Red, Blue, and Green City

Apparently, delusions of martyrdom really are a prerequisite for being a Republican. In "Blue City Conservatives," Matt Rosenberg throws circumstantial stories together about how hard it is to be a Republican in Seattle. Boo hoo. It's not enough that their party controls every branch of the federal government and the most watched news channel in the country. Now we're supposed to feel sorry for them because they have to hold "support groups" because they're in a city that disagrees with them? It might enlighten them to know that there are plenty of stories of harassment from both sides of the political spectrum, like when a man began screaming at me about how Teresa Heinz Kerry was a terrorist after seeing my Kerry bumper sticker in Wallingford, or when over 100 people flipped me off on Election Day because I was holding a Kerry sign in the U District. I didn't take any of these incidents seriously, though. Jerks come in red and blue, but at least I live in a blue city, where reason, compassion, and environmentalism play a huge part in politics.

David Haldeman


Thank you for the story on Republicans in "blue city" Seattle. I am regularly the recipient of the animosity shown toward those expressing a minority viewpoint in this city, and learned the hard way that I can no longer engage in meaningful issue dialogue with friends and neighbors. And although I consider yard signs visibly polluting in general, I would fear for my personal safety (and property value) if I were inclined to display the wrong kind of sign in my northeast Seattle neighborhood.

Even in UC-Berkeley of the 1960s, I recall lively dinner-table conversations in which one could express alternate viewpoints without fear of reprisal or disdain. I look forward to the day when, in the words of your reporter, Seattle becomes a "two-party town."

Jane Johnson


As a former Seattle resident, I did not always agree with the "true believer" liberalism of the city, but I have no sympathy for how "hard" it is for Republicans in Seattle. As a soon-to-be-former resident of the most red area of a newly red state, I can tell you that living in intolerant, ignorant, and often bigoted (and I mean racial slurs and segregation–style bigoted) Bush-land is far worse. Sheesh, the worst Seattle Republicans have to do is listen to people who hate Bush and the intermittent harangue about eating meat and pay for a few social programs they might not agree with. In red states, blues have to listen to and experience racist, sexist, homophobic language, policies, and social practices that do not simply wish suffering on the leaders of the blues but wish and cause suffering to real people.

Michael C. Souders

Portales, NM

I rarely write letters to the editor, but I was moved to by Matt Rosenberg's article on the perils of being a Republican in Seattle. Even though I am a lifelong liberal, I heartily wish the Republicans he profiled were the Republicans in Washington, D.C. They seem reasonable, moderate, not trying to push Christian values down your throat. They seem to understand that we do have to worry about global warming and climate change. I would dance naked in the streets if these people were in Washington versus the scary, dominating corporate toadies currently ensconced in Congress and the White House.

Marcy Rodenborn


While the transplant "Blue City Conservatives" profiled by Matt Rosenberg stand about slack-jawed and perplexed by the bizarre values of their new neighbors, perhaps they should consider why they moved to big bad blue Seattle in the first place. What is it about those liberal values that creates such appealing places to live?

Peter Mitchell


I read with interest and good humor "Blue City Conservatives." My only question is, since when is it a bad thing to have a geographical area defined by liberal politics? It seems as though Republicans aren't satisfied until every last political district in the nation is a shining red bastion of conservatism.

While the personal stories included in the article were engaging, I don't feel sorry for my conservative-minded neighbors having "little voice" in local politics. As a Democrat, I choose to live in Seattle because I know that here, there are many others who feel the way I do. After all, Democrats are allowed to have some blue cities, too. As a Republican, perhaps Matt Rosenberg should move to the Eastside, where he can be surrounded by others who mimic his sentiments. Essentially, if you don't like it, leave (and stop whining about it). There are plenty of red cities to choose from.

