Dems outflanked I-601 by calling the budget an "emergency" measure, which allowed them to pass the tax and spending hikes without Republican votes.

Now, given that the Legislature has effectively gutted I-601, how about a plank calling for reinstating it in it's original form, along with removing the "emergency" loophole?

I can think of other things, but they're either unlikely to resonate with voters because they're out of their view and therefore not important (reforming the B&O tax so it only taxes profits, not gross receipts) or simply minor (getting rid of a lot of nanny-ist state licensing/certification requirements-like the ones for food handlers, people serving alcohol, and strippers. Not even the People's Republic of Kalifornistan is this bad.)

Then's there's the extremely confrontational-like a Right to Work Law, at the very least for government employment. Since the Dems are a party Of the Unions, By the Unions, and For the Unions, this would simply cause more trouble than it would be worth.

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian on November 27, 2006 08:16 PM
26. Here I am late, because of snow; hope not to late for my two cents.

Seems to me all I heard for about the last 6 months was the press and the democrats beating on poor George W. Made the long (his words in 2002)war on terror into George's evil war. After all that time, I was almost about to agree!

The first year to have to declare one's party to vote, add in a dash of absentee voting and it equals a year of GOP bashing.

What comes around goes around. After two years of the Demos in Washington East & West we will see what happens. The Demos are known for self destruction.

A lot of you are right it will take returning to basic ideals and principles. Plus a lot of hard grass roots work in rebuilding. Hope you will join me.

Posted by: Old Sgt on November 27, 2006 08:58 PM
27. Sen Ed Murray @ 24 wrote: "I would encourge you to look at the article in question, I never said anything about new spending. I talked about issues the suburbs care about like education and transportation. There is a whole lot we can do on these issues that does not involve new spending. Such my ideas for reforming the seattle school board. I am disappointed with the twisting of the facts."

Sen. Murray: thank you for your response. The paragraph in the article to which I was referring stated (referring to you), that:

"He expects legislative action on education, transportation, the environment and social issues such as providing certain rights for gay and lesbian couples."

Your proposal for some appointed members to the Seattle School Board notwithstanding, it is hardly a stretch to state that when a Democratic legislator from Seattle says he expects legislative action on education, transportation and the environment, that that will translate into spending. If you and Democratic majority colleagues in both chambers introduce some modest education reforms without trying to increase education spending, then good, and I'll stand corrected at that time. But short of real school choice (which WEA- and teacher-bullied WA voters most recently rejected via R-55 after 2004 public charter school legislation passed) those modest reforms will be largely ineffectual.

On transportation, no one denies that Democratic efforts will focus on facilitating more spending, and the Times article notes several ways this might occur, even as voters have some say as well. I myself am very much open to increased transportation spending for roads and transit, as I make clear in the post. It's a stand that, FWIW, I've taken some real heat for here, in previous posts. The issue, as I note in my post, is whether it will be money effectively spent, or not. On environmental legislation likely to be passed by Democratic majorities in Olympia, there will certainly be substantial public costs attached in many if not most instances. The question again will be whether it will be money effectively spent. The same question applies to the colllectively huge tax breaks granted to businesses in Washington, an issue about which Democrats are almost as leery as Republicans.

Republicans used to actually care about whether public monies were well spent or not; there is a reasonable perception that Democrats have long cared more about the spending than the results. I would be happy to be convincingly disabused of that last part.

Posted by: Matt Rosenberg on November 27, 2006 09:11 PM
28. Matt -- the one issue you haven't addressed is 'who is going to lead the party?' For 20 plus years, Slade Gorton was at the helm. He was (and is) intelligent, persuasive and organized. Big shoes to fill. My vote is for Rob McKenna to take the helm. He's making the grade in all important aspects...but my guess is that to help him succeed, he will need one of his people at the head of the party. I don't think Tebelius fits that bill. What say you?

Posted by: seanod100 on November 27, 2006 10:36 PM
29. 17 is right: We need to attack the spendthrifty Democrats and insist on accountability.

I would also add that means getting Lynn Harsh or Marsha Louise Richards Michaelis of Evergreen Freedom Foundation suited up to take on Terry Bergeson, since John Stossel isn't available.

Posted by: SVC Alumnus on November 27, 2006 10:38 PM
30. Seanod 100 @28: You're absolutely right that key questions are WHO leads the state party; and what assets do they bring to the assignment? Those are very healthy and necessary conversations to have after the recent and disastrous GOP election results, though it's important the dialogues occur without the personal rancor some folks tend to carry into such proceedings. That said, I've rather purposely not yet entered into this "Who" part because I'm waiting to hear more from the current leadership of the state and King County organizations, as to what their plans are for starting fresh. Doubtless others are also looking to hear more from incumbent party honchos and current or potential challengers. We'll all likely learn more soon.

Posted by: Matt Rosenberg on November 27, 2006 11:43 PM
31. I may be tree hugging liberal, but Im a tree hugging liberal that thinks you need two good parties with relatively equal amounts of power to get good governance. I cross the isle and vote Republican from time to time and might do it more often if there was a person worth voting for. I know its going to kill many of you to hear this, but Im the person you have to convince to vote Republican if you want to win elections. Heres my .02

School vouchers wont fly. When given a choice of what school to attend most kids just go to which ever school is closest to them so why bother with vouchers? Most areas in the state dont have the population densities to make vouchers feasible anyway for example my niece would have to travel five miles further then she already does to attend a different school and we live in the burbs. Im not sure if its true or an urban legend, but many folks seem to think that Vouchers got their start in the south after school integration was started and are a way to re-segregate schools.Do you really want to be the party of re-segregation? Plus, teachers hate vouchers. People listen to and believe teachers. Much of the Beat Down Derek Kilmer put on your guy in the 26th LD senate race (a suburban swing district and Kilmer won by 21%) was because Kilmer was endorsed by every single education organization in the sate that gives out endorsements.

