Christine Gregoire, A Tragedy in Two Acts

Obama’s up 10 points in Washington State, but Gregoire’s running dead even with Rossi, 48-48. Eli Sanders asks:

What’s that about?

Now, I may be an unfrozen caveman lawyer, but what I do know is that the Guv stopped governing a couple of years ago, afraid that if she actually did anything, Rossi might use it to run against her this fall. I elaborated on this back in January:

The deluded thinking seems to be that Rossi and the state GOP will look at one another and say, “well boys, there’s nothing to run on this year, so we might as well pack up our bags and hand this one to the Democrats.”

But of course, in reality, the GOP will do no such thing. The more ground that Gregoire/Chopp concede, the more Rossi will advance, pushing the whole state agenda farther to the right, despite the fact that Democrats control both houses AND the governorship! To call this infuriating would be an understatment.

It didn’t have to be this way. When she was first elected, Gregoire took her puny 127-vote victory and, Bush-style, turned it into a mandate. Even David Broder was impressed. But then she got quiet, running to the center and otherwise abdicating leadership on a whole host of issues (Viaduct, anyone? Sin taxes? Kowtowing to Eyman??). Now all she can do is hang on to Obama’s coattails for dear life and pray for another squeaker. It’s tragic, really.

This puts someone like me in a dilemma. I don’t want to reward this behavior. But if I don’t vote for the Governor, and she loses, then the message that our spineless Democratic caucus will take away is that they need to run further to the right to try and win independents and retake the state. But that’s absurd, as Al Gore, John Kerry, Maria Cantwell, and Patty Murray have shown (and as Barack Obama will show next month). Real Democrats win in Washington every time if they just act like real Democrats.

The Governor’s very smart. Why this is lost on her is… well, it’s lost on me.