Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Some people like Jeff Golden. Some do not.

Pushback on Jeff Golden and his comments yesterday.

Some people thought Golden was thoughtful and cautious.  Others thought he was weak and cowardly.

Jeff Golden insisted that his comments in this blog on the Health Care Amendment be published verbatim, in full, and with a neutral headline.  Golden told me he wanted unfiltered "full transparency."  

I consented.
This blog got a flurry of comments sent primarily by email.  Many criticized me for agreeing to let him--or any candidate--tell me what kind of headline to use and that I must not summarize or interpret what he or she said. They said either Golden was a prima donna, or I was a total wimp who failed my readers.

But others praised Golden and the blog:  They said we got to hear Jeff straight up and unfiltered, and they found that useful.

In the spirit of the "full transparency" Jeff requested, here is the longest and most analytical of the comments I received.  It is from a detractor.

I have zero idea who wrote it--but it does not matter.  What is important is not the identity or credentials of the author.  It is whether this point of view is legitimate and rings true to people.  Readers can decide, again on their own, with this comment published verbatim and in full. 

Golden has been here a long time and many people know him well. He has a reputation; he has friends; he has detractors.  If this comment below is a lonely voice, then I expect Jeff will win the Primary election handily. If lots of others feel this way, then maybe he has a problem, and it is better for him and the voters to know about it now, and each can take the appropriate action.

I am aware of no polling in this race, but I suspect Golden is the only one with significant name recognition at this moment.

A reader comment:

Jeff Golden?   "Frustrating and irritating."

"Whether or not to pass a constitutional amendment establishing healthcare as a right isn't a lofty philosophical question; its a mandate for the legislature to craft policy that ensures access to healthcare for all. It would legally compel the legislature to remove barriers to healthcare access for all Oregonians (like a lack of revenues, for instance; and a Democrat who doesn't support revenues isn't much of an improvement from Deboer. Voters will feel the same way and apart from the Ashland old-guard progressives, Democrats will not feel compelled to rally behind Jeff in the general. You need the Ashland old-guard for primaries but if those are the only voters you can move, running is a waste of resources).
Comment to yesterday's blog post

If Jeff would prefer to spend his time passing more substantive healthcare policy, I'm not clear as to why he wouldn't already fully support restricting the abilities of some of the very conservative members of the legislature from pulling the kind of stunt we saw from Julie Parrish and Sal Esquivel at the end of this last session. Not everybody will choose to come to the table in good faith and have these drawn out conversations in Salem. Sometimes you have to compel your opponents to come to the table and make them stay until they come up with a real solution.

As far as the probability of the legislation passing the ballot test is concerned, it has been less than a month since voters overwhelmingly approved Measure 101, which shows more promise for healthcare as a voting issue than we've seen from any other issues in years. I don't think that its appropriate to assume that a ballot measure which is more closely related to Measure 101 than it is to GMO labeling or corporate taxes would go the way of the latter. The Measure 101 campaign built a meaningful coalition like I haven't seen before and if we have the ability to utilize that resource to take bold action for underserved Oregonians, we should capitalize on it.

Also worth considering is the significant impact that Janus v AFSCME is likely to have on one of the largest sources of funding for Democratic candidates and ballot measures in Oregon. Having just lost an executive seat to a conservative Republican as well as the SD3 seat while we still had that funding, we ought to be hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, *especially* since we'll have Richardson in office during redistricting. Recognizing the threats that we face and preparing for the future requires both a revitalization of the organizing model, and real policy like this amendment. If this policy passed the ballot test it would require more than a simple majority to reverse it, and that's a long-term insurance policy for low-income Oregonians.

Reading a long explanation for failing to give a clear and substantive answer for such a timely question was frustrating and irritating. Maybe I was spoiled by Bates and Buckley but I'm not about to support someone who wouldn't show the same respect to their base as they did. We knew where they stood on most issues because when we asked them, they told us. If Jeff really doesn't have an answer to this question, let him ramble on and on to RCC students or radio listeners and send someone who is ready to take a position who we can trust to caucus for those positions to represent us.

We need folks in the legislature who will show up ready to do more than just talk. We need folks who will be effective in the building. We need champions for progressive issues. And we need someone who can win. Jeff is none of those things."


Alma Rivelle said...

