Ever since Matt Rosenberg‘s column Blue City Republicans appeared in Seattle Weekly last year (before the existence of this blog), I’ve been meaning to write a counter piece to the many frustrating elements in it. The column’s subtitle was “Meet Seattle’s Biggest Closet Cases: The Republicans Next Door” and this was more than just a clever pun. At the top of his list of “closet cases” was blogger Brian Ballard of Gay Neo-Con. The list featured several Seattle Republicans who feared being known as such, but all were featured to dispel not only the Republican stereo-type created by liberals, but what many genuinely associate with the Republican party: conservatism, namely social conservatism–pro-life and pro-family conservatism.
At the time, our family was living in Seattle’s 46th District. At our Republican district PCO meetings, we rarely ran across the kinds of Republicans Rosenberg was presenting as some kind of majority in the local party. But even more to the point, in my broader travels around the city of Seattle and its suburbs, the Republicans I knew were true conservatives in every way. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but his is too, and so, I am compelled to present mine.
Coupled with the Blue City Conservatives column, my motivation comes from the “re-branding” of the state Republican Party by former state party chairman Chris Vance, who insisted on dictating (against party rules) how candidates were chosen, using his “suburban crescent” theory that came out of the “crescent conference” of which I have not seen evidence of its existence. This “re-branding” has infuriated conservatives on all issues, far and wide. He named the top issues that we most cared about, and said if Republican candidates want to run on these, “I ain’t helpin’ them.”
The crescent conference, he asserted was a “focus group” of the political mood of the Seattle suburbs (from Snohomish Co. through East Side King Co., to Pierce Co.) The “focus group” was supposedly conducted to determine why it was that they were beginning to “lean more towards Democrats”. I wonder if anyone bothered to figure out if voter turn out was lower, perhaps due to dissatisfaction with both parties. Instead, we get this kind of mentality: “You’ve got to make sure what you’re saying fits the Crescent,” says Vance. “That means you’ve got to focus on issues that matter to suburban voters: transportation, education, health care, taxes.” The “hot button” issues like abortion and marriage that excite the base enough to want to work hard for candidates needed to be avoided at all costs, for the sake of attracting “suburban voters”, particularly women.
Ironically, my first installment in Life of the Party’s new feature Pro-Life Profiles, will be…..a suburban woman. Enjoy!