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.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dave Reichert isn't running a clean campaign

In 2004, when Dave Reichert first ran for Congress as a Republican, he famously displayed both his hotheadedness and his lack of political experience when he abruptly walked out of a candidate forum at the Mercer Island Rotary Club.

Reichert said he left because he was offended by direct mail critical of his Republican credentials from his primary opponents, including Diane Tebelius and Luke Esser, and brushed off criticism that he had a "glass jaw".

Afterwards, at the time, Reichert said this:
"I want to run a clean campaign, I want to talk about the issues. Today I'm making a statement. And I think that the only way for this to stop is someone has to stand up and say it's wrong, it's absolutely wrong."
Oddly enough, two years later, Dave Reichert has forgotten all about that pledge. He's the one running a negative, dirty, mean-spirited campaign. And what about his desire to "talk about the issues"?

In the Seattle Times sponsored debate earlier this month, Reichert did not show a firm grasp of the issues. He couldn't even answer all the questions. As he said, he's "not familiar" with media consolidation.

He's confused about Net Neutrality. He says he's still "investigating" whether global warming is caused by human activity...or not. He struggled for months trying to decide whether to support stem cell research.

On other issues, such as the war in Iraq or taxes, he repeats Bush talking points laced with bragging about his political experience or his career in law enforcement.

Dave Reichert said two years ago he wanted to talk about the issues. But he can't talk about them, even after nearly two years in Congress. Evidently all those years of public service did not adequately prepare him to represent the people of the 8th District. That must be pretty embarrassing.

And he's clearly forgotten about or is no longer interested in "clean campaigning". Just look at his ads. Set to bizarre music, they paint a glowing portrait and are filled with boasts about experience. The major issues facing our country are given a low priority while false attacks against Darcy Burner are prominently featured, purposefully and dishonestly designed to scare the electorate.

Reichert's most recent ad insults career women in what his campaign says is supposed to be humor. It's pathetic, sloppy, and derogatory.

There's nothing funny about the ad and there's nothing funny about the problems facing America right now. Problems that this Republican Congress and Dave Reichert have either created or made worse.

Two years ago, Dave Reichert said:
"I'm disappointed that there are a couple of people who are on this stage with me today that decided that it's more important to mislead and misinform the public, and as we refer to the dirty politics across the country and in our community and in our state, I, for one, am sick and tired of it."
Reichert's disgust with dirty politics didn't last long. This year, rather than condemning scare tactics, fear mongering, and attempts to deceive voters, he has without hesitation made such schemes the centerpiece of his campaign.

It's about time somebody called him out on his double standard.

No, Dave Reichert isn't standing up and speaking out against negative campaigning - he's engaging in it. Instead of denouncing the NRCC's gutter-style attacks, he's copying them in his own paid media!

Two years ago, he said what he's doing now is "absolutely wrong". So why is he campaigning this way? Evidently the forceful public promise made two years ago meant nothing then and means nothing now. Reichert has decided that holding on to power and winning elections are more important than staying true to his word.

Two years ago, Dave Reichert said:
"This is all about guts...this is about me standing up and telling people like it is."
But the actual truth is that Reichert has no "guts" at all. He's weak minded. If he's so gutsy, why isn't he running a positive campaign?

Why isn't he bucking politics as usual?

Reichert's mean-spiritedness isn't just limited to his advertising or rhetoric. After a recent joint appearance with Darcy Burner sponsored by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, Reichert refused to shake Darcy Burner's hand, or thank moderator Connie Marshall. He just turned, slunk away, and left like a bitter coward.

Maybe his handlers have pushed him to approve the ads he did, to talk about Darcy in the demeaning way he has. After all, he's admitted his friends pushed him into politics and pushed him into the Sheriff's office. He's publicly admitted it, just as he's admitted he gets orders from his masters in Washington, D.C.

In 2004, he accepted the resignation of his political consultant, Bruce Boram, because Boram had been orchestrating a series of nasty attack ads paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to smear a Democratic candidate for Attorney General - Deborah Senn. Why? Because Reichert didn't want somebody advising him who was engaged in dirty politics.

Yet Boram has remained on Reichert's campaign payroll. So far this cycle (2005-2006), Boram and his company, Catalyst Consulting, have received over a whopping $145,000 from Reichert's campaign. Close to $30,000 has gone to the similarly named "Catalyst Group" in Washington, D.C., for the same thing - political consulting. You can look it up at the Center for Responsive Politics. Catalyst Consulting is number one on the expenditure list.

Boram has also served as a spokesman for Reichert, and was quoted in Roll Call in an article just last April (this year) as saying:
"The 8th is a swing, Democratic district," concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. "Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote]."
Dave Reichert just wants to stay in office, at any cost. The House Republican leadership needs foot soldiers, and Reichert is willing to serve.

Party loyalty supersedes all else - Reichert's confessed as much. He's confessed the leadership tells him when it's okay to vote against the party, so they can protect him.

The voters of the 8th District clearly cannot trust Dave Reichert to run a "clean campaign" or represent them with honor or integrity. Reichert runs a sleazy operation and he doesn't care.

Dave Reichert talks a fine talk...of moderation, independence, thoughtfulness which Frank Blethen's editorial board is eager to buy. But Reichert doesn't walk the walk. His actions do not reflect his claims or his promises.

Dave Reichert and George Bush

Dave Reichert is happy to have George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Tom DeLay come out here to Washington State to raise money for him. They all have in the last three years.

Bush, Gingrich, and Rove were here in the last six months. Despite this, Reichert wants us to believe he's independent and thinks for himself.

If he can think for himself, why can't he raise money for himself?

Why does he need the help of Republican bigshots at private, lavish, closed-door fundraisers, over and over and over again, just to stay competitive with Darcy Burner's surging grassroots campaign?

The Republican agenda has been a catastrophe for America. Our state and our nation cannot afford rubber stamps like Dave Reichert who do the bidding of the Bush White House and its congressional cronies.

The 8th District should not be represented by a lying hypocrite who does his best to hide the truth and sell himself as something he's not. The 8th District is Democratic, but it is not represented by a Democrat. It's time for that to change. Voters have a choice. They can vote to stay the course with Dave Reichert, or vote to head in a new direction with Darcy Burner.

It's telling that Darcy has run a powerful, inspiring and uplifting campaign while Reichert has resorted to gutter-style politics in violation of his own pledge two years ago to not participate in negative campaigning.

While Darcy has talked about the issues, Reichert has slimed her, insulted his constituents, abused his franking privileges, broken his promises, and proven that he is not fit to represent Washington's 8th.

Dave Reichert isn't running a clean campaign, nor has he demonstrated that he deserves to be in the U.S. House of Representatives. We strongly urge voters to ensure that Reichert's first term will be his last.

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