The Danger of Blackballing the Moderates

You commenters resurrected an old post and began discussing whether there’s room for moderates in either party. The practice of dredging up old posts is, by the way, awesome.

Here you get two stories about party members being punched from within.

The first is a great read about New York Republican Dede Scozzafava, whose last name has become a verb, thanks to the work on one side by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and on the other by the Obama White House.

The second story relates to U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, who voted against the health care reform bill. The piece points out that Baird hasn’t ruled out supporting the bill in the future, but he wanted information about costs before he would vote “yes.”

I generally don’t like giving away endings, but the last two paragraphs in the first story, the one from the Washington Post, probably sums up best the danger in insisting on party purity tests.

From the story:

Those conservative forces now descend on Florida, where former House speaker Marco Rubio, who on Monday received the endorsement of the Club for Growth, might shove aside centrist Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once on John McCain’s short list for running mate. And Scozzafava has a warning.

“There is a lot of us who consider ourselves Republicans, of the Party of Lincoln,” she said, her face now flush. “If they don’t want us with them, we’re going to work against them.”

32 thoughts on “The Danger of Blackballing the Moderates

  1. It has been very difficult to be a moderate in the Republican ranks in Kitsap County for the past few years I’ve been trying.

    I got a loud and clear message that I wasn’t really considered one of them when I showed up to a monthly meeting several months ago (right before the elections filing period) to hear a committee report that they still hadn’t “found any good candidates for school board in South Kitsap”. The committee hadn’t even bothered to talk to me and my position was one of the two up for election this year. Go figure. Apparently I’m not a good enough Republican to have even been considered a “good candidate”.

    At that same meeting, leadership posed the question as to how we can grow the party in Kitsap County. When I had the audacity to politely say that perhaps it would help if we started being more polite and communicating what we stand “FOR” instead of what we are “AGAINST”, I was subjected to a diatribe from a man about three seats from me that it is “RHINOS” like me that are ruining the party. Again, go figure.

    Is it any wonder that I haven’t made the time to attend a meeting since then?

    Is it any wonder that I’ve heard time and time again from local friends who are similarly minded that they won’t become active in the party because they don’t want to be painted with the very narrow brush that is the current image of the Kitsap GOP. Though, to be fair, it isn’t just a local problem. The ultra-right has a death grip on the party across the country. And I mean death grip in a very real way. It is killing the party to be so narrowly defining the qualifications of being a “real” Republican.

    Uncanny sometimes about the re-capitcha validation words. One of them is “Powell”. Perhaps the party would be well served by listening to moderates like Colin Powell, just like John McCain is willing to listen to Lieberman.

    Kathryn Simpson

  2. I’ve been asked to run for office several times over the years, including since moving here. One is never supposed to say never, but I’ve said so to date given the fractious nature of the county parties encountered.

    As in anything, there are well-intentioned people who have issues and concerns they want addressed. The difference is degree and approach. On both sides of the aisle, and even in between, unreasonable and one-dimensional people can be found.

    For decades, moderates have declared themselves increasingly ostracised or their voices drowned out by extremists. In many respects, they are right. The solution is to insist upon being heard by via their votes, or to form venues more aligned with their values so they can be heard. Until such time, the loudest voices in the room will continue to hold the reigns.

    [Captcha: artworks & citizenship]

  3. There’s absolutely no comparison between what happened to Scozzafava, who was derailed by national wingnut figures like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh interested in their own self-promotion, and Brian Baird’s situation here in WA-03.

    Baird is facing push back from his own constituents, who have watched over the years as he voted for things like bankruptcy reform, the Schiavo madness, the surge in Iraq and now against health care reform. Baird even voted against leadership on a procedural vote on health care reform. While the righties made a lot of noise in August down here, they are not a majority, and Cook has WA-03 as dead even. It’s a swing district. Crazy and loud do not automatically equate with being correct.

    As a progressive in WA-03 I have steadfastly given Baird chance after chance to do the right thing on big bills. With all due respect, if constituents cannot eventually challenge their elected officials after years of giving them the benefit of the doubt, then we might as well just not have elections. There’s always a risk the other party may win a seat, and that’s true in the swing WA-03 whether or not regular people decide to hold Baird responsible for his votes. Nobody is blackballing anybody here, we’re communicating.

    This conventional wisdom about what constitutes a moderate on a left-right horizontal line is an inaccurate perception of the political landscape anyhow. The true nature of the conflict is of ordinary people versus the powerful and the wealthy. We have that diagnosis, if not the same cure, in common with the Tea Party folks. But we’re down with auditing the Fed, for sure.

    Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are powerful due to the concentration of media ownership that built them into figureheads. The health insurance industry that fuels campaigns is powerful. Incumbents are powerful by virtue of being in office. The 65 or so lobbyists for every member of Congress are a symbol of a democracy subverted by money and power to a point of being unworkable.

