Thirty year losing streak

The Seattle Times published a dreadful Op-Ed by Joe Delmore, a Seattle-based freelance writer. Delmore is mourning the defeat of Rob McKenna:

…it will continue what amounts to one-party rule of the governor’s office. Not since 1980, when an almost-forgotten John Spellman won the governorship, has a Republican gained the state’s highest office.

Because of this three-decade dry spell, Washington has gone longer than any other state in the union without having a Republican governor, according to The Weekly Standard.

Delmore does recognize part of the problem:

Like the national party, the state’s GOP has become more conservative, even reactionary, on cultural issues like abortion and gay marriage.

…but then he fails in trying to draw a parallel to the Democrats:

It’s also true that the Democratic Party has become rigidly partisan on these same cultural issues.

The Democrat’s position on abortion and gay marriage are pretty much mainstream positions, with a bit of forward-thinking social policy thrown in. In contrast, the position of many state Republicans amounts to going backward to the social policy of the 1950. Hardly equivalent.

Are there solutions? Delmore points out:

Secretary of State Sam Reed, one of the few Republicans to win statewide office, says the party must learn to appeal to more centrist voters. Former Republican state chairman Chris Vance said the party needs to know what it takes to win independents and win elections. “It is not enough to appeal to the base,” he asserted.

Both men are spot on. Moderate Republicans have become increasingly irrelevant in this state as the Clint Diddiers and John Kosters have become noisier and angrier.

But Delmore doesn’t buy it:

Those are views of a big-tent party, but won’t solve the problem for Republicans. Republicans must still remember their pragmatic conservative roots based on the fundamental values of hard work and enterprise, a belief in God and fiscal conservatism. Those quite valid ideas still attract people from all walks of life.

Ignoring that positions of the current crop of noisy Republicans bear no resemblance to true conservationism, Delmore’s prescription for Republicans seems to be, “more of the same, except for social issues.”

But isn’t this precisely what voters rejected in this past election? McKenna has always downplayed social issues. And before McKenna, Dino Rossi tried, albeit less successfully, to do the same thing. And Mike!™ McGavick, who the Seattle Times’ Joni Balter labled as taking a limited pro-choice stance, was all about hard work and enterprise. Washington voters weren’t buying what these Republicans were selling…even without the social issues.

Two closing comments. First, Delmore’s lamentations about “one party rule” ring hollow. We have these things called elections where (typically) a Republican and a Democratic candidate ends up facing off in a General election. Each candidate puts their ideas forward. The people vote for what they find compelling.

Republicans have a thirty year gubernatorial losing streak because their ideas and candidates have not resonated with the voters. The ideas and candidates from the Democratic side have.

Republicans aren’t going to start winning by embracing and shoring-up their conservative creds, while downplaying social issues. They’ve been there, done that. And failed.

Lastly, I found Mr. Delmore’s biosketch a bit odd (my emphasis):

Joe Delmore, a registered Independent, is writing a book on contemporary politics….

A “registered independent,” huh? I wonder what state he’s living in?


  1. 1


    Bobby Jindal said pretty much the same thing today.


    Jindal: GOP Can’t Be ‘Party That Simply Protects The Rich’

    Tom Kludt 8:22 AM EST, Tuesday November 13, 2012

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) offered a frank assessment of what he believes cost the Republican Party at the ballot box this year in an interview with Politico that ran Tuesday, suggesting that the GOP has come to be seen as too cozy with the wealthiest segment of the country.

    “We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal said. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

    Good luck selling THAT to Sheldon…or David and Charles.

  2. 2

    wharfrat spews:

    There are many difficult choices for Republicans, individually and as a viable political party. Gat marriage and abortion are the least of their problems. The biggest problem is that the talk a great deal about liberty and freedom and small government but they do not believe, as individuals, in those issues and do not promote, as a party, those issues. If Democrats are the party of the nanny state then Republicans are the party of the daddy state….the bad, drunken wife beater daddy….do as I say not as I do or I’ll punish you….if bad things happen it’s your fault and God said it was ok….you’re a maggot for voting against us…’re a freeloader, a moocher, a bad person. First thing you gotta do is present a positive, upbeat message, but that probably means throwing some of the base overboard.

