Why Not Clint?

With the election results last night showing Republican voters in the northeast rallying behind their more extreme candidates, I’m left wondering what was so different about our own primary. On the surface, it seems like all of the same parts of the equation were at play. Clint Didier was endorsed by Sarah Palin, had enthusiastic support from the most motivated Republicans, and was certifiably nuts. In Delaware and New York yesterday, that trifecta was a recipe for success. But here, it only translated into 12% of the vote in the primary. What was different about Washington? Was Didier not as sophisticated a campaigner? Was the Washington GOP more effective in making electability the focus? I’m not really sure what the answers are, so I’m posting this as an open-ended question. I’m very curious why Didier couldn’t catch the same wave that Paladino and O’Donnell did.

Comments

  1. 1

    spews:

    I would say the answer could be ejukashun. Republicans in Washington may be more ejjumikated.

    Just ask a Tea Bagger what they would do to create jobs, and then watch them pee their pants. I bet the most likely answer would be to make masturbation illegal, if you asked the new Delaware candidate.

  2. 2

    Zotz sez: Puddybud is just another word for arschloch spews:

    The Teahadists in this state are a paper tiger. The tell was the last election — R-71 and Timmeh’s TABOR soundly defeated. If there was any there, there it would have been then.

    Intentionally speaking ill of the dead: Ellen Craswell’s wackjob constituency is the Tea Party, meaning we got our anti-crazy innoculation a while back, although dead ender virus particles still cause occasional harmless flare-ups.

  3. 3

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Tea Party folks are trying to harness anger at the current economic situation, and blame it all on the “incumbents”. In general, that serves them well because most incumbents are Democrats (at least, for the last year and a half). Of course, it’s not rational, any more than it would be rational to fire the firemen who are putting out the fire because their proximity suggests that maybe one of them was responsible for starting the fire?

    This strategy is similar to the 1994 campaign for “term limits”, which argued that Congressmen and Senators should be dumped out of office just because they had been doing a good job there for a long time. If you are the minority party, the odds work in your favor with such an argument. But suddenly when the Republicans were in a majority, you couldn’t hear a peep from them about the “problem” of people staying too long in Congress.

    But the problem for the Republicans in this election is that the first targets of this anti-incumbency trend is that it bowls over established Republicans in the primary, who are getting just as much blame for the current situation as is being directed at the Democrats. Instead of being able to rely upon a number of “safe” seats, the Republican party is finding itself fighting hard for what is now an “open” seat, with Tea Party candidates who won’t appeal to the independents in the middle.

    But here in Washington state, Rossi didn’t fit the incumbent mode. He had several advantages Republicans didn’t have.

    (a) He hadn’t held office in quite a few years, having lost his last two attempts at the governor’s seat. His last public office term was so short it’s hardly worth mentioning.

    (b) His short career in public office doesn’t leave much of a record against which the Tea Party folks could focus their campaign.

    (c) Desipite not having been in office for most of the last decade, Rossi has built up a huge name-recognition factor in Washington state, being arguably more well known than former Republican governors here.

    (d) Rossi did collect a loyal following among those who might have been otherwise tempted by the Tea Party politics in his two runs for governor.

    (e) Rossi’s been a master at being able to reassure the potential Tea Party folks that he’s really one of them, but letting them know he can’t really say so because he needs to keep quiet to win the general election. He has done so without getting caught on tape making actual statements to that effect.

    In short, a slippery real estate salesman with no record makes a better Republican candidate than an established Republican politician.

  4. 4

    Mr. ed spews:

    Voters also probably realized Didier wouldn’t make it through the top 2 primary. If we had a system here in Washington where only registered Republican or Democrats could vote in their primaries, he would have been much better off. This is different than the system we had before the top 2, as anyone could vote in either primary, as long as all of their votes were in that one party.

  5. 5

    spews:

    I think, Lee, that one of the big factors was our stupid-ass to-two primary. I don’t think Didier would have won either way, but he would have had a better shot in a closed primary system like Delaware’s.

  6. 6

    slingshot spews:

    Didier wholeheartedly embraces masturbation. That left him limp and flaccid in the eyes of his fellow T-baggers.

  7. 8

    spews:

    @3
    I’m curious about the comparison with Rick Lazio though in New York. I guess I don’t know much about Lazio, but he strikes me as being similar to Rossi in a couple of the points you make.

  8. 9

    Alki Postings spews:

    @3 “But suddenly when the Republicans were in a majority, you couldn’t hear a peep from them about the “problem” of people staying too long in Congress.”

    Golly forgot about that. When Bush was President, and Congress was Republican, I don’t remember that coming up AT ALL! Does someone remember a bill be proposed to create term limits? Was it stopped by the minority Democrats or did that campaign slogan bullshit idea just get dropped once they were in power? SHOCKING!

  9. 10

    spews:

    @3
    (e) Rossi’s been a master at being able to reassure the potential Tea Party folks that he’s really one of them, but letting them know he can’t really say so because he needs to keep quiet to win the general election. He has done so without getting caught on tape making actual statements to that effect.

    And yeah, I think this is a good point, possibly the heart of the matter.

  10. 11

    Matty spews:

    I think the 13% was the double-whammy of being a nutty AND from being in Eastern Washington. While most tea party candidates aren’t getting explicit support from the Republican party–they’re often not be challenged or ignored by them. I think the nexus of the Washington Republicans (think Western Washington) really REALLY didn’t like Didier.

