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.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday at the Races

Darcy Burner is making Dave Reichert look like a fencepost, but she didn't get early media buys from the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) according to the Fix at the Washington Post. Nor did Washington's 8th District make it into the top 20 of seats most likely to change party.

Other lists are different. Burner does appear on other DCCC media target lists, according to the AP and appears on the DCCC'S "Red to Blue First Wave" (at the top, too, because her name begins with B)

The 20 most likely to change are listed at the bottom. A lot of the strength of candidates early on is gauged, sensibly enough, by how much money they raise. Democrats -- including Burner -- are doing well.

That's fine. But what does the money really mean? First, it means devoted partisans get more than one vote, and these folks may not represent the district at large. Second, it means we are going to see massive and negative media all over October. Third, it means that people who are getting paid off -- like Doc Hastings in Washington's 4th District -- show up ahead of legitimate contenders like his Democratic opponent Richard Wright.

Having family in South Dakota, I am familiar with the brain death that is caused by too much money in campaigns. When Thune ran against Daschle as part of the GOP's most blatant hit last election, yard signs in Rapid City were the size of billboards. The nightly news was a few minutes of weather and sports squeezed in between attack ads. Every day enough campaign literature arrived in your mailbox to paper a dog pound. It didn't lead to a very rational election.

Doc Hastings who sits (and looks) like a potato in Central Washington may not have to run any kind of campaign. By ignoring his opponent Richard Wright, Democrats are allowing Hastings not to run. Doc covered up the most corrupt Congress in modern history in his position as House Ethics Committee Chair. He held the door open for the disastrous Medicare Part D drug fiasco. Do elections hold people accountable? I continue to hope so. And can Doc really stand on the House Republicans' platform to criminalize immigration in the highly agricultural 4th? Not likely.

Is there any way to inoculate the electorate against too much money in politics? Probably not, at least not completely. But we'd better try. The Republic and its electorate can't make good choices based on 6 weeks of Shock and Awe leading up to its elections.

The Fix's top 20 and who gets them is below:

1. IA-01 D
2. CO-07 D
3. AZ-08 D
4. OH-18 D
5. PA-06 D
6. IN-09 D
7. CT-02 D
8. FL-22 D
9. CT-04 D
10. IN-08 D
11. NM-01 D
12. IA-03 R
13. KY-04 D
14. NC-11 D
15. IL-06 D
16. NY-24 D
17. PA-07 D
18. VT (at large) R
19. VA-02 D
20. IL-08 D

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