"We write to make suffering endurable, evil intelligible, justice desirable and love possible."
- Roger Rosenblatt in "Unless It Moves The Human Heart."
This blog is dedicated to the principle that the role of an academic, pundit and community organizer - what Ernest Boyer terms "public intellectuals" - should be to afflict the well-born and powerful and to advocate for and comfort those of lesser places in the social order.
The RAD blog aspires to be in the tradition of such iconoclastic figures in US history from H.L. Menken - "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong" and I.F. Stone - "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out."
The RAD blog is also guided by the assumption that readers of blogs have a longer attention spans than a nanno second. This blog is an editorial page blog not a text message blog like most you see online. The author doesn't believe that we all suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD).
A Primer on Political Blogging:
With blogging, twittering, tweeting, face book & cell phones we’ve entered a “brave new world” of information sharing where the key is the reader’s own intellectual filter and compass to decipher the good, the bad and the ugly.
Readers normally filter what they read whether in a hand held daily newspaper, listening to the radio and/or watching TV news. But with all these sources now available online it makes the job of being a “critical reader” even more important.
• Garbage in, garbage out
• Attention deficit problem
• Internal censorship
• The echo chamber effect
• Mobilization of bias
What do we bring to this process?
• Are we pro-active or passive?
• Are we biased or open to other views?
• Are we engaged politically so that we have some idea based on experience by which to filter claims and counter claims?
Types of blogs and/or web sites
• Journalist blogs
• Partisan blogs
• Policy wonk blogs
• Candidate blogs
• Lib/Con blogs
• Commentary blogs
• Public official blogs
If we assume blogs can/will replace daily journalism we are mistaken. We are confusing the information delivery system with the need for basic day-to-day information on our local communities, state and national affairs. This requires journalistic boots on the ground following the events of the day wherever they might take place.
What does this mean as newspapers die and/or merge? It means that daily newspapers which survive are even more important. It opens up the market to community newspapers which serve regions within a metro area. Some dailies may end up being online only focusing on investigative journalism. It also makes PBS and its affiliates more important to plug the gaps.
This may also force the deep pockets of the two major political parties to fund local daily newspapers as they did in colonial times through the 1940s. The penny press was a partisan press. Only with the onset of for profit commercial journalism did we see the emergence of the so-called politically “neutral” press.
Oregonians as late as the 1960s had three papers to read – the Portland Journal, a Democratic leaning daily, the Oregonian, a self-described “Independent Republican” daily and the Portland Reporter, a pro-union paper. If the current business model no longer works for dailies how about a return to a partisan press?
This blog is a non-commerical endeavor compared to many blogs which use advertising to subsidize their habit. RAD is an unpaid blogger and therefore untainted by money and its addictions. I also don't take posts by other contributors and/or bloggers unless I know them personally.
Tom McCall Forum
2007: Lee Hamilton & John Bolton
2006: Tom Daschle & Pat Buchanan
2005: Howard Dean & Richard Perle
2004: Molly Ivins & William Kristol
2003: Bill Bradley & David Gergen
2002: Newt Gingrich & Ralph Nader
2001: Alan Dershowitz & Ralph Reed
2000: Mary Matalin & James Carville
1999: C. Everett Koop & Joseph Califano
1998: Haley Barbour & Leon Panetta
1997: Dan Quayle and Robert Kennedy, Jr.
1996: Mario Cuomo and Lynn Martin
1995: James Carville & William Safire
1994: Pierre Salinger & John Sununu
1992: Jesse Jackson & Peter Ueberroth
1991: Geraldine Ferraro & William Bennett
1990: Carl Bernstein & Michael Deaver
1989: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. & Robert Bork
1988: Pat Schroeder & Jeane Kirkpatrick
1987: Robert McNamara & Zbigniew Brzezinski
1986: Andrew Young & Arthur Laffer
1985: George McGovern & James Watt
1984: William F. Buckley, Jr. & Dick Clark
1983: Mulford Q. Sibley, Howard Phillips & Admiral Noel Gayler
1982: Cal Thomas & Sam Brown
Reflections on the McCall Forum:
As the founder and coordinator of this event I was adamant that this event was for Pacific students and not just a PR event. That's why I opposed until 1992 moving the main event to Portland. And it's why every year our guests came to campus to begin the day with a campus Q&A and often lunch with students, who also attended the banquet.
My goal for the Forum was to enable students to see national figures up front and personal, to ask them questions, one on one and to make politics a lively topic on campus. Students were hosts to our guests, introduced them and were members of the panels at the main event in the PAC or at the Schnitzer.
Over the 25 year history of the Forum there are many experiences that stand out. When we went from a small audience of several hundred in the University Center to a larger audience in the PAC plus a banquet preceding the event in 1984, the Forum became a major public affairs event in the Metro area and in Oregon.
