Raising the level of public discourse since 2004

I have to say that I have newfound respect for Clint Didier and his campaign after reading spokeswoman Kathryn Serkes response to Dino Rossi’s predictably mealy-mouthed evasion of Didier’s prerequisites for endorsement:

“So is Dino saying, ‘Fuck you’ to those people [who supported Didier]? ‘Fuck you, I don’t need your votes? I can win with 33 percent.’”

Ah, I love a woman who talks dirty to me, especially about politics. The BIAW’s equally foul-mouthed Erin Shannon better look over her shoulders, as she may have new competition for my unwanted affections.

The truth is, Rossi’s response was a “fuck you” to Didier and his supporters, and Serkes should be applauded for using the most accurately descriptive term available. This is the way real people speak, and while there are certainly times and places that demand more formal language, politicians and their spokespeople make a mistake by abandoning the vernacular in favor of vague politenesses. Voters crave authenticity, even if that comes with the occasional F-bomb.

Of course, such rhetorical bluntness is not without its risks, especially in a media landscape where the boundaries of public discourse are still rigidly defined by the sticks shoved firmly up the asses of the editors at our once-dominant  “family newspapers.” Indeed, back in May of 2004, in my very first post, it was a risk I clearly anticipated when I warned readers what to expect from HA:

Now I know some might find this split between the politically prankish Goldy and the politically earnest David a little arbitrary… or even weird. So to those upstanding members of the political and media establishment who insist I cannot possibly expect to maintain my credibility as an activist while producing an irreverent and outrageous blog, the Goldy half of me respectfully says: “fuck you.”

And I’ve been saying “fuck you” ever since, despite frequent admonitions from critics and fans alike that I would be taken more seriously, and reach a wider audience, if I would only clean up my language. But… you know… if folks can’t tell the difference between being serious and being solemn, well, fuck that.

Ironically, I don’t actually swear all that much. Of my 5,732 posts since May 10, 2004, only 336 have contained some conjugation of the word “fuck.” That’s less than six percent of my posts… fewer than five per month on average. In fact, despite my reputation for foul-mouthed muckraking, the bulk of my posts are neither.

But sometimes a “fuck you” is a “fuck you,” and no other euphemism would be quite as honest, so if politicians, spokespeople and other public figures seem more willing to speak truthfully theses days when speaking truth to power — even when the truth involves, say, calling a sitting state senator a “pig fucker” — then I hope my example has served to help raise the level of public discourse to a more accurate, truthful and honest level.


  1. 3

    sdstarr spews:

    I strongly disagree that the use of the word “fuck” necessarily equates to more honest and open discourse. I, for one, have told more than several lies in sentences that included four letter words. You can lie using all kinds of language. Some of the worst lies are told behind an “aw shucks I’m a man of the people” persona.

  2. 4

    Ann Onnymous spews:

    That’s the next Tea Party slogan: “We’re Christians, we’re Constitutionalists, and we CURSE!”

  3. 5

    SJ spews:

    In the meantime, unless the Lady in Tennies is a fucking incompetent (she in NOT), Rossi is proving he don’t wanna win this one!

  4. 6


    I think the more important thing here is that we point out that yes, in fact that’s exactly what they’re saying to you Kathryn. You guys got 12% of the vote in a primary. Why the hell would anyone listen to any of your campaign’s crazy demands. It’s why you were beat. If it’s “what people wanted to hear” Dino wouldn’t have nearly tripled your support.

    It’s like me demanding Ichiro take my advice on hitting before I agree to buy Mariner tickets. Not that I think Dino is a political Ichiro… but you get the point.

    PS Does anyone know if she teaches classes in spokespersoning because speaking for crazy people seems like a good gig. I’d sign up.

    PPS I love that you’ve been doing this long enough that you actually wrote about faxing something.

  5. 8

    slingshot spews:

    King 5? Yeah, right. They’re still treating Rasmussen as a respectable source.

    That’s the wrong stuff.

  6. 9


    King 5? Yeah, right. They’re still treating Rasmussen as a respectable source.

    That’s the wrong stuff.

