The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

10 May 2006

Connelly: Irresponsible Pelz

Today's column by the PI's Joel Connelly toasts state Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz for hampering his own Senate candidate's candidacy. Pelz was quoted in the Seattle Times as saying that Sen. Maria Cantwell's campaign is failing her party's lefty base. He complained to DNC Chair Howard Dean about it, as well. What exactly is Pelz trying to do? Cantwell already suffered some drop in polls (both in approval rating and in matchups with Mike McGavick -- unless you buy what Elway is peddling) due to anti-war activists dogging her campaign, and now the face of her state party is making things worse.

This highlights two things: that Pelz, as I suspected from the start, cannot separate himself from his roots with the Seattle left, and that Democrats are becoming more interested in ideological purity than getting elected. When Pelz was first chosen to be the new state chair, I had suspicions that he would struggle with exciting partisans outside Seattle who are more moderate than he is. That is why I supported Laura Ruderman for the position, all despite being a die-hard Sam Reed fan. Pelz's inability to think outside the box has the potential to hamper Democratic candidates elsewhere in the state. Secondly, and even worse, this whole villification of Maria Cantwell mirrors Republican tactics elsewhere in the country with these issue litmus tests meant to root out moderates (or even mainstream liberals like Cantwell). Republicans going after pro-choice, pro-gay rights, or pro-environment party members is no worse than Democrats going after pro-life or pro-Iraq War party members. If Democrats here, and I know it's a very loud fringe group doing this -- even if their boy is the state chair -- are serious about keeping the Senate seat, gaining seats in the legislature, and knocking off Dave Reichert, they need to tolerate some forms of moderation in their ranks.


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