Proud of Oregon, proud of Jeff Merkley

By Jules Kopel-Bailey of Portland, Oregon. Jules recently completed his graduate studies at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. He's now back home, working as an economist and sustainable development consultant.

At the halfway point of my graduation ceremony from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School in June, I was sure the highlight of the whole experience would be Muhammad Ali. The man who was the greatest fighter and a greater peacemaker was sitting not 20 feet in front of me, receiving an honorary degree. Yet I could not have imagined that Jeff Merkley was about to make me prouder than I have ever been to be an Oregonian, and remind me why I think he has best chance to make all Oregonians proud of their U.S. Senator.

As the ceremony came to a close, President Shirley Tilghman of Princeton, in what would be her final words to the class of 2007, reminded us that that the measure of a graduate comes not when they leave school, but often not until 25 years later when their contributions have become clear. She then chose six alumni to illustrate her point, including to my surprise, Jeff Merkley. In her words, she tells us to "judge the success of Jeffrey Merkley, who earned an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School in 1982."

Jeff is a five-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives and currently speaker of the house. As executive director of Portland's Habitat for Humanity and in other organizations, he helped build sustainable and affordable housing for low-income families. Jeff is part of a great Princeton tradition of elected public servants who have used their education to promote the public good.

Jeff Merkley and the other five Princetonians, she told us "have used their education to make lasting contributions to and beyond their chosen fields. They have done what Princeton asked them to do -- serve this nation and all nations, and make the world a better place for us all." As the only Oregonian in my class, I grinned from ear to ear.

The truth is that at school I had a reputation as an insufferable homer. My classmates would poke fun at me for always telling them how great Oregon is, whether for our quality of life, our progressive values, or our fine elected leaders. The 2007 legislative session only made me more vocal. I had already told my classmates all about Jeff and how he had led the legislature to legalize domestic partnerships and end discrimination based on sexual orientation. In my classes on energy policy, I bragged how the legislature in Oregon was committed to fighting global warming and had passed one of the toughest renewable portfolio laws in the country and had invested heavily in renewable energy. And for the first time since "Doonesbury" made the Oregon education system a national laughing stock, I got tell everyone how this legislature had finally invested in a quality education today and made a rainy day fund for tomorrow.

Stuck back east amongst stuffy ivy-leaguers who couldn't find Oregon on a map, Jeff Merkley made me proud to be an Oregonian. Now, as our best hope to beat Gordon Smith and make sure Oregon has a Senator who represents us 100% of the time and not just one year from election day, Jeff has the chance to make us all proud to be Oregonians by ending the war in Iraq and bringing real health care reform (you can read more at JeffMerkley.com). Jeff Merkley is the person I want representing Oregon in the U.S. Senate.

To make that happen, Mac Prichard, Chris Beck, and I, along with several other co-hosts, are hosting a house party to meet Jeff and raise money for his campaign on Saturday, September 8th at the Beck Family Homestead, 1430 SW Englewood Dr, Lake Oswego, 97304 off of Boones Ferry Rd. We’re asking for a suggested contribution of $50-$250 sliding scale. Attendees who give or raise $250 will be invited to a special pre-event strategy session with Jeff and the campaign. The main event will run from 3:30 to 5:30pm. We hope to see you there.

RSVP online and get directions here. For more information, email [email protected] or call 503-477-5632.

Comments

  • Big Barton (unverified)
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    Oregon wasn't the same without you, Jules.

  • steve (unverified)
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    Geez Jules, you need a cold shower!

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    I happen to support Novick. Although I try not to believe in conspiracy theory, I have noticed that (a) the Merkley and DSCC banners are shown on the upper right of this site, and (b) I have received some email from Merkley @ an email address I registered on this site but DID NOT authorize my email to be sold or shared with Mr. Merkley.

    If Mr. Novick wanted to purchase the premium sponsor slot next month, and I was willing to pay for it, what should I do? Or has this site become a a shill for Mr. Merkley, now that he has been blessed by the Hillary / DSCC crowd?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Strange that you mention that, Bluenote. In the past I have gotten emails from favorites of Blue Oregon at the email address I use here. (And don't say there aren't favorites--just look back at Kulongoski support here as if no one else should be running). Maybe Kari can tell us the BO policy for giving out email addresses used on BO.

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    BlueNote asked... If Mr. Novick wanted to purchase the premium sponsor slot next month, and I was willing to pay for it, what should I do?

    You would click on the self-serve advertising link at the top of the page and reserve the ad like everyone else. I'm not a fan of the Chalkboard Project, but they ran their damn ad for three months.

    For the record, the DSCC ad was not a premium ad and ran on the left side. The DPO, however, had a premium ad that promoted Stop Gordon Smith.

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    LT, first of all there's no such thing as "favorites of BlueOregon". I might have personal favorites, but I'm not BlueOregon. For example, one of our co-founders - Charlie Burr - is a Novick supporter. That doesn't make this site pro-Novick either.

    Secondly, LT, the emails that are on BlueOregon have not been given away or sold to anyone. A long time ago, you used to have to enter in a web address to conceal your email address. We've fixed that technical problem - but I wouldn't be surprised if someone scraped emails off the site back in 2004 or 2005.

    That said, you almost certainly got the email you're referring to because you and I have had a personal off-blog correspondence - and I thought you might enjoy hearing directly from a candidate. I consider you an influential individual, and someone worth communicating with.

    If you don't want to get the email, just click on the link that says "get of all our lists instantly". It works, and it's rock-solid - by contract with our vendor and our clients.

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    Or has this site become a a shill for Mr. Merkley, now that he has been blessed by the Hillary / DSCC crowd?

    p.s. BlueNote -- the guest column link works for you, just like it worked for Jules Kopel-Bailey. I don't know why people whine so incessantly about what gets posted here -- we're WAAAAAYYYY more open to guest columns than just about any other blog, except the open-diary ones.

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    Um, BlueNote? The email address you've used on this site is the surely-bogus [email protected] So, I'm not sure what you're talking about.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Yet I could not have imagined that Jeff Merkley was about to make me prouder than I have ever been to be an Oregonian, and remind me why I think he has best chance to make all Oregonians proud of their U.S. Senator.

    How bizarre. You must have had a very sad life. I could care less what kind of vague and empty platitudes he gives us and glad-handers like you he puts out there.

    Tell your bud that there is only two things I want to know as a Democrat whose vote he wants and who, IF the image of having nothing to offer and the expectation he is owed the seat presented by the first 20 days of his campaign is accurate, is getting tired of empty-suit careerists like him.

    First, he owes us a statement of his specific positions on all of the issues. His website is a paean to empty rhetoric.

    Second, what is he doing, and I mean starting yesterday, to put his career on the line to put a stop to this:

    Former CIA officer: US to attack Iran within 6 months http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Former_CIA_agent_US_to_attack_0821.html

    starting by speaking out against DSCC Democrats like Wyden who aren't drawing the line in no uncertain terms? Wyden and his ilk give us mealