Merkley News Roundup

News outlets took note of Jeff Merkley's entry into the Senate race.

First, from the Register-Guard:

Six months ago, the question many Oregon Democrats would have been asking is: "Jeff who?"

By the time the Legislature adjourned in June, Jeff Merkley had become known as the speaker who guided the Oregon House of Representatives through one of the most productive sessions in decades, and he did it with a one-vote Democratic majority. Those who doubt that a legislative leadership position can be a stepping stone to statewide office should recall that the man Merkley hopes to defeat in next year's elections, Republican Gordon Smith, launched his U.S. Senate career while president of the Oregon Senate.

Next, from the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

Merkley painted Republican incumbent Gordon Smith as out of step with most Americans and said, “I see the Senate campaign as a referendum on the future of the country.” ...

Merkley linked Smith’s voting record with the policies of the Bush administration and said he thought the senator was vulnerable on a number of issues, including the war in Iraq.

“Yes, Sen. Smith changed his position, but he changed his position immediately after an election that proved him to be out of synch with the vast majority of Americans,” Merkley said.

He said he would campaign on improving the economic condition of the middle class, reducing the national debt and making sure all Americans had access to health care.

And from the Oregonian:

Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, said she has listed the race as a likely win for the Republicans next year. But she said that can quickly change if Merkley is able to raise enough money to be competitive -- and President Bush's approval ratings remain at record lows.

"People say, 'Well, Bush is not on the ballot next year.' But Democrats are going to be able to put him on the ballot in the form of their advertising," she said. ...

Gary Conkling, a veteran Salem lobbyist and political analyst, said Smith remains a formidable incumbent. But he said he hasn't seen as bad a political environment for Republicans since the Watergate scandal led to huge Democratic congressional gains in 1974.

"That appears to be the calibration Jeff took, that this sweet spot doesn't come along very often," Conkling said.

Portland Republican consultant Dan Lavey, a close Smith adviser, agreed in an interview last week that it would be a tough race for the senator.

"This is going to be a challenging election under any circumstance," he said. "You've got an unpopular president, an unpopular war and a state that is trending more and more Democratic in electoral matters."

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    The more interesting sections from that O piece were the over-the-top reactions by the GOP:

    Tucker Bounds, a state Republican Party spokesman, scoffed at the idea the race would be a referendum on Bush. "This race is clearly about Gordon Smith versus Jeff Merkley," he said, adding that Smith has "shown his independence and fits the mold of mainstream Oregonians" while Merkley has been a "serial tax raiser" who is out of the mainstream.... Shawn Cleave, another GOP spokesman, said Merkley's charge was "hypocritical, disingenuous and factually inaccurate" since the speaker voted for a 2003 resolution that praised the troops and "the courage of President George W. Bush" while expressing "our support for the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein from power."

    You don't expect that kind of heat from a party that's sanguine about an election. "Hypocritical, disingenuous," "out of the mainstream." You don't think they're a little worried, do you?

  • spicey (unverified)
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    Portland Republican consultant Dan Lavey, a close Smith adviser, agreed in an interview last week that it would be a tough race for the senator.

    "This is going to be a challenging election under any circumstance," he said. "You've got an unpopular president, an unpopular war and a state that is trending more and more Democratic in electoral matters."

    I would re-write that last sentence thusly: You've got an unpopular president, an unpopular war, a neocon, Bush rubber-stamping Senator who is completely out of touch with Oregon voters and a state that is trending more and more Democratic in electoral matters.

  • (Show?)

    Why is Jeff saying Smith has changed his position? He's certainly not calling for an end to the war or for binding withdrawals...

  • (Show?)

    What I find troubling is that Novick agreed with the BS GOP frame that Merkley voted "for the Iraq war" which was pure spin. I am all for a competitive primary, but not one where either of our candidates throws GOP mud at the other.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: torridjoe | Aug 3, 2007 11:19:35 AM Why is Jeff saying Smith has changed his position? He's certainly not calling for an end to the war or for binding withdrawals...

    Agreed. Smith voted for the resolution for withdrawal once it was clear that it would not pull enough votes to get a cloture vote. In other words it was a safe vote because the cloture vote on the amendment to the defense authorization bill requiring withdrawal to begin wasn't going to get the required 60 votes. Smith claims he supports the underlying amendment (he is listed as a cosponsor) but your point is well taken. Smith has only voted to "being withdrawal" AFTER the 2006 election and only when the vote doesn't really count.

  • (Show?)

    I just wanted to clarify Steve's comments on this Iraq War resolution as it appears there may have been some confusion.

    The state GOP put out this attack and a reporter asked Steve - who had never heard of the resolution before - how he would have voted. Steve provided an honest answer:

    It's a resolution that quote 'acknowledges the courage of President George W Bush.' You would not have found me saying that the war in Iraq is a reflection of the courage of President George W Bush.

