The Republican strategy must be “death by a thousand cuts” as their way of unseating Gov. Gregoire from office. No item is too small to be used as a way to attack the governor and make Rossi look good by comparison. Too bad but it just makes them look small instead.
Let’s see where it started. First, it was resurrecting the outrage over the election loss by Rossi. Apparently, “getting over it” only applies to Democrats who lose to Republicans and not the other way around. Just look at what happened after Al Gore’s popular vote win got nullified by the Florida recount mess and subsequent Supreme Court decision that gave Bush the presidency.
There was an orchestrated campaign by the Republicans to turn public opinion away from outrage over a “stolen election” to a “let’s move on, it’s time to get over it.” Every time anyone expressed anger over what had happened and that there were numerous misdeeds in the election process that needed to be examined, there was a response that the election was over and people needed to stop complaining about the results. It worked extremely well as the public bought into that stance and ceased demanding further investigation.
Of course, in this state the Republicans did not get over it after Rossi lost. The Republicans essentially accused King County and the Democratic Party of corruption in the election. The court hearing was held in Eastern Washington and presided over by a judge whose selection they approved. The claims of fraudulent voting, illegal voters and miscounts were denied by the court.
That wasn’t good enough as the Republicans sought to take it to the federal level in hopes of getting the verdict overturned. The U.S. Attorney General whose region covered Washington state reviewed the case and decided there was nothing illegal to pursue. This decision apparently came back to bite him as it became a reason for his political firing last year. It seems nothing is forgiven in the Republican camp.
Not surprisingly, Rossi tried to appear the statesman by asking his supporters to stop pushing the issue and accept the results. Many lauded that behavior as the right and gentlemanly thing to do. Given his current campaign pitch of “get 129 supporters to vote,” it is clear that his previous stance was nothing more than political posturing. He certainly hasn’t forgotten what happened and seems determined to not let anyone else either.
The next thing has been the harping on the budget and how Gregoire and the Democrats are setting up the state for a huge budget meltdown. Rossi cites all the places where money has been spent — all places that only “liberals” would support. Apparently, he thinks that teachers don’t deserve to get some of the money that was voted in by about three-quarters of the people of this state. It is money that has already been held up to balance the budget before and now when some of it can be given to teachers, Rossi seems to think it shouldn’t be.
Rossi also has faulted Gregoire for not having specific plans to deal with various issues. Yet, all he offers are criticisms and statements long on style and very short on substance. If it is so easy to balance the state budget, why does he not share his insights? Could it be that if he did, he knows that many people would be outraged at the level of cuts in services and thus would not support his candidacy?
Lastly, the most recent “cut” was the attempt to paint Gov. Gregoire as not supporting Washington businesses because she was in a bus that had Oregon plates. It turns out the bus company is a Washington business. Of course, nothing further has been said. After all, how could the Republicans who see themselves as the party of business interests complain about a business decision?
The adage about elephants having long memories most certainly holds true with Rossi. He has not forgotten his failed attempt to get into the governor’s mansion. Do we really need someone in that office who can hold a grudge for four years?
The governorship requires an adult viewpoint and the ability to rise above unfavorable situations. The state needs leadership that looks to the future, not the past. Washington does not need to go back to four years ago. Maybe Rossi does, but we don’t.
Val Torrens appears Wednesdays
in the CK Reporter.