    Lowly bloggers trying to get their congress-critters to do something about our insane health care system are not inherently powerful, and only move the ball forward when lots of regular folks decide to pressure their elected officials. Far from being paranoid in style, much of the progressive movement is resolutely focused on pragmatism. It’s very sensible to pressure Baird to vote “yes” on final passage, given the Stupak-sepsis amendment might cost 5-10 votes. It’s a recognition that the moment has come to stand up forcefully for getting something down about our completely broken health care system.

  4. Linda,
    Thank you for the link. I will read it over the weekend.

    Well said in “the difference is degree and approach”. I am personally very conservative, but that is by choice. I don’t think it is appropriate to insist that are subject to my choice. Legislating morality is not they way to improve the moral nature of our nation. Morality comes from within. Compliance isn’t morality.

    I think our elected leaders are listening to the voices (and money)that are the loudest instead of doing what they were elected to do… legislate with reason and strategic intent. In a recent comment about another story, I expressed frustration that we are spending a lot more money being reactive because we have forgotten and lost faith in being proactive.

    Leading is not about polls. It is about doing what is best, even if it isn’t immediately popular.

    Kathryn Simpson

  5. In 1972, the Democrats nominated the ideological purist George McGovern for President. In the fall election, his relatively centrist opponent Richard Nixon got 60% of the vote.

    In 1996, the Republicans nominated the ideological purist Ellen Craswell for Governor. In the fall election, her relatively centrist opponent Gary Locke got 58% of the vote.

    In 2006, the Republicans voted out the incumbent county commissioner Patty Lent and selected a more ideologically pure replacement. In the fall election, that candidate lost to a twenty-something candidate running in his very first election.

    The lesson should be pretty clear: the price of ideological purity is quite often lost elections and eventually, irrelevance.

  6. You are right to a certain degree Elliott, but that sword cuts both ways and that lesson was also learned by the Democrats as well here..

    From an opinion piece on ABC news dated August 9, 2006.

    “In the 1960s, the Vietnam War similarly divided the Democratic Party.

    Anti-war Democrats — the writer included — worked and voted to oust an incumbent Democratic president because he had led the nation into a tragic war in Vietnam.

    President Johnson’s outstanding liberal record creating the anti-poverty program, the Great Society social programs, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 were completely ignored.

    The only thing that mattered was the Vietnam War.

    Even in the general election, when the great Democratic liberal, then Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, was the nominee against the hated Richard Nixon, the purist anti-war left spoke openly that it would be better to elect Nixon and “purge” the Democratic Party of the impure pro-Vietnam War moderates and lose in 1968 rather than compromise and support Humphrey, who was overly apologetic about Johnson’s tragic Vietnam War policies.

    Well, the liberal purists of 1968 got a lot more than they bargained for. Beginning with Nixon, the conservative-dominated Republican Party won five out of six presidential elections by landslide margins.”

    Everything comes and goes. Extremists from either side are never going to learn.

  7. Using examples in this state are really not exactly ideal Collen/ For instance John Carlson , a populist somewhat got the same percentage as Ellen Craswell when he ran.

    The republican party in Kitsap Kathyrn is a far cry from the religious right that others speak to here. At least in Kitsap County . Unless property rights is a religion , and it could be to some I guess.

    But if i was a member of the republican party Kathryn as I have stated before , I would not expect those who represent donors and volunteers to support me if I ran , I endorsing Steve from the North end over their present Chair, you endorsing the democrat in your district , was it Kilmer ? Can you give me one example of Kilmer not going with the democratic party line ? I am not challenging your endorsement , just your belief the republican party should support you with money and the time people have donated to promote republican beliefs .
    If I was a donor , and saw them supporting someone who suppported Kilmer or me Steve , I would have to wonder what the party was doing with my money .

    I expect the people who donate their MONEY and TIME to the Kitsap Republican or Kitsap Democratic party to have higher standards of who they choose, they should . They have a responsibilty to support people with the donations they receive who fit their platforms .

  8. Interesting the last time I supported a democratic president was George MCGovern . We have a sad way of condoning politics and beliefs by who “wins ” elections. Especially a tactic used by the fringe who are more concerned of issues and policies that often have effect or support for the majority of Americans.

    Patty Lent seems to be a good fit for Bremerton. But when she ran as a republican she was a moderate with republicans from the start , on social views a liberal . That was known going in and she got support from the party . Hence the discussion needs to be honest when discussing that , but as always it is promoted by goals not related to patty as written here , but on the agenda of making one party look extreme .

    She went back on her promises . If your all about elections and just winning , I guess it does not matter . And many of the people who who unfortunately control most of all politics see things that way. For the sake of the country , even when we disagree I believe we should start leaving those inhibited boxes. Sometimes people goof.

    Her views on property rights and holding government accountable is why she lost the second time , it is why she lost their support from within the party. She already had no base among social conservatives , now she lost the property rights wing which actually has the biggest influence the past few years . Property rights supporters are also pro choice , pro gay rights in some circles , etc. They are the ones that jumped the ship on patty lent , not the social conservatives . Patty was pro choice , and yet still had the full support of the republican party when she ran the first time.