A few observations on the 'reader' comment in today's blog:
1. Richardson only matters on redistricting if the legislature cannot come to an agreement.
2. Janus v AFSCME means something if you're bellying up to the bar. Jeff Golden is the only candidate running without lobby, corporate, or special interest money. Oh, and let's be clear: AFSCME doesn't give money to campaigns; they give it to vendors to send mail: lots and lots of direct mail.
3. As for Bates and Buckley, I worked nearly two decades with Bates and over a decade with Buckley. BOTH deliberated to decisions. Both weighed each side of the debate. Neither were knee-jerk, which is precisely why they were so effective.
4. If you think Golden hasn't championed progressive issues, you have not been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Guess which is Cathy Shaw?

Up Close: Road to the White House said...

This is Peter Sage.

I don't particularly care who is the author of comments, if they are civil and advance the discussion. If Kevin Stine had the capacity to write the long criticism of Jeff, and if he did it, then it would be an act of political positioning: Stine attempting to be more credible with progressives than is Jeff. It would be a long shot strategy, to my mind.

If Cathy Shaw wrote the first comment here with its 4 points, then I think she is making a huge mistake. It is hers to make if she wants, but if Jeff Golden doesn't have the progressive Ashland vote wrapped up it is because over the 40 years he has irritated or bored or somehow estranged enough people on personal grounds that darned if they will vote for him. It would be personal, not policy. But my sense is that front-line progressives are Jeff's turf, and the comment-author did him a dis-service, further locking him into the stereotype of Ashland tree-hugging knee jerk front line progressive that has cost him two elections.

My own sense--and people are free to disagree, of course--is that the CRITIC was Jeff's actual long term ally, not the author of the 4 point comment above. The smart play would have been for Jeff's campaign to have ghost wrote the harsh criticism and the smart play for a Republican opponent would have been to have ghost-written the 4 point comment above.

But I don't think either happened. Someone who doesn't like Jeff wrote the long critical comment and some close fan of Jeff's wrote the nice one. Each pleased themselves as they wrote it and each actually hurt their own causes.

Peter Sage

Anonymous said...

I don’t think that Cathy Shaw wrote the first comment on this blog post; I think that comment was written by Alma Rivelle, the person who posted it. I know that Kevin Stine didn’t write the critical comment of Jeff Golden’s response and candidacy because I wrote it. I don’t intend to sign my name to that comment or to this one because I would rather avoid the insiders’ speculation as to which candidate I’m supporting, and the assumption that a desire to get a particular candidate elected was my motivation in writing that criticism.

I do not work for any of the candidates, nor am I affiliated with any campaign. I am a concerned voter whose primary interest is in seeing a strong candidate come out of the primary who will beat the Republican candidate in the general election and who will effectively serve their constituents. I understand that my words were harsh and critical, but I didn’t write them because I don’t like Jeff. He’s a nice person and I believe that he cares about this valley. However, I do not think that he’s a strong candidate outside of the primary or that he would be effective in Salem.

It’s true that he worked for progressive issues in his day, but were the issues that he fought for enough for Democrats in his district to fight for him in the general? Are those decades-passed efforts his legacy? Or is he identified as an old guard South Valley progressive who lost an election to a conservative the last time he was on a ballot?

I don’t generally like to draw comparisons between local and national politics because people tend to take that too far, but just as another frame to view this primary in, consider the 2016 national primaries. The party chose to support a dynastic candidate, one with support from key donors and strategists, who had already demonstrated an inability to win the support of voters. That decision was clearly made by “the establishment,” or in this case, the old guard, and drove the folks who don’t generally turn out for special elections or primaries further from the party, and that party divide and lack of enthusiasm for the establishment cost us the presidency.

What’s missing in this analogy is a Bernie Sanders candidate, but the analogy is not without the threat of a Trump outcome. I’m not saying that support should go to the most populist candidate, don’t get me wrong (this is why I tend to avoid drawing these comparisons). I’m just saying that you should take a step outside of your bubble and take into account what you already know about the voters we’ll face in the general. They don’t tend to support Ashland progressives or niche progressives in general, and don’t particularly like candidates who have spent decades “on the inside”; and, they’ll be reminded that they’ve rejected Jeff on the ballot previously (and why was that?). What do they like? Is there anything beyond some degree of name recognition that makes you think that he would be the best candidate in the general?