    More to the point, the Survey USA/KING-5 sample is so obviously misdrawn that it simply screams bias. If you take a look at the very last column in the survey’s crosstabs, you’ll see that they show Murray and Rossi tied in “Metro Seattle”. Based on the population proportion, I assume that means King/Pierce/Snohomish Counties.

    We’re now counting a rather more comprehensive “survey”, the primary election. In those three counties, Patty has 53% of the vote to Dino’s 30%. SUSA is asking us to believe that in the general election:

    a) about 10% of Patty’s primary voters will switch to Rossi, and
    b) every primary voter who chose someone other than Patty will vote for Dino, and
    c) the voters who sat out the primary but will vote in the general election (about 1/4 of the electorate, and more strongly Democratic than primary voters) will follow the same pattern as in a) and b)

    All of the above would have to happen in “Metro Seattle” for Dino to tie Patty here. It ain’t gonna happen. In fact, it ain’t even gonna happen in the rest of Democratic western Washington either.

    Patty will win by double-figures.

  7. 10

    Michael spews:


    Good catch.


    It was a fuck you indeed. I think congratulations are all the way round on that one. No phony politico love going on here.

  8. 11

    Wells spews:

    Fukit. My views often lead me to an angered uncivil tone, an understatement I admit, but one I try to learn from. There’s a danger I’m warning Seattle as best I can. Don’t Build The DBT.

    Some Seattlers know the case against it is proven sufficiently with clear evidence.

    Now WSDOT or somebody workin with DOT is trying to ruin the I-5 Columbia River Crossing Project between Vancouver, Hayden Island and Portland. The LAST released official design: Concept#1 is (in my analytic opinion) their BEST design yet, but for some reason “off-table” without the least due public hearing.

    There is NOT a credible consensus among the people of Portland, Hayden Island and Vancouver ports, cities and dots regarding Alternative “D”.

    Mike is right. Somebody stand up for him. He is damn right, damn you. Frikin Seattle DOT dipsh*ts & krooks and you clueless piss-poor seattle engineer wannabees, would you just frikin think about some of your frikin dipsh*t ideas before you go standin on their merit, or rather their lack thereof, pleese? God, these people…

  9. 12

    Wells spews:

    = We’re Christians =
    = We’re Constitionalists =
    = And We Curse =

    Their God not listening tonight?

  10. 13

    tienle spews:

    Seems like Dino and Didier have both backed themselves into a corner with these statements. If Dino agrees to the Didier demands, then he flags himself as anti-abortion. If Didier bestows his endorsement without securing the firm commitment he seeks, wouldn’t he be risking betraying the trust of his voters? Or appearing to be a sell-out?

    That’s some tricky minefield to navigate.

    Indulging in a bit of wishful thinking here: could this be part of a rolling schism in the party? That could prove fun to watch.

  11. 14

    proud leftist spews:

    I’d like Ms. Serkes on our team. Simply, there are times when “fuck you” is the only proper response. Of course, given that she comes from wingnuttiaville, and therefore couldn’t tell a fact from a fart (not that farts aren’t factual), she’s not likely to come over to our side. Still, she dropped the F-bomb when it deserved to be dropped, and I hail her for it.

  12. 16

    lauramae spews:

    Didier’s demands and his “advice” to Rossi on how to campaign do seem really silly in light of the distance between Rossi and Didier in the primary. Rossi has already made it clear he’ll just be a tool for the puppetmasters. The baggers are going to have to decide if they want their senator to cow to big money more than they want their senator working for citizens of Washington State.

  13. 17

    Mrs. Rabbit spews:

    @3 Human nature is the same everywhere, regardless of the social mores it’s cloaked in.

  14. 18

    Mrs. Rabbit spews:

    I’ve never met a Republican who wasn’t polite about ripping off workers, consumers, creditors, and taxpayers. Likewise, I’m sure the Salem Witch Trial judges were very polite to their innocent victims. I say, fuck that!!!

  15. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 “Clint ran a good 1st effort campaign.”

    No, he didn’t. A candidate who gets only 12% of the vote and is eliminated in the primary didn’t run a “good” campaign. Losing is never good.