    The Novick campaign did not introduce this argument or attempt to "use" it as the story stated. He was asked whether he would have voted for it and he gave an honest answer, highlighting specifically what he would have found objectionable. (He also objected to the fact that the resolution recited, as fact, the Administration's "weapons of mass destruction" rationale for the war.) Steve realizes, of course, that this resolution was deliberately manufactured by Republican leadership to put Democrats in a terrible position: either vote for a resolution reciting the Bush administration's rationale for war, or be accused of not supporting the troops. Fortunately, now that Jeff is Speaker, Republicans don't get to do that anymore, and no one is happier about that than Steve.

    I hope that people do not see this as mudslinging and of course our campaign condemns efforts by any outside groups to try to dictate how Oregon Democrats should vote in this primary.

  • anon (unverified)
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    Keep it on topic Jake. This is supposed to be a pro Merkley discussion.

  • (Show?)

    Here is a complete transcript of then Rep. Jeff Merkley's floor speach on HR 2 during the 2003 Legislative Session.

    You can listen to it yourself here.

    Rep. Jeff Merkley Floor Speech on House Resolution 2 (As Delivered) March 21, 2003

    Colleagues, I have not been and am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources. But that is a conversation or a debate for another day.

    Today I rise to praise our young men and women serving our nation at great personal risk. Today we are not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal; we are Americans concerned about the safety and support of our troops.

    I praise our sons and daughters – their courage, their professionalism. I pray now that the fighting will be brief; that the casualties on both sides will be sparse; that international aid to rebuild Iraq will be swift and abundant; that the terrorist repercussions will be few or none; and that there will be a new Iraqi government soon that will rule with wisdom and will provide the opportunity and freedoms for every Iraqi citizen to survive.

    May that be the outcome.

    <h3></h3>
  • (Show?)

    Merkly and Novick people should make sure this race does not become an embarrasment for Oregon Democrats. The last thing we need is a sling fest between two good Democrats. I am sure the Smith people will be doing what they can to get Novick locked and cocked for the race.

    Beating Sen. Smith is what most important, the take away is an opprotunity for Oregon to have a sound discussion between two progressive leaders. Oregon wins if Merkly or Novick wins.

    I like Novick and Merkly, but I am committed to voting for the one that slings the least amount of mud regardless.

    Fred

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    "Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon: That we, the members of the House Representatives of the Seventy-second Legislative Assembly: (1) Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush, the President's cabinet and........"

    followed by the typical flag wrapping that the GOP is so good at. You coulda continued the resolution with any number of noble sentiments. I still would have voted "HELL NO!"

  • (Show?)

    I heartily second what Fred posted up-thread. I want to judge and cast my vote for the Democratic candidate who can best kick Smith in the political nuts, not wedge their fellow Democratic candidates in order to secure the nomination.

    Buying into and supporting GOP bullshit frames and spin (which is what Novick was doing) is NOT going to hold my support (FYI I have already raised several hundred dollars for Novick) and am also being supportive of Merkley (donated to him as well).

    To either/both campaigns.. you want my support... see if you can land the bigger haymaker against GORDON SMITH.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Gotta call this one like I see it Lestat. So you jumped on the Novick bandwagon when DeFazio declined by getting a half dozen friends to contribute. Now that Merkley's in the race, you're hedging your bets. Cool.

    Then you drop this stink bomb about Novick supposedly going all GOP over Merkley. Jake W. clarified the issue. (I followed his link to the original article. http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/opb/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1123631) There was no attempt by Novick to sling mud. Since you still seem to be suggesting this line, I can only conclude that it's your comments tripping the BS meter.

    Good job starting a sling fest.

  • (Show?)

    No anonymous.. I would be pleased with either Novick or Merkley as United States Senator as I think both are correct on the majority of issues, both are whip-smart and both would be vast improvements of Smith.

    It isn't an issue of hedging bets, but supporting good candidates for a vital office.

    I also was not slinging mud. I didn't force Novick to buy into and endorse GOP spin against Merkley, Novick did that on his own. I do not want to see an eat-your-own primary where the winner emerges bloodied and weakened since taking out an incumbent that will have at least a 2 to 1 money edge (if not more) no matter how much is raised by our side of the aisle. It is hard enough to unseat an incumbent as it is.

    Nothing BS about what I have said or what I have posted... no-name poster.

  • (Show?)

    "I didn't force Novick to buy into and endorse GOP spin against Merkley, Novick did that on his own. "

    I really don't follow this, Mitch. He was shown a resolution that contained language he didn't agree with, and said honestly "I never would have said that."

