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?