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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blaming Raoul

So many Portlanders are scratching their heads these days. What is the deal with that guy Jefferson Smith? Well, it's what we've been writing about on this blog for more than a year now: The fellow has several serious character flaws -- fatal to his holding significant public office.

Once you're with us that far, and you realize you can't vote for him, curiosity prompts some additional questions: How did he get that way, and why is he in politics?

A reader at Willy Week left an interesting comment yesterday. In it, he or she theorized that Smith is a victim of an overbearing father who has pushed him into politics as a way of playing out the dad's own fantasies and ambitions. "I am pretty sure," the reader writes, "that Jefferson, deep down in his unconscious, is trying to get off the hamster wheel his father has kept him chained to his whole life with all of these acts of self sabotage since childhood." The whole comment, at 5:55 here, is worth reading.

Although we don't know the Smiths personally, and probably neither does that commenter, his or her theory rings true. We've had the elder Smith, 77 years old, tagged as a Joe Kennedy wannabe for a while now. And it's interesting how he he has turned up at many key twists and turns in his nutty son's personal saga, even well into adulthood.

The younger Smith makes frequent references to his father. The official biography of the son, which is full of half-truths, says it was his father who ordered him to take a year off from being a student at the U. of O. -- with no mention of the fact that the son had just escaped a serious assault charge, and might have been thrown out of the school for a while to get a grip. When the story surfaced a few weeks ago of Smith's sending a woman half his size to the hospital for stitches -- after, she says, he unsuccessfully propositioned her -- Smith told reporters that one of his advisors on what to do about the news was his father. And who showed up to defend the son at one of the few traffic court hearings that he didn't simply blow off? His father, who had previously retired from law practice and apparently wasn't authorized to appear in court except in pro bono cases referred by legal aid organizations.

Joe Smith, who avoids his real name of Raoul, had political ambition as a younger man -- he was a Republican back in his Pendleton days -- but it didn't get too far. If indeed he has created the world in which his 39-year-old boy now finds himself, he didn't do the young one much of a favor.

Comments (25)

Maybe Jefferson should read Oedipus Rex a bit closer next time?

That is pretty much what I surmised about a year ago on this blog once I found out Joe Smith was his magic-underwear father.

This all reminds me of "Sometimes a Great Notion", but with a far less successful family.

There is this comment at 5:55:

"This messiah complex you are under the spell of is really unfortunate. Jefferson (and his father & stepmother) took all of you in with a snake oil promise of him being a revolutionary, a brilliant visionary, a man of immense talent, and a man of uncompromising principles that matched Portland's unique progressive community. He was going to make Portland a place that each and every one of you would experience as a utopia.
What you didn't know, much like Dorothy, Toto & friends learned when they visited the Emerald has been one big fat illusion."

That comment could also be used at the national level. Who do we know like that? Nevermind, that would lead the comments Off Topic. Let's just stay on Nutsy...

Yes, Nutsy has flaws that I think are genetic as well as environmental. His parents and his mental state are equally to blame.

As Jack has previously mentioned, he needs to find something else to do with the rest of his life.

I saw that comment over there. It was an interesting contrast to the latest Jefferson Smith spin: He's a good, decent man who did some stupid things a long time ago. Yeah, right. If you say he's bad, you're psycho-analyzing him, but it's okay to say he's good and decent, and blame it all on him being stupid. Sure. "Oh, but he's smart too." Give me a break.

There's only one description that explains Jefferson Smith: He's an a**hole.

To be fair, I have noticed a slight change in the Portland Polite rhetoric. We've gone from Jefferson's own assessment that he's "imperfect" to Blue Oregon's latest, "Flawed Candidate But a Decent Man." And he's being "flogged" in the media.

Look, the biggest drawback to examining what happened 19 years ago, is that it takes the spotlight off what an incredible jerk Jefferson Smith still is. Read the letter he dropped off at the woman's house just this month. If you don't get it...

Ahh, screw it. If you need some convoluted rationalization to explain liking this guy, go for it. If you need the political cover, go ahead: try and make that spin for you. Just promise you won't come back when it's safe and say, "I actually thought Jefferson Smith was a dangerous loser all along."

Don't be like Bill O'Reilly saying - now - that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq. If you know in your heart that Jefferson Smith is a disaster don't be so damn wishy washy about it. Cut him loose now, when it counts.

May I suggest a move to Charleston, West Virginia.

Bill, when reading the revisionist comments, I'm reminded of Bill Hicks's routine about watching COPS, where every episode is the same one. Domestic dispute, investigating reports of a spouse beating, with the wife crying "He's a good man, he didn't do no harm! I was asleep in the driveway and he run over mah haid with the truck! Please don't take him away! He's passed out under the trailer right now with his dawg Skeeter!" Yeah, the people dumb enough to defend Nutsy almost deserve what they get.

