Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dudley tosses up another 'Air Ball'

When you have more money than brains, you can do just about anything you want.

You can run for governor of Oregon as a Republican even if you have no experience in leadership or government.

You can also send out a mailer to a registered Democrat asking for money even when your campaign war chest dwarfs your opponent's.

Chris "Air Ball" Dudley sent out a mass mailer this week and I received one today. He has two claims to fame: He played professional basketball for five NBA teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, over a 16-year career and he's had diabetes since he was a teen-ager.

Having such a long, if forgettable, NBA career is impressive. So is dealing with diabetes on a daily basis. But, does this qualify anyone to be governor of Oregon?

The answer is NO.

Dudley has the most important thing going for him: money, and lots of it.

His Democratic opponent and former governor, John Kitzhaber, is worried about Dudley's dough and how it can influence the election. Plus, Dudley has other NBA friends who are millionaires and these millionaires know other millionaires. Such is the rarefied air of overly tall men.

Dudley has so much money on hand that he's already spending it on TV ads in mid-June. These ads, crafted by the crew that shaped Arnold Schwarzenegger's successful gubernatorial runs in California, are designed to paint a warm and fuzzy portrait of Dudley.

Fuzzy is what they are because they make it seem like Dudley is running for presidency of the diabetes association rather than for governor of the Beaver State.

Dudley won a crowded GOP field in the May Primary, but he certainly didn't excite the Republican base because so few bothered to vote for him. He got just under 123,000 votes. Overall, roughly 369,000 Democrats voted for their three candidates, while the nine Republicans split roughly 312,000 votes.

Dudley is a social moderate which wouldn't attract primary voters anyway. But, it could attract un-affiliated voters in November. Still, he has a steep climb, just from a numbers standpoint.

As for his nickname, "Air Ball," Dudley achieved that status by tossing up air balls from the free throw line, when absolutely no one was between him and the basket, during his NBA career.

Dudley is heaving up air balls once again since he seems to be throwing his money towards the basket and he's not even close.

Yes, Dudley, a pleasant and dull man, may capture 48 percent of the vote, but in these post-2000 elections, that would be considered a landslide defeat.

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