Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Thinking About Clint

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 6, 2010

There is an outside chance Republicans could gain ten seats in the U.S. Senate for a 51-49 majority. It depends on rising public discontent and the stars aligning but also on holding a Republican seat in Kentucky, and winning Nevada, California and Washington. Lose any of these races and game over.

Should Clint Didier capture one of the top two positions in the August 17 primary, Republicans will be offering (with the exception of California with Carly Fiorina), the rightest of right candidates in Washington, Kentucky (Rand Paul) and Nevada (Sharron Angle). Didier, Paul and Angle all have controversial views on subjects ranging from the environment (global warming) to cabinet offices like Energy and Education (abolish) to UN membership (get out) to the war in Afghanistan. If political campaigns were serious discussions of issues, there are good arguments for their positions but unfortunately the real world does not work that way. They all have made numerous statements that taken out of context and sometimes in context will be fodder for devastating negative ads.

Mr. Didier favors reducing regulations on business and a return to the gold standard.* Again, there are arguments for his views but just imagine two Patty Murray assault ads: 1. Pictures of fat cat Wall Street bankers and BP oil executives under a banner “Clint Didier doesn’t want any regulations on business.” and 2. A letter signed by Nobel winning economists and financial experts saying how foolish and dangerous going back to the depression era gold standard would be for the economy.

Responding to such ads will cost money, lots it. Didier has raised only $600,000 and thinks he can produce a winning campaign spending $4 million.* Like it or not, that is far short of what it will take to turnout an incumbent Senator with an unlimited war chest.

The concern is Clint Didier will be another Ellen Craswell. A sitting State Senator, ideologically similar to Didier, Craswell won the 1996 Republican primary race for Governor with just over 15% of the vote. Unable to garner enough support beyond her conservative base, she lost the General election by 16 percentage points to Gary Locke.

If Senator Murray was a shoo-in as in elections past, nominate Clint Didier and let him get some campaign experience. But this year the “Mom in tennis shoes” is vulnerable. We need to select the Republican candidate with the best chance of beating her. It’s not Clint Didier. It’s not Paul Akers either. Although a good candidate, his campaign never really got off the ground.

The one candidate who is conservative, has campaign experience, can raise money, can attract enough independent and conservative Democrats to out poll Murray is Dino Rossi. He is the odds-on favorite to win the primary after which every conservative, libertarian and Republican must strongly unite behind Rossi and drive a stake into the heart of the Obama agenda.

Two years from now, let’s see a smarter, wiser and politically savvier Clint Didier or Paul Akers in the hunt to replace Washington’s other problem Senator, Maria Cantwell.

* Comments to 46th District Republicans, July 26, 2010

Cross posted on Sound Politics

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