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The suburban road for reviving local Republicans

The key is to appeal to secular suburban moderates. This will be easier if the Republicans are not saddled with the Bush record and its three big calamities.
The model for failure-based politics

The model for failure-based politics National Archives and Records Administration

It seems like this is the third time I have written this article: What happened to Republicans and where do they go from here? I wrote a similar piece for The Seattle Times after becoming state Party chair in 2001, and once again, here, after the debacle of 2006. Then as, now, the key lies with voters I call secular suburban moderates.

It is clear by now that Republicans have lost their grip on the suburbs. According to exit polls, Obama won the suburban vote 50-48 percent, and his strength in the suburbs helped him capture previously “red” states like Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina. After carrying every suburban Puget Sound legislative district in 2004, this year Dino Rossi lost Pierce and Snohomish counties, and slipped by 4 percent in King County. The huge Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate are due to the loss of seats in the suburbs in recent years.

What has happened in the suburbs is realignment, not just a short term trend. If it is not reversed Republicans have no hope of governing, either nationally or in Washington state. The first step is to understand that this realignment manifests itself geographically, but it is actually cultural.

Politics used to be about economics. Very broadly speaking, management was Republican, labor was Democratic. People with more education tended to vote Republican, while people with less voted for Democrats. All of that has changed. Today the number one predictor for political behavior is how often you go to church. Values have replaced economics.

Consider this exit poll data from the recent election:

  • Nationally, 74 percent of white, self-described evangelical/born-again Christians (26 percent of the population) supported John McCain, while 62 percent of the rest of America supported Barack Obama. Here, 71 percent of the white evangelical/born-Christians (24 percent of Washington State) voted for Dino Rossi; while 62 percent of everyone else voted for Chris Gregoire.
  • McCain won handily among those who say they go to church weekly, while Obama won just as handily among those who say they attend occasionally or never.
  • 60 percent of self-described moderates supported Obama and Gregoire.
  • Nationally, McCain won narrowly among white college graduates, but here, 58 percent of white college graduates voted for Gregoire.
  • Voters making over $100,000 a year split nearly 50/50 between McCain and Obama, and between Rossi and Gregoire.

White, moderate, college educated, upper middle class, secular — this describes suburban voters. Republicans need to compete for every vote, but a conservative, center-right party is always going to struggle to win among minorities and city dwellers. If Republicans can’t add college educated white suburbanites back to their coalition of rural voters and evangelicals then they can’t win, period. If the values divide hardens, Republican math just doesn’t add up.

Conventional wisdom holds that Republican stands on social issues, such as abortion and stem cell research, have caused this realignment. Clearly, being pro-life is not a popular position among secular suburban moderates, but that doesn’t explain the collapses of 2006 and 2008. Republicans have generally been perceived as “conservative” and pro-life for a long time, yet were still able to win in the suburbs. In the past, secular suburban moderates were willing to support Republicans even if they were uncomfortable with the Party’s social issue wing. What happened? The game changer has been competence, not ideology.

Three great calamities defined President Bush’s second term and took Republicans down: the Iraq insurgency, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the financial collapse. Add in congressional and administration Republican scandals and you have a party that simply appeared incompetent. To voters not motivated by values and ideology — secular, college educated moderates — this is a fatal blow. These voters approach elections like a job interview, rather than as a clash of ideas. What matters is competence, results, solving problems. Suburbanites didn’t see that from the Bush administration and the Republican Congress, and they took it out on Republican candidates up and down the ballot in what Newt Gingrich argues persuasively was a “performance election, not an ideological election.”


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Comments:

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 6:48 a.m. Inappropriate

A not-so-small quibble, Chris. You state that "the number one predictor for political behavior is how often you go to church. Values have replaced economics." These "values" voters are largely evangelical/born-again Christians, as opposed to "suburban moderates."

