Like I said in a recent blog post, "What we pay attention to determines our reality," last night I tried to heed my own November 3 advice while keeping track of both the national and local election returns.
There will be so many ways to look upon tomorrow's election. Nationally. State by state. Local, as in right here in Oregon. It is impossible to pay attention to everything that will happen. It isn't Polyannaish to choose to focus on certain results that please you.
Why not? It makes sense to see the glass of life as half full, rather than half empty. Or even better, completely full.
Nationally, the 2014 mid-term election sucked big-time for us progressives. But here in Oregon, mostly everything went great -- as a Blue Oregon post said in "A bloodbath. But not in Oregon!"
Oregon once again proved that things look different here.
We re-elected our Democratic governor, one of our two Democratic U.S. Senators, our four (out of five) Congressional representatives, and expanded Democratic majorities in both the state Senate and House.
Oregonians passed Measure 91. Legal recreational marijuana is coming soon! Well, July 2015 before possession is legal; early 2016, likely, before pot can be bought in stores.
This is a major accomplishment, especially since weed was legalized here in a mid-term election. Some pro-pot types criticized Measure 91 leaders for not waiting until 2016, arguing that a presidential election year would bring out more of the progressive base.
So a big leafy thumbs-up to Anthony Johnson and the rest of the super-competent Measure 91 team. They ran an amazingly skillful professional campaign that was hugely better than the 2012 Oregon marijuana legalization effort that failed to garner enough votes.
Since I'm writing this blog post, I'll also give myself a pat on the back (and maybe some other places too, when nobody is watching) for contributing what knowledgeable observers, a.k.a. Me, call the best philosophical neuroscientific reason to legalize marijuana ever penned by an Oregonian.
It can be marveled at here.
Locally, it was great to see that Peter Courtney whipped Patti Milne's lying ass in their race for a state senate seat. Even Dick Hughes, the normally clueless editorial page editor of the Statesman Journal, called out the Milne campaign for its shameful falsities.
Download The politics of fear, Republican style
I also was glad to see that Democrat Paul Evans beat Republican Kathy Goss in a state representative race. Goss was a dreadful candidate who refused any more debates with Evans after he thoroughly embarassed her in their first head to empty-head matchup.
Goss achieved instant Oregon notoreity for referring to bicycle lanes as "fringe things." Brilliant move, Kathy, in a state with so many avid bicyclists of all political persuasions. You clearly have the political skills to be elected to something, someday, somewhere, somehow.
Soil and Water Conservation District board member, maybe? They often only have one candidate running, which would give Goss a decent chance of winning.
I never really thought Jeff Merkley would lose to Monica Wehby, but it still was a surprise to see how much he beat her by. Wehby's demeanor and style showed that even pediatric neurosurgeons can look like idiots.
In a Facebook post today I read that Wehby said after the election something like, "God wanted me to continue being a physician." I took pleasure in leaving a comment: "No, God wanted you to not be a god-awful U.S. Senator."
It would have been a nightmare I wouldn't have woken up from for four years if Republican Dennis Richardson had somehow become governor rather than John Kitzhaber. Thankfully, Oregonians realized that Kitzhaber's fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, wasn't running for governor; he was.
Personally, I found that Hayes' "scandals" introduced some pleasing interest into Oregon's political scene. Gosh, the wife-to-be of a leading politician is a savvy, scheming, intelligent woman who sometimes rubs people the wrong way and takes a few ethical short-cuts.
Anyone who is offended by that should watch House of Cards to see real Machiavellian wifely goings-on. Plus, I found it endearing that Hayes tried to set up a marijuana growing operation quite a few years go. You just were ahead of your time, Cylvia.
Give it another try now, with the passage of Measure 91.
Lastly, this is one of the best explanations I've come across for why Democrats did so much crashing and burning on the national level: "Democrats only have themselves to blame for upcoming losses."
Right on, Steven Pearlstein.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Tuesday will not be a good day for Democrats. The reason isn’t Ebola or the Islamic State or that the country has suddenly become more conservative. It’s not because of Fox News or all the outside money that is being spent. What we have here is a failure of brand management — in this case, the Democratic brand.
...What’s true for companies also applies to political parties. And from that standpoint, the performance of the Obama White House and his party’s congressional candidates has largely been a case study in how to destroy brand equity: Democratic candidates begging the Democratic president not to campaign for them and, in one memorable instance, refusing even to say whether she voted for him.
The president and candidates rarely mentioning, let alone defending, their landmark health reform legislation. Party leaders pleading with the president not to take executive actions on immigration or climate change before the election. A Democratic Senate willing to put off action on urgent or popular issues out of fear that Republicans will force tough votes on controversial amendments.
Now, on the eve of the election, Democratic candidates find themselves caught in a vicious cycle in which their refusal to embrace and defend their party’s brand is discouraging the faithful and turning away the undecided, threatening their election prospects still further. What Benjamin Franklin said of revolutions also applies to political campaigns: Those who don’t hang together will surely hang separately.