Watching William F. Buckley, Jr. - the patron saint of modern conservative thought - enter the banquet in the UC of over 400 people, was akin to seeing the room being levitated. In the debate with former Senator Dick Clark (D, Iowa) over whether liberalism was dead - you could see the lights turn on in students heads realizing they were a liberal or conservative.
I've often been asked what were the "best" debates?
I'd start with the least seen debate in 1983, which coincided with the last episode of MASH. The only 3 person debate introduced us to the concept of "high frontiers" which later became known as the Reagan "Star Wars" military buildup. This was followed by the 1987 debate on "Star Wars" by Robert McNamara & Zbigniew Brzezinski. The PAC was filled to the brim and you could hear a pin drop given the audience's rapt attention.
The 1988 campus Q&A featuring Pat Schroeder & Jeane Kirkpatrick was more memorable than the debate because both women recalled with our students how being a woman affected their lives at a time when women were not encouraged to enter political life. Kirkpatrick as our UN ambassador was the first woman to ever enter the Situation Room in the White House. Schroeder who graduated #1 from Harvard Law was told she'd never make it.
The 1989 Forum featured Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. & Robert Bork, who had just been turned down by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice. Again, the large audience was captivated by a very erudite discussion of the Constitution and the debate over "original intent" which still goes on today. As an event which was begun to enliven the level of political discourse on campus this was most rewarding to see.
The 1995 Forum between James Carville & William Safire was memorable for many reasons. In his interview by local radio and TV media in the foyer of the Heathman Hotel, Carville did it in his running shorts having just jogged through the Park Blocks with several Pacific political science majors! Carville and Safire, one of the oddest pairings in the Forum's history, drew clear Left/Right lines in the sand for the audience at the Schnitzer.
The 1999 Forum between C. Everett Koop & Joseph Califano was less a debate and more of a discussion of health care reform which made the case for reform to be mirrored in 2008 by Obamacare. Those in the audience who wanted to see blood flow were disappointed, RAD was not! Like the Forum in 2003 with Bill Bradley & David Gergen it was nice to see comity rule over partisanship if only for a moment.
Other memorable moments:
My colleague Joe Story and RAD riding in separate helicopter trips from PDX in 1991 with William Bennett & Geraldine Ferraro, respectively, landing on the old Pacific football field. Ferrarro loved the experience, Bennett didn't seem as pleased!
Spending the entire day in 1992 with Jesse Jackson in Portland as he made stops at events in Portland which concluded with him in a solo Q&A on campus in the UC with over 600 Pacific students at noon. Had a similar road experience with Ralph Nader in 2002.
Picking up the ebullient James Carville & in cognito Mary Matalin at PDX in 2000 and watching them in the town car ride to campus exchange cell phones in animated conversations with TV news notables about the South Carolina GOP primary that day.
The "shoe" at the 2005 Howard Dean & Richard Perle Forum when a fellow threw two shoes at Perle, then was tackled by Dan "the Man" James with "assists" by the President and Chair of the Board! Fortunately the thrower's aim was bad. It got worldwide headlines.
Last but not least - working with several generations of my students and Pacific university relations staff on this event.
My favorite people -
George McGovern for sheer decency. What you saw on TV was the same person you saw up front. Michael Deaver who was amazingly minus a big ego and who understood what I went through in managing this event. James Carville, the most fun to be with and the only person who was invited back with Mary of course in 2002.
Others of note: Arthur Laffer, Molly Ivins, Pat Schroeder, Leon Panetta, Bill Bradley and Howard Dean.
The most brilliant -
Bobby Kennedy Jr. who trashed Dan Quayle in 1997 in the campus Q&A and the forum. And surprise, surprise, Newt Gingrich who in 2002 faced off with Ralph Nader, not exactly a dummy himself. Others of note - Zbigniew Brzezinski (1987); Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1989), Mario Cuomo (1996) and David Gergen (2003).
My most terrifying Forum moments -
William F. Buckley's secretary calling my home at 7 a.m. the day of the 1984 Forum, asking where is Oregon in relation to Detroit and Dallas? Only a New Yorker would ask that question! Mario Cuomo bailing out 4 days before the 1991 Forum and then his co-debater, George Will pulling the plug too! We had a sold out banquet and Schntzer!
Funniest moment at the Forum -
Mario Cuomo in 1996 launching into his formal remarks at the pre-debate banquet in the Grand Ballroom at Portland's Hilton Hotel. Clearly he hadn't read the timeline script for the event. Finally, after President Gabelnick and I stood up with our rain coats on he got the point. The banquet audience didn't seem to mind. At least this time he was here and couldn't bail out on us again!
RAD earned his B.A. from Whitman College (1964) and M.A. (1969), Ph.D. (1973) from the University of Minnesota. At Whitman Russ focused on American politics under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Y. Fluno. At the University of Minnesota Russ studied political philosophy under the mentorship of Dr. Mulford Q. Sibley. But as one looks back on a 39 plus year career, my true mentor in things political was my father, Charles A. Dondero.
