Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oregon Primary Voter's Pamphlet: Comedy Gold

Every election the voter's pamphlet is my favorite part. It's just full of crazy. Here is my question: if you are going to run for office and you are totally, completely unqualified, why wouldn't you at least glance over your candidate statement before submitting it? Maybe run a search for double periods and read it out loud once to see if the sentences make sense. I mean, you're already totally unqualified; you don't want people to think you're lazy too. Apparently this is not a concern for some of the nut jobbers who run for office. I'll post my favorite examples here, but if you want to see the whole thing, you'll have to download the pdf for yourself.
Hm, these might be too small. But maybe you can enlarge them. I hope you can read this first one, because it's easily the best.

It looks like Goberman ran for State Senate as a Libertarian in 2000. Surprisingly, he was not elected. I think his greatest qualification is "beekeeper" and my favorite line is "Smith has no faith/integrity, ignores, violates, doesn't support and criminal contempts the Constitution and Code of Ethics for Government Employees." His policy statement about crime is pretty good too. "Crimes: Harder punishment." And who doesn't like a democrat who is also a supporter of the NRA?

It also seems like this year there is an increase in the number of people who have included their grade school as a part of their educational background; who "attended" college, but did not graduate; or who took classes at several colleges over a period of many years. I think we're supposed to be impressed by this. But it just makes it more obvious that they are totally unqualified; no one cares that between 1968 and 1985 you took "night class at 8 or 9 collages [sic]," Richard Nathe, democrat running for Representative in Congress from the 5th District.

The best picture is probably Joseph Walsh (Lone Vet) who is running against Earl Blumenauer in the primary. Check this guy out: I may not want him to take Earl's place, but I think I might want to hang out with him. He's just so happy! Also, he has this line in his candidate statement: "Justice for the farmers who cry out to stop the very Peru trade deal that Representative Blumenauer is always bragging about." Hilarious! It makes it sound like he and Earl are neighbors or relatives and every time they run into each other Earl finds some way to bring up his "Peru trade deal" and Joe is just sick of it. Okay, Earl, he gets it: you're real proud. So just shut up about it, okay? Also, did he have to change his name to "Joseph Walsh (Lone Vet)" to get that in the pamphlet? I know that in some states you can only put your name and some guy in like Utah changed his name to "Only Prolife Candidate" and there was a big hullabaloo about whether or not he would actually be allowed to post his statement.
The most insane candidate statement, by far, is Gordon Leitch who is running against Gordon Smith in the Republican Primary. And by insane I mean "completely unrelated to anything that is happening anywhere in anyway." Sure, his picture says "I'm a sweet old man," but the text says, "Who doesn't know what year it is. Where's my pudding? Who opened that window? Where am I?" Oh man, I hope you can read this. It's all about the value of old eagles in 1834. Seriously. If you can't, go look at the pdf. It's page 51 of the Multnomah County pamphlet.

For the people who are qualified, a surprising number went to Harvard. It's like everyone from this state who goes to Harvard does so with the express intent of someday running for office. Actually, that might be true. This is not a big state; we can't possibly have that many Harvardites, right? (I don't know what Harvard students are called and the Internet is not yielding useful results. Come on, Harvard; Yale students are Elis - get it together!)

So yes, I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Primary Election Crazy from the state of Oregon. There is nothing I don't like about the democratic process, except the Electoral College, but that's not really very democratic, is it?


SonicLlama said...

I would love to talk to Gordon Leitch, the crazy money dude, and hear him expound on his economic theories. I would want to do this for perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes, then I'd want to find a way to leave before he tried to convert me to his coinage-based Theory of Everything.

Going through the pdf, I'm amused by David Loera's candidate statement- he says nothing whatsoever about his views or what he wants to do.

Just browsing through it, though, I'm stuck by how much bold type there is. Tons. Tons and tons of it. Also, lots of bullet points.

I know it's supposed to make things stand out and noticeable, but it had the opposite effect on me. I saw Andrew Foster's statement I thought to myself "My, what an interesting design scheme you have there. Just a block of text- several complete sentences, which in turn form paragraphs. One must read the whole of the text in order to discern your views. How fascinating."

I don't want to read too much into this, but it's sort of emblematic about how short statements, cultural and political signifiers, and buzzwords are still the most important thing.

Eric said...

FACT: Inner city gang violence directly correlates with the decline in use of the Spirograph.

Vote Eric for US Senate!

Yvonne said...

Wow. That was amazing. Clearly your elections are way more fun than mine. Breathtaking is what that is.

Dale said...

Oh, Lord. Laughed so hard at this. Had to (by way of explaining why I was gasping and snorting behind my laptop) read it aloud to the family. They loved it, too. Thank you.

Sydney said...

Here is the thing I love about Oregon (but especially Portland): we have the craziest crazies and our serious candidates are also a little nutty. But nutty in the best possible way. I am totally voting for this guy. Read his biography: I think he was made up by Rablais for his "Gargantua" sequal, "Minisculian."

Dale said...

I saw that! Yes. We like our politicos a little nuts. I think that's why Kulongoski's never become very popular: he just doesn't have the crazy streak.

Sydney said...

My question is: do Portland politicians just assume they're never run on a grand scale? Everything Novick has done - to the best of my knowledge - has been funny but tasteful. After reading this and this (specifically the "Losers" in the latter) in Willamette Week, I have to wonder, a) how much of that is true and how much is tongue in cheek and I'm too gullible to realize that; and b) as this was broadcast on local cable (supposedly - again, maybe I am too gullible), it's probably already found its way into the video cemetery of YouTube from which old clips rise like zombies to take local actors down on the national stage. Maybe The Goz (as I like to call our fine Governor) has aspirations for a higher office. Although I've heard from people who know him that he refuses to toot his own horn about all he's done for this state, both as Governor and in his previous offices, especially as Attorney General. That's not going to help him get to the national stage.

Dale said...

I don't know. I really wanted John Kitzhaber to run for President... I thought he'd appeal to a lot of independents and soccer moms. But he seems to mean it; he's possibly the only one of the thousands of politicos who've said they wanted to spend more time with their family who actually wanted to :->

Reyna said...

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