    ,While in office supported organizations such as out reaches for gay youth that needed safe places to stay and be affirmed and mentored .
    Yes most social Christians would have a problem with government supporting that , her voting to use tax payer dollar money and a grant to support that was obviously a social liberals priority, the grant was chosen over groups like the boy scouts, Boys and girls clubs , etc. plus appointing a 50/50 style of left/// right to councils. Nothing wrong with that either , but from a republican party stand point of no qualified volunteers being allowed for years on most councils , the scales of justice seemed to republicans like they were being sold down the river . Understandably to any open mind person I would think would see the point instead of blatantly ignoring what actually happened and play this record of intolerant etc. .

    As a republican or social conservative it would be ridicules to supports as a an example of republican intolerance , that and the Ellen Craswell example. , and its always in an attempt to make the republican party look divisive or small . I could list many things why the republican party is not my party any longer , but the screeching noises of ideologues , and hatefully ones as those who another issue are promoting tolerance and social justice are not valid or useful to the conversation.

    Tolerance is not meant for groups , it is meant for all of us .

    In Tim Sheldon’s district they actual recruited outsiders to try and take him out , he ususally votes with democrats even . Did support Bush , which i did find strange . I find it strange now that i supported Bush . But compared to he ran against I guess ?

    I sometimes wish I had the charisma and educational skills to run for office . Surely the problems needing to be confronted are not being solved by republicans or democrat solutions . I don’t think I am a moderate, but I choose not to dis credit people who have a deep faith in God , left or right , gays , or choose to mock people as I have seen so often by those on the fringes. I think i would actually align up with the democratic party on some of my views now , but just going to a meeting because of the stereotypes and who has the keys to litmus tests would make it quite uncomfortable . I guess I could sit next to Steve,

    Americans are good people.

  9. Mick,

    I think it is very important to point out that I supported Derek Kilmer when he ran against Lois McMahon in 2004. Had the Republican Party given us a candidate that could have been a better legislator than Lois, I would have likely supported that choice. However, when the choice was Lois or Derek, I will support Derek and be vocal about it. If the choice had been Lois or Jim McDermott, I would have held my nose and voted for Lois and been vocal about why.

    Btw, I supported Jim Hines when he ran against Derek Kilmer in 2006.
    Frankly, that is the entire point here. It is all about quality choices. I don’t just vote for Republicans because they say they are Republicans. I vote on who I think will best advocate and capably push forward an agenda that I think is best for our community, our state, and our nation. If the Republican choice is less aligned with my perspective than the Democrat, then the Democrat will get my vote.

    Regarding the Bauer/LaCelle race, if you are being told that I endorsed Steve Bauer, you are very misinformed.

    I also actively supported Tim Mathes in the recent Mathes/Garrido race. I supported Jim Hines when he ran against Derek Kilmer because Jim has the ability to work and play well with others and he is more aligned to my priorities than Derek (though I obviously have a lot of respect for Derek). I was very vocal in supporting Jan Angel, even though I had a great deal of respect for her opponent at the time (Kim Abel). I supported and Marlyn Jensen.

    IF some folks want to toss me out as a bad Republican because I supported Derek Kilmer instead of Lois McMann then so be it. But, quite frankly, I think that speaks volumes to the whole point in this thread. Moderates have no place unless they tow the line 100% of the time.

    A Republican or Democrat who chooses supporting the party platform 100% over their own conscience is not a legislator I want in office. I want people who are like-minded to me, but who also have the capacity to think for themselves and color outside the lines when their conscience and good judgment dictate.

    IF I ever run for partisan political office, I will be very clear about that. Further, I have chosen NOT to accept or be considered for appointment to the Kitsap GOP Executive Board because I will not be constrained by their rule that I will exclusively support Republican candidates. If the Democrats or the Independents put up a better candidate, and they wear a “D” or an “I” at the ballot box instead of an “R”, but are more aligned to my view of the priorities of government and are able to advocate well for that agenda, then they will have earned my vote. That is my right and privilege. The Republican Party should start respecting that sort if integrity instead of squashing it!

    Kathryn Simpson

  10. Colleen,
    You’re correct. The sword does cut both ways. That’s why I brought up 1972.

    I actually felt sorry for Humphrey in ’68. There was such anger at LBJ over the Vietnam War that it carried over his VP, and cost Humphrey the election. When the anti-war Democratic purists took control in ’72, what happened was to some extent inevitable.

    In the seventies we had the left saying “you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem” and losing elections. This decade, we have the other extreme saying “you either stand with us or with the terrorists” and losing elections.

    “its always in an attempt to make the republican party look divisive or small”

    I wasn’t trying to make EITHER party look “divisive or small”. My point was that BOTH parties need the independent voters to win elections. Neither party can win without them. And when EITHER party decides to purge the moderates (as the Dems did in the early 70’s, and as the GOP seems to be doing now), they’re going to lose elections and be shut out from having ANY say in the way the country/state/county/city is run.

