Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Hanging on the thread of a principled Republican

We should celebrate that things have gone our way in the Washington governor's race. But we shouldn't forget that one of the primary reasons it did is because Washington is home of one of those increasingly rare breeds: a principled Republican.

The party's Stalinist side has been coming out since then. Anyone who fails to toe the party line on the election outcome -- which is, that Gregoire is an "illegitimate" governor and that there exists "massive" evidence of fraud -- is nastily and vociferously attacked. This includes even Sam Reed, the Republican Secretary of State, who chose to follow his legal and constitutional duty and certify Gregoire as the governor-elect:

Now Reed believes the anger toward him is driven by a feeling he hasn't been Republican enough. For example, some think he should have backed the party's call for county auditors to reopen their tallies in hopes of getting more Rossi votes counted.

"There are people who think I should be using the position of secretary of state simply to weigh the scales on the side of my own party. I just don't accept that, and it would not be proper," he said.

"There are some people who have been dismayed that I wasn't a Katherine Harris who took the position, 'I'm a Republican, and by God that comes first.' "

We are luck to have Reed on the side of Democracy. If he had been in the Ken Blackwell/Katherine Harris strain of Republicanism this race could have very easily stayed in Rossi's column.

But we shouldn't rely on that kind of luck. We need to (1) elect Democratic Secretaries of State and (2) reform election systems so that partisan election officials cannot corrupt them.


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