  16. 22

    Michael spews:


    All that shows is that Belo and Survey USA aren’t credible sources when it comes to Washington State politics.

  17. 23


    I wonder how many of the Didier 12%, including Didier, will say one thing but vote for the more likely source of their farm subsidy?

  18. 24


    The Fuck You in Didier’s case smacks of desperation. Where are those voters going to go? (other than the closeted Patty voting farm welfare kings) I don’t see those folk flipping a coin.
    Dino needs to play to the middle to attract the dense density dwellers.

  19. 25

    proud leftist spews:

    In the spirit of the post, I’d like to wish a fond “fuck you” to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Dino Rossi, ah, this list is getting too long. So, all of you wingies out there, please go fuck yourselves!

  20. 26

    slingshot spews:

    @25, proud-here’s a little fuck you to those very same republican empty windbags. A smack-down of their vacuousness by the epitomy of conservative financial journalism:

  21. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 Yes, let us remember that Candidate Didier is a socialist farmer living off the government dole. The truth is that every farm west of the Mississippi River is a hobby farm. America’s food is produced in the east. Florida, not Texas, is the top beef-producing state. The average cost to taxpayers of irrigating America’s unproductive western farms and ranches is $2 million per farm or ranch. It would take 500 years for those farms and ranches to produce enough food products to pay that off.

  22. 28


    Of my 5,732 posts since May 10, 2004, only 336 have contained some conjugation of the word “fuck.” That’s less than six percent of my posts…

    ylb@mylaptop:~$ b hacols ‘-f=c -c=body:phrase~fuck -C’
    | count |
    | 26302 |
    1 row in set

    Heh. That’s a solid 6 percent of the population of the 438,192 comments I’ve collected and counted through the end of July. So the “cesspool” is only modestly potty mouthed as well.

  23. 29

    Chuck spews:

    Roger Rabbit@27

    I agree with you about Didier, but you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Your beef facts are much like the rest of your facts. While I am sure that more than a few cattle were grown in Florida, the state is not even in the top 10 beef states.

    So like your liberal answers, you facts are wrong as well. By the way, I have seen stockyards in Texas and Kansas, been to Florida several times…never saw a stockyard.

  24. 30

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Didier has been swamped with e-mails from Tea Partiers angry that he is demanding Rossi propose anti-abortion bill if elected. That is the key issue. It has nothing to do with the rank-and-file Tea Partiers that want the focus to be on excessive government and massive deficit spending.
    Didier is really blowing his political future.
    I know lots of pro-lifers who are angry with Didier for allowing his ego to get in the way of the major Tea Party issues.

    Didier has very little support on this.
    Do yo really think Didier supporters will vote for Patty Murray? They absolutely despise her and everything she has done & stands for.

    The vast majority will get behind Rossi.
    You may see a light change in the next poll.
    That will show what impact Didier’s anti-abortion requirement has on Rossi.
    In the end, perhaps Didier himself won’t vote for Rossi…and maybe his family and a few close friends..but that’s about it.

    Murray is a #1 target for the Tea Party!

  25. 31

    nolaguy spews:


    Good thing you’re not blogging from Philly. They now require bloggers to pay $300 for a “business privilege” license.


    I wonder if you post a new topic to HA while you’re on vacation in Philly, would you have to buy the license? If so, will you comply?

  26. 32

    rhp6033 spews:

    It’s not really important whether or not Rossi really “blew off” Didier, or his supporters. What IS important is that at least some of them BELIEVE he is doing so. Rossi can’t afford to lose any of them, if he wants to win in the general election.

    And I am really astonished at the forcefullness of the language of Didier’s spokesperson. I suspect that there’s more going on behind the scenes than is being revealed in the public announcements by the candidates.

    At the very least, some of the Didier people are upset at Rossi’s arrogance and presumption in assuming that Didier people “have” to vote for him, because their choices are between him and Murray. If Rossi doesn’t soothe those ruffled feathers, they might choose the third option – effectively choosing “none of the above”.