    Would you rather have the GOP becoming ideologically pristine and not win another election, or would you agree that half a loaf is better than none, and let the GOP have some say in the decision-making process?

  11. Elliott hits the nail on the head. If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu. I want legislators representing fiscal conservancy and my ideology for local, state, and federal priorities at the table during debate and voting. Because of the extremes, that isn’t happening. So, all fiscal conservatives lose because no one is at the table representing their view?

    Why aren’t fiscal conservatives at the table? Because of the abortion issue, the gay rights issue, or because the extremes won’t support moderate candidates from their own party who dare support someone from the other party once in awhile. So, where we have common ground loses because of where we don’t have common ground. Crazy way to do business.

    Elliott and I don’t agree, but it is ironic that this is where we find common ground. Kudos, Elliott.

  12. “Would you rather have the GOP becoming ideologically pristine and not win another election, or would you agree that half a loaf is better than none, and let the GOP have some say in the decision-making process?’

    Your asking a question that is similar to asking if a person beats his wife. No matter what he says there is a negative link.

    The republican party is not loosing its following, more like already lost it. Not because of being pristine , but because of not doing what their supporters said. Your perception is from a bias perception . Your views are from a ideaqlogical slant from the average citizen , you disagree ? to the average voter ?
    You think the republican lost of the House and Senate was due to being pristine ? Nope , it was failing to do what they promised . It was from pork, playing rah rah with social issues, people saw through it .

    Ronald Reagan is about as conservative a President we have had this century , you left his example out of your comments .The democratic candidates he faced were defeated quite handily. Were they extremist on the left , was the democratic party too far left then ? Using your logic it would assume to be true . Were the other candidates who were more conservative that were dismissed by the democrats during the primary’s the reason democrats lost ?
    Extremism I have seen in both political parties , I also see that the media that reports most of it is closer to one side , interesting how people see the nasty comments one makes when it is on their side , but dismiss the nastiness when done to the other side. Ever notice that. The reason I stopped supporting democrats was because of extremism , McGovern had integrity , he was honest. he respected people . All people . Perhaps my definition of what is extreme is different .

    The Democrats lost power in the 90s because their policies when President Clinton was first elected , as the NEW Democrat he was obviously not able to keep the Ted Kennedy part of the party from taking a bigger role then he had presented to the American people.
    With a dedicated republican Congress, elected with pro life members I believe this country did a pretty good rebound for a while . Thats with the same republicans that some call extremist now . They left or went back on their principles. Thats extremism .

    The republicans actually came out with a plan people could see. Those elected were on platforms that included pro life and social issuesint he 90s.

  13. Kathryn I stated I endorsed Steve Bauer, not you . The difference is I would not expect the republican party to see me as an advocate for them after doing so. Maybe perhaps some personal reflection in how you possibly present yourself to republicans may be a better way of understanding the Kitsap republican party giving you little notice?

    Bev Woods was a moderate , she lost in our district after winning . . She was picked by the PCOs in my district , quite conservative at the time over conservative candidates. originally to replace Karen Schmidt when she stepped down .

    So your view that moderates do not gain support is false . This also when the kitsap republican party was much more conservative . Bev was an excellent politician . I suggest you admit some things . Know your strenghths , know your weaknesses, Bev was a Mainstream republican who advocate pro choice views, and other left leaning social issues.

    The party has an obligation to support candidates that come close to some kind of respect for their principles.
    . Your assumptions that the pro lifes are the extremist is false, there are extremist who are pro life true , just as pro choice . Especially in the republican party you find pro choice extremists .

    What I see as quite extreme is you pointing the extremism of pro life views , saying your a moderate and not seeing your words as extreme .
    A major aspect of the platform you state is supported by extremist. , I would suggest to at least be more respectful of the views of pro lifers if you at least want their support. Don’t their views need some respect .

    They get mocked for those beliefs enough by the way they are portrayed , being the extremist they all are ! Agreeing with elliot is proof. . ;o)

    When I was on the board I supported all candidates , that was my job as a party member . I owed those who volunteered and donated that . You sound as though you have a right to be your own person but not have to support those who support the beliefs of the party . Well sure I can do that now , I am free to also . Its not because I am some kind of individual above republicans or democrats because I do that . I have no obligations to do different . You seem to think HONORING obligations is extreme . No thats a value system to honor commitments . If I can not honor that commitment because of my personal views , I don’t cry extremist , I left the party .

    You want to be independent at the expense of other donors and volunteers. You are unable to give the party the same respect you believe you deserve.


  14. Mick,

    Apparently you would be very surprised about my personal views on some social issues. You presume that because I don’t agree with the extreme veracity of ultra-right in the party, that I am liberally minded on those issues.

