I had an interesting conversation with a friend last night about political campaigns and the shape that they are taking right now and have taken in the last few years. He contends and I tend to agree with him that it has become an issue of marketing not of policy. That while people give lip service to policy and facts about the issues that often voting is such an emotional response that we are led more by the marketing of the candidate or issue as opposed to the actual reality of the situation.
As we talked and as I look back on both the Obama campaign as well as the angry health care summer it seems even more true to me. The Obama campaign was masterful in its use of catch phrases, "Hope and Change", and visual imagery. So much so that you can see the present Republicans parroting some of the same lines in the campaigns going on right now. As I watched Chris Dudley give his closing statement during the Oregon Gubernatorial debate I was struck by the similarity of his plea that Oregon couldn't handle four more years of the same and that we needed to join with him to move to a new future. A future of Capital Gains tax cuts and Corporate tax cuts and where I believe we will all get a pony. So how can you not want a pony.
I feel like the truth between Dudley and Kitzhaber lies somewhere in the middle but I am not sure either candidate is going to be allowed or able to achieve that. One of the problems being the nature of the primaries and how to be able to win in the primaries the candidates must often out liberal or out conservative their opponents. Which can be okay if the middle independent voter base is so disgusted by the partisanship and craziness of the fringe on both sides that they decide not to vote at all. I admit I have been there in years past.
I do not know or have answer that is for sure. I wish I had a magic wand that could solve Oregons budget shortfalls. But, I dont. The truth is I like Kitzhabers temp jobs plan to weatherize some of the buildings and get back savings from the lowering of the energy bills. I also understand that that could be some tax cuts in Oregon to bump the spending up a little. But I do not see either candidate enacting the plans of the other and probably to do so would be the death of them politically. Only time will tell what is going to happen in the future. I am not convinced that Kitzhaber will be business as usual for Oregon or that Dudley will be a complete mess as a first time Governor.
For me though....admitting that I am not sure about something is often a success.