  3. 3


    Washington voters have approved the 2/3 to raise taxes so it may be single party rule, but a question of which party. The elections in this state seem to be as much about personality as they are about ideology. Notice the “Road Kill Caucus” which often sides with the Right.

  4. 4

    Michael spews:

    It’s also true that the Democratic Party has become rigidly partisan on these same cultural issues.

    O’ please, with a little careful editing you could turn the ’72 Republican platform into the ’12 Democratic platform. The Republican’s even called for universal healthcare.

  5. 5

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    One thing that is forgotten about Spellman, is he was almost an accident. He was a Republican from King County, first King County Executive, so he did have the ability to win on his own, but he had help, from a feud between Democrats, and Ronald Reagan’s coattails, and Jimmy Carter conceding before our polls closed. The precursor happened in September of 1980, when Dixie Lee Ray lost the primary, and she had her supporters back Slade Gorton for Senate(as Magnusson had backed her opponent). The Democratic Candidate from that race is still around, he represents the 7th Congressional District of the State of Washington.

  6. 6

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Also, I forgot to mention, speaking of Slade Gorton, him and former Seattle Deputy Mayor Time Ceis drew the 1st Congressional District to be a swing district, stretched from Seattle to Sumas, and a Republican could have won that, but Koster turned out to be his own worst enemy.

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I fail to see how a party that advocates government prohibition of birth control can peddle itself as “conservative.” A more accurate description is “Stalinist.”

  8. 8

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    7) Good point. The GOP and the tea party have been all over the map in the terms they have used against the President.

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s been 28 years since Spellman was booted from office, so maybe a lot of today’s voters don’t know how bad a governor, how inept a politican, and how nasty a person he was.

    Spellman, like today’s Republican candidates, peddled himself as a “moderate,” but once in office, was anything but moderate. And when the Reagan Depression of 1981-1982 struck, and brought on a state budget crisis similar to the one we have now, Spellman screwed state employees in a manner that would have Scott Walker smiling.

    In those days, state workers were paid once a month. The day before a payday, Spellman announced the state would go to a bimonthly pay system, but paychecks would be held back a month during the changeover. This meant that state workers, with no notice, had to wait six weeks for their next paycheck. Many couldn’t make mortgage and car payments or even buy food for their families. Single moms supporting their kids with their state jobs were hardest hit.

    Spellman’s purported excuse was that the state needed the $4 million of interest it would earn by keeping the payroll funds in the bank an extra six weeks. But he showed his true colors when he issued an illegal order to DSHS to automatically deny food stamps to state workers regardless of their eligibility.

    Evergreen Legal Services sued and won, and state workers who applied for food stamps and satisfied the federal eligibility criteria eventually got their food stamps — two years later. Meanwhile, many of those state workers had to rely on food banks and church charities to feed their families.

    The state, of course, didn’t even make any money from making state workers go six weeks without pay. The $4 million evaporated in legal bills and food stamps. But that wasn’t the point. Spellman simply want to fuck over state workers because he’s a Republican. Being an asshole was the whole point, and the only point. of doing what he did to the state workers.

    Which brands him as a stupid politician. What politician in his right mind would deliberately piss off 100,000 state workers and their families for no damn reason other than he felt like pissing them off? If you count the voting family members of state-employee families, this stunt permanently aliented something like a quarter-million voters. Spellman not only lost his re-election but remained unelectable when he ran for state supreme court six years later. It was the last time he ever held a public office.