    In fact, Didier tried to skip them and go national with Palin and the Senate leadership.

    That didn’t translate very well back at home where we tends to distrust our Washington much less than the other Washington. If it weren’t for the nearby growing Tri-Cities…Didier probably wouldn’t have even done as well as he did.

    Teapartiers are just handing D’s where unified R’s might have one. Y’all should be thanking Didier. ;)

  11. 12

    spews:

    I suspect the main thing is the closed primary. Open primaries tend to bring in more independents and moderates so it’s harder for extremists like O’Donnell or Didier to gain traction.

    Name ID probably helped her as well since she’d run before and is something of a local celebrity. Most of us except the most die-hard of football or alfalfa fans knew who Didier was. Rossi starts out that primary with a MASSIVE advantage. Plus all the media coverage when we were in the “Will Dino Run” phase of the camapign.

  12. 13

    ArtFart spews:

    @3 The same “virtues” that helped Rossi through the primary are likely to work against him the general election. His total record as an officeholder consists of a term and a half as a state Senator, in which his greatest accomplishment appears to have been taking the credit for Helen Sommers’ work on the budget and then bailing out to launch his first unsuccessful bid for Governor.

  13. 15

    spews:

    @14
    No, he hasn’t. Although I’m not sure if it even matters. Didier really isn’t of much consequence in this race any more. And I think that explains why the party leaders like the top-two primary. It keeps folks like Didier away.

  14. 16

    ivan spews:

    Lee @ 15:

    “Party leaders like the top-two primary” is about the dumbest, wrongest, ass-backwards statement I have seen on this blog from anyone not named Puddybud, Troll, Lost in a Sea of Blue, or manoftruth.

    Both parties are suing to overturn the god damn thing, and you’re telling us they LIKE it?

  15. 17

    PassionateJus spews:

    If this state had a closed primary Rossi would have had to at least campaign against Didier and debate him, at the very least.

  16. 18

    JoshB spews:

    I’m very curious why Didier couldn’t catch the same wave that Paladino and O’Donnell did.

    Because voters in western WA are stupid.

  17. 19

    spews:

    @16
    I humbly stand corrected, and I made the same error several weeks ago in an Effin’ Unsound post. Although I must admit, I’m baffled as to why the party leaders don’t like it. It guarantees that third-party folks can’t pull a Nader and cost a major party candidate a victory.

  18. 20

    Don Ward spews:

    Because contrary to the media label, Clint Didier was never the choice of the Washington state “Tea Party”. If you ever spent any time actually, you know, talking to the local Tea Partiers you would have found that 1) they were ambivelent about all of the 11 or so pre-Rossi candidates and 2) if forced to a decision they seemed to favor Dr. Art Coday.

    Didier was also basing his campaign on social issues, abortion, hence is take-my-Redskins-game-ball-and-go-to-Eltonia approach to not endorsing Rossi because Dino thinks that there should be an exception in cases of incest and rape.

    The Tea Party, on the other hand, is more interested in fiscal issues and controlling the growth of the federal government. Which mirrors the Rossi campaign.

  19. 21

    spews:

    @20
    The Tea Party, on the other hand, is more interested in fiscal issues and controlling the growth of the federal government.

    Um, no. This is a pure falsehood. The Tea Party is not interested in fiscal issues and they have little interest in controlling the growth of the federal government. The average Tea Partier is far more in favor of using government to enforce immigration restrictions, abortion restrictions, drug laws, and to use the military to achieve objectives abroad.

    If the Tea Party was so interested in those issues, then how come they’ve been nominating people like Christine O’Donnell and Carl Paladino, whose campaigns have only provided lip service to the ideas of limited government, but have been largely focused on waging a culture war? What happened in Washington is not in line with what happened in Delaware and New York. The question is why.

  20. 22

    Don Ward spews:

    Lee,

    The local, Washington state Tea Party movement, from all the times I’ve interviewed the folks involved in it (about a dozen times) seems primarily focused on fiscal conservative issues. Every speaker at every rally that I’ve covered has spoken about controlling spending in D.C. and Olympia. Not once has the topic of abortion, gay rights come up and rarely any other social issue. Hell, it might please you to know that there’s element of folks in the local Tea Party who feel that marijuana should be decriminalized.

    If the Delaware or New York Tea Partiers have different priorities, well that’s their get out, and it just goes to prove that the Tea Party movement isn’t a single, astroturf monolith but has its own variants, opinions and goals from region to region.

    The question of why has been anwered. Whether your prejudices and preconceptions prevent you from seeing it is your own problem.

  21. 23

    Lee spews:

    @22
    I completely agree that there are variations of the Tea Party movement, and it’s possible that the local Tea Partiers in this state could have a different mindset than Tea Partiers elsewhere.

    That said, I do read a lot of local right wing blogs and my perception has been that local Tea Partiers generally are like much of the others from around the country.

    And what that has turned out to be are people who confuse the idea of socialism with the trend towards multi-culturalism. They are people who only believe in limited government because of a belief that government is what’s to blame for the demographic changes they see in their communities.

    These people will talk until they’re blue in the face about both the Constitution and small government philosophy, but when pressed, only a small percentage actually understand these concepts. The rest are parroting nonsense from people like Beck and Palin.

    The bottom line is that I’ve not seen any part of the U.S. where the Tea Party movement is about limited government. It’s about fear that America’s growing diversity is a threat and that government is not doing the right things to prevent it.