Rodney Tom schemes....
Rodney Tom schemes....

EDITOR’S NOTE: After this post was pub­lished, Dino Rossi’s cam­paign removed Rod­ney Tom’s name from its list of endorse­ments, with cam­paign man­ag­er Andrew Bell telling The Seat­tle Times’ Jim Brun­ner that Tom’s inclu­sion was “a mis­take”.

For his part, Tom told The Stranger over the phone: “I nev­er offi­cial­ly endorsed Dino Rossi. He’s a Repub­li­can and I’m a Democrat.”

Nev­er offi­cial­ly?

That’s a tac­it admis­sion that Tom at least dis­cussed an endorse­ment of Rossi’s can­di­da­cy with Rossi’s cam­paign or oth­er Repub­li­can offi­cials. And that makes sense. Oth­er­wise, why would Tom’s name have been on Rossi’s endorse­ments list to begin with? Tom obvi­ous­ly does­n’t have a prob­lem with enabling mil­i­tant right wing Repub­li­cans, but has appar­ent­ly cal­cu­lat­ed that a pub­lic endorse­ment of Rossi would jeop­ar­dize his cred­i­bil­i­ty with vot­ers in the 48th District.

Our orig­i­nal post follows:

Six years ago, when par­ty switch­er and shame­less oppor­tunist Rod­ney Tom struck a deal with Repub­li­cans to deliv­er con­trol of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate into their hands, he insist­ed that he was still a Demo­c­rat, even though he’d just proved through his actions that he’d become a born-again Republican.

Since that time, to prop up his claim that he is still a Demo­c­rat, Tom has empha­sized that he sup­ports Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates and caus­es at the fed­er­al lev­el. For exam­ple, he told The Seat­tle Times back in the spring that he sup­port­ed Hillary Clin­ton for Pres­i­dent in 2016, and he has long com­plained that Dave Reichert bad­ly rep­re­sents Wash­ing­ton’s 8th Dis­trict in Congress.

(In 2007, for six weeks, Tom was even a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date for Con­gress run­ning against Reichert, but he end­ed his cam­paign after decid­ing he sim­ply could­n’t com­pete with fundrais­ing pow­er­house Dar­cy Burner.)

Yes­ter­day, how­ev­er, Tom’s name appeared on the list of endorse­ments unveiled by Dino Rossi, who is mak­ing his fourth bid for high­er office after being defeat­ed twice by Chris Gre­goire for Gov­er­nor and once by Pat­ty Mur­ray for the U.S. Senate.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists prob­a­bly won’t find this a very sur­pris­ing development.

After all, Rod­ney Tom enabled mil­i­tant, right wing Repub­li­cans to turn the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate into a grave­yard of progress for half a decade; then, after leav­ing the Sen­ate, he teamed up with some of Tim Eyman’s wealthy bene­fac­tors in a failed attempt to smear two of the incum­bent pro­gres­sive jus­tices seek­ing reelec­tion to the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court. It’s only log­i­cal that Tom now wants to enable Repub­li­cans like Rossi at the fed­er­al level.

But what about Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers in the 48th? If they’re new to the area or don’t pay close atten­tion, they may not be aware of all this history.

Tom is adver­tis­ing him­self to them as a Demo­c­rat, just like his oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er. Impor­tant­ly, the bal­lots sent to vot­ers do not dis­tin­guish between who has the par­ty’s sup­port (Kud­er­er) and who does­n’t (Tom).

“Prefers Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty” is the label that disin­gen­u­ous­ly appears next to Tom’s name on the bal­lot, despite the fact that he does­n’t pre­fer the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty at all, chose long ago to sev­er his asso­ci­a­tion with the par­ty by betray­ing it, and is con­sid­ered by its grass­roots activists to be an agent of the opposition.

Mean­while, on his web­site (plus the cards that he leaves for left-lean­ing vot­ers), Tom pro­fess­es to be a “social­ly pro­gres­sive and fis­cal­ly respon­si­ble Democrat”.

How­ev­er, Tom’s endorse­ment of Dino Rossi is the lat­est and best proof of all that he is actu­al­ly none of those things.

No one who tru­ly cares about issues like wom­en’s repro­duc­tive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, or gun safe­ty would ever endorse a mil­i­tant right wing Repub­li­can for Con­gress who oppos­es all of those priorities.

No one who tru­ly believes in fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty and fis­cal strength would ever endorse a can­di­date for Con­gress who whole­heart­ed­ly sup­ports the Trump tax scam that Repub­li­cans jammed through Con­gress dur­ing the hol­i­days last year.

And no one who is tru­ly a Demo­c­rat would ever endorse a can­di­date from the oth­er par­ty for the U.S. House. A vote for Dino Rossi is a vote for the sta­tus quo in our nation’s cap­i­tal… a sta­tus quo in which Wreck­er-in-Chief Don­ald Trump has a free hand to con­tin­ue destroy­ing Amer­i­ca’s alliances and essen­tial pub­lic services.

Even pre­vi­ous­ly-loy­al Repub­li­cans like for­mer FBI Direc­tor James Comey and John McCain’s 2008 cam­paign strate­gist Steve Schmidt know this, which is why they’re telling every­one to vote Demo­c­ra­t­ic in the 2018 midterms.

Rod­ney Tom is essen­tial­ly giv­ing any­one who will lis­ten the oppo­site advice: Sup­port Dino Rossi in the 8th Dis­trict in 2018 and ensure the 8th Dis­trict gets a rep­re­sen­ta­tive that is even more pro-Trump than the one it has now!

Again, no true Demo­c­rat would ever do some­thing like this.

But some­one who is des­per­ate to get his old job back at any cost would. Some­one who needs the sup­port of Repub­li­can vot­ers in order to get elect­ed again would. Some­one hun­gry to resume his old pow­er games would. In a heartbeat.

A pic­ture of Rod­ney Tom might as well adorn the dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion of the word oppor­tunist. He is the epit­o­me of the stereotype.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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