    And it should have been the last time he ever held elective office. It also should be the last time any Republican holds the governor’s office. Today’s public workers are too young to remember what Republican governors do to public workers if given the chance. (See “Stalin,” “purges,” “famines”.) Those of us who do remember have an obligation to explain to them what electing a public-employee-hating Republican to the governor’s mansion will do to them and their families.

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Looks like ST has locked their comment thread on that op-ed. Or maybe so many people are trying to get in the server crashed. Plenty of people around here besides me still remember the odious John Spellman.

  11. 11

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Darryl wrote:

    A “registered independent,” huh? I wonder what state he’s living in?

    Off hand, I would say: a State of Denial, probably bordering on a State of Confusion. . .

  12. 12

    Richard Pope spews:

    Anyway, the op-ed piece seemed pretty reasonable. Many points that Darryl can legitimately disagree of course, but I think Darryl overdoes it quite a bit in his criticism.

    Spellman did win by over 13 points for Governor in 1980, and Gorton won by nearly 10 percent — so Jimmy Carter’s early concession had little, if any, to do with the outcomes of those races.

    Rabbit forgot to mention that Spellman got the legislature to place a sales tax on FOOD of all things! Which obviously made him quite unpopular with everybody.

    As for food stamps, that wouldn’t have saved the state any money, even if Spellman had prevailed. The federal government pays 100% of the cost of the food stamp benefits. Stupid move, that only served to piss off state workers. Something tells me that Rabbit must have been one of those pissed off state workers …

  13. 13

    Richard Pope spews:

    Darryl and Stefan (anyone remember Stefan?) actually agree on something! From the Seattle Times comment threads:

    I agree with much of what the columnist write, but his bio line describes him as a “registered independent”. What does that mean?

    November 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM
    Stefan Sharkansky

  14. 14

    Chris spews:

    It is the Democratic extremism of the state why Republicans keep losing the governors election. This election was close enough that if the state was just ever so slightly more republican McKenna would have won. If the state was slightly less corrupt Rossi would have won in 2004 though he would have lost no matter what in 2008). However, I think there is at least a 5% chance Washington will have a Republican governor for at least one four year period betweeen now and the time the sun turns into a red giant.

  15. 15

    GimmeGimmeGimme spews:

    Yep…30 years and a state budgt in the crapper, with a populace so untrusting that they vote(more than once) OVERWHELMINGLY to require a 2/3 majority for raising taxes…..

    Yep, I would be proud of that! LOLZ!

    Free stuff!

  16. 17


    Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:05 PM PST

    Bill Kristol predicts Republicans will cave on Bush tax cuts for wealthy

    by Jed Lewison

    And not only does Kristol (editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard) predict that Republicans will cave on allowing Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, he says that they should cave—and points out that under Ronald Reagan, the top marginal rate was much higher than it would be even if the Bush tax cuts expire:

    Not that any of the dumbfuck trolls here make over $250K/yr.

  17. 18

    GimmeGimmeGimme spews:

    Rujax in jail….lolz

    Free tuff for all my peepz!

    Powur to the peepul! Hahhhahahahaahah

  18. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 Spellman issued a statement suggesting banks and mortgage companies waive late fees for state workers who couldn’t make their car and house payments. None did. I don’t get what this man has against food. Maybe the intent was to starve us into submission. As far as I could tell, he’s merely a mean-spirited asshole, for no better reason than Republicans enjoy being assholes.

  19. 20


    Asshole Max still hasn’t told us why it’s OK to screw workers and steal their pension money.

    What about it Maxie…where’s the “full throated defense”?

  20. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 “If the state was slightly less corrupt Rossi would have won in 2004″

    RFLMFAO! Are you morons still trying to peddle that “Dino wuz robbed!” crap? A recount isn’t “corrupt,” idiot, it’s been state law for 100 years. Sheesh.

  21. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 At some point the moderator should deem this pointless repetition as thread pollution and delete it.

  22. 25

    David spews:

    By running as a Democratic or Republican candidate you are stating by your actions that you support the platforms of the national party you are running for.

