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January 19, 2005

Our Very Own Republican Noise Machine

Driving home from the Inaugural events in Olympia last week, I saw the obnoxious flashing billboard north of Fife. “Dead people vote. Soldiers don’t. Go to revotewa.com.”

My first thought was “Get a life! It’s over.”   

But clearly the Republicans have different ideas. Undeterred by the certification of the Secretary of State, the insistence by the county auditors that all laws had been followed to the letter, and the final certification by the Legislature last Tuesday, the public campaign from the Republicans to de-legitimize the election continues.   (See Carla's posting over at Preemptive Karma for details on just how unfounded the Republican allegations are.)   

What is this? Democratic AND Republican vote watchers were in every county every step of the way. Yes, we need voting reform just as the entire country does. It’s a national disgrace.  And it was the first item Chris Gregoire called for in her Inaugural Address.  But I think it's more than that.

Could it be that Washington State is just next on the Republican hit list? These guys -- and by this I mean the national Republican operatives who are camped out in Bellevue -- play by a set of rules that Democrats still don’t understand. Their tactics are aimed at keeping their opponents off-guard. They do not care much about democracy or the rule of law. They are out to win.

Democrats in Texas had no idea what was coming when Karl Rove engineered George Bush’s win in 1994 against the popular Ann Richards with whisper campaigns about her being a lesbian or lies about her failure to stem crime in the state. Read "Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Make George W. Bush Presidential" to get the whole picture and to understand the tactics of this new breed of Republicans led by Karl Rove. It is not pretty. They still weren’t prepared in Texas when Tom DeLay forced through the mid-decade re-districting plan that cost Democrats five Congressional seats in Texas last fall.

And we know that Democrats didn’t realize what a recall of Gray Davis in California might mean or how to fight it.   

Thus far Democrats at the state level are even more clueless about Republican tactics than national Democrats. We need a national Democratic SWAT team that can come into the states on a moment’s notice once we realize that national Republican operatives have arrived.

So why Washington State and why Chris Gregoire in particular?

"Bush’s Brain" describes how Rove attacks any up and coming Democratic politician early to sideline them from state or national prominence. Until this close race, Gregoire was seen as a potential national star.  Now she has a big hump to get over to reach that status again.

But it is more than that.  Gregoire is a closet progressive in a state with progressive leanings. I worked full-time as a volunteer on her campaign last year and this only occurred to me now. She doesn’t present herself as a progressive, unlike Ron Sims for example. I doubt she would even consider herself one. But her agenda is unrelentingly progressive and she has been very effective. In particular, as Attorney General, over and over again Chris went after major corporations and the federal government to hold them accountable and prevent them from taking advantage of regular folks.

With a Democratic Legislature to back her up, Gregoire could be a force to be reckoned with and this state could show the nation what a progressive alternative to the Republican business-run government can look like. 

No wonder national money from business groups flowed into the state to stop her. No wonder the national Republicans are strategizing behind the scenes for Dino Rossi and Chris Vance and whipping up emotions through talk radio shows and flashy billboards.  This is the great Republican noise machine in action, designed to distract us and keep us from making government work in this state.

Let's keep that from happening. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on January 19, 2005 at 11:07 PM in Strategery | Permalink

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