Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dancing With the Blues, Baker City

Saturday night in Baker City Jimmy Lloyd Rea and the Switchmasters tore up the Baker Elks lodge with hard driving blues, and...

Three Democratic candidates for statewide office, Vicki Walker - Secretary of State, Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley - US Senate OR, came to town and made a pitch to a little over 150 citizens. Each was given 7 minutes stage time and nearly unlimited face to face time, and if you were not rewarded you either weren't there or were too dedicatedly Republican to pay attention. These are three high quality candidates, which isn't to disparage those who weren't there, but they weren't, so I'm talking about the ones who were.

First things first, JLR&S can be heard by those uninitiated, just make sure you've got your blues togs on and don't have to sit still. JLR & I have been pals for over 18 years and even if we weren't I'd pitch his music. I was an award winning percusionist for years (when I was young -oh) and I know what I'm pushing. It takes candidates of some stature to play in that league.

Well, they lived up to it. Seven minutes gives a candidate just enough time to connect, if they've got something. The follow up face to face showed how well they'd done it, I watched carefully and I didn't see one brush off, these candidates reached out well enough that people were glad to spend time talking to them, in fact socializing with them. In places like Baker County with limited media and other access that personal touch counts hugely. The word of mouth from trusted acquaintances counts for more than all the slick ads ever produced. I was proud to have been a part of bringing the candidates to Baker and I was proud of Baker for its turnout and its hospitality to a bunch of politicians.

I'll bet you're waiting for me to tell you who I think is the best, sorry to disappoint, in Vicki Walker's case not having access to the opposition I can only say Brown and Avakian have their work cut out for them, she's smart, accomplished, personable, and formidable. I've known Sen Walker for some time and I believe we're friends, so obviously I like her. I'm keeping an open mind, but there's some effort involved.

Then there is the Merkley / Novick match up. I'm going to really disappoint those looking for something to get partisan about. Either one of these men would make a really great replacement for Sen Gordon Smith (R-OR), either one. Each has strengths the other doesn't and they seem to balance out. Democrats can be really proud to have two such qualified quality candidates running for a chance to take on Smith. This one provides me with a real conundrum, advocating for one or the other would seem to disparage the un-endorsed and that would be inaccurate at least. I will give no such misunderstanding place in my writings, I will eventually have something to say about who I want most, but that will be balanced with the understanding that it is "want most", not oppose. Right now with the balance so close I await further developements of the candidate's policy stances. Close contact has given me some reason to believe that I may actually have a preference.

See the Baker City Herald AP story by Mike Ferguson here .

There has been some heat around this particular campaign, I don't want it here (I've made that clear previously) because I intend to be a part of Gordon Smith having a retirement party. If you'd like to beat a drum for your favorite, feel free, but tell me why you like him, not about the one you don't prefer. Simply put, give me positive feedback, the rest is boring and pointless, these are two great candidates and partisan sniping only makes it unlikely the partisans will be able to work together later, when one is not elected. I look forward to it. Oh jeeze, if you think John Frohnmeyer is the stuff, tell me; but don't start a bunch of anti-Democratic crap in his support. If you like Gordon Smith, well, be ready to get your head handed to you.


Chuck Butcher said...

Oh hey, thanks to Meredith Wood-Smith - Chair DPO, Jesse Bontecou, Mary Van Noy, and Andrea Cooper the DNC sponsored field staff for coming over from Portland. Further the invaluable assistance of Co Chair Marilyn Dudek, Treasurer Roxanna Swann, Secretary Jan Burgdorfer, past Chair Bruce Raffety, and all the others who sold tickets and helped with a major event, too many to list, a huge thank you. If you've never run an event of this size and complexity you have no idea how valuable that help is.

Jeff Alworth said...

Agreed. One point that's probably worth emphasizing is that the "heat" you describe comes off fiery support for both candidates by (a shockingly small but vocal) minority of their supporters. That's a good thing. In May, one of them will be the candidate, and we partisans (I'm for Merkley) will be delighted either way. Rarely do you have a primary where you have two candidates with competence, experience, intelligence, compassion, and enthusiasm.

I think Novick has a steeper mountain to climb in beating Smith, but I won't be any less pleased to support him if he beats Merkley. I honestly haven't been able to say that more than three or four times in my life.

Zak J. said...

On fund-raising for the Senate race, I've heard from a couple people now that, because both candidates are both so impressive, they don't want to give money to either campaing and prefer to wait it out until after the primary before donating. It seems to me that if such sentiments are widely held, it could hurt the fund-raising efforts of both men and end up leaving them short of cash when they need it most--to campaign against Smith.

What's your take on that & possible solutions if you agree that late donations might be a problem.

Chuck Butcher said...

Candidates need money for a Primary, if you're unsure send 1/2 to each. I need to catch mine up so I've got equal amounts in both camps.

If you lean, do it, if you're strong, do it. If we want to have a real discussion and choice then we need to fund it. If WE don't fund them where do you expect they'll have to go? Where we don't want them to.

Zak has a point, and it is relevant and it could create difficulties for the candidates. I know it seems counter-intuitive to contribute to a candidate you're not sure you want over the other, but you can take this as being a form of public financing of a voluntary nature.

Lil' said...

Thanks again for the fun night Chuck. Here is my blog post on the whole weekend with a mention of the dance.

Liz Kimmerly
Online Director
Novick for U.S. Senate

Steve Culley said...

I have too much hearing damage to get too close to JLR so I didn't go. I'm sure a gun totin democrat like Chuck asked a few second questions but the Baker City Herald had nothing. Didn't see anything on borders and Oregon being a sanctuary state either. What was their positions on the Big Look?


I had a great time playing some Blues for good DEMOCRATS . I am amazed how many folks called and told me they had a great time both dancing and getting to speak with the candidates. It was a freat night for all involved, GREAT JOB CHUCK.

As for Steve Culley. You could have sat a long ways from the bandstand. Call me next time Steve, and I'll spend 50 cents for a set of ear plugs for ya . Don't complain about me------ complain about a REPUBLICAN !!!!

Steve Culley said...

Nothing personal LLoyd, got knocked out by a vc grenade or backblast from 3.5 launcher. chainsaws and shotguns didn't help either. I get around to republicans now and then too.