    Everybody agrees that the vote was a political arrangement--just like HJM9 was to call for an end to the war. Neither had any weight of enforcement. But you are still responsible for what you put your name to, in my opinion. I would never equate Jeff's Yes vote as a vote for war...never. His bonafides for opposing the war are relatively strong as far as I'm concerned. But there was clearly a political calculation there: do I vote Yes and try to explain that I don't approve of some of it, or vote No and try to explain that I think it was a sham vote? I think everyone would agree that it's much easier to vote No now than in 2003, but it was in fact possible to do so. Here are 5 members who did: Dingfelder, Greenlick, Kafoury, Nolan, Rosenbaum. Some of those filed explanations with their vote; I presume that option was open to everyone.

    In sum, the GOP's framing is ridiculous and pathetic (although sadly it may have some of the intended effect). But that doesn't preclude a more rational analysis of that vote. I'm not necessarily saying that analysis should become a factor in choosing a candidate--I'm only pointing out that there is a political consideration beyond what Karen Minnis tried to do.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    When fighting against a candidate like Gordo, there is no such thing as a bad Dem. However, after reading the link to the above OPB story I am going to donate money to Novick today because, at least for the moment, Novick sounds a lot less "Hillaryesque" than Merkley.

  • no-name poster (unverified)
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    Mitch, is it? "would be pleased with either Novick or Merkley"

    And you're donating money to both candidates? Sounds exactly like bet hedging to me, but on to your accusation that Novick bought into and endorsed GOP spin against Merkley. Are you just ignoring the evidence to the contrary posted since your original charge that Novick is attacking Merkley as having voted "for the Iraq war"? (A source for your quote would be quite nice.)

    Voting "for" the house resolution which would "Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush AND the President's cabinet" regardless of any red-white-and-blue floor speech (reminiscent of a Bush signing statement) was a mistake by Merkley. That said, so many of our politicians serving in 2003 disappointed us in the lead up to the Iraq invasion and onset of the occupation that it would be impossible to eliminate every one who did so from consideration for re-election or promotion.

    "I do not want to see an eat-your-own primary where the winner emerges bloodied and weakened since taking out an incumbent that will have at least a 2 to 1 money edge"

    Here's some free advice, not that you need it since you seem to have plenty of money to spread around (with the BS). Quit being like a typical Democratic establishment fence sitter and pick a single candidate to put your money behind. My hunch is you've already done so now that the DSCC has brought Merkley into the race... fake-name poster ;-)

  • (Show?)

    I don't see Novick's comments as an attack on Merkley, or as an acceptance of an "GOP frame." Steve was presented with a question, and he answered it. That's one of the things I like about Steve, is that when I've heard him answer questions, I feel like he actually answers them. I don't walk away and realize that what was said in response, was a smokescreen that deflected the issue. Novick would have voted differently than Merkley on that resolution, that's it.

    As for the allegation of lestatdelc, "hedging bets," I reject that too. Most of us were 90%+ sure that Merkley was going to enter the race, even if we didn't have "hard evidence" to support that belief. Anyone who raised money for Steve, raised money for Steve. I'm not, personally, going to raise money for both candidates during this primary, but I'm a pretty ardent Novick supporter.

    Can we please not make this a destructive primary on the THIRD DAY it's officially been a contested primary? If we're going to attack each other like this, we might as well not nominate anyone...

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)
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    I suggest the Democrats in this State take note of the Zogby poll that says only 3% approve of the way Congress has handled Iraq. 3%! I think the insurgents got a higher approval rating. The Dems were put into stop this war, and all the charade anti-war bills didn't fool anyone. The Dems rolled over and continued funding Iraq when they could have ended it with a pledge: Not one more cent for this disaster. They didn't have to worry about a veto - just stop funding the war. These two candidates have to prove to me that they aren't going to become sell-outs after they get elected. Take the pledge: Not one more cent for Iraq. All I read in these pages is Gordon Smith's flipping on Iraq, but the Dems should hold the mirror up to themselves. It's time to stop playing to the 3% who think you're doing a good job.

  • (Show?)

    Hey folks.... Let's not fall for the GOP gambit. They dropped this little turd precisely as an attempt at driving a wedge between Novick and Merkley.

    The fact is that Merkley was against this war from the start, as TJ notes above.

    Now, I'm working with and supporting Merkley - but I hung out with Novick today here in Chicago at YearlyKos. I think both men are decent and honorable guys, and I'm hopeful that we can keep this campaign on an even keel.

