The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee this morning challenged Republican senatorial wannabe Dino Rossi to name two policy differences between him and former President George W. Bush, but I think the more interesting challenge might be to ask Rossi to simply explain the details of two pieces of policy. For judging from his recent statements, our state’s best known real estate speculator/perennial candidate just doesn’t come across as all that well informed.
For example, at Sunday’s conservative meet-up Rossi was asked how he could possibly overcome the combined forces of ACORN and SEIU, a stupid question to say the least. But even stupider was Rossi’s reply: “SEIU and ACORN, they, they’re mean. They’re really evil in some respects.”
The SEIU slur aside (does Rossi realize he just equated 1.2 million nurses, lab technicians and home health care workers with the likes of Hitler and, well, Satan?), both Rossi and his questioner are apparently clueless that ACORN no longer exists, and regardless, was never really a player here in Washington state. So what’s there for you to overcome Dino, no matter how evil you think ACORN is/was?
At the same meet-up, Rossi was also asked whether he supported full repeal of healthcare reform, or only parts of it. Rossi insisted that he supported full repeal. But as the purity police at The Reagan Wing point out, that’s not what Rossi says on his own website, forcing the self-appointed guardians of true conservatism to wonder aloud if Rossi even knows his own position on healthcare?
To what can we attribute Rossi’s alleged change of position? Might it be that he was speaking to a conservative audience instead of to the Evans-Gorton wing of the Washington State Republican party?
How Reichertesque. Or perhaps that’s why Rossi was so reluctant to post an issues section on his website: it would require him to actually read it.
Indeed, a better question might be to ask if Rossi actually knows what’s in the healthcare reform bill he wants to either repeal in full or in part, depending on the day and the audience. For example, in his recent, hyperbolic fundraising letter (the one in which he says that Barack Obama and Patty Murray are bigger threats than the terrorists), Rossi describes the new law as “a partisan, ill-conceived health care bill that requires 16,500 new IRS agents to administer and pay for it…”
16,500 new IRS agents? Really? That might strike some as a frightening number if it weren’t, you know, total bullshit.
This was a GOP talking point totally refuted way back in March by the nonpartisan FactCheck.org:
Q: Will the IRS hire 16,500 new agents to enforce the health care law?
A: No. The law requires the IRS mostly to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties. The claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.
In it’s full answer, FactCheck.org dismisses the claim as “wildly inaccurate,” and yet there it is as a central argument in a Rossi fundraising letter… four months later. Either Rossi gets all his facts on healthcare reform from FOX News and GOP press releases, or he’s just plain lying to supporters.
Forget about pressuring Rossi to take a clear stance on major issues; reporters need to ask him if he’s actually capable of explaining the issues. Does he know the major provisions of the health care bill, let alone what his bogus “16,500 new IRS agents” claim is based on? Or how about the Wallstreet reform legislation Rossi opposes on grounds that it leaves taxpayers on the hook for another bailout, even though Sen. Murray included a provision to specifically make sure that it doesn’t…? Can Rossi explain in context what a “derivative” is, or “exchanges” or “clearinghouses” or “aggregate position limits”…? (If not, he might want to ask Sen. Maria Cantwell.)
Is that too much to ask for? A candidate who actual has the intellectual curiosity, capacity and inclination to the study the issues on which he’ll be asked to pass judgement? Or are our media really just going to let Rossi’s ideological laziness slide by once again as mere tit for tat politics as usual?