The Emperor's New Clothes

Paulie Brading

Remember the fable of the Emperor's New Clothes? A couple of guys told the king that they had magical cloth, which only the wise could see. Anyone who couldn't see the incredible suit of clothes the king was wearing was declared a fool.

In this years race for governor, candidate Chris Dudley has his own wise men, his trusted council providing message development and message strategy for his campaign. He dip netted into Mercury Public Affairs out of California and pulled out Steve Schmidt and Josh Ginsberg.

Schmidt worked in the Bush administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and as a counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. Additionally he was a member of the senior strategic planning group led by Karl Rove. In Bush's run for reelection he ran G.W. Bush's campaign war room. Fast forward to 2008 when Schmidt ran the John McCain presidential campaign and found himself working overtime supervising Sarah Palin. He threw Palin under the bus in a 60 Minutes interview after McCain lost, saying she wasn't qualified to run for president in 2012.

Dudley brought in young Josh Ginsberg to run the day-to-day operations for his race here in Oregon. Gingsberg was identified by Politics Magazine as a political rising star in 2009. He too works at Mercury Public Affairs, most recently as one of the vice-presidents. In Political Magazine's June 2009 edition he was described as follows:

In the summer of 1999, Ginsberg caught the eye of Ken Mehlman, who at that time was the national field director for the Bush-Chaney campaign. Ginsberg interned in the strategy department along side Karl Rove and Matthew Dowd that year. "It was a jumping off point for me, says Ginsberg, "Working with people who are that good and actually take an interest in you has had a profound effect on my career." In 2004, Mehlman hired Ginsberg to work on Bush's reelection campaign. From there he went to work as field director for Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2006 campaign for governor, At 24, he was leading the largest turnout operation ever undertaken by the Republican Party of California," says Terry Nelson, who was so impressed with Ginsberg he tried to recruit him for McCain's 2008 campaign. Ginsberg opted instead for Mit Romney's campaign where he was named national field director.

When Schmidt and Ginsberg unveiled their candidate Dudley, just months ago he arrived grandly dressed in a magnificent suit made of their magical cloth. They focus grouped, microtargeted, crowd sourced and insulated their candidate from debates. Political advisors generally do not promote an attitude of integrity. They work to create an atmosphere, in this case a carefully scripted Dudley, with the thinnest of resumes. All the while Steve Schmidt is claiming Dudley is his own man and can speak for himself.

Dudley might as well have been aboard the Russian space station circling the earth. He didn't touch down and insert himself into Oregon politics until a few short months ago. He's living on out-of-state money, buckets and buckets of it. His advisors are right out of the Karl Rove-Dick Cheney political shops.

There is a reason that fables survive through the ages because of the truth they tell. Will Chris Dudley be exposed, metaphorically speaking?

Your turn.

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    Nothing worries me more about this race than what is appearing to be Dudley wrestling away the high-ground on Debategate and he is now getting the media to buy into the idea that Kitzhaber is the one dodging.

    Here are the facts. Dudley doesn't want to do a major televised debate until after the ballots are mailed. (He is also insisting on knowing the questions beforehand.) Kitzhaber is trying to force Dudley to debate before the ballots are mailed (which I applaud) and offered a date in September for the KGW/Oregonian debate which Dudley promptly refused, saying he is busy that day. So Kitz said, okay, pick any day THAT WEEK and the MSM media just goes right along with this Kabuki dance because it makes a horse race. It's horse sh*t, is what it is.

    Also, it's infuriating how no one in the MSM is calling Dudley on the lie he keeps telling in his ads, that job creation plummeted under Kitzhaber in 2001-02. Hello?? The country was in a recession and we were attacked on 9/11. This is basic stuff for anyone with a memory longer than a gnats'! Time to start fighting this baloney. Chris Dudley has not proven to the voter that he has any qualification for this job.

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      It has already been established that some people don't have memory longer than gnats. As you referenced, we were attacked on 9/11/01. Yet by the election of 2004, the Democrats had completely dismissed that as a cause of any economic issues.

      On the debates, why does Kitzhaber insist all debates must be held before voters are paying attention? I have worked and volunteered in a lot of campaigns in Oregon, and the electorate starts paying notice to the election in October.

      Ballots go out in mid-October. Lighten up. The selective outrage on this and many other issues is so transparent.

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      Job creation and unemployment numbers can be spun any way a politician wants. It's perfectly possible that over a hundred thousand jobs were created under Kitzhaber AND unemployment rose.

      "Chris Dudley has not proven to the voter that he has any qualification for this job."

      Ditto that. But voters in the strange current political climate don't seem to care about qualifications.

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    He has two qualifications: 1. He isn't Kitz 2. He isn't a democrat

    That may well be all that he needs

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      Hey Kurt, So, in your company, are you making hiring decisions solely on the basis of "s/he's not the one we just let go, and not related to him/her either"? How's that hiring practice been working out for you?

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        Obviously a bad analogy -- when hiring, you rarely only have two candidates, and if you do and neither is a good fit, you look elsewhere.

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    Redudlicans go on and on about how government should be run like a business and then cynically nominate a rookie know-nothing for CEO. Why do they hate Oregon?

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    If all voters care about is Dudley is not Kitz and not a D, I'm not going to bother to vote anymore. It will mean citizens are a bunch of idiots that care more about style and less about substance. "Oh, he's a sports/entertainment figure. I like the way he parts his hair..." This is a job interview. You're looking for the individual with knowledge, skills and experience. Dudley has NONE, ZERO, NADA...

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    Kitzhaber would be in far less trouble if he hadn't spent the last 30 years convincing a lot of people he is an arrogant ass.

    Only the most partisan hacks or people who moved to Oregon in the last eight years could believe that Kitzhaber-the sequel is a good idea.

    As someone who has worked issues in the Capitol under several Governors, I can attest that Kitzhaber is as warm as liquid nitrogen. Personality does count for something. That is one reason why he is struggling in the campaign.

    And witness the fury of the Democrats, when a usually sycophantic news media actually doesn’t, for all practical purposes, campaign for their chosen candidate.

    While he is in campaign mode, he manages to hide the supercilious attitude somewhat, but 20 years of political experience says he wouldn't govern with any thought of working with the legislature. He is Mr. "My way or the Highway," and woe to those who don't drink his Kool-Aid.

    Since he can't run against Bill Sizemore, Kevin Mannix or some other convenient foil, his lack of personality and charm is more apparent.

    I do agree that there should be more candidate forums. The more people get to know and see Kitzhaber, the less they will like him.

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      "Personality does count for something. That is one reason why he is struggling in the campaign."

      Yes, I remember people in 2000 saying they were voting for Bush because he was the kind of guy they'd like to have a beer with. How did that work out?

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      Ken, it sounds like you've never heard Kitzhaber speak or debate. Only a dolt could exit the room not being wowed by his brilliance and his exceptional command of issues.

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    It seems that debates don't change much anyway unless one candidate makes a huge error a la Jerry Ford in 1976 saying there is no soviet domination of E. Europe.

    I mean who at BO or NW republican will change their mind after a debate?

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    Ken, give us some specific examples. I find him to be an intelligent, thoughtful, direct individual who obviously cares deeply about this state and is passionate about issues. He could have left the state and taken some fat cat lobbying job (like Gordon Smith) and made boat loads of money. But he didn't...

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