    If there are true disagreements on policy, then sure - let's have those debates honestly, fairly, and vigorously. But let's not fall for the GOP turd-dropping.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Aug 3, 2007 6:01:40 PM Hey folks.... Let's not fall for the GOP gambit. They dropped this little turd precisely as an attempt at driving a wedge between Novick and Merkley.
    Exactly Kari. I and everyone else here understands (or should if they look at what Merkley's actual pposition and views) that Merkley did not support the invasion and said so at the time. That the GOP dropped this turd out there, and Novick inadvertantly pushed it along, is exactly my point. I hope that Novick realizes this, learns from it, and recalibrates his guns and words more precisely at Smith because his quotes were coupled with and plays into the media narrative as supporting the GOP frame. That frame being that Merkely opposing Smith over the war is "hypocritical" because of the resolution being cited.
  • (Show?)

    While you might not have to worry about a veto, there are other things to worry about, such as:

    • Bush vetoing or refusing to sign any other bills until the bill he wants to fun Iraq comes through

    • Forcing Congress to come back after adjournment. The White House is already threatening this on a bill to allow them even more ability to spy on people.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    "That the GOP dropped this turd out there, and Novick inadvertantly pushed it along, is exactly my point."

    There you go again Mitch. People tell ya to leave it alone and you gotta continue the piss fest. Which is stupid, cuz this reflects worse on your guy Merkley. Either you didn't bother to research the issue or you are deliberately spinning for Merkley.

    The facts...

    Fact: Merkley supports the troops. (Don't we all.) Fact: Merkley voted for House Res 2 which praised the "COURAGE" of George W. Bush. Opinion: The smarter move would have been to vote against the resolution and explain your principled vote in a floor speech. Fact: Merkley did the opposite. Fact: Merkley was not accused by Novick of supporting the war. (contrary to your mud slinging, Mitch) Fact: Novick gave his heartfelt reaction in response to a reporter's question regarding a resolution he had not previously contemplated. He did NOT seek to smear Merkley with the Speaker's vote IN FAVOR of acknowledging George W. Bush's "COURAGE!" ('course he wasn't Speaker at the time. Merkley just fell for the GOP's trap.)

  • (Show?)

    I don't see Steve saying that Jeff did one thing or another. I only see Steve saying that he, Steve, would not have voted for a resolution containing specific language.

    That's hardly an attack on Jeff. It is not tantamount to an "attack" on your opponent to state truthfully that you would have voted against X, no matter which way your opponent voted.

    I've said elsewhere on BlueO that I expect the ideological differences between Novick and Merkley to be insignificant to most voters -- that stylistic distinctions will be a bigger deal. Here is a distinction that is both substantive AND stylistic. It will be up to each voter to decide how authentically revealing and important it seems to him or her.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: anonymous | Aug 3, 2007 10:08:00 PM There you go again Mitch. People tell ya to leave it alone and you gotta continue the piss fest. Which is stupid, cuz this reflects worse on your guy Merkley. Either you didn't bother to research the issue or you are deliberately spinning for Merkley.

    Not continuing the piss fest. Pointing out that Kari gets what I am talking about does not make it a piss fest. Read the way this plays over at OPB. Steve is inadvertanly helping the GOP frame to wedge Merkley and Steve:

    Republicans are pointing to a vote in 2003, a few days after the invasion of Iraq. The Oregon House approved a non-binding resolution in the support of American troops. The resolution also "acknowledged the courage of President George W Bush" and "expressed support for the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein". Most Democrats voted for the resolution, as did Merkley. But when he spoke on the floor of the House back then, Merkley said he was voting to support the troops. Jeff Merkley: "I have not been and am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources. But that is a conversation or a debate for another day." But Novick says he would have voted against the measure. Steve Novick: "It's a resolution that quote 'acknowledges the courage of President George W Bush.' You would not have found me saying that the war in Iraq is a reflection of the courage of President George W Bush." And Republicans want to use that vote against Merkley too. Shawn Cleave with the Oregon Republican Party doesn't buy Merkley's statement that he voted to support the troops, not the war.

    The media narrative here is Novick validating the GOP attack on Merkley that it would be hypocritical to attack him on the war. A lot of people will read it as Merkley supported the war. All of us here understand it isn't an accurate reflection f Novick or Merkley, but that is precisely my point. Because of Novick's tack on this, it is being used to dishonestly attack Merkley.

    That said, I do find it pathetic that because I dare point out that Steve needs to better calibrate what he says, that suddnenly makes Merkley "my guy". Not spinning for Merkley nor do I need to do "more research". I am making a valid point at how Novick's comments are rolled into the GOP frame in the media narrative which reads as Novick validating the GOP attack on Merkley.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    "Not continuing the piss fest."

    I guess i can't believe my own eyes then.

    "Pointing out that Kari gets what I am talking about does not make it a piss fest."

    No, your continued (ridiculous) attacks make it a piss fest.

    "The media narrative here is Novick validating the GOP attack on Merkley"

    You're the one desperately trying to make this dead dog hunt.

    "A lot of people will read it as Merkley supported the war."

