Merkley discusses the 2003 vote; calls for troop withdrawals "starting immediately"

The Associated Press has comments from Jeff Merkley, responding directly to critics of his 2003 vote on HR 2.

Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley says he has no regrets about his 2003 vote on an Iraq war resolution that has become an issue in his campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith. ...

Merkley, in an interview with The Associated Press, fended off criticism he's gotten on the subject from Republicans as well as his Democratic challenger, Steve Novick.

"I wanted to stand up and say I disagree completely with the decision to go to this war, but I honor the sacrifice and the dedication and the courage of our troops," Merkley said Monday.

The Portland Democrat also said that having U.S. troops in Iraq "is not helping" that country and he would advocate bringing the troops home, "starting immediately."

"I don't think our troops will or should have a significant role in the country," Merkley said. "Our troops need to get out."

Read the rest. Discuss.

Comments

  • Taoiseach (unverified)
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    This broke around lunchtime and none of the commenters on the other threads bothered to pick it up.

    See what the Boundary has to say about Merkley's remarks. Or don't. It really doesn't matter now that he's clarified his intent when he voted.

    Oh wait. He did that on March 21, 2003 too (the day of the vote).

    You can expect Jeff Merkley to do his homework and speak proudly of his findings.

    The post is here.

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    It really doesn't matter now

    Whew, that's a relief!

  • Harry (unverified)
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    <h2>"This broke around lunchtime and none of the commenters on the other threads bothered to pick it up."</h2>

    Isn't that called 'letting him twist in the wind?'

    I was surprised that Jeff waited so long to respond. Kinda reminds one of that Mass Senator who lost to the bozo chimp, eh? Is Jeff gonna get swift boated by Smith just like Kerry?

    I think Steve did a good job stating his case with his own words in his own post. It shows he understands new media (wow, that's a 90's phrase!), he understands that his race is being waged for the hearts of the party influencers, and he is not afraid to speak to them in their own language and turf (BlueOregon).

    I can't believe that Jeff did not respond right here in the BlueOregon community (either via comments in Steve's entry, or his own entry) within 30mins of Steve's post. To me, that shows that Jeff is: - not a fighter, much less a street fighter - clueless about the internet and those weblog thingies - not taking Steve seriously

    Pick your favorite... any of the above means that Jeff will get blindsided... never seeing where that left hook came from!! (hint, it didn't come from the right side!)

  • (Show?)

    - not a fighter, much less a street fighter - clueless about the internet and those weblog thingies

    Oh come on... You can say all you want about this particular vote and the responses to the GOP's stupidity... that's been argued ad nauseum around here...

    But let's not go making shit up.

    Under Jeff Merkley, the Oregon House Democrats finally started fighting back against the GOP majority.

    And, since you're talking about my work, Jeff Merkley led the first legislative caucus in the nation where the entire caucus blogged - way back in 2005. The 2006 campaign to take back the Oregon House was a statewide grassroots and netroots campaign.

    Jeff Merkley's street-fighter instinct and net-savviness is exactly what led to the 2006 takeover. In two cycles under his leadership, they picked up six seats and sent Karen Minnis, Wayne Scott, and Chuck Adams packing.

    Did you know that and ignore it? Or forget it? Or are you new around here?

    [Full disclosure - My company has provided internet services and strategic consulting to the Oregon House Democrats since 2004 and is now doing the same for Merkley for Senate. As always, I speak for no one but myself.]

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Kari Chisholm, the Merkley operative, makes a number of good points in suggesting that Merkley's reaction to this flap about the resolution hardly demonstrates his cluelessness when it comes to politics and the web. Still, what this episode does demonstrate is that while Merkley may be an upgrade to Smith, he is no Steve Novick.

    Novick has challenged Merkley to make a number of joint appearances so that they can demonstrate conclusively -- not via paid operatives, like Chisholm -- who the real street fighter is. I think any objective observer knows the answer. Novick is a rare breed in American politics: a brilliant man, beholden to no one, who feels compelled to fight with fire for the truth and the little guy. While the Merkleys of the world cast a lot of good votes and can even muster a legislative coup or two, they also make you yawn. Novick, by contrast, makes you want to stand up and pump your fist. Washington needs people like Steve, and now more than ever. He would shake things up that desperately need shaking.

    I don't fault Chisholm for supporting Merkely -- after all, Jeff is paying her company for the support. But why would other Oregon Democrats, particularly progressive Democrats, ignore the opportunity to elect such a unique and inspired fighter like Novick? Just picture him on the national news shows, speaking truth to power in a way that simply can't be ignored. If that image doesn't appeal to you, I suggest you consider what it is that turned you on about politics in the first place.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Harry, what do you mean, took so long to respond? Novick swore he never even brought it up. And you can't compare this to swift-boating. It wasn't even an attack, remember?

    And Daniel, I'm not opposed to Novick, despite how polarized this particular issue made the race. But I'm also grounded enough to realize that Novick is not a character in a Frank Capra movie.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    No, James, Novick is not a character in a Frank Capra movie. He's a guy who graduated from Harvard Law School, with honors, at the age of 21. He's a guy who has worked in Washington, D.C. for years -- he's breathed the air in that town, he knows its pulse. He wouldn't be depending on some script writer to bail him out unrealistically and romantically. He would get the job done the old fashioned way -- with knowledge of the issues, an excellent sense of humor, a great appreciation for human psychology and an IQ even bigger than, oh I don't know, Frank Capra's.

    Maybe you're more grounded than I am, James. I'll concede that. But again, I'm a progressive. I'm allowed to dream. I haven't drunk the Kool Aid that must have been handed out during the Clinton years, suggesting that the best that progressives can do is fight back against the reactionaries and hope that, somehow, we can preserve the status quo (plus tinker a bit around the edges). I still believe, naively perhaps, in the possibility of real, honest-to-God change. And to implement that change, we need real, honest-to-God inspiring politicians -- not simply machine candidates whose best argument is "I've been effective and I'm not a Republican."

    Yawn.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    First of all, that resolution had nothing to do with honoring the troops, and anybody with an ounce of honesty in their soul knows that. It was about exploiting the troops' sacrifice for cheap political gain.

    If they wanted to honor the troops, they could have simply said so without tying that vote to loaded partisan political statements. Instead they USED the troops to put democrats who opposed the war over a barrel. That's not honoring them, Jeff, that's exploiting them, and the decent thing to do was to not participate in that exploitation but rather to expose it for what it was. That wold have been the best way to honor the sacrifice of the troops. Merkley chose the cheap, easy and expedient way out. Just vote for it.

    The fact that Merkley has not "lowered" himself to respond to democratic primary voters' concerns directly suggest he could be the type of play-it-safe, over-consulted establishment Democrat who has dissapointed us all so many times before.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    "Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley says he has no regrets about his 2003 vote on an Iraq war resolution"

    I was kind of jesting yesterday about Merkley and signing statements but now we have it out the horse's mouth. Merkley embraces the M.O. of voting one way but believing/saying something else. I hope that November '08 gives blue Oregonians a choice other than politicians as usual.

  • (Show?)

    If John Kerry can apologize for a vote, why can't Jeff Merkley?

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    To Daniel

    Kari is a HE.

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    I think it's worth pointing out that the story "in the news" actually begins with a somewhat fuller lede than the one Kari quotes above.

    Kari quotes the story as follows:

    Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley says he has no regrets about his 2003 vote on an Iraq war resolution that has become an issue in his campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith. ...

    Merkley, in an interview with The Associated Press, fended off criticism he's gotten on the subject from Republicans as well as his Democratic challenger, Steve Novick.

