When Progressives Fight Back: Object Lesson In Washington
For years, progressives have been at a singular disadvantage when it comes to the money/media infrastructure needed to wage effective political campaigns. Here in Washington state, we’ve seen that manifested in the free ride afforded the building-and-development industry’s lobbying arm, the Building Industry Alliance of Washington, which has run amok waging negative smear campaigns against Democratic candidates and bolstering their own hand-picked Republican, Dino Rossi.
This year, progressives are fighting back. They’re armed with $2.4 million in cash.
And oh, the mewling that’s resulting makes Doug and Wendy Whiner sound thick-skinned.
Today’s Seattle P-I carried a report about it:
Independent from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s campaign, the newly formed Evergreen Progress PAC is flooding the airwaves with attack ads designed to tear apart Rossi’s carefully crafted public image.
"We have a pretty hard-hitting message about Dino Rossi, about what he’s done in the past, what his record is and what we think that translates into in terms of policy on issues that people care about," Evergreen Progress Committee Chairman Rick Desimone said.
Up to now, the Building Industry Association of Washington’s committee ChangePAC has been the major force behind gubernatorial independent expenditures, but with $2 million contributed thus far this election cycle, it is a runner-up to Evergreen Progress.
"It makes us look like a Chihuahua," BIAW spokeswoman Erin Shannon said.
Desimone said Evergreen Progress is a direct response to the BIAW’s independent political actions — nonstop attacks on Gregoire.
Evergreen Progress is funded with money from the Service Employees International Union, the state employees union and the state teachers union, among other sources.
It’s the union’s involvement that has the right up in arms. Because, you see, whoever is governor is going to be negotiating state labor contracts.
Nevermind, of course, that whoever is governor is also going to be setting environmental standards, revising tax codes, and handling a multitude of issues that are the BIAW’s meat and potatoes too.
It’s only when their interests are at stake that negative campaigning is allowed, evidently.
The best thing about the Evergreen Progress ads: They’re not nasty — unlike the BIAW’s ads. They’re factual (which also distinguishes them from the BIAW). And they’re effective. (Ditto.)
When progressives fight back — and especially when they do it well — they win. As we saw in Tuesday’s primary, Rossi is not gaining on Gregoire at all, but rather losing it. And these ads probably have a lot to do with it.
One’s heart bleeds for the BIAW, too. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folks.