Allen Alley manufactures fake endorsements and insults Democratic voters

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

It's gotta suck to be Allen Alley.

Imagine: It's your first political campaign. You're running for state treasurer. The only meaningful experience you have in public policy and politics is being the deputy chief of staff to the Governor. Obviously, his endorsement (call it a reference from your former boss) is going to be important.

But you don't have his endorsement. He's endorsed the other guy. In fact, he's helping the other guy raise money for his campaign.

What do you?

If you're Allen Alley, you fake it. You pretend you have the Governor's endorsement anyway.

From Alley's website:

“He is someone…who has a proven record of leadership, innovation, and a commitment to Oregon’s future,” Kulongoski said at the announcement of Allen’s appointment.

After all, if you muddy things up a bit, maybe a few Democrats will get confused about which candidate is the Democrat in the race.

Unfortunately for Alley, while he's pretending to have the support of the Democratic Governor, his campaign is too incompetent -- too stuck in the right-wing mindset -- to even get their pitch to Democrats right.

Check out the pablum from this recent campaign email.

Allen is committed to making life better in Oregon through public service. Whether it was serving as the Chair of both OMSI and the Oregon Business Plan, or serving two Democrat Governors in leadership positions, he has shown that he shares the Oregon values of volunteerism and community.

Yeah. "Democrat Governors."

Mr. Alley, if you're trying to pitch Democrats, let's not use the right-wing insult version of the name. It's "Democratic Governors". This is the Democratic Party, and we're Democratic voters.

Yeah, it's not a big deal gramatically. But, as TPM's Josh Marshall points out, it's infantile and disrespectful:

The whole issue of 'Democrat' party -- other than as an example of Republican infantilism -- is an issue of respect or rather intentional and repeated expression of disrespect as a means of asserting dominance.

The Atlantic Monthly's Matthew Yglesias goes further - explaining the deliberate strategy at play here:

The key charge against liberals is that we're weak. Weak on Communism. Weak on crime. Weak on terrorism. Weak-minded, soft-hearted, weak, weak, weak. Well, what's the key sign of weakness: a person who won't stand up for themselves.

To call someone by something other than the name he wishes to be called by is rude. To make a mistake is forgivable, but to persist -- deliberately -- in declining to use your adversary's proper name is rude and insulting. It's not a big deal unless you take standing up for yourself to be a big deal. When Democrats go on TV and let a conservative get away with the phrase "Democrat Party" it's signaling that Democrats are weak. They're too weak to stand up for themselves. They're too weak to have a sense of group solidarity or party loyalty. They're inclined to let things slide. They don't want to make a scene. They don't like to have a fight. They're weak. Is a political party that can't even protect its own name really going to keep America safe?

Mr. Alley, if you really want to win the votes of Democrats, you're going to have to do more than manufacture fake endorsements from our Governor. At a minimum, you're going to have to tell your staff to stop launching gratuitous insults.

I'm looking forward to your next email.


  • JHL (unverified)

    The "Democrat" reference might be because of Alley's (and his campaign consultant Doug Badger's) tight connections to the Bush II administration. After all, Alley practically bragged about working for Bush II in his voter pamphlet statement. (Badger is a Rove protege who had a habit of not being under oath when testifying to Congress)

    It's amusing that Alley seems so taken with the idea of working for Dubya, but has no reference to being "Republican" on his website.

  • LT (unverified)

    Alley has said that Westlund is a fine legislator, "if you want a legislator for State Treasurer".

    Clay Myers was Sec. of State before being St. Treasurer, but hasn't every other modern St. Treasurer been a legislator first?

    And if Alley thinks he is in the Clay Myers tradition, he will find lots of people saying (credit to Bentsen) "I knew and admired Clay Myers, and Mr. Alley, you are no Clay Myers!".

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    "Democrat" is an evil word? Insulting?

    Oh I see and "Repugnican, Repube-ican, Repubes" is really mature and definately not insulting.

    How do you spell duplicity? D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T?

    Yip Yip

  • JHL (unverified)

    Yeah... that's really clever, Coyote. Thanks.

    It's nonetheless embarassing that he's trying to get closer to Democrats by playing up his connections to the Democratic Party, but then mistakenly revealing his ineptitude by using a rude moniker.

    It's one thing to say, "You're a Repugnican." It's quite another for a politician to make an effort to woo conservative voters and then say, "Hey, I love you Repugnican voters!"

    Alley's Democratic creds are just as fake as his stock price.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Here you go, Coyote. If public schools were adaquately funded, perhaps you and your ilk would have learned the parts of speech and their proper use.

