Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fear is the answer

Today's P-I has a story detailing a Republican PAC's unveiling of a cable TV ad that will run heavily in the south part of the WA-8th CD. It exploits the current new sex offender legislation debate, and attacks Democrats as being against harsher sentencing rules. Washington House Republicans tried to ram their reactionary bill through the legislature, but were blocked by Democrats, who are working on their own sex offender legislation.

What is behind all this sudden rancour over tough sentencing laws? The strategy employed by the Republicans is designed to lay the groundwork for the re-election of Dave Reichert to the 8th CD. It uses a fear issue to portray Democrats, and by extension any Democratic congressional candidate, as being soft on crime. By inference, it helps bolster Dave Reichert's "He's the Sheriff" image by supplying him with a solidified rural base in the south part of the 8th district who tend to vote values over self interest, like most rural Republicans.

It is good, tough politics by Washington state Republicans, who are certainly feeling the pressure from their Party leaders to keep the 8th CD seat. The question of the day is, how will the Washington state Democrats respond to this tactic?

The Washington Democratic Party, preparing to install a new Chair, must act swiftly, decisively and skillfully to this move. Can it do so? If not, we risk losing traction in the crucial south end of the 8th district at a key moment.

There must be a targeted reponse in the south end of the 8th CD that exposes the Republican stunt as a fear tactic. This response must also trumpet the Democratic Party's committment to the safety of families and communities by underlining our support of law enforcement, and detail the fact that the Democratic sex offender legislation will in fact be better, stronger, more effective. In short, take the high ground in the values debate, confront the wedge issue, offer a better solution.

Republicans are delivering this cable ad to the 8th CD swiftly with the sense that the Democratic Party will be slow, unsure and lackluster in responding to this campaign tactic. Are they right?

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