A brief review of GOP navel gazing

Carla Axtman

One of the things that I find interesting about reading the musings of Ted Piccolo (who refers to himself as "I am Coyote") is that he isn't afraid to navel gaze the Republican Party. Most Republican blogs that I've encountered are rife with hubris and a fiery refusal to look at their problems. But not Ted. While I rarely, if ever, agree with Ted on policy/politics, I enjoy the way he's willing to go where his GOP brethren seem loathe to tread.

After the Oregon GOP once again found themselves on the losing end of the Governor's race, Ted gathered his thoughts together for a lengthy post at his blog.

The beginning of the piece is essentially an extended rant about the consultants who ran Dudley's campaign. He may be completely right or completely wrong about those folks. I just don't have enough knowledge about them to have an opinion.

But down toward the middle, Ted hits on what I think are the main problems with the GOP choosing to run Chris Dudley this year (for reference, DL/KT is shorthand for the consultants Ted's bashing):

Enter Chris Dudley. The perfect DL/KT candidate. A blank slate politically and a blank slate philosophically. Not only was he a blank slate philosophically but he appeared to have no curiosity to actually find himself a philosophy.

It did not matter that he was not prepared for the job. Because he could raise money and DL/KT believed that they could run a campaign that sequestered their candidate and flooded the airwaves with campaign ads.

He was recruited and convinced to run by Lavey and Tymchuck, who needed another meal ticket after the loss of the Gordon Smith race. It was cynical and destructive to convince a person who had no business running for anything above the legislature to run for governor just because he could be a good vehicle for fundraising.

The candidate himself was the first big mistake made by Lavey and Tymchuck. Chris Dudley had no business running for that seat. The establishment had no business falling for him. Unfortunately many in the establishment, and those just outside the political circles, do not want to do the hard work themselves when it comes to vetting candidates. Hey I don't totally blame them, because may of those folks are busy businessmen/women themselves. Soooo they rely on the supposed "certified smart people," like L/T.

Dudley knew almost nothing about the state of Oregon and Lavey/Tymchuck did nothing to prepare him. Why? Because that would have meant bringing in other talented people from Republican circles to tutor him, help him define policy positions, and have input with the inner circle. Letting others into the inner circle would mean that L&T might have less influence with the Dudley administration.

I don't know about that last part--it might be true, or perhaps not. But I think his assessment of Dudley the candidate is spot on. And I agree that it seems those that brought Dudley in did very little to educate him about Oregon. Dudley himself didn't seem especially interested or eager to learn.

After this enlightenment however, Ted goes completely awry. No insight that I offer here will be met with anything but derision from most Republicans and conservatives. So as far as I'm concerned, it does little harm to lay it out there.

I don't understand why so many Republican insiders still evoke Bill Sizemore. Ted continues to be one of those insiders. He quotes Sizemore below:

Audience Member: "Bill (Sizemore) you need to get out of this primary because you are going to cost us Republicans the best chance we have ever had at electing a conservative Republican."
Bill: And who would that be?
Audience Member: Well Chris Dudley of course!

Republicans should WANT Bill Sizemore to drop out of a race. In any general election, Sizemore will get 50% of the GOP vote and absolutely nothing else. Ted goes on:

I remember talking with Bill Sizemore after a debate in Albany (another debate that Chris Dudley did not show up to) and that is a discussion he said he had had with someone in the audience.

Sounds to me like that audience member was one of the smartest people in the room. While Dudley didn't go on to win, he certainly got a lot closer than Sizemore ever has. The GOP cannot win statewide in Oregon if they keep allowing Bill Sizemore to ride on their coattails. He's an anvil.

Ted also strays down the wrong path with his advocacy for Allen Alley, who lost to Dudley in the primary alongside Sizemore. Quoting pollster Tim Hibbits, Ted notes Alley's superior performance in the primary season debates. I expect that's the case, given Dudley's poor performance against Kitzhaber. But, Alley has his own problems. He's not nearly as powerful a fundraiser. His choice to spend a big chunk of the primary in a walk across Oregon that netted little in actual media buzz or inertia was bizarre at best--a monumental waste of resources at worst.

