Mankind has witnessed a number of horrors in recent decades—the Rwandan genocide… the ongoing tragedy in Darfur… DOE’s stormwater regulations—but none, according to Seattle Times editorialist Kate Riley a few weeks back, matched that of a state Democratic Party press release criticizing Dino Rossi for deliberately attempting to hide his Republican affiliation:
Oh, horrors! Stop the presses. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi is trying to “rebrand” himself as a member of the Grand Old Party. How sinister.
The real horror here is the state Democratic party’s attempt, in a press release today, to invent a scandal out of nothing — and, worse, the premise for their argument is founded on an apparent belief that voters are too ignorant to know that “GOP” and “Republican” are the same thing….
Really, Kate? Well, I hate to say “I told you so”… so I’ll just let Postman say it for me:
Dino Rossi’s rebranding effort may pay off with voters who say they don’t know what it means when a candidate declares himself a member of the “GOP Party.” […] A recent poll by Stuart Elway says that about 25 percent of respondents didn’t know what GOP meant.
Elway asked respondents which party they thought a candidate who “prefers GOP Party” is associated with. 15% didn’t know, 7% said Democratic and 3% other. And of that 25% who didn’t know or got it wrong, 27% identified themselves as Independents and 26% as Democrats. Only 18% of Republicans were confused.
This came as no surprise to Postman, who adds:
That’s where the greatest benefit of rebranding could come for a Republican trying to buck a 24-year gubernatorial losing streak for the party.
And you can trust Postman on this, because he’s one of those credible corporate media bloggers.
Anybody who knows anything about initiatives knows that a good ballot title can mean a couple extra points at the polls, and no doubt Rossi took advantage of the new top-two primary to jigger the ballot to his advantage. You can’t really blame Rossi, I guess, for this calculated deception—he is a politician after all—but neither can you blame the Democrats for their efforts to educate voters by pointing it out.
It is at the very least ironic then, that Riley, a member of an editorial board that has argued persuasively for government openness, should so vehemently defend Rossi’s deliberate obfuscation, while hyperbolically attacking a Democratic press release on the subject. But as I wrote at the time…
[T]hat’s the sort of “I’m rubber, you’re glue” partisanship we’ve come to expect from an amen editorialist who applauded Dave Reichert’s sexist dismissal of Harvard grad Darcy Burner as a ditzy blond, while condemning Burner as the reincarnation of Karl Rove.
No doubt I can be just as much a partisan propagandist as Riley and her colleagues on the Times ed board. The difference is, I admit it.