  27. 33

    rhp6033 spews:

    What I want to know is…why does Rossi insist that he wants at least one Rossi/Murray debate to be “nationally televised”?

    I can’t imagine it being carried by ABC, NBC, or CBS, or even CNN or MSNBC.

    Perhaps he’s thinking Fox (Faux) News? Maybe he knows he isn’t going to win, and he’s hoping to get a national following from among the wingnut crowd so he can, like Sarah Palin, join the ranks of the “Fox Pundits”?

  28. 34

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    It truly is a tiny minority that are hanging on to Didier. I know folks that worked on the campaign. They are frustrated with Didier. He really thought he would get over 20%.
    His ego is bruised and he is playing bully-boy.
    The Tea Partiers are firmly behind Rossi as Rossi supports the main planks of smaller, more cost-effective, less intrusive government and most importantly NO MORE DEFICIT SPENDING!

    Murray will not get any frustrated Didier hanger-oners.

  29. 35

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    In about 2 weeks, I think this will sort itself out in the polls and the impact of Didier’s hissy-fit will be shown.
    You are right, Rossi cannot affort to lose much, if any, of the Tea Party support.
    The emotionally charged stuff Dider has thrown out has a half-life.
    We’ll see in a couple of weeks.
    The next poll may show a point swing…short-term.

  30. 36

    rhp6033 spews:

    Cynical @ 34: “…Murray will not get any frustrated Didier hanger-oners….”

    I don’t doubt that’s true. But Murray doesn’t have to pick up their votes. All she has to do is have a couple of percentage points of the non-Murray voters decide not to vote – or at least, not to vote for Rossi.

    Rossi is counting on picking up ALL of the non-Murray voters in order to win in November. If even 20% of the Didier voters decide not to play ball, it’s all over for him.

    And Murray really hasn’t begun her campaign yet. I understand she’s already researved TV ad time, and she’s still got a bit war chest. Rossi’s got some vulnerabilities, and she’s going to hit hard at them.

  31. 37

    Perfect Voter spews:

    Didier was a straight-up Tea Party candidate, and it’s reasonable to assume that his vote represents the sum total of Tea Partiers in the state. They were 12 percent of the primary vote total, and in the general election they will be about 6 percent, assuming that turnout doubles.

  32. 38

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 37: I’m not sure there really was a “straight up” Tea Party candidate.

    One of the things which allowed the Tea Party to get as far as it did was it’s ability to allow everyone to define it whichever way they wanted, without a coherent platform or ideology. Thus, they could be “against” the government, banks, corporations receiving bailouts, Obama, etc., without having to specify what they would do instead.

    “Cut spending” to “balance the budget” isn’t a coherent strategy unless you are willing to identify what spending you would cut, acknowledge it’s impacts, and fairly account for it’s impact upon the government’s budget.

    So if Didier wants to insist that the anti-abortion declaration is an essential part of the platform, who can claim differently? Cynical is now claiming it wasn’t really that big a deal compared with the fiscal issues, but who is he to define the Tea Party platform?

  33. 39


    They were 12 percent of the primary vote total, and in the general election they will be about 6 percent, assuming that turnout doubles.

    If form holds, turnout in November will be about 2/3 higher than in the primary. In our last non-prez federal election (2006), we went from 38.8% in the primary to 64.6% in the general, an increase of 66.5%. Even in 2002, with neither presidential nor senatorial elections, we went from 34.2% to 56.4%, an increase of 64.9%.

    Note, however, that the 2002 and 2006 primaries were in September, not August.

  34. 42

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    36. rhp6033 spews:

    Rossi is counting on picking up ALL of the non-Murray voters in order to win in November. If even 20% of the Didier voters decide not to play ball, it’s all over for him.

    I agree rhp…but it’s not going to happen.
    It will boil down to perhaps a few hundred…..which could make a difference. We’ve seen that before, haven’t we?!

    It will take a few weeks for all this to sort out.
    Remember, Scott Brown was waaaaaaaaaaay behind in Massa2shits. At one time, almost 20 points.
    It’s going to be about momentum in October.
    Didier is quickly becoming a sideshow.
    So his voters don’t show up and Rossi loses…what does that prove?