Tasha Burwinkle


One correction to "Blue City Conservatives." The Bush hater who rose through his sunroof did not say, "Guy, you faggot Republican," but yelled, "Die of a heart attack, you Republican faggot!" Hopefully my heart is fine, and I don't qualify for the latter slur, but imagine the reaction if a Republican had yelled at a Kerry supporter in a similar matter, a hate crime for sure.

Warren E. Peterson


Wow. Congrats, Seattle Weekly, for Matt Rosenberg's piece on us Seattle Republicans. Who woulda thunk it? I'll grab my free subscription every week from now on. As Rosenberg mentioned, many of us are transplants, are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and cannot fathom how a town turned itself into the boringly self-duped counterequivalent to Tulsa, Okla. A supermajority populace of liberals is not the issue (I'm from New York City, for Pete's sake); the problem is the massive groupthink, the absolute lack of open-mindedness, and the comical self-righteousness of the "Seattle Lib." How about we all get a collective sense of humor and a modicum of tolerance? In New York, dinner tables were lively with debate and conversation. God forbid there is dissent or even devil's advocate–style analysis around here.

Steve Home


Seattle Democrats are not unique when it comes to ostracizing viewpoints that fail to conform to prevailing political dogma. Just try being a Republican and raising pointed questions with fellow Republicans about President Bush's departure from traditional conservative principles. You get the same sort of groupthink the Seattle D's indulge in, so let's put the bill of particulars out in the open—the Patriot Act's trampling of constitutional liberties, the obsession with government secrecy, the messianic arrogance, the pandering to money-grubbing special interests, the bloated federal debt, the promiscuous deficit spending, and the expansion of executive power beyond the dreams of liberal excess.

I miss Barry Goldwater.

Jim DiPeso


As a Green who finds Bush's policies loathsome, I don't sympathize much with the Republican complaints chronicled in Matt Rosenberg's "Blue City Conservatives." Still, he's correct that Seattle is essentially a one-party town. Monoculture isn't good for our political ecosystem, even when the majority of us like the taste of its one crop more than the one bearing fruit in the adjacent state or county, or at least find it slightly less sour.

Joe Szwaja

Green Party Coordinating Council


I'd love to see a Republican resurgence in Seattle, if only to spice up the political dialogue. But I feel sorry for the deluded folks who Matt Rosenberg says compose the party's Seattle base: " They tend to be pro-choice, moderate to liberal on environmental issues, and tax-weary but not intractably opposed to new taxes. Some approve of gay marriage, others prefer civil unions." If that's the case, why are they Republicans? Their own party on both the national and state level is intractably opposed to all these things.

The R's have abandoned their traditional principles: fiscal responsibility, limited government intrusion into the lives of its citizens, and avoiding foreign entanglements. Until they return to them, they can write off not only Seattle but a large portion of established suburbia that, as Rosenberg notes, is becoming more "purple."

Tom Williams


In Matt Rosenberg's rousing piece documenting the plight of Republicans in Seattle, liberals are depicted as intolerant, close-minded, emasculated, irrelevant, illiberal, strident, vandalistic, epithet-yelling political hooligans disconnected from reality who fantasize about the assassination of President Bush and beseech pregnant single women to kill their unborn babies. Republicans, on the other hand, are moderate, plucky, "decent, good people" who just want to "make the world a better place" but are cowed and besieged by a totalitarian, Soviet-style political miasma.

This pandering conservative-David-versus-liberal-Goliath mythologizing will no doubt warm the hearts of "closeted" Seattle Republicans (kudos for co-opting gay terminology!), but it does very little to advance the alleged moral of the piece: the widening of political discourse. On the contrary, it employs the same divisive tactic that has won ratings for the hordes of right-wing shock jocks and propelled the Republican Party to political dominance: Don't try to convert the heathens; instead preach hellfire and brimstone to the choir and demonize the opposition. (During the presidential debates, Bush routinely resorted to calling Kerry a liberal, which apparently passes for an argument with Republicans.)