    That ellipsis is convenient because the paragraph between the two quoted reads as follows:

    The nonbinding House resolution, approved as the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq, voiced support for U.S. troops, but also praised "the courage of President George W. Bush" and supported "the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein."

    It's good that readers of the AP article (which is to say, the voters) are getting a fuller version of the story.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    That ellipsis is convenient because the paragraph between

    That's because Kari is trying to obfuscate an inconvenient truth. And when that fails, you can flat out lie. Rhis morning in his weekly KPOJ interview, the chief editor of "the biggest blog in Oregon" said (with a "straight" face - if that's even possible on the radio) that the GOP "got all the Democrats to vote for [George W. Bush's courage]"

    Kari knows well that 5 legislators had the courage to do what Speaker Merkley did not. They were able to express their support for the troops without falling for Karen Minnis's trap.

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    Daniel Spiro, Jeff is paying her company for the support.

    Um, Danny buddy, I'm a guy. Don't worry about it, happens all the time. Not too often on a blog where my picture is all over the place - but no worries.

    Welcome to BlueOregon. Take a look around.

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    Thom, please don't make the mistake of assuming that I write all the "in the news" items here at BlueOregon. I don't. This isn't my blog. We have two other co-editors here and lots of contributors. You're minimizing their contributions when you assume that I write everything on this blog. I don't.

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    Kari, I also assumed it was your post. If it was not, I apologize for attributing it to you incorrectly.

    The underlying point remains, of course.

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    "I was surprised that Jeff waited so long to respond."

    That's a little absurd, isn't it? The initial story came out over the weekend, he responded MONDAY.

    "But I'm also grounded enough to realize that Novick is not a character in a Frank Capra movie."

    True--he's nowhere as naive as Jefferson Smith was*.

    *not the Bus genius; the Capra character.

  • Who Posted This Thread (unverified)
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    Who posted this thread?

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    Anyone have the full text of the 2003 statement Merkley made about the resolution?

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    Ahh, I see it on the other thread.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    One of the problems with people saying they supported the troops at the beginning of the war was that people on both sides of the debate - anti-war and pro-war - were saying the same thing: "We support the troops." The words were the same, but the meanings had to be different. Unfortunately, very few defined what they meant. It was a good bet to assume that the pro-war crowd meant helping get them on aircraft to fly to the war zone in the Middle East, but they didn't seem to care that the troops were going in insufficient numbers under incompetent leadership and without sufficient supplies and equipment - including armor for their bodies and vehicles. Some support!! With supporters like that who needs enemies?

    What did the anti-war crowd mean when they said, "We support the troops"? Not much, because in this war and as in all previous wars the mass of people feel compelled to make gestures of support because they are intimidated by the mob. And so, like the pro-war gang they essentially went along with the troops walking up aircraft gangways that would inevitably mean thousands of them would return on another flight in caskets or medi-vac planes.

    If the troops understood they were participating in an illegal war, they should have refused to climb on board those flights to Iraq and the anti-war people should then have shouted, "We support you." If the troops didn't realize they were participating in an illegal war, those against the war should have told the troops so and let them know that those opposed to the war would support them if and when they got around to refusing to fight in an illegal war as the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles required them to do.

    With the troops hearing both sides shout, "We support the troops" the more thoughtful among them must have wondered what the hell America was saying.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Merkley's vote for the Republican's resolution was unfortunate, but it is not grounds for condemning him or dismissing his abilities. Every legislator [probably even Joanne Bowman and Dennis Kucinich] have cast votes based on political calculus. Merkley's vote is a problem for running against Smith in this election cycle in particular. In the strange and sordid world of politics in general, it's a minor smudge.

  • (Show?)

    {meta}actually, Kari DID post this entry.

    You can tell who posted the "in the news" entries (all the entries actually) by using Google Reader. (it lists "by POSTER'S NAME" after each title.)

    whether it's relevant or not is another issue altogether. But Stephanie and Thom seemed to be curious, so I thought I'd clarify since Kari didn't.{/meta}

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    It makes the Novick campaign look desperate for advantage to condemn Merkely for assenting to the R-majority's good-wishes-to-the-embarking-troops resolution.

    Again, I'd expect better from Novick; he has plenty to recommend him without this petty BS. Not a good sign that he's echoing the R's, either.

  • BHamm (unverified)
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    Tom, you're exactly right. This vote shouldn't be THE ISSUE for this primary race or the general election. It may be indicative of a minor lapse in judgment or self-worth, but it does not make Merkley a gun-toting, warhawk neo-con.

    However, I still think that he is less electable than Novick. What a lot of us on this site (because of our hatred for Smith) forget is that Gordon Smith is incredibly good at campaigning. The guy is smooth, poised, and can really bring in the support. No offense to Speaker Merkley, who has done great things in the House and is obviously very intelligent, but he comes off as kind of plastic. It's the same weakness shared by Congressman David Wu. When they speak in front of a crowd or go out to meet people, they come across as very fake, and a little sleazy because of it.

    Personally, I want a Senator who speaks his mind, doesn't talk in soundbites and will stand up for things he believes in, regardless of the consequences for his image.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Thanks Tom, for your most "civil" post. This is what should have been emphasized a while back when the HR2 tempest was blown out of proportion early on here at BlueO. (injected into the debate, perhaps defensibly, by Merkley supporters... not the Speaker himself)

    House Res 2 could be simply a small negative notch in the Beltway candidate's campaign. (if it's handled well) Or the Democrats can do what they're good at... squandering resources and snatching defeat.

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    BHamm very concisely expresses the gist of what we need to take from this discussion.

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    "I still think that he is less electable than Novick."

    Right now I think their relative electoral chances against Smith are fairly even. I would say merely that I find Novick more DESIRABLE, as opposed to more "electable"--or at least that Merkley himself is also electable. I think Steve's dynamic more congruently matches the mood for change, but either has the ability to make an even-money race of the general.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    tom and east bank thom, that's exactly what i've posted here a couple of times - that i see this as a negative in the merkley column, but not something that has the magnitude to be a dealbreaker.

    in a weird way, it looks to me like the merkley supporters are blowing this up to be bigger than, in my mind, it is.

  • Jamais Vu (unverified)
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    I can't imagine why it took so long for credible Democratic candidates to jump into the race against Smith, seeing the support they're getting. It will be ironic if demands for perfectly unblemished hands from our side results in re-electing those whose hands are absolutely filthy.

    Is that the goal here? To remain the pious opposition party forever? Or does anyone actually want to change something? I have to wonder.

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    actually, Kari DID post this entry.

    Um, folks... Yes, I did write this entry. I didn't say that I didn't. You'll note that I post a version of the "please don't assume" comment every single time that someone suggests that I wrote a particular post. I've done it dozens of times over the last year.

    I write many of the posts. I don't write all of them. When I'm posting my opinions, I do it over my own name. When it's in the "Voice of BlueOregon", it's much more neutral. (That is neutral/progressive - not neutral/neutral.)

    It's a disservice to the many other people that contribute to BlueOregon - especially my co-editors - to assume that I write everything. I don't.

    Unlike most blogs, the editorial position of BlueOregon is separate from the opinions of its contributors.

    And least one of the hardcore Novick supporters in this conversation has been offered a post as a BlueOregon contributor and turned it down. So let's not go crazy with the meta conspiracy theories.

    And soon, btw, I'll be writing much less. We'll soon be making our final decision about a BlueOregon Fellow who will be contributing the bulk of the "Voice of BlueOregon" content -- and I'll soon be having my first child. Expect to see much less of me around here this fall.