    Tea Partiers will fight hard in the Primary. But if their candidate loses, the vast majority will support the candidate who most closely mirrors their ideals.
    They are certainly energized Nationally based on the e-mails I get. But they need to stay energized…that’s often a challenge.
    Look at ImamObaMao’s supporters. A lot are pretty disgruntled and disappointed. No more energy. Will the ImamObaMao fire them up again? Some perhaps. Most however are still poor…and still stupid!

  35. 43

    headless lucy spews:

    re 42: They are not ‘Tea Partiers’. They are Tea BAGGERS. That’s the name they chose for themselves prior to knowing what they were talking about — and they need to stick with that name because it mirrors Their actual ACTIONS and not their supposed values.

    They shoot from the hip and rarely know what the hell they are talking.

  36. 44

    Matt Gies spews:

    Fuck yeah. I hate news organizations intent on placating over-sensitive, sanctimonious assholes at the expense of factuality.

  37. 45

    rhp6033 spews:

    The challenge for Murray, and the problem for Rossi, is that in any debate he will spew some empty rhetoric about the “debt problem”, the need for balancing the budget, etc.

    What Murray needs to do is force him to specify what cuts he would make to make up the existing budget gap, without raising taxes. Of course, he can’t do so – he could only make some small cuts here and there, but given the rescessionary economy, you have to go deep into the bone to balance the budget without raising taxes.

    So when backed into a corner, how is Rossi going to respond? (a) cut unemployement, medicare, defense spending, etc.? (b) eliminate (refuse to continue) the Bush tax cuts? (c) withdraw completely from Iraq & Afganistan? or (d) do nothing, and wait for the economic recover to balance the budget on it’s own?

  38. 46

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    I suspect you will hear Rossi discuss unleashing American Entrepreneurship by lowering taxes and offering tax incentives.
    He will rip the Stimulous and point to the promises ObaMao made about how effective it would be.
    Rossi will rip ObaMaoCare and talk about the LIE re: the impact on the Budget & Deficit and cost of Health Care.
    Rossi will propose Tort Reform and Interstate Competition.

    Trust rhp that Rossi will be prepared to answer those questions.

    Then it’s up to voters…Murray has a track record. It is clear and the failures are numerous. Do you trust Rossi to do better?
    He must make his case and you are right…he has to be somewhat specific in his proposed policies.
    Did you see how Scott Brown came out of nowhere to win?
    Do a little research in your spare time rhp.
    That is the model.

  39. 47

    Steve spews:

    “I suspect you will hear Rossi discuss unleashing American Entrepreneurship by lowering taxes and offering tax incentives.”

    Been there, done that with the Bush tax cuts, KLOWN. Great, how that turned out, huh? Nothing like having a “Great Recession” to lead the KLOWN to want more of the same. How many more millions of jobs do you want us to lose with your dumbfuck tax cuts, you twit?

    Republicans. Bringing us more of the same stupid fucking ideas.

  40. 48

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Funny a guy with a Kountry Klub membership, a Tollycraft and Kommodore of the Yacht Klub is soooooooo concerned about average workin’ stiffs.
    Steve is a funny little man.
    Vulgar & silly.

  41. 49

    Steve spews:

    In other words, you can’t defend the Bush tax cuts and how he racked up trillions in debt as you cheered him on with,


    You’re one dumbfuck KLOWN, Klynical.

  42. 50

    correctnotright spews:

    @42: Klynical Idiot

    Umm, what it proves is that tea partiers are idiots and fools like YOU Klynical.

    People who have NO idea how to balance the budget. Lool at the complete fool from Renton who was published in todays Seattle times. She wants “small government”, “less regulation” and a clean environment.

    Hello! If you trust corporations to police themselves you get oil spills, mining disasters, floods (due to clear cutting steep slopes) and banking disasters that create even worse depressions.

    Idiots like Ms. Holmes and Klynical fail to even pay attention to the economists who found that without the stimulus and the banking bill – we would have been in a depression that would have been WORSE than the one Hoover caused.