    Sucks for your guy, dudn't it?

    "Because of Novick's tack on this, it is being used to dishonestly attack Merkley."

    Possibly, but certainly NOT by Novick. So maybe it's time for you to build a bridge and get over it.

    "I do find it pathetic that because I dare point out that Steve needs to better calibrate what he says, that suddnenly makes Merkley my guy."

    Finally something we agree on. Your comments here are pathetic, and will in fact drive progressive voters away from your candidate. Merkley made a mistake by voting for a resolution in praise of Bush (in the context of the Iraq war). No doubt, the GOP will use this to blur the chasm between Merkley and Smith. (Your stubbornness also ties Merkley to the same class of establishment-Dem that helped get us into this mess. Maybe the GOP should pay YOU, and the circle of campaign cash will be complete.)

    "Novick's comments are rolled into the GOP frame in the media narrative which reads as Novick validating the GOP attack on Merkley."

    Maybe you need to spend less money on politics and a bit more on reading lessons Mitch. Now to the buffet!

  • (Show?)

    "I pray now that the fighting will be brief; that the casualties on both sides will be sparse; that international aid to rebuild Iraq will be swift and abundant; that the terrorist repercussions will be few or none; and that there will be a new Iraqi government soon that will rule with wisdom and will provide the opportunity and freedoms for every Iraqi citizen to survive."

    I'll vote for Merkley in a heartbeat over Smith, but "praying" that good stuff would happen in Iraq when the Iraq War had disaster written all over it from the beginning --and a lot of folks knew that-- doesn't impress me very much as showing good judgment. This war didn't have to have to happen, the misery and death didn't have to happen, the breeding ground for terrorism didn't have to happen, if more Democrats had shown some spine, and opposed this war from the beginning instead of "triangulating" their positions.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    GOP turd or not, Merkley voted for a resolution that would make any Oregon Democrat with a conscience gag.

    So Merkley didn't support the war, but he did cave in to the political calculations to acknowledge the COURAGE of George W. Bush. It was simply a political calculation.

    The Iraq War resolution taught us what happens when good people cave in to political and election calculations, rather than voting what they know is right.

    We've already got enough of that in Washington. It's time for a change. Steve Novick is that change.

  • (Show?)

    Pat, he said no such thing.

    Colleagues, I have not been and am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources. But that is a conversation or a debate for another day. Today I rise to praise our young men and women serving our nation at great personal risk. Today we are not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal; we are Americans concerned about the safety and support of our troops.

    Remember, this was two days after the war started - and it was a vote to express support for troops in the field.... which we all support, right?

    Full disclosure: I built JeffMerkley.com, but I speak only for myself.

  • (Show?)

    it was a vote to express support for troops in the field.... which we all support, right?

    It the mission is wrong --and this mission was and remains terribly wrong-- then saluting the Commander-in-Chief who crafted it is not supporting the troops. It's sending them to an inglorious death. Consequences matter, not lofty rhetoric.

    I listened to much of the comments thanks to the link that was provided. Listening to some of the other speeches, its hard to distinguish the republicans and the democrats. Which is precisely what Merkley alludes to: "Today we're not Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal..."

    Sorry, but we're there is a difference of principle --or there should be-- between the parties, and ideologies. Or, I suppose, we can all hold hands and play ring around the flag that the Bush supporters have wrapped around themselves, like Superman's cape, and tremble in fear at being seen as anti-troop by arguing against sending our troops to their deaths. But what kind of logic is that? And what kind of principles?

    There's a time to rally around the flag and around the Commander-in-Chief. But an unnecessary war of pre-emption, aggression, and stupidity is not that time.

  • (Show?)

    Consequences matter, not lofty rhetoric.

    Yeah, except there are absolutely no hard consequences for a silly House Memorial expressing an opinion -- except for use in attack ads. Which y'all are letting the Republicans get away with here.

    I'm done arguing about this stupid little turd of a press release from the Oregon GOP.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Remember, this was two days after the war started - and it was a vote to express support for troops in the field.... which we all support, right?

    Not necessarily. That support must be qualified and quantified. First of all, the troops were participating in an illegal war so we shouldn't have supported them in this regard. On the other hand most lacked the education and intelligence to realize they were participating in an illegal war. In that regard, we should have shown our support for the troops and continue to do so by trying to bring military operations to a quick end and getting the troops out of Iraq ASAP and bringing some semblance of justice to those responsible for this illegal war.

