Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wrapping Up

The Voter's Pamphlets have been out and ballots are arriving, the 2nd CD Roadshow played it's last stops today, it's been interesting and some fun but now it's the waiting time. We'll get to see what the Democratic voters of the 2nd CD decide to do with the four of us after May 16. So campaigning is over, oh, if there's a call for an interview or something like that it'll happen but actively campaigning is over for the Campaign to Elect Chuck for the Primary.

I have been privleged to travel and speak with 3 other good people, we were thrown together by political chance, got aquainted through political discussions and then had the chance to make friends on a personal basis. I have had demonstrated to me over and over again what fine people live in the 2nd CD, people I'd be proud to represent. They've opened their houses to us, and welcomed us into their communities and contributed and worked on our behalf. The media has treated us kindly and fairly and opened doors to us, I'm grateful.

Pat Ackley, Chair of 2nd CD Caucus has worked her hind-end off for us, and with her help and coordination the County Chairs have pulled off the near impossible, Candidate Forums in ajoining counties workable for the candidates. DPO field organizers Autumn and Jesse traveled many miles to be with us. The DPO made a contribution to all four candidates despite the pressing concern of the State races. This assistance has been invaluable and the encouragement and enthusiasm sustained us through many miles of travel.

No matter how the Primary turns out, I have gained something I will treasure forever. I now have a very person connection with 2/3 of the State of Oregon, and with people from all over the country who have followed this campaign. I want to thank Dan Davis, Scott Silver, and Carol Voisin for their dedication, their comraderie, and a fine campaign. I believe that the Democrats of the 2nd CD have been well served and given good choices to make. We all win.

Another Endorsement

The Source - Bend, OR
Vol. 10, Issue 17, April 27, 2006
This is a partial quote of the Candidate Endorsements, it is complete regarding myself. I thank the Editorial Staff.

Chuck Butcher For Congress

In some past elections the Democrats have had trouble fielding even one candidate in the Republican-dominated 2nd Congressional District. Maybe it's a reaction to the disastrous Bush presidency or the stink of corruption enveloping Republican congressional ranks, but this year there are four -- three impressively qualified, well-dressed, well-spoken, conventional candidates, and one oddball.
We're going with the oddball, and we'll tell you why.
Charles H. "Chuck" Butcher of Baker City is not your garden-variety Democrat. He's a blue-collar guy who owns a construction business. He has a bushy beard that makes him look a little like pre-Civil War abolitionist firebrand John Brown. He drives around in a cool screaming-yellow pickup with his campaign sign on the side. Perhaps most unconventionally, he's anti-gun control.
The three other aspirants for Rep. Greg Walden's job are Dan Davis, a businessman from Jacksonville; Scott Silver of Bend, director of Wild Wilderness, and Carol Voisin of Ashland, who teaches at Southern Oregon University.
All of them are intelligent, well-informed about the issues, articulate and sincere. All of them take the right (i.e., left) positions on the issues -- Iraq, budget deficits, health care, our increasingly inequitable tax system, the corruption of government by corporate PACs and the K Street Mob. They are pretty much your standard Democratic candidates.
And that's the problem.
All of the Democrats in this race have a great message. But a great message doesn't get you very far if you can't get people to listen to it. For decades, that's been the Democratic Party's problem east of the Cascades. If the party is ever going to have a shot at breaking the Republican monopoly in the 2nd District, its candidates need to start reaching voters outside the small progressive enclaves of Ashland and Bend.

We think Chuck Butcher is a guy who just might do it.
As he himself puts it, he's not a "scary Democrat" -- one who fits the Chardonnay-sipping, brie-eating, fancy-talking, "elitist" stereotype foisted on the public by right-wing propagandists. He looks and talks like a guy who goes hunting and follows NASCAR.
Butcher's stand on the major issues is as populist as any of his rivals -- maybe more so. He wants U.S. troops out of Iraq in "a matter of months." He calls for an end to trickle-down economics -- which he calls "tinkle-down economics." He wants the Patriot Act scrapped and civil liberties respected. He advocates a universal single-payer health care system.
Butcher expresses these ideas in pithy, down-to-earth language, often with a touch of wry humor. By not being a stereotypical "scary Democrat" he believes he can "have a conversation" with blue-collar voters in the district, and that once he gets that conversation going his populist positions on issues like jobs, health care and taxes will resonate with them. He hopes this strategy will enable him to "peel off" the less hard-core Republicans and many independents, who, combined with loyal Democrats, will give him enough votes to win.
We're skeptical about that. Republicans are facing a rough time this year, and there's more than an outside chance they'll lose their House majority -- but losing the 2nd District would require a political tsunami of a magnitude not seen since the 1930s. And Walden, at least so far, has not been touched by the corruption scandals swirling around other Republicans.
So 2006 probably isn't going to be the year the Democrats take back this congressional seat. But this year's campaign could lay the foundation for doing it in 2008 or 2010 or somewhere down the road. It could start a dialogue between Democrats and the voters who should be their natural constituency -- working-class and middle-class people who are consistently screwed by Republican policies. We hope Chuck Butcher can jumpstart that dialogue.