As Rosenberg unwittingly demonstrates, there are intolerant, narrow-minded hypocrites on both sides of the isle. They can all go to hell.

Alfredo Tryferis


I found Matt Rosenberg's "Blue City Conservatives" quite disturbing—beyond his clearly biased, right-wing viewpoint and stereotyped images of Seattleites as a bunch of liberal, lefty leftover hippies, I couldn't help but think, is nothing sacred? Must the Republican agenda and it's misinformed followers take over every single city and state like a spreading virus? Democrats and other non-Republican-thinking individuals have to put up with not only the second term of W but a country full of red states. I suggest those whom Rosenberg is referring to as the underground consider packing it up and moving on, and let Seattle be the beautiful, diverse, livable city that it is. But my largest hope is that this article will prompt more non-Republican and Democrat Seattleites into action, by strengthening their own organization, to preserve Seattle and keep the "liberal" folks in office—before it's too late

Mimi Perrin


Sorry to dredge up the oldest of news, but: The simple fact of the matter is that the majority of voting Americans decided to grant a second term to the man whose decisions resulted in the single largest budget deficit in all of American history. Whose tax cuts primarily benefited only the wealthiest citizens of this nation. Whose war against Iraq and petty personal vendetta ("They tried to kill my daddy"—George W. Bush) have cost over 1,500 young Americans their very lives. You might say I'm only looking at the negatives. I say I'm only looking at the facts. Blue is a wonderful color for a city.

Matthew F. Good

Lake Stevens

I found Matt Rosenberg's article interesting and informative. But I was truly confused by his seeming attempt to evoke my liberal sympathy for the difficult position faced by Seattle Republicans.

Liberal values—an openness to human diversity, an appreciation for multiple truths, the knowledge that social norms have changed dramatically over time, the belief that new ideas may hold as much truth as old ones—are good things. And like all good things, they must end somewhere.

For me, they end when I am asked to extend them to people who have no interest in such values. Tolerating intolerance, religious fundamentalism, extreme nationalism, vicious social policies, and anti-intellectualism is not liberal—it's stupid.

I'm sorry that some Seattleites were mean. That's not nice. But I'm not at all sorry that we've built a fantastic city on liberal values. If the Republicans want to come to our party, with its great food, eclectic music, and fun, creative people, they can pay the price of admission. Until then, I don't play nice with those who can't play well with others. I play hardball.

Susan Kane


In the early part of Matt Rosenberg's portrait of Republicans in Seattle, he suggested that the group was an eclectic, iconoclastic lot; "hard to pigeonhole" was how he put it. But to a man, all of the Republicans he profiled were supporters of Bush, the Iraq war, and the war on terrorism. As someone with no party affiliations, I'm not troubled that there are Republicans in Seattle. I'm troubled that there aren't more Republicans who view the Bush administration's attacks on civil liberties and its exported social engineering, through militaristic means, with a more skeptical eye. On Clinton's watch there were was a significant clique on the left who challenged the administration's use of power in Kosovo, Waco, and Ruby Ridge. For the Bush administration, where is the commensurate challenge from the right? Where are the conservative critics, in the tradition of Burke, Adams, and Holmes, who are allegedly leery of the unrestrained and unchecked use of power? Where are the voices from the right to combat the feral, childish hubris of the Bush administration? Judging from this article, they are not in Seattle.

Mark Hershey


Any right-thinking person should be appalled by the kind of behavior described in Matt Rosenberg's story against Republicans, especially those who support the president. At the same time, it should also be understood that this kind of behavior is hardly something that always existed. What's more, similarly egregious activities and nastiness have been exhibited by the right elsewhere.

The question is, what started all this? Even in the uproarious '60s or the days of Richard Nixon, the name calling and smears were directed at the issues as much as the politicians. Then came along Newt Gingrich, who virtually decreed it was not possible to like anyone from the opposition and began a series of highly personal attacks, and the behavior has been sustained . . . helped along by people like Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft, who came close to declaring any opposition as unpatriotic. Cast aside have been outstanding Republicans like Bob Dole and Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar who, with others, recognize that both they and Democrats work for the same employer: the United States.

