Over at MyDD, Congressman Earl Blumenauer reflects on his latest visits around the country helping out Democratic challengers -- along with some thoughts on the Mark Foley page scandal.
The next day I was in New York with Mike Arcuri, an impressive three-term prosecutor running in a district represented by moderate Republican Sherry Boehlert, who is not seeking re-election. The Republicans have been throwing everything at Mike in a desperate attempt to hold on to the seat. Mike's proven credentials dealing with sex abuse investigations and sexual predators give him the skills to help deal with an appropriate resolution to the current problems in Washington.
And later, in Vermont...
Day Four was in Vermont where State Senate President Peter Welch is working hard to retain the seat being vacated by Bernie Sanders (an odds-on favorite to be elected to the US Senate). Peter and I had a series of events, including a fantastic forum on agriculture with Vermont farmers deeply disturbed by current policies and who are working hard on a vision of a sustainable farm future. We obtained great advice on ways the Federal government could make a difference for them, both policy guidance and practical advice. One highlight was a tour of an energy efficient digester to recycle animal waste.
While the news was filled with the growing finger-pointing, charges and countercharges about the Foley scandal, I could not help but think of the article in the New York Times titled "New Campaign Ads Have a Theme: Don't Be Nice." The article pointed out while Democrats have concentrated on the political records of Republicans, the Republicans have zeroed in more on candidates personal backgrounds.
Tom Reynolds, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said his investigators have been delving into the lives of prospective Democratic challengers since the summer of 2005. "These candidates have been out there doing other things, they have never seen anything like this before," Mr. Reynolds said and he promised, "We haven't even begun to unload this freight train."
Democrats are learning just how deep the Republicans have been digging. I could only think that if Mr. Reynolds had spent less time digging for dirt on the personal lives on Democratic candidates, and more time dealing with what he and his staff knew about some of their own candidates, he and the GOP leadership could have been spared a lot of grief with this storm of outrage about Foley. It seems incredible to me that the head of the NRCC would be in the chain of information before the House Page Board or the House Ethics Committee. I was in Mr. Reynolds district when he had his bizarre press conference, surrounded by dozens of children in the arms of their parents, shielding Reynolds from reporters asking him tough questions. Maybe if he had been asking tough questions about his own colleagues and tough questions to deal with the Page Program, he wouldn't be in this fix in the first place.
Despite how interesting and important the campaign swing was, it was good to return home, arriving just in time to take part in the Greek Festival Friday night. Nothing is better for the soul than a quintessential Portland community experience.
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