In a way, Dino Rossi's campaign for U.S. Senator has worked out for everyone, Rossi included. "I don't need this job," he said when he announced his candidacy electronically, via video, and a majority of employers this week agreed they didn't need him, either. He has now conceded to the re-elected Senator Patty Murray. His message about a "basic course correction" reached "a very receptive audience all across this state," he said, "though not quite receptive enough."
He had another message as well. "I hope," he said, "the President and Senate Democrats will join the new House majority to face these problems head on rather than leaving them for the next Congress or the next generation."
That's the message voters were sending, too. Republicans regained control of the House but not the D.C. power base. It was no GOP tsunami, despite what Fox and the usual Republican suspects were claiming. It was the result of a frustrated call for bipartisanship, which the tiresome GOP retreads are already rejecting.
Rossi, now 0-3 in his past three outings, never seemed quite comfortable in this campaign. Voters were all ears, anxious to hear solutions from anyone, but he acted like the enemy. He was in lefty territory and moved cautiously. Oddly--though he laid out a list of specific promises and values--he seemed reluctant to communicate them broadly, particularly during the debates.
As well, Patty Murray might be preparing to clean out her office today had Rossi disengaged from the typically muddied and divisive campaign--on both sides. Voters were looking for unification and less blood-letting. But at least he got it right in his exit line. "The lesson I leave you with is one we learned as kids," he said yesterday: "We're all in this together." It's just that it doesn't seem that way during elections.