    Pronunciation: \ˈde-mə-ˌkrat\ Function: noun Date: 1789 1 a: an adherent of democracy b: one who practices social equality 2capitalized : a member of the Democratic party of the United States

    Pronunciation: \ˌde-mə-ˈkra-tik\ Function: adjective Date: 1602 1: of, relating to, or favoring democracy 2often capitalized : of or relating to one of the two major political parties in the United States evolving in the early 19th century from the anti-federalists and the Democratic-Republican party and associated in modern times with policies of broad social reform and internationalism 3: relating to, appealing to, or available to the broad masses of the people <democratic art=""> 4: favoring social equality : not snobbish

  • (Show?)


    While I agree with you on Allen's miscues, I disagree with you on his motivations. The problem simply comes from his inexperiance in the political tussle. We who live on the blogs and have worked on multiple campaigns, Republicans or Democrats, understand how these points are viewed by our peers. Allen has not done that and is in a learning mode. He is bright and not ideological and will pick this up quickly.

  • JHL (unverified)

    Alley is certainly ideological... he's just not very good at it.

    He knows that this is a year for Democrats, and he's been bumbling at trying to appeal to Democrats without alienating Republicans... it's embarassing really:

    • He's supporting John McCain on Facebook... but then on his website he tries in vain to compare himself to Barack Obama.

    • LT above notes that he says nice things about Ben Westlund... but a friend of mine shoed me a fundraising letter signed by Alley in which he blasts Westlund.

    • For his Republican voter pamphlet statement, he proudly boasts about his connection to George Bush... but his new lit piece downplays the experience simply as a "Presidential Appointment."

    This is the most awkward attempt by a politician to reach out to both parties at the same time since... ever.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for the english lesson. Now we all know that Democrats are not nouns but are actually adjectives.

    yip yip

  • Oh my (unverified)

    If Alley really wanted to win Democratic Votes, he would have hired Mandate Media.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)

    I think he's using "democrat" the same way Bush used it: as a code to his supporters.

    He's saying "I work across the aisle," but he's affirming to the nutjobs that he (and they) are merely laying low, playing nice, and waiting for the next chance to push their bankrupt agenda.

    It's like their secret handshake.


  • (Show?)

    oh my -

    He could have tried, but Kari only works for candidates and causes he supports.

  • JHL (unverified)

    I think John Mulvey hit the nail on the head. Whether it's a intentional "secret code" (unlikely), or a more passive subconscious signal that "yes, we carry the banner of the Bush Administration," (more likely) the fact is that Alley is himself and has surrounded himself with Bushies.

    And let's not lose track of the implied endorsements! Allen Alley seems to be very practiced about making things look good when they're really not: Pixelworks, his candidacy, etc.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)

    Coyote, reread Tom's post. It's pretty clear that "Democrat" is a noun and "Democratic" is an adjective.

    For the record, I think the use "Repugnican," "Repube-ican" etc. is juvenile and demeaning. The conservative equivalent is "DemoNcrat," etc. All those terms are used by inartful people posting on political blogs.

    The misuse of "Democrat" as an adjective is different. It's done by Republican office-holders and party officials. It's telling that President Clinton didn't use the term "Rethug," but W. does use the term "Democrat" as an adjective. Sweet Lord, he's the President of the United States and he resorts to school-yard taunting.

  • (Show?)

    There's not a whelk's chance in a supernova that I would have worked for Allen Alley. Puh-leeze.

    Calhoun --- If Alley's defense is going to be incompetence or inexperience, well, that's not much of a defense at all.

    And besides, isn't that the whole point of hiring competent advisors and professionals? So you don't come off like a rube?

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    The transition for Republicans from a primary to the general is difficult now, because the pool of experienced political people who know how to run in the center is pretty slim. That said, Allen's experience is not in politics but in finance, which remember, is the job he is running for.

  • JHL (unverified)

    Calhoun... The State Treasurer is NOT a glorified accountant. (Actually, a CPA has never been Oregon State Treasurer.) Fact is, there's a whole investment division set up to manage the day-to-day of the finance end. Maybe Alley should put an application in there if he wants to be a bean-counter.

    But most of what Alley talks about on his website are not business or investment issues, they're policy issues. And if he thinks he can bean-count his way to passing legislation and enacting policy, he's in for a nasty suprise. The Treasurer's office is mostly politics, not finance.

    (Oregon's investment division is just about the best in the country right now... the LAST thing we need is for anyone to start poking around telling them how to to their job. Most of the Treasurer's job this next session is going to be legislative, and a Republican newbie is going to have no sway whatsoever compared to Westlund.)

  • (Show?)

    Uh, JHL, there is a difference between accounting and finance. Allen is not an accountant, but he does know a lot about finance.

    I usually work on the basis that it is generally desirable to have people in charge of activities who actually know something about their responsibilities. Remember FEMA? At the same time you do have a point that an important part of the job (not the whole job) is working with the legislature and someone with experience there also brings useful experience.

