How does it go: The enemy of my enemy is . . . well, figure it out from this:
On Blue Oregon, there's a fascinating Kari Chisholm post about a recent and highly-visible TV spot apparently promoting Democratic primary candidate Jim Hill, against incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski, on the subject of the Cascade Locks casino proposal. (Which Kulongoski has endorsed, and Hill opposed.)
The first part of Chisholm's unearthing, that the Grand Ronde Tribe (in western Yamhill County) is behind the ad, is no surprise. The Grant Rondes operate Spirit Mountain, the biggest tourist draw in Oregon and the tribal casino now closest to Portland, a situation that would change if the Cascade Locks casino is built.
The interesting part follows, when Chisholm notes that $25,000 of the money for the ad went (evidently for production costs) to a New York company called Mercury Public Affairs, a company, a division of Fleishman-Hillard, whose client roster is solidly Republican. (Only four days ago its staff was augmented by the addition of Terry Nelson, former political director for the Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign and an adviser to Senator John McCain.) It does substantial corporate work too, but its political web page lists a number of Republican candidates and committees, but just one from a western state: Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith.
Chisholm's question: "Why does Gordon Smith's political team want to boost Jim Hill? Why are they getting involved in the Democratic race for governor? What do they have to gain?"
One possible answer: Smith might prefer to be running for re-election in 2008 with a Republican rather than a Democratic governor in office; might make life a little easier. But all of this does raise some intriguing questions.