Friday, December 31, 2004

Rossi should forego the letters to Grinchoire and just see her in court

Republican Dino Rossi on Wednesday urged his Democratic rival in the closest governor's race in state history to join him in calling for a revote, the latest twist in the topsy-turvy contest. "The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn't just bad for you and me - it is bad for the entire state," Rossi said, reading from a letter he said he sent to Democrat Christine Gregoire. "People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election."

I was finishing up at the end of the day Wednesday when I heard Rossi make this announcement on Seattle's KVI radio. All I could do is shake my head and chuckle. I guess it makes for a nice little PR gesture, but this whole post-election process has not been about "niceness," it's been about power.

As I have written on previous occasions, after election night Rossi found himself in the worst of all possible positions (save for getting blown out). He was a Republican in a "blue" state with a lead far too miniscule to withstand the inevitable Dem cheating that was warming up in the on-deck circle. At that point he had a choice: take the "high road," avoid the Dems' gutter tactics, and hope that lead would hold; or fight fire with fire and do all in his power to protect his victory.
He opted for the former, and proceeded to watch helplessly as his Grinchian foe buggered him out of his hard-won prize. State election law makes no provision for any additional recounts, and while it does allow for a new election to be ordered, there's no way that either state courts - which, as we have seen, are heavily Donk - or the state legislature, which now has Dem majorities in both houses, are ever going to put the governorship up for grabs again now that their candidate has it firmly in hand.

And, as you might have expected, Grinchoire balked, chortling through a spokesman, "It's irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don't like losing this one."

Except, of course, that Rossi didn't "lose this one." He won it and had it stolen away from him. And if the hand recount had somehow preserved Rossi's lead, you can bet your belt buckles that Grinchoire would be demanding a new election, and that the Dem state establishment would have been quick to give it to her.

But then, as the oldest principle of warfare teaches, "know your enemy." Rossi either didn't or wasn't prepared to do what it took when the time came, and he paid the price for it. Or, put another way, he "didn't want it enough." Now he's reduced to issuing pathetic letters that earn him public ridicule that, to my thinking, damages his public image far more than just contesting this travesty in court ever would.

In his remarks Wednesday evening, Rossi said that he'd be calling for a new election even if he had won the hand recount. And you know something? I believe him.

No wonder Grinchoire mugged him so easily.

And, no doubt, will repeat that performance four years from now.