In the end, it would seem time for those who have grown up (but not matured) on attack politics to take a good look at the First Amendment and ignore the fear and smear politicians who seem to have captured the moment but are backsliding fast.

Joseph J. Honick

Bainbridge Island

So, Republican britches are still burning from the political ass-whipping they took back in 1999 during the WTO? Why can't they just get over it? Speaking of growing up, need we remind them that while liberals and progressives were paying attention to the adult issues of international finance and gutting of the public sector with the threat to democracy posed by corporate free trade, they were insisting the entire country join in their circle jerk of masturbatory media frenzy? "Look" they screamed, pointing with their free hand, "Blue stained dress! Cigars! Monica's thong! The Starr Report! Oh! Oh! Oh! IMPEACHMENT!!!" . . . and when it was over, nobody cared, not even them. Thanks to infantile conservatives and their presidential penile obsession, the first reaction 99.99 percent of Americans had to that world-shaping protest was, "Uh, what's the WTO?" Because of Republicans, the whole world laughed at us as our media reported on nothing but Monica. Meanwhile, real journalists in the international media reported on the issues of neoliberalism, NAFTA, the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI), the effect of WTO and World Bank decisions on the environment and the Third World, genetic engineering . . . literally a struggle over the future of the planet.

Republicans know that the majority of Americans do not share their immature mind-set of self-obsession and unmitigated self-interest. They hide behind a smokescreen of deceitful slogans like "compassionate conservatism," "clear skies," "healthy forests," etc., all designed to make them appear the opposite of what they really believe. This is what Republican Women of Seattle club President Pam Brady means by the "right messages [not policies] on environmental issues, education, and transportation." Conservatives know they are wrong, and so they misrepresent themselves in order to advance their anti-worker, anti-environment, anti–other peoples' freedom, pro-corporate state agenda. Well, good luck. This ain't Texas, after all. People in Seattle are capable of critical thought. If they want to fool us, they're going to have to do better than the mindless repetition of childish lies, dirty tricks, and sex scandals they rely upon now. It will never work in Seattle, and the rest of the country is starting to catch on, too.

Mark Holland


Matt Rosenberg forgot to mention the elephant in the tidy little house he built around this group of paranoid whiners so unjustly persecuted in the little Soviet of Seattle (God, I'm tired of that hoary cliché).

The pernicious pachyderm these good folks choose to ignore is the Christian right's power in the state Republican Party nationally dominated by Southern conservatives.

Partisan conservative Rosenberg's piece (serving doubly as a campaign tract for Dave Irons) strains to describe these small-business R's as just like you and me. Indeed. Eating Gorgonzola and tortellini, they're "pro-choice, moderate to liberal on environmental issues, and tax-weary but not intractably opposed to new taxes. Some approve of gay marriage, others prefer civil unions." Hell, one was even gay himself—another black!

Seattle R's live in a Bubba-free bubble. Once outside the gates, these city slickers, with their soft leather jackets and slippery-slidey ideas, will be labeled RINOS, (Republicans in Name Only), frog-walked out of the big tent, and handed total control of the Napkin Committee at the GOP picnic.

Unfortunately for them, not all Republicans are like Dino Rossi or Irons, whose darker conservative shades are hidden beneath a fresh coat of suburban beige. Can any of you sleek Seattle Republicans look me in the eye and tell me you've got the stomach for fellow partisans: Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Tim Eyman, Daniel Lapin, Jim West, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, Mike Siegel, Carol Cassady, Val Stevens, or Pam Roach?

Y'all ready to big tent it against stem cell research, reproductive choice, Social Security, gay equality, civil unions, road repairs, fixing the viaduct, church/state separation, the U.N., or the Endangered Species Act?