    It is a long-standing tradition in nations for the people to cheer the troops in the first days as they march off to war. This is almost always followed by another tradition of regretting cheering the troops on as they marched off to face the horrors that go with all wars and return victims of wars' attendant barbarisms in body bags or wheelchairs or in desperate need of psychological care. And, with rare exceptions wars do much more harm than the good they are supposed to achieve. Woodrow Wilson's "war to end all wars" and Britain's "Great War for Civilization" were anything but.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    " there are absolutely no hard consequences for a silly House Memorial expressing an opinion"

    HRes 2: "We, the members of the House Representatives of the Seventy-second Legislative Assembly: Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush"

    I don't know if I would describe this resolution as "silly." Though "naive" is how I would describe the statement that supporting this resolution will have no hard consequences. With so little distinguishing Novick and Merkley, hardcore anti-war democrats are more likely to support Novick. Most of us aren't single issue voters, though. It's was foolish for Mitch to try and tar Novick with this issue. If anything, he's served to drop Merkley's cred with "liberals".

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    most lacked the education and intelligence to realize they were participating in an illegal war.

    Bill, i agreed with the entire sentiment of your comment, but this part made be bristle. Even if you had data supporting the assumption above, it feeds into the GOP spin that Dems are out of touch braniacs. Already i've seen the headlines pitching the Democratic primary as the battle of the "Smart Kids." (And you have to know the GOP trolls here are loving the food fight!) I'm with those right now saying let this pass.

  • anon (unverified)
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    "Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon: That we, the members of the House Representatives of the Seventy-second Legislative Assembly: (1) Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush, the President's cabinet and........"

    No consequences you say? Imagine the push poll in the general election. "Would you be more or less likely to vote for Jeff Merkley knowing he voted in favor of a House Resolution acknowledging the courage of President George W. Bush?" Better yet, post a poll here and formulate it as sympathetic as possible for Merkley's sake. Consequences, shmonsequences is what you want to say. I wonder what a fair sampling of your blog readers would say?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    most lacked the education and intelligence to realize they were participating in an illegal war.

    Bill, i agreed with the entire sentiment of your comment, but this part made be bristle. Even if you had data supporting the assumption above, it feeds into the GOP spin that Dems are out of touch braniacs.

    First of all, I'm not a Democrat. I'm a staunch independent but will re-register to vote for Steve Novick in the primary.

    Now, about the troops. If they were well educated and intelligent they should have realized they were participating in an illegal war. If that is the case, then we have to consider the possibility they lacked the moral courage to refuse to obey an illegal order in accordance with the Nuremberg principles and the Geneva Conventions on war. Only a few have had the courage to resist.

    I spent over 20 years involved in one way or another with military people and met many fine men and women in the process; however, all of them are taught to follow orders and to believe and obey their superiors without question, and they are under great pressure to always do so. Very few have independent thoughts. To some degree, we have to respect the troops for that and recognize the problem lies with the upper links of the chain of command who give illegal orders.

    Most of the troops in the military have only a high school education, which isn't all that much, and now we have some being accepted with criminal records. When I was in the military comic books were among the most popular reading material. Apparently, for their 21st Century counterparts video games have replaced comic books as the most popular form of mental recreation. How enlightened about politics and history do you think they are?

    Most of us in the older age brackets thought we were pretty smart when we were in our late teens and early twenties but now some of us realize how naive we were. What has happened with the younger generation to make them more enlightened? I submit very little, if anything. They might have more information available to them, but they have more distractions to be consumers instead of informed citizens. Fortunately, there are some in the younger generation, such as those that get on The Bus, but they are in a distinct minority.

  • Yvonne P (unverified)
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    Merkeley is a taxer who likes to spend other people's money. This is why I cannot vote for him, regardless his social positions (which I favor). I'd sooner vote for a social conservative than a tax-raiser -- my taxes are too high already. They need to be lowered, not raised as Merkeley will.

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    Just to re-note: 5 Democrats did not vote for that resolution. And some of them submitted statements explaining their vote.

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    Let's look at what Steve said again:

    "It's a resolution that quote 'acknowledges the courage of President George W Bush.' You would not have found me saying that the war in Iraq is a reflection of the courage of President George W Bush."

    By all indications, this was presented to him by a reporter at OPB, not a Republican operative trying to start a "food fight."

    In the same article, linked to by Jake above, Steve says,

    "I think people should vote for me because I will beat Gordon Smith and I will work for Oregonians on the important issues. And I'm not going to say a bad word against Jeff Merkley. I will continue to campaign for Senate and against Gordon Smith."

    I do not believe that Steve intended for his comment to be construed as criticism of anyone who voted for it, merely that he would not have. Jake, Steve's campaign manager, has already asserted that.

    If the media wants to spin this, then they're going to. If the GOP wants to make a mountain out of a molehill, then they can. But can we, please, not.

    Jeff and Steve are going to have differences of opinion on issues, and they differ in terms of style. That's what a primary is for. I'm happy to be made aware of differences, and I think we can dismiss media/GOP spin as just that.