  • JHL (unverified)

    Maybe so, but a lot of people get the idea that the Treasurer serves as Oregon's fund manager, when he really doesn't.

    Most (if not all) Treasurer-centric initiatives are policy matters that require working closely with the legislature. The Treasurer does need to know about how finance works, but both candidates in this race have experience in high finance: Alley as a big businessman, and Westlund as Ways & Means chief.

    What bugs me is that Alley seems to be disparaging Westlund's legislative experience, which is either disingenuous or reveals a complete misunderstanding of the office for which he's running.

  • John Galt (unverified)

    Wow, you Democrats are having a real hard time deciphering what's an endorsement and what is a good natured compliment recently. Endorsements usually have the words 'support' or 'endorse' in them. But I guess it can be a little hard when your liturgy of quips and phrases contains 'What do you?'

  • (Show?)

    You might have a point there, but at least some of us know how to spell "Gault".

    My apologies if you're not posting under a pseudonym based on Ayn Rand's famous Narcissist.

  • Edmond Dantès (unverified)

    I thought it was spelled 'Galt'. Google gives more results for 'Galt' rather than 'Gault' (but I apologize if I am incorrect).

  • JHL (unverified)

    John Galt/Gault, I think that what offends isn't the suggested support; it's the hypocrisy and disingenuous messaging.

    First off, Allen blasts Westlund to Republicans for being an "insider" and talks about how, as an outsider, he's hot s***.

    Then, he turns around and starts cozying up to Democrats, playing up his insiderness with the Governor and how he's got Capitol experience.

    This guy is so two-faced, I can't imagine how any Republican would vote for him knowing what he's telling Democrats and vice-versa.

  • (Show?)

    Did he list it as an endorsement, or just a picture on his website?

    If it's just a picture, not sure calling it an endorsement is very fair to Mr. Alley.

    Almost seems like the Jim Webb "Gipper" ad controversy. Nancy Reagan I believe even asked for them to stop running the ad. They didn't.

    Has Mr. Kulongoski asked for Mr. Alley to pull the photo and the very nice comments about Mr. Alley?

    While it would be nice to get Ben's race some media attention, I don't think this is the best story.

  • Steve Rosenbaum (unverified)

    From what I know from my interactions with Allen, I think he is a great guy who is genuinely trying to bridge the partisan divide and serve the collective good. His work with the OBC and for the Governor are evidence of this.

    I agree that AA's quoting of TK is a bit ironic -- however, it is not dishonest. It is also ironic that I found AA's site a few days ago by clicking on a GoogleAdword that showed up right here on BlueOregon.

    As Democrats, we should be reaching out to progressive Republicans and attempting to bring them over to the D-tent. I believe that Alley is a Democrat at heart; he just doesn't know it yet. I am disturbed by all the name calling and ad hominem partisan attacks in this thread. Such attacks hurt the Democratic party by discouraging new membership and sending Democrats to the Open Primary camp.

    For the record, Westlund is also a wonderful candidate; I endorsed Westlund prior to Alley entering the race & Westlund still has my full support.

  • (Show?)

    I usually work on the basis that it is generally desirable to have people in charge of activities who actually know something about their responsibilities.

    John, I agree. Which is why this is relevant -- he's demonstrated the inability to hire competent professionals.

    Unless, that is, you're arguing that he wrote the copy for his website.

  • LT (unverified)

    Steve R--having actually met Alley and read his brochure (which he gave me to keep and I skimmed it and said he could have it back because I had read all I need to), I'm not sure he is a Democrat who just doesn't know it.

    Unless you mean the sort of Democrat who relies on one-liners rather than being able to discuss things in detail.

    To put things in a frame of reference that some people may nor may not like me for using, there are different sorts of Democrats.

    Steve Novick may have made what I consider some strategic and tactical mistakes on his campaign, but he is a policy wonk who attracted a loyal following.

    Back in 1996, we saw the less attractive sort of Democratic candidate. Tom Bruggere was recruited by a powerful group of people (in his case, it was DSCC as part of a movement that year to recruit wealthy businessmen to run for US Senate) but anyone who met him in person and even asked him to elaborate on his biography or what he said in a speech was as likely as not to see a blank face--someone not quite sure how to respond to a question. To say such people are running for public office when they have shown they don't have an in depth understanding of what voters want in that office is not insulting in a way which will drive away voters. It is an exercise in quality control.

    I'm not a straight party person--never have been. Give me a quality public servant who is not a Democrat (Frank Morse, Max Williams, Ben Westlund before he was a Democrat, Bob Repine, the late great Nancy Ryles to name a few) any day of the week.

    <h2>BTW, I was in the open primary camp long before we heard of Alley. I'm one of the people who believes it could have spared Oregon the experience of St. Rep. Kim Thatcher.</h2>

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