    Can we get back to the substance now, rather than speculating about people's motives?

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    p.s. The Google Reader thing was a glitch. It's now fixed. The "author" of the posts should read as "BlueOregon.com" - not any one individual. For what it's worth, it was reporting many posts that I didn't write as mine, too.

  • Person who may not be James X., so please do not make assumptions. (unverified)
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    Kari: What's wrong with putting your name on everything you post? You've chided us for not doing that.

  • genop (unverified)
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    Seems like we have two viable candidates to replace Gordo. This excites me. I would sure love to see a "youtube" discussion by each candidate on their current views of a number of significant national issues. How about it Blue Oregon. Let's showcase both candidates. Can we move forward?

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    Kari, you write:

    I write many of the posts. I don't write all of them. When I'm posting my opinions, I do it over my own name. When it's in the "Voice of BlueOregon", it's much more neutral. (That is neutral/progressive - not neutral/neutral.)
    <hr/>

    That is what may bother folks about this post. You use ellipses to skip over the second sentence in the article, which read:

    The nonbinding House resolution, approved as the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq, voiced support for U.S. troops, but also praised "the courage of President George W. Bush" and supported "the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein."

    And then reproduce Merkley's response that this was simply a vote to support the troops. The last three days of conversation here (and Steve's post) would seem to indicate there is a difference of opinion on what this vote represents. To only offer the Merkley framing of the issue, which is also identical to the framing used in this original post on Sunday, would suggest that these "in the news" posts are less than neutral.

    We greatly appreciate the opportunity for Steve to post on the subject yesterday and further the discussion, but nevertheless I think it warrants careful attention to what is represented as a "neutral" opinion on the site.

    After all, we're all friends and allies here and it would be a shame to see that lost through recrimination and misunderstandings.

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    True enough, Jake. It's something we're all feeling our way through here.

    As you know, from your perch at the Kulongoski campaign in 2006, I worked pretty hard to make sure that BlueOregon remained a neutral venue for his primary opponents -- and they'll all tell you that we did that successfully.

    I'm definitely committed to doing that again here. Sometimes, I'm sure I'll make a mistake -- but I'm hoping that folks understand that this is all a labor of love, a volunteer effort to help create community and dialogue for progressives in Oregon.

    As you know, if BlueOregon were to become exclusively an outlet for spinning lines for my clients, it wouldn't be even remotely credible. We wouldn't be able to keep our audience, and someone else would take up the charge.

    We'll keep plugging away, trying to walk the tightrope. You've got me on your speed dial, and I've got you on mine. Everyone else reading here has access to the guest-columns link, and I'll happily post well-written stuff.

    Thanks, folks. That's enough meta-chatter for one day.

  • (Show?)

    p.s. OK, I can't leave the specific accusation alone. There is absolutely no one on this thread that didn't already know the substance of the second paragraph of that AP story.

    To BlueOregon readers, that part was old news. The reason for this post was to communicate the new news in the AP story -- which was Merkley's comment.

    I didn't clip the second sentence because it said bad things about Merkley -- but because it wasn't anything new. The entire resolution has been reprinted here at BlueOregon many, many times.

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    Kari,

    Right on. I think everyone can agree that more conversation and more perspectives are good.

    And I really appreciate you, Jeff and Charlie for making this site available for us. It takes a lot of work (in addition to your day jobs) and of course we poke because we just want to make it better.

    We're all feeling our way through this thing and, has been said many times here and elsewhere, it is vital we all come out the other side united in our desire and enthusiasm to beat Gordon Smith.

  • (Show?)

    I hate to break up this lovefest, but some of us feel that the full text of that resolution (and all relevant text of news articles in which it is digested) deserves to see the light of day even more than it has so far.

    %^>

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jake, Let's return to events of 2007, OK?

    You said:

    That is what may bother folks about this post. You use ellipses to skip over the second sentence in the article, which read:

    The nonbinding House resolution, approved as the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq, voiced support for U.S. troops, but also praised "the courage of President George W. Bush" and supported "the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein." <<

    In our local paper today is an AP article I have already discussed with a staffer at the local congressional office. Gen. Casey is concerned about the National Guard's wider role in Iraq and the strain on families, personal lives, careers.

    On the other hand, Sen. McCain is quoted as saying notions about the Guard are obsolete. He says the distinctions between Guard and active duty which were " once so clear" are now "virtually undetectable".

    Steve Novick prides himself on being the most outspoken candidate for US Senate. Here is his chance to prove he cares about more than a vote on a 2003 resolution.

    Does Steve share McCain's view or Gen. Casey's view? Or doesn't that matter because Jeff should be so ashamed of a 2003 vote that nothing else matters?

    This whole debate about the 2003 resolution is not something most people are going to be aware of. Those working multiple jobs, those with health, work and family concerns, those who believe other subjects are more interesting than politics are probably unaware of this topic--even though it has been printed in newspaper(s) and discussed on blogs. Anyone who ignores that reality has never seen a friend in a store or somewhere else and asked "did you see that TV ad (or read that newspaper article) about..." only to be cut off with "sorry, haven't had the time--too busy".

    Activists may be more interested in Measures 49 and 50 (which we vote on in 2007) than a primary next year.

    Anyone who reads BO often knows there are those who have great faith in political consultants and others who don't. To the extent this debate is still raging in September, it risks looking like a consultant's ploy.

    One would think a very bright consultant running for public office would be interested in being quoted on the news of the day, not just on an opponent's voting record.

    If the troops were withdrawn starting tomorrow and everyone who had ever said the slightest good word about Bush or any of his politics was banished from political life, there would still be a lot of disabled vets, veterans like the Sherwood police chief who discover their old job isn't really there when they return from active duty, veterans who find their housing or their family life disrupted.

    Does Steve want to be the candidate who shows he cares about those veterans? Or is he someone who acts like he belongs to a debating society and by golly everyone had better agree with him on a legislative vote from 2003?

    Steve is obviously proud of his work on the Bruggere campaign. But although "I fought a war" was a large part of that campaign, Tom Bruggere himself had a blank and puzzled look on his face when asked after a speech about the details of veterans legislation.

    Care for veterans is even more important now, and there are more family, friends, and employers of those Oregonians who are deployed or have been on active duty than most politicians realize.

    I am related to or friends with more veterans (back generations) than anyone here can possibly imagine. I was a Democratic national convention delegate for a US Senator who authored one of the most important pieces of veterans legislation during our adult lives.

    If Steve and his campaign think none of that matters because we should all tell Jeff he made the wrong decision on a House Resolution in 2003, then they can forget about my vote.

    Does Steve even know anyone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan? Or previous wars?

  • (Show?)
    One would think a very bright consultant running for public office would be interested in being quoted on the news of the day, not just on an opponent's voting record.

    I think it's more than a little ironic to criticize someone for a monomaniacal focus--and then repeatedly ask them to focus on one issue! But my reason for responding is to point out that this IS the news of the day, literally. Steve's quotations on the issue--before his followup at BlueO yesterday--came as the result of the media asking him about it. The first time it was because the GOP brought it up (albeit with a different argument), the second time because the first time made news, so Cain called Novick back for more quotes.

    The other thing I find bothersome about your last post is the use of distortive hyperbole:

    *Steve and his campaign think none of that matters because we should all tell Jeff he made the wrong decision on a House Resolution in 2003

    *is he someone who acts like he belongs to a debating society and by golly everyone had better agree with him on a legislative vote from 2003?

    *Or doesn't that matter because Jeff should be so ashamed of a 2003 vote that nothing else matters?

