Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back in town

I'm back after a week long junket to play golf on the east coast.

It's interesting to leave for a week in the middle of campaign season, and come back with a fresh perspective uncolored by the week's political manueverings and controversies.

The Oregonian endorsed Saxton today. Believe it or not, I expected this. My co-host, Marc Abrams, and I agreed that the O would likely endorse Ron; we discussed it several times. Ron has always had a very good relationship with the Oregonian editorial board, and he has made a convincing argument for change.

If there was a surprise in the text of their endorsement, it was that they declined the opportunity to rough up Ron even a little bit. I expected they would mention their discomfort at what they would say was Ron's "shift to the right," and his focus on the illegal immigration issue during the primary. But they didn't.

Will this help Ron? Yes. It will help him far more than it would have hurt him had they endorsed Kulongoski. Will it make the difference in the race? It well could.

Less than a week before the ballots go out. Re-emerging after a week out of the fray, and looking back over the week's news, the City Club debate, and the various issues that played out during the week, I think Ron is in good shape.

Kulongoski still has no message. How a guy with his political experience and his incredibly experienced staff can get to this stage in the race and not have found a defining message for his campaign is just beyond me.

Of course it could still go either way. Oregon is a blue state, which seems to be what Kulongoski is counting on. The question is whether Oregon is so blue that there is no set of cirumstances that would make it elect a Republican governor.

I like the feeling of what is going on. Ron has done what it takes to win, and if Oregon still votes D, then it truly does not want to be competitive in the world economy.

PS: for those interested in golf - I played some of the most incredible courses on this trip:

Friars Head - a new Ben Crenshaw design on Long Island. Totally natural layout on a beautiful peice of property right on Long Island Sound. Crenshaw believes in letting the golf course emerge from the natural landscape with minimal artificial interference. It is still very new (the clubhouse is not yet done) but I can assure you it will grow in reputation as it becomes known.

National Golf Links of America - a 100 year old course designed by H.B. Macdonald, perhaps the most storied golf course architect ever. Currently it ranks as #9 on Golf Digest's top 100 courses in America. MacDonald built this course as his lasting monument to the game. He searched for years for the right property to build a course of 18 holes, each inspired by one of his favorite holes in Scotland, his birth country. When I finished on the 18th hole, I walked off the green an almost bumped into Arnold Palmer, who was standing all by himself on the first tee, waiting to tee off.

Garden City Golf Course - Another old original on Long Island, truly one of the finest courses in the country. Ranks #46 on Golf Digest top 100. I had my best round here, shooting 3 over par 76.

Gulph Mills Golf Club - A Donald Ross layout outside of Philly. We were originally going to play Merion, but that fell through. One of our hosts at Garden City arranged for us to play Gulph Mills, and we were pleasantly surprised. Classic Donald Ross, who designed Pinehurst #2 and many other very famous tracks around the country. Greens reject all but the best shots, which requires a good short game, chipping from all sorts of lies and stances around the greens.

Oakmont Country Club - I've played quite a few of Gold Digest's top 100, including #1, Pine Valley, and #4, Cypress Point. Oakmont is listed as #5, but in my book it is the best golf course I have ever played. We teed off at 9:00 am in 40 degree weather with winds at 20 mph (gusts to 30.) The high temp that day was 48 degrees. Despite the conditions, I had more fun playing this course than any I can remember. The golf course kicked my butt. The greens were rolling about a 13 on the stimpmeter. Oakmont has hosted 6 U.S. Opens, and will host it again next summer. They actually have to slow down the greens when the Open comes!

It was a great week. Everything from the guys I went with to the weather to the food at these magnificent clubs to the guys who hosted us at each course - an incredible week.


Anonymous said...

Actually, TK does have a message - it just happens to be incredibly weak: "I'm on your side".

Rob Kremer said...

Yeah, OK I concede what you say is true. It's not that he has no message at all, it's that his message is so lame.

"I'm on your side" rings true if I am a public employee union member, I guess.

RINO WATCH said...

One question and I know it's none of my business but gotta ask....Which "lobby" did you play golf with?

LOL...Just pokin' at ya....


Don Smith said...

I can't believe Saxton hasn't made more of the "You know whose side he's on." campaign....

Anonymous said...

Odd that a guy who banners his site rousing us to expel the alien east coast invasion would head east for his fun and games. Please tell us you were really scouting a counterattack and hated every minute of it.