Campaign ads: Lying down with the swine

Many Republicans, myself included, have requested that the gubernatorial candidates focus on the issues and avoid the kind of personal attacks that simply give the Democrats fodder for the general election and generally leave the Republican primary winner badly wounded by their own kind. I know that in the heat of battle, particularly in debates, these guys can’t help themselves when an opportunity presents itself to snipe at each other. But there is sniping and then there is lying down with the swine.

Kevin Mannix and/or his supporters have chosen to lie down with the swine in a series of radio attack ads that began playing on stations this past week. These ads drip with sleaze, half-truths, innuendo and guilt by association. But most importantly, they call into question the leadership qualities of the ones who would stoop to use them.

Here’s the concept. Former Democrat Governor Neil Goldschmidt raped his fourteen-year-old baby sitter over a period of several years and then engaged in a series of activities and payments to cover up these activities. It turns out that threat of exposure, not an extramarital affair, is what caused Goldschmidt to decline to seek a second term as Governor. With that disclosure, Goldschmidt has become a pariah in Oregon politics. Apparently Mannix’ campaign strategy is to paint his opponents as “Goldschmidt clones” and then — gasp — by innuendo, imply that they approved of Goldschmidt’s activities.

That’s the essence of the attack ads being used by Mannix supporters to impugn Ron Saxton.

Apparently, the connection in this case is Goldschmidt’s wife. No, not the wife that Neil was cheating on when he raped his baby sitter, but rather the wife he married a dozen years later — Diana Snowden — but well before the rape allegations surfaced.

You see, it so happens that Diana Snowden was a friend of Ron Saxton’s before she even met Goldschmidt. She was and is a life long Republican. In fact, she was a Republican while Kevin Mannix was serving as a Democrat in the Oregon legislature. She was a Republican while Kevin Mannix was seeking and receiving the endorsement of Neil Goldschmidt in his first run for the legislature as a Democrat. She was a Republican when Kevin Mannix was proclaiming to all that Neil Goldschmidt was his political inspiration.

As a former utility executive Snowden had access to the movers and shakers throughout the state and she was a much sought after political fundraiser by a whole host of state and national Republican luminaries. So the allegation is that Saxton chose — say it breathlessly now — Neil Goldschmidt’s wife as his finance chairman. Well duh! He chose a well connected, proven Republican fundraiser as his finance chairman. Her name was Diana Snowden. She was all of those things before and after she was Goldschmidt’s wife.

The allegation continues — say it breathlessly again – Saxton had his campaign kickoff at Goldschmidt’s house. Wrong. It was Snowden’s house. It was hers before they were married and it was hers afterwards. Goldschmidt had his own house.

Okay, enough. I don’t intend to defend Ron Saxton. He’s a big boy and he can respond in whatever way he chooses. The point of this is to show just how low a person must stoop to engage in this type of campaigning. But the worse part of this is that Mannix and his supporters have been pitching this baloney for well over a year. They know the real facts and yet they continue. He tells audiences that he won’t engage in this type of politics and yet they do. He disclaims these types of distortions and then they repeat them.

If there are policies that Goldschmidt advocated and that Saxton has endorsed and with which Mannix disagrees, have at it. But these attack ads don’t have anything to do with the issues facing Oregon today. They are just sleaze and Oregonians deserve better.

Are these the qualities of leadership that Republicans are looking for? Is this the kind of judgment that will move the state forward? Maybe you had better look more closely to Jason Atkinson and Ron Saxton for real leadership qualities.

When you lie down with the swine, you begin to smell like one.

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Posted by at 08:07 | Posted in Measure 37 | 44 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Mannix at the debate last night basically said that he wasn’t involved in that campaign, but like Saxton and the anti-Mannix ads that the casinos are running, there isn’t anything he can do about it. Or even anything he should.

  • Chris McMullen

    Larry, it seems Atkinson supporters are the ones most inclined to smear Saxton. Over at NW republican, it’s a veritable anti-Saxton feeding frenzy.

  • Alex Sanbrera

    Atkinson is waging a more subtle kind of dirty campaign. He routinely steals the lines of his opponents when given the opportunity to answer questions first in debates, leaving them to find other ways to express their ideas without sounding like they’re “copying” Jason.

    Fortunately, both Mannix and Saxton have enough depth and experience to be able to easily find the words they need.

    • puhleeeeze.

      Atkinson says in the paper he wants to eliminate capital gains.

      Suddenly, thereafter, Saxton wants to eliminate capital gains.

      Atkinson is the first candidate to address immigration, going back last summer.

      Saxton, going back to January or so, suddenly realizes he is anti-immigration.

      Anyone who has been paying attention has seen and heard Atkinson consistently be the first candidate to bring in new ideas, and then seen Ron Saxton copy them when they poll well.

  • I see no one wants to mention that the Grand Ronde tribe is spending upwards of a quarter million dollars to beat up Kevin Mannix.

    Ron Saxton has been attacking his opponents for being the dreaded “career” politicians for months now.

