Writings and observations

Will Gonzales envelope Rossi?

By way of David Postman’s blog, some blogosphere speculation is arising that the firestorm around Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could do some long-range damage to gubernatorial prospects for Republican Dino Rossi.

During the endless aftermath of the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election, the time of the count and the recount and the re-recount, no one on the Republican side was more doggedly energetic than Sound Politics writer Stefan Sharkansky in pursuing theories of election counting malfeasance. His posts hit the point over and over, and he was an activist on the subject as well. Probably at least as much as anyone on radio or in the party structure, he kept pushing the idea that something was seriously wrong in the King County elections office.

So how does that tie in to Gonzales and Rossi?

Gonzales is in trouble largely because of the firing of a string of U.S. attorneys, one of whom was John McKay, whose territory covered western Washington. There’s some gray area around this, but indications that McKay was getting pressure to do something about the King County elections; and the appearance is that was why McKay was fired, and why he was left off a short list for a federal judgeship.

The homesteadbook.com blog posts, “It is now clear that Sharkansky’s obsession led to a call to the office of Congressman Doc Hastings, who had one of his lackeys phone the U.S. Attorney John McKay to ask when he was going to start investigating the election. This eventually led to the firing of McKay and now will lead directly to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales.”

Well, presumably, along with the cases of a number of other U.S. attorneys. But this whole argument stretches another step, according to a Washblog post: “Now with the latest Bush scandal being connected directly to the 2004 gubernatorial election, can Rossi shake the McKay firing, or is he way to close? Shoephone (who has been doing one hell of a job covering this if anyone noticed) points out the connection between a Rossi adviser and the politics surrounding McKay. Rossi may not have been personally involved in getting McKay fired, but the situation is starting to surround him to the point that he at least has some explaining to do.”

The liberal blogosphere seems to be picking up and running with this line of thought. (Check out some of the comments on the Washblog post for the tenor.)

In his post, Postman sounds a somewhat skeptical note, which is understandable. There’s a bit of a reach here. It’s not conclusive. The pieces do hold together, though, if not as a finished case then as a line of inquiry, as blogger shoephone (responding to Postman) summed: “1)Vander Stoep [a top Rossi advisor in 2004] was instrumental in the Rossi campaign, 2) Rossi lost, due to lack of proof of voter fraud that Republicans hounded McKay to investigate, but that Dale Forman utterly failed to prove existed, 3) State Republicans went on the warpath for McKay, and then 4) Vander Stoep said “no soap” on Mckay for the judges short list . . .”

Last December, when we first posted on the McKay firing, we suggested this story wasn’t over. As of today, we think it’s still not.

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