Friday, May 9, 2014

The Statesman-Journal's "Eyes Wide Shut" endorsements

Pretty sad news about one of the clone candidates pushed by the Chamber of the 1%. Pretty typical story for many poorly educated young men trying to get their start into adulthood, and lord knows Salem is filled with economic casualties of policies beloved by the Chamber.  

At least, until you get to the very recent lying and the very, very brazen attempt to hide his past instead of facing it squarely, you get the feeling that Dan Benjamin is not so much a bad guy as a dutiful Private Benjamin drafted into the Chamber's army of interchangeable types who will do what they're told, vote like they're told, and know that Job 1 is keeping the local big money types in charge but off the radar. 

The problem for the Chamber, and then for the Statesman-Journal that does its bidding, is that their policies are so destructive that it's getting harder and harder for them to find people to act as candidates who can push their line with any credibility. 

So, as with the Tea Party all over America, voters wake up after the election to discover that they've elected some pretty creepy people and that the so-called watchdogs of the press are really just lapdogs for the local real estate and tax breaks for sprawl lobby.

The result is that every candidate who got the Statesman-Journal endorsement now has a difficult problem: explaining why voters should not assume that their endorsement is no different from the one the SJ gave to Benjamin, where the SJ wrestled with its integrity and beat it decisively, issuing an endorsement where they could have simply passed.

In three of four races, the non-endorsed candidates -- Xue Lor (Benjamin's opponent), Scott Bassett and Tom Andersen -- are vastly superior to the Chamber clones running against them, the four who all share campaign financing and a campaign manager and treasurer, along with scripted interchangeable pablum positions on all issues, and a deep aversion to specifics on anything. 

While it's likely that some or all of the clones will win, there's a chance that the digging by Salem Weekly - an actual shoestring watchdog in the press -- could stop the steamroller, if only enough people reflect on what it means that the Statesman is so in the tank for the Chamber clones that they would endorse someone with Benjamin's issues over a decent, competent opponent, which Lor is.

If voters all over Salem simply use the SJ endorsement as a "DO NOT SUPPORT" list, Salem would both surprise itself and be a lot better off next year.

Willamette's opportunity to be in leadership of something

OK, true, still behind Stanford, but that's still pretty rarefied air for the Oldest University in the West.