Is Dino Rossi too liberal?

If Dino Rossi is betting on Tea Party enthusiasm to sweep him into a competitive race with Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray, he better not bet too big, at least according to a couple of ‘baggers quoted in yesterday’s TNT:

Rossi is considering whether to enter the race against Sen. Patty Murray. One of a long roster of less well-known Republicans seeking to unseat Murray, former NFL tight end Clint Didier, last weekend said tea party activists would reject Rossi. And no candidate will win without their backing, he said.

Pierce County Tea Party member Lawrence Hutt agrees, though he supports a different candidate for Senate, Sean Salazar.

“Rossi is too establishment to get the tea partiers all fired up,” said Hutt, a paralegal from Wauna. “He’s not going to fan the flames of any tea partiers I know.”

Sen. Patty Murray’s alleged vulnerability hinges on a voter enthusiasm imbalance… you know, that Big Red Wave that’s supposed to sweep Democratic incumbents out of office come November. But if a lot of that Republican enthusiasm is coming from the over-hyped teabagger wing of the party, then the later Rossi jumps into the race, the more of an establishment interloper he’s going to appear to Didier and Salazar’s passionate supporters.

I mean, it would have been one thing if Rossi had gotten into the race back in March when he first started dominating the headlines and rumor mill, but for him to just step in and claim the nomination a couple months before the primary, well that can’t help but piss off a bunch of the true believers, and it’s tough to see how it puts him in much of a position to win their enthusiastic support.

The longer Rossi waits, the more toes he steps on, and the harder the logistics of a competitive race become. For example, if he were to jump in tomorrow, Rossi would have to raise about $60,000 a day between now and Nov. 2, just to match Sen. Murray’s current totals. And it’s not like Sen. Murray would be standing still; in 2004 she raised an additional $5.1 million from April through the end of the campaign, while facing only an anemic challenge from George Nethercutt.

Nor can Rossi count on anything approaching the $13 million worth of “independent” expenditures that came his way during his 2008 gubernatorial campaign. The BIAW, by far his biggest backer, is betting the farm on an initiative that would gut our state’s worker’s compensation system, while the NRSC would have an awfully tough time matching the $5.5 million the RGA put behind Rossi two years ago. Meanwhile the Washington Association of Realtors, one of the state’s wealthiest Republican-leaning PACs, has already endorsed Murray.

So is Rossi too liberal? No. Is he too establishment? Maybe. But his biggest problem is that he’s not really enough of anything.


  1. 1

    Daddy Love spews:

    It’s a good question. If Rossi wins the nom, will the teabaggers stay home?

    What a hoot!

  2. 2

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    If he were too establishment, that would put out State Senator Benton as well, I think he was once the head of the Washington State GOP. Plus, Utah will be electing a new Senator, at the Utah Republican Convention, which selects the Republicans that will be on the primary ballot, Senator Bennett was ousted. The first incumbant to be unseated.

  3. 3


    Rossi doesn’t have to appeal to the teabaggers. If he decides to run, all he has to do is come in second behind Patty in the other 85% of the electorate.

    At that point, all those teabaggers who are currently squabbling amongst themselves in hope that they’ll come out as the Designated Loser in November would have to fold their political tents and slither back home. And Rossi will take on the mantle of Designated Loser.

  4. 4

    proud leftist spews:

    The Teabaggers could be the death of the GOP. When an old diehard conservative senator like Bob Bennett can’t get his party’s nomination after 3 terms for lack of adequate rightwing credentials, you have to wonder how far right that party is capable of lurching. The few rational, moderate Republican politicians remaining in office cannot feel optimistic about staying there.

  5. 5

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    The GOP has changed a lot in the past 30 years. I was looking at Shannyn Moore’s blog, looking for a few of her insights on the Gulf Oil catastrophe(she was a witness to the clean up or lackethereof after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill), and she had an interesting political obituary for a Republican she agreed and disagreed with. Former Alaska Governor, and advocate for statehood, Wally Hickel. He passed away last week. An end of an era, for sure. The GOP definitely has changed. We had our own version of a Republican Governor whose party has changed in the years since he left office, Dan Evans.

  6. 6

    ArtFart spews:

    By the teabaggers’ reasoning, Rossi is probably too competent, too experienced, and too connected for their tastes.

    In the latest permutation of neocon Bizarro-think, the best officeholder is one who doesn’t know his or her ass from a hold in the ground….like, well, Sarah Palin.

  7. 7

    proud leftist spews:

    Indeed. The Teabaggers support politicians who are like them–slow-witted, emotionally volatile, close-minded, distrustful, anti-intellectual. The GOP, if anything remains of it other than Teabaggers, might well come to rue the day it embraced these freaks.