    I did NOT say that being pro-life is extreme. I am saying that those who aren’t willing to consider a candidate with whom they agree with on 90% of other issues because they don’t agree on the abortion issue is extreme. Because I am willing to respect and vote for candidates that are pro-choice, but like-minded on almost all other issues, does not make me pro-choice. It makes me a person who recognizes that a pro-choice person who agrees with me on 90% of other issues is a better choice to place at the table than a pro-choice person who agrees with me only 1% of the time.

    Further, what is “pro-life”? Is it a person who would never ever vote to allow abortion, even if the mother is at risk? Is it a person who would not vote for abortion rights, but would vote to allow “death with dignity” legislation?

    I’m not asking the GOP for money. I’m asking the GOP for mutual respect at meetings, mutual respect in consideration of points of view for platform consideration, and mutual respect for consideration of candidate and issue endorsement without being shouted down and disrespected. Simple fact of the matter is, I believe that moderates are treated with disrespect intentionally. After all, if even the most tenacious of the moderates give up, it isn’t likely that their like minded friends would last long either. That keeps the club pristine by alienation. Then they maintain the votes to keep the platform ‘pristine’ too. Good for them. They have the votes in the GOP, but have lost the votes where it counts most… at the table of legislative debate and decision.

    As for honoring commitments, I didn’t say anything about not honoring commitments. I agree that we need to hold candidates accountable.

    I’m willing to say that I would vote against expanding abortion rights. But I’m not willing to say that I would refuse to vote for a candidate that would vote the other way. I’m not willing to say that I would support legislation that prohibits the expansion of abortion rights when it has a rider on it that also puts a doctor in jail for performing an abortion when he reasonably believed the mother’s life was in imminent peril because of the pregnancy.

    I’m willing to be held to my commitments to public education. But I’m not willing to vote for any and every bill that sends money it’s way because commitment to public education isn’t all about money.

    I expect our elected officials to consider legislation on the merits of what is in the bill. I don’t want a candidate who will always follow a party line. People don’t elect a party to represent them in the legislature. They elect an individual and vest in them the authority to use their conscience and intellect to what they think is right.

    Kathryn Simpson

  15. “Apparently you would be very surprised about my personal views on some social issues. You presume that because I don’t agree with the extreme veracity of ultra-right in the party, that I am liberally minded on those issues.”

    No its because of your communication style that uses politically charged buzz words ” extreme” that so many in the media and left winged organizations use to dehumanize people in political discourse, with you being specific I assumed them about you . I was wrong perhaps but your comments are not proving that. . Using extremism and linking ” why are you not linking them to the left also” but actually not entirely accurate . You do realize many on the pro choice as on the right have their abortion views as almost a religion all to themselves . But again perhaps you need to realize that if you want political respect , you need to learn the landscape and realize that good people of all walks , pro life and pro choice get linked in with the wing nuts and are dehumanized , marginalized and insults , and when you include perhaps some of Lois supporters who believe abortion was an important issue for supporting her you do not also link ALL of them as being narrow minded and only concerned about one or two issues . The politcal activists are great at dehumanizing opposition and making them appear intellectaully inferior . Lois supported issues that aligned with most republican beliefs . She also mixed religion in it that from my personal belief marginalized Faith and support possibly . But you do the same here . Pick your poisin I guess.

    You sound close to that drum beat , do you realize that ? You politically are limiting yourself and fitting the stereotype of the typical belief system that believes most religious people are scarey , most republicans are narrow , one issue voters , etc etc.

    ” It makes me a person who recognizes that a pro-choice person who agrees with me on 90% of other issues is a better choice to place at the table than a pro-choice person who agrees with me only 1% of the time.”

    But you chose Kilmer over Lois did you not ? So 90 percent is not exactly true here . There were other factors.Hopefully so anyway , because Kilmer votes almost 90 percent against republican positions . I am not saying supporting Kilmer is wrong , just saying expecting mutual respect from the GOP on your terms so far seem kind of a weird thing . Can’t be mutual if your supporting people who disagree with the party Platforms 90 percent of the time . I could have supported Kilmer myself , his voting against Jessicas Law and making a stink about it as being the victim in that debate kept me from it so . Thats my perception , he seemed like a new democrat to me at first , pro small business , concerned about all people . If I am wrong I am wrong , but that was my take .

    “Further, what is “pro-life”? Is it a person who would never ever vote to allow abortion, even if the mother is at risk? Is it a person who would not vote for abortion rights, but would vote to allow “death with dignity” legislation?”

    I personally am pro life . I do not believe government should be in the business of assisting or legalizing taking human life . I vote for people who state that and have the courgage to state those beliefs . I have often found those people also respect the treatment of all people.

    Linking people to extremism for having a conscience about pro life issues is a shallow position. especially when the over all use of life issues in this state anyway is painting prollife views and people as extremist . Gregoire did it to Rossi over and over again .
    You did it here. I am often called extreme because I find those views important . I also understand that many of the democratic policies might alleviate some of the need people feel pressured to abort their child. The best I can do at least in this state is support those in need, and promote good government policies that measure success by not only how many people they can help , but how many people no longer need government help. But yeah I vote pro life when I can. And am mocked and ridiculed for it by most of what is considered liberalism in todays political square.

