Friday, March 30, 2018

Oregon's 2nd CD Candidates need to toughen up.

Oregon 2nd Congressional District Candidates play softball with each other.  It's too friendly.  It's a big mistake.

If Democrats don't expose the weaknesses of each other, then Walden's campaign will do it.  Democratic candidates need to stop playing so nicely.  Time to toughen each other up.

Click for nice ad. Negative ads come later.
Walden will have a huge campaign.  I heard that Greg Walden is in Medford today at a fundraiser for local donors. Really. The guy with three million dollars in the bank is here raising yet more money.  The event happens so people can pay tribute and show support.  Donors have a message: "We know you are important, Greg.  We like you. Notice us here at your fundraiser."

Walden has a message for them; "I take this race seriously.  You are dealing with the sure-thing winning incumbent."

Walden's campaign will try to smash the Democratic nominee in a one-two punch of positive and negative ads.  We know the good-guy ads: a golden glow of children playing in parks, grandparents, a veteran, a wheat field, and Walden in voiceover sounding compassionate and self assured.

Expect negative ads. They will hammer away at perceived flaws in the Democratic candidate.  Currently the Democratic candidates all say they are friends with each other.  No one wants to "go negative." No one wants to ask direct hard questions. They hear from county Democratic committees that "negativity suppresses turnout," and that they shouldn't damage each other.  But no one want to be the one to look the other in the eye and say "you have a problem."  

So I will do it.  

By definition, every candidate has problems, because a candidate's strength is his or her weakness, when it is seen from the opposite direction.  Let's expose the weaknesses. Better me than Greg Walden. Let's see how the candidate's respond and parry the attack. 

Question for Jim Crary:  " Sure, you were a lawyer.  What in the world were you doing being one at BP for seventeen years? While you were there BP's shoddy wells had the worst disaster in history. If you actually cared about climate change and fossil fuels you should have resigned and worked for someone else. And besides, by not taking money from good groups, you insult them by likening them to the bad groups."  (Walden's ad will be titled "Flagrant hypocrite")

Question for Jennifer Neahring: "Sure you are a doctor, but you practice everywhere but here. You aren't really from the 2nd District. You are from Salem, admit it.  And besides, you don't really favor Medicare-for-all."  (Walden's ad will be titled "Just visiting.")

Question for Eric Burnett: "Sure, the unions love you, but if unions are so good how come they are disappearing everywhere except in public sector.  Why push a 19th century solution in the 21st century gig economy?  It isn't a solution for an agricultural and small business district. And besides, you are way, way too liberal."  (Walden's ad will be titled "Pawn of Union Bosses.")

Question for Jamie McLeod-Skinner: "Sure you have experience in government. You got fired in Phoenix. The police chief said you created a toxic work environment.  Employees said they dreaded coming to work.  Admit it.  You cannot work with others. And besides, conservative Christians aren't ready for you." (Walden's ad will be titled "Toxic Personality.")

Question for Tim White: "Sure, you were a big shot Chrysler finance executive, but you know so little about this District that you tell cattle ranchers to become vegan and you expect to get the feds to build an interstate between Bend and Ontario. Go run in Detroit.  And besides, you sound angry all the time and that turns people off."  (Walden's ad will be entitled "Executive Suite.")

Question for Michael Byrne: "Sure, you are a nice guy, but you would have no credibility in  Congress. You aren't running for stonemason. You are running for Congress. And besides, you sound like a socialist." (Walden's ad will be entitled, "Getting things done.")

Question for Raz Mason: "Sure, you have lots of ideas on anxiety, stress, interpersonal relationships, and existential doubt. But you are running for Congress, not meditation coach. And besides, we don't want to hear about your 'vision.'  We want to hear about your policies."  (Walden's ad will be entitled, "Ommmmm."

Training hurts.  Nipples chafe and bleed.
I am trying to predict the future and get candidates ready for it. The real Walden attack ads will be more nasty. The Democratic nominee must have inoculated him or her self and figured out a way to parry or reverse the thrust of these charges and others I haven't thought of. 

