Chihuahua Rampage

Pat Ryan

Chihuahua_w A few of us have been running amok down in the threads, and I'm a pretty cranky guy, but there is a point. Kari's been trying to converse while keeping some semblance of civility in the debate. I'm not helping.  I'm not running with the Big Dogs, but rather kinda sitting up on the porch, being averse to both leading and following, but always willing to pitch a grenade or two.

On Saturday the latest inning of the Big Game winds up in Salem, when the delegates, will choose the leadership that will take us into the election cycle. New victors will emerge and some of the Old Dogs'll be back. They'll all have to be idealists. If they weren't, they'd work for more money in the private sector where they wouldn't have to constantly have their ankles attacked by snarling Chihuahuas. But, as always, for a lot of 'em, the wielding of power is a very important driver all by itself.  I have to say that even though there's no practical way to achieve this goal, only those who don't want power should be allowed to exercise it.      

When I'm at one of these big political or party gigs, there's this huge physically shifting crowd  dynamic as them that wants try to get next to them that dispenses whatever. While networking, an eye is always out for friend and foe,  movement and positioning of the individual power nodes, the fitful eddies of the non-players and aspiring players. Just like at your neighbor's big barbecue, folks move in and out of the Big Room as the need for privacy rises and then give way to the urge to mingle with and be recognized by others who at various useful points on the power structure. For the power guys, this is what makes up for the occasional bloodied ankle or as the man sez, a dampened fire hydrant from the aforementioned Chihuahuas.

Politeness in this environment, is an absolute prerequisite for survival since combatants have to get up off the floor and cooperate until the next round and I watch those smiles that end below the eyes being exchanged all around the room. The actual personal respect to stand and carry out a brief conversation, complete with eye contact, while enduring the  passing of a more....shall we say....useful person, seems to be in much shorter supply in the room than the politeness and the brittle smiles. I muse over my rubber chicken or stale donut and watch as an aspiring politicos start conversation with other lesser lights, jump to say, a state rep, and peel off of him for a gatekeeper to a statewide officeholder all in the space of maybe ninety seconds. My table mates and the distance of my table from the podium all speak to my worth as a human being. in many instances this worth is figured in dollars and in others by status within the org. I know that most of this stuff is basic pack or troop psychology and that not many find it as irritating as I do.

This whole process is the filtration system that winds up determining what gets done and it works against logic and efficiency, because in this system, the personal attributes that get your best ideas implemented, sometimes has little to do with whether your ideas have merit.

Observing the game and the players with staying power, it is not honesty that goes first, it's the curiosity and the self criticism, as you are fed a steady diet of positive input from those around you who themselves aspire to higher things.  Knowing what you know about the Chihuahuas, while being absolutely sure that they are actually small Norwegian Rats, can slow down the drive toward your goals whether personal or altruistic.

So, to the Big Dogs I say:

Try to pay attention to the all of the Chihuahuas  and keep an ear open, they might have about a half or maybe even a quarter of an idea that can work to your advantage. If they are inept, embarrassed, or hostile, at the very least, be a decent enough salesperson to make them walk away thinking that they've been heard. After all, you're the Big Dog and throwing 'em a bone will keep 'em from  yapping around your ankles while you're trying to the Really important Work done.

To steal a tag line from a neighbor,

Yap! Yap!

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)

    For what it is worth are anything but a Chihuahua.

  • Rebel N. Dog (unverified)

    I, R. Nathan Hund nominate thee as an honorary member of the pack.

  • AFisherman (unverified)

    You're not even close with your swaggering metaphor about big dogs and chihuahas. NW and Oregon politics, here and in Salem, is about nothing more than "big fish in a (very) small pond".

    Need proof of big fish in a (very) small pond? Just look at what happens when those big fish praised by the spotlight-seeking grassroots opinion leaders here actually move to a big pond: Exactly how many committees in the U.S. Congress are chaired by Northwesterners, much less Oregonians? Yea, I have heard the weeny excuse-making that our folks work behind the scenes. They TRY to work behind the scenes because they are incompetent at leadership and can't actually accomplish much of anything in public.

    When is the last time one of our selected leaders ever inspired you to do anything except change the channel or turn the page, because they don't stand for anything, and certainly don't lead the fight for anything remotely resembling principles and values? Exactly what values does our sorry excuse for a Democrat and a governor, national legislators, or state legislators actually stand for except making sure they remain big fish in a small pond? (Publishing bills and position papers that never get past your own web page doesn't count.)

    Of course, the leaders we have are the leaders we deserve, because in a state that worships a juvenile fantasy notion of citizen legislators, a lot of the folks who think they are such grassroots opinion leaders and activists really are bigger idiots and incompetents than the "leaders" they actually work to put forward to the voters. (1000 Friends of Oregon really is doing a bang-up job on Measure 37, aren't they? And with the apparent collapse of the deal --- in the safely Democratically-controlled Senate no less -- the wise and talented heads on the Democrat side really have delivered on that corporate kicker "compromise" so praised here as wise and clever politics, haven't they?) They may agree with the candidate, to be sure, but that's because the candidate really doesn't stand for much having anything to do with leadership.

    Big dogs and chihuahas? Hah, at least dogs are carnivores and even rise to heroic heights when circumstances require. We're talking here about goldfish and guppies in a tiny little bowl. And guppies have the unfortunate trait that they eat their young when they are out-competed by the bigger fish in the bowl.

    Want respect. Stop fawning over the goldfish because of what you think you'll get out of it. Do everything you can to expose them for the failed leaders they are. You're going to get a rare chance when Bates and Westlund take their health care patent medicine show on the road to lecture folks about how much they know and how stupid we are. Funny thing, though, in the first place either they or Wyden are plagarists. Their plan is a direct state implementation of Wyden's plan but they never really mention Wyden in their PR for it. The first hint of a lack of real leadership character.

    My favorite point of their plan: Withholding the state income tax refund of someone making just 250% of the poverty level who hasn't bought private insurance when their employer wouldn't provide it. Do the numbers what this means. These folks shouldn't get a hearing, they should be asked to leave the Democratic Party. I doubt most of the suckups here have the personal character to even care.

    There's your chance to be noticed, go wet on them Spot.

  • (Show?)

    sitting up on the porch, being averse to both leading and following, but always willing to pitch a grenade or two.

    A better definition of a blogger I have never read. Also guilty as charged.

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