    ” I’m asking the GOP for mutual respect at meetings, mutual respect in consideration of points of view for platform consideration, and mutual respect for consideration of candidate and issue endorsement without being shouted down and disrespected. ”

    Well I missed those meetings . So you are speaking from a position I can not speak to . The last time I was on the Board I defended the position that expansion of gambling . Also the tribes were fighting it But I was in the minority , Jack Hamilton debated me and cleaned my clock .Not personally , but on the issues . The only thing worse then my writing skills are my talking skills. But the republicans used fairness and equality as their debating point, if the tribes could have it , the state should have it . I think there were about 3 votes that aggreed with me , about 9 for the expansion . The local party chose to endorse the policy , it lost in the election. I did not go home and call them extremist. The same value system that perhaps sees gambling as dangerous to people , especially to the poor , sees abortion as hurtful Kathryn in my case. Because I find that important really gives you a challenge if you want my vote . You need to then show me why voting for you is a good thing . So far all you have done is promote a view of the local party that is not at all like I remember , and they were called extreme by liberals then. They were called extreme when the GOP won here , Reagan was called extreme . You have not clarified , either you are using disgression and feel you can not on a blog or you really have no case and just have little political experience. is my email if you wish to alleviate this somewhat , but you really are sounding like sourgrapes . And i don’t even support the local GOP .

    “Simple fact of the matter is, I believe that moderates are treated with disrespect intentionally.”

    Well simple fact conservatives in the party feel the same way . In fact the liberal /gay / anti war , faction of the democrtaic party feel the same way about their party . Welcome to politics. You keep using this pristene thing , the folks who ran for state level have been moderates . The last conservative Chair was years ago in Kitsap , you consider Jack Hamilton a conservative ? Only in some aspects.

    The local party here is so desperate for candidates you would get their support for sure if you just take some political advice,

    I think the old GOP kept me around for my jokes to be honest. I hope you are not saying they are conservative now ? They promote issues that do not touch the averahe citizen I agree, but they are not reaching out to the average ultra conservative voter either that is for sure.

    “I expect our elected officials to consider legislation on the merits of what is in the bill. I don’t want a candidate who will always follow a party line. People don’t elect a party to represent them in the legislature. They elect an individual and vest in them the authority to use their conscience and intellect to what they think is right.”

    And I really still don’t see your point . The democratic party does the same thing , they always try to maintain their voting blocks on bill and issues.

    I am not sure how far and how much you actively supported political issues . I would say being quite conservative I often felt as you say as moderate you feel . I always found at the end of the line it was about power not beliefs . It had little to do with moderate or conservative . But yes I would link the mopderate to the country club republican who could afford to golf every weekend and regardles how the election went their lot in life was ther same .
    enforced that mentality. So I can relate to what your feeling , but suggest youer not handling it correctly if you feel compelled to advance in the political world . I mean this as friendly advice ,

    I just don’t get you shooting the party in the foot you say your closer to . I can not see how any represntative could vote for the last few budgets that came out of Olympia , Kilmer did, if not for the unfunded spending , the lack of concern for education, just the way the state has neglected the ferries and funding the state pension funds as examples . I don’t even think that is a right or left issue .

    Want to start our own party ?


  16. Mick,

    Perhaps you have misunderstood and perhaps that is because I haven’t been clear. For my part, I apologize, and will work towards being more clear.

    I had no objection to Lois’s position on abortion. In fact, we had common ground on the issue. Though it is not a litmus test for me.

    My objection to extremists is an inability to tolerate differing opinions or positions or even consider that there might be win-win compromise. When an elected official (whom I made the mistake of voting for at one point, btw) will walk out of the State House of Representatives in protest of a muslem offering up the prayer, I’m offended and that individual will be hard pressed to get my vote again. When that same individual is knocking doors on my road, asks me if she can put a sign in our yard and I say, “No, I haven’t decided if I am going to vote for you, yet, and if I decide to vote for you then I know where to get a sign.” I then go back into my home and get the kids in the car for soccer practice (or something) and when I drive down my driveway, I find her pounding a sign in my yard. And members of the local GOP think I am not one of them because I endorsed her opponent? Go figure.

    It wasn’t about a position on abortion, Mick. I value tolerance more than I value money. Thus, even if Derek Kilmer raised my taxes, he would get my vote because higher taxes are less harmful than intolerance and disrespect.

    Start our own party? No need. I can call my self a Republican AND disagree with the local GOP. Welcome to America. I have not whined without putting forth the effort for change. When I am just whining and not putting forth the effort for change, then folks can be rightfully indignant. In the mean time, call me politically naive or green, that is fine. But when I engage in dialog like this, in the open, then it sends a message to other moderates, like myself, that not all locals who call themselves “Republicans” share the same level of intolerance. Maybe, just maybe, more of them will be willing to stand and be counted, again.