    If there are things in the national platform you do not agree with, you owe it to your proposed constituents to make those distinctions very clear. If people in your party make stupid comments you do not agree with you owe it to your proposed constituents to show your disagreement.

    The fact that McKenna refused to address any of that just showed that he agreed with Koster and the other ‘rape guys’.

    Of course, we had better Republican candidates when we used to pick them ourselves.

  23. 27


    24. Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 At some point the moderator should deem this pointless repetition as thread pollution and delete it.
    11/13/2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’m sure it’s not going to happen Rog, but I really want to see this clown Max defend the actions of Hostess against their workers.

    He’s fine being a snarky wise ass but I have yet to see him back up anything he says.

    According to Max, it’s ok for a company to negotiate a deal with workers, receive significant contract and benefit concessions and tell the workers that it’s all going to make for a brighter future for everybody…

    …then come back a couple years later and announce that they need MORE concessions so they can bonus executives and pay the hedge fund.

    President Obama successfully ran against this form of “vulture capitalism” and that Max character, who has repeatedly failed to repudiate this rapacious version of capitalism just thinks it’s fine and dandy.

    So I wonder what he’ll say….hmmmmm.

    (besides the obvious)

  24. 29

    rhp6033 spews:

    Ben Stein, the Nixon speachwriter/psudo-economist/actor/TV personality, was on the CBS Sunday Morning Show last Sunday.

    He dimissed the Obama victory as being by the “slimist of margin in a few key swing states”, and pointed out that the Republicans still hold the House and will also be able to block any bills in the Senate.

    Moving on to reforms, he said the Republicans need to court the Hispanic vote, and do away with hateful language and immigration policies. He was convinced that with an appeal to family values and a work ethic (which he claimed as Republican virtues), then the Hispanic vote can eventually become a Republican stronghold.

    After my blood pressure goes down (which happens most times I hear him speak), I realized that this may be the emerging strategy of the Republicans. Keep everything else the same, just keep quiet on the hatred of Hispanics and allow the Party leadership to say nice things to them, and they will come into the party fold. Expect that when immigration reform next becomes an issue, they will insist it carries the names of notable Republicans as the lead sponsors.

    Of course, they’ve tried a similar strategy with blacks since 1972, and it hasn’t worked out so well for them. They seem to forget that people watch what they do, and whom they most appeael to, not what they say.

  25. 31

    Pete spews:

    It’s been a one-party hold on the governorship for a fairly simple reason. Every four years, the two major parties back a candidate for governor. Every four years, one of those candidates has espoused reasonable ideas that you can agree or disagree with, and the other candidate has espoused crap.

    Is it any surprise that every four years, more Washington voters have backed the person who isn’t espousing crap? The last Republican nominee who seemed genuinely interested in governing, that is, enacting policies that were in the best interest of all the state’s residents (rather than his or her buddies and co-religionists) was Dan Evans. And as many people have noted over the years, a modern Dan Evans could not even get elected precinct captain in today’s Republican Party.

  26. 32

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    The idiot opines
    A well-defined Republican Party will lead to a vigorous two party-system and a stronger state government.

    Get this. The Republican Party is very, very well defined. It is so well defined that it has a 30+ year losing streak.
    Washingtonians know exactly what a Republican governor would do, and they don’t want it.

    Furthermore, Washingtonians have lived with Democratic governors for 30+ years and they know the good their governance and leadership has brought them.

    Don’t believe me.
    Do a little thought experiment.

    Imagine that in 2016 Jay Inslee does not run for re-election. Never mind the reason.

    Name 3 Republicans who could win the election.
    Name 3 Democrats who can win the election.

    See. :-)

  27. 33

    Chris spews:

    @23 Its true that a recount isn’t corrupt. “Finding” ballots under copy machines and in Alaska is. Plus, Rossi won two of the three counts. Why is the last one assumed to be the most accurate. Just because it was by hand? I trust automatic counting over people who decide to count however they want, and could easily make mistakes. If they stack the ballots one could fall into the wrong pile even. The left is still angry about 2000 in Florida, too.

