In a continuation of the bizarre sports mascot implications of the U.S. Senate race, Democratic candidate Steve Novick the other day offered Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley odds on the upcoming University of Oregon versus Stanford football game.
It begs the question: What’s with Novick’s sports mascot logic? This isn’t the first time he’s used convoluted–dare I say farfetched–thinking to explain a recently unfavorable turn of events. Remember when Governor Ted Kulongoski endorsed (and became co-chair of) Merkley’s campaign? Novick’s explanation then:
As you know, the Governor comes from Missouri, and roots for the St. Louis Cardinals. Speaker Merkley went to Stanford, and roots for the Stanford Cardinal. There’s a natural congruence there. But I, of course, am a Duck,” said the 1981 University of Oregon graduate, “so to me, this is just water off a Duck’s back.”
Or perhaps the Governor endorsed Merkley because he orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the Oregon House and followed-through with a barrage of progressive legislation? Maybe. But whichever you pick, so strong was Merkley’s performance that the Governor chose him over Novick, who had worked diligently on Kulongoski’s first gubernatorial run. But, sure, I guess it could have been because of a natural ‘congruence’.
Now Novick is displaying his intercollegiate intellect once again by suggesting that the UO v. Stanford game might predict the outcome of the primary race between two products of the schools–Novick and Merkley, respectively. He’s made the type of bet that is reserved for Governors of states with competing teams in the Sugar Bowl. It’s probably true that Novick’s wager is centered about the notion that he went in-state for undergraduate studies and Merkley went to California. The Merkley campaign, however, refused to take the bait and responded on a nobler register:
Like most Oregon Democrats, Jeff Merkley knows Republican incumbent Gordon Smith is the whole ballgame. And that game isn’t won until Gordon Smith is no longer in the U.S. Senate.
Merkley and his campaign haven’t wasted any time with circuitous logic or pigskin superstition. They’re putting the focus squarely on Gordon Smith, whose end run around the Oregon electorate for the past ten years is getting truly infuriating. Gordon Smith may be playing for a number of teams and sponsors in the U.S. Senate, but none of them are Oregon. And the outcome of the Stanford-UO game ain’t gonna change that.
All the while, the blogging band of Novick backers accuse Merkley’s nomination as a fait accompli. They seem to follow the old fallacy: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (after this, therefore because of this). ‘If UO wins, Novick has a shot at the nomination. If Merkley is nominated in May, then the DSCC has merely crowned its nominee.’
Let’s stick to the issues, please. Come out of the football arena and back into the political one.
One question to get you started: where was the Novick campaign on the Gonzales impeachment?