  8. 8

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    At this point in time everything about the Rossi indecision hurts his party. No matter his decision now, it will hurt his chances for statewide elective office, any candidate for Murray’s office and all other Republican candidates in the state.

    His indecision has frozen money while they wait to see if Rossi shall need it. His indecision has stimulated Democratic fund raising for Murray with those who want to be on the winning side (see Washington Association of Realtors) in the event of a real race.
    And now the teabaggers are pissed at him.

    Good-bye Dino. Maybe in 10 to 20 years the electorate will have forgotten what an indecisive loser you have been.

  9. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Republicans have visions of riding the tea bag party into power in 2010, in a repeat of 1992. But it’s looking more and more like a repeat of 1964, as the control of the party moves from experienced Republican lawmakers to talk-radio provacateurs and the fringes of right-wing reactionism.

    By the way, I just read Dino Rossi’s Wikipedia page. It reads pretty much like it was written by the Rossi campaign – stating essential facts but exaggerating his credentials and minimizing his failures. The impression they want to leave is that Rossi had no great political ambitions, was persuaded to run as a public service, was mugged by a corrupt King County voting system and harrassed by abusive lawsuits, and then (ahem) just happened to lose the next election. The Republican failures to overturn the 2004 election were glossed over.

    They didn’t even put up a picture of Rossi. I guess the various Rossi campaigns didn’t want to supply one. In every picture I saw, he looks too much like a used-car salesman.

  10. 10

    GBS spews:

    @ 4:

    Mmmmmm . . . hmmmmm.

    I’ve had a long trackrecord here of prediciting the self-inflicted demise of the GOP going back to the days of “president elect Obama.”

    Since 2006, one disaster after the other seems to rear it’s ugly head for the Reagan Republicans regardless if it’s a national issue or local one.

    Nationally, a rebouding economy for the fall elections coupled with the ecological/economical disaster in the red state Gulf of Mexico region is going to have ramifications both nationally for the GOP and regionally as well.

    Locally, the Teabaggers influence is being WAAAAAY over hyped for statewide elections.

    Rossi won’t get their support, let alone their enthusiasitc support, and in this state Teabaggers are not viewed as having “mainstream America values.”

    Voters in this state, in this election cycle, will not support a GOP candidate to unseat Sen. Murray.

    Interestingly enough, not one conservative had stepped up to the plate and accept my wager of $1,000 that Rossi or ANY GOP candidate will unseat Patty Murray.

    Very telling when they won’t put their hard earned cash on an easy money bet!!

  11. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    Is it fair to say that Rossi’s 2008 “stealth” campaign is now backfiring on him?

    At the time, he was trying to portray himself as a moderate, hoping to appeal to the independents. He was gambling that the Republican base new his real colors based on private (no videos cameras allowed) meetings, and that independent voters would accept his “I’m not running on that issue” attempts to deflect probing questions.

    Now the tea bag party doesn’t think he’s one of their own? I guess they weren’t invited to the private functions during the 2008 elections.

    But I really think it’s simply a question that Rossi hasn’t come out like Palin does, and stroked their egos. They want someone who validates their fears, tells them how important they are, and how they are the vanguard that’s going to effect a policy change throughout the entire country. Anybody who doesn’t kiss their tail enough isn’t going to get their endorsement.

    Ironically, it’s the Tea Party that’s creating an evironment for a real third party, made up of Republicans who reject the tea party extremes and want a return to the old, sensible Republican Party. The party that believed in real fiscal responsibility, and rejected intrusions into personal liberties. But neither the Tea Party nor the current Republican Party fit those definitions.

  12. 12


    Maine’s GOP just adopted the Tea Party platform.

    I’ve got two relatives who are baggers. I keep hoping their hysteria/paranoia wears itself out. Like a three year old’s tantrum before a much needed nap.

    Keeps not happening.

    When I’m feeling less optimistic, I sometimes wonder if this corporate funded propaganda hate mill is the beginnings of a more dangerous right wing populist movement. The kind of stuff that David Neirwert (wikipedia, Orcinus, Crooks & Liars) has been chronicling for so long.

  13. 13

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    @12…not sure how this is any different than the 8 years of tantrums by the progressives during the Bush years….

    people sure have short memories…

    with that said, if you are an incumbent during the next election, you should be nervous..

  14. 15


    rhp @ 11

    Whereas the GOP is the party of “No!”, I don’t think the “beliefs” of the Tea Party can be so easily summarized. I don’t think they themselves know.

    I think this is the Maine GOP Tea Party platform. It’s just a rant dressed up a bit like our declaration of independence.

    I’ve asked some baggers what it is they’re upset about and tried discussing it. It’s pretty much just an incoherent rant.