As long as the Republican party characterizes suburban moderates as being devoid of values (at least in comparison to their more value-oriented brethren), then it's unlikely to attract broad support.

My family values - shared, I think, by a lot of us who were brought up in formerly Republican homes - include compassion, equality, justice and stewardship, in addition to entrepreneurship and responsibility. It's not just the incompetence of recent years that sent us across the aisle, Chris. It's been the repudiation of public investment (especially in schools and colleges), the dismissal of mounting evidence of a sick environment and a sick economy, the knee-jerk nationalism ... it took almost 20 years for the party to thoroughly lose my family's interest. It's unlikely that a party headed by Gov. Palin will attract significant suburban moderates anytime soon.

But thanks for trying ...

Deb Eddy

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 7:45 a.m. Inappropriate

Debo,

From your comments I think you have strongly held values which drive your voting decisions. You are probably not the type of voter I am describing.

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 8:09 a.m. Inappropriate

Deb,

"It's unlikely that a party headed by Gov. Palin will attract significant suburban moderates anytime soon."

When suburban moderates become radicalized by the failure of bigger government solutions that will only erode their financial strength and cut into their freedoms, Sarah Palin will look increasingly attractive.

Let's take the Big Three bailout, which is opposed by a strong majority of the American people. It continues to be pushed by both the Bush Administration, which, on things economic, sounds more Democrat by the day, and the Dems themselves. Yet, in the latest poll, 58 percent of us think it sucks with 50 percent of us convinced that any loans to the Big Three will never be repaid.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/11/fox-news-poll-car-loan-payments-irk-americans/

Similar numbers were reported by CNN a few weeks ago.

A lot of the conservative values voters aren't conservative economic voters. Witness the following Mike Huckabee had during the primaries. Blue collar evangelicals sometimes are torn between voting their moral principles versus what they perceive as their economic ones. Yet, when presented with a strong candidate like Ronaldus Magnus Reaganus or Sarah Palin, they flock to them in droves.

I do think both Vance and Newt Gingrich, who Vance cites, are correct in terming this a performance election. The folks, even traditional GOP voters, were pissed at the President, and they took it out on the party. How else can you explain the showing of the losing candidacy of the best Republican legislator not currently elected to anything, Toby Nixon?

But I disagree with Vance on the whole realignment thing. For every obit of the GOP written after elections like 1932, 1964, 1976, 1996, and 2008, there was an election of 1952/1956, 1968, 1980/1984, 2000/2004, and a year to be named later.

Dems keep writing us off in the vain hope that we will dutifully go to our corners to curl up in a fetal position and die. I refuse to go...

Columnist and talk show host, Laura Ingraham, makes a powerful point in asking to be shown on a piece of paper how the GOP can assemble a winning coalition without conservative values voters. It can't - but it can and has in the past assembled just such a coalition with them as a core constituent of it.

What we cannot do is become a pale imitation of the Democrat Party - what we in the base call RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only. Take heed, Sam Reed. We need to re-learn our core values and principles, apply them to situations today, and offer strong, viable solutions to the issues and problems facing us.

We're about to enter into an era of statism and massively big, intrusive, unresponsive government. While Barack Obama can communicate well and inspire lots of folks, bureaucrats are still bureaucrats, and the ones who will be in the bloated government he creates will still be tone deaf to the people's concerns. They can't help it - it's in their nature...that's why they're bureaucrats.

As an aside...the use of the word "investment" as a replacement for spending is annoying. I invest to receive a return for me. When my investment doesn't pan out as advertised, I dump it like yesterday's garbage.

With government, so-called "investments" continue to suck good money after bad. This also is in the nature of a bureaucracy because sound investment policies are always market driven - the only markets known to bueaucracies are the ones at the strip mall that they try to tax out of existence.

The public has been sold a bill of goods on the whole concept of government "investing." It's spending without any real hope of a real, measurable financial return. Republicans rarely fail with a cogent message that says to people that the issue isn't that they aren't taxed enough, but rather it's that government spends too much.