    Saxton’s campaign manager asked me to post a response from him (I did because I had assumed it had been thoroughly vetted) that turned out to be full of lies about his opponents.

    Don’t tell me that Saxton has clean hands here. I mean he is allowing the Grand Ronde tribe to present a patently false set of choices to the people of Oregon. And I say this in support of Kevin Mannix on this issue even though I am supporting Senator Jason Atkinson in the campaign.

    Secondly Alex… You may want to back up a little bit and see what issues Saxton has stolen from Senator Atkinson. Senator Atkinson was the first to propose ELIMINATING the cap gains tax. Saxton started out talking about REDUCING it. It may have been in the Mail Tribune for one and I know the differences were mentioned on the stump as well.

    People responded so favorably to that position that Saxton decided to “copy” the Senator’s position.

    On illegal immigration as well. I have it on my blog archives the first time any candidate took a position on that issue in public. It was at the Washington County Republican Central committee debate. I even predicted then that the other candidates (maybe even said Saxton, I’d have to check) would now “copy” Atkinson on the issue.

    For you to make the accusation that somehow Atkinson is running some subtle dirty campaign by “stealing” the lines of opponents, who have two to four times as much money, is just silly. If Saxton has some great lines he can pay for them and put them up on TV well before and after the debates.

    No, Atkinson is doing well on his own. He does not need to steal any lines from his opponents and I would have thought that his opponents could have thought of a better wisper campaign against him than that.

  • Jay Bozievich

    Chris, Alex, and Ted are proving Larry’s point. Form up in a circle guys (and gals). Ready…Aim…Fire!

  • The time to have debates is during primaries. You might note that I was not (nor do I believe I have ever) trying to pin something like Goldschmidt’s proclivity for young girls on Saxton. No there are too many real differences to worry about.

    However to simply accuse Mannix of laying down with the swine and not mention what the Grand Ronde Gamblers are doing is to not be entirely honest about the debate.

    I don’t think that Atkinson has taken any pot-shots at the other candidates at all. So for someone to come on here and make up something so obscure like him “stealing” lines from other candidates is, well, weak and should be pointed out as such.

    Oh and I failed to mention that if you are going to start accusing candidates of “stealing” issues you would have to mention Jessica’s law and Ron Saxton’s attempt to “steal” that one. However the Senator successfully took that one back.

    These candidates are big boys, I don’t think that “stealing” issues really amounts to the kind of negative campaigning taking place with the Clappe ads and the Grand Rond ads.

    You must admit that the moment called for a little perspective don’t ya?

    yip yip

  • Just A Bad Republican

    I really love these discussions about which right winger
    is “more correct”. PLEASE – This primary is all about
    running a candidate who will WIN in November.
    I don’t really care what a “great job” Kevin has done
    or what sort of “Message” Jason is getting out. Neither
    of these guys will get more than a handful of votes in
    the Portland Metro area. It’s as simple as that.
    Rightly or wrongly – Kevin is perceived by the majority
    of Oregonians as “Damaged Goods”. He’s LOST two
    statewide elections and will lose yet another if he wins
    the primary. Jason has some great ideas, but has no
    public name recognition – and little money to change
    that FACT.
    If you guys can’t hold your nose and vote for Saxton
    you will once again be enduring another four years of
    “Do Nothing Ted” and the public piggie unions having
    their way. Just remember, unless you can get LOTS of
    votes in the Portland Metro area your guy will LOSE

  • Bad Republican,

    You are actually wrong in your assesment of the Portland Metro area.

    A Republican running in a statewide election need only get 32% of the Portland Metro area vote to win state wide. That is assuming they are strong enough to hold the conservative Republican vote in the rest of the state.

    It has been shown on a number of occasions that a principled and reasonable “conservative” can easily pull the requisite 31%. It has actually been proven that there is about 36% support for just that type of candidate in the Metro area. (Check Steve Schopp’s race, the Ted Piccolo race and even the Kate Scheile race).

    The votes are there and that kind of candidate will fire up the Republicans in the rest of the state.

    So that theory that is constantly pushed forth by the moderates in the party has no basis in, in your words, FACT.

    Just remember the FACTS… You don’t need LOTS of votes in the Metro area. After all Dave Frohnmeyer showed us all that.

    yip yip

    • Just A Bad Republican

      I found your voting percentages arguement of interest. But it needs to be pointed out that both Piccolo and Schiel both LOST their respective elections. Those extra percentages DO count, and I’ll be damned if my family is going to throw away their votes on “Damaged Goods” Mannix.
      One last item, the Clapper ads trying to tie Saxton to Neil
      Goldschmidt are simply pathetic. Noone with an I.Q. over that of a vegetable would ever believe them.

  • Chris McMullen

    The feedback I received from many-a moderate in the 2002 election was that Mannix was too socially conservative – so they didn’t vote for him. Therefore, I’m hesitant to throw support behind Mannix or Atkinson.