    These are not honest questions.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    LT - those are interesting questions. have you emailed novick directly to ask him for answers, or have you just posted them here hoping he reads regularly and will post a response?

    if you do email him or otherwise get in touch with him, please let us know what his response to your questions is. i would like to know. i'm not holding my breath for a post here on BO from him on the subject matter, though.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    There is absolutely no one on this thread that didn't already know the substance of the second paragraph

    Just curious, Kari. What special tool did you use as chief editor of Blue0 to determine exactly who read this thread and what their knowledge base was. Share with us little guys.

    By the way... still waiting for the correction/retraction... and the chocolates...

  • Miles (unverified)
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    If Steve and his campaign think none of [those other important policy issues] matters because we should all tell Jeff he made the wrong decision on a House Resolution in 2003, then they can forget about my vote.

    I think Steve, and those of us who support him, aren't pointing out the 2003 resolution because it, in itself, matters all that much. It's being raised because it might be indicative of how Merkley will act if elected to Congress, and that's concerning. The tactics of Oregon's GOP on that resolution were pretty transparent and amatuerish. In DC, those same things are going to happen, but they'll be much better executed and harder to deal with.

    I think everyone looking honestly at this issue knows that Merkley voted for this resolution to innoculate himself against future attacks that he didn't support the troops. Which brings up the legitimate question: What else would Merkley vote for in order to avoid taking a political hit?

    It's not the 2003 resolution that's important, it's what that resolution tells us about the candidate that's important. I would love to see Merkley say that in retrospect, it was a mistake to vote for the resolution because of the poison clauses it contained, and that he's learned from his mistake and will never fall into such a trap again. But of course, no consultant would ever let him say that.

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    What special tool did you use as chief editor of Blue0 to determine exactly who read this thread and what their knowledge base was.

    EBT... On the internets, there's this awesome new technology called "links". Some people call them "hotlinks" but that sounds like sausage to me. Others call them "hyperlinks" but that's too sci-fi for me.

    These "links" you see, have this magical property. You "click" on them, and they instantly provide you with more information - including the full text that's quoted. Go ahead, try it!

    Here on BlueOregon, our "links" are unsurprisingly blue. We don't underline ours, like some people, but we do bold them. Just "scroll" back on up to the top of this page and click on the first lovely blue and bold "link" in the story - and you'll see all the text of the AP story.

    Try it and see! Whoohoo!

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Aug 28, 2007 4:37:48 PM

    But Kari, that dang Al Gore and his tubes are too devious.

    ;-P

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    I think Steve, and those of us who support him, aren't pointing out the 2003 resolution because it, in itself, matters all that much. It's being raised because it might be indicative of how Merkley will act if elected to Congress, and that's concerning. The tactics of Oregon's GOP on that resolution were pretty transparent and amatuerish. In DC, those same things are going to happen, but they'll be much better executed and harder to deal with. I think everyone looking honestly at this issue knows that Merkley voted for this resolution to innoculate himself against future attacks that he didn't support the troops. Which brings up the legitimate question: What else would Merkley vote for in order to avoid taking a political hit?

    Exactly so. Thank you.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Kari,

    My apologies for confusing your gender based on your name. I looked around for pictures of you as you suggested but found none (but I'll take your word for it!). Anyway, forgive my mistaken assumption.

    My embarrassing screw-up does, however, allow me to make a separate point. What bothers me about Merkley's conduct is less that he voted the way he did in 2003 but that he has refused to apologize for that vote. Every politician makes mistakes, but the ones I like are the ones who are uncomfortable enough about spinning half truths that they admit their mistakes. Just contrast the way Edwards and Clinton presently discuss their 2003 Iraq War votes if you want another example.

    To those who are offended that Novick supporters are turning this into "Resolution-Gate" (my term, nobody else's), allow me to remind you of the following: Novick has suggested that he and Merkley make a ton of joint appearances where they each make their respective cases against Smith, rather than debating each other, and let the people decide which of the two has the more impressive approach to winning next November. Should Merkley take Novick up on that invitation, any hint of intra-party negativity would go away. The best man would win, and everyone could unify behind the winner.

    If, however, Merkley doesn't accept the challenge and tries to turn this primary into business as usual, the fear is that Merkley would be hiding behind his contacts in government and in websites like this one (see the advertisement prominently placed at the top right of the site) and turn this into an attempt to win based on having the superior "machine." In my view, while that approach could theoretically be successful in the primary, it would surely result in the Democrats losing the General Election. Smith has a lot more money as well as the "machine" advantages of incumbency. To beat him, the Dems need to show that they have a candidate with a better combo of passion, intelligence, command of public policy issues, courage, integrity, inherent likeability, and judgment. If the candidate who best fits the bill is Merkley, than he ought to win. He certainly has nothing in my book to disqualify himself from taking his shot. But let's find out who the best candidate is by having those joint appearances start early and often. Spin from paid operatives, advertisements in web sites, and endorsements from politicians merely sidetrack us all from the task at hand.

    And please, if Merkley takes a position and Novick is asked about it (or vice versa), don't call it "going negative" if Novick answers the question honestly. The issue raised by this thread isn't what Novick and/or his supporters think of Merkley's vote. It's what Merkley -- four years after the war started -- thinks of his vote and why. Surely, Novick should have to defend his own positions, and I think we all know he's ready and willing to do so.

  • (Show?)

    (see the advertisement prominently placed at the top right of the site)

    That's a paid ad. It's available to anyone that pays the fare. Previously, the Novick campaign had their own series of ads on the left side.

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    Oh, and apology accepted. No worries. And welcome to BlueOregon.

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    I think everyone looking honestly at this issue knows that Merkley voted for this resolution to innoculate himself against future attacks that he didn't support the troops. Which brings up the legitimate question: What else would Merkley vote for in order to avoid taking a political hit?

    It seems self-evident that you support Steve Novick over Jeff Merkley. Therefore it's not surprising that you'd read motives into Merkley's vote which just happen to reinforce your own preference.

    Personally I don't buy the idea that if I don't agree with your characterization of Merkley's motives, which I don't, that I am therefore dishonest.

    War fever was pretty high in 2003 and if Merkley were motivated by the desire to innoculate himself then why would he risk negating it by openly and very publically distancing himself from all but the expression of support for the men and women being sent into a war? It doesn't make sense.

    There's no way he could have known in 2003 that BushCo would so incompetently mishandle virtually every aspect of the ensuing occupation. Had it been handled competently then the environment visa-vis Iraq very likely would be substantially different in terms of popular sentiment right now. If that had happened then obviously your innoculation hypothesis would be utterly untenable.

    No, it's pretty clear to me that Novick supporters are grasping at straws here in an attempt to boost their candidate's chances.

    If voting no on that 2003 resolution really were the only tenable moral or ethical highground then where are the public statements from the 5 Dems who did vote no echoing your alleged concerns?

  • (Show?)
    I think everyone looking honestly at this issue knows that Merkley voted for this resolution to innoculate himself against future attacks that he didn't support the troops. Which brings up the legitimate question: What else would Merkley vote for in order to avoid taking a political hit? It seems self-evident that you support Steve Novick over Jeff Merkley. Therefore it's not surprising that you'd read motives into Merkley's vote which just happen to reinforce your own preference. Personally I don't buy the idea that if I don't agree with your characterization of Merkley's motives, which I don't, that I am therefore dishonest.

    Now hang on, Kevin. Merkley himself has said that's why he voted for it: "But Merkley said a "no" vote right after the war started would have sent the wrong message to troops."

