Tag: Republican

McMorris Rodgers for Vice President? Yes, You Should Give It a Second Thought.

As former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to push forward toward a possible win of the Republican presidential nomination – riding on concurrent double-digit victories in this week’s Florida primary and Nevada caucuses—all politicians not named Romney are preparing for “the question.”

The query from the political beat reporters has many variations, but goes something like this: “If asked, would you accept an invitation to be the vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket?”

Last week, the question was put to Republican House Conference Vice Chair and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-5), the highest ranking Republican woman holding federal office who some are now suggesting has an outside chance of making it onto a longer list of potentials for the VP slot.

Will Rahn of The Daily Caller asked McMorris Rodgers about her feelings on a VP possibility during a blogger call last week. The four-term congresswoman responded that she had not given much thought to the question, had not yet spoken to any of the candidates, but ultimately left the door open in the case that the presidential candidate were to signal interest. From The Daily Caller:

For now, though, McMorris Rodgers is staying coy about her vice presidential prospects.

“It’s hard for me to imagine the nominee would actually approach me, you know?” she told TheDC when asked whether she’d consider taking the job. “I think I’ll just leave it at that, and we’ll see where it goes.”

If the Republican Party is looking for a historic gesture to under-served communities—women and blue state voters—offering McMorris Rodgers a spot below the president on the ticket could kill two birds with one stone.

Since the Evergreen State was granted statehood in 1889–a span of 123 years this November–the U.S. has held 40 presidential elections, 21 president and 25 vice presidents have held office, but the major parties have not recruited a presidential or vice presidential candidate from Washington State, despite its economic and geographic standing as an anchor of the Pacific Northwest states.

In recent elections, even the states of Wyoming and Delaware (3 electoral votes each) have had their turns, for political advantages not related to electoral math. Why not Washington with its 12 electoral votes and recent trends indicating the voter biases for Democratic candidates has begun to reverse?

With McMorris Rodgers storming the campaign trail, Republicans might hope to pull the Washington further into play, but it may also be one avenue for Republicans to make a second run at the ones that got away in 2008—female voters.

McMorris Rodgers displays all of Palin’s spirit on critical issues relating to budget, defense, and the economy without the bombastic character—a conservative reformer with a finely-honed ability to bridge political divides by listening and taking the pulse of the voters.

McMorris Rodgers also brings an impressive portfolio of achievements to bear. Her outreach work and personal affiliation with working women and military families has attracted widespread attention and praise. She has been a consistent voice for fiscal sanity, and is one of the leading proponents in the House for the passage of a balance budget amendment, and was the first member of Congress to warn about the fallout from using U.S. taxpayer-backed funds in any bailout of the European economic crisis.


[photo credit: republicanconference]

Republican Field Narrows to Single Candidate in WA-01 as Watkins Endorses Koster

When this week began, three Republicans were in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat. Yesterday, the field narrowed to two, and a Friday evening announcement from another Republican means that Snohomish County Councilman John Koster is riding solo against a pack of Democratic hopefuls.

Greg Anders was the first Republican to withdraw on Thursday. Today, James Watkins spent the day calling key supporters before he announced his own exit from the race and a full-throated endorsement of Koster, a vote of support Koster enthusiastically embraced by naming him as his King County chairman.

“James and I both love this country, and we believe unapologetically in American exceptionalism,” Watkins’ official release quotes Koster as saying. “We both agree that this election will be about real job creation and restoring common sense to the process in Washington D.C.”

Watkins suggested that an epiphany of sorts was partially responsible for his decision to step aside.

“A few weeks ago, I heard a venomous radio ad from one Republican Presidential Candidate attacking another…,” Watkins wrote in an email to supporters sent prior to his public announcement. “If we’re going to fix America, we can’t afford that kind of garbage.”

The leader of the State Republican Party concurred and embraced Watkins decision to endorse.

“It is a sign of strength within our Party when quality candidates come together in the interests of Party unity and victory,” said Kirby Wilbur, State GOP Chairman. “James Watkins’ selfless act will help John Koster and the Republican Party win this race in November.”

Watkins personally delivered the news to a room full of attendees at the three-day Republican Roanoke Conference in Ocean Shores, Wash., and received warm support on the Koster.

By phone, Watkins told me that his decision was a difficult one, but that the choice boiled down to wanting to give Republicans a clean shot during what he feels is a crucially important election year in our nation’s history.

The exit from the 1st Congressional District race may not be the end of the road for Watkins, however. Inside chatter indicates that party leaders are interested in recruiting the business consultant to run for the open office of state auditor. The retirement of incumbent Democratic State Auditor Brian Sonntag has many Republicans nursing the loss of a critical ally in the movement to promote government accountability and efficiency.


[photo courtesy of Koster for Congress]

Rep. McMorris Rodgers Responds to State of the Union, Urges a Return to Fundamentals

On Tuesday evening, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-5) issued a direct response to Pres. Barack Obama’s 2012 State of Union address, restating her commitment to working with the White House and others in Congress but questioning whether Obama’s proposals constituted little more than an effort to recycle ideas that have already produced a record of failure for his administration.

McMorris Rodgers released her audio statement shortly after the conclusion of the Republican response by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, aiming at the host of government-driven policies outlined in the President’s one hour and five minute speech to Congress and the nation, a list highlighted by a tax proposal for increasing the amount paid by wealthier Americans as well as a goal to enlarge the federal government’s stake in so-called “clean” energy technologies.

Read McMorris Rodgers’ entire statement below or listen to an audio recording.

“What I heard from the President tonight was mostly a defense of his failed policies, and after three years of economic turmoil, that is no longer acceptable to the people of Eastern Washington or the American people.

“Instead of promising ‘more of the same,’ the President should have invited Congress to work with him on free market-solutions to revive our economy and put our fiscal house in order.  So far, House Republicans have passed 27 jobs bills which take this ‘back to basics’ approach, but the Senate refuses to consider them and the President ignores them. That is not leadership.  Last week, the President’s own Jobs Council released a report validating many Republican ideas on job creation – including tax reform, regulatory relief, and expanding domestic energy production.  Those ideas can be the basis for bipartisan discussion and action.  But as we saw with the recent Keystone decision and tonight’s speech, the President has decided that while jobs can wait, his campaign cannot.

“Despite the current challenges, I remain hopeful that Congress and the White House can still work together to solve our nation’s problems.  This will be an important session of Congress, and I pledge to do my part to find common ground, change the direction of our country, and keep the American Dream alive for the next generation.

“I will also be using this session of Congress to advocate for bipartisan initiatives directly focused on Eastern Washington, including bringing the KC-46A tanker to Fairchild Air Force Base, completing the North Spokane Corridor, and passing my bills to expand Graduate Medical Education in Spokane and bolster hydropower production.”


[photo credit: WashingtonSRC]

Conservative Columnist Stephen Hayes to Keynote 3rd Annual Roanoke Conference, Jan 27-29

For the third year, Republicans from across Washington State will meet in Ocean Shores, Wash. for the Roanoke Conference (January 27th-29th, Ocean Shores Convention Center). The three-day paid conference – an intentional mashup of a working weekend and social gathering – will feature many highlights, including the annual conference dinner Saturday evening and a keynote address from incisive conservative columnist Stephen F. Hayes of The Weekly Standard.

Hayes has written extensively on the GOP presidential nomination process and issues relating to the economy, the budget, and taxes, and conferencegoers should anticipate hearing his educated insights on how Republicans in Washington State should work to capitalize on national trends.

Last year’s keynote speaker, former White House press secretary and Fox News political commentator Dana Perino, gave a glowing report about her experience spending time with Republicans on the Left Coast.

“I loved being at the Roanoke Conference last year. It had all the makings of a great weekend – substance, enthusiasm, and lots of fun,” Perino said.

Perino didn’t miss an opportunity to elevate expectations for her successor on the Roanoke dais.

“This year’s speaker, Steve Hayes, is right up there with one of the best speaker’s you’ll ever hear,” said Perino.

When Washingtonians think of a great place for a winter season getaway, Ocean Shores rarely springs immediately to mind. The ocean beach town is a warm and vibrant setting for frolicking in the summer season, but in late January the term “nightlife” describes local nocturnal fauna, not after-hours entertainment, and the odds of coming back from a walk on the beach with frostbite are astronomically higher that returning with a suntan.

For Republicans, specifically, driving to Ocean Shores – situated in the heart of Grays Harbor County –means venturing into a Democratic stronghold, a place where early radical unionizing in the U.S. caught fire and kicked off the first Red Scare. Waikiki it is not.

Yet for the past three years, The Roanoke Conference has drawn hundreds of Republicans to Ocean Shores for a single purpose – to get away from familiar surroundings and have a robust and honest conversation about how to do politics smarter, win more elections, and make better policy.

This year, Republicans will compete in a governor’s race and a presidential election, will have a chance to unseat an incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator, and have a new set of opportunities in congressional and legislative districts because of redistricting. Many see 2012 as the best chance in a decade to regain a sliver of control in the state’s congressional and legislative representation, and the Roanoke Conference could not come at a more important time.

Good Ideas Are Brewed, Not Made

The original concept for the Roanoke Conference was born a half-decade ago over beers at The Roanoke Inn on Mercer Island, a brainstorm that organizer Steve Buri transformed into buzz around the idea of creating a retreat developed for the purpose of creating bonds among an up-and-coming generation of active Republicans.

For political junkies, Roanoke can be a euphoric experience, the kind that becomes the genesis of long-term ties. Luminaries from Washington’s conservative political galaxy mingle with grassroots activists and students, all of which occurs during a program hardwired for robust, honest, and collegial discussion and made possible by a well-blended program that mixes equal parts social interaction and political conversation.

What TED—the dynamic Technology, Entertainment, Design conference—is to the business and creative worlds as a place where boundaries and formulaic thinking are not only ignored but verboten, and the ideas that will determine the future of entire industries are simultaneously disseminated and germinated, it can be said that the Roanoke Conference is to the formulation of political ideas and strategies among Republicans and conservatives in Washington State.

If attendance is any indication, the formula is working. In 2010, roughly 220 made it to the first Roanoke Conference. Last year, the number topped 300, and organizers say that current registration is on a pace to set a new Roanoke record.

It’s no surprise that last year, Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times described the Roanoke Conference a “must-attend event” for Republican leaders. Not withstanding the hard work of a dedicated all-volunteer organizing board to promote and plan a three-day event, the success of Roanoke could be owed to its embracing of argument as a vital engine of political success.

A Forum for Healing Political Stretch Marks

Political parties are constantly in a process of revival – reconnecting with core values to address constantly changing circumstances and events. The fight ensuing between Republicans vying for party’s presidential nomination is one aspect of partisan soul-searching played out on a national stage, a process the great conservative British prime minister Margaret Thatcher embraced famously saying, “I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.”

The design of this year’s Roanoke Conference agenda would make Iron Maggie proud, designed not as a passive event for listening to the opinions of other, but for giving every attendee the opportunity to add their thoughts to the marketplace of ideas.

Moderated debates, roundtable discussions, and expert panels dominate the Saturday schedule and conferencegoers can participate again in a straw poll of the Republican presidential field at the conclusion of Roanoke Sunday morning.

For the first time, Roanoke will also host two debates between Republican congressional primary opponents in the 1st congressional district and the new 10th, a unique addition to the program that will be the first chance many activists will have to judge the options in those two critical races.

The race for the 1st congressional district seat vacated by Congressman Jay Inslee in his bid for governor will be closely watched by pundits after recent redistricting made it one of the most balanced political districts in the nation. Already, five Democrats and three Republicans have announced to run for the seat. Republicans James Watkins and John Koster are running in the 1st and have already accepted the invitation to participate in the Roanoke debate. Organizers are awaiting confirmation from Greg Anders.


[photo credit: Gage Skidmore]

Who’s Afraid of the Race Card in Washington State? Maybe Democrats, For Now.

If dictionaries catered to all of our senses you would look up “redistricting” to see a picture of pillow, smell the aroma of warm milk, and hear the white noise of gently lapping ocean waves on the beach. To put it another way, it’s not a scintillating topic for those fortunate enough not to be obsessed with politics.

Even to those political junkies who get leg-tingles reading tax legislation, covering redistricting is more akin to a slow boat ride with Janet Napolitano. Using the word twice here in the first paragraph, I’m taking a serious risk that many readers won’t be with us when we get to the second paragraph.

