Darcy Burner called Dave Reichert last night to concede the 8th CD race, and apart from Darcy and her family there are few people more disappointed than I am. As Dino Rossi’s most ardent supporters know, it can be terribly frustrating to come so close to an upset victory and lose.
“I am a little surprised it was as tough as it was, because of the inexperience of my opponent,” Reichert said. “The national environment played significantly higher role, and had more of an impact, than I expected it to play.”
What a dick. Totally incapable of any type of introspection.
In a district that has never sent a Democrat to Congress, Reichert nearly lost to an unknown political novice, and he blames it solely on the national climate. He couldn’t even find the grace to bring himself to give Darcy some credit without accusing her of being “nasty.”
But you wanna know the real reason why Reichert won? All you need to do is read this morning’s paper:
Reichert, a former King County sheriff known for helping to capture the Green River Killer…
That’s the main reason why Darcy didn’t trounce Reichert in King County… a lot of people voted for the beloved sheriff who caught the Green River killer. Of course, Reichert didn’t really catch the Green River killer — in fact, he so fucked up the investigation that Gary Ridgeway was allowed to continue to kill for 18 years after he first became a suspect. And the fact that most voters don’t know this…? Well… I blame the media.
And I also blame myself.
No doubt us bloggers played a huge role in building the buzz that led the media and political establishment to recognize Darcy as a viable candidate, but we failed to do the one thing that would have assured her victory: tear Reichert down. Both campaigns were typically negative, and neither was particularly nasty by modern standards. The main difference was, Darcy attacked Reichert on the issues and on his allegiance to President Bush, whereas Reichert attempted to diminish Darcy as a person.
The Seattle Times editorial board’s self-righteous bullshit aside, the truth is, this campaign just wasn’t negative enough. If voters understood the truth about Reichert’s job as sheriff, and about the way he bungled the Green River killer investigation, and then claimed all the credit for himself two decades and dozens of dead women later… Darcy would have won. And with the local media mostly unwilling to reexamine the hero myth they created around Reichert, that type of truth telling fell on the shoulders of us bloggers. And in that, we failed.
That’s one of the two unfortunate lessons I’ve learned from this race. 1) Don’t be afraid to go medieval on a candidate’s ass, if that’s what it takes to win. And 2) the Seattle Times editorial board cannot be trusted to truthfully represent and promote the interests of our community.
I intend to address both these issues in the future.
But… as personally disappointed as I am with the apparent outcome of this race, I fully understand on an intellectual level that both Darcy’s and Peter Goldmark’s campaigns were an integral part of a HUGE victory for the Democratic Party… and particularly for us netroots activists who embraced the 50-state strategy first enunciated by DNC chair Howard Dean. Darcy and Peter threw themselves into races the political and media establishment considered GOP gimmes, forcing the Republicans to draw money and resources away from races elsewhere.
And by fielding hardworking candidates who ran tough campaigns in races everybody expected them to lose, the Democrats showed local voters the type of respect that is absolutely necessary for the party to build towards victory in the future. Whoever the Democratic nominees are in 2008, their races will be made incredibly easier by the hard work Darcy and Peter put into 2006. That’s why I come away from this election with absolute confidence that every last ounce of passion and effort the netroots put into these races, and every last dime we raised, was totally worth it. We helped the Democrats take back Congress, and that after all, was the ultimate prize. The GOP may have successfully defended these seats — this year — but at a great cost.
And so to those in my comment threads who seek solace by mocking me over Darcy’s loss, I ask you: How are you enjoying that Democratic majority in the US House and US Senate, or our near super-majority in the Washington state Legislature? What role did you play in losing three Supreme Court races, and all three statewide initiatives? And hey… how about Mike McGavick’s twenty-point loss to the Dem’s “most vulnerable” Senate incumbent? If all you have to celebrate from last week’s election is the thought that Darcy and Peter and a handful of bloggers might be having a bad day, well then, you really have nothing to celebrate at all.
The truth is, we didn’t get behind Darcy and Peter because we thought they would win, we threw our all into these races because we thought they could win, and because we knew with absolute certainty that making these races close would help other Democrats win elsewhere. And on both counts we were proven right.
Did we shoot for the moon? You betcha. But then, to quote Jack Kennedy:
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
And so to all of you who volunteered for Darcy and Peter, and who contributed money through my Act Blue page or elsewhere, I want to thank you for a job well done. We may have lost these two races, but overall, we kicked ass, and you all deserve credit.
Now let’s get back to work.