In yet another chapter of “It’s enough to make a Progressive’s head explode” liberal stalwart, Brendan Williams has endorsed Steve “Roadkill” Hobbs in the 2012 Democratic primary for the 1st CD. As published in Publicola, Williams says,
“In designing a 1st Congressional District weighted toward Republicans, the Redistricting Commission made centrism essential. My friend Steve Hobbs is an unrepentant centrist. Even where we disagree, I know where he stands. In a Congress dominated by the super-wealthy, Steve can be an authentic voice for the middle class because he is middle class. With his fiscal conservatism and social progressivism — along with his military service — Steve is best-suited to win a district made very challenging. Furthermore, as a Snohomish County officeholder he can best take on a presumptive Republican nominee from Snohomish County – John Koster”
(Liberal firebrand Brendan Williams)
Now I’m not sure how much impact his endorsement will have considering that, outside of those of us who follow Progressive politics pretty closely, Williams is a relative unknown in the northern elements of the district but I am sure that Hobbs will do his best to exploit it to his best advantage. What really concerns me however is the, ‘It takes a Republican-lite to beat a Republican’ talking point that punctuates the endorsement. I fully expect this from the party machinery but am bitterly disappointed in hearing it from someone who so passionately rails against this very language in his own criticisms of the new Democratic Party.
For years, those of us on the Progressive end of the spectrum have been arguing that the reason Democrats have a hard time making inroads into the more rural areas or in certain “swing districts” is that they don’t run candidates who stand for real Democratic values. Instead, they run candidates who run away from Progressive values and simply say that they can be as conservative as the other guy but in a more compassionate way. Take, for instance, Rick Larsen, who just won a narrow victory over John Koster in the 2nd CD. Williams suggests that Hobbs’ status as a Snohomish County officeholder will help him in a race against Koster. Perhaps Brendan isn’t aware that Larsen LOST Snohomish County in part because his lack of conviction to Progressive values; causing some in the Democratic community to stay home. While it may be true that Hobbs will have some advantage as a “hometown boy” it is just as true that he comes to the race with almost as much negative baggage in the county. His championing of the Roadkill Caucus has left him in very bad standing with the unions and his perceived assault on the teachers unions will certainly leave them looking for alternatives. I am hearing almost as much support for former 45th LD Rep. Laura Ruderman (another “moderate”) as the alternative to Hobbs as someone who “crosses the aisle.”
The fact that there are a couple of good Progressive candidates in this race that could have benefitted from a Williams endorsement is another bitter pill to swallow. Nepali immigrant and successful entrepreneur, Darshan Rauniyar certainly has the populist message and the funding to run a good campaign and Darcy Burner will almost certainly jump to the lead with most Progressive groups in the district. She is already very well known in Progressive circles and knows her way around a congressional campaign. She will have the baggage of two unsuccessful runs to deal with but she has a solid command of the issues and, I’m sure, a pretty solid list of surrogates who will be happy to help her establish name recognition in the district. Most importantly, she can and will run as an unabashed Progressive who will define and defend those values. In a year when “occupy” replaces “tea party” in the daily dialogue, this could be a Progressive’s year.
Also, in a year when Brendan William could be a strong contender to be the “Democrat for Life” in the newly created 10th CD, it is especially sad to see him throw his weight behind someone who assuredly would be a counter to many of the votes he would cast in Congress.
Of course, this may just be Brendan’s way of saying he would rather see Hobbs in DC rather than Olympia.
Chad (The Left) Shue