This doesn't look good:
If Dino Rossi jumps into the senate race against Patty Murray, it is sure to be a bloody battle. One poll has Rossi ten points ahead.
Another has Murray with a comfortable lead.
But regardless of the polls, the race is sure to be ugly. I got an e-mail Wednesday from listener Mark. He was in an office building that is home to "People for Patty Murray" - Senator Murray's re-election headquarters. Mark wrote:
I was in a building on Nickerson Street yesterday and while waiting for the elevator I notice that Patty Murray re-election committee office was adjacent to the elevator lobby. Right inside the window of their office is an effigy of Dino Rossi hanging from a noose with the word 3 strikes and your out.
Always though Patty had more class, but I guess after all these years in DC she's just full of hot gas.
Go look at the pictures and see what you make of it.
Apparently, there is video coming, and I'll be interested to see what that shows-- because on the face of it, this not only looks pretty tasteless and likely to strike a lot of people as downright offensive, it also seems a little, um, ironic that it's Patty Murray staffers doing this. Let's not forget that it was reported not that long ago that a) a speaker at a Washington Tea Party had suggested, by way of reference to Lonesome Dove, that Patty Murray should be hung and b) recently, a man was arrested for having made death threats against Murray.
So, if you'd expect anyone's staff to be avoiding what looks at best like cavalier, risky behavior like this, and at worst, depicting the "hanging" of a member of the opposition party and feared prospective rival, it'd be Murray's, right?
I would imagine I'll have more on this later, when the video shows up. But for now, suffice it to say, this is the kind of stuff that rightly gets operatives canned, and causes extreme embarrassment for politicians and public disgust at them. It certainly seems to demonstrate that Murray needs to get back to the other Washington (i.e., the one that elected her) and check on what is going on in her offices, because it looks like she may have some problem employees on her hands who could prove to be a real nightmare in the course of a potentially tough re-election campaign.
This is of course assuming that the person emailing in the pictures isn't pushing something bogus (which I'm sure will become apparent shortly).
UPDATE: It turns out it's not an effigy, but a puppet-- such is Team Murray's explanation.
I'm glad. Nonetheless, keeping something that looks like a "hung" version of your boss' possible opponent around the office-- puppet or not-- seems like a pretty questionable thing to do, given the prospect for it being easily confused with something else, as indeed it was today.
Separately, one does wonder what exactly the Murray people are trying to say about Rossi here. That he is a puppet? Well, OK, they're entitled to their view-- and people on campaigns always have their fun with opponents and prospective opponents (goodness knows I did while I the RNC with my famed lolcat-like images of all and sundry on my wall). But allowing toys and "fun" things-- especially those whose meaning can be easily drawn into question or misconstrued-- to be hanging around in public view seems like a shoddy approach to staffing a campaign, if you ask me. One wonders whether, should Rossi decide to get into this race, any of Murray's staff will be busted for prankster/jokester stuff like--ahem-- Obama's speechwriter was, albeit minus the sexual overtones. I generally think a safe rule is keep the toys and other items designed for amusement in offices that are not immediately publicly viewable... or risk spending time explaining how you're not suggesting that your possible opponent should, you know, be hung, instead of doing your job and putting points on the board on behalf of your candidate. [intro]