Thursday, May 10, 2018

Facebook Flare-up: Jeff Golden-Athena Goldberg

Campaign funds from PACs.  Is it "negative campaigning" for Jeff Golden to point out a simple documented truth? 

Goldberg called it "going low." She should reverse direction.  

She might as well say she is proud of the PAC support.

The State Senate race in Jackson County has a point of clear difference between two candidates. Jeff Golden has raised money from some 400 individuals, most local. Nearly all Athena Goldberg's money has come from PACs representing unions and health care companies, including her employer's.  
Oregon Sec. of State: "Transaction Search."

See for yourself. 

The records are publicly available at the Secretary of State's on-line reporting system, Orestar. Clink on the link.On the search bar, for Athena Goldberg, use the campaign name "Athena for southern Oregon." For Jeff Golden use "Jeff Golden." 

Are PACs bad? Jeff Golden says their money corrupts the system. Oddly, the Facebook flare-up shows Athena Goldberg appearing to accept Jeff Golden's premise. She doesn't defend PAC contributions. She calls his mentioning them "negative." Why would it be negative unless there was something wrong with PAC donations?

On Facebook Jeff Golden writes that PAC donations--even from "good" guys--have strings attached, and PAC gifts legitimize and perpetuate a system of special interests having far too much power. He showed a bar graphs of the contributions, drawn from the Secretary of State report on Facebook.

This comparison of contributions sources drew criticism on Facebook from supporters of Goldberg. They wrote comments saying Jeff Golden's had gone 'negative." Golden left the comments up.

Ollie: "Way to go low." 
Stephanie: "This post solidified my decision to vote for Athena Goldberg. Disappointed in this negativity. We should be working together in times like these, not throwing each other under the bus." 
Echo: This sort of campaign ad is NOT what I would expect from a candidate who has made a media career out of moderating conflict."

What about Athena Goldberg herself?  She also validated Jeff Golden's argument. On her Facebook page she wrote: "Southern Oregon Democrats must heed Michelle Obama's words: 'When someone acts like a bully our motto is: When they go low we go high.' We must elect candidates who uphold our values--not those who adopt Trump's campaign tactics."
Kevin Stine

Go low? Bully? Trump campaign tactics?

Jeff Golden revealed what she reported herself to the Secretary of State. This is a "tell," as a poker player would describe it.

She is acknowledging she herself thinks there is something "negative" about donations from PACs. She announces her endorsements from organizations with pride, and put them in her Voters Pamphlet page and celebrates them on FacebookAthena: Facebook

But apparently she doesn't want it noted that she gets money from those same organizations. Keep the money quiet.

Candidate Kevin Stine weighs in saying that Goldberg should not be complaining about actual facts and figures, both on her source of campaign funds and from her "terrible voting record," i.e. failure to vote in many local elections. "If she can't handle people bringing up facts, she'll never survive a General Election. . . . You have to be tough, bold, and able to defend your positions." He contrasts himself with Goldberg, saying he is a fighter would would defend his positions. He has also made jabs at Golden throughout the campaign.

In fact, Athena Goldberg has a reasonable, defensible argument, if she wants to make it.  She would need to reverse course. She could embrace the PAC money. She could argue that PAC money is a fact of life and that she is darned proud to get financial support from the PACs that give to her. She can say that her PAC supporters like her because they like what she stands for and think she is a winner.

Would that be a popular stance? I don't know, but I do know that she isn't trying to make the case for how she gets campaign money, and she is inadvertently making Golden's case for him. She had better give it a try since the Secretary of State report is right there. What other choice does she have? 

She is funded by PACs. If she wins the primary election it is inevitable that the general election will be a head-to-head PAC slugfest between Athena Goldberg and Jessica Gomez.  

Now, in the primary, there is a choice for voters. Jeff Golden is the "I don't take PAC money" candidate. Athena Goldberg is the "PACs like me" candidate. She might as well make the best of it and sell PAC support as a good thing, and get started now.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I appreciate this post, because it honestly puzzled me that a few people saw a factual comparison of how Athena and I are funding our campaigns as "going low." I do get that we're in a time of massive disgust with much of what we see in politics. But I want to be clearthat this comparison message is squarely within what I see as the boundaries of fair & relevant campaigning. If I become the Democratic nominee you're likely to hear more in the general election.
Your post also touches on the idea of good PACS, from which a candidate could say it's fine to take money. I get that--in fact I support and agree with the work of some groups who gave money to my opponent. But what's clear to me after decades of disgust with money in politics is that "I'll take money from the good PACs, not the bad" has us trapped, and that the $$$ problem is as bad or worse now than it's ever been:

I'm one of several hundred candidates for state legislatures around the country who are refusing PAC money in this election. What we're trying to do--and I don't see a lot of other efforts towards the same goal--is interrupt a pattern that is steadily taking down our state and country.