Gordon Smith does it again

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

On February 28, newspapers everywhere reported that Gordon Smith had broken with his party over the new Medicare prescription drug program. As usual, they tagged him with the "moderate Republican" label.

From the UPI:

Sen. Gordon Smith, a moderate Republican from Oregon, is the first GOP senator to publicly support Democrats in at least part of their growing criticism of the drug plan, known as Part D. ...

Several [Democrats] have called for an extension of the May 15 enrollment deadline to give seniors more time to negotiate plan choices that, in many states, number more than three dozen. The Bush Administration has said it would oppose any legislative changes to the plan.

But Smith, a member of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare, said Wednesday that he would support extending the deadline so that seniors confused by the program don't have to pay a financial penalty for late sign-up.

While Smith talks moderate, he votes right-wing. On Tuesday, he voted "NO" on... wait for it...

An amendment that would have extended the open enrollment period for the Medicare prescription drug program through the end of 2006 and allow a one-time change of plan enrollment during 2006. (S Con Res 83, Senate Vote 49, 3/15/06, source: CQ.com, sub. req'd)

Was it a party line vote? Nope. Republicans Susan Collins, Mike DeWine, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter all voted YES.

What was the final vote count? 49-49 (with 1 D and 1 R missing.) If Gordon Smith had simply voted YES, the amendment would have passed. (Assuming that the two fellows from Minnesota would have found their way to the chamber.)

Does the man have no shame? Does he really think he can bamboozle Oregonians like this? Will our local media call him on it?

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    Stop. Paying. Attention. To the man behind the curtain.

    Sheesh, it's like you don't trust him.

    It's like you want to hold him accountable for what he actually does, instead of what he says he'll do.

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    Let's add more fuel to the fire regarding the real Gordon Smith record:

    This March 6th article in Time magazine titled, "A Magic Way to Make Millions." describes how Sens. Gordon Smith and Rick Santorum are responsible for the resurrection of the Synfuel tax credit, one of the most notorious corporate tax giveaway scams in the history of the nation. The amendment was attached to the Tax Relief Act which provided aid to Hurricane Katrina Victims.

  • (Show?)

    "It's like you want to hold him (Smith) accountable for what he actually does,instead of what he says he'll do."

    Gordon's tutor, George W. Bush taught him well. Like I said Gordon Smith has disappointed this Oregonian way too many times.

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    As someone very involved with the Bradbury Senate race in 2002 I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to deal with Smith and the media.

    The guy votes with Bush 95% of the time. Hi's voting record is no different than say Rick Santorum yet the Oregon media continues to carry the meme of Smith the Moderate.

    Frustrating as hell.

    At the same time Wyden deserves some of the blame as well. Too many times Wyden has carried Smith's water for him and allowed Smith cover to vote like a radical right wing conservative yet appear moderate. The unfortunate fact is that for Wyden it is in Wyden's interest to have Smith there than another D and he will work to ensure that happens.

  • Kelly Steele (unverified)

    Isaacs and Wright -

    I know that working on a losing Senate campaign can be frustrating, but isn't it time you guys got over your irrational hatred for Gordon Smith and just cut the guy a break? I mean, it almost seems like you're obsessed with the man. Yeesh.

  • Suzii (unverified)

    How does Wyden benefit from having a Republican in Smith's seat?

  • JG (unverified)

    My all time favorite example of G. Smith's duplicity was when he came out of the Clinton Impeachment proceedings and said that he didn't see any "crimes or misdeamors..." but then turned right around and voted the party line to convict. Nothing has changed with this guy and nothing will until Oregonians (including one of my favorites, Senator Ron Wyden) hold Smith accountable.

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    Why should anyone cut Smith a break? He has been able to con a majority of Oregonians, and especially the press, by not being honest with us. He projects to us that he is something he is not. As a press guy you should understand that. As someone who doesn't agree with his votes I would prefer that the press communicate to the voters what he actually does rather than what he says he will do. Then the voters can make a judgement based upon the facts, not a misleading personna.

  • Andrew C. (unverified)

    Kari Chisholm wrote:

    Will our local media call him on it?

    The Oregonian? Hold a Republican Senator accountable? Why should they start now? As anyone local has long known, "if it matters to Oregonians, it's in the Washington Post". This was true when they covered up for Smith's predecessor, Bob Packwood, so what reason is there to believe they've changed?

    Seriously, does anyone to the left of Pat Robertson take anything written by The Oregonian at face value? Just watch their recurring puff-jobs on closet-Republican Tim Wheeler, fluffing a rich-kid with zero government experience (which didn't keep him from writing a book telling others how to do it), into a competitive candidate.

