Monday, July 9, 2018

Yes, Jeff Merkley is running for President

Jeff Merkley

Chinese proverb: "Beware the wrath of a quiet man."

Merkley: "I'm not the guy who comes to battle with, if you will, extensive charisma."

Mr. Nice Guy, Jeff Merkley, is soft spoken. Polite. Earnest. He is an alternative to Trump. He has a shot.

Jeff Merkley called my home last night. He said he will be spending time in New Hampshire, helping candidates there, getting known, making friends. He is said he was calling old friends, and asking them for money so he can afford the staff and travel to evaluate the possibilities of a presidential run.

Merkley may not actually go through with it, but he is doing exactly what is necessary to to be credible as a candidate. I was in New Hampshire in September, 2015, sitting up close to watch five Democrats and fifteen Republicans try to get political traction. I looked at their shoes. I timed their speeches. I counted staff people. I noted the audience response. By September, 2015, most had big travel vans, security and campaign staff, schedulers, fundraisers, accountants to keep track of the money, and the money to pay for it all. 

And that's just New Hampshire. Iowa has 99 counties and caucuses in every county. They had a similar size operation there. A little over a year from now--September, 1919 a successful campaign will be a giant enterprise.

Jeff Merkley has a shot. He could catch fire.

Meeting friends in Medford

Merkley is Trump's opposite. He is also the opposite of what this blog has said is essential for the Democrat, a candidate with charisma. Merkley's niche would be judo, using Trump's strength against him. He needs to find the charisma inside the appearance of not having it.

In the pendulum of politics the American public is now gorging on flamboyance, narcissism, and high drama. Jeff Merkley's shot will come if Democrats and the American voters, are fully sick of it. Jeff Merkley oozes quiet, earnest sincerity.  

Donald Trump may call him "Weak Mr. Rogers Merkley", and say it with a sneer. There is a Mr. Rogers quality to Merkley, and this will be a big test for him. Trump and others would attempt to brand Merkley as soft, weak and naive, suitable only for a fantasy TV neighborhood without MS-13, terrorists, or crime. Trump will try to make Merkley look like those hapless, feckless husbands in countless TV ads.  

Merkley must not shirk from the label or minimize it. Embrace it, lean into the brand, and use political judo on Trump. 

You bet I am quiet. High time for that. We have had too much big talk and no real progress for regular Americans. I'm fighting for them.  I want everyone to have a shot at getting rich.

Merkley needs to tie this with some demonstration of bulldog resolve and fearlessness within his quietness. Merkley needs to show--not talk--unwavering strength of purpose in some visible endeavors. 

Choose that battle carefully. It needs to be a fight on behalf of a great many Americans, ideally the working and middle class, not some good but niche group, e.g. LGBTQ, nor about process, e.g. the filibuster. Fight for something big and patriotic and near-universal--affordable health care or more progressive taxation. Pick a big enemy and a big group of people to serve. Fight for that.

What is essential is that Merkley demonstrate that under the soft Mr. Rogers exterior is steel hard integrity and purpose.  We absolutely understand that the TV character Mr. Rogers would never, ever allow the children on his show to be harmed. We can trust Mr. Rogers' strength and integrity. A quiet man can be a strong, fearless hero. 

Watch, or re-watch, High Noon.
Showdown scene. Click.

The sheriff played by Gary Cooper knew what to do in a when confronted by evil and danger. He knew what to do in a fight.  He had fearless resolve and didn't back down.The sheriff was a quiet man but the town could trust him.

Americans understand that trope and are prepared to see it in a political figure, the strong, silent type.  

Merkley can rise to this.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Merkley is a stooge (and that's being kind).
Merkley has zero accomplishments in the Senate.
Merkley is not even in the Democrat leadership. They don't respect him.
What the hell has Merkley ever done for you in Oregon? ZERO.
Merkley prioritizes illegal invaders over Americans. Enough said.
The only reason Merkley gives Peter Sage the time of day is because he wants Sage's campaign money. Gee Pete.....has Merkley ever solicited your political advice? you like open borders?
Anyone who gives Merkley credibility has none themselves.

Anonymous said...

