Friday, December 09, 2005

The Natives are Restless

NW Republican has an interesting pair of posts up here and here. They started when Ron Saxton's campaign manager, Felix Schein, wrote NWR an email regarding MWR's post Saxton Redu(pe). The gist of Schein's email was to try to defend Saxton's credentials as a Republican, and to question the commitment of Jason Atkinson to the OR GOP. The first post above was originally just a reprint of Schein's email. But after a response from Atkinson, NWR edited the post, then added the second, to address several inaccurate claims in Schein's email. TRhe exchange, and the comments, have been interesting.

But here's the part I would like to comment on:

In Schewin's email, he tells NWR "However, your posting on December 4th (Saxton Redu(pe)) requires a response, both because it was factually inaccurate and unusually personal."

Yeah, right. NWR has been posting for some time on the campaign, and has been openly critical of both the Mannix and Saxton campaigns, but this one particular post just stuck out? I find that hard to believe. Here's what I think is really going on:

Remember that yesterday I mentioned the debate between Oregon's three Republican Gubernatorial candidates and linked to others who had been there and reported on it? If you do, you'll recall that we were fairly impressed with Jason's performance. To be fair, we're a pretty biased bunch, being Atkinson supportes. But I find it interesting that this email came in the same time frame as the debate. Could it be, perhaps, that Saxton is starting to recognize Atkinson as a valid threat? I can understand feeling a need to defend ones own candidate, but why combine it with an attack on Jason, if he's not a real contecter.

Saxton and Mannix are both canny veterans of the political arena who have tried painting Atkinson's inexperience as a reason to not take him seriously. Well, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt about their own wile and guile. But that merely reinforces my suspicion. A canny political candidate is not going to waste time and resources attacking an opponent who has no chance of beating him -- especiall not an extraneous candidate in a three way race. If Atkinson was as insignificant as their supporters might have you believe, they would be ignoring him and going toe-to-toe.

No, I think they, or at least Saxton, take Atkinson more seriously than they let on. I think they recognize the groundswell of support he's getting, the attraction of the grassroots nature of his campaign, the advantage he has in having so many blogging supporters, and the strength of his message and his qualifications. I think they think he has a shot. and I think that means they'll be gunning for him more and more.

I think he can take it, and I think he gan give it right back.