Further, Alley was citing his business acumen as one of the main reasons Oregonians should vote for him. But that's problematic too, given that the business he ran tanked and a bunch of the jobs were shipped to California and China. Worse, Alley has nothing but excuses for this stuff. He talks as if he planned it that way all along.

In other words, Alley was not exactly a slam dunk. In fact, there's a reasonable chance he'd have been a worse candidate than Dudley.

Even with all Chris Dudley's faults, I think Ted fails to give Dudley and his team some credit: they came pretty darned close. A lot closer than Republicans have come in quite awhile. They deserve a little sugar with that vinegar.

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    The GOP can wonder why they fail, even when conditions would favor them the most. But it's no secret. It's their own extremist ideology that is out of touch that rejects their best and brightest leadership, and is alienating to people with common sense. They tried to mask it this time with an empty suit and a blank slate, but still failed by a whisker.

    The source of their failure is obvious in the very presence of Jack Roberts on this forum. Jack Roberts was the last Republican to be elected to a state wide office in Oregon,and he happens to be a moderate. When he ran for governor, he was third in the primary. He now spends his time talking to people on this forum instead of governing or offering political leadership. He is knowledgeable and open to ideas from across the spectrum, a quality that is anathema in today's GOP.

    Norma Paulus said, "There is no one left in the Republican Party I can talk to." Instead the Oregon GOP spends its time with idiots like Kevin Mannix and Bill Sizemore. This is not the party of Tom McCall or Mark Hatfield. That says it all.

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      Yes, this, in spades.

      When I was an intern in Wally Priestley's office, I ran into Clay Myers at a legislative function. Despite their wide ideological differences, Clay still spoke very highly of Wally and his integrity.

      That's an unlikely scenario to encounter in this era, I'm afraid. And having seen Norma Paulus, Dave Frohnmeyer and other moderate Republicans in action, I have to say I never thought I'd be mourning the day that Republicans like those had no place in their party.

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      There is a lot of truth in your comment, but some people who I respect and trust that are in the thick of it, also see the incoming freshmen to the leg. as not cut form the same extremist clothe. Given the extraordinary circumstance of a equally split House in the leg. I think there might be an avenue for the sort of pragmatic, levee-headed moderate GOP to find a foothold in the state again.

      Remains to be seen if that actually turns out to be the case, but there is some hope that the era of the Mannix/Sizemore idealogical jihadists from the right (at least for the elected GOP in the leg.) is at an end.

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      I don't want to sound defensive, Bill, but I finished second in the 2002 GOP gubernatorial primary, behind Kevin Mannix but slightly ahead of Ron Saxton.

      In fact, we finished in inverse order of the amount of money we spent, for those who like to track those kind of things.

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        My apologies, Jack. Nevertheless the point holds true. If you had been the candidate then, and even more so this year, you might have won. But you have a party that rejects rationality and common sense.

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    For a candidate as uninformed as Dudley was, it really was scary watching him come so close. You're right Carla, but Bill Ryan's spot on, too. Dudley portrayed a moderation for a Republican that used to be the norm, but like Republicans nationally, they don't embrace moderation. They prefer the completely insane.

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      I don't think the "insane" had much to do with this loss, Kevin. Dudley never came close to being off the ideological rails. In fact, he didn't come close to much at all in the way of discernible political and policy philosophy, except tax cuts.

      Dudley simply didn't show much interest in learning about the specific issues for Oregon. His achilles heel was that he put himself out there as an empty suit who could raise a lot of $.

      All that said, his campaign came really close. Closer than anyone in the GOP has come in a while. In my view, if the GOP gets a candidate who actually does his homework and remains moderate (and raises good money), they have better than even odds at winning.

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        "All that said, his campaign came really close. Closer than anyone in the GOP has come in a while. In my view, if the GOP gets a candidate who actually does his homework and remains moderate (and raises good money), they have better than even odds at winning."

