Dino Rossi: Modeling Blue State Success in 2008

The very notion that a Republican gubernatorial challenger is competitive with a Democratic incumbent in a decidedly left-of-center state this election year is unusual.  Yet, that is the feat Washington state Republican Dino Rossi has accomplished.  His campaign offers a blueprint for other Republicans to follow in a challenging electoral environment.

Inspire the grassroots

The lack of enthusiasm for John McCain among GOP activists is well-known nationally, as is to a lesser degree the painfully close 2004 Evergreen State Governor’s contest that ended only after a controversial and contested recount.  Thus, while local conservatives may not be inspired by their Presidential choice, they are motivated to work on behalf of a Republican closer to home.

That last point is fueled in part by the late breaking success of Rossi’s 2004 run, in which he chased down the established front-runner’s languid campaign in the closing weeks.  Christine Gregoire was the odds-on favorite in the race.  Few observers on either side of the aisle predicted a close race a few months before Election Day.  Consequently, many Republicans didn’t do all they could to support Rossi’s candidacy – particularly in retrospect.  Now, gatherings of the Republican faithful have a palpable enthusiasm to avoid a repeat of the 2004 nail biter.

Be Relentlessly Positive

Rossi came from political obscurity to almost Governor in 2004 by running a campaign infused with his affable, optimistic personality.  He maintained a constantly upbeat persona while running against the Democratic status quo in Olympia.  Even while criticizing the lack of leadership in the state capital and the missing economic vision in a state lagging the then-unfolding national economic boom, he always appeared more problem-solver than government hater.

This year, even as Washington has avoided the same housing and economic angst affecting other parts of the country, Rossi has continued that positive vision.  While never shy about pointing out what has gone wrong the last four years in Olympia, he invariably keeps the focus on what the next Governor can do to improve the state.

Speak to the Issues Voters Care About

Recent election cycles have shown voters in Washington, and especially the greater Seattle area, having little trust in Republicans on issues like education and transportation, even as those topics became top issues in suburbia.  Indeed, local Republican legislative candidates have struggled to speak to such policy topics with skill.

In contrast, Rossi came out of the gate last October with a kickoff speech immediately speaking to voter concerns on education and transportation, as well as public safety and the state budget.  Since that time he has laid out a more comprehensive transportation plan (the Puget Sound region is the worst metro area in the country for lagging transportation infrastructure).  Plans on other issues will be rolled out in coming months. 

The key being that the agenda is infused with conservative ideas such as incentives over mandates, opposition to tax increases, supporting merit pay for teachers, etc.  At the same time, it speaks directly to state policy topics at the top of voters’ minds - even as the status quo, Democratic establishment has a record of inaction of key issues.

The Fruit Thus Far

The above factors have combined to show Rossi polling within the margin of error in multiple independent surveys; again, an amazing feat in this election cycle.  Moreover, Rossi has already surpassed the number of contributors to his 2004 campaign (30,745).  Today he announced his 34,000th donor to this year's campaign, 65% of of which didn't give in the previous contest. 

Dino Rossi may or may not win this year.  He still has to topple a Democratic incumbent in a blue state while swimming against a negative Republcian tide.  Yet, his success thus far in even being competitive is a testament to the fact that principled Republicans running smart campaigns can win this year - even in some of the toughtest environments.


Washington GOP Against Anchor Babies

This weekend, the Washington State Republican Party adopted a platform which includes a provision aimed at oppossing automatic citizenship for babies born in the United States to illegal immigrants. While it is nice to see the Republican Party adopt a platform that coincides with their Conservative base, it remains to be seen if this is merely rhetoric, or if they actually intend to act on it. Some of the positions of the party leaders within the State lead me to believe no actions will be taken on the issue.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the state’s most prominent Republicans, said he doesn’t support banning automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants.

“We have more than 200 years of history in which children born in the U.S. are deemed U.S. citizens,” said McKenna, before reading the platform language. “What matters is where the children are born.”

Not all delegates attending the convention support the position, either.

“The Constitution says that if you’re born in the United States you’re a U.S. citizen,” said Scott Workman, of Sequim. “I’m not willing to change the Constitution. If we’re going to let them in and they’re going to have babies here, then they’re U.S. citizens.”

Both of these statements are factually incorrect and I am dissapointed hearing them come from high ranking Republicans. The Constitution does not stipulate that citizenship is determined solely by the place of birth. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside".

I had addressed this last year when I wrote about the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007, affirming that it is a common misconception that place of birth is the sole determining factor to citizenship.

In ELK v. WILKINS, 112 U.S. 94 (1884) the Supreme Court ruled:

The main object of the opening sentence of the fourteenth amendment was to settle the question, upon which there had been a difference of opinion throughout the country and in this court, as to the citizenship of free negroes, (Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393;) and to put it beyond doubt that all persons, white or black, and whether formerly slaves or not, born or naturalized in the United States, and owing no allegiance to any alien power, should be citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside.

This section contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two sources only: birth and naturalization. The persons declared [112 U.S. 94, 102] to be citizens are 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.' The evident meaning of these last words is, not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction, and owing them direct and immediate allegiance. And the words relate to the time of birth in the one case, as they do to the time of naturalization in the other. Persons not thus subject to the jurisdiction of the United States at the time of birth cannot become so afterwards, except by being naturalized, either individually, as by proceedings under the naturalization acts; or collectively, as by the force of a treaty by which foreign territory is acquired.

This definition put forth by the Supreme Court was taken from the Slaughterhouse cases which ruled:

The phrase, "subject to its jurisdiction" was intended to exclude from its operation children of ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign States born within the United States. (emphasis mine)

Those who cross our borders illegaly cannot be legally defined as falling under the complete political jurisdiction of the United States, without first accepting the legal ramifications of breaking our immigration laws. If the childrens parents were not subject to the political jurisdiction of the United States at the time of birth, the children should not be granted automatic citizenship according the the Fourteenth Amendment.

The sole intention of the 14th Amendment was to gaurantee citizenship to freed slaves, and was not meant to adress citizenship of foreigners, in fact the author of the Amendment, Senator Howard specifically stated he intended to exclude aliens:

“This amendment which I have clarified is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already..[It] does not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors, or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of person. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States.”

The Republican party should remind the American people of those words.

Environmentalism - wrong in so many ways

Wired magazine, known for it's zealous focus on the latest crazes, takes a look at the latest environmental craze and what people think they should do about it. They don't actually look at the validity of the anthropogenic issue or the dire consequences debate, but at least they add a little bit of objectivity to the climate of climate change.

Putting aside the absolute lie known as 'the coming ice age'. And ignoring the food shortages and high prices caused by biofuel mandates, not to mention the slashing and burning of rain forest in Brazil because of their extremely high biofuel mandates. And forget for a moment the economic impact on the timber industry because so-called scientists failed to realize that spotted owls will fornicate anywhere (they just happen to prefer old growth forests the way hippies prefer rock concerts). The list goes on, but lets ignore all that for the moment. I'm starting to wonder which will be the next abject failure of the environmentalist movement.

I'm addressing this to the local liberal set who go crazy over the crazes. Since they're like most liberals they never really think things through. Let's hope that this gets them thinking instead of reacting to whatever bright ideas blow their way.

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