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.