Saturday, November 06, 2010

Patty Murray's victory is rich with lessons for Democrats

-- by Dave

Whew! Our friend Sen. Patty Murray has managed to pull out her re-election:

Murray's win over Republican Dino Rossi was confirmed Thursday as tallies pushed her lead to about 46,000 votes out of more than 1.8 million counted, or about 51 percent to 49 percent. About three-quarters of the expected ballots had been counted in unofficial returns.

Though many ballots still await processing, but an Associated Press analysis determined Murray's lead would be insurmountable.

"Now we have to get to work," Murray said Thursday night. "I want to make sure Washington state has what it needs to get its economy back on its feet." Rossi conceded defeat.

Of course, it's tempting to simply gloat over Rossi's loss, which is now his third straight narrow defeat for statewide office. Considering what a slimy git he is, one can't help being relieved that he is finally probably all done, washed up in politics after striking out a third time. But hey -- considering his record, maybe we shouldn't be so eager. After all, he could become Washington's own mini-version of Harold Stassen and run again in two years for Maria Cantwell's seat. Go for the Golden Sombrero, dude!

But there are more important lessons to be drawn from this. The first and most important: Murray won not by running away from progressive Democratic values -- unlike the Blue Dogs and other Democrats who got wiped out Tuesday night by trying to proffer up Republican Lite agendas -- but by avidly embracing them.

She campaigned with President Obama. Moreover, she sturdily defended her work on the health-care reform and Wall Street reform bills (both of which Rossi wanted to overturn). And she stood behind the fact that she is good at bringing home the bacon for her home state.

Republicans -- particularly Karl Rove and Co. -- poured millions into this race, saturating the airwaves here with nonstop lying ads attacking Murray. The result: A huge wave of angry Seattle voters who turned out en masse on Election Day and voted over 65% for Murray.

(Incidentally, many of these same lessons were to be found in Raul Grijalva's victory, too.)

Meanwhile, over in Idaho -- where Walt Minnick had been ardently courting people who would never in their lives vote for him as long as he had "Democrat" attached to his name, and even going so far as indulge in such blatant Latino-bashing that he got endorsed by white nationalists -- the results were predictable.

The lessons of 2010: If you're building majorities based on electing people who won't even stand behind the party they got elected with, then it's probably not worth having. Progressives need to identify real progressive candidates and get behind them -- and eschew the easy Rahm Emanuel path that eventually leads to disaster.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

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