    As for statements from the others, at least three of them made statements for the record at the time about how they simply could not vote yes on that bill.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Aug 28, 2007 5:50:13 PM Oh, and apology accepted. No worries. And welcome to BlueOregon

    Observation on this side-thread: I was never confused by your gender because of your name, though at first I thrown by the pronuciation of it. I intially thought it was pronounced "Carey" when it is "Car-ee".

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    Torrid, your quote simply doesn't back up your conclussion, as much as you might wish it to. In that statement Merkley very clearly expressed concern for the troops, not for how he might be perceived politically down the road - which of course would be THE point behind wanting to "innoculate" himself.

    Now you may choose to believe that his motives were other than what he said they were... and more power to you. But at the end of the day you are left out on a limb making an untenable accusation about his alleged real motive.

    As for the 5... where are their statements today? Are they speaking up? Surely if voting as Merkley did in 2003 were as you've portrayed it over these last few days then they would have every incentive in the world to voice agreement with it. N'est pas? After all, didn't they have the courage to vote no in the face of that big, bad GOP trap? Surely that courage wouldn't fail them now.

    If they are not speaking up then I would submit that as one more evidence that you've foolishly backed yourself out on a limb visa-vis the implications of Merkley's vote.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Kari,

    Thanks for the clarification on the "paid ad" point.

    And by the way, to show you that I am pro-Novick rather than anti-Merkley, I must confess that while Novick was at the U. of Oregon, Merkley and I were at Stanford. As a fellow Cardinal, I'm happy to see that Merkley has done well for himself and for the people of Oregon. Novick is amazing, but that doesn't make Merkley horse meat.

    The issue here isn't Novick versus Merkley. It's Novick versus Smith and Merkley versus Smith. Somehow, the Democrats in Oregon have to make sure those bouts begin in a very, very public way. My shots at Merkley are meant to get him to stop being a Clintonesque weeny on the Iraq Resolution ("weeny" is a term we Cardinal reserve for the lowest of the low -- Berkeley students) and accept responsibility like a mensch. Whoever wins this primary will need to claim the moral high ground and must not represent "business as usual." If this election is about "business as usual," Smith wins no matter whom he faces.

    Take care. And thanks for helping to keep Oregon blue.

  • Harry (unverified)
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    <h2>was pronounced "Carey" when it is "Car-ee".</h2>

    Huh?

    Since when is Kari not pronounced like Carey?

    Or is it a gender thing? All the female Kari's I ever knew pronounced their name the same as Carey... (as in Drew Kari.)

    And the men who have a last name Kari also pronounced it Carey, not Car-ee.

    I never met a male first name Kari, but if it is pronounced Car-ee, then I will have to remember that.

    Maybe next to your photo, you could provide a audio file with the correct pronounciation, in your own voice even.

    Harry (rhymes with the female Kari)

  • (Show?)
    In that statement Merkley very clearly expressed concern for the troops, not for how he might be perceived politically down the road

    I disagree. He says it would send the wrong message, concentrating on what his vote signifies. I only see concern for the troops (in this sentence anyway) as represented in how they come to view him, and by extension his vote. Does he need to spell it out? He was concerned how a vote "against the troops" would make him look to the electorate, because of the message he sent with his (potential) No vote.

    As for the 5... where are their statements today? Are they speaking up?

    Has anyone asked? I doubt it. Or maybe they have, and as public Democrats they are loathe to show a favorite one way or the other by commenting. But you know, you've set the challenge. I'll try to ask at least some of them. Beyond that though, surely it doesn't escape you that none of them are running for office against Jeff Merkley. I don't see the "courage" in speaking up as a third party. Is what Mitch Greenlick did relevant to how we interpret what Merkley did, really?

    you've foolishly backed yourself out on a limb visa-vis the implications of Merkley's vote.

    Out on whose limb? Is there a judge who's going to decide this whole thing for us, and whichever of us is right gets a point? If I'm on a limb I hope it's a good strong one, because there are at least a few other articulate fools sitting out here with me. I have my own interpretation of events; either they jibe with yours or they don't. We're doing a little persuading work on each other, but rarely do people just say "Oh hey, you ARE right!" all at once. So you're not buying what I'm selling. But I'm not in any tree with a big stake in the outcome of this moment in political history (cough).

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
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    I don't buy it!

    The text of the Resolution is below.

    Jeff Merkley suffers HILLARY'S AFFLICTION, no regret at having cast this vote.

    The Resolution, 2003 HR-2 enhanced the fraud which launched the War, making us all party to an international war crime and violation of our treaties. The premise was pretext.

    The Website I use to track the Iraq deaths says 3732 Americans (including one of my family) are dead as a result, as of today. It always lags, so we know the toll is higher. God knows how many Iraqis and others, and the wounded and the Trillon Dollars, just because those elected, who watched the Bush Administration's incredible marketing campaign in the fall of 2002 and early 2003 were afraid to stand in the road and say, "Bullshit".

    <hr/>

    72nd OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2003 Regular Session

    Enrolled

    House Resolution 2

    Sponsored by Representative KROPF; Representatives KNOPP, RICHARDSON

    Whereas the dictatorship of Iraq has continued to develop weapons of mass destruction in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441; and

    Whereas the dictator Saddam Hussein has demonstrated a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against neighboring nations and the citizens of Iraq; and

    Whereas Saddam Hussein threatens the Middle East and the global economy with the threat to use weapons of mass destruction; now,therefore,

    Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon:

    That we, the members of the House of Representatives of the Seventy-second Legislative Assembly:

    (1) Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush, the President's cabinet and the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States, and express our support for the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein from power; and

    (2) Praise the courage, dedication, professionalism and sacrifices of the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States and their families in the defense of freedom.

    <hr/>

    Adopted by House March 21, 2003

    <hr/>

    Chief Clerk of House

    <hr/>

    Speaker of House

  • LT (unverified)
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    Dear Daniel, As someone who once attended a Cal/Berkley game as part of a group of high school students (visiting a big college campus for a choir competition if memory serves), I hate to say it but you are missing the point.

    Suppose every Oregonian says "Novick is right about the 2003 resolution and Merkley is wrong and should admit it". How does that help veterans and their families? Or is this more about winning debate points than anything else? If Steve were a Senator, would he be working hard to make sure all the Dole / Shalala Comm. findings on care for veterans were being implemented? Or would he just be telling us he is standing up for us but doesn't want to answer questions?

    My concern is that the debate over the 2003 resolution drowns out all other issues. If the Novick campaign slogan is "vote Novick because Merkley was wrong to vote yes on that 2003 resolution" do you really believe that will get Steve the nomination?

    It seems to me the comments above about grasping at straws and backing himself out on a limb are more accurate.

    But then, what do I know. I've only been a volunteer for 30 years.

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    Kari. Rhymes with Ferrari, Atari, and I'm Sorry.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Kari, thanks for the primer on the intertubes. Though it didn't really tell me anything new regarding the workings of the web, it did shed some insight as to the inner workings of you mind (eg. links = food). You seem to be assuming that everyone obeys you when you say "read the rest." Some people read just what you pass off as "in the news" and go immediately to comment. So you see, it was kind of silly for you to claim that "There is absolutely no one on this thread that didn't already know the substance of the [paragraph you left out of your erstwhile anonymous post]."

    on a less controversial note (i hope), congratulations on your forthcoming baby. I hear the average weight loss soon after pregnancy is 10-15 lbs // i keed, i keed... becuz i loves the Blue0!

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I want to associate myself with John Bradach's comment, especially his last remark.