    Kathryn Simpson

  17. Words Words Words. The reason I have respect for some politicians regardless of my politics (such as Derek Kilmer or Jan Angel) is that they have the dignity to stay off the blogs and let the voters see their accomplishments through their work.

    I know I can’t convince certain people of this fact, but the reality is that the way you present yourself politically and personally on the blogs will affect how people percieve you. Claiming piety and claiming how informed and unbiased you are means nothing to people like me, actions speak louder than words, and they way one conducts themself in public and at meetings speaks volumes.

    Sometimes silence and not having an answer for everything is wiser than the compulsion to remark on every issue. A bit of humility (and silence) is often an admirable trait.

  18. Well Thanks Kathyrn , I understand much more . yes I thought she was wrong about that also. But when it comes to people’s religion I do find myself being more tolerant of all faiths, I just would not consider that aspect a deal breaker for me . But totally understand why it could.

    If some one put a sign in my yard after I said no, that would have a deal breaker for some reason . Maybe my property rights aspect ? ;0)
    I am not a republican anymore , The new Ron paul element of the party , Glen Beck also I find common ground in regards to better use of tax dollars and such , but they seem to shooting from outside of the loop and really do not engage in meaningful conversations . In fact the republican party appears to me basically to be outside of the box of everyday people and the issues we face . But I also find the extremism , people who don’t care about me , in fact the real extreme people who seem to have this new history book where America is always bad , business people are all evil, people who go to church need to be ignored or actually are the problem, etc . Those people keep me from getting into the democrat party . I jyust thuink most people need to get out more , take a look around . I think basically Americans are great people , fair minded. I don’t get all this evil stuff . We have a great melting pot that allowed people from different cultures , differernt religions , different races , to have so much in common in our aspirations and goals which caused a common bond with us. The extremists are those who want to separate us and get votes because of it.


  19. Thanks for the exchange, Kathryn and Mick. I always learn something from you.

    STN: An anonymous poster extolling the virtues of silent government?

  20. Mick,

    Although Katherine and I have very different political viewpoints, we agree on one thing: if you want a seat at the table, you have to be willing to work with the others at that table. If you aren’t willing to do that, you might not get to the table at all.

    And that goes for both parties.

  21. There was never a mention that our government leaders must be “silent.” I feel that there are better forums for them to get information out, and am grateful that our politicians for the most part use those outlets.

    Do I think blogs can be fun and informative?–Yes. Do I think they are the place where real political action can be concluded?–No.

    My post was also a personal opinion on bloggers who think they must “educate” and let everyone know how “informed” they are, often in a less-than gracious way. We all have met many “know-it-alls” in our lives, I STILL think sometimes silence is golden, and concentrating on having the last word is childish.

    However, as it is a free country, and I am not the blog moderator,
    feel free to disagree, I don’t care about any “you’re an anonymous blogger” slam (is that supposed to infer that my comments are less relevent?), one can take my opinion or leave it as one sees fit.

  22. Technically, the blogger in this instance is Steven Gardner, the rest of us are commenters. It started out as an interesting story about moderate bashing and I’m off topic, but I want to respond to your post.

    I wasn’t trying to slam you, I think there’s probably a valid reason why you’ve chosen to post anonymously. It might be the same reason people think it’s important to come on this forum and say what they think about government, politics, and education issues. The more discussion there is and acceptance of all viewpoints, opposing or otherwise, the less reason there is for anonymity. That’s all.

    The elected officials you mentioned in your first post aren’t silent. They both have websites on their respective parties’ webpage. One of them has a Facebook account. They debate their colleagues, they have offices where they engage with their constituents privately, they issue press releases. We hear a lot from them when they’re campaigning. They’re not silent, they just don’t engage publicly with ordinary citizens on these forums, that we know of, but I think they probably read them.

    Getting back on topic, maybe not engaging on blogs is a condition of a political party’s endorsement?

  23. Thanks for the input Karen. I realize I got way off the subject, my comments could have applied to many of the blog threads through the years, I guess this one finally got to me. People don’t always realize that their self-congratulatory and superior attitude on the blogs may not come across positively all the time, and they might want to keep that in mind especially if they ever want to run for a higher position politically. Sometimes those old posts where you were less than gracious or arrogant can come back to bite you.

    I caution people when it comes to regarding their perception of an event. Sometimes things aren’t as black-and-white as a group dismissing you because your opinions are not to their liking, it could be the delivery. As Mick(?) inferred, there are some people who are better at vocalizing their ideas in a way that makes people responsive to opposing or challenging ideas, but there are also some highly intelligent people who don’t have that talent. In a perfect world it wouldn’t matter, but when you’re talking politics, the savvy conversationalist is at a greater advantage.

    My comments regarding politicians and blogs was a purely personal opinion. I tend to cringe when I see an elected (no names) feel they need to debate their detractors. Although they are just as human as all of us, it seems unprofessional and petty to respond to blog comments that reflect on them negatively–I mean come on, they ran for the position, didn’t they expect there would be criticism from time to time? I feel that they should let their work and comments/praise/criticism from their constituents (plus elections) serve as a barometer on how well they are doing.