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    Let's look at what Steve said again:

    "It's a resolution that quote 'acknowledges the courage of President George W Bush.' You would not have found me saying that the war in Iraq is a reflection of the courage of President George W Bush."

    By all indications, this was presented to him by a reporter at OPB, not a Republican operative trying to start a "food fight."

    In the same article, linked to by Jake above, Steve says,

    "I think people should vote for me because I will beat Gordon Smith and I will work for Oregonians on the important issues. And I'm not going to say a bad word against Jeff Merkley. I will continue to campaign for Senate and against Gordon Smith."

    I do not believe that Steve intended for his comment to be construed as criticism of anyone who voted for it, merely that he would not have. Jake, Steve's campaign manager, has already asserted that.

    If the media wants to spin this, then they're going to. If the GOP wants to make a mountain out of a molehill, then they can. But can we, please, not.

    Jeff and Steve are going to have differences of opinion on issues, and they differ in terms of style. That's what a primary is for. I'm happy to be made aware of differences, and I think we can dismiss media/GOP spin as just that.

  • observer (unverified)
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    Full disclosure: I built JeffMerkley.com, but I speak only for myself.

    Yea, but because you have a business relationship with the Merkley campaign through Mandate Media, if you continue to comment positively about Merkley on Blue Oregon there is legitimate reason to believe that you are obligated to report that use of Blue Oregon as a dollar-valued donation-in-kind to Merkley based on your standard hourly billing rates You are running a private business that is closely controlled by you, and we know how much you argue here that contribution practices and limits to candidates by private corporations should be strictly regulated.

    Merkley poses a big problem for us as Democrats: He has been a legislative leader for many years now, and out of the box in this campaign has demonstrated why he has not been a convincing leader. In the first several days he has only had mealy-mouthed vacuous platitudes what he stands for in the comments I have heard and read. He has a record, and that record is that all to often he is vague to the point of appearing as nothing more than duplicitous, self-serving politician when it comes to specifics on key issues like health care reform. He has led the legislative agenda for a session (or so he now claims), and cast several votes on supposed health care reforms and yet he has had nothing substantive to say in that first burst into the media spotlight as a Senate candidate. He missed a key opportunity that some of you losers and poor excuses for Democrats will make much worse and set a disreputable pattern for his campaign by rationalizing.

    I personally hope for an aggressive campaign in which the candidates and voters drill all of the candidates on both sides like Michelle Griffin nailed slimebag Romney in NH the other day. Only in that way can we take real measure of all of the candidates.

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    One of two things are happening here: 1. Novick's supporters plan to use the web (and this space in particular) to make anonymous, vague attacks. 2. Republicans with too much time on their hands are having a few laughs (Psst... you should use that time to try to convince some legislators to actually run again.

    The only way we will know which is if "observer," "anon," and friends actually gut up and identify themselves. I don't think they will. I think these folks are just trolling low-rent GOP staffers, but that is mainly because I give a shitload of benefit-of-the-doubt to grassroots Democrats in Oregon.

    Either way, Merkley's campaign is three days old, but the Republican talking points are still left over from 1994.

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    Actually, us Novick supporters plan nothing of the kind.

    There may be individuals out there who plan to do that on their own, but that's a personal thing that can't be controlled by anyone but themselves (and of course those with the ability to edit/delete posts on here).

    Disclosure: I work on the Novick for U.S. Senate web site, but I do not speak for the campaign.

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    The Republicans are going to say and do all kinds of desperate $%*# to try and save Smith's bacon during the next 15 months. There is nothing any of us can do about that, and I recommend ignoring them.

    In the meanwhile, on the D side, Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley are running against each other. It is necessary for each of them to distinguish himself from the other in order to persuade voters to choose him in the primary. This involves the drawing of contrasts where that is possible. They will both do it and it is perfectly legitimate. There are plenty of ways to do this, and it certainly doesn't have to constitute "mud-slinging" or "negative campaigning."

    Steve says he will not "say a bad word against Jeff Merkley" and so far he has not. Let's hope Jeff is willing to make and honor the same commitment. But we can't expect them to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya."

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    George Bush is the worst president in history.

    Anyone who says different will not have my vote.

    I think it's time to make a clear delineation between Democrats and Republicans.

    Is there a problem with that?

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    Merkley's 2003 vote is a contrived issue. Turd droppings, as Kari eloquently put it.

    Look, I'm not a Dem and have no axe to grind on that issue. I've been four square against W's Folly since I first heard the idea floated shortly after 9/11 and arguably have a monster axe to grind on that issue. And I've never voted against Gordon Smith before now. If Merkley's vote really were indicative of political grandstanding then it ought to resonate with me because that is precisely the kind of thing that has long been a pet peeve of mine. It doesn't! The whole thing is contrived, textbook demagoguery by the Oregon GOP.

