Yesterday, following our trip over the mountains, then a 6 hour group meeting with nationally known strategist, Kirk Shelley (Mr. Shelley has worked on 137 State House and Senate campaigns in 5 states and has a winning percentage of 92%), I joined three colleagues to drive the distance back from Ellensburg and over to Tacoma, as fast as we could, to attend the enigmatic “Republican Resurgence Rally.” I wouldn’t miss it.
If you haven’t followed our coverage, here: Secret Rally for Un-named Candidate!, back on June 26, you might not know what a long strange trip the “Rally” turned out to be. Based on sources, we believe this event was originally intended to be a private fundraising event for elite donors on behalf of establishment anointed one Dino Rossi, starring RNC Chairman Michael Steele (with whom you could be photographed for $200). But, after being exposed by our first article (that, in turn, picked up on info from liberal columnist Joel Connelly), a series of changes were made:
An email announcing the previously undisclosed event, giving it the name “Republican Resurgence Rally,” and pairing it with a duplicate event to be held in Wenatchee, went out to an unknown number of Republicans.
Our reporter, calling directly to the State Party headquarters, was given information never included in email: that all three U.S. Senate Candidates, Didier, Akers and Rossi were to appear, but staff at Headquarters claimed to be unaware of the event in Wenatchee (!)
Subsequent emails, strangely, did not mention the Senate Candidates.
Nine days before the “Rally,” on July 1, a promotional, full color email was distributed from the Pierce County Party that also did not mention the Senate Candidates, but offered free hors d’oeuvre before the $25 event and suggested that it was important to show up to prove ourselves “ready” to the national Chairman.
Also on July 1, the State Party sent an email that offered to give away the photo opportunity to members of (State Party Chair) Luke Esser’s Central Committee, if they would just attend the rest of the event. Apparently, RSVPs were not going that well.
No public promotion was done, no public announcement of the obviously newsworthy appearance of Rossi on the same stage with Didier and Akers. What kind of “rally” did they envision? Who, exactly, was re-surging? Party leaders?
As we drove over the mountains, we got cell phone updates… Rossi propagandist Tom Forbes had shown up THREE HOURS EARLY hoping, one would assume, for a rare glimpse of his candidate… the room was small… they had only about 20 chairs…
We were not ticketed for speeding. We found parking. We arrived late and with our carload walking behind me (wearing my Didier button) were forbidden entry. “Registration is closed” I was told. “REGISTRATION”? For a rally with 20 chairs? But, you know, channels are interesting things. A contact, inside, whispered in the ear of the State Party executive director who dispatched Peter Graves and, shortly, the very person who had refused us entry took our “registration” (our hundred bucks).
Inside there were five kinds of people:
- People wearing Clint Didier pin-back buttons or carrying Clint Didier signs
- Older men and older women wearing Dino Rossi pasties
- People wearing Doug Cloud t-shirts
- Republican Party staff and officials, and
- Paul Akers
One of our party took some cell phone video from the back of the room. I pasted two screen shots together (at the woman in the beige coat left of center) that will give you a feeling for the scope of the event.
Actually visible, from the back, in this photo are Paul Akers, Doug Parris, Dr. Patricia O’Halloran, Clint Didier, Brian Luke and Michele St. Pierre. Not identifiable (presumably behind others or outside the periphery of the lens) are Doug Cloud, Jane Milhans, Michael Steele, Brandie Didier, Luke Esser, Sue Copeland, Richard Feingold, Peter Graves (either one), Tom Forbes (who literally stood on a table in the back corner) and Dino Rossi. It was those on the outside walls and in the very back that were lucky enough to get the chairs.
Steele spoke, Didier spoke, Akers spoke and, (we’re told) before we got there, U.S. Congressional Candidates spoke; and Esser mastered the ceremonies, pointing out that everyone was outstanding.
Didier was dynamic, as usual, to an enthusiastic audience response, but everyone at this event was already firmly committed.
Paul Akers began to sound more like a conservative and less like a man convinced that efficient management (without changing the purposes of government) was the answer. To hear Paul speak, though, you would still think it was Harley Davidson, not Toyota, that invented “LEAN.” Financial, only, were his concerns but he received an enthusiastic reception, as well.
Michael Steele put significant speaking abilities on display and, to hear portions of his speech, you’d think he, too was a conservative, not the pragmatist he has, by his actions, shown himself to be. At one point he seemed, literally, on the verge of endorsing Clint Didier. Nevertheless, for those of us for whom standing is not, in and of itself, pleasurable, it was a welcome relief when, after what seemed two hours, he finally ran out of wind.
Dino Rossi didn’t speak. To date, no one claims to have seen him.
During the filming of the cell phone video, an unidentified man walked in front of the camera before leaving the event. Dino Rossi was never identified or introduced, but… could it be?
Where WAS Dino? Rumors abounded. Here are the top four:
- Dino actually attempted to attend both events, but his car broke down on the way to Wenatchee, and, on the way back to Tacoma, his car broke down.
- Dino actually attended the event but, in pursuit of “moderate” voters, has become completely invisible to Republicans.
- Dino skipped Wenatchee, having already written off Eastern Washington, but was actually on his way to the Tacoma Convention Center when he saw his own shadow on the pavement and was so frightened he returned home.
- Dino received a last-minute call (much like Clint Didier when he met with Sarah Palin on June 11th) to a meeting with a famous political ally. The ally has been variously identified as:
- Karl Rove
- Newt Gingrich, or
- John McCain
We can neither confirm nor are willing to deny unsubstantiated rumor.
So, whatever the reason, an extraordinary thing seems to have taken place. Typically unscrupulous and clandestine mechanisms of the GOP pragmatic Left have utterly backfired and an event organized to benefit The Chosen One became an event he had, in order to avoid comparison with better alternatives, to avoid. An all-Rossi event became a no-Rossi event, benefiting his opponents.
And he continues to hide himself, “…in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.” I Sam. 13