The Douchebag of Dirt is Dead

Well, not entirely. But Chuck Adams - the impresario of the Oregon House Republicans, famously dubbed "the double-dealing douchebag of dirt" by Loaded Orygun - has been unceremoniously dumped.

From the Statesman-Journal:

House Republicans are taking steps to climb out of the political wilderness. ... [T]hey're replacing longtime Salem political consultant Chuck Adams, who guided them to many past electoral victories, with Mercury Public Affairs, a New York-based firm known for winning races in Democratic territory.

"There are adjustments that needed to be made," said Nick Smith, spokesman for the 29 House Republicans. "I think it's a matter of new ideas."

And just who is Mercury Public Affairs? From their website:

We have managed Senatorial landslide re-election campaigns, secured victories for Wall Street Journal top-targeted Congressional races, and produced award-winning advertising in issue advocacy and independent expenditure campaigns. We have served as former directors and senior members of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Leadership Council.

They're not exactly new in town - they've worked for Senator Gordon Smith, along with such luminaries as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Al D'Amato, Senator Jim Bunning, and of course, Bush/Cheney.


  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    So long, Chuck, you son of a bitch.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Another another wheel comes off the Karen Minnis/Wayne Scott Straight Talk Express.

  • Larry McD (unverified)

    When I moved to Portland one of my neighbors, a very active dem, told me that there was a guy down in Salem about whom the phrase UpChuck originated. She swore it originated in Oregon... Is this the guy?

  • raul (unverified)

    How about saving all of that consultant cash and just ask what your constituents think might need to get done?

    All of these consultants do is teach these guys how to sell lousy ideas to citizens- if it was an idea that would benefit our state, why would you need an ad campaign to sell it?

    Just wondering-

  • LT (unverified)

    Way to go Raul!

    I would differentiate between a genius who works exclusively on one race (Trippi for Dean or Edwards, whoever helped Gilbertson come so close to Dallum, etc.) and those like Chuck Adams who collect a salary to do ads or plan attacks in multiple campaigns.

    Look at who either won or came close to winning in 2006 vs. those incumbents who saw their victory margins decline. Which were using a well known consultant such as " Chuck Adams - the impresario of the Oregon House Republicans" or some other famous consultant working on multiple races, and which were using someone concentrating on one particular candidate who was out there actually talking to the folks who would vote in that race?

    Who hired Adams? Was it a decision of the entire membership of the R caucus or just the caucus leadership? Did any member of that caucus speak up against any of Chuck's tactics, or was it a "silence means consent" situation? My sense is that the recent GOP caucus (as opposed to those of earlier decades) has been brainwashed into a "my caucus right or wrong" mindset by the likes of Minnis, Scott, and earlier leaders. Why would individually elected members put up with that? Or did they think the caucus (rather than voters) elected them?

    Many years ago (perhaps back into the 1990s) the late great Molly Ivins wrote a column about "the unlikelies". Her message was that targeting voters had become such a science so that some campaigns only appealed to "likely voters"--groups she listed. (we have all heard the litany--young people don't vote, veterans don't vote, retail workers don't vote, etc.---except when they do they can change election results!) Molly's message to any reader not falling into one of those "likely" groups was "You have more power than you believe, since many polls only question those who fit the pollster's definition of "likely voter". So make sure you vote for the candidate you like (not just one doing well in the polls) because you might just have the power to elect the candidate of your choice".

    2008 may be a "change election" in ways many don't anticipate. Not just like 1974 or 1980 when a whole crop of new politicians are elected. It might just be like 1968 when conventional wisdom is turned on its head and first time voters play an unexpected role. (For all of Kevin Phillip's "emerging Republican majority" theory, some studies show that if not that many college students per campus had understood the differences Humphrey would make --and not just be turned off by his loyalty to LBJ---the election was close enough that college students could have tipped the balance).

    And of course, a whole new generation of activists were drawn into politics that year. Ask a lot of 60ish Democrats if they were involved in 1968 and who their candidate was. If they name Eugene McCarthy or Bobby Kennedy, that was likely the event which guided their adult political life (like their parents were Republicans or Democrats who hated or loved FDR).

    The business model of campaigns relying on consultants to inflict a message on voters, rather than the candidates actually interacting with voters, has become an establishment/conventional wisdom way of life for many in politics.

    But just as this song inspired my generation 4 decades ago, maybe it is time to go to this Google search, listen to THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN', and ponder the message:

  • Pam (unverified)

    LT -

    Not sure what you are talking about - Joe Trippi has worked for tons of candidates not just one (Dean and now Edwards). He traditionally has worked multiple federal and state races at the same time (like Kitzhabers re-election campaign). Mark Weiner (who many would consider Adams Democratic polar opposite) also works multiple races. In the business of political consulting, few can afford to just ride one horse and make a living.

  • LT (unverified)

    Pam, a friend of mine has met Joe Trippi because he worked for a relative of hers who was a Trippi client. I know there are consultants who have multiple candidates, but as I understand it, Trippi is now an employee of Edwards for President, not a consultant who has taken on Edwards as one of many 2008 clients.

    The question revolves around your phrase "the business of political consulting".

    Elections are decided by ordinary voters, and although this comes as a shock to some, not everyone thinks political consultants at the legislative level improve the process. It may seem like the dark ages, but there are people who have run for office as recently as 2006 whose first elective victory was before the time when political consultants were common on legislative races.

    Do consultants give us better legislators than we had back in the days when Barbara Roberts and Hardy Myers were legislators? Or is that not a topic folks here want to discuss?

    Consultants have not "always" worked at the legislative level, and 20 years ago the House Majority Leader recruited a candidate in a primary after someone else had already filed, and the candidate who filed first won the primary and the general election.

    Maybe it is time to shake things up and have candidates with more connection to the districts they represent and not just to the caucus or to consultants. (Just finished an email on this subject to a friend who wanted to know party history.)

    If that attitude makes me unpopular here, tough luck. I think by and large we have better legislators when they can say "As I walked door to door in my district, the most important issue was..." rather than having consultants designing the campaign strategy, and more time spent raising money to pay consultants than is spent out talking to voters.

    <h2>Not that some 2006 candidates couldn't say that--Brian Clem and E. Salem annexation is a great example of a candidate with connection to a local issue winning a legislative race.</h2>
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