  28. 36

    GimmeGimmeGimme spews:


    Huh? Lolz

    The only razits stuff I have seen is from SJ..oh wait, its the same old meme.

    Free stuff?

  29. 37

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @33 Chris,

    The left is angry about Florida but not because the ballots were counted wrong. The ballots were not allowed to be recounted.

    Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000) - Only eight days earlier, the United States Supreme Court had unanimously decided the closely related case of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, 531 U.S. 70 (2000), and only three days earlier, had preliminarily halted the recount that was occurring in Florida

    And the reasoning for the decision by the SCOTUS was inexplicable.

  30. 38

    GimmeGimmeGimme spews:


    You forgot to mention the ballots they “found” behind the soda pop machine…..

    Free stuff!

  31. 39


    re 36: Wide Stance

    I’m not against people who favor a ‘wide stance’, but I am against liars — of which you are one.

    Wide stance (really?)

  32. 41

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Paul Krugman, evil genius of teh gey math, has the solution today for the Republican Party in WA.

    Well, no, that wasn’t what he was talking about, but …

    As you can see, it’s not just those “urban” voters who seem to vote their identity. Asians and Jewish households are much more Democratic than you might expect given their relatively high incomes, presumably because they see the GOP as believing fundamentally in a white Christian nation from which they will forever be outsiders.
    And then there’s the other identity-politics minority, which is every bit as anomalous in its voting behavior as those urbanites.

    Some of the attempts to predict future trends argue that over time Hispanics will become politically “white”, the way Irish and Italians did. Maybe, although somehow that hasn’t happened yet to my tribe. But isn’t it equally likely that over time Southern whites will finally become culturally assimilated, and start voting like the rest of their fellow citizens?

    WA Republicans: Stop acting like and promoting policies that are anything like Southern Whites, and you’ve got a fighting chance.
    … if you can do the math

  33. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @33 Its true that a recount isn’t corrupt. “Finding” ballots under copy machines and in Alaska is.

    What “found” ballots are you talking about, sonny boy?

    “Plus, Rossi won two of the three counts.”

    An election isn’t baseball playoffs.

    Why is the last one assumed to be the most accurate. Just because it was by hand?

    Because that’s what the law says.

    I trust automatic counting over people who decide to count however they want, and could easily make mistakes. If they stack the ballots one could fall into the wrong pile even.

    You obviously don’t know a damn thing about the ballot counting process, and have never seen it done, so let me educate you.

    First of all, ballots are stored by precinct in boxes with security seals, and the boxes are locked instead a cage.

    Next, the ballots are counted by having election workers feed them through an optical scanning machine. This is an imprecise counting method because the machines can’t read some of the ballots.

    In the 2004 hand recount the following procedure was used in King County. Each sealed precinct box was given to a counting team consisting of a team supervisor (who was a full-time elections department employee) and two temporary workers, one chosen from a list provided by the Republican Party, and one chosen from a list provided by the Democratic Party.

    When a counting team was given a sealed precinct box, they unsealed it, then the Republican and Democratic counters each counted all the ballots, and wrote the results on a slip of paper which was handed to the team supervisor. The two counts had to match exactly; if they didn’t the team counted the ballots again, and if their counts still didn’t match, the ballots were taken away from them and given to another team.

    Every King County ballot went through this counting procedure a minimum of three times, by three different counting teams, and all three counts had to match exactly. Some of the ballots were counted up to seven times by seven different counting teams.

    The entire counting process was done at tables in roped-off areas surrounded by observers from the political parties and news media. As an observer, my job was to stand there and watch the counters count. The counting teams and observers were not allowed to talk with each other. Use of cell phones was strictly prohibited and would get you immediately kicked out of the building and not allowed back.

    There is no fucking way even one ballot could have been miscounted in the hand recount. There is no fucking way anyone could have removed a ballot or added one without being discovered. Even though King County had to count 1.8 million ballots, that hand recount was absolutely accurate.

    There were, of course, some disputed ballots. Any counter could, without explanation or justification, pull a ballot out of the stack and send it to the county canvassing board. Ballots with stray marks, unreadable marks, or ambiguous marks were sent to the canvassing board, which is the body vested by law with the authority to decide whether questioned ballots will be counted or not.

    King County had by far the largest number of ballots, so was the last county to finish the hand recount, and I was standing right next to Dean Logan when the final count was released. After all the ballots statewide had been hand counted, but before the King County canvassing board had met, Gregoire led Rossi by 8 votes. Gregoire and Rossi both gained additional votes at the canvassing board proceedings, but Gregoire got 121 more than Rossi, increasing her lead to 129.

    The GOP then exercised its statutory right to challenge the election in court. They filed their lawsuit in Chelan County, a GOP stronghold, to make sure they would get a Republican judge. Their handpicked Republican judge in their handpicked Republican county found that 4 of Rossi’s votes were fraudulent and subtracted them from Rossi’s final total, which increased Gregoire’s lead from 129 to 133.

    Gregoire won that election. Contrary to wingnut talk-radio claims, there was no way to “game” the hand recount and it wasn’t “gamed.” To Republican partisans who assert that Rossi “won” the first two counts (the Election Night machine count and the machine recount), my answer is as follows:

    1) An Election Night machine recount is less accurate than a machine recount;
    2) A machine recount is less accurate than a hand recount;
    3) By law, each recount supersedes the count preceding it, and only the last recount counts;
    4) No fraud occurred in that election, and none was ever proved, and GOP claims of fraud were nothing but empty hot air;
    5) Gregoire won because she got more votes than Rossi, and people like you are nothing but whiny sore losers.

  34. 43



    It has been unequivocally and repeatedly demonstrated that human beings are better than machines at pattern recognition. That’s why a hand recount is the gold standard, why it’s always more accurate than running the ballots through scanners.

    Remember also that every single one of those 2004 WA-Gov ballots was reviewed by at least two individuals, that they agreed on the candidate who was voted for on that ballot, and that they always represented both parties.

  35. 44

    Ekim spews:

    @33, Also if loser Dino thought there was an error in the final recount, he could have requested another recount.

  36. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @43 “Remember also that every single one of those 2004 WA-Gov ballots was reviewed by at least two individuals, that they agreed on the candidate who was voted for on that ballot, and that they always represented both parties.”

    Actually, each of those ballots was reviewed by at least nine individuals, three from each party and three county employees, and many were reviewed by twenty-one individuals, seven from each party and seven county employees, because in the hand recount the King County ballots were hand counted between three and seven times.

  37. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @44 Actually, he couldn’t. State law provides from one machine recount (which, in that particular election, was automatic) and one hand recount (which was requested by the Democratic Party). After the hand recount, Dino’s only recourse was to contest the election in court, which he did, and when he lost in court his final recourse was to appeal to the state supreme court, which he chose not to do.

  38. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Rossi’s legal case was built on a statistical theory his lawyers couldn’t sell to their hand-picked Republican judge. They never made any effort to prove specific ballots were invalid. They wanted the judge to assume ineligible voters had given Gregoire her margin of victory without any proof. No judge would swallow an argument like that.

  39. 48

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    A Massachusetts drug maker has killed 14 of people and sickened hundreds more with contaminated medicines. Federal inspectors wanted to shut it down in 2002, but Bush’s FDA refused to intervene, and in 2003 state regulators ignored FDA warnings and allowed it to continue operating. The governor in 2003 was (drum roll) Mitt Romney. The company’s co-owners are (drum roll) Republican campaign donors.

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: I posted this to help our trolls understand why I don’t want Republicans appointing FDA commissioners or the director of our state health department.