        Exactly why the NW Republican is so furious and derisive of Dudley's campaign orchestration.

        When you look at what happened with the state legislature, the effects of a national red tide are very apparent in Oregon, also. Who knows if a year like this will come again? (Admittedly you & I will not agree on whether that is a good thing or not.)

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    He didn't put a spoonful of sugar in the vinegar because he holds the team responsible for a loss that in his evaluation should have been a win.

    Very very very interesting piece -- fearless & detailed.

    I was struck by the comment prefacing your own evaluations that Republicans or conservatives would deride them regardless so it would do "little harm" to comment. Interesting political calculus to a comment.

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      Yet, still Dudley almost toppled the established democrat. There a lessons for the democrat and republican machines here.

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    In other words, Alley was not exactly a slam dunk. In fact, there's a reasonable chance he'd have been a worse candidate than Dudley.

    And any shortcomings Alley has/would have had could easily be put back onto Kulongoski and thereby the Democrats. If Allen Alley sucks so bad, then why did the Kulongoski pick him as his CoS...?

    Alley had a get out of jail card from the Democrats that would have made him damn near bullet proof.

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      Wasn't it fairly widely thought that the Oregonian endorsed Dudley in the primary exactly because they thought he would pose a weaker threat to Kitzhaber? That's what I read.

      But I also heard lots of average people say they did not think Alley had the stage presence that would have resonated with or engaged the public.

      What I found most interesting in the NW Republican piece was that the author thought Dudley not just could have, but should have won, but for bad campaign management. And didn't just "think" it but laid it out in detail. Campaign management may well be more important, in the final analysis, than the candidate.

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        The publisher of the Oregon is a rightwing conservative. I sincerely doubt that.

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          It may or may not be so, but regardless, I don't find the publisher of a newspaper to be a good gauge of the paper's editorial positioning. The political team at the Oregonian is better than it has been in years and their hard-hitting pieces about state finances don't seem to lean Democratic.

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          It that statement is fact, then it clearly doesn't influence the overall slant of the 0. With a few token exceptions, the phrasing used in stories, the words chosen to describe one political philosophy over another and the general overall editorial bent is hard to middle-left.

          As to endorsements, they lean a little Democrat, but the Oregonian is mostly all-incumbent, all the time.

          In other words, vote for the same ilk over and over again, but hope for a different result.

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        Sally, I don't know if you recall this, but a small but vocal minority has never liked Alley, because he was appointed by Gov. Kulongoski to an economic commission. God Forbid, these days you have the "taint" of bi-partisanism, which itself is so stupid, given how "moderate" Dudley was being pitched as, especially near the end. Old-fashioned Republicans preferred Alley (at least the ones interviewed after the Primary debate (which Alley was judged to have won).

        And yet, Dudley won the Primary. It could be because the GOP at that point was already lavishing their heaps of cash on him. That's the bigger problem. The Party was choosing Dudley before the voters had spoken. Obviously, it had an effect because Alley went from a solid lead to losing fairly badly.

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      You can't put the fact that Alley chose to run a hapless Primary campaign (his choices were awful) and that he isn't a strong fundraiser on to Kulongski.

      But I don't see how the Kulongoski Deputy COS really gets a lot of traction. It's the Dems fault that Alley's company tanked and that Alley chose to send most of the jobs to California and China? No decent Dem campaign would let Alley get away with that.

      I think you're vastly overestimating the "bullet proof" here.

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        I wasn't putting his lack of good campaigning on Kulpngoski. I am pointing out that any attacks on Alley, would have a mindlessly easy out because Kulongoski "vetted" him for the voters and gave him a thumbs up.

        The attacks you are making, which are valid BTW, form a messaging and rhetorical perspective, can and would boomerang right back on the Democrats.

        Attack: "Alley ran his business into the gorund and shipped jobs overseas".

        Boomerang: "Yet even the Democratic Gov. Kulongoski who never ran a business in his life had him run the Governor's office."

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          I think we disagree on the impact of the "boomerang" you're citing. At a cycle when "jobs" is king--there's just no getting around the fact that Alley's company went into serious trouble and that he sent jobs out of Oregon.