    I do respect the politicians I referenced, plus others, for having the willpower not to respond to detractors on these types of forums, it’s got to be hard not to respond when you feel that you have been wronged or misinterpreted. I am on all of the state-level politicians e-mail correspondence lists (they come about twice a month, I don’t keep count), plus I receive their USPS mailings and read their dialogue in various papers. For the most part I have received a personal e-mail back from each legislator when I have contacted them concerning issues that I am passionate about (this includes our own local county commissioners), very few times have I received a pre-formed response. Again, I have the highest respect for them for taking the proverbial “high road.”

  24. I am all for a little more immediate, forthright, refreshing honesty from public officials and those elected to office. Having spent a large amount of time over the years at public meetings and open forums, engaging with candidates and my elected representatives on a personal face to face level, I find nothing wrong with using the electronic media or blog as another vehicle to get information and opinions out and engage with constituents in a very unfiltered, straightforward, accountable manner.

    It is a double edged sword or two way street whichever you prefer. Opening up honest communication in a public forum is not without consequences. Sour grapes and behavioral criticisms of a very personal nature, no matter how cleverly cloaked in a veil of concern, will be seen for what the are and are really in the end just one lowly personal opinion with no more or no less weight than mine.

    I agree with Elliott and Kathryn…if you want a seat at the table you need to work for it and you need to be willing to put yourself out their in ways that are not always safe or comfortable.

  25. STN,

    Well, since I’m the only elected official (that I know of) to have posted in this particular thread, I’m going to just address your comments as if you were speaking to me because you certainly gave that impression (or at least that was my ‘perception’)

    My perception of events may be very well be different than others in a room. Other people’s perception of me may be different than the message that I intended to convey. That is the nature of perception. But it seems to me that such is all the more reason to have dialog. The blogs afford opportunity for that dialog. I choose to engage it rather than shy away from it. I prefer candidates and elected officials to engage the conversation, even if it isn’t always eloquent or “dignified” as you call it.

    I will acknowledge that your comment about not responding to any/all critics is valid. I have, at times, responded to some antagonism that I should not have engaged in an open forum. It has occassionally been bad form on my part. Your pointing that out is noted. Thanks. You aren’t the first to point that out and I obviously have room for improvement.

    My style may not be to your liking. So be it. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll take the criticism under advisement.

    Just one final thing you might consider. How do you know that other elected officials/candidates don’t engage in the blogs/comments with a pseudonym instead of their real names? The fact is, you don’t. I could “out” three or four of them. I won’t because they have just as much a ‘right’ to post anonymously as you do. But I will tell you this… I own my words, even when they aren’t pretty. I have never posted to the Kitsap Sun’s blogs or comment sections with anything other than my own name. I believe that dignity starts with owning one’s words.

    Kathryn Simpson

  26. The reason no elected officials names were posted in regards to my criticism of those who post and debate their detractors is because there has been more than one elected official that has chosen this path in the past.

    As I have already articulated, I was not referring only to this particular blog or only one elected who has blogged here. I happened to finally give my opinion during the debate on this thread, to me the blog subject was almost secondary.

    I am not naive, I do believe that there have been electeds who have used sock-puppetry to further themselves on the forums, reality being what it is, I understand this will happen.

    On the flip-side, one has to remember that when one states that they at least have the integrity to use their name constantly, there is always the possibility that they also may not be telling the truth. There is really no definitive way to tell if a commenter is being upfront and honest, I guess readers just have to use their gut feelings sometimes.

    That is why I’m not calling out names on sock-puppetry or what I see as bad behavior, it is my perception and opinion only, others have the right to disagree.

    Again, being a free country, everyone has the right to use this forum the way they wish, and use their own style if that is what they like. Take from my comments what one wishes, leave the rest, or disregard my whole position–It’s America!

  27. I concur with Colleen’s comments regarding immediate, forthright, refreshing honesty from public officials and those elected to office, as well as the remarks about the value (and cost) of taking a seat at the table. Of course, I recognise that there may be less time available to blog for those in offices which require full time involvement, so I don’t hold a decision to abstain against them.

    An authentic dialogue regarding the pros and cons of blog engagement by elected officials should probably rise above the level of name-calling. The point regarding choosing one’s battles or regularly debating one’s detractors is prudent, but whether or not we perceive another as “arrogant” or “pious” is more personal.

    “On the flip-side, one has to remember that when one states that they at least have the integrity to use their name constantly, there is always the possibility that they also may not be telling the truth.”

    There’s nothing wrong with extolling the virtue (or acceptance of risk) one places on using a real name. I do agree with your underlying point that “the thing speaks for itself”. Right action holds value whether or not anyone is watching, and in this regard all words are ultimately owned by the person who delivers them.

    The Danger of Blackballing the Moderates? Perhaps there isn’t one, particularly if it inspires them to be heard.

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