Blue Oregon ran a story about this earlier today, but it seems the leading "No on 66/67" lobbyist, Pat McCormick, is too chicken to come to the Mercury for an endorsement interview on the tax measures. So, we interviewed his opponent, Steve Novick, yesterday, alongside a chicken. With McCormick's face on it:
We called McCormick three times, starting in December, trying to arrange for him to come in for an endorsement interview. On Tuesday I spoke with Erica Hagedorn, a lobbyist who works for Mark Nelson, who was trying to track McCormick down for us. She and I were discussing why Pat should come in and interview with us, when in her words, "it looks like you have already made up your mind."
Hagedorn was referring to a blog post Tuesday in which I called out the Oregonian editorial board for hypocrisy, because their own words on the beer tax just months ago seemed to contradict what they had to say on these latest measures. I told Hagedorn that calling out the O for hypocrisy was one thing, but that we hadn't made up our mind yet. That's what an endorsement interview is for.
I also pointed out that we have endorsed measures pushed by the right in the past, for example, last October, we endorsed Measure 60 (a Bill Sizemore measure!), which proposed performance-based pay for teachers, and took a lot of heat for it. "In any case," I said, "we would like to think that your side of the story is more persuasive than we've seen, so far."
I emailed Hagedorn saying we would gladly submit to verbal, and possibly even physical abuse, in exchange for an endorsement interview. She could bring nunchucks, if she liked, I wrote.
Later Tuesday, I took a call from McCormick himself. "It looks like you guys have already made up your minds," he said, repeating Hagedorn's earlier talking point. No, I said. "And in any case," I asked, "even if I had, isn't it your job to try to change it?"
McCormick said it would be "an hour of my time that I won't get back." I told him that he's likely to be pushing other measures in future and want our support, and that it seemed a good idea to come in, face us for even half an hour, and at the end, shake hands like gentlemen (and ladies). That's basic civility.
McCormick left off, saying he would "see what he could do," and that he would give me a call yesterday, Thursday, if any slots opened up in his schedule. We never heard from him. It was pretty galling to see McCormick showed up at City Club today, where he felt, evidently, that he wasn't wasting his time. Check OPB tonight at 7pm to hear what got said:
When Novick came in yesterday afternoon at 3 for the endorsement interview, we thought it only fair that he should face competition of some sort. I asked Novick what he thought of his opponent's no-show:
"They didn't show up for the interview with another paper either," he said. "I think they might have concluded that they had some sort of shot with Willamette Week. Any paper they have a shot with, they'll show up. I think it's laziness."
Readers can hear what Novick and the chicken had to say in next week's Mercury endorsment. In the mean time, I can report that McCormick's thighs, in particular, were delicious, when my wife and I ate him for dinner last night. Bok bok...bok.
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