While state Republicans continue to vilify Christine Gregoire for forcing and winning a hand recount, our governor-elect is starting to acquire folk-hero status amongst national Democrats. Writing in The Nation (”Rule One: Count Every Vote“), John Nichols points out that “politics is a game played by rules” and he lauds Gregoire for showing the kind of fight during the recount process that Al Gore and John Kerry failed to muster.
Maybe someday, if the Democrats really want to win the presidency, they will nominate someone like Christine Gregoire. Gregoire is the Washington state attorney general who this year was nominated by Democrats to run for governor of that state. She is hardly a perfect politician — like too many Democrats, she is more of a manager than a visionary; and she is as ideologically drab as Gore or Kerry.
But Gregoire had one thing going for her, and that was her determination to win.
Nichols rightly ridicules Dino Rossi for ridiculing Democratic demands for the “fuller, sounder” manual recount provided by law:
Rossi claimed that Gregoire wanted to count and recount the ballots until she was declared the winner.
In a sense, Rossi was right.
Gregoire did want to keep counting until she won. But, of course, that is the point of the recount process: If you think that the votes are there to assure your victory, you keep demanding that they be counted and tabulated. This is the fundamental rule that neither Gore nor Kerry ever quite got.
Of course, the law also provides that Rossi can contest the election, but thus far he has failed to show convincing evidence of any legal grounds. Indeed at his press conference yesterday, he focused his criticisms on the concept of a hand recount, rather than providing proof of any fraud or error in the actual recount itself. Nichols concludes:
The fight may not be over yet. Rossi is crying foul. But the likelihood is that, in Washington state, the Democrat, not the Republican, will be taking the oath of office in January. There are two reasons why this is the case. First, Christine Gregoire got more votes. Second, she demanded that they be counted.
As I’ve pointed out before, it is ironic that the hand recount that Rossi now attacks was sanctioned by a statute that he voted for. Criticize these rules all you want, but they were Rossi’s rules. Gregoire played by his rules. And she won.