Oh, man. A 4' 9" guy with a missing left hand just wrestled me into forking over $100 to him.
Ordinarily that'd bother my macho sensibility, but last night I was happy to be bested by Steve Novick, who is a Democratic candidate for Oregon Senator Gordon Smith's seat.
When the phone rang at 6:45 pm, just ten minutes before we had to leave for a neighborhood association meeting, and as I was about to bite into some rice and lentils, I was prepared to abruptly dismiss the caller.
But when I heard, "This is Steve Novick," I figured the meeting and food could wait. I admire a candidate who spends his evenings phoning prospective supporters.
Especially one who would call little ol' unimportant me.
There I was, talking with someone who might end up running against Smith in '08, and who could win if he beats out Jeff Merkley in the Democratic primary (Novick's campaign says he's within six points of Smith).
Why, I was conversing with a man who was poised to become one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, if a few minor hurdles – outvoting both the preferred candidate of the Democratic establishment and an entrenched incumbent – could be jumped over.
In my excitement I made a few gaffes, like telling Steve that I've been getting frequent emails from his campaign. Actually, it's Merkley who has been filling up my inbox.
Which I've been ignoring, because the Democratic primary hasn't grabbed my attention. As a non-affiliated voter, I can't participate in it, and either guy would be so much better than Smith, I'll happily support him.
I told Steve, though, that I like the fact that he's swimming upstream against the favored candidate of the Democratic Party powers-that-be.
I frequently say "a pox on both parties," so the more independent someone running for office is, the better I like them. Steve could turn out to be the Obama to the Hillary'ish Jeff.
A come from behind guy who appeals to the many disaffected voters in the middle who are fed up with the B.S. that both political parties spew out.
In my ten minutes with Steve, I urged him to be as quirky and different as possible. Guess I hardly needed to say that to a man less than five feet tall with a hook for a left hand, but it still needed saying.
Oregonians, I opined, like eccentrics. The fact that we're the most unchurched state in the nation implies that a politician doesn't have to appeal to the faithful and adhere to policy dogma in order to win.
I liked when Steve said that this state, and country, needs to have an honest conversation about taxes and spending. We agreed that government often can spend people's money more wisely than individuals can themselves.
I waste money on all kinds of crap. It's ridiculous, the notion that if I get to keep taxes that would otherwise go to the government to pay for children's health care and such, society would be better off.
So when the conversation ended in an expected fashion, with Steve asking for a contribution, I didn't feel like saying "no." Today I headed over to his web site and made a donation to his campaign.
Novick may not beat Merkley in the primary. But he's a fighter with a "hard left hook" that Oregon needs.