Given Dino Rossi’s refusal to detail his stance on reproductive rights (or just about anything) I’ve taken to speculating recently on what an imaginary conversation on the subject with Rossi might sound like. I suppose I could’ve just tried asking Rossi directly, but given my past failures to get his campaign to respond to me through formal channels, I didn’t see much of a point.
Well, Josh at PubliCola did recently ask Rossi some Yes or No questions on choice, and surprisingly, Rossi provided answers. Not surprisingly, the answers were all “No.”
Specifically, Josh queried Rossi on seven pro-choice vs. pro-life votes Sen. Patty Murray took since 2000, and Rossi confirmed that in each case he would have voted the opposite. Plan B? No. Privately funded abortions at overseas military bases, for any reason? No. $100 million to reduce teen pregnancy through education and services? No.
You get the point.
Rossi nearly won in 2004 because the Gregoire campaign and the state Dems did not do a good enough job of shattering the moderate image he crafted for himself in that race. That’s how Republicans win statewide in Washington: by presenting a blank slate to voters on controversial issues in an effort to convince enough independents and soft-Dems that they’re a different kind of Republican. And every Republican running statewide (or King County wide) ever since Rossi’s near victory, has attempted the same tabula rossi strategy.
But the problem with refusing to define yourself — you know, Rossi’s “I’m not running on that issue” approach — is that you give your opponents the opportunity to define you for you. And unlike Gregoire circa 2004, that’s an opportunity I don’t expect the Murray camp to miss.