Ahh, a Bill Hicks reference. Interestingly, the guy who plays my lawyer in my "Smart Talking Fool" song is Dwight Slade. (To be fair I use that footage in every video where I need a lawyer.)
So you tie Hicks in with Jefferson Smith and Dwight Slade was a childhood friend of Bill Hicks. Cosmic, no?

I wonder if Jeff has ever taken a swing at the old man.

Quoth Alan Moore as V in "V For Vendetta", "There is no coincidence. There is only the illusion of coincidence." Personally, I'm more fond of a comment by way of Austinite Sam Hurt in his old Eyebeam comic: "It's not a small world. It's a big world that's folded over a lot."

Interesting comment. A friend of mine attended college with Jefferson Smith. She said that he insisted on being called "Governor" and when she addressed him as such with dripping sarcasm he reached for her hand, shook it and thanked her for her support.

psycho-analyzing is fine occupation and valued labor, of a practice. Pro's do it for a living. Trying it at home, individual results may vary.

In other words, oedipus nature ('instinct') is only one of Jung's many archetypes in the category of 'parent/child' behaviors. (One which doesn't fit this case, as it happens.) Of course, Jung's studies (and astrology practice) found a mobius turn-of-logic hinges of an age when the individual (personality) knows being BOTH parent (adult) and child, and as time goes on they fashion a variety of expressions of behavior interleaving those (two?) natural (personality) parts contained in themselves; so saying every adult has vestigial child (they once were) in them, and in every moment they have the choice of which behavior to expressly manifest, and how's that working for you ...?

It rings true because it makes sense. Had he engaged in ten seconds worth of honest critical self-analysis, he would have realized his record is that of person wholly unsuited for public office. Either he thought he could conceal it, or was delusional enough to think it would not matter to the voters. His tenacity is remarkable, approaching that of a Kamikaze pilot. If an average person suffered half the public humilation this guy has, most would have withdrawn from the race and moved to Alaska by now.

Fascinating and makes more sense than anything else.

This, however:

"... promise of him being a revolutionary, a brilliant visionary, a man of immense talent, and a man of uncompromising principles that matched Portland's unique progressive community.

is dangerous not because of Jefferson Smith but because those promises are always dangerous ... aren't they?

Additionally, Portland's "unique progressive community" (there are so many of them now!) are becoming, no, have become, so very authoritarian. How "progressive" is that?

"promise of him being a revolutionary, a brilliant visionary...."

Gosh, it's just a mayor's position in a smaller US city that is suppose to be administered under a representative form of government with all kinds of bureaus. It's not a dictatorship.....yet.

HMLA-267, astute comment but to this, "[h]ad he engaged in ten seconds worth of honest critical self-analysis, he would have realized his record is that of person wholly unsuited for public office", you should have added ...."except in Portland, Oregon."

Sadly, Elizabeth, I have to agree. He punched an adult woman once. He did not rape a juvenile female over a protracted period of time.

Interesting thread / conversations.

IIRC, Nutsy's older btother, Lincoln, apparently jumped ship on the old man a long time ago, and lives as a latter day hippie in California.

Two different responses to the "joe Kennedy" parent.

What is the source of the R.P. "Joe" Smith and second wife "fortune"?

Raoul sure didn't get rich as Umatilla County DA.

Is he related to Gordon Smith? Can't be that many Smiths in Pendleton

How did he get that way, and why is he in politics?

I've often wondered the same about Barky.

Is he related to Gordon Smith? Can't be that many Smiths in Pendleton

Distantly related, as I understand it.

I predict his next career will involve him becoming a charismatic religious figure.

Is Father Dearest a Mormon?

Off-topic: One wag noticed that (if elected) Romney would be the first president who's not a Christian.
On-topic: I've noticed there is actually (elsewhere) a large number of voters who will vote for the guy; I guess he behaved with them, or something.
How to destroy with finesse his political future: Get LarsLarson to endorse him.

Tenskey: 6.1 million American Mormons will vigorously disagree with the "non-Christian" tag.

I also think there is some irony in atheists, agnostics, and progressive bigots denouncing anyone for being "non-Christian".

How can you criticize somebody for being non-something when you loathe the something you say they aren't?

touchy, touchy on the topic Mister Tee.

Just saying if elected Romney be's the first Not-a-Christian president. It's unclear what 6.1 million American not-Christians all wearing stick-on 'Hi my name is Mormon' labels matters to Mitt win or lose.

The worldwide web's 3 or 4 billion eye-witness sources of information offer a large number of exact testimony telling the difference between Christians and Mormons -- just search the online factbase.
For some reason it doesn't surprise me to read your assurance (accusation?) that 6.1 million American Mormons never found out or heard of the fact that they are not Christians.
Same non-surprise where I read about a half-million Zionists never knew the fact that they are not Jews.


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