I have always found it very odd how local Republicans have never given Chris Gregoire much, if any, respect. On the blogs and elsewhere, Republicans still consider her an accidental governor, an aberration, a byproduct of the corrupt machinations in King County. They do not think she is a formidable candidate. They look at her the same way they looked at Patty Murray; someone outside the “leadership” class. But year after year, she rolled up big victories.
I don’t mean respect in the polite way. Frankly, I don’t care if the GOP plays nice. But to treat her candidacy the way Dino Rossi does, the way the GOP loseratti does, well, I don’t think it’s smart. Rossi is downright dismissive; it proves that he believes his own hype about the 2004 election. He’s surrounded by the elder statesmen of the GOP; guys who worked for Slade Gorton, the BIAW, and an assorted array of since-retired legislators. All of them coo into his ear, saying that the governorship was his all along.
I spent only a few hours on the bus, but I paid attention. Unlike Rossi, Gregoire has never had to deliver for a district; she’s good, but not great, at the retail side of things. But there’s a genuine likability there, a genuine warmth. Her economically disadvantaged upbringing has installed in her a mettle, a sense that you have to be strong inside and out to get things done. Rossi may be the salesman, but Gregoire is the sales manager. Rossi is the sizzle, Gregoire is the steak.
The GOP is going to come after her on state spending, specifically, on the 33% increase. (Read more about that below, in Goldy’s post.) While Rossi makes the intellectual argument, Gregoire will talk about what her budget does:
More kids with health care.
More resources for education for our people.
Protecting our environment.
Governor Gregoire doesn’t invest in these things because of how they pencil out on the page. She invests in these things because that’s the kind of person she is. And I think that’s the person Washington voters will re-elect in November.