If real, market-driven investment principles were applied to education, the WEA would be destroyed, public schools would be forced to run like crazy to keep up, and higher education would have to completely re-orient itself lso ato keep pace. In other words, either show me real return on investment, or into the trash bin you go to be replaced by a more satisfactory performer.

Republicans lose when we try to outspend Democrats who are really experts at it. Yet, having to re-learn this simple maxim will be painful for all concerned. But I predict it will be learned.

Mayhaps we should continue this conversation over coffee? Will need to do so before January 19th, however.

The Piper

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 8:19 a.m. Inappropriate

We will see the vigor with which Mrs. Eddy stands by her values in the upcoming Legislative session. Will She Cut or Tax? Will she vote for a State Income Tax? Will she call out her own parties leader, Governor Gregoire, for lying about the deficit? Or will she hide in the comfortable confines of Democratic Caucus Rooms and laugh at the electorate for returning them to power after demonstrating such blatant Knee-Jerk partisanship and poor performance. Mrs. Eddy's Party has controlled the State of Washington for over 20 years and they lost interest is serving the people a long time ago. Their only salvation is that vast majority who support them can't think past "D" in the alphabet.

Cameron

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 8:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Yes, this is at least the second time around of the piece, Chris. What good, what need is there of a Republican party - except that it is better to have two parties instead of one; two parties can keep each other honest, the reward is power.
The Obama administration as it is shaping up in foreign policy and economics appears to be bi-partisan, that is: the fortunes of the Goldman, Sachs financial elite comes first; both parties are near equally responsible for the melt down, which is taking the whole world's economy with it;
and in foreign policy, though not as pre-emptive as Bush, it looks a lot more like continuity than change. That leaves a fair number of other matters where the parties start to diverge, of course far more on the local level than nationally. If Palin has a real following in 2012, this may split the Republican party in the way that Ross Perot did. Of course Bush and Cheney were hugely incompetent, but it is an incompetence that is inherent in that mad belief in the "free" market!

mikerol

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 8:41 a.m. Inappropriate

Yes, Mr. Vance, you keep making this argument over and over again. It is sad that the Republican Party has failed to adapt to modern times. It needs to embrace diversity (cut the nasty anti-immigrant rhetoric). It needs to sincerely embrace fiscal responsibility (not just mindless, knee-jerk anti-tax sentiment). It needs to embrace protecting the environment (ask Dan Evans). It needs to tell the Christianists to keep their agenda separate from the party's agenda. Ultimately, the party needs to recognize that America is changing and the world is changing. Republicans used to be about pulling yourself up your bootstraps, not depending on the government. But today it's about a hodgepodge of incoherent issues that alienate many.

Adam Vogt

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 8:49 a.m. Inappropriate

Those three calamities were all, arguably, the predictable outcomes of the Republican party's enthrallment with the radical Karl Rove politics of image over substance. Katrina was the logical result of an administration that held government in contempt and thought it could dictate reality to suit its pet theories and its convenience. I think that what Republican leadership lost sight of is that winning elections is a means toward leading the country, not an end in itself. What we need is less partisanship and more of a spirit of "country before party." I think more people than ever are fed up with the selfishness and blindness of politicians on either side who jockey for position without seeming to realize that the boat we're all in is headed for the falls unless we can start rowing together for a change.

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 10:42 a.m. Inappropriate

The issue of how massive incompetence can be repackaged as incompetence is quite interesting, to be sure, but I would like you to comment on what to me seemed obvious in the campaign for governor. The actual fact is that Dino Rossi is a very attractive man in his personal qualities. He speaks softly, smiles easily. He has many real virtues. BUT the GOP campaign for governor was simply insulting and stupid. The fact that he is more likeable than Governor Gregoire should have been his greatest attraction. That being plausible, why did the party put those awful ads on tv? No one watching believed that Governor Gregoire personally freed sex offenders, that it was her policy and program to do so? Every time ads like that aired, the viewer was being urged to notice that she was being slandered, and she was therefore "nicer" than the opposition. Since she had Experience and Steadiness in her corner, it seems that the GOP were determined to make a trifecta for her. Add Niceness and Rossi had no chance at all. I would like you to comment on the failure of the campaign in its choices of what images to put before the voters.