When not blogging, teaching or lobbying, RAD can be found on the golf course. When the rains come RAD will be in the train room running his S-gauge model train empire. RAD is a UW Husky true believer and a Seattle Mariners fan. As RFK once said "politics is a sport played by adults" so RAD is never far from the field of dreams on the course, in the stands, in the train room or in the spin zone!
1Hole in One, Ghost Creek, Pumpkin Ridge GC, #11 July 27, 2007
More on RAD:
B.A. 1964 - Whitman College (Major: Political Science)
M.A. 1968 - University of Minnesota (Major: Political Science)
PH.D. 1973 - University of Minnesota (Major: Political Science)
Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA: Assistant Professor 1969-74
Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR: Assistant to Full Professor, 1974-2005
Portland State University, Portland, OR: Adjunct Professor, 2005-2009
Oasis Adult Learning Center, Portland, OR: Lectureer, Fall 2010
Lewis & Clark College, Adjunct Professor, Fall 2010
Recipient in 1996 of the Honor of Merit award for his founding and leadership of the annual Tom McCall Forum, now in it’s 24th year
Honored in May 2002 by an anonymous alumi donor for contribution to Pacific University establishing - “The Story-Dondero Chair for the Study of Politics & the Economy”
Honored in February of 2005 by Pacific political science alums with the founding of the "Dondero Scholarship" fund for internship support
Honored with rank of Professor Emeritus of Politics & Government by Pacific University, Commencement 2005
Honored on November 7, 2007 upon his retirement as founder/coordinator of the Tom McCall Forum
Fields of Teaching:
Parties & Elections
State & Local Politics
Politics & the Media
The US Congress
Politics of Education
Politics of Health Care
Mentor to 50 plus student interns (at Dickinson, Pacific & PSU) leading to successful careers in public service;
Founder/Coordinator, annual Tom McCall Forum - 1981 to 2007
Project Director, $450,000 per Hewlett Grants 1998-2004, phase I and II
Past Service (partial list):
Served as Chair, Department of Politics & Government 1980-1998, 2001-2002;
Chair, Division of Social Sciences (1994-97);
Chair of the Campus Governance Council (predecessor to University Council;
Chair of Arts & Sciences Faculty;
Member of the University Council, the Judicial Council, the Standards & Advising Committee, the Admissions Committee.
Scholarly & Related Activities:
Member Pacific Northwest Political Science Association since 1974,
President PNWPSA 2003-2004;
Occasional participant in regional and national political science professional meetings including the APSA and WPSA
Frequently interviewed and quoted by TV, broadcast and print media in Oregon and beyond relative to Oregon politics…
Columnist for Forest Grove News-Times, 2009 - present
2001: A co-author of 2 chapters on the media and interest groups in a book about Oregon politics published by the University of Nebraska Press (2005) - book jacket below
1999: Contributor to Outside Money: Soft Money & Issue Ads in Competitive 1998 Congressional Elections, A Report of a Grant Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, edited by David Magelby, BYU – the basis for a major text on this subject
1999: Consultant project/analysis on neighborhood sustainability in Racine, Wisconsin and San Diego, California for McKeever/Morris
1983: Sabbatical, City Commissioner Margaret Strachan's Office, Portland, OR. Produced Report Analyzing Staff Relationships In Commissioner’s Office
1980: Staff Writer of Community Correction Task Force Report, Washington County, Oregon
1976: Lilly Grant Intern to Alan Weber, Office of the Mayor, Portland, OR. Produced Report On Community Participation For Mayor & Staff
Faculty Internships, Consultantships & Related Experiences:
1976 - Sabbatical - Office of the Mayor of Portland, OR.
1979 - KBOO-FM, Community Radio, Portland, OR.
1983 - Sabbatical - City Commissioner Margaret Strachan's Office, Portland, OR.
1984 - Staff Writer, Washington County Justice Task Force Report
1991 - Sabbatical - Low Income Housing Lobbyist, Member of the Housing Lobby Coalition
1993 - Chair, Housing Task Force, Washington County
1994 - Chair, Citizen Participation Task Force, Washington County
1999 - 2008 - Washington County Housing Authority Advisory Council,
1999 - Sabbatical - consultant with McKeever/Morris
2007 - 2008 - Leadership Group of Washington County's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
2006 - 2014 - Washington County's Interfaith Committee on Homelessness, IFCH
2009 - present - Washington County Homeless Plan Advisory Committee, HPAC
2010 - Policy Advisor to Greg Mecklem Campaign, Fall 2010
2011 - present - Policy Analyst, Washington County Citizen Action Network (WC-CAN)
2011 - Ecumenical Ministeries of Oregon, Public Policy Board
2011 - Washington County THRIVES
2014 - Board Member, Neighbors for Clean Air (NCA)
Contributor to the definitive book on Oregon politics: