|Oregon Transformation Project|
practices easy button politics
But the credit shouldn't be given to the liberals, rather it should be set squarely on the shoulders of stupid money and easy button politics.
Enter stupid money: Andrew Miller of Stimson Lumber.
Andrew Miller has certainly put his money where his mouth is. It's reported that he has spent $2.2 million in recent years to influence politics in Oregon. Much of that money has gone to the Oregon Transformation Project, or their Political Action Committee--which in turn has been mostly wasted.
Wasted? Yes, please let me explain.
The Oregon Transformation PAC really should be called an amateur public relations firm that has hired people who have failed in politics. Most of their money goes towards purchasing advertising and paying themselves. Stupid money? Yes, stupid money. Andrew Miller with all of his resources, certainly should be able to figure out how to pick up the phone and order advertising himself--and save the public relations fee.
Unless he's getting some additional benefit for it.
So how would Andrew benefit from funneling money through the Oregon Transformation Project? Presumably he gets great political advice.
Let's take a look at the advice he is buying. The Oregon Transformation Project / PAC was started by Allen Alley who is a former failed candidate for Governor and bankrupt business entrepreneur. Allen has landed a job as the Oregon Republican Party Chairman and founded the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC. Rob Kremer, a partner of the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC, is a former failed candidate for State Schools Superintendent. He currently serves as the Oregon State Republican Party Treasurer. Bridget Barton, is also a former failed candidate. She ran--unsuccessfully--for the Oregon State House back in the '90's. Then there is Lindsay Berschauer, the Executive Director of the Oregon Transformation Project who recently ran her own failed campaign for the Oregon State House.
Of course you're saying that just because the crew over at the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC can't win campaigns themselves, that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't give good political guidance. Okay, let's look more closely at the guidance they've recently given.
Exhibit A: The most glaring political miscalculation is Lindsay Berschauer's own failed attempt at running for Matt Wingard's house seat in the 26th legislative district. Okay, losing is no big deal, so please indulge me. Matt Wingard stepped down from his seat under the cloud of a sex scandal with a barely-of-age intern. The GOP was doing the slow march from Wingard trying to put as much daylight as possible between them, and at the same time were working feverishly to promote good ol' GOP values. The GOP needed to nominate a replacement for Matt which entails a small election from the district's Precinct Committee Persons. This boils down to needing only a handful of votes--from GOP political insiders--to get the nomination. Lindsay put her hat in the ring. Then it came out that Lindsay was dating Wingard.
Now who in their right mind thought that it was a good idea to run the girlfriend of the sex-scandal-dude when the GOP was trying to distance themselves from him? Apparently the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC did. I mean it's flabbergasting. Laughable actually. This wasn't just a miscalculation, it was a miscalculation of epic proportions. [background article]
Exhibit B: The Oregon Transformation Project / PAC thought it would be a good idea to produce a Women's Voter's Guide--presumably because women can't think for themselves, and need a guide. The guide endorsed candidates selected by a so called neutral women's panel. So they produced the guide and mailed it. Then all hell broke loose.
The guide endorsed some Democrat candidates. Not bad in itself, until you consider the Oregon Republican Party Chairman was the co-chair of the Oregon Transformation Project. Endorsing Democrats is heresy for a state GOP Chairman--even if it is by proxy through another organization. Under immense public pressure, Allen Alley "resigned" from a formal position with the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC--although his GOP office is just down the hall. [background article] Then there was some question if Rob Kremer Oregon Transformation Project / PAC partner and Oregon Republican Party Treasurer should resign for the same reason. How could he hold a high office with the ORP, and then produce a guide that endorses Democrats? He managed to sidestep a resignation from the Oregon Transformation Project. [background article]
Exhibit C: Manuel Castandea, was a favorite candidate of the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC. They spent a boatload of Andrew Miller's money on him and he might as well not have even shown up. He lost 40% to 60% -- that's a genuine ass kicking. One would have expected it to at least be close with the whopping $72,000 help from Miller plus support from the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC. Nope. Miller should have listened to the people that told him not to play in this race. [background article]
Exhibit C1: Okay, maybe this is a cheap shot, but it shows just how out-of-touch the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC really is. Lindsay Berschauer appeared in one of Manuel Castandea's television ads [here]. In the video she says, "I'm much more concerned about my husband, he still can't find a job." In real life, Lindsay is married to--although currently separated from--Regan Berschauer of Berschauer Phillips, a huge commercial contractor in Washington. He's one of the 1% ultra-rich people. She's certainly not concerned about him finding a job, nor is she concerned about their personal finances. And as a minor note, shouldn't she be wearing a wedding ring in the video if she's playing a married woman? It would have be more genuine if there had been a disclaimer on the ad saying she was a paid actor. Or better yet, couldn't the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC have actually found real people that were in this kind of distress? [video]
Exhibit D: In the recent elections, Democrats regain control of the State House and maintain their slim lead in the Senate. The Republican lost the gains they made in 2010. Yes, this is because of the lack of leadership in the GOP--the same leadership that bleeds down the hall into the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC.
Easy Button Politics
What the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC practices is "Easy Button Politics". They give money to candidates, buy billboards, coordinate radio ads, produce television spots, and organize a host of direct mail campaigns. This is what advertising consultants do. It's easy. Pick up the phone and place the order.
The Democrats are laughing because easy button politics has never, nor will it ever work.
Oregon needs to break the union's grip and change the culture before any measurable political change will occur. Until this happens, no amount of money will make a difference--all of Andrew's fortunes will be completely wasted. The question is: how long will it take for him to realize he's wasting his money on amateurs?
It's only fair to note that the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC did successfully advance two commissioner candidates in Clackamas County. What's notable about this election is they have displaced current commissioner Jamie Damon. She vows to spend more time focusing on how to bring timber-related-revenue back to the county--and she has the position to do it. She serves on Governor Kitzhaber's timber panel. I wonder if the Oregon Transformation Project / PAC knew this when they picked a fight with her using Stimson Lumber's money? Hang on to your wallet Andrew.
Thanks to a tip from a reader, we recognized we failed to mention Jim Pasero in our post. Jim Pasero is a principal of the Oregon Transformation Project. He was the publisher for Brainstorm NW which was a political print publication that survived for 12 years until 2009 when--due to a lack of cash reserves--Jim made the decision to end the venture. Bridget Barton served as the editor, and part owner of the publication. Jim has a thick resume as a speech writer for a decade with national Republicans, however, like the other Oregon Transformation Staff, he failed to translate that experience into a successful campaign of his own. Jim ran unsuccessfully for Sate Representative in 1996 against Anitra Rassmussen in the Oregon 11th Legislative District.