          I see where you're going--but I believe it doesn't have has much juice as you think.

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    Wasn't it fairly widely thought that the Oregonian endorsed Dudley in the primary exactly because they thought he would pose a weaker threat to Kitzhaber?

    Maybe in fevered minds in GOP circles, but I would have to defer to your proximity to such people on that one. But outside of that cohort, no.

    What I found most interesting in the NW Republican piece was that the author thought Dudley not just could have, but should have won, but for bad campaign management.


    That didn't seem to me to be Ted's core argument at all. Which was that Dudley was had no business running for anything above the legislature and that no matter how well the campaign apparatus tried, they simply could not paper over this crucial weakness enough to win.

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      I think it was a mix of both. Poor consulting and educating of Dudley..and Dudley made little or no effort himself to overcome his own weaknesses.

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        I think I was most puzzled about Dudley by the fact that he didn't demonstrate any improvement in his knowledge of our state over the course of the campaign. He remained stagnate the entire time. I have to assume that was pure laziness on his part since by all accounts he is smart enough to learn if he tried.

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          I don't know what they did at Yale, but Dudley seemed to have the George Bush disease; no curiosity about how policies and how things actually work in government. This is why he didn't bother to vote much, wasn't involved in politics before this campaign and didn't seem to learn as the campaign wore on.

          I read commentators who were enamored with Dudley praising him for staying on message all the time. This is actually a statement that he had no views of his own and couldn't discuss serious policies. It also speaks to the commentators lack of seriousness about governing as opposed to running for office.

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      Weird, that was supposed to be in reply to Sally Schott's comment but didn't appear threaded properly.

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      "Ted's core argument ... was that Dudley had no business running for anything above the legislature and that no matter how well the campaign apparatus tried, they simply could not paper over this crucial weakness enough to win."

      I couldn't disagree more. Reread the last few paragraphs.

      He says the candidate had plenty of money, party apparatus on board, it was a good year for Republicans, the RP in Oregon was not split by social conservatives, and did not have a particularly tough opponent. He says very succinctly that the people who recruited Dudley failed to prepare Dudley or run his campaign well.

      He screams at Dan Lavey and finishes up saying that the "fundamental first question" of the ability of a Republican candidate to go forward is whether "he/she [is[ a Lavey/Tymchuck candidate."

      The whole way through he details what he sees as the failure of the campaign vis-a-vis its candidate.

      (Disclosure: I voted for Alley in the primary.)

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        Except that the reality that a Lavey/Tymchuck candidate was the last GOP candidate to win statewide in over a decade and half shows the vapid nature that arguement. So the candidate does matter, not Lavey/Tymchuck.

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              Exactly. I view Ted's article as being partially correct, and partially wrong, but for opposite reasons than how Ted might view things. Lavey/Tymchuck ran a damn good air-war campaign in the "Gordon Smith" mold, but the GOP truly went too far and had a verifiable empty suit as a candidate instead of an actual old-school (read Tom McCall style) moderate Republican who if he were around today would be drummed out of the GOP by idealogical purists.

              As contrast, I think that Kitzhaber was more like Alley in that he is not that great of a campaigner, and the Kitzhaber campaign was really not really a strong one. I think it was the efforts of the coordinated campaign and grass-roots GOTV which made the difference.

              The GOP deserved a real candidate, a true old-school moderate with viable new ideas to make the "Gordon SMith" style campaign not be a bait-and-switch. Such a scenario is one that could win statewide, Likewise Kitzhaber's team (and the Gov. himself) deserved a real kick in the ass to become a solid campaigner.

              In the end, I think we go the right outcome in the race, particularly since implementing healthcare reform is vital, and Gov. Kitzhaber is the right person for that job.

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                "In the end, I think we go the right outcome in the race, particularly since implementing healthcare reform is vital, and Gov. Kitzhaber is the right person for that job." Mitchell, you so nailed it for me with that comment.

