Editor's Note: This comment appeared on the "Run, Jefferson Smith, Run!" column yesterday. It's by Dan Carol of Eugene, Oregon. Dan was one of the co-founders of internet strategy firm CTSG, a staffer on Wyden '96, works closely with the Apollo Alliance, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Dan's comment is good stuff, so we're upgrading it here.
I think that this discussion about mounting a unified, early challenge to Gordon Smith is very, very, very healthy one to have.
As someone who worked as the research director on the Packwood special election that put Gordon Smith on the defensive and Ron Wyden in the Senate, it is super important for Democrats, Independents and Republicans of conscience to coalesce early behind a great candidate and a serious grassroots-driven, winning strategy to mount this challenge.
For those who know me, and those who don’t, I hope I am understood in part to be a long-time evangelist and catalyst for grassroots and netroots power -- and a champion for opening up the process. That said, I will also admit that I am a bit uncomfortable with all of these discussions being played out in public.
Finding the right forum that blends the best of open debate with the inherent value of not having ALL of our internal airing done in public is an important and dynamic challenge to get right – for this important discussion and for many strategic discussions to come. Finding this public-private strategic blend will also give the bad guys a little less long-term fodder to play with, as some of these verbal smackdowns could end up being good material for the GOP to use in ads (as in, his fellow Democrats even said X about Y and Z).
OK, enough caveats. As for the race itself, I will say this: I am a huge fan of Jefferson Smith and Steve Novick and Ben Westlund and think their intellect and spirit is welcome anywhere, anytime. I don’t like any of them being referred to as a tier B insurgent candidate, but certainly think that there are top-flight electeds out there who are mulling and who should get the first call. And I gather they all agree. But the clock on that mulling time must be very short, and I think the community at Blue Oregon deserves great, great credit for pushing this conversation ASAP. It needs to be.