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.
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."
|Click for nice ad. Negative ads come later.|
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.|
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.