Going up against teachers is a bad move for Republicans at the moment, but working WITH teachers in areas where you agree with them is a good move. Tacoma has had good results with it�s magnet school programs; Id take that ball and run with it and make sure you get ink in the dailies.

For state Leg. races Id shy away from platforms. Go with people that are well rooted in their communities and stay away from crazy fuckers like Brad Benson and Ron Boehme. Chuck Hunter, currently the mayor of Gig Harbor, could win against Pat Lantz in the state Leg.

Posted by: me on November 28, 2006 12:21 AM
32. Ed Murray @ 24. Ed did you ever get the job you applied for at the Port of Seattle? If so, how does that impact your role of Legislative oversight of the agency? Will you recuse yourself on Transportation issues dealing with the Port of Seattle, the Ports competitors and freight mobility if you are an employee of an agency that stands to gain?

Posted by: Smokie on November 28, 2006 06:49 AM
33. Hey "me" I think you have the wrong blog. Argue all you want for your position, but when you start when you head down the path of calling people "crazy f#*&!^s" please take it somewhere like the HA where it is not only appreciated (Just ask Darcy Burner), it is encouraged.

Posted by: Huh? on November 28, 2006 06:55 AM
34. I think me has the right idea. One of the reasons the Democratic Party has had suburban success the last several cycles is they were able to recruit well-known municipal officeholders to run for legislative seats (Larry Springer, Judy Clibborn, Deb Eddy, etc.), yet the Republicans have not had similar success in wooing these officeholders to run on their ticket. Name recognition goes a long way in moderate swing districts.

Posted by: TMW on November 28, 2006 07:16 AM
35. Matt, "one and done" will get you everytime. Get a good candidate, support him/her and when they lose the first time, make sure they run again. If the best Democrats even have to run a couple of times before they win.

Get a modest platform. Get a spokesperson who is articulate and simple to understand. Make the message simpler. For example, your opening paragraphs were passionate but confusing- someone that is good at the 30 second soundbites is needed from the R side.

I can't believe Rs have given up Seattle. Go into the belly of the beast. Get Berens to run again, but this time- start now. McDermott won't live forever- get Berens ready to get in there. He is a good man.

Posted by: swatter on November 28, 2006 07:37 AM
36. Hey Huh?

Call them what you like, but nobody wants to share a ticket with the likes of Brad Benson, Ron Boehme, Lois McMannon, Linda Smith or Ellen Crazwell. I could go on, I've got about 15 names floating around in my head.

If I lived in Federal Way I'd have crossed the isle and voted for Skip Priest. Priest is great on sprawl, transportation and the environment. Doug Southerland trounced Mike Lowery and the other guy that ran against him for the head of the Department of Natural Resources. Southerland was the moderate in those races, well the closest to being a moderate anyway.

I think it's been more than adequately proven that Washington's voters like moderates.

Posted by: me on November 28, 2006 10:32 AM
37. Me, I don't refer to people I disagree with using the F-bomb. It tends to reflect more on the person's character that is throwing the F-bomb than those it is being thrown at. Beyond that, advocate for whoever best represents your point of view.

Posted by: Huh? on November 28, 2006 03:07 PM
38. Re: Swatter at #36 - the following is excerpted from

Obviously, unseating McDermott will be a long term project.... [O]ur "exit strategy" for Jim McDermott has been delayed. But this is only the first chapter in a long book, and I promise you I will not be going away. I will continue promoting strong conservative Republican ideals, speaking out in support of our troops and for victory in the war against terrorism.

Posted by: Steve Beren on November 28, 2006 03:40 PM
39. The Democrats have caucused, and we all agree the GOp should follow Hinton's advice. If you make Hinton the state GOp chair, we may even chip in a few bucks to show our support.

@38: "long term project"? Sheesh. The guy is pretty long in the tooth as it is (by all means, assault the castle frontally, sir. The longer the better. But, as the article clearly shows, watch your ass). You could just let nature take its course, but that would be a betrayal of the Rovian 'their strength is also mine' approach.

Look how well that worked a couple weeks ago.

Posted by: hohah on November 28, 2006 08:21 PM
40. Matt's right that issues do matter. State Senator Luke Esser was defeated solely due to his opposition to gas tax increases for transportation improvements. He knew perfectly well when he took that position that it was contrary to the interests of his Eastside suburban constituents, but he did it to preserve his standing as a conservative in the Republican party, perhaps just in case he wanted to run for higher office again someday (he ran in the 8th Cong. district primary in 2004). His loss due to showing loyalty to the party's position on taxes over the interests of his suburban constituents shows the importance of the party's position on the success of its officeholders. If the party doesn't encourage suburban officeholders to support transportation improvements, it is not going to succeed in the suburbs no matter where the Democrats go.

Posted by: Steve on November 29, 2006 06:06 PM
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