Just one word of advice if you win the nomination, Chuck: Trim the beard.

I got a little closer to the trimming scissors this week, not much closer, but a little.

Friday, April 14, 2006


I've been thinking. What do I have to say about government and religion? The whole discussion ought to center around two things:

Religion in Government - People have a moral and philosophical framework that frequently includes religion, expecting them to not take that into government with them is foolish, they will. I would be horrified by the prospect, while some seem to lose some of that framework once there, it would be bad to send sociopaths to govern.

Government in Religion - This is an exceptionally dangerous idea, it is very bad for religion and the non-religious. There are a bunch of religions, even narrowly speaking of Christianity, there are a bunch. Each sect is supposed to be able to practice their religion freely and openly. This idea becomes very dubious when government gets involved. Government cannot do anything within a religious framework without destructive consequences, it will interfere. It cannot help it, it is a device for applying power and that is what it does. Money from government will have strings attached, it must because government has a desired end for that spent money. When the government gets involved in prayer it must interfere, it cannot satisfy all sects so it will satisfy what it can, those left out are marginalized and those included are defined. This does not expand religious freedom, it constrains it.

Government is about social order and the enforcement of conditions required to maintain it. This is an entirely pragmatic exercise of force, it may masquerade as moral, it isn't. Morality involves choice or free will, the government does not offer such, it offers consequences. Moral people ought to be able to pass good laws that allow people as much freedom of choice as possible while constraining the outrages that people sometimes commit on each other. This is something entirely different than enforcing morality. There is a contradiction in terms in the concept of moral law, holy books may set out terms of moral laws, but a government cannot do it, it has recourse only to coercion to accomplish such a thing, if you see the words moral and law conjoined, beware.

If this seems anti-religion you haven't paid attention, many people are greatly inproved by their religions and get comfort and support in their daily lives from them. This is a very good thing, something precious enough to not allow the cudgel of government to interfere with.

Beating Waldenbush

While I 've stated repeatedly that it can be done, beating Greg Walden in the General Election is going to be a real job, a "tough row to hoe." On that optimistic note, let's get down to some basics, he can't be beaten with money. The money isn't available. So, it comes down to beating him for nearly free. That is where you come in, you're political capital.

Now reality is that all the advertising in the world won't do more than get your face and name out, unless you go for the real nasty stuff, and that can boomerang. So what works? The very real credibility of someone who is known, speaking up for the candidate. That speaking up works best in person, in conversation, but if your name is known at all, letters to the editor help quite a bit. Passing out literature and posting signs demonstrates support and the literature can possibly be persuasive, but it carries the lack advertising does. The real caveate in all this is knowing who the candidate is and being comfortable with most of their stands. All this takes time and energy, that's a lot to ask, but it also is what will work. It will take a push of Presidential Election proportions to bring this off, in fact, more than the last Presidential Campaign.

I propose that now is the time to try it out, see what works. It is the time to show that we're serious and determined. Yes, this is a Primary, but depending on the Voter's Pamphlet creates voter ignorance, informed people spreading the word creates an interested and informed electorate. We have got to come out of this Primary with an enthused Democratic Party core or we're toast. A lot of people have got to be reached out to and touched, that's a tough one. I do what I can do, I give you as real a person as language and time allows and the best principles and politics that I know, but that's not nearly enough. I simply don't have the reach you do. All this is true of the other three candidates, as far as I can tell. So please get out there and push, infect some other people so they'll push. It can work.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Oh ooops

You'd have to know how I approach public speaking to understand how this came about...
I don't have a speech, I don't want one getting between me and the audience. I get up, and if I can, I walk about right up by the folks, and talk to them entirely ad lib, free style, or off-the-cuff. I do this to guarantee genuineness, it's what I've got. Oh sure I've got policies, but so do we all, and they're pretty similar, so I just give

