In Defense of Shirley

Upon his Republican primary election victory shocker, Bob Kelleher’s Daily Show profile (alongside the Smurfish Stan Jones) for his 2002 Green Party bid was dusted off, and bouncing over the Internet was his promise to defend the state’s “Shirley”s.  To be mocked, you understand.

Here I sort of have to defend Kelleher.  “Shirley” is one of those forced personal examples of a struggling individual who Kellerher’s service in government is meant to help allievate.  And “Shirley” then morphs into a demagraphic category — along the lines of “Waitress Mom”.  Of course, “Shirley” is a name which has falledn out of fashion, and as such suggests a little older — which is appropriate considering the man is a little older.

It is fairly comical that the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s website does not have a picture of Kelleher on the individual Montana “race” page, and also note the news release of a “Bushman” running for this race — who, I guess, was weakly the Republican Party’s slated candidate.  Though it is interesting to note which states have a race up and which do not.  Massachusetts, where the Republican – tapped candidate also failed and where Kerry has as big a lock as Baucus, for instance, has the Republican challenger’s picture up.  Kelleher is the latest of the long-line of Republican down ticket debacles this cycle, a trend which hits here in Oregon with how the race in the Fifth Congressional District unravelled for Mike Erickson.

For his part, Bob Kelleher has set up a new website, ridding himself of his old free site, still in its development stage, and is making a go of his Republican identification, as you see with the news that John McCain gives speech supporting UK style Question-and-Answer sessions for U.S. President.

So, how does Bob Kelleher win?

So why did 26,765 Republicans vote for him Tuesday? Kelleher didn’t just squeak out a win. He got almost 10,000 more votes than his closet competitor, Mike Lange, the GOP House majority leader in the 2007 session and a man whose Republican identity is hardly in question.

“I don’t know,” Wilson said Tuesday with a laugh.
But there are many theories.

First, Wilson said, the vote in the GOP Senate primary was split among six candidates, none of whom had raised much money or done much campaigning to get their names out. The one possible exception, Wilson said, was Lange, who gained fame – or at least infamy – at the end of the 2007 Legislature, when he let loose a mouthful of profanities that were widely seen on television and computer screens. Lange also participated in the conciliatory, bipartisan meeting with Democrats that brought an end to the stalemate over the state budget.

That got him removed from his leadership position.
Many Republicans who voted in the race knew nothing about the candidates, or they knew only that they didn’t want to vote for Lange.

There’s also the matter of the paltry Republican turnout, Wilson said. Almost two-thirds of the ballots cast Tuesday were for Democrats, a startling turnaround.

So you’ve got a small number of Republicans splitting their vote among a large selection of political nobodies – and one guy with a spotty record.

There’s also the matter of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a maverick presidential candidate who got 22 percent of the Montana vote. Some of those Kelleher votes could have come from Paul supporters registering their general disapproval of the party, Wilson said.

Wilson and Jim Lopach, a political-science professor at the University of Montana, say the surprising victory probably boils down to name identification: Kelleher has run a lot. Voters see his name over and over. And when they are faced with a slate of names they don’t know, they gravitate toward the one that sounds familiar.

I don’t know.  Vote for him over g’damned Max Baucus.

One Response to “In Defense of Shirley”

  1. Richard Says:

    On all the other races with Democratic incumbents, they have pictures and info about the Republican challenger. For the Montana race, they decided to post pictures and info about the candidate that best serves their interest. Baucus has been very good to the Republican party he serves for a very long time. It is not surprising most of his funding comes from Wall Street. They are betting 700 Billion of your dollars on him.

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