    I understand outrage. We suffered with Bush The Lesser for 8 years. But in both caliber and scale, this bagger stuff has jumped many a shark and left reality but a fading memory.

    What does an Tea Party neutralizing strategy look like?

    Being fact-based isn’t a winner.

    The Left’s messaging generally sucks. And even if we did have better messaging, we don’t have the money or juice to get it out. (Example: Saudi owned FOX News just rejected an ad from Vote Vets.)

    Maybe mobilization of our side is the winner. MoveOn, and others, have been doing pretty good work in this regard.

  15. 17

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    @16….wow, you went 0-2 in one post…great job.

    how did I defend the Bush Admin? I just correctly pointed out that there tantrums and moon howling of epic proportions by the progressives and their wackjobbery friends from 2000 to 2008.

    assumption fail.

  16. 18


    rhp @ 9

    as the control of the party moves from experienced Republican lawmakers to talk-radio provacateurs and the fringes of right-wing reactionism.

    I just read a bit where the “moderate” Republicans were lamenting the Tea Party provocateurs: while baggers can do outrage, they don’t know how to run campaigns.

    I so hope they’re right.

  17. 19

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    @15…you are finally correct at something: yes, the lefts messaging sucks…because the message itself sucks.

    the delivery and the content in this case both leave something to be desired(and avoided).

  18. 21

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    @20….wow, you are now 0-3.

    you cant even keep track of how many times you fuck up. well done.


  19. 22


    Puddy/Pudge/Cynical @ 19


    The Left’s messaging sucks because it’s mostly grass roots and underfunded. Poll after poll show the American people support progressive policies.

    The Right has a $500m budget to develop, test, market, and push deceptive messaging to fool people to act against their own self-interest.

  20. 23

    Michael spews:


    I’m so glad I’m not the only one that made that connection. I can’t wait for the yard signs to go up.

  21. 24

    Michael spews:

    The Tea Baggers are going to have an effect on the fall elections by forcing the GOP to spend what little money it has on getting incumbents though their primaries and by push electable moderates out of the general elections. They’ll help more Dem’s than R’s get elected.

    Baggers might pick up a seat or two, but those seats will be held by clueless people who are incapable of working with others, will get nothing done and will be voted out of office in short order.

  22. 25

    lauramae spews:

    I’m surprised that any whack job tea bag nut case would support Rossi at all. Not only is he pretty mainstream he is an enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Tribe of Alaska. Baggers don’t like Indians. Just ask the Klown

  23. 27

    PassionateJus spews:

    @ Queen Christine

    So, how long did YOU serve in Iraq?

    Bush was a disaster, especially for the veterans of this nation.

  24. 28

    Capt. Binghamton spews:

    The more the media touts the resolve of the ‘baggers to vote out the Dems in ’10, the more they make certain that Dems will get out and vote.

  25. 29

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    25, did not know that Dino Rossi had some Native American in him. Very interesting.

    Also, earlier I mentioned something about Utah’s Republican Party Convention and Bob Bennett’s ouster. Turns out their was some fireworks at the Utah Democratic Party Convention as well. Their incumbant in the Utah 2nd Congressional District, a Blue Dog, and son of their last Democratic party governor, did not get the 60% for his nomination, so it goes to the primary. His opponent? An ex-Mormon, and Great, Great Grandaughter of Bringham Young. She is also a open Lesbian, that might hurt her chances, but Salt Lake City is a surprising city. How much of a challenge does she represent? Matheson is a Blue Dog that at times keeps the party leadership at arms length in election years. I believe he stayed away from the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and it was in the next state over! He has held the 2nd District since 2001, and it was Republican before that.

  26. 30

    FricknFrack spews:

    @ 5. EvergreenRailfan

    I noticed that you mentioned Shannyn’s site, looking for what they said about the Gulf oil volcano.

    Did you see the update to Moore Up North tonight, usually we only get them on Saturdays? She had a panel re: lessons learned from Exxon Valdez. Excellent show, well worth watching. Heartbreaking, but educational.

  27. 31

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    I mainly listen to the radio show via podcast. It was not the first time she mentioned what happened to the Mayor of Cordoba. Very sad.

  28. 32

    ArtFart spews:

    The neocon/GOP leadership might be sticking to the principle that the more divided the country is, the more Republicans seem to get elected. It’s a sort of “lite” version of Hitler’s “divide-and-conquer” principle stated in Mein Kampf.

    On the other hand, maybe they’ve decided to put the pedal all the way to the metal and let the whack jobs push the nation to the brink of civil war, figuring there’s some way they can seize power in the chaos and do away with such inconveniences as the Constitution altogether.