Yesterday Steve Novick, candidate for the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate, attacked sitting Sen. Gordon Smith in the vernacular of pirates. You see, September 19 of each year is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and though this is a little-known observance for the cult-like following pirates have gained since the 1990 Disney movie Shipwrecked! (or maybe not so much…), the Novick campaign thought it was an appropriate register on which to level a tax-based criticism of Smith.
It’s not simile, it’s not metaphor, heck, it’s not even satirical. I’m not even sure to whom it appeals, but the press release does embody the quirky, if somewhat absurd, campaign from the Novick team thus far. Follow the episodic trail with me: “Hard Left Hook” to “College Mascot Logic v.1” (in response to Governors endorsing Merkley) to “GOP Iraq Talking Points Fete featuring David Reinhard” to “College Mascot Logic v.2” (the bet), and now, “Talk Like a Pirate Novick”. If Novick’s campaign is supposedly a self-styled insurgent one in the mold of Wellstone and Tester, then why is he talking like Blackbeard and Bob Costas?
The Ashland Daily Tidings has had enough:
Before a vote has been cast, the race for the Democratic primary has been successfully whittled down to an unopposed race. State Rep. Jeff Merkley is the nominee.
True, Portland attorney and activist Steve Novick remains passionately in the race — even earning media attention this week with his call for Congress to push for impeachment of President Bush. But lest anyone actually take Novick seriously, he also issued a series of press releases announcing his new nickname, “Left Hook” Novick, and an attack release on “Gordon Red Ink Smith.” If that’s not enough to eradicate any hope of consideration, Novick’s release is written in honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
To be fair, the editorial dismisses little-known Democratic candidates Candy Neville and Roger Obrist along with Novick, but you get the idea. Gimmicks–even in the early stages of the campaign–can backfire, even if they are composed and executed in a light-hearted manner.
The Tidings definitely exaggerates when it indicates that the Democratic primary is over. But it does merit ink and paper to call out Novick on this trivial press release, as he is campaigning for the honor and responsibility of high elective office.
Could the Novick campaign have actually wanted any media outlets to pick up this press release? If not, why post it?
According to the editorial, it only trivializes his standing the primary race:
The gimmick has drawn attention to Novick’s biggest obstacle, namely the superficial things that voters insist don’t sway them. We may never know if voters could have seen past a diminutive man with physical limitations. Novick’s attempt at humor has likely trivialized his candidacy beyond repair.
Read the rest of the editorial here.