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Posts published in “Day: April 18, 2012”

New book: The Oregon Political Field Guide

OR political field guide

Today's release day for our newest book: The Oregon Political Field Guide.

We have a lot more information about it on a separate page. But a here's a little more.

First, you can order it through Paypal via this button here.

Second, it's one of a series. The Idaho counterpart (the Idaho Political Field Guide) will be coming shortly. The Washington book is under construction and will be released a little later.

Third: What is the Field Guide? And why do we call it that?

These books are relatives of the Idaho Political Almanac series Ridenbaugh Press published in the 90s (about, obviously, Idaho). They cover some of the same territory, but not exactly the same. The Political Almanacs contained more background about office holders and sometimes candidates, and their stands on issues, performance in office, and so on. The Field Guides are a little different: They're about campaigns and elections, with heavy focus on the voters - how the voters voted. This edition of the book (there may be more to come, later on) covers in some detail the last decade of elections. That allows you to see how various districts, counties and other areas elected people over time; how the percentages rose and fell, how the numbers of raw votes changed. It's intended to be a useful tool for political analysis down to a fine level.

If politics in Oregon is your thing, then the Field Guide needs to be at hand.

A quick word about the Oregon Blue Book, and how this relates to that.

We're enthusiastic fans of the Blue Book, a terrific and gorgeously general reference about Oregon, now celebrating its centennial. (A collection of 17 of the most recent sits prominently near where this is written.) It includes some information about elections, but not in great detail. And as a state publication, it probably shouldn't include a lot more than it currently does. The Field Guide is designed to fill the gap: To present elections and other information in a way that's non-partisan but also explanatory and analytical in a way that might be problematic for a state-backed book.

You can find out more at the book's main web page; a clutch of sample pages also is available. And stop by (and "like," if you would) the Oregon Political Field Guide page at Facebook.

The ever-scrambling WA 1 (on the D side)

Floyd McKay has in Crosscut a detailed look at the emerging - and it does continue to emerge - race in the new Washington 1st district, the part of northwestern Washington located roughly well east of I-5 and west of the Cascades.

He focuses on two key points (well, three if you could the lunacy of a prospective Dennis Kucinich campaign in the 1st).

One is that Republican John Koster, who came within a sliver in 2010 of ousting Democratic Representative Rick Larsen, has the Republican nomination sewn up and will be strong in the general election. He has lots of pluses, starting with having run strongly in much of this territory before, and strong organization and traditionally strong fundraising. We'd give him about even odds in the general right now.

The second is that the Democratic side is far from settled, and not yet even at the point where a front-runner can be easily discerned. The five Democratic contenders are all serious candidates with real advantages. Three (Suzan DelBene, Darcy Burner and Laura Ruderman) all have strong Microsoft backgrounds and have raised comparable amounts of money (some of it from that source), and all three have run for major office before (DelBene and Burner for the U.S. House, in the 8th district, and Ruderman for secretary of state, as well as election three times to the state House from King County's east side). DelBene got a vice of confidence in an endorsement from Governor Chris Gregoire, but none so far look to be pulling far out ahead. And the two men in the race, businessman Darshan Rauniyar and legislator Steve Hobbs, are also running highly serious campaigns. This one has yet to be won by anybody.

One of the most interesting contests in the Northwest this year.

Carlson: First test

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

The real test of a president is how well they make difficult decisions. Wisdom, insight, perspective, a sense of political necessity and public acceptability, are all critical factors.

The first insight one gets into the mind of the person seeking public endorsement for their pursuit of the highest office in the land is their choice of a running mate.

The simple fact is all too often the vice president has ascended to the presidency upon the death of the president. Sometimes the nation has benefitted as the vice president turns out to be surprisingly competent at holding and exercising judiciously the powers of the Office of the President.

For example, in the 20th century most presidential historians agree that Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Lyndon Baines Johnson all turned in credible performances when called to center stage by the death of a president. Candidly, though, all four of those selections were based upon what were deemed at the time to be over-riding political concerns.

President William McKinley’s political mentor, Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, thought he and other GOP party bosses were putting the overly “progressive” Teddy out to pasture and out of the public mind. Imagine their shock when the young, ambitious, vain but brilliant Teddy inherited the Presidency upon the death of McKinley?

Twenty-two years later, “Silent Cal” became president upon the death of Warren G. Harding. The former governor of Massachusetts was considered by these same historians to have been a considerable improvement over the man he succeeded.

Truman of course surprised many by his ability to rise to the demands of the job. And LBJ, at last having reached his long-time goal, ushered through the Congress his “Great Society” legislation including the truly historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Each of these men won the office in their own right in the subsequent election.

Contrast those four with the four who succeeded to the presidency in the 19th century none of whom went on to be elected. Three of the four are viewed by presidential historians as “weak leaders,” the exception being John Tyler who set the correct precedents for a veep to succeed to and be able to exercise all the powers of the presidency. (more…)