The religious right drummed reason and the likes of Dan Evans out of the party decades ago. Chris Vance mitigated the situation last year by nominating a nearly electable Rossi. But the election of Steve Hammond over Reagan Dunn in the recent party caucus signals the goofball base is still there and rising again, empowered by their national brethren.

Seattle buffet Republicans: Are you ready for that?

Michael Hood

Executive Director,

Vashon Island

Thanks to Matt Rosenberg for providing us progressive liberals in Seattle with a manifesto for Democrats to renew their attacks against the neocon agenda. Hey, if you are a Republican living in the United States and you are supporting your party, then you are supporting the neocon agenda of lying to put our troops and innocent Iraqis in jeopardy when the real reason to go to war was to avenge Bush Senior and get the oil; of trashing the environment; of altering government-sponsored scientific reports to meet the neocon agenda rather than following the truth; of taking away our individual liberties through the guise of a Patriot Act—despite supposed constitutional rights; of torturing prisoners at Gitmo despite Geneva Convention rules; of supporting big oil and big business interests to the detriment of the social health of our people; etc. Yes, this nefarious list goes on and keeps growing daily. I think it's time to go to work defeating David Irons in his King County executive bid. The loud left rose and won, defeating Dino "the whiner" Rossi in the courts. To all those Blue City Conservatives: WE HAVE ONLY BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!!!

George W. Hayduke


I enjoyed the "Blue City Conservatives" article by Matt Rosenberg. Just to add my two cents worth: I live in a house built by my parents 58 years ago in Ballard, in a neighborhood that once was Republican. I am the only one left. Over the past 10 years, whenever I have put out Republican-candidate-support yard signs, I have had rocks thrown through the front window, every one of the three cars I own vandalized, property stolen right off the front porch (which you have to climb two staircases to get to), orders to take down my signs issued to me by neighbors (and when I've refused, the signs have been taken during the night), and much more. I don't even trust the police if I wished to file a complaint. I just see them as Democrat supporters. On every Flag Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc., I am the only house displaying an American flag. My state Legislature representative, after learning I was a Republican, stopped sending me her newsletter on what she was doing as my representative and stopped asking for feedback as to my interest in issues. I now consider myself to be living in a total dictatorship in Crown Hill.

Allan Wenzel


It's people like Jeanne Congdon, one of the interviewees in Blue City Conservatives, who help us understand how George W. Bush was re-elected for a second term. Let's see if I got this right: It doesn't matter that Bush lied to everybody in order to attack one of the few Muslim countries that had no ties to Al Qaeda, thus destroying any credibility the U.S.A. may have had in the world. This immoral act has resulted in the deaths of over 1,700 GIs (and counting) and God knows how many innocent Iraqis, but it's not as bad as Bill Clinton's tearing off a piece in the Oval Office and then lying about it.

Ms. Congdon says "it's about character, judgment , and values"—and she's correct. The problem with her constipated thinking is that Bill Clinton's prevarication got nobody killed, whereas Bush's has racked up a body count that's still growing. As far as I can see, Bush possesses no character, he shows questionable judgment, and his values are most definitely out of sync with those of us who aren't wealthy neocons.

Michael Thompson


Matt Rosenberg has followed the example of other conservatives and appropriated the language of the oppressed to depict the empowered dominant group as victims to liberals. By claiming to be "closet cases," he continues the identification of Republicans with oppressed homosexuals that has been the constant meme with national pundits. Then he gives anecdotal evidence of how "intolerant" the blue meanies are.

And yet, these "closet cases" can only report a few mean-spirited insults and stupid comments. No reports of being denied an apartment, a job, or marriage or being beaten to death because they "came out" as Republicans. Yet Rosenberg wants us to identify with their "plight" in Seattle as being just as horrible as what homosexuals have historically faced. Wow! I always thought elephants had thick skins.

