Cross posted at Respectfully Republican
Awhile back, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times focusing on the apparent absence of Gov. Christine Gregoire from the political and newsmedia spotlight. I remarked (somewhat snidley) that it was hard to discern whether her noticeable absence was a "trick or treat" (alright, alright, it was a dumb Halloween pun).
Of course right after Ron Sims was re-elected, there she was again! Poof, right back in action. (See e.g. Election Night Party at Westin Seattle or better yet, King5 Video and the Seattle PI Election blog captures the same sentiment) My musings about Gregoire's PR strategy seem to have been validated, that is Ron Sims took a page from Al Gore's "failed" playbook. Essentially Gregoire kept off the Sims Happy Bandwagon campaign trail, as an appearance might have sparked backlash against Sims. (My hypothesis was that Gregoire is still followed by storm clouds, and Sims couldn't afford any more rain on his parade) Then again, the personal trash traded between Gregoire and Sims in the 2004 gubernatorial primary is still steaming.
Another interesting media strategy is that of Sen. Maria Cantwell. She's up for re-election in 2006, and it looks like she's finally decided to put up the flag in Washington (state). Today's story in the Seattle Times highlights "comprehensive oil-spill legislation" that Cantwell plans to propose. In my best political estimation, Cantwell will try and sell herself as a "leader on energy and environment issues". She'll try and use her media debut as a Meth Fighter to her advantage as being "tough on crime". And then there's Tech Central's ultra-sizzling expose` of The Senator From Windfall.
But much like Gregoire, where has Cantwell been hiding out--especially in the past six years?!? Despite 772 press releases about her "work for Washington state", I'm skeptical-- at best--about her ability to effect change in this state. Why you ask? Because six years is a long time to wait for someone to "find their voice". We can't afford to have a "back-bench" Senator, we need someone who'll take the lead--someone who doesn't just fly the flag around election time.
Some have speculated that the Seattle media helps "lazy" or seemingly voiceless politicians get re-elected. I think in Cantwell's case, having the MSM help usher her back into office is anything but a sure bet. Her own party knows she's vulnerable, and I think we'll see a strong challenger emerge (in either Mcgavick or Hutchinson). Cantwell had better not be counting on the media to come through in the clutch; the treatment in today's paper was benign at best.
Take for instance this important counter-point allowed in by the Seattle Times:
Frank Holmes of the Western States Petroleum Association said much of Cantwell's proposal appears to duplicate what is already going on or to require additional, unnecessary protections.
It's not everyday that the Seattle Times allows in viewpoints that contradict the liberal Washington Senate Delegation. Cantwell had better open the checkbook.
(PS - Senator Cantwell's website is pathetic - Are we still living in the stoneage?)