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        One danger that Republicans run very close to imperiling themselves when running "Democrat Lite" candidates is that it becomes a race between two Democrats. In this case, where there is very little distinction portrayed* between the two, someone might be inclined to vote for the "Real" Democrat or at least the one with real experience.

        *I would argue is a perception only - if you look closely, especially on matters of reproductive choice and job creation, the two were oceans apart. But to an uninformed voter, they both seemed similarly non-extreme.

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    I read this a few days ago, but the only comment I'll make is about Alley's business background.

    Alley is an entrepreneur, and when you live in that world you take many risks, some turn out good, others don't. The man has been doing this for a long time and has many successes that just seem to go unnoticed (on purpose it seems), because I'm sure it's much easier (and more enjoyable if your a democrat) to focus on one failure and run with it.

    Given the following successes by Alley, it's hard to imagine - and even laughable - that people would really try to demonize the man and suggest that he's a failed business leader. Seriously?

    And if he's so bad, why the hell would Kulongoski appoint him as Deputy Chief of Staff?

    Under Allen’s leadership as President, CEO and Chairman for 10 years, Pixelworks has achieved many major accomplishments, including:

    • Growing Pixelworks into a global company with approximately 250 employees at offices in Portland, San Jose, Tokyo, Taipei and Shanghai.

    • Leading a successful initial public offering in May 2000 raising $66.1 million which was the top semiconductor IPO of 2000.

    • Exceeding $1 billion in cumulative revenue since founding in 1997 and $171 million in annual revenue in 2005.

    • Earning recognition for accomplishments including:

    -2008 Andrus Leadership Award for Sustainability and Conservation - Oregon Business Plan Steering Committee Chairman -2007 Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumni -2006 Purdue University Old Master -2005 Forbes Magazine Fourth Fastest Growing Technology Company -2004 Oregon Technology Company of the Year (Publicly Traded, Less than $250 million) -2004 Oregon Community Involvement Award -2004 Teddy Award presented by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski -40th Fastest Growing Company on 2003 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 List -2002 Oregon Technology Executive of the Year -2002 Purdue University Outstanding Mechanical Engineer -22nd Fastest Growing Company on 2002 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 List -2001 Ernst & Young’s Pacific Northwest Technology Entrepreneur of the Year
    -2001 Fabless Semiconductor Association Financial Performance Award -2001 Oregon Entrepreneur Forum Technology Company of the Year -2001 Fastest Growing Public Company in Oregon -Top performing company in Deloitte & Touche’s 2001 Oregon Technology Fast 50 -2000 Oregon Technology Company of the Year

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      Well Jason, when your company loses $300 million in sales, you send all but 12 of the 230 jobs to China or California and your stock is almost de-listed from NASDAQ because its so worthless (I believe that was 2007), it's not as tough as you might imagine.

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        Just to be fair, I wise man told me years ago when I was just getting started in the biz world: "Show me a business owner who has never failed and I will show you someone running their first business."

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        That's one business, Carla. Give me examples of others business leaders and/or entrepreneurs who haven't failed. That's why they end up being successful, because they learn from failures.

        It's also important to note that when shareholders and investors are involved in a company, the CEO often has very little control over the exit plan, and how that company is broken up, etc.

        I'm not really understanding the need to demonize a guy for a business failure, when he's had more successes. Is this what politics has really come to? Find a failure of a human being and regurgitate it to make him look bad?

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          We're talking about within the context of a campaign, Jason. I have no personal beef with Alley or his business stuff. Honestly, I don't so much care about it.

          Step back and put yourself in the shoes of running a campaign in opposition to Alley during a cycle where the economy and jobs are top issues BY FAR. There's a whole lot of material there to work with and any decent campaign shop should be able to come up with a vast array of stuff to hit Alley with.

          I this would be very difficult for Alley to overcome statewide.

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            I see your point, Carla. But that's exactly the issue I have with how campaigns are run. It's disgusting to me when members of either party take an issue of a candidate and blow it out of proportion for political gain. One failed business has no bearing on Alley's ability to lead, until the political rhetoric comes along to make it so.

