Gubernatorial candidate Bill Bradbury has been fighting underdog perceptions ever since rival John Kitzhaber came out with an impressive set of endorsements at the end of September. Well, he now appears to have adopted the oldest playground trick in the book, which is, if your opponent is looking intimidating, set your big brother on him. Used to work for me. Might work, with a moderation from "big brother" to "Al Gore," for Bradbury, whose website is all a-flutter this morning with details of a fundraiser on the 19th, the morning after Gore's appearance at the Keller Auditorium, to promote his new book:
That's right! The country's former elected President is going to be rinsing it up with Bradbury here in Portland 13 days, hence! Here's a preview of the conversation:
BRADBURY: So, Al, buddy, tell me again, why am I so awesome?
THE ONE AND ONLY AL GORE(TM): Because you've got a thirty inch penis, Bill, or at least, so I've heard. Also, you're a man who knows life. A man the people can trust. A man anyone could give their heart to, without worry about it being stomped on like a piece of cheap crockery.
BRADBURY: I don't stomp on anybody's heart like cheap crockery, Al. It's true. And I don't wear those ridiculous cowboy boots, like my rival. You're a big deal, right?
THE ONE AND ONLY AL GORE(TM): Right. I'm a BIG DEAL. But not as big as you. You're a massive deal. Practically the only deal there is. There's no room in the deal house for more than your deal. If you were a deal wagon, you would break the tracks. If you were a deal truck, you would be so heavily laden with your bigness, that frankly, I don't think there's a highway you could drive down. You're that big of a deal.
BRADBURY: I am. I am. It's true. Now, about this global warming nonsense...
Etcetera. Gore's endorsement has got to sting a bit for Kitzhaber. Derek Humphrey with Kitzhaber's campaign team says "we don't comment on the events run by other campaigns," but that just sounds like sour grapes. Has Kitzhaber got plans to be endorsed by Bill Clinton or the ghost of Mother Theresa? "We're going to have lots of interesting events as the campaign moves forward," says Humphrey. Find out more at Notinteresting.com.
Meanwhile Blue Oregon's Les AuCoin speculates about reasons for the conspicuous endorsement this morning:
Gore’s move is the continuation of a decades long feud with Oregon ex-governor Kitzhaber, Bradbury’s leading primary opponent, dating back to Gore’s bitter battle against Kitz’ innovative Oregon Health Plan when Gore was a U.S. Senate.
John K. won that fight, but he never forgot his nemesis from Tennessee; when Gore ran as the presumptive favorite for president in 2000, Kitz backed Bill Bradley early and conspicuously. Twisting the knife, the Guv criticized the Clinton Administration — and implicitly Gore, the “green” VP — for inept handling of the NW salmon crisis. I'm not saying it was Kitz's sole rationale, but it was one.
After 20 years, the Bradbury candidacy gave Gore the opening to stick the knife back. Here, too, it may not be Gore's only rationale, but it is one.
"Gore and Kitzhaber can barely stand each other," AuCoin concludes. So maybe it's not so much about Bradbury, after all. Either way I just asked for press access to the fundraiser. Let's hope they read this, first.