So what constitutes zero accomplishments? Merkley has sponsored or co-sponsored numerous bills. At least 5 have been enacted. His active voting record is above the median. He serves on many important committees. He represents his constituents well - the bills passed were prioritized specifically by constituents. Just because he objects to children being mistreated because they were not born in America does not mean he puts "illegal invaders" over Americans. Most logical people can see through your rantings, Curt.

George Kramer said...

Critical thinking from somebody without enough honor to use their own name.

Anonymous said...

I think Curt is lucky. This is the only place his rantings are seen. Without Peter, no one would even know he exists. I think he’d better be careful or Peter could cut him off. Then what would he do?

Diane Meyer said...

Sorry for the troll, Peter! I love Senator Merkley, and can think of many things he has done. I am particularly thankful for all of his work on the Monument, the hearing he held, the open houses.
I feel that immigration should not be his issue of choice.
I wish I thought that the good, quiet guy could win, but I am doubtful that such a person would carry the day.
I like how Warren is taking on trump, McConnell, etc. and would hope that she does not have too much baggage by now. I love the meme where trump asks for her DNA and she asks for his IQ test! She would be my choice.
I also think that celebrity and name might matter. That is why I think Joe Kennedy III could survive a stand off with trump.

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

Dear Readers-of-comments,

The first comment above is from Curt Ankerberg. His situation is actually kind of sad because he has a debilitating need to be nasty, when it would be just as easy to be factual. He actually raises points that could be useful, i.e. what exactly has Merkley done to trademark himself, and whether or not Merkley talks with me solely/somewhat/never because I donate to him. But Curt sabotages himself out of his odd compulsion--sort of like a dog who bites people because it was abused and whipped as a pup, and now needs to be chained. I have never encountered anyone with such a debilitating compulsion to be nasty.

I feel I give the public a bit of service by letting him post. People can evaluate Curt's mental situation for themselves. Maybe people think he is perfectly OK, and for all I know, he is perfectly sane--just mean and hateful. Or, maybe, it is something a psychologist would have a diagnosis for. I don't know. Possibly something terrible happened to him as a child.

Curt is a candidate again for yet another office--school board, again--and I know of no better, more honest way to warn people about Curt than to allow his comments to go up and stay up. Maybe toward election day I will print a "greatest hits" recap of his comments.

Judy Brown said...

One only needs to ask what Trump did before he was elected. Nothing but scam people for money. Now he is scamming the whole country. No, I think a real decent person can beat Trump.

I've begun alerting all my NH friends of his run. I think many of them will like him a lot. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I personally appreciate the warning that Ankerburg is running for the school board again. That prompted me in to action and many more I know to get involved.

Anonymous said...

I love Herr Curt and his incredibly angry posts. It makes me feel so well adjusted.

Anonymous said...

Agreed: chain up Anger burger ...

Dan Davis said...

Thanks for this article, Peter Sage. My friends and I ...and even Jeff, have said the same things about charisma. I appreciate your fresh take on this man and how this can perhaps be an advantage. WOW!

I have known Jeff personally for about 10 years now, On the recommendation of The great Peter Buckley. My main guide, Tana and I had a Jacksonville breakfast for him at the very outset - I believe it was 2008 (unless my math fails as it often does since my first math degree). Since then we have always supported Jeff to our best ability.

Two years ago I asked Jeff to help with an issue with the VA and veteran suicide; I had struggled for 2 years to get them to change their phone recording from "If you are contemplating suicide, hang up and dial 1-800-273-8255", to answering "...... press X". That first message was, in my view, counterprodutive to someone in crisis ("F____ it, I can't remember that # ...and, they don't give a %#@&"). As a mere person and lowly vet, I got very little traction, despite my petition drive with over 65,000 signers. Sen Merkley immediately instructed his staff to go to work and make it happen. Within 1 week, I received a call from D.C. saying this was going to happen and it would be first implemented at the White City Dom. It is now "..... Press 7" in place at every VA phone number in the country, thanks to Jeff and his team. This Senator has consistently stood up for what is right, moral and ethical for the country and its people. How many politicians or gadflies (like Ankerburg) can say that. I say only a few (almost all from the Democratic side, unfortunately). What an awesome change and a positive re-direction - opposite the cowardly or incompetent mean nasties now dominating the White House, Congress and even the Supreme Court.

First though it is absolutely critical for our country's future to change the congressional makeup from a republican majority this November 6. .....VOTE!.....