            Winning elections has become more about power than service. And that's just disappointing.

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              See Chambliss, Saxby: Campaign against Cleland, Max.

              The. Most. Despicable. Campaign. Ever.

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              It's relevant to the race and I guess it's up to the beholder what's "blown out of proportion", I'm not so sure this kind of discussion would qualify for that.

              Politics ain't beanbag, Jason. We've been pushing it like this since the time of Jefferson and Adams. Unless it's outright lying--I'm not so sure that kind of hardcore scrutiny is a bad thing.

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    Shouldn't the next story here be "How we almost lost to that loser."

    Trash Dudley all you want, he damn near beat you.

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    A few comments:

    • Allan Alley is a much better businessman than Carla is giving him credit for being. I don't care if the business ultimately went downhill, anyone builds a multi-million company from scratch is in the top 1/1000th of 1 percent when it comes to business success and acumen.

    • Allan Alley is a much weaker candidate for statewide office than Mitch is giving him credit for being. He lost the state treasurer's race by 100,000 votes and you think he had chance against John Kitzhaber? Not a chance. He doesn't have the charisma, the financing, or the base of support needed to win a fight at that level. No Republican not named Walden or Smith has that kind of chops.

    That's why it had to be someone like Dudley. This was the perfect year for a cipher to run as an outsider.

    Others may disagree, but I think that Dudley ran a strong campaign. I think Governor-elect Kitzhaber might have been the only Democratic candidate who could have beaten him.

    In the end, I think that the election turned on 3 things:

    • Governor-elect Kitzhaber badly outmaneuvered Dudley in the minor party nominating process.

    • Dudley managed to get himself caught up in a third rail of Republican politics -- advocating against a minimum wage.

    • In a year when Independents were consistently favoring Republican candidates for Governor by a margin of 15 - 35% nationally, here in Oregon, the margin favoring Dudley was just 9%.

    That, plus the Democratic registration edge was enough to offset the comparatively weaker turnout and relatively higher numbers of Democratic voters who voted for Dudley.

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      I think you're misreading me. I don't necessarily have an opinion on Alley's business acumen.

      I'm saying that in this campaign, there was a lot for opposition to Alley to exploit--including some pretty big troubles with his business. I think any decent messaging shop could create a very good campaign against Alley using this information. Especially in the current environment, I think it would have been very difficult for Alley to survive a campaign that went after him on jobs for Oregon.

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      I think you have to add Dudley's screw up on the minimum wage issue and the better volunteer campaign effort by Democrats. Republicans are willing to phone bank, but not go door-to-door and that is where we have a decided edge.

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        I agree. The minimum wage/waitress comments hurt him badly, and built on the branding that Dems successfully made of this guy.

        I would also say anecdotally we must have had three people canvass us at the door from the Kitz and other Dem campaigns. And we even had a national Dem. organization do a call back, checking on our experience with the canvasser.

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    You know, I'm old enough to remember the sane Republican party that used to be a kind of Oregon pride, with its can-do attitude and pragmatic sophistication. My grandma was friends with Gerry Frank and I remember him asking me really thoughtful questions about my developing political holdings as a kid. Indeed, I learned to think about politics mostly by talking with my dad's Oregon Republican friends. I have to say that although I'm a bit of a rabid Progressive in most areas now, it gives me a profound sense of hope to read Republican commenters here on Blue Oregon like Jack Roberts and Sally Schott. It just seems so wonderfully old school Oregon. Are there any "old school Oregon Republican" blogs out there that foster this thoughtful, reasoned conversational tone that I don't know about?

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      I'm in my 60s and old enough to remember the Eisenhower and Rockefeller Republicans in our state who held a majority in our political culture and statewide office. Dave Frohenmayer, Norma Paulus, and Jack Roberts were the last gasp of that moderate stream of Republicanism. Beginning with Walter Huss a group of extremists begin to take over in the Oregon GOP. Now they are in charge of everything, and they are a hateful, negative bunch, united by biblical fundamentalism and an anti-modernist philosophy of politics and governance.

