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.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

WA State GOP executes sick political stunt

Just when you thought they could sink no lower...they do.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more Rovian than it already does.

The Washington State Republicans have executed a political stunt that is so nasty, despicable, and sickening that past dirty tricks pale in comparison. This stunt is downright filthy as can be.

The Speaker’s Roundtable, a front organization for Washington State Republicans, have set up a slick, sick campaign to target Democratic legislators, claiming that Democrats want to protect sex offenders and not innocent children. They're going all out, with TV ads, robo calls, and this:

Here's what the Republicans did:

On Day 1 of the session, House Republicans launched the party's first offensive. They tried to hijack the Democrats' jealously guarded right to determine the agenda and timing, demanding immediate consideration of a tough GOP bill to greatly expand punishment of sex predators.

The point politically was to paint Democrats as soft on crime and themselves as the victim's friend. On the issue itself, the Republicans wanted to shame the Democrats into showing greater urgency and to beef up the version that Democrats were sponsoring.

They knew full well that virtually all legislation goes through committee first, for public hearings, amendment and policy debate. If a price tag is involved, as there clearly is in this case, the measure then goes to a budget committee. Then it routes through the Rules Committee, the final gatekeepers before consideration by the full body.

That takes days or weeks, not hours.

Republicans lost the preordained vote, but scored on the political Richter scale. Soon "robo-calls" were flooding telephone lines in key swing districts and radio and cable TV ads were right behind. The message was that Republicans favor strong penalties and the Democrats "refused to have a vote on the issue. ... Tell the Democrats to protect children and not violent criminals."
These tactics are beyond cheap and beyond shameful. This mudslingling is so vile and dishonest that it's unbelievably difficult to counter with the truth.

This is a deliberate attempt to extract Republican legislative victories. The Republicans don't have a real agenda or real solutions for Washington State, so they have to play dirty if they hope to have any kind of advantage in next fall's elections.

The Republicans don't seem to actually care about helping victims of awful crimes. Instead, they're looking for something to hold over Democrats' heads. As Rep. Dunshee explains:
Democrats say it has become a matter of one-upmanship.

"Whatever we do on sex offenders, the Republicans will want to do more," Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Arlington, told The Herald newspaper. "If we want to hang them, they'll want to hang 'em and shoot 'em. And if we want to hang them and shoot them, they will say they want to hang 'em, shoot 'em and electrocute 'em."

Rep. Al O'Brien, a retired beat cop who heads the Criminal Justice Committee, said "The bottom line is, can we protect the kids? If you're out there just to do political stunts, this doesn't cut it."
The posctard image from above is courtesy of VanBlog, a project of Vanguard, Vancouver's only source of alternative news, politics, arts, dining and entertainment.
One of VanBlog's writers is Jon DeVore, who used to write Columbian Watch (which all of us at NPI miss, we're very glad to see him blogging again). Jon has been working pretty hard on this story. Here's an excerpt from his most recent post:
In the course of reporting that story for the next issue of Vanguard, due out Jan. 26, I learned that the Speaker's Roundtable, the GOP political action committee responsible for the assault on Democrats, has sent a post-card style mailing into at least three districts, including one aimed at Democratic Rep. Deb Wallace of the 17th District. My sources tell me that the office of 28th District Rep. Tami Green (D-University Place) reports a similar mailing. There may be and probably are others.

I've seen a lot of offensive things as a participant and observer of politics, but this is one of the most vile things I have ever seen.
Now, here's where things get even more disturbing, if that's possible.

This morning, DailyKos user Buckethead21 updated his Kos diary with a postcard that looks almost identical to the one we just showed you above. Except this postcard is targeted at Rep. Bill Grant of the 16th District, which includes Walla Walla.

How can the same sex offender live in both Clark and Walla Walla Counties, which are over a hundred miles apart from each other?

Oh, and by the way? Seems the person who's pictured in that mailer isn't a registered sex offender...certainly not in Deb Wallace's district. Jon DeVore reports again:
I did have someone sit down and go through ALL of the Clark County Level II and Level III sex offenders (the ones there are pictures for) on the state web site. ( He found NOBODY that even remotely resembles the person in the mailer in Clark County.

I personally went through every photo of someone listed for “rape of a child” in Clark County myself today, with no matches.
The Republicans are apparently making up fake sex offenders to use in their disgusting postcards. Did they think they weren't going to get caught in a lie? Or do they just not care? The Republicans aren't just dirty, but they're stupid as well.

As we get more information and more images of these despicable postcards, we'll update this posting and possibly add another post.

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