Atkinson Lovefest Begins

Jesse Cornett

The Oregonian has an article today about State Senator Jason Atkinson's gubernatorial candidacy where the reporter perpetuates Atkinson's self-imposed myth that he is a different kind of Republican. In fact the title is "Atkinson Walks a Different Party Line." More accurately, Atkinson talks a different party line because he is a smart, young conservative who took note from the successful 2000 presidential race of someone who called themselves a "compassionate conservative." I'm not sure what bike riding, fly-fishing, and book reading (well, depending on the books, I suppose) have to do with one's political views, but I suppose Harry Esteve has more insight on that than I do.

Also, an interesting tidbit in the article is that State Senator Charlie Ringo, and former President of the Sierra Club here in Oregon, donated $100 to Atkinson's candidacy, stating that Atkinson: "feels very strongly about protecting the environment." According to OLCV's recent scorecard, Atkinson didn't score the highest score amongst his 12 Senate Republican colleagues.

Me personally, I've been saying for a while that we should watch out for Atkinson. He's got the buzz going, the Oregonian wrote the first of what I predict will be many flattering articles between now and the time he faces off against the incumbent the electorate will be tired (based largely on the number off newspaper articles all year telling them they are tired of him) of by next November.

Comments

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)
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    Jason Atkinson is so dreamy!

    It’s a shame that he’s dating Lars Larson.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    What's up with Ringo?

  • Jeff Bull (unverified)
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    I thought the article was an odd bit o' fluff; along with Jesse, I thought Esteve gave Atkinson a pass by equating "outdoorsman" with some kind of dedication to the environment - and I certainly didn't get off my hump, as Jesse, did to check his voting record (bad blogger!).

    But, in Esteve's defense, he noted the Larson endorsement and, more significantly, he talked about "following in his father's footsteps" and notes later in the article that Pops "was associated with the party's hyperpartisan, ideologically based social platforms."

    Personally, I was more offended by the fuzzy discussion of Atkinson's politics.

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    My biggest concern is the total lack of policy discussion. Standard press article; all about conflict and personality, nothing about policies, voting records, positions. Entertainment, not news.

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    Yes, he did mention his father's politics, but the online article subheading is as follows, which I think completely neutralizes the mention:

    Governor's race - State Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point is not his father's kind of Republican

    Anyhow, I know that I sure don't share my parents politics on all things.

    I don't think we get any policy discussions until a couple weeks from the election, at which point it must be distilled down to put in a chart so people can see the candidate's positions right next to one another (and for goodness' sakes, how else would we be able to know and remember the differences when the election rolls around). It's all about the fluff and he will be a master at that.

  • Aaron (unverified)
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    To the donation to Aktinson: Sen Ringo being the chair of Environment and Land Use Committee and Sen Atkinson's being the vice-chair--I say interest Ringo very interesting.

    As well, I concur with Jesse--Sen. Atkinson is one to watch. Sen. Aktinson can and is willing to steal majority of the vote from Mannix in the rural portions of the state--forcing Mannix and Saxton to fight it out in the bigger urban areas.

    What fun in 2006!!!

  • Varner (unverified)
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    Yeah, this article is a little light on analysis. But more importantly, did anyone notice Jesse's kick ass time in the marathon on Sunday? Under four hours. Wow.

  • Betsy Wilson (unverified)
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    Well, it's funny you mention the OLCV Scorecard -- Westlund, Mr. R-independent, is the only Senate R to do better than Atkinson. But Jason's 25% score is nothing to brag about.

    Of course OLCV's "environmental defender of the year" (sic, or is it sick?) Charlie Ringo is giving money and political cover to someone to votes for the environment one time out of four.

    If OLCV and the environmental movement wants to be taken seriously, they've got to stop fawning over people like Ringo. It's a stretch, but one could argue that, by association, they're helping Atkinson greenwash his record. Hopefully they'll at least get a letter published admonishing both Atkinson and Ringo for the attempt.

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    SB 408 was the bill to stop utilities in Oregon from charging ratepayers for income taxes they do not actually pay. It is costing us $150 million per year. The utilities have collected from us over $1 billion in phony taxes over the past 8 years.

    Atkinson was one of 4 Senators who voted against SB 408 on the floor (after having voted against it in committee and offering a "minority report" consisting of doing another study of the issue). Others who voted against were Beyer, Kruse, and Nelson. Atkinson's argument consisted of claiming that SB 408 was "cruddy politics":

    "Thank you, Mr. President. You know, there's some good points that are made here. I will say that I hate task forces and study groups and work groups, but you know what, I even don't, I don't like cruddy politics either. And the fact of the matter is is that we can't get the true up, we can't get something fair past this building and headed over to the House."

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    ER, slightly off topic here, but Jesse when are you going to switch out your column heading photo for one of the new, buff, Portland Marathon finishing Jesse?

    "Enquiring (sic) minds want to know"

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Atkinson supposed friendship with the environment is like Gordon Smith's friendship with the gay community. It's tenuous at best. Ringo should know better, but then again I never heard any kind of courageous stand that Ringo made in the last session regarding Measure 37.

  • R.U. Nuts (unverified)
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    I wouldn't make too many of my voting decisions based on the information, or lack there of, put out by OLCV. A careful study of their scorecard shows they didn't think a bill to increase the use of solar power was worthy. But they did think the budget for the Columbia Gorge Commission, which has about as much impact on the average Oregonian as the Commission to Save the Dodo, was a priority.

    If OLCV wants to be taken seriously, it is not the fawning over Ringo that needs to stop. It is their rather loose connection to reality that is doing the damage.

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)
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    For Christ Sakes People:

    Are you so partisan that you’re flipping out because Ringo (who worked on 2 different committees with Atkinson) gave him a measly 100 bucks? By reading these posts you would think Ringo is the Benedict Arnold of Oregon. Light up people. Nobody likes an angry tree-hugger.