    There's an issue of trust here, and Kari needs to 'splainify a bit more and correct the record. It would be kind to call it disingenuous that when Blue0's chief cook was called out for cooking the books by cutting out the very language which has the potential to harm his candidate... namely that Jeff Merkley voted 'aye' on a measure which acknowledged the "courage" of George W. Bush... This is the very verbiage that's at the heart of the present controversy! To erase those 8 1/2 words ("We acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush") even in this follow-up to a chain of want-to-be pro-Merkley threads... it does indeed cast a shadow on the neutrality of Blue0.

    And then to have Kari insinuate that he wasn't even the author of this post. ("Thom, please don't make the mistake of assuming that I write all the "in the news" items here at BlueOregon. I don't. This isn't my blog." - Kari "It-wasn't-me" Chisholm) Stephanie V apologized to Kari for pete's-sake! It wasn't until colin maloney busted Kari with some sort of {meta} what-do-I-know. Only to have Mandate's main man come back with this: "Um, folks... Yes, I did write this entry. I didn't say that I didn't."

    And what about letting the misperception linger that "all of the Democrats" in the House got duped by Minnis & Co. into voting for a measure that (and again h/t to Travis's uncle for bringing this to my attention. I bristled, sure, when i heard of the "Bush courage" part of HRes 2. I realized it was a GOP trap, so i didn't even read the entire "resolution" which Kari called "a meaningless, throwaway vote [to support the troops and...]" so I hereby award him a Master of Understatement degree. MUuuu...!) So now, also to read the friggin' whereas'es:

    Whereas the dictatorship of Iraq has continued to develop weapons of mass destruction in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441; and Whereas the dictator Saddam Hussein has demonstrated a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against neighboring nations and the citizens of Iraq; and Whereas Saddam Hussein threatens the Middle East and the global economy with the threat to use weapons of mass destruction...

    Kari... Bossman... Don't be a Hillary. Don't be a Merkley. Admit your mistakes, so we can MoveOn.org.

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    It's OK, Thom. Take a deep breath. It's going to be OK.

    I'm sorry I missed ya at the MoveOn vigil. I was hanging out with Steve Novick.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Kari, if that's supposed to give the impression that you're being fair and balanced, you fail. Thanks though for the blogging tips. I could use a good editor.

    If possible, address any of my concerns above.

    But get some sleep first. You'll be needing it.

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    It's OK, Thom, I don't mind. You're new around here, and I don't take these things personally. Have a good night!

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    LT,

    I believe I speak for Jeff Merkley in saying that it is sad even to be reminded of Cal/Stanford football games because we used to pound the Weenies on a regular basis and now Stanford football has become an absolute joke, whereas the Weenies are excellent. I've got an "S" helmet on my TV so I don't have to say how sick that makes me.

    "Resolution-Gate" would be anything but a key issue in the campaign -- unless Merkley wants to make it one. His vote on the resolution was unfortunate -- and for someone like me who has loathed this war from the very beginning, that resolution is depressing to read -- but all experienced legislators have made unfortunate votes. It comes with the territory. What matters is that years later, when Merkley is looking his electorate in the eyes and his unfortunate votes get exposed, does he have the integrity to come clean and talk straight; that is, does he feel compelled to be a "business as usual" politician who never admits mistakes or a guy who prides himself on straight talk?

    You seem to think that what matters most is which politician has the best positions on the various and sundry issues that affect Oregon and America. Often I'd agree with you, but not in this primary race. I suspect that their positions on issues are, in the aggregate, pretty similar. But there may be other dramatic differences that are likely to determine which of the two men is best able to move the country in a progressive direction.

    Example? Look at Reagan. His views on the issues didn't differ dramatically from a number of other Republicans, but he had special communication skills that enabled him to be incredibly effective as a spokesman for right wing causes. He came across as extremely honest and gutsy -- incredibly real, not "processed" -- and that meant a lot to moderate Democrats and Republicans alike.

    I'm not suggesting Novick is a Democratic Reagan. But he scores off the charts on the honesty and courage meters; no one is more authentic or less of a sell-out. I would love to say the same about Merkley (two political heroes are better than one!) but "Resolution Gate" -- not so much the vote, but the way he is handling it today -- would suggest that my hopes may be be dashed. The last thing Oregon needs is another machine candidate whose positions on the issues that matter (like the War) are based on poll numbers and consultants' opinions. Please, re-read that Resolution. If you hate that war as much as I do, you'll find it ugly.

    Finally, one more point about Novick. What makes Novick who is he more than anything else is his sense of humor. The "hook" thing gets old for some, but it's totally Novick. Most of us can't begin to relate to what that guy has gone through in life, but he's handled things seamlessly because he laughs off this whole "handicap" thing. And with his sense of humor, his integrity, and his command of the issues, he has figured out a way to virtually inoculate himself from being disliked by anyone who comes across his path.

    That skill set is what enables him to get away with being so honest and so seemingly courageous -- for when you go through life wrapped in Teflon you don't especially need courage. I've always thought that Novick, like Reagan before him, goes life wrapped in Teflon. And that is the measure of a politician who has the potential to be truly great. If the progressive voters of Oregon reject him, they would be doing their country, and their world, a grave disservice.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    I am still learning about Merkley and Novick and have not decided who I will support yet.

    It seems though that the 2003 Resolution was an opportunity lost for Merkley to show courage and judgment by at least making a statement against the decision to go to war. This could have been done in connection with a "yes" vote on the resolution. From the article, it sounds like he didn't explain his vote that way at all. If I am missing something, someone please enlighten me.

    When did Merkley and Novick first go on record publicly against the war? That is something that they should be disclosing to all of us.

    In any event, I don't think this is as bad as how Hillary and others voted to authorize the war itself. However, it certainly would have been a feather in Merkley's cap had he taken a strong stand against it early.

    I am a voter who will be casting a vote to replace Gordon Smith in the U.S. Senate based primarily on his poor judgment in supporting the war in Iraq. As such, I will be looking primarily for the candidate who showed the best judgment earliest and made it known most often.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Also, can someone please explain Merkley working for the Pentagon in the Reagan administration? The article wasn't real clear on that. Was he a private contractor, DOD employee in a nonpartisan position or what??

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    Matthew Sutton, Merkely said that he thought invading Iraq was not the best way to deal with the threat of terrorism, in a floor speech explaining why he was going to vote yes on the resolution in question, and that he was doing so only in support of the statement in the resolution praising the professionalism of the military, etc.

    Merkely worked in the DoD in the early 1980s while serving as a Presidential Fellow, focusing on safeguarding American military technology, verifying arms treaties, and assisting the U.S. delegation to NATO.

  • (Show?)

    His vote on the resolution was unfortunate -- and for someone like me who has loathed this war from the very beginning, that resolution is depressing to read -- but all experienced legislators have made unfortunate votes.

    I've been foursquare against it from day one until this very moment too and I have zero problem with how Merkley handled that vote. And I'm not even a Democrat (never have been) nor have I ever been a particular fan of the Democratic Party, so it simply can't be a case of partisan loyalty blinding me to the obvious. I'm an ex-Republican, long-time Independent who only recently let go of my long-cherished "centrist" hat and came out of the closet as a progressive.

    I just flat out do not have a problem with how Merkley handled that vote. Nor, I might add, do I have any problem whatsoever with how the 5 Dems who voted against it handled their end of it. In my eyes each of them followed an honorable and principled path. Which is why the reaction of Novick supporters to this patently obvious GOP frame has been so vexing to me.

    When will Novick supporters finally reach the stunningly obvious conclussion that, should he win in November, that the GOP will swift-boat him as "hating the troops"?

