Randomly wandering thoughts as we near the conclusion of Campaign 2008:
It's good to see a close, hard-fought race between Democrat Judy Steigler and incumbent Republican Chuck Burley for Oregon House District 54. Not so good is seeing the nasty, snarky tone the campaign has taken.
Both sides have been guilty, with Steigler running ads sneering at Burley for missing a lot of votes in the Legislature because he was taking care of business (his lobbying business that is) and Burley accusing Steigler of lying about his record, among other things.
It's disappointing to see such negativity on the local Bend level, where campaigns have always been pretty mellow. We preferred the cute Steigler ads where she and her husband, Deschutes County DA Mike Dugan, talked about how Steigler has defended the interests of kids with "colorful" language.
Sen. Gordon Smith has twisted himself into knots trying to avoid letting people know he's a Republican. He's run ads that seemed to imply Barack Obama was supporting him (he isn't), has denounced John McCain's campaign tactics and hasn't mentioned the word "Republican" even once in any of his campaign ads or materials.
Which makes The Eye kinda wonder what kind of reception Gordo will get from his Republican colleagues in the Senate, assuming he wins. And in the (hopefully) unlikely event that McCain becomes president, Smith could be persona very non grata at the White House.
The mere association of Bill Sizemore's name with a ballot measure seems to have become a liability. At least the opponents of Measure 64 think it is. The measure would prohibit public employees from contributing to non-profits, charities, unions and other organizations through voluntary payroll deductions. The ads against it, sponsored by Defend Oregon, juxtapose a grim-looking mug shot of Sizemore with images of firefighters, teachers and nurses.
It's a banner year for bumper stickers and lawn signs around here. In residential neighborhoods in and near Bend there appears to be a roughly even mix of Obama and McCain lawn signs - kind of surprising, in view of the Republican registration edge. The Eye has noticed a few homes that have signs supporting Republican candidates for local and state offices but no McCain signs. Does this signify a lack of enthusiasm for the top of the ticket among local Republicans? (According to a recent Pew Poll, only about half of the McCain supporters say they back him "strongly," while three-quarters of Obama supporters say they're strongly behind their guy.)
As far as bumper stickers go, The Eye's observations indicate that Obama has the edge by about a 2-1 ratio. And Obama stickers are popping up in places you wouldn't expect. The other day we saw one on the bumper of a beat-up old pickup with NRA and US Marines stickers on the rear window.
And in conclusion: Ain'tcha glad that we don't live in a "battleground state"?