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Early Prediction

Okay, I'm going to go way out on a limb here and make an upset prediction for the November election: the Republican candidate in Connecticut will beat Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.  Everyone considers Blumenthal a lock at this point, but I've noticed in his first few media appearances that he is bland, boring, and noncommittal.  

It reminds me of a similar race for governor of Oregon in 1990.  There, another Harvard-educated state AG, Republican Dave Frohnmayer, was poised to be anointed governor.  It was a slam dunk.  Everyone loved Dave.  He had massive cross-party appeal.  He was smart, pragmatic, etc etc.  Everyone thought election day was a mere formality, including Frohnmayer, who ran a listless, diffident campaign. On election day, he lost to a non-entity the Democrats put up as a sacrificial lamb. (I can't even remember now who it was--Barbara Franklin maybe?).  I'm guessing the same dynamic may play out in Connecticut this year, especially if the bland Blumenthal runs a defensive campaign (defensive of Obama, etc), which is likely.

Footnote: The Oregon governorship came open in 1990 as a result of the surprise decision of first-term governor and political powerhouse Neil Goldschmidt not to seek a second term.  We learned 15 years later that his decision was the result of a hidden scandal: he had been sleeping with his 14-year old babysitter.  Stepping down kept it under wraps for more than a decade, but it finally came to light.  But even this was a lesson in media bias: The Portland Oregonian newspaper had the story, but sat on it for several days out of their favoritism for Goldschmidt, and only published it when an alternative weekly got hold of the story and threatened their scoop.  And even then, they referred to to Goldschmidt's acts as "an affair."  
Categories > Politics

Discussions - 3 Comments

I had forgotten the names Neil Goldschmidt, David Frohnmayer and Barbara Roberts, the Democrat elected governor of Oregon in 1990. Never, having lived in Oregon, I also was unaware of the skeleton in the closet that ended Goldschmidt's political career. (A good, though disturbing, account is available here:

The failure of Oregon's journalists to pursue this story seems akin to the failure of national political journalists to pursue or believe the stories about John Edwards that emerged in 2007 and 2008, which Steve discussed yesterday. Journalists rarely express doubts about whether they possess the integrity, competence and legitimate democratic authority to vet politicians, steering the voters toward some who deserve serious consideration for higher office, and away from others who don't. What both episodes remind us is that although many journalists take themselves very seriously, they don't take their democratic responsibilities seriously at all, and are cavalier and brazen about playing favorites, judging politicians they like leniently and those they disagree with or dislike harshly. The majority of the politicians assisted by this flexible scoring system are liberal Democrats, and the majority harmed by it are conservative Republicans.

I'd like to correct several errors in your account of Oregon history:

First, Barbara Roberts (not Franklin) was far from a non-entity or sacrificial lamb. She was a popular Secretary-of-State, who had married into a political dynasty whose name practically guaranteed electoral success in Oregon. Nonetheless, she probably would've lost if not for a third party, right wing candidate who siphoned votes away from Frohnmayer.

Second, as the Oregonian's source of the Goldschmidt story, I can tell you that they "sat on it" not for "several days" but for five months, until they were indeed scooped by Willamette Week. The reporter, Nigel Jaquiss, subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

Third, then 35-year-old Neil Goldschmidt did not "sleep" with a 14-year-old, nor did he "molest" her, or any other watered down euphemism. He repeatedly raped her over the course of three years.

One more point: The Oregonian's journalistic malpractice had nothing to do with left versus right, Democrat versus Republican. It was the result of a combination of incompetence and a top down newsroom culture that favors those in power.

Willamette Week, which outed Goldschmidt, is a liberal newspaper.

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