By J. Graber of Portland, Oregon. He is a former journalist and a graduate student in strategic communications at the University of Oregon, Portland campus.
When I was a little tike my sister had a doll with a string in her back. Pull the string and the toy would utter some reassuring little message like, “I love you.” That doll was her favorite toy. She kept it propped up on her bed like it was the real thing … for awhile. It wasn’t long though until this flashy little toy (it was pretty neat in the early 70s) ended up at the bottom of the toy chest. The problem was, the four or five little phrases the doll was programmed to repeat got old pretty fast.
I just can’t help but wondering these days that if you were to get a quick glimpse at Chris Dudley’s back, you might find a similar string.
What’s even sadder still is he’s not even singing a new tune. Tug Dudley’s cord and you get the same old tired song Republicans have been singing for years:
As a reporter I developed a surefire system for separating the real thing from the posers with a sound bite: keep asking “How?”
Candidate: When elected I will create jobs.
Candidate: I will lower taxes.
Reporter: How are you going to cut the revenue stream when the state budget is already facing a $1 billion shortfall?
It doesn’t take too long before the sound biters start running out of answers.
I suspect Dudley hasn’t shared his opinions with us yet because he hasn’t been told what they are. When he figures out what he thinks everyone wants to hear, I’m sure he’ll come out on stage twirling a basketball on his finger and repeat it.
Case in point: After ducking numerous opportunities to discuss the issues in order to be do things like be groomed by current Republican governors … er … I mean, spend quality time with his family, Dudley has finally agreed to a debate with John Kitzhaber.
The golden date is Oct. 7th. That’s exactly eight days before ballots are mailed out. Eight days! How is anyone really going to have enough time to digest Chris Dudley’s stance on difficult issues like school funding and truly make any meaningful sense of it?
Where as John Kitzhaber has had all of his card laid out on the table since the primary election, it’s going to take Dudley’s handlers until Oct. 7th to program him with the right responses.
This election is turning out to be John Kitzhaber versus the Republican candidate. Normally I would say it’s never as simple as that, but the only argument Chris has made for himself is, “Vote for me, I’m a Republican.”
He’s been running some pretty slick television commercials since right after the primary and he just trotted out a brand new one last week trying to blame John for the recession (WTF?!). If you notice though, there no real substance to these ads. They might as well be narrated by Charlie Brown’s teacher, “WWWAAHHH WWWAAAHH WWWAAAHHH WWWAAAHHH.”
What’s that ma’am, vote for Dudley because he’s a Republican?
No thank you ma’am.
That’s not to say Dudley’s strategy hasn’t been effective … so far. With less than 80 days to go to the election, pollsters are calling the race a dead heat. Dudley and his right-wing pals seem to think that if he can scream his name the loudest at the voters, they won’t notice he’s not really saying anything else.
It’s the old strategy of trying to buy the election by outspending your opponent to get your face out there more than him. Dudley’s has out fund raised John nearly 2-to-1 so far.
As Attorney General John Kroger told a group of volunteer canvassers Saturday before heading out to talk to voters about John’s stances on everything from economic recovery to education funding, “The other side isn’t going to have a grassroots effort because they don’t believe in grassroots support. They believe in raising a lot of money from huge corporations.”