Yet developments earlier this week in Washington State’s redistricting process continue to stimulate interesting questions about a possible role reversal in how Republicans and Democrats perceive minority concerns about fair representation.

The tipping point for my own interest being activated (perhaps yours, as well) came upon hearing a Democratic commenter admonish minorities that they be careful not to “shoot themselves in the foot.”

The comment came after the four members of the State Redistricting Commission revealed their maps for drawing Washington’s ten congressional districts after 2011 at a Tuesday morning public meeting in Olympia, Wash. For those who haven’t been following the redistricting process in Washington, some background is appropriate.

For several months earlier this year, the State Redistricting Commission heard a unified appeal from minorities and those advocating on their behalf at public forums across the state. Minorities made it clear that better representation from election officials is needed and the creation of a new congressional district in King County was universally cited as the appropriate first step toward achieving that goal.

The district proposed by minority voting groups would be a “majority-minority” seat, meaning that minorities would constitute a majority of the population according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Shock and surprise, however, when the redistricting commissioners presented their maps to the public on Tuesday. Both of the Commission’s Republicans situated a majority-minority district in King County, but only one of the Democrats chose to follow suit.

After maps had been unveiled, the meeting opened up for public comment, a session that led off with several people of color and people representing people of color, all of whom reiterated the complaint that they had not received adequate representation and ardently desired a King County district with a majority-minority demographic makeup.

At that point, Marianne Lincoln, a Bethel School Board member (though Lincoln made it clear she was not speaking only as a citizen), sat before the microphone to offer her view of the proposed majority-minority congressional district, an opinion that at moments sounded like a snippet from Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: [Watch video to right.]

“A thought came to me as I’m listening to all these people talking about the majority-minority district. There’s a lot of them, and they seem to be very well-organized. I also tend to lean toward the liberal side or the progressives, and so I favor a lot of what they believe in.

“But I also feel that when you put all the horses in the corral, the cows have the field to themselves and I don’t believe it’s a good idea to take a lot of minority people put them in one district and dilute every other district around them that may otherwise have more progressives … I want to remind them not to shoot themselves in the foot doing that…”

Wallace Webster, citizen, offered a response to Lincoln’s statement a few minutes later, informing the room, “We have not had a foot to shoot.” [Watch video to right.]

Webster may have been alluding to the fact the there has never been a majority-minority congressional district in Washington State. In that sense, creating one would be breaking new ground.

[The videos of the complete comments made by Lincoln and Webster are posted at the bottom of this article for context.]

Whether the patronizing attitude implied by Lincoln’s statement was unintended, as it perhaps was, the insinuation that minorities would be better served by putting their individual concerns behind the greater need for partisan unity was less ambivalent.

The redistricting experience has the potential to leave a very bad taste in the mouths of minorities, many of whom may already be disenchanted with the track record of Democratic leadership at all levels of government. Identity politics can only function if a voter delegates control of their identity to the politicians; it requires some level of voter satisfaction.

But is there a real schism in the soul of the Democratic Party in Washington State? Could Democrats, torn between a key constituency – minority voters – and the need to solidify Democrat districts in advance of an anticipated Republican election year in 2012, have misplaced their moral clarity?

Or is it a simple case of Democrats taking minorities for granted and not listening to the content of their complaints?


Watch Lincoln’s full comments here:

Watch Webster’s full comments here:


Reagan and Jefferson Tag Team Obama on Debt Ceiling Debate in New GOP Video

The smoke-and-mirrors attempt by Pres. Barack Obama to make it seem as though all 43 presidents before him – including Pres. Ronald Reagan – are crawling from their graves to stand in his corner in the debt ceiling debate would be great satire if it were not actually happening.

Like clipping letters from magazines to paste together a ransom note, Obama has been doing some fancy quote-lifting from past tenants of the office he now sits in. But the same presidents whose words are being twisted by “44” may have the last say in the debt ceiling debate courtesy of a video produced by House Republicans. The Gipper gets to speak for himself and if one presidential opinion on budget philosophy is not enough, Thomas Jefferson gets his licks in as well.

Take a look:


[photo credit: Creative Commons]

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