Oh no! Mike!™ McGavick has become a victim of negative politics! Heaven forfend!
According to the Seattle P-I’s Joel Connelly:
Vilification of McGavick, the most talented Senate candidate recruited by Republicans in 2006, stands as a model for the bipartisan tactics of debasement infecting American politics.
I like and respect Joel, and often agree with his analysis, but this time… not so much.
First of all, I don’t believe that by contemporary standards Mike!™ has been all that vilified. (Yet.) We’ve called him a “lobbyist” — he was one. We’ve ridiculed him for prevaricating on several controversial issues — and he has. We’ve characterized the $28.3 million golden parachute he negotiated after announcing his resignation from SAFECO as “obscene” — I think many shareholders, policyholders and laid-off employees would agree that it is.
What we haven’t done is accused him of killing one of his best friends, or of being a coward and a traitor who hates America. We haven’t morphed him into a terrorist or accused him of caring more about sex offenders than about innocent children. We haven’t publicly debated the unusual shape of his penis.
What we haven’t done is lied. And we haven’t delved into his divorce or other areas of his personal life… not that it should necessarily be off limits. So I don’t quite understand Joel’s characterization of a handful of snarky press releases and a shareholder lawsuit as a “mean, low-down attack.” These are political attacks… which is exactly what you expect to see against a guy running for political office.
My second point of contention with Joel is the notion that in discussing the “debasement” of American politics he could possible talk about my blog in the same breath as he talks about the tactics of the US Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past half-decade (yes, hundreds of millions) running smear campaigns in local elections. In 2004 they spent $1.5 million torpedoing Deborah Senn’s run for Attorney General, and just this past week they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads thanking Dave Reichert for a bill that passed before he was elected to Congress.
Meanwhile, I’m just some local blogger with a couple thousand readers who can barely pay my own bills. Sure, when it comes to influencing politics I get more bang for my buck, but let’s keep this in perspective: I don’t have any bucks. If I manage to have more of an impact than the folks over on the right-wing blog, well that’s an accomplishment of which I’m pretty damn proud. But don’t lump me in with Karl Rove or the US Chamber. Even if I aspired to embrace the dark side I don’t have the resources or the opportunity to even begin to make the impact these Republican sleaze masters achieve with a simple wave of their hands.
My only contribution to the shareholder lawsuit was a brief post that helped hook up the attorney with the plaintiff, and hell… Craig’s List probably would have gotten a larger response. It was no different from a similar query over on (u)SP (other than the fact that I didn’t attempt to sneakily hide my tracks by deleting the original text,) and hardly a poisonous, Rovian tactic of political debasement.
Finally, I have to take issue with Joel for calling me out in his closing paragraphs:
On the horsesass.org Web site, which helped spawn the lawsuit, founder David Goldstein held forth last Thursday: “McGavick’s midlife conversion to ‘civility’ is a joke to anyone who remembers the vicious campaign he ran on behalf of Slade Gorton.”
Not true, Goldie, and you didn’t even live here then.
No Joel, I didn’t live in the state back then, and even if I did I wouldn’t pretend to have the impressive institutional memory you possess. But you know me well enough to know that I am curious and inquisitive about my adopted state’s political history, and I’ve heard enough stories and read enough newspaper accounts to convince me that Mike!™ was no angel.
Civility isn’t a campaign theme. It’s an excuse. A shield. A feeble attempt to ward off all criticism or unfavorable analysis or probing questions as poisonous political debasement, all the while freeing his own surrogates to attack at will. But on this point I’m more than happy to agree to disagree.
See, I can forgive Joel for conflating unflattering facts and snark with character assassination. I can forgive Joel for lumping me in with some of the evil masters of the Republican attack machine. I can even forgive Joel for publicly accusing me of being wrong about Mike!™’s reputation as a political operative.
But there’s one final transgression for which I’m not quite sure I can ever forgive Joel.
It’s spelled “Goldy” with a “y.”
“Goldie” with an “ie” is the feminine spelling, and as a nom de guerre for an evil, political muckraker like me, that would just plain look silly.