"As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for socialism is its adherents," wrote George Orwell. But I suspect even a Christian socialist convention would be more attractive to Orwell than hanging out at last week's "Sam Adams Kick Out" event for two hours.
I don't have a problem with the recall effort, per se. Indeed, I think the mayor's judgment since January warrants serious questioning: 12-lane bridge? Major League Soccer shenanigans? Bringing in a cookie-cutter developer to knock down Memorial Coliseum with no public process? No, I'm not brimming with enthusiastic support for his honor at this point. But if the recall is to be successful, it needs to win over average Portlanders who are perhaps surprised and disillusioned by the mayor's last few months in office—regardless of the Beau Breedlove scandal. And those people aren't going to be convinced by the awkward media circus that played itself out last Thursday night, May 14.
Right wing Christian radio host Victoria Taft broadcast her show from the front window as over 100 people crammed into Nick's Famous Coney Island restaurant and bar. Taft isn't exactly pro marriage equality and her presence hindered the recall effort's lunge for the mainstream—despite her insistence that she's supporting the recall because of Adams' lies, not what he likes to do with his penis.
"This isn't about liberal or conservative," said serial mayoral candidate Jeff Taylor, who was walking around with a desperate campaign placard reading, "Jeff Taylor, The Family Mayor." "It's not okay to kiss a 17-year-old boy," he told me. "That's what this is about. End of story."
Oh dear. I thought we were concerned at least about lying to get elected, and what the extent of the cover-up says about one's attitude to power. Only one man was on-message for a change: Recall spokesman Jasun Wurster finally replaced his well-worn hoodie sweatshirt with a shirt and tie for the evening, and delivered a reasonable speech about political apathy. The crowd of 100 donated just over $1,000 to the recall cause, he says, which should at least pay for a few lawn signs.
It's not quite over for the recall just yet. Gandhi said first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. But the challenge for the recall at this point is to move in the right direction along that continuum. To do that, Wurster needs to ditch the hangers-on and employ a public relations consultant—fast.