And, if you want to be taken seriously: Speak up against the lies of a president who has led to the deaths of thousands, not just a lie about extramarital sex; speak up about the problems with Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, not just Dino Rossi's defeat. Then, maybe, I might take you seriously when you claim that Republicans want "to make the world a better place." Otherwise, take your offensive claims of victimization and go Cheney yourself!

Paul Zmolek


So then, what's happened to sensible, moderate Republicans of Dan Evans' ilk? Why are independent-minded conservatives so nonprolific? Many GOPers these days wonder why they're admonished so, yet they need look no further than the hijacking of their party by extremist reactionaries at the federal level.

Like many sensible "liberals/progressives" (I dislike labels), I believe the left wing of politics should be balanced by the right, and vice-versa, with neither side being too extreme. But the Republicans of today are in serious need of reflection, as the core of the party has drifted from the ideology of efficient, nonintrusive government and sound fiscal policy to a reckless, anachronistic, quasi-theocracy. The scales are tipped too far to the right.

The players and the ideals are more important than the team itself. And, I might add, what Seattle (and the country) needs more than to become more "purple" is a truly viable third political party.

Michael R. Bottemiller


Why do you run the insults and whines of a Republican in your paper? "Seattle's liberals and 'progressives' need to grow up," writes Matt Rosenberg to open his lengthy article. As if a direct insult were a mature contribution to civil political discourse.

Yes, people despise George Bush. With good reason. Osama bin Laden and his associates murdered almost 3,000 Americans. In response, George Bush invaded a country which he knew had no connection with the murders, and which he knew posed no threat to us. He lied about both the nonexistent connection and the nonexistent threat. As a result, more than four times as many Americans have died than Timothy McVeigh killed, and more half as many as Osama bin Laden killed. Not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis.

These are facts. The Downing Street Minutes verify their gist. The gun is smoking, Iraq is in ruins, and 1,700 more Americans are dead. George Bush belongs in prison for the rest of his life.

In mid-May, the days that have passed since the atrocity of Sept. 11 surpassed the number of days between Pearl Harbor and V-J Day, and Osama bin Laden is still at large. The U.S. brought Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo to heal in less time than Bush has been "at war" with Osama. I don't know how Republicans get away with fancying themselves as the party that knows how to get tough on terrorists.

This leaves aside Bush's calculated attempts to undermine Social Security, the federal budget, the economy, the environment, and international efforts to improve women's health. I do not pity Rosenberg for the discomfort he evidently feels at living in a community that reminds him of these truths.

John Shaw


I was very interested to read your cover story on "Blue City Conservatives" when I saw the new issue of SW. I have always considered it a peculiar myth that everyone in Seattle is a far-left Democrat and thought it was great that you were shining a light on the true diversity we have here in this city. Unfortunately, I found Matt Rosenberg's piece to be very distasteful. He uses broad, inaccurate generalizations to describe some sort of right-wing image of close-minded libs to spread a hate-fueled message about Democrats in Seattle. In the very first sentence, he conspicuously places the word progressives in quotation marks, inferring some sort of sarcastic nudge-nudge-wink-wink that is designed to make you think that the term is somehow disingenuous, then says that they need to "grow up," whatever that means. He goes on to blame every single negative news item to come out of the city on Democrats. From there it just gets worse. To hear Rosenberg, you would be led to think that every Kerry voter is some wild-eyed psycho screaming "NAZI" whenever President Bush's name is mentioned. He publishes suspect heresy as fact and fails to provide any kind of counter opinion. Basically, the article came off as a well-written propaganda piece to stir up an anti-left bias that has permeated so much of the political discussion on talk radio and in the blogosphere. In those forums, this kind of hate mongering appears to be a radical fringe; on the cover of the Seattle Weekly, however, it gives undue legitimacy to a flawed philosophy. I would expect better of your fine paper. I hope that you choose not to hire Rosenberg for any future reportage, unless he makes an effort to present more than one side of the story.

Ted Cogswell


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