Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ballots arrive this weekend; Kitzhaber leading?

A poll out this week shows John Kitzhaber with a 2-point lead over his Republican gubernatorial rival Chris Dudley.

The other good news is that the poll was from Rasmussen, which skews towards Republicans.

Also a report out this week shows that polls, in general, favor Republicans because those without land phone lines are not heard from.

And, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is no longer certain of a Republican takeover of the house.

All goods news to be sure, but Nov. 2 is still a daunting date for rational Americans to reject the teabagging wing of the Republican Party.

For Oregonians, though, our election starts this weekend when ballots arrive in the mailbox.

Naturally, most voters now wait until the end of the two-week voting period to get their ballots in.

So, as they say, voter early and often.

Last weekend in the mail, we got a 108-page booklet filled with the usual candidate profiles, arguments for and against seven statewide measures and not much insight.

That is how it is with democracy, we leave it all up to television ads to inform us about candidates and measures. Which means, of course, we know little about what we're voting on.

Yes, we are hip in Oregon, though, because we have a medical marijuana measure on the ballot. It could pass, if stoners vote. On one hand, it makes sense to legalize marijuana because the prohibition of it has failed as badly as it did for alcohol. Then again, do we need more "impaired" drivers? Do the problems of prohibition outweigh the problems of legalization? The answer could be "yes."

The big news for Oregon, though, is that the governor's office could house a Republican for the first time in a quarter-century. (The letter "R" behind a candidate's name in a statewide election stands for "Rejected.")

The reason is that Republicans in this state decided to nominate a nobody or "stealth" candidate to steal the election from the unsuspecting, but riled electorate.

Ex-NBA backup player Dudley has got a fortune to spend on TV advertising and he's doing it with largely effective hits on his opponent Kitzhaber, our former Democratic governor.

What could help Kitzhaber is that two other candidates in the voters' pamphlet represent the right-wing fringe in the Constitution and Libertarian parties. In this "Tea Party" era, many voters appear to align with the sentiments that these right-wing kooks espouse. These candidates could pull enough votes from Dudley to hand Kitzhaber a third term. I hope that is the case, because Dudley sure sounds like a dumb jock whenever he gives an unscripted answer.

The local daily paper is filled with rambling, incoherent "screeds" against Democrats, in general, and against Sen. Ron Wyden, in particular.

Wyden is one of the best senators this state has ever produced and he should win easily over Republican/Libertarian Jim Huffman, another neophyte like Dudley, who doesn't know his politics from a hole in the ground.

That can't be said for Chris Telfer, a former city councilor and now state senator, who is running for state treasurer. Telfer, though, smells like a RINO (Republican in Name Only) to the diehards, mainly because she is a former Democrat, who couldn't possibly agree with the extreme positions the GOP takes on social issues.

Telfer is your typical politician. She served on the city council and made decisions that benefited her property holdings in downtown Bend. Telfer wants to outsource government services to the private sector, which means she ultimately favors shipping these American jobs overseas. Telfer is bitterly hostile to anyone who may disagree with her and that makes her unfit for higher political office. She's already risen to her level of incompetence.

Deschutes County is reliably Republican, but Bend is slightly more blue than red, in terms of registration. Independents, those who lack much passion for politics, make up a third of our voters and will decide the House District 54 race.

Democrat Judy Stiegler won the seat in 2008 when the Obama tide swept through Bend. She was the first Democrat elected from these parts in two decades.

She's likely to lose her seat this time, though, because Republicans have again downplayed the extreme social positions of her GOP opponent Jason Conger, who has attracted the sizable Christian fundamentalist faction in Bend.

What could save Stiegler, whose husband lost his DA job in May, is that former city councilor/Realtor Mike Kozak is running as an Independent, with a capital "I."

Kozak could siphon votes away from Conger, but he's also likely to pull critical votes from Stiegler, who supported the statewide vote to raise taxes on the rich, which irked her rich Democratic base on the west side.

Still, Conger has less ties to Bend than Stiegler does and she has much more practical experience in legislating than he does. Here's hoping that Conger and Kozak split the misogynist vote and hand the victory to Stiegler.

Another state House Seat, the 53rd District, pits one of the more useless officeholders we've had over here, Republican Gene Whisnant, against an unknown named John Huddle, representing the Democratic and Independent parties. Whisnant should win easily, which is sad because he doesn't do anything but take up space better occupied by someone willing to put in the time to legislate. Whisnant whines about all the time he devotes to being a state representative and it's a plaint that falls on deaf ears during these high-unemployment times.

Finally, the Deschutes County supervisor's race pit a 25-year-old Democrat against a businessman from La Pine, the south county's teabagging turf.

Should Dallas Brown win, it would be a major shock in these parts because the letter "D" after your name in county-wide races stands for "Defeated."

The media and polls suggest a wipeout for the Democrats in November. Let's hope that Democrats wake up and prevent the complete corporate takeover of government.

Republicans run on a platform of less government as if this results in more private sector employment. It doesn't. GOP candidates run for government office by being against government.

If they don't like government, then don't run.

1 comment:

  1. Why is it that you are so forward thinking, yet fail to acknowledge that there's a chance Mike Kozak could be a viable candidate and win?

    He's not just a spoiler, and he has the best of both parties: experience, hard working, open minded, socially liberal, cares about the people first. As well as fiscally responsible and ready to make much needed changes in Central Oregon to fund schools and support small businesses. Mike has what both Judy and Conger lack.

    Because Mike is unaffiliated, he can do what's right for the people instead of focusing on towing party lines.

    I'd say, take him seriously, and if you care about Bend, he should get your vote.