Spike

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 10:50 a.m. Inappropriate

This paragraph below by Mr. Vance tells it all. Put another way, voters have finally discounted the soundbite. They got badly burned, and they want more. They want the truth. Eg smaller government means fewer services, and both parties need to remember that.

"Present realistic, workable solutions. Democrats control everything, so Republicans in Congress and in the Legislature are going to be voting no a lot the next few years. That’s fine, but they can’t just vote no; they must offer solutions that make sense to voters looking for competence. Republicans can’t just say they are against higher taxes and big government; they must explain how their positions will specifically solve problems faced by suburban voters. They need to present clear alternatives on issues like education, transportation, health care, energy, and the environment. Most importantly, they need to explain why they have a better idea when it comes to growing the economy and creating jobs. Republicans should support low taxes and pro-growth policies, but then they need to complete their sentence. They need to explain to suburban voters how these policies will help their families by letting them keep more of what they earn, and by helping the private sector create new jobs."

alias

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 11:50 a.m. Inappropriate

Spike,

Take a look at my earlier piece on why Dino lost. I think events, not advertising, made the difference.

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 11:53 a.m. Inappropriate

This is a ridiculous premise. It's not demographics and "moderation" that killed the GOP. It was abandonment of principle. GOP reps could no longer be trusted.

rfisk

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 11:57 a.m. Inappropriate

"When suburban moderates become radicalized by the failure of bigger government solutions that will only erode their financial strength and cut into their freedoms"

What big government solutions are you talking about? Long, expensive, and pointless wars? Tapping our phones and emails?

Keep on dreaming, Scott. Obama's moderate and rational approach to government is not going to radicalize anyone that isn't already a right wing ideologue.

P.S. Palin cost Republicans the election.

Sean

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 12:04 p.m. Inappropriate

CV,
You are probably right about events ultimately determining the election. You wouldn't believe the number of women who told me that they were lifelong Republicans but that Palin was just too much for them, too great an insult to intelligent women. But I was more interested in your thoughts about the campaign decisions (such as the sex predator ad) that actually gave the coup de grace to the Rossi campaign. It seems like there was some great incompetence in the GOP circles that made decisions about how to "sell" Rossi to the public. You don't agree?

Spike

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 12:18 p.m. Inappropriate

Spike,

I don't agree. The sex offender ads run by the Republican Governor's Association may or may not have been helpful (I never saw any tracking poll data on that) but they certainly weren't the coup de grace. That came from Wall Street.

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 1:27 p.m. Inappropriate

CV,
Okay. I hear you, but I think you are missing the essential angle for thinking about this subject. There is nothing that Rossi or the party could do about "events." They may have made victory impossible this year. But the state campaign did have control over one area of the election -- the image of their candidate before the public. Just possibly, they could have found a chink in the governor's armor and used it to convince enough Obama voters that a vote for Rossi was reasonable. It seems to me that your decision not to consider the consequences of the party's failure to sell him to the Washington electorate is representative of party leaders and is likely to doom future candidates. Washington voters were largely insulted by the sex offender ad (which you say above was from out of state). I think the feel good Mike! campaign insulted the intelligence of the voters. Somehow, the party leaders have to have a sit-down and discuss the specific nature of the electorate here, and how to win their votes. (Your discussion about the secular suburban voter is a step in that direction.) But history says that the party will doom itself to a cute rump organization. Trying to foist the last several pre-Rossi governor candidates on the voters shows how out of touch the party is. When you dismiss this issue, even as you write with some real insight about 2008, it seems to me you are keeping the party on its long slow track to oblivion. Someone in the party leadership should have stood up with a huge stop sign and said to the Republican Governor's Association, "NO. This tactic won't work in Washington State and will do serious damage to our candidate." Obviously, that did not happen.