    As for Novick v. Merkley... I could comfortably vote for either of them come the General Election. Both candidates strike me as competent and qualified. More importantly, both candidates strike me as more honest, intellectually and otherwise, than Mr. Smith.

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    To "observer": I won't dignify your anonymous attack with a detailed response, other than to say that you're wrong -- logically, factually, and (most definitely) legally.

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    Jenni: I should have been more clear. I think that these anonymous trolls are simply GOP operatives or activists. I think this precisely because I have a great deal of respect for the groups of people (progressive activists, grassroots Democrats, etc.) from whom I assume Novick's primary bid is drawing much of its active support.

    Again, this goes back to Kari's eloquent turd analogy. Who is most likely to have dropped that turd in the progressive punch bowl that is Blue Oregon? Why the ORGOP, of course.

    But the most ridiculous thing here is Republicans attempting to draw attention to Iraq. He who smelt it dealt it, jackass.

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    "If Merkley's vote really were indicative of political grandstanding"

    I don't think that's what's being suggested here, though. I think the question left over is whether the vote is indicative of political cover-taking. It wasn't a vote for war, but the vote still featured a choice and while some Democrats did vote against it, most--including Merkley--voted yes.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    I hope both Hillary and Merkley get the dem nod for 2008. Most dems in DC voted to give Bush the power to invade and occupy Iraq. Most dems in Salem voted to acknowledge Bush's courage in using that congressionally given power to invade Iraq. The DC dems now in power continue to fund the occupation of Iraq. The circle of wimpishness is complete.

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    Torrid,

    The GOP troll who commented after you illustrates perfectly why it's a contrived issue. The vote to give Bush a blank check was legislation and there you only get a yes or no because all legislation has very real legal/constitutional consequences. It's an inherently all or nothing proposition. The 2003 vote in Salem couldn't be more fundamentally different. The entire point of a non-binding resolution is simply to express a point for the record. It's formalized rhetoric, nothing more. Merkley did that. Not only with the vote but also by very publically making very clear exactly what point he wanted to express.

    Personally I respect Steve's reasons for disagreeing with the vote, as I do those legislators who voted against it. But I have an equal respect for Merkley and any others who voted for it AND very publically distinguished between what exactly they supported and what exactly they didn't. Any who may have just thrown up their hands and voted in favor without making any distinctions clear to Oregonians are the only ones who would in my mind demonstrated wimpishness. Period.

    You may see it differently and that's fine. This is how I see it and there is no ambiguity about the issue in my mind. Merkley's handling of the issue was honorable, ethical and respectable IMHO.

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    Posted by: anonymous | Aug 4, 2007 4:16:56 AM

    Wow. You are not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong on every single statement you posted. Well done.

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    Here's what I think: in 2003 an awful lot of Democrats were trying to inoculate themselves against criticism that they were weak or soft on issues relating to terrorism, or perhaps even insufficiently patriotic, because of Republican attacks and talking points along those lines. Along comes this non-binding resolution. A Democrat voting "aye" might hope to take some cover from such a vote. Or perhaps there were other good and sufficient reasons to vote for it.

    Some Democrats in the legislature (five, it appears) did vote against the resolution. In my own view, for someone who opposed the Iraq invasion, a no vote was an act of some political courage.

    Others, including Jeff Merkley, voted in favor of it. It might be interesting to hear why.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Stephanie, your wish is my command!

    Progressives in Oregon would have been better served if Merkley had clarified his vote in favor of House Res 2 in the official record. I found 4 such official statements, 2 from members voting 'aye' and 2 'nay' voters. They all made clear their opposition to the pre-emptive war debacle and/or Bush.

    Whereas Barnhart was correct in noting "It does not say President Bush's policy is correct or that this body supports the war," the resolution did explicitly acknowledge the "courage" of George W. Bush

    Rosenbaum and Dingfelder both had the following quote inserted into the official record. "I could not vote for HR 2 because of the provision that 'acknowledges' the courage of the President in seeking the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. In my view, such an acknowledgement implies endorsement of an inept and unilateralist foreign policy that has severely damaged the international institutions and working relationships that have served America so well in the past.

    Given the timing of the vote, you've got to hand it to these legislators. Why aren't they in the running against Gordon Smith?

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I don't often quote myself, but...

    Why aren't they in the running against Gordon Smith?

    Dateline today...

    Why I'm running for Oregon State Senate

    US Senate, Rep. Dingfelder... US Senate :)

    Good for you!

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    The Senate race has a long ways to go and neither Novick or Merkly has said or done anything that would get in the way of beating Smith yet and that is just my point. Lets not allow anything to get in the way of beating Smith. Keep their campaigns focusing on issues and not splitting hairs.

    Fred

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