Thursday, July 07, 2011

From the "Bring it on!" file.

Via Brad Shannon at The Olympian...
State Republican Party chairman Kirby Wilbur spoke to reporters this morning in Washington about a new Republican-paid ad airing in 50 states that attacks President Obama’s record on the economy.

The Republican National Committee held press briefings with 13 states, including Washington. It and state Republican chairman Kirby Wilbur suggested the Evergreen State could be among the dozen or so battleground states for president in 2012 – despite Obama winning here by double-digits in 2008 over John McCain.

Among reasons for optimism: The governor’s race is expected to be close here with Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee the top candidates already announced. Republicans also hope to field a strong challenger to Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
If the Republican National Committee's presidential strategy is to commit resources to my fair state, well, good on 'em. Republican dollars spent have as much stimulus effect as any dollars spent, and we can use the help, even if the money's ultimately wasted in the effort.

We will have an exceptional statewide ticket on the 2012 undercard. Senator Cantwell will be on the ballot, with Rep. Jay Inslee looking for a move back to this Washington and the Governor's mansion and my own personal King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson vying to become Attorney General. They're all organized and active more than a year out from the primary to the degree that their nominations are assumed by every observer I'm aware of as credible, if less impressive, challengers have opted out of the contests.

The retirement of Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed represents the end of an era of Republicanism in this state. He's really the last serving member of the generation of young reformists who followed Governor Daniel Evans (yeah, he served in the US Senate too, but he'll always be Governor Evans up here) into public life. One of Evans' most historically significant achievements was driving the John Birch Society out of the Washington State Republican Party. If today's Republicans were interested in a template for expunging its radical elements and reasserting it’s role in America's political mainstream, Dan Evans' success a half a century or so ago still merits study.

They aren't interested in any such a thing, of course, and therein lies the rub. Evans himself eventually found himself lost in a Republican Party that found itself increasingly in the thrall extremist ideologues and religious fundamentalists. Of course, the candidates that emerged from as they moved further and further to the fringe lost consistently and sometimes catastrophically. Republicans who actually cared about electoral success gathered under the banner of Mainstream Republicans, which apparently means Republicans who aren't necessarily (or even probably) "moderate," but who aren't completely bat guano crazy, either. Exhibit A in the 2012 field is Attorney General Rob McKenna, who will face Inslee for Governor.

The problem is that the current crop of Republican presidential aspirants looks a lot more like the parade of ideologues and fundies that have been such losers with the Washington electorate than it does like Rob Mckenna or his protégé, Reagan Dunn, who will be Ferguson's likely opponent. There's nobody in the Presidential crop likely to seek or deserve the mantle "mainstream." They aren't going to move for McKenna's benefit. It could be disastrous if he moved for theirs, but their supporters will be his base. It's a horny dilemma. Either McKenna runs without, if not against, his party's national ticket or he embraces the radicalism at the root of Republicanism and takes his place on the political scrap pile with the likes of Linda Smith and Ellen Craswell, not simply defeated, but discredited.

In either event, there's no value added there for Republican presidential prospects hereabouts, which are dismal even without one of the most impressive statewide Democratic fields in many years.

But, hey, RNC, bring it on! Spend, baby, spend!

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