Spike

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 2:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Addendum: I commented to my wife about this issue and she immediately responded: "And that terrible ad with the gasoline and the match! And that awful ad with the baby!!" LOL. I think the normal human response to the campaign ads was pretty much along those lines!

Spike

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 2:15 p.m. Inappropriate

Chris was right about one thing, the propensity for the state GOP to run unqualified people. We could go back to Rick White and Randy Tate, guys who apparently didn't have a job before they ran for Congress. I would put Rossi there, too. We kept hearing about what a great State Senator he was, but how do we really know that? Who knows anything about a State Senator from sometime in the past somewhere out there in suburban King County? It's precisely because Republicans do not believe in government that they insult the voters with unqualified candidates, appoint anti-environmentalists to environmental protection agencies, or unqualified hacks to run FEMA.

DavidT

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 4:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Unqualifed like Darcy Burner? Unqualified like a Governor who lied about the Budget Deficit and a Media who swallowed it? Unqualified like a house majority leader who "Doesn't think a 5.8 Billion Dollar Deficit is that bad" ? Unqualified like a County Executive who took 12,000 in campaign donations from a developer and then tried to give the developer a 75 Million dollar deal on a no bid contract?

Cameron

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 5:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Chris: I don't think you can completely dismiss Spike's complaints about the Rossi ads, even though I think the three he cited (the guy with the match, the baby, and the sex offender ad) were all run by independent expenditure campaigns. I would argue that the most harmful Rossi ads of all were the Rossi signs that the BIAW printed (independent expenditure again) with the line "Don't Let Seattle Steal This Election." Everyone in Seattle saw or at least heard about these signs and the whole campaign tended to portray Rossi as a rural, Eastern Washington candidate when he's actually from the Seattle suburbs. As a result, Rossi polled very poorly in urban counties--far worse than he did four years ago.

A Republican officeholder (former U.S. Rep. Linda Smith) wrote the state initiative that opened up Washington to these independent expenditure campaigns--presumably on the assumption that Republican candidates would have more deep-pockets supporters that Democrats. However, the Democrats have run plenty of these independent expenditure ads to great effect (as in the recent State Supreme Court races) and the low quality of the Rossi indy ads seems to me (and Spike) to have hurt his campaign.

Is it time to modify the law and rein in independent expenditure campaigns?

J.R.

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 5:31 p.m. Inappropriate

J.R.,
What you point out here, is the kind of opportunity that the state GOP seems unable to grab to its benefit. If they tell those "independent" campaigns not to do so something (such as those offensive ads), and if those "independents" continue to do so, then the party has the chance to put its candidate (Rossi) on the air and have him openly disavow those ads. It gives him the chance to portray himself as a man of principle and honesty, a man who insists on his image being one that he himself controls. The average viewer is seeing those ads in the background of life and doesn't recognize the official from the "independent" ads. If the state GOP had acted to be seen as principled people, they might actually have won the election -- and in the process they would have distanced themselves from the Horrific image of the national party and the "events" that were a horse collar around the necks of the rest of the nation's Republicans. Why is the principled position invisible to the party hierarchy?

Spike

Posted Wed, Dec 17, 6:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Six different Republican candidates for Governor have lost the last seven elections since in Washington since 1984. That tells me the Republican problem in this state is more than disgust with Bush incompetence or poor campaign strategy in one race. Out of touch with the citizens of Washington makes more sense to me.

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 7:54 a.m. Inappropriate

In considering this current discussion, it is instructive to look at a previous extensive discussion on the same topic.