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    it's not Ron Wyden's job to get Smith out of office. it's our job. as much as Wyden ticks me off at times, his job is to represent Oregon in the Senate. this means he has to work with all the other members of the Senate, and he has to have a good working relationship with Smith, his fellow Oregonian. this is even more true with him being in the minority party. if Wyden wants to accomplish a damn thing, he was to do it by working with the Rs.

    Smith needs to go, of course, and we could dedicate every post in BlueOregon to demonstrating why. but we cannot expect Wyden to be part of that effort. he cannot alienate the man we Oregonians gave him as his partner in the Senate. the sad truth is that whatever Ron may say to Gordo in private, what Frist and Rove and Bush say carry far more weight with our junior Senator. let's do our job next time and put the right person in the Senate -- no matter how weasely Gordo behaves.

  • Kelly Steele (unverified)

    John -

    We need some HTML code for sarcasm. I was just being a smart-ass to some of my Bradbury 2002 friends.

    You'd be hard pressed to find someone that believed in the sentiments expressed by you and others on this thread re: Gordon Smith more than yours truly.

    Cheers, Kelly

  • Scott McLean (unverified)

    I sensed a lot of people wanted Senator Smith to be nominated as Secretary of Interior. That way it would be easier for Democrats to win back the Senate seat.

    Instead we should relish the opportunity to put up a candidate who can defeat him when he runs for re-election.

    Unfortunately most Republicans in Congress are mistakenly in lock step with the president on the war in Iraq, which can't be won. They also are wrong on energy/environmental issues, among other issues.

    They would rather drill in the wilderness than do something with overwhelming public backing like make renewable, environmentally friendly energy sources available to the public.

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    Sorry. It wasn't clear. Glad to hear you still see the light.


  • Caelan MacTavish (unverified)

    Smith has proven once again that he doesn't walk his talk.

    Let's make sure to document all of the times he does this, talks the moderate talk and walks the conservative walk, so that when he's up for re-election in '08 we can call him on his bluff.

    There is NO reason for a state like Oregon to have such a conservative senator. Sure, there are conservative areas of Oregon, but even our rural conservative brethren are more progressive than Gordo.

  • Jeremiah (unverified)

    This is unfortunately the same move he uses on the Arctic.

    Knowing Oregonians overwhelmingly want one of the last truly wild places on American soil protected, Sen. Smith says he supports keeping the Arctic Wildlife Refuge off limits to drilling.

    Knowing he can have it both ways and keep powerful lobby interests happy, he refuses to vote to protect the Arctic as long as drilling measures are buried in other bills -- the budget, the military spending bill, etc. Last week he did it again and voted for a budget that includes language to open the Refuge.

  • LT (unverified)

    Let's remember how Gordon Smith got into office. It wasn't so much because he was the world's greatest candidate, it was because he had a voting record. The Democratic nominee ran on "I fought a war, I founded a company. I am not Gordon Smith" and his campaign people treated questions about his views as subversion. So who could blame the folks who voted for the guy with the legislative voting record over the blank slate, or opted to vote for a 3rd party candidate--esp. one who actually answered questions? "You're supposed to support our guy and not ask questions" or other peer pressure political attitudes never won any election I am aware of.

    There were 3 very intelligent, experienced candidates in that 1996 May primary, but too many fell for a more secret version of what was done to Paul Hackett this year. Bob Kerrey should have had an endorsement press conference in this state rather than the "you know, he is the DSCC choice" whisper type campaign that happened. And there was the other element--people who said "didn't we just elect a US Senator?" meaning the Jan. special election.

    The press didn't do investigations of Bruggere until the general election (some national news organizations were writing of the DSCC strategy "...and in Oregon, the candidate is Bruggere" before the May primary), and there were FAR TOO MANY Democrats who fell for "well, if he is the DSCC candidate, why not give that a try?".

    We need someone of the caliber of Kitzhaber or DeFazio (people with political records who speak candidly and engage in dialogue with the public). I don't care if the person profiled in the post "Gordon Smith draws an early opponent" raises twice the money Gordon raises, I will not support him unless the runs a two way campaign--dialogue with ordinary folks, knows issues and legislation and Gordon's record backwards and forewards, willing to stand up in front of groups (like Marion County Democrats or Wyden's Jan. 1996 Ice Cream Socials) to answer questions on any and every issue any voter wants to ask about.

    The time has come to quit playing political games. No formula beats an incumbent like G. Smith--that is done the way Denny Smith was sent back to private life: quality candidate who builds enthusiasm and has a well organized campaign, willingness to ask voters for their vote rather than demanding it, hard work all the way down to the grass roots level, and luck never hurts! The person who will defeat Gordon Smith is the one which will earn votes from folks who don't blog, don't follow politics in March, and are more worried about friends, family, work, etc. than they are about a 2008 election.


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