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    it's not so much "we almost beat you". it's "we spent a record amount of money, ran an insane amount of media, and we still couldn't beat you".

    Duds didn't lose. we got out there & beat his ass.

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    You know, I am old enough to remember a Democrat party that believed the government shouldn't spend more than it takes in, that understood tax cuts spurs economic growth, and that realized that collectivist ideology was inherently evil.

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      Gee, Rob, consider yourself an education expert, even ran for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, yet you don't know the difference between a noun and an adjective.

      When you and other Republicans grow up, we might start taking you seriously.

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      that's an absolute distortion of history. almost every govt runs deficits, as do most households & businesses. (it's a matter of not having too much & having enough money for necessary expenses - something the Rs failed out under Bush.) tax cuts have rarely spurred growth; govt investment & partnerships do far more, and that often means raising taxes - appropriately. and "collectivist ideology"? like a Union formed under a constitution?

      how much time did you spend stringing this nonsense together?

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      You're old enough to remember Ronald Reagan, aren't you. He's the one that opened up the huge deficits based on what George Bush the first called voodoo economics, and what GOP Sen. Howard Baker called a "riverboat gamble." He cut taxes and escalated military spending and put our govt. in the red. He believed in spending a whole lot more than our govt. took in, and so did the GOP presents who followed in his place, George Bush I and GWB, who got us into two wars and instituted a brand new Medicare Drug program, none of which was paid for, all put on the Chinese credit card. It was the Democrat Bill Clinton who brought us out of deficits and into actual surpluses until a GOP Congress and President brought us into financial ruin. You need to refresh your history before you get into name calling.

      It's pathetic to resort to that kind of name calling, "collectivism." What I know is that Democrats like FDR instituted Social Security, and Harry Truman tried to put into place a national health plan, as did Richard Nixon. LBJ brought us Medicare that was paid for, and woe unto you Republicans if you try to do away with either of them. They seem to be the kind of "collectivism" that Americans love. Your negative message was roundly defeated in Oregon and it will continue to be.

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      Without "collectivist" ideology, you'd be driving on crappy dirt roads (the ones that weren't privately owned, that is), and when you call 911, they'd ask you for a credit card. Since people who feel as you do are currently running on de-fundng everything, you may be young enough to see it happen in your lifetime. Yeah... so evil.

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      Cuz I'm pretty sure we're not that far apart in age, Rob--and I've never seen the federal government ever use that strategy long term, no matter who has been in charge.

      And since when did tax cuts balance the federal budget?

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    @ Rob: Rob, is it possible that tax cuts only spur growth when the economic problem is on the supply side and not the demand side? Since government is effectively saving no reserve, mightn't government spending have a greater multiplier than consumer spending (via tax cuts) since consumers are paying down debt (saving) at least some portion of their discretionary? And since business is presently sitting on trillions of cash reserves waiting for a recovery on the demand side, doesn't it stand to reason that more tax cuts to those businesses will effectively take more money out of the system instead of add it, in the current situation?

    Indeed, if stimulating demand is the goal, and private business and consumer spending is slacking for so many different reasons, doesn't it make sense that government spending instead of tax cuts will more effectively and quickly fill that void until the other "demand sectors" can recover?

    Historically, did the Bush tax cuts spur growth or create more economic disparity (ultimately a threat to democracy for obvious reasons) and bind up more capital than it loosened? Also historically, was the effect of the government "belt tightening" in 1937 what was intended, or counter productive? Can you give an example of a demand side crisis when money was cheap and labor idled, but the stock market surging in which a tax cut actually improved output and absorbed labor reserves?

    And alas, that's the rub, the difference between "Old School Oregon Republicanism" and today's is that pragmatic pride that not only made their responses to governing less dogmatic, and could tell the difference between an economic slogan and reasoned idea. They knew if they were offering up a prescription that seemed to defy all historic experience they would have to qualify the ways they think today's situation differs. I'm not going to say you can't, but just that it would make you a more effective communicator to an audience like this if you did.

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