I was rolling along nicely in my 8 minute introduction and evidently, since I'm quoted in the Bulletin as doing it, I called waldenbush "a pinhead." Now I can call him waldenbush, his voting record earned that, or maybe more accurately "waldenlay" since he voted even more regularly with Tom, but really, pinhead is over the top, so I'm sorry Greg. I was tired, I had a toothache, and I was pretty disgusted with that voting record and just got a little too worked up. I'm sure there were more polite descriptions of a guy who'd vote against the interests of the majority of his district just to please his little party machine and the wealthy and powerful. I know there are and I have a pretty good command of the English language, pinhead just popped out. So I appologize to you for calling you a pinhead. I also appologize to all pinheads.


From Baker City Herald, 4/7/06
"2006 Primary Endorsement"
"Walden vs. Butcher"

"The Second District might be a slam dunk, but at least the court is full"

"Greg Walden is the Earl Blumenauer of Eastern Oregon: all but unbeatable in his district.

That hasn't stopped one Republican and four Democrats from taking to the floor in an attempt to unseat the four-term Congressman from Hood River."

"And while we suspect Walden will walk away with the vote in November, Democrats at least have a choice this year - and local Democrats can cast their ballots for a favorite son who is helping baste Oregon Democrats with some Eastern Oregon flavor.

Four candidates have thrown their hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination, and they are campaigning together to take as long a running start at Walden as possible.

For Baker County Democrats, a unified vote for Baker City's Chuck Butcher seems a logical choice.

Butcher spearheaded the effort to place explicit respect for gun rights in the Oregon Democratic Party's platform. If nominated to face Walden he'll have an opportunity to stump against a background of Northeastern Oregon pragmatism - something candidates from Medford or Bend or Hood River just can't tap."

I didn't know this was going to happen and I never expected them to suggest that waldenbush was vulnerable, and they didn't. But it certainly is nice, and I do appreciate the inclusion of Hood River in the last sentence. There is in fact a vast difference in the "world view" of waldenbush and myself. I'll make a simple allusion, if a framing specification calls for a structural member capable of bearing a certain load, it must be able to at least do so, ideology or wishful thinking won't work, the house will fall down, I absolutely can not have that. Waldenbush's world operates in a different manner, there are multitudes of excuses, blame games and responsibility ducking. Pragmatism isn't a dirty word, it means, make it work. Yes it means I can work with others (that was required to take that Resolution through), it also means understanding that taking a principled stand can carry a high cost and bearing it. Making things work with the tools at hand is what we manage to do around here.

Thanks Herald

Monday, April 03, 2006

Four Candidates

Democrat voters in the 2nd CD are a lucky bunch, I have as opponents three very nice, capable, intelligent people. These are people that I would have no problem supporting if any one of them was the winner in the Primary. Now, we all obviously believe there are good reasons to vote for ourselves rather than the other person, but we manage to present that idea in a manner that isn't insulting or condescending to the others. Every time I speak at a Forum I mention that I'm proud to be in this field, and that's not niceness for the sake of nicety. It is a fact. I encourage all of you to look the field over carefully, everybody in it is making sacrifices to present themselves and deserves a fair hearing.

Since this is my site and I'm trying to win a Primary, I'm not going to make their presentations for them (I also might not do them justice). I believe that quite frankly the biggest differences are a matter of how we appeal to voters in the General, I've been telling you why I can beat waldenbush and I'll continue to do so. Because this is a Primary and at this point I'm talking to Democrats I'm not going to spend a lot of time telling you why you shouldn't vote for waldenbush, you should already have that one figured out. I am going to tell you that money will help a lot, but even more so is your willingness to talk to your friends and neighbors about "that Chuck guy." If you'd like some literature, drop me an email and I'll snail mail some to you. If you have Word Publishing I can send a file for printing, this would be of huge assistance and greatly appreciated. If we've visited your county, your Party committee ought to have some spares, that's what they're for, after all, to give away.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Kamikaze Pilots and waldenbush

Congressional Quarterly nicely took note of the 2nd CD Democratic Primary and how 4 (gasp!) candidates were running. They did start out by noting that waldenbush had breezed through his previous elections. I don't suppose any of us would've been surprised to read that. OSU poly-sci Bill Lunch, however, did get my attention by noting that, "there were no shortage of kamikaze pilots in Japan at the end of WWII, either...some people are drawn to lost causes."


