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Posts published in “Day: August 23, 2006”

In the middle of somewhere

Not bad: A total of what will be five debates - counting one earlier this summer at Mount Hood - for the two major candidates for Oregon governor. It's a good number; most states don't get that many. More would always be nicer, and Republican challenger Ron Saxton was at one point talking as many as eight (and evidently would like one located east of the Cascades, which none now are). But Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski, who for a time pulled the office-keeps-me-too-busy bit during the primary election, certainly can't, with this number of debate, be accused of hiding from the opposition.

Three of them apparently will originated somewhere in or around Portland, and be hosted by Oregon Public Broadcasting, KGW-TV with the Oregonian, and the Portland City Club, from September 28 to October 17. The last will be in Medford about a week later.

The minor party candidates won't be included.

Neither campaign seems to be saying a lot about it; neither website refers to be the debates (yet), so there's not a lot of spin out. Loosely, we'll suggest this: Kulongoski, who has been getting some pretty good poll data and as governor has the excuse to duck most debates, wound up accepting more of these meetings that he really had to. Presumably, he/his staff did that because they figure there's some advantage to be gained. We have reason to believe (see previous posts) that base turnout is a key component of that campaign. Do they see the debates as a useful tactic in that strategy?

Regardless, it means Oregonians will get to see and hear a good deal from their candidates for gov this year. Two of them, anyway.

Reflective of what?

Senator Larry Craig and his staff - and they wouldn't be alone - must still be wondering about just what the hell happened at their town hall meeting Tuesday night in Coeur d'Alene. They'd have good reason to, because a significant issue rides on it: To what extent did it reflect a substantial strain, or just fluke fissure, in the community?

Craig has taken heat for a few years now from parts of the conservative community - which for most of his years in Congress has given him unqualified support - for his stand on immigration and illegal aliens, a stance bearing some resemblance to that of President George W. Bush. Yes, there are a lot of people in this country who aren't supposed to be, and that fact - and border security - need to be dealt with more effectively, Craig has suggested. But he also suggests that there's no reason for a panic reaction, either.

As he was quoted by the Coeur d'Alene Press: "You can't go door to door and force between 8 million and 10 million people to leave at gunpoint. For 20 years, immigration laws have failed. We know there's a problem and we're working on it. The first step is securing the border and we're doing that."

That seems hard to argue with, reflecting a general reality we've managed to live with for a long time, and yet the reaction has suggested it's an edgy statement. In some places, as at Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint, audiences have been fine with it. In some places in southern Idaho, reaction was angrier. But the reaction at - and yes, this is where it was - the Human Rights Education Institute at Coeur d'Alene, was something else again. (more…)