    I think Saxton’s purported fiscal-libertarian bent will guarantee more votes in the Portland Metro area. Whether, he’s paying more than just lip-service is still debatable.

    Abortion, illegal immigration and gay marriage can wait. Oregon needs to cut public spending and strengthen property rights pronto! I think Saxton is the most qualified candidate to do that.

  • Chris,
    Unfortunately there are no statistics to back up the “moderation” strategy.

    There are however a number of examples of losing by casting the social conservatives off the ship.

    They moderated Eileen Qutub and she lost. They moderated Dave Frohnmeyer and he lost.

    Yet Mannix would have won the last election if Tom Cox would not have been in the race. (Wait… did I just defend Kevin Mannix?)

    Historically the trade-off is usually a net loss of votes.

    • Chris McMullen

      Coyote, if that’s true, then that’s a sad state of affairs for Oregon Republicans. If they’re willing to throw the baby out with the bath water, e.i. refuse to support a moderate Republican, then they better get used to many, many years of a pro-union, pro-big government governor.

      Truly sad.

  • Tom Cox did NOT throw the election to Kulongoski. Kevin Mannix did. Mannix was weak on taxes, weak on spending, and weak on gun control. This comes from his being, and continuing to be, essentially a big-government democrat. His entire political career (by which I mean, when he actually won elections and served in the justice department) came as a democrat. The only conservative issue he really embraced was abortion. That was good enough to get him the GOP nomination, but only because he was in a 3 way primary against two pro-choice opponents. Having “I’m pro life” as the only real thing you stand for is political suicide in a general election in Oregon.

    Not to say a pro-life candidate can’t win, but it has to be part of a bigger package: you know, pro-life, pro-business, etc. Mannix didn’t get people talking about any issues other than abortion.

    Jason Atkinson is very different. Yes, he is pro-life. And ORTL endorsements to the contrary, he is probably more pro-life than Mannix. But abortion is just one small part of Atkinson’s platform. He is running primarily on cutting taxes — something Mannix talks about, but his actual record is sketchy. Aktinson wants to make Oregon business friendly. And, Lars Larson be damned, Atkinson actually has the most comprehensive policy on immigration reform.

    With Atkinson, voters would see a LOT of stark contrasts with Kulongoski. With Mannix in 2002, many voters saw Mannix as “just like Kulongoski but on an abortion crusade” and sought out alternatives they could believe in on things like taxation and limited government.

    Mannix lost the election on his own merits. He didn’t need Tom Cox to lose it for him.

  • Jeff Rempfer

    Good conversation… civil and articulate. However, Kevin Mannix as head of Oregon’s Republican Party has been pretty ineffectual. No really strong challengers in any congressional or statewide race. Also, note that Earl Blumenauer will be running unopposed. Name any other Republican candidates in Multnomah County besides Minnis and Flores on the eastern fringes… can’t think of any myself. Therefore, look for Metro area Repubs to pass on the November election denying the 32% needed to win the state.

    As long as Mannix and Nashiff(sp?) are calling the shots in Multnomah, fiscal conservatives and social moderates really have no home.

  • Pete

    Atkinson….really….I bet lunch that Wesland gets more in the General than Jason does in the primary. To bad because he seems like a talented young man sent to a gun fight with a water pistol. If his blog supporters wrote him a check every time they commented, the race might be different.

  • What amazes me is that folks actually believe that Mannix is generally truthful. Wow. No, he is not. As for saxton, he is playing to the Lars Larson Crowd and Atkinson is the real conservative. But hey, good guys rarely win.


    Because Atkinson has not be promising any groups large amounts of cash. And in this state, that’s what it takes. Every time I see a Mannix supporter, my first motivation is to walk up and ask, “do you think Mannix tells the truth?”

  • Chris,

    It is hard to blame the social conservatives for the losses of moderates when you have the open defection of moderates when a social conservative wins, such as Kevin Mannix.

    After all it was Ron Saxton’s former campaign manager, Elain Franklin, who left the party in a huff when Saxton lost the primary. It is also generally accepted that most from that campaign basically stomped off into the corner when they did not win the primary.

    Craig Berkman did the same thing when he lost the primary. So if ou are going to argue that the social conservatives need to cowboy up in the general then you need to be intellectually honest and ask that the republican moderates do the same.

    What is good for the goose.

  • Chris McMullen

    Coyote, good point. I didn’t know about Elain Franklin.

    I just wish everyone would see the big picture and work together to defeat the liberal stranglehold on this state. Dems pretty much stick together and vote en masse for anyone who gets the nomination. ‘Course, there’s a fair amount of infighting over Teddy, Jim Hill and Westlund.

    I guess Republicans are more independent.

  • I just wish that when I was making a point that I would not constantly use the word “you” in such a broad sense.

    Doggone-it, it makes it sound like I am getting all personal and stuff.


    • Chris McMullen

      No probs. No offense taken. I value your opinion.

  • Chris,
    Don’t say that out loud. LOL

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