  • Betsy Wilson (unverified)
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    It's not the hundred bucks. It's the claim that Atkinson is pro-environment, and the implied symbolic endorsement of the money. It's greenwashing. And Ringo's leading it.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Betty,

    Exactly! It's the symbolism of it. The Bus Project could do a lot more for the people of Oregon with Ringo's $100 than Atkinson will. And the Bush Project is more deserving.

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    I don't see the "Bush Project" running for office. In fact I can't imagine what that might be unless it has something to do with the recent supreme court ruling.........Geeze, maybe I should send 'em some money.

    <hr/>

    Ringo is one of our brightest boys and he comes from a tough district. Leave him the heck alone already over the hundred bucks.

    He is by far a net asset for our team.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Pat,

    You got me on the "Bush Project" ;-) Hope that wasn't a freudian slip on my part!

    I still don't get why Ringo felt he had to give Atkinson his symbolic support. Is the $100 to Atkinson going to help Ringo in his own district, which you claim is so tough? That district has been leaning Dem for a long time now. And I certainly don't see any Republicans donating their money to Dems. So, I don't get it.

  • Aaron (unverified)
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    Pat,

    I disagree with you on Sen. Ringo in a tough district, he has a 6,000 D vote edge as of July 2005. This is a 2000 voter edge increase since his last election.

    There are D Senators in tougher races--Devlin, Schrader, Metsger, and Bates.

  • My God People (unverified)
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    I Don't see the big deal about Ringo's donation. $100, what will that buy? Atkinson's cell phone bill for a month? Or maybe 1 platter of food at 1 fundraiser?

    Honestly people, competative statewide races operate in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Instead of coming up with reasons why he was wrong for doing it, why not look at logical reasons for doing it...

  • LT (unverified)
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    As someone who has Republican friends, I think that the idea of getting all worked up about the "symbolism " of giving $100 to a fellow Senator (not like it was a donation to Mannix) is ridiculous. And in these days of Indep/NAV being over 20% it is clueless. Do you only want partisans voting? I live in a district where the state rep. won by 6000 votes but there are like 8000 NAV.

    What I read was the basic "introduce the candidate" piece. If that is all there ever is, that is wrong. But if it is followed up with, for instance, "He bragged about his 'fund schools in 80 days' proposal at a campaign stop where people asked why that is a good idea" then that is good journalism.

    We are approaching the Halloween of an odd numbered year, people. My guess is more parents (esp. of kids younger than 10) are pre-occupied these days about costumes, remembering to buy candy for trick or treaters, where and when to take the kids trick or treating, etc. than about who is running for Gov. next year.

  • Betsy Wilson (unverified)
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    From the Oregonian: "[Ringo] made an exception, he says, because Atkinson "feels very strongly about protecting the environment.""

    Apparently Jason feels so strongly about the environment that he voted for it in 3 of 12 votes this session. In 2001, he got an 11% (presumably voted pro-environment in one of nine votes), and in 2003 he got a 15% (one of six votes).

    There's feeling, and there's action. Ringo is distorting Atkinson's record, which is incredibly pro-polluter, pro-developer, and anti-clean water, anti-clean air, and anti-planning.

    Look at the votes. Read about the bills. And then ask Ringo what's up with dat.

  • Betsy Wilson (unverified)
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    Oh, yeah, I forgot -- in 1999 Jason got a 4%. One for 25.

    Charlie, what you been smokin'??

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    Classic first marathon. Jesse started out way too fast, ended up slowing substantially at the end. But sub 4:00 for a guy who weighed nearly 300 lbs a year ago? Amazing performance.

    Marathon Bib: 1772 Name: Jesse Cornett Gender: M Age: 29 Age Grade: 53.68% Division: 25-29 Division Place: 159 Home Town: Portland, OR SPLIT TIME PACE PLACE 10K: 49:48 8:00
    15k: 1:13:43 7:54
    Half Marathon: 1:47:09 8:10
    20 Mile: 2:53:28 8:40
    35K: 3:11:17 8:47
    FINISH: 3:56:16 9:00 1636 Gun Time: 3:56:29

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    So, does Lars buy Jason a clue, or do they go "double dutch"?

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    So, in light of the OLCV related comments, I will say:

    1. We think Charlie Ringo was clearly wrong in his description of Jason Atkinson and have let him know that. We agree it gives Senator Atkinson credibility on the issue that doesn't match his voting record. We are taking steps to try to get 1 or more LTEs into the Oregonian to make the point that Senator Atkinson's 4 sessions of voting completely contradict his claims to care about the environment.

    2. OLCV's Scorecard is an objective measurement of the important pro-environment bills. It's put together with input from a broad cross-section of environmental groups. Every session those who don't like the results come up with some claim about some bill left out. This year the claim is a solar energy bill. It was a nice, simple bill that makes minor progress on the issue. The groups who worked on it didn't think it warranted inclusion in the OLCV Scorecard because it was such a minor step. With that said, it's important to note that if you included it, Atkinson would still have a clearly failing record.

  • tom civiletti (unverified)
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    Maybe the Big O is doing their part to bury Kevin Mannix forever more. Is that really such a bad reason to distort reality?

  • Pedro (unverified)
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    So is Atkinson's running to win or is he in the race to split the wing nuts with Mannix so the elephants can match Saxon and his huge war chest against the weak appearing Govenor K?

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Jonathan-

    Thanks for the info. Hopefully activists in Ringo's district will also inform him that Atkinson is by no means a "friend" of the environment.

  • DanD (unverified)
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    Holy shit.

    <h2>Jason Atkinson is a stalking horse for Ron Saxton...? No way.</h2>

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