    Republicans almost ruined the economy and then are trying to give us the same “solutions” that caused the wreck.

    And idiots like Klynical and Ms. Holmes are too stoopid to ven pay attention to the actual facts and keep coming back with their trite “teabaggerisms” that are senseless and baseless.

  43. 51

    correctnotright spews:

    @48: Thanks for showing how shallow and insipid your reasoning is Klynical.

    Since you have nothing to say you use ad hominem personal attacks.

    One again you are short on facts and long on name-calling. You sound like a third grader whining about the playground bully. Grow up and get a brain and try to use it!

  44. 52

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Re: unleashing.

    Isn’t that why we have dog parks?
    I’m all for Rossi unleashing dogs at their parks.

  45. 53

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 46: Well, that’s a good sound bite, but it won’t wash under any critical analysis. That’s Patty’s job – to force the details into the open and ensure a critical analysis.

    One by one:

    “I suspect you will hear Rossi discuss unleashing American Entrepreneurship by lowering taxes and offering tax incentives.”

    In other words, more of the same which got us into the budget mess we got into in the first place. If Rossi’s going to argue that the Laffler curve is going to cure our budget surplus, then he’s selling the same old snake medicine which the Republicans have been trying to preach since Reagan. It didn’t work then, it won’t work now. Tax cuts only help those already making bog profits to make an even larger after-tax profit. It doesn’t do a thing for the unemployed, businesses which are struggling, etc. It doesn’t do a thing about out-sourcing.

    “He will rip the Stimulous and point to the promises ObaMao made about how effective it would be.”

    Murray isn’t running for President. And don’t try to cause confusion between the Bush TARP plan and Obama’s stimulus plans (lots of wingnuts merge the two). Since we didn’t collapse into a great depression, I figure it’s done it’s job – it could have done more, but since the Senate Republicans have blocked many additional stimulus measures until just this month, I’m not blaming Obama because things arent’ better yet.

    “Rossi will rip ObaMaoCare and talk about the LIE re: the impact on the Budget & Deficit and cost of Health Care.”

    Gee, there you go again , pretending that Murray is running for President. If Rossi want’s to run for Senate as the representative of the health insurance companies, then fine, good luck with that strategy. My experience is that the people who don’t like “Obamacare”, as they call it, are the tea party folks who reassure themselves that it’s universally unpopular. But most average folks I talk to – including Republicans – see the need for many of it’s provisions in their daily lives.

    “Rossi will propose Tort Reform and Interstate Competition.”

    So Rossi’s now going to take up the banner of the corprate insurance companies and the defense lawyers? That’s not going to solve the budget problems, by a long shot – it’s just going to make the victims of corporate negligence bear more of the cost themselves.

    And I’m not sure what in the world you are talking about with regard to Interstate Competition. Is this a code word for union-busting through outsourcing to “right to work” states? Or is it an attempt to make whatever state’s consumer protection laws are the weakest to be the national standard? Is Rossi advocating a race to the bottom, with respect to both wages AND consumer protection?

    I’m beginning to relish the prospects of this election.

  46. 54

    rhp6033 spews:

    And notice that NONE of the points Cynical mentioned in # 46 were more than mere empty sound bites. He didn’t identify one large-ticket federal budget program that he would cut to balance the budget.

    Typical. The Republican strategy for the past thirty years has been to cut taxes, and leave it to the Democrats to do the hard work of balancing the budget. It’s like the half-senile grandpa who comes for a visit, gives the kids lots of candy, and then departs about the time they start bouncing from the walls.

  47. 55

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    53. rhp6033 spews:

    # 46: Well, that’s a good sound bite, but it won’t wash under any critical analysis. That’s Patty’s job – to force the details into the open and ensure a critical analysis.

    Good point. IF Patty can put Rossi on the defensive, it will be to her benefit. That means avoiding defending her votes. Not sure if she can pull it off…put it’s a good strategy. A lot depends upon how the Media approaches this election. The Times had a very Murray favorable “article” the other day. But I expect them to even things out. If I were Rossi, I’d rather have the favorable articles a day or 2 BEFORE the ballots go out.