    When will progressive finally cease wandering in the wilderness and realize that GOP frames are NEVER intellecutally honest?

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    "When will Novick supporters finally reach the stunningly obvious conclussion that, should he win in November, that the GOP will swift-boat him as "hating the troops"?"

    Who fucking cares? Do you really think that's an argument that would stick against any normally functioning Democratic candidate? (And I assume you mean May, not November--if they wait until then, there's REALLY no problem!)

    THAT is what vexes ME. Why on earth would a proud Democrat fear what some nut might say about them? Are they that afraid of who they are that they wouldn't be able to slam that weak shit out of the park? The GOP tried to hit Merkley on backing the war--how well has that worked for them? Not even Reinhard is buying it...and he'll push a GOP talking point in his sleep.

    The issue is not Novick's reaction to a GOP frame, Kevin--it's about Merkley's. He was warned, "vote for our pro-war bill or we'll call you unpatriotic." And he blinked.

    I guarantee you that Steve Novick would love--LOVE--to have some idiot try to say he doesn't support the troops. What an opportunity! Smart politicians look forward to that kind of no-brainer rather than seek to avoid it, I'd say.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Thanks for the info. lest. It would be great if copies of the floor speech were made available to the voting public. It doesn't sound like a strong statement against the invasion. If he made other speeches or writings about it, those should be made public too.

    We need to determine at what point both candidates publicly stated that the war was wrong. If it was only recently, then we may have to put them both in the Hillary-like finger to the political wind category as opposed to the Barack-like courageous foresight and sound judgment category.

    Go ahead Mr. Merkley and Mr. Novick. Give it your best shot with as much detail as possible please. We are all waiting to hear.

  • (Show?)

    He was warned, "vote for our pro-war bill or we'll call you unpatriotic." And he blinked.

    He didn't blink and claiming that he did doesn't make it so. He publically stated his opposition to the war and unequivocably rejected BushCo's premise for starting the war.

    Period.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Kevin, please provide us with specific sources where we can read this for ourselves. Thanks.

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    "He didn't blink and claiming that he did doesn't make it so."

    Sure he did. He said he voted Yes because to vote no would send the wrong message. He did not want to send what the GOP told him (and he agreed) the message would be: Merkley doesn't support the troops.

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    Let me make sure I understand the position being taken.

    1) We should impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney for manipulating pre-war intelligence and lying to the public about the war.

    2) We should vote against a state senator who failed to see through all the lies and voted for (what most admit is) a largely symbolic "support the troops" resolution.

    How are these two positions at all compatible?

    As I posted before, hindsight is 20:20.

  • (Show?)

    Matthew, it's been posted here already. If not in this thread then in one of the other recent threads on the same issue.

  • (Show?)

    a state senator [sic] who failed to see through all the lies

    Wait a minute! Now you're saying he was somehow snookered and supported the war. TJ and I and the other Novick supporters never said that. He didn't support the war. He was opposed to the war but he voted for a pro-war resolution for reasons that we have construed as political in nature. (Because we can't think of any other reasons.)

    That's different.

  • (Show?)

    Here's a news flash for you, Stephanie: Everything done inside the legislative chambers is inherently political. EVERYTHING. If Steve gets elected it'll be the exact same for him.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The fraud was obvious before Colin Powell held up the vial at the U.N.

    I repeat.

    I don't buy it!

    The text of the Resolution is below.

    Jeff Merkley suffers HILLARY'S AFFLICTION, no regret at having cast this vote.

    The Resolution, 2003 HR-2 enhanced the fraud which launched the War, making us all party to an international war crime and violation of our treaties. The premise was pretext.

    The Website I use to track the Iraq deaths says 3732 Americans (including one of my family) are dead as a result, as of today. It always lags, so we know the toll is higher. God knows how many Iraqis and others, and the wounded and the Trillon Dollars, just because those elected, who watched the Bush Administration's incredible marketing campaign in the fall of 2002 and early 2003 were afraid to stand in the road and say, "Bullshit".

    <hr/>

    72nd OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2003 Regular Session

    Enrolled

    House Resolution 2

    Sponsored by Representative KROPF; Representatives KNOPP, RICHARDSON

    Whereas the dictatorship of Iraq has continued to develop weapons of mass destruction in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441; and

    Whereas the dictator Saddam Hussein has demonstrated a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against neighboring nations and the citizens of Iraq; and

    Whereas Saddam Hussein threatens the Middle East and the global economy with the threat to use weapons of mass destruction; now,therefore,

    Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon:

    That we, the members of the House of Representatives of the Seventy-second Legislative Assembly:

    (1) Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush, the President's cabinet and the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States, and express our support for the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein from power; and

    (2) Praise the courage, dedication, professionalism and sacrifices of the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States and their families in the defense of freedom.

    <hr/>

    Adopted by House March 21, 2003

    <hr/>

    Chief Clerk of House

    <hr/>

    Speaker of House

  • (Show?)

    "1) We should impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney for manipulating pre-war intelligence and lying to the public about the war.

    2) We should vote against a state senator who failed to see through all the lies and voted for (what most admit is) a largely symbolic "support the troops" resolution.

    How are these two positions at all compatible?"

    I'm reminded of the Spinal Tap line directed at their hapless manager, "But you're not as CONFUSED as Nigel, are you?" Just because the American public at large bought the crap sandwich they were fed, doesn't mean that millions of fairly observant people across the country hadn't discovered it was a pack of BS BEFORE we invaded. Just because Cheney can dupe Joe Barely Paying Attention, doesn't mean we can't hold the people we ELECTED to a higher standard of rationality and capacity for judgement.

    But it does seem to be that you're ascribing thoughts to Merkley that I haven't seen expressed before. You sure you want to go there?

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Whereas Saddam Hussein threatens the Middle East and the global economy with the threat to use weapons of mass destruction

    On what basis did Merkley support this premise? Is he falling now in line behind the other Democrats in saying he was duped?

    I am not very impressed by his signing statement / floor speech either. "I am not persuaded that the war [in Iraq] is the best strategy to fight terrorism." I assume Merkley has finally come to the conclusion that invading Iraq wasn't the best way to fight global terrorism. When did he finally come to this startling conclusion?

  • (Show?)

    On what basis did Merkley support this premise?

    Someone has already pointed out the "20/20 hindsight" issue to you and it's highly relevant here.

    1. As stated elsewhere, I was foursquare against the invasion from the beginning.

    2. Saddam had a demonstrated willingness to use WMD both against neighbors and against his own people.

    3. Iraq and three of her immediate neighbors sit on top of a huge percentage of oil that is CRITICAL to the world economy.

    I personally rejected BushCo's pre-invasion propaganda not because I didn't believe that Saddam was capable of attempting to do what they alledged, but rather because his track record proved him to be relatively impotent beyond his own borders. And thus I rejected out-of-hand the notion that he was anything close to a direct threat to us. He couldn't even achieve more than a stalemate with Iran despite having vastly superior weaponry and literally years of effort using it against the Iranians. Just on that fact alone it was easy to dismiss the pre-war hype without necessarily knowing what we know today about Iraqi WMD.

    It's easy to look back and 2003 from our present day perspective and forget that there were in fact open questions. And that those open questions didn't actually support the GOP hype.

    I have zero problem with what Merkley said at the time because it perfectly mirrors my own understandings AT THE TIME. Like me, he rejected the GOP hype because Occam's Razor simply didn't support their hype. And... like me, he both wanted to both support the troops and do so publically.

