Political Roundup

Jesse Cornett

It's been a busy week for political news and opinion.

First, Sunday in the Oregonian there was a piece by Doug Bates about the dearth of independent leadership in Oregon. Okay, I thought, he might have a point. At the end of the article, though, Bates had thoroughly destroyed his point (that was if it wasn’t already gone by the inclusion of the pictures of five independent legislators that show some leadership capability). The piece ends by somehow suggesting that open primaries and “clean” money would help fix the problem.

I think that if great, independent legislators already exist, let’s talk about how to fix the process to let these people lead. That’s an internal problem folks, changing how people get there won't make a bit of difference. There are a lot of good legislators in the Salem, let’s change the system to help them lead.

Next, there were several articles yesterday pertaining to Kevin Mannix’s ongoing campaign debt. He wasn’t found to break any laws two years ago when the Attorney General investigated his shady practices during his 2002 campaign, but under HB 3458 (passed largely to deal with Dan Doyle’s problems) passed by the legislature this session, he wouldn’t have been able to so easily conceal his contributor’s identities. It looks like he's still playing with the numbers to keep his political life afloat.

I think that sooner or later the public will start to notice the shell game he has continued to play in order to maintain his public life and he will ultimately realize he is doomed to remain Citizen Mannix. Even the Republicans are noticing this one.

Moving from wanna-be politics to gubernatorial politics:

Survey USA released its latest 50-state survey of gubernatorial approval ratings yesterday.

Good news for Gov. Kulongoski: His "approval" number is up to 45% (from 36% in May, 38% in June and July, and 42% in August).

Bad news for Kulongoski: His disapproval number (47) has remained pretty static over the past four months. So while he's made progress with previously undecided voters, he's made very little progress in changing minds.

(Thanks to Blue Oregon reader Jim Oleske for the link and words!).

Finally, there was an opinion piece in the Oregonian this morning that warns us against signing the taxpayer bill of rights initiative that Freedomworks will be circulating. I agree: don’t sign! But go further and urge others not to sign. This is yet another attempt by national groups to influence every aspect of our Oregon by dumping millions of dollars into the process here. I’d like people to make a decision based on what their children or spouses actually need, not what Dick Armey thinks they need.

On the same subject, the Statesman Journal profiles Freedomworks local chief puppet Russ Walker on its front page this morning and the initiatives his group is working on ( the other two seek to politicize the judiciary and bash unions). It sounds like the locals we know and loathe, Bill Sizemore and Don McIntire, are split on whether to defer to the deep national pockets. McIntire seems perfectly happy to defer, while real estate salesman Sizemore won't give up so easily.

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    That Mannix news is pretty big stuff, and I'm surprised we haven't talked about it already. While debt may have been something to overlook in 2004 and earlier, it's hard to imagine Oregonians thinking a politician who can't manage his personal finances is ready to manage their taxes. Where it will really hurt him is among the conservative base, who may be willing to trade up for a more moderate, but fiscally-responsible Repub. Which is, I guess, Ron Saxton's calculation.

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    Of course, it's not personal finances at issue with Mannix. It's the campaign debt from his 2002 campaign.

    I've always said that campaigns are just like a small business, but they get up to speed instantly, have to raise venture capital fast, have to hit 50% market share in a matter of months - and then, unlike a business, they die.

    If a guy says he wants to "run the government like a business" - well, you just have to look at how he's run his past businesses; i.e. campaigns.

    Mannix: Bad for Oregon.

  • Jim Lewis (unverified)

    Ted's rating is not up in this blue household. I began to lose faith when he arrived late at the legislative party and went home early. His abandonment of consumers in the PGE fight is the icing on the cake. We're looking for a new horse to ride. (Block that metaphor!)

  • Roman (unverified)

    "We're looking for a new horse to ride."

    You'll be riding that new horse to see a Republican Governor's inauguration.

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    Jesse, I've tried to post a set of articles from an online journal called "The Forum" for a while, but they never respond to my email queries.

    I'll post the contents that I'm interested in here along with a link. This particular volume has a good set of point/counterpont articles on the causes and effects of party polarization.

    Here's the general URL: http://www.bepress.com/forum/

    Here is the volume/number and contents:

    Volume 3, Issue 2 2005 Culture War in America: Myth or Reality?

    Alan Abramowitz and Kyle Saunders

    Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Reality of a Polarized America Philip A. Klinkner and Ann Hapanowicz Red and Blue Déjà Vu: Measuring Political Polarization in the 2004 Election John H. Evans and Lisa M. Nunn The Deeper “Culture Wars” Questions Wayne Baker Social Science in the Public Interest: To What Extent Did the Media Cover "Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America"? Cindy Simon Rosenthal Local Politics: A Different Front in the Culture War? N. J. Demerath III The Battle Over a U.S. Culture War: A Note on Inflated Rhetoric Versus Inflamed Politics

  • LT (unverified)

    Just a reminder that not everyone sees this as a battle between political parties. Some see it as "the politicians" vs. the folks with a clue about everyday life and common sense.

    There was an Oregonian letter to the editor today about the Stafford Hansell coverage. I have included part of it here. Those of you who are politically active, just think how often someone has talked about the need to "please the lobby". If someone gets tons of money from lobbyists and the voters instead choose to vote for a candidate with strong grass roots support, what has all that lobby money really won?

    And please don't tell me how much lobby money is "needed". If every election always went to the person who raised the most money, we could stop spending the money on ballots, vote counting etc. and just give the election to the person with the fattest C & E report. But is that what most voters want? Do they see campaign fundraising and spending as a means to an end or an end in itself? How effective are consultants, multiple mass mailings etc?

    Here's that letter excerpt:

    Stafford Hansell was a farmer who became independently wealthy through hard work. He had high principles and consistently sought to improve the welfare of his constituents and of the people of Oregon. People admired and liked him.

    Unlike today's legislators, he could afford to ignore the lobbyists and obey his conscience. ...

    Proposed solutions -- unicameral or fulltime Legislature, public funding, open primaries -- are meaningless unless lobby-related graft is first addressed and eliminated.


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    It just makes me very upset to see that we are not on the offensive on almost anything when it comes to ballot measures. That piece on Walker notes that the unions are going on defense for one measure and may place a measure on healthcare offered by businesses and raising the minimum corporate tax. While those are good measures that we should get on the ballot, they just aren't the kind of hard-hitting, throw a bomb in the system ballot measure that the conservatives are nailing us with. Who's going to get our M36, M37, TBOR, or conservative judicial posturing measure on the ballot? Even if it doesn't win, it puts them on the defensive for once. Cody

  • Becky (unverified)

    Progressives should exercise caution with the idea of putting ballot measures out there for the purpose of manipulating the resources of their opponents (i.e. to cost them money, slow them down on other efforts, or "put them on the defensive"). That's in part what got Sizemore into legal trouble - he bragged that his measures cost the unions so much money they didn't have the resources to be proactive. Without that, he probably wouldn't have been ordered to pay the unions back the costs of their campaign to defeat him. Of course, progressives would likely face a more sympathetic court (whether you like to admit it or not, it's true).

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Progressives would likely not engage in wholesale violation of election law, so would have little worry about suits.

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