On the Sound Politics blog, back on January 23, 2008, there was a post by Eric Earling entitled "A Note on Polls & Electability," leading to a thread with 141 comments over a five-day period. At the time, it was just beginning to look like McCain was likely to emerge as the GOP presidential candidate.

The post and 141 comments - in the Sound Politics archives at http://www.soundpolitics.com/archives/009979.html includes several comments by Chris Vance, which are particularly interesting in retrospect. Also, the thread included a lot of discussion about whether McCain's positions on amnesty and global warming made him a stronger or weaker candidate.

More than 10 months later, the claims, predictions, prognostications, estimates, and evaluations in the January 23-27 thread are quite interesting in the light of subsequent events.

Once again, it is available online in the Sound Politics archives at http://www.soundpolitics.com/archives/009979.html

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 9:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Steve,

McCain was the most electable Republican. As late as mid-September he was winning. Then the stock market lost 25% of it's value. McCain's defeat had nothing to do with his moderate stands on issues, it had to do with the anti-Republican backlash created by the events of the Bush second term.

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 10:32 a.m. Inappropriate

Chris, as you note, McCain was leading as late as mid-September. This was right after a sequence of positive actions and events - the Saddleback forum, the selection of Palin as a running mate, and the Republican National Convention.

In the days leading up to the first debate on September 26, McCain not only supported the $700 billion bailout, but made a special point of seeking to take the leadership in strong support of the $700 billion bailout.

McCain thus joined Obama in supporting the Bush bailout proposal. As a result, McCain lost a golden opportunity to distinguish himself from the Bush administration. If he had joined Republican congressional conservative Republicans in opposing the bailout, he could have gone into the September 26 debate opposing the Obama-Bush bailout, and could have made some headway in debunking Obama's repeated claim that McCain would represent a so-called "third Bush term" and a continuation of Bush's so-called "failed economic policies."

The $700 billion bailout might still have been passed by the Democratic Party majority in congress, but McCain would have diminished the "third Bush term" argument, reinforced his credentials as a "fiscal conservative," won support from some voters across the political spectrum who opposed the bailout, and would have been somewhat closer to the prototype of an "articulate, effective, intelligent" candidate with "common sense, workable solutions."

Instead, McCain reinforced his connection with Bush, and weakened his credentials as a fiscal conservative. Whatever McCain's strengths and weaknesses, and whatever the comparable strengths and weaknesses of other potential GOP presidential candidates, McCain proved (on the bailout issue, and in other respects) to be a very weak candidate. He certainly was not an articulate proponent of workable conservative solutions.

One other example - while McCain's campaign (on paper) presented a health care plan that was far superior to that of Obama's, McCain proved to be rather ineffective and inarticulate in explaining and persuading the voters of an arguably superior conservative solution to high health care costs.

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 10:57 a.m. Inappropriate

Steve,

Even with the "bailout," the Dow fell over 2,000 points in early October. That event is what decided the race. I don't think it would've mattered very much which side of the debate McCain was on, no Republican could've been elected President after that.

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 11:57 a.m. Inappropriate

Chris,

Did McCain's strong support for the $700 billion bailout help or hurt his campaign? Did it augment or diminish his credentials as a fiscal conservative? Did it help deflect or help magnify the "third Bush term" mantra of the Democrats? And those questions aside, from the point of view of sticking to conservative principles, was support for the bailout wrong or right "in principle"?

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 2:42 p.m. Inappropriate

Newt Gingrich says this was a "performance election." Isn't that a little glib? It's like the Mariners' manager explaining a lousy season by saying this was a "ball-playing season."

For a baseball team, every year is a ball-playing year; for a credible political party, every year is a performance year.

DannyK

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 5:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Performance versus ideology?? The shitty performance of the Bush administration is a direct *result* of their ideology. What was that line from Reagan that McCain trotted out? "The most fearsome nine words are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help?' " For the last 30 years Republicans have been flogging the idea that the government is the problem. If they're coming at governance from that perspective, it is any wonder that they don't actually have any ideas about how to do it right, or any intention to even try? (Heckuva job, Brownie...looks like that experience on the horseracing commission really served you well before you headed FEMA!)

