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Thanks, but …

Okay, this one definitely qualifies as a mistake – a case where the appropriate response would have been a diplomatic version of, “please, don’t do me any favors.”

It was a debatable issue in the case of some other recent political visits. When President George W. Bush visited the Seattle area to raise money for Washington Senate Mike McGavick, that was a marginal call; money was raised and the base was stirred, but in an area where Bush’s favorables are down below the tank, the Democrats probably gained as much. When Vice President Dick Cheney last month did a fundraiser for Idaho 1st District Republican Bill Sali, that was probably a small net plus, but not by much: It roiled the Democrats, and even in Idaho Cheney’s favorables aren’t all that good.

If these were marginal cases, what was Washington’s 8th District Republican, Dave Reichert, thinking of when his campaign set up Bush advisor Karl Rove to raise money for him?

Karl RoveRove will, to be sure, be visiting on September 15 first to fund raise for the state Republican Party. They might have been wiser to leave it at that. If there’s anyone in Washington more likely to boil the blood of Democrats – and a lot of independents – in Washington more than Bush and Cheney, that would be Rove, the architect of recent Republican campaigns, as ideal a symbol as Democrats could wish for in blasting away at Republican control in Washington.

Rove has had legal problems and – his success as a campaign strategist notwithstanding – loads of negative headlines. (The online story about the event on the Seattle Times web site is accompanied by a link to another story: “Rove denies holding exorcism in Hillary Clinton’s former office.”) Money will be raised, but Reichert is already sitting on a large pile of money; even if he’s not been raising it lately as fast as his opponent, that’s not critical. If he ultimately loses, the reason will have little or nothing to do with being outspent. It will have to do with being swept out of office as part of a reaction to events in Washington which are controlled by the people Karl Rove helped into office.

Unwise move.

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