First of all, I have no intention of crashing myself into waldenbush and dying, maybe that's not what he meant. Maybe he figures I'm a martyr. Well, I am a carpenter...but nah. I've got it, he's doing the math from the last elections. I see now, he's a pro and he's looked at...what? I haven't talked to him, I'd remember. I haven't gotten any emails and I don't think I distributed any brochures at OSU, a different district and all. Maybe he's really an anthropologist who's been secretly studying the wild tribes of the 2nd. Oh, heck, if I were completely ignorant of the 2nd CD and a candidate and looked at the numbers I'd come up with something similar, but then I don't claim to be a poly-sci or from OSU, so I can't be ignorant. I really don't mind all that much when people who've watched a do-it-yourself TV program tell me how to frame a house, either...ok, but I do smile and nod my head.

Look, I'll say it again, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, I'm not the same thing and I'm not doing the same thing. Waldenbush finds money and influence sufficiently important to put together a bunch of radio stations, one would do for "love of radio," I find what I do and who I do it for more important than money and I certainly have no desire to have a crew of hundreds and lose touch completely. I certainly want to be paid for my work, it's not a hobby, but there are places and ways to make more of it and I don't care enough about it to do that. That means there is an essential difference in our outlook on life and therefore our politics and what we'd do as politicians.

Sure, if you're reading this you're interested but you don't know me or hang with me so how do you know if this isn't just a political ............... lie. (posture is a nicer word for the same thing) I guess you read this stuff and see if it all hangs together as a unit and a personal statement. This is a Blog because I want you to be able to have at me in public. You'll find stuff in here that might be better for me politically if it weren't said, so what? I want you to vote for me, not some figment. Not some posture. I want you to tell your friends, "No really, you gotta check this Chuck guy out," because I trust you to see. I don't believe the American voters are idiots and I won't treat them like they are. The more I tell you about me, the more honestly I can ask for your vote. I don't expect you'll agree with everything.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why homosexual marriage would make me want to leave my wife for a man, that'll lose me some votes and it won't gain me any as a Democrat. Illegal immigrants flooding the low-mid bluecollar labor market is having a horrid effect on legal blue collar workers, that's wrong, no matter all the excuses and name calling, it's wrong. Abortion stinks, I won't interfere with it, being rich is a nice thing, I don't want to interfere with it, but I'm sure not going to help it along at the expense of the little guy. Business makes jobs but when did it become the be-all-end-all of politics? War is a horrid thing, it's the last worst option, but by gawd, don't play at it and don't pretend that it's bloodless or that you can do it without shredding civilians. You will get our troops killed and maimed and drag a conflict out in the name of sparing ... bad press. Having money and power entails a tremendous responsibility toward the workers who get you there, they're not numbers on paper, if you screw them I'm inclined to return the favor. Don't even begin to think I'd trade a civil liberty for security, if you don't feel safe, that's too bad, but probably realistic. I own a fair number of firearms, shoot them, hunt with them, I build cars and race them, sounds pretty odd for a Democrat, nope. I like people, I tend to trust them, carefully, but I cannot abide liars and cheats. I was a drunk, I'm 18 years clean and sober, I don't know if that's a recommendation or not, but it's me. I have no formal religion, maybe I'm a Deist, sort of. If you think a freshman Rep has any power, you're mistaken, but the Democrat that takes out waldenbush will certainly have a voice. (c'mon it'd be the news story of the year) I'm no public speaker, I look out at these forums and decide it's my friends and neighbors I'm talking to and I'm ok, because it's true it works. I won't give you the answer you want, I'll give you the answer I have, you may not like it, but it'll be true. I'll tweak Rep Greg Walden with the nickname "waldenbush" because it's true, but I have no interest in trying to make scandal for him, he has a public record, that'll do. There's pretty much not spit's difference in policy between myself and my fellow Democratic candidates but I'm different. They might be better candidates to vote for than myself in a different district, we're not in a different one. I can't get very worked up about trying to beat these folks, I like them and I respect them. If the voters tell me to go home to Baker City and bang nails, I really won't mind, I like doing it. Will I like having an office job in DC? No. But I can do it and I can do it better for 2nd CD than waldenbush does and I owe something back. My campaign needs contributions, I get them by little dribs and dabs, which is a good thing, but it takes lots of dribs and dabs. More important is people telling their friends about me, people trust that, TV spots and other ads are just ads. By the way, the comment buttons on here are for use.