I love the idea of election as job interview, and wish that were actually true. Why would you hire someone who comes right out and says that the job isn't worth doing, or worth doing well?

Oh, yeah, those "social values" issues. Well, it looks like that part of the Republican coalition has gone to hell in a handbasket. The rich people have now realized that letting the religious wackos try to run anything was a grievous error. Maybe the religious wackos will start to realize that they've been used, that the rich people don't really give a damn about gays and abortion.

Chris, I'd say your best bet to revive the Republican party is to convince the religious wackos of the world to go back to eschewing worldly concerns and foster the "reality-based" wing of the party again.

Angie

Posted Thu, Dec 18, 10:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Under Chris Vance's flaccid leadership, the Republican party in Washington has only become more impotent. And now, he purports to lecture on how to inject new life into its ranks?

Posted Tue, Dec 23, 1:38 p.m. Inappropriate

Perhaps if the Republican literati started publishing articles on restoring America, instead of restoring a political party, and brilliant managers like Dino Rossi published OpEd pieces giving advice and reasonable solutions, perhaps then urban voters might think about reentering the so-called big tent. When I write my Republican congressman about Iraq and get a letter back explaining his vote on the "morning-after" pill, his staff not only insult me by their lack of reading skills, but alert me to the fact that he's even further from the urban middle than I supposed.

My reading of statistics gives the nod of big government to the Republicans. And Ronald Reagan was the spark of big, bigger, biggest. Annointing him with a Roman-sounding nickname indicates the blind worship of another cog in the ongoing demise of a once great nation.

Finally, does anyone in the Republican Party take any responsibility for anything, anymore? Show a little tough-love amongst yourselves. Out-of-staters screwed us over; no one could win with the market drop; Iraq killed us. Ronaldust Reagandust presided over deregulation. RR acquiesced to the "greed is good" and going to make everything great coalition. RR refuted Carter's admonition that we needed to cut back. We've been partying since, and now we blame the bottle for the problem.

Posted Tue, Dec 23, 11:06 p.m. Inappropriate

"Ironically, for Republicans at the local level this means largely staying the course, because Washington State Republicans have generally been doing things right in recent elections. (No, I’m not kidding.) Republicans have nominated candidates for major statewide office who could appeal to suburbanites: George Nethercutt, Mike McGavick, Dino Rossi, and Rob McKenna."

I had to laugh at this. Yes, the WA GOP has been doing things so right that by 2012 they will not have controlled the Governor's Mansion in 28 years, they hold neither U.S. Senate Seat, they are outnumbered in the U.S. Congressional Delegation 6-3, they hold only 2 of the 10 partisan statewide offices (Attorney General and Sec. of State) and hold only about a third of seats in the state legislature.

And Nethercutt was a far right Republican who had no appeal outside of the conservative base. Bush was controversial in 2004 but not politically radioactive like he is today, so you can't blame Nethercutt's loss on him. Rossi was equally far right, but did a better job of hiding it. Gregoire made a far greater effort to expose his staunch conservatism in 2008 than in 2004. McGavick actually was a bit more to the center, but he was running in a Democratic year against an incumbent and he made a large unforced error with regards to his drunk driving incident.

McKenna is an interesting case. He is conservative and no RINO, but he isn't associated with the far right of the party either. Democrats made a big mistake fielding weak candidates (Deborah Senn and Mark Sidran) for Attorney General in 2004. He will be a strong candidate for governor in 2012, it will be interesting to see if he can thread the needle. The partisan in me hopes that he will fail.

As for beating Patty Murray in 2010 -- HAHAHAHAHA

Lloth8

Posted Fri, Dec 26, 4:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Exactly why would anyone even want to "revive" the republicans?

Naia

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