The (Opposite) Tea Party Effect, Pt. 2

By Josh Feit July 2, 2010

In late May, I posted a theory that Tea Party candidate Clint Didier would actually help, not hurt (as the Democrats seem to be hoping), establishment GOPer Dino Rossi.
I believe the Tea Party will have the opposite effect and will actually help Rossi. Here’s why:

Didier is going to make Rossi look good (moderate) to the mainstream public. Instead of alienating the GOP base, Rossi’s scrap with Didier is going to attract moderate Democrats and Independents who want change, but not Krazy change.

Didier will make those important moderate voters feel comfortable with Rossi in time for the general.

So when the Seattle Times had the scoop on Wednesday that a hardline pro-life group had done an anti-Rossi video, my spidey senses started tingling. Was I totally right? Was the pro-life video actually a plant by the Rossi campaign to show moderate, independent voters that he wasn't an extremist?

There was no contact info on the group's website, the brand-new Facebook page seemed suspicious, and we couldn't track down Mary Emanuel, spokeswoman for the Washington Life Coalition.

However, it turned out Emanuel is for real.  She lives in Woodinville, she's been the regional spokeswoman for a real anti-choice/pro-life group for some time, and her new anti-Rossi project is legit.

I talked to Emanuel this morning to ask her why she would work against Rossi, when clearly he's more in sync with her views on abortion than Sen. Patty Murray. Wasn't she helping Murray? (PubliCola had a minor scoop last month when we got the famously reticent Rossi to speak candidly about his position on abortion, which is diametrically opposed to Murray's.)

"I'm not a political tactician," Emanuel said. "Our position is to speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may. There's an assumption that this is just a race between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray, but the political reality right now is that this is a race between Dino Rossi and Clint Didier and Paul Akers [a Bellingham entrepreneur and another conservative Murray opponent.]"

She would not say if the Washington Life Coalition supports Didier or Akers.

But she did say more ads are coming. "We're not done." Emanuel called the ads a "freelance effort," and said she wasn't raising money for her cause.

As for Murray, Emanuel said: "She's a radical when it comes to abortion. She supports the murder of children 100 percent."

Then she reconsidered: "I guess she's not a radical. A lot of people in America agree with her. She's not an aberration."
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