Political strength isn't being above criticism.  It is getting criticized and coming out of it stronger.

I liken this campaign as the training a hobby runner does to prepare for a marathon run of 26.2 miles. The training runs give blisters.  Knees hurt. Cramps.  Long training runs let people learn what goes wrong and how much Advil to take. One does not prepare for race day by driving the route in a car. You run long distances, for real. It hurts. 

One prepares by dealing with the hurt, and getting stronger and tougher so one can actually finish the 26.2 mile run head held high.

If the campaigns of Crary or Neahring or McLeod-Skinner and others get hard questioning by fellow Democrats, we will all learn something. They will either figure out a solid, plausible response that audiences accept, or their campaigns will fail, right then, in the primary.

Time to toughen each other up.


  1. It's a Regressive/Republican district until we have a recession.

    Then the fundamental hypocrisy of middle class Republicans will be exposed as they line up for their benefits. Otherwise Progressives are simply Chicken Littles, which is kind of what the current field looks like.

    To whit (from The Hill):
    "More than three months after the passage of the GOP’s tax-cut law, new surveys suggest that many people don’t think they are getting bigger paychecks, which could cut into support for Republicans in this fall’s midterm elections.

    A CNBC poll this week stated that just 32 percent of working adults reported having more take-home pay due to the new law, a problem for Republicans hoping to run on the measure and the health of the economy in November."

    It feels like it may take another cycle to dislodge the complacency of an comfortable electorate whose prejudices are currently well served.

  2. Right on, Peter. There are elephants in the room, at least one of which is due to political correctedness. I can't remember the set-up of the forum in Medford but at the forum here in Ashland for the State Senate questions were controlled, with little opportunity to ask specific questions of individual candidates. Way too nicey, nicey.

  3. Just a couple of comments: (lol):

    Some of these comments on your post are brutally honest, and should be taken to heart by the candidates.
    However, it is debatable as to whether or not primary candidates should point these out to each other.

    Some are questionable. Tim is criticized for being too angry. I liked how he goes after Walden on several issues! I want all of them to do that! I do agree that Tim's transportation plan emphasis will not carry well.
    I have been trying to get the 'nice guy' Michael Byrnes to be angrier, as it fits with his position as a working man. He has a right! He also will gain respect, not just because he is a nice guy, but because he is engaged with people's issues. He learns. He is the most active on social media for that reason.
    I am also worried about Jamie being accepted for who she is on the east side. That is a big worry.
    I also see Jennifer's emphasis on health care as one issue to be limiting. She needs to expand her concerns.
    My big concern about Jim Crary is that he ran before. He needs to say how it is different this time, by pointing out what Walden has been up to.
    I don't see the presence of the other candidates like Eric Burnett and Raz Mason enough to say much, which says a lot.

    I want them to sleuth out Walden's voting record, not hia statements, on veteran's issues. On the west side, Walden's actions on Net Neutrality will be illuminating. That he agrees with trump in the 90th percent range, and backs up or is quiet about trump's appointments and his morality says a lot.

    I, of course hate Walden's complete bias on his environmental issues, even tho I recognize the need to tread lightly here. Even so, parts of his HR2936 and the Columbia Gorge bill allow for vastly reduced public comment. Even people not for my positions on wilderness can get mad at that.

    Yes, get mad!

  4. Peter: next time wear pasties.

  5. Partly the kid gloves routine is a hangover from 2016. All those sordid tales about a system-rigging DNC had an effect, whether any of it was true or just novices misunderstanding how this all works.

    When county parties float the idea of holding an endorsement vote, factions wave the bloody shirt and act as though anything that so much as inadvertently exposes a candidate's flaw is akin to setting the Reichstag on fire.

    That last election seemed to validate the strange notion that elections are a beauty pageant that spectators show up to and judge candidates on the spot - all are equal on stage and any preparation is an unfair advantage. Nevermind that those beauty pageant contestants work their asses off to get where they are...


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