Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oregon's 'First Dud'

Minnesota elected a pro wrestler as governor. Californians gave the nod to a weightlifter/movie star.

Why can't Oregon, then, give its top job to a former, mediocre basketball player?

Well, it can and it just might, if recent polls are correct in showing Chris "Air Ball" Dudley with at least a 6-point lead over Democrat John Kitzhaber, the former governor.

Aside from attacks ads, Oregonians will learn next to nothing about Dudley between now and election day.

Newspapers have joined the ranks of television in reporting sound bites, full of fury, but signifying nothing.

We do know that Dudley played for the Portland Trail Blazers and a few other NBA teams in his unremarkable basketball "career."

During his time as a Trail Blazer, Dudley cared so much about Oregon that he lived across the Columbia River in Washington to avoid paying Oregon income taxes. Washington has no state income tax.

And Dudley did this long before Measures 66 & 67 passed last January that increased taxes on the rich.

Now that's the spirit of the Northwest. Evade paying taxes and then ask taxpayers to pay you to run their state even though you're a multi-millionaire.

At least he'll speak the language of the substantial anti-tax crowd in Oregon. Afterall, we have voted nine times to reject a sales tax.

But does Dudley know anything about Oregon or governing or anything but basketball and diabetes, which he has?

We'll never know until we elect him. Dudley has purposely avoided debating Kitzhaber because he doesn't want his shallowness to emerge before election day.

Dudley is labeled Republican, but he's far different from the recent failed gubernatorial candidates from the GOP. He downplays his stances on the bread-and-butter social issues for Republicans - strident opposition to gay marriage and abortion - because he knows that Oregonians reject those positions and won't elect someone who holds them. Dudley is really a RINO - Republican in Name Only.

He survived the primary by avoiding pandering to the ultra-right wing of his party, which shows that Republicans now care more about electability than their core principles.

If elected, Dudley will be a puppet governor because corporations will have control of the government once again.

Republicans dominated Oregon politics for more than a century, but have been in the wilderness for nearly three decades because of their extremist views on the social issues as well as the environment, education, health care, taxes and government, in general.

Dudley doesn't appear extreme. In fact, he seems downright boring.

If Alaskans had their "First Dude" when Sarah Palin was governor, can Oregonians have their "First Dud," should Dudley prevail?

It's one of the imponderables during this improbable election season.

Dudley has millions to throw away on this race, although not as much as Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have to waste in California.

The super rich come to believe that their wealth entitles them to more than just fancy clothes, houses, cars, boats, jewelry or what have you. Some are convinced that this entitlement extends to political office. It has worked before, but there have been spectacular failures by multi-millionaires, including Michael Huffington and Steve Forbes.

Imagine what these filthy rich candidates could have done with their millions instead of just feeding their bloated egos.

Let's hope all these mega-millionaires lose in November. Talk about sending a message.

To paraphrase The Beatles: Can't buy me vote.

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