    My best friend from HS was in the Gulf War and has been to Iraq twice in Dubya's Folly (aka Iraq War). He's a good, decent, moral and ethical man who had no choice in where he was sent. He also happens to have never bought into the GOP hype. But he's a professional and did his duty to the best of his ability. That kind of dedication deserved to be recognized, IMHO.

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    I have a dear friend and colleague, a reservist, who is in Iraq right now, for his second tour. I'm guessing that he and his wife would rather the politicians at home had raised more hell upfront about sending him over there in the first place, and maybe saluted his courage a little less.

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    It would be nice if we could somehow get both Merkely and Novick to say what their approach would be NOW to changing Democrats' fear of being rolled on national security issues by Republican rhetoric. That fear has dogged the D's since Carter's loss to Reagan but produced only ineffective and counterproductive responses at the party leadership level. It is what produced the panicked rush to o.k. unconstitutional security legislation unread in September 2001, what produced the stupid votes on war powers cast by so many Dems in Fall 2003, and what produced the illusion of Stoneface Kerry's alleged superior "electablity."

    It is still at work today in the D's tepid follow-up to the main reason for their 2006 gains.

    The resolution in question was MUCH more than a "support the troops" resolution. It was deliberately crafted so that if you voted for it you would be voting not just for Bush's "courage" in violating international law by launching a war of aggression, but also agreeing with the administration rationale for the war. But if you voted against it, you would be voting against statements that could be represented as saying you voted against supporting the troops and voting against U.S. victory.

    Obviously Merkely was aware of that and took it into consideration. It is disingenuous to pretend that he did otherwise, or that he could have, or that Novick wouldn't have. Novick might have voted differently, or not. That no one came up with a more creative D strategy, such as abstaining on the partisan R resolution and voting a clean "support the troops" resolution as a caucus, does I believe speak to the deer-frozen-in-the-headlights "fear of being rolled" effect.

    What I would like to know is what Merkely and Novick would do in the near future, if confronted say with a bellicose President Thompson (or Clinton or Obama) who wanted to commit a new war of aggression against Iran and threatened to tar anyone who objected with wishing for a U.S. defeat and not supporting the troops. I know Merkely couldn't find a way out of the trap in 2003, but not whether he has better ideas now. I know that Novick criticizes that vote, but not how he would deal with the rhetorical trap if faced with it in practice in the U.S. senate.

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    That no one came up with a more creative D strategy, such as abstaining on the partisan R resolution and voting a clean "support the troops" resolution as a caucus, does I believe speak to the deer-frozen-in-the-headlights "fear of being rolled" effect.

    To be fair to them, the D's could not abstain on the resolution, and their chances of getting their own bill up for a vote in the GOP House were likely nil.

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    The 20-20 hindsight argument doesn't wash -- it wasn't an open question. The administration clearly was determined to go to war by August 2002, despite a transparently half-hearted pretense that it might not. The Dems and the MSM knew this. Both operated for the most part on a calculus that they'd do best to go along, with honorable individual exceptions (including a remarkable proportion of our congressional delegation).

    The most knowledgeable sources, the U.N. inspectors, said that there was no evidence Hussein was lying when he said he had no more Ws of MD to destroy. The later discovery that there were such weapons thus did not disprove what "everyone" supposedly and wrongly "knew" (that Hussein had them). Rather it confirmed what the most knowledgeable knew, and said, that the MSM and leaders of both parties chose to ignore, though not all of us at the grassroots level.

    Bush & Co. not only cooked the intelligence and deep-fried its interpretation, they also lied, transparently, when they said they would give the renewed U.N. inspection process a chance to work. Subsequently they refused to take "yes" for an answer from Hussein, and ignored the U.N. when the Security Council tried to slow the rush to war.

    This was all visible and stated at the time. The problem was that a self-appointed media-official echo chamber chose to call themselves "everybody," to exclude the many dissidents from the groupthink from consideration, and to play hear-no-evil see-no-evil speak-no-evil about the administration's prevarications.

    This is not hindsight on my part. I said the same thing at the time. Anyone who chose to say flip between KOPB/NPR coverage and KBOO, or to compare the debate allowed by the editors in the New York Times to that in the Guardian (UK), could see it if they chose. Many chose not to. But all these points were raised AT THE TIME with sufficient prominence to merit inclusion in the central public debate. Exclusion and derision of these ideas was a form of soft censorship.

    Pointing out these facts now is neither hindsight nor "revisionism" -- it is just correcting the self-serving lie of the time, by Rs and Ds both, that "everybody" agreed. We didn't. If some who went along at the time have since changed their minds, that's all to the good. But I object to the denial now that collectively substantial dissident voices existed then. Continuing to deny our existence then extends the mistaken choice to ignore us into the present.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)
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    I am remembering that Bush demanded Saddam document his disarmament, and Saddam produce 50,000 pages. As near as I can tell, Bush did not have them read before he pulled the trigger that killed so many.

    It makes me wretch each time I read the Merkley Resolution, "Acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush, the President's cabinet ***."

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    I personally rejected BushCo's pre-invasion propaganda not because I didn't believe that Saddam was capable of attempting to do what they alledged, but rather because his track record proved him to be relatively impotent beyond his own borders.

    Everybody knew Saddam Hussein had used poison gas on the Kurds, but the Kurds remember that it was American companies (among others) that sold Saddam the stuff to make the poison gas (http://www.darrelplant.com/blog_item.php?ItemRef=545) back during the Reagan administration. That didn't have anything to do with the situation in 2002.

    There were plenty of people who pointed out the problems with the administration assertions of any threat from Iraq, not the least of whom was Dennis Kucinch, who repeatedly issued statements in the fall and winter of 2002 saying that there had been no credible evidence put forward by the administration.

    http://kucinich.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=25949 Washington, Dec 19, 2002 "Thus far, the Administration has failed to show any evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs to the U.S. Congress, to the inspectors at the United Nations (UN), or to the American people. "Any information the Administration has that counters the Iraqi disclosure should be provided to the United Nations immediately. Iraq has made its disclosure and now is the appropriate time for the Administration to present its evidence.

    Merkley should know better than most how egregious the claims were; according to his bio he was a Pentagon analyst during the Reagan administration, so he should have some familiarity with military matters, even if he wasn't analyzing weapons systems.

    But here are two glaring items that were never answered.

    Weaponized drones were featured in a couple of Bush speeches. Now, in 2001, the US began using non-weaponized drones in significant operations in Afghanistan, but the Predator wasn't used in any kind of announced weaponized role until 2002. The US has fairly significant aerospace and electronics industries: aerospace for the design and manufacture of the drones and electronics to fly the things. Iraq didn't even control the airspace over Baghdad. Where were they building and testing these drones?

    But the far bigger lie that was obvious was about nuclear refinement. The atomic bombs built by the US during WWII were created with materials refined at Hanford and Oakridge, Tennessee. Those facilities were sited where they were because they required a lot of power (coming from Grand Coulee Dam and the TVA, respectively). While methods for refinement have improved, they still require a lot of power. You might be able to hide refinery facilities underground, but you can't hide the power generation from people with the ability to overfly your country with impunity. You can't hide the power transmission wires.

    Those aren't secrets. The stuff about the building of Little Boy and Fat Man has been known for as long as I can remember and probably longer. It's no secret that Iraq doesn't have an aerospace industry. I read about the first uses of weaponized Predators in the Oregonian.

    <h2>I don't expect every citizen to know that stuff, but I sure as heck expect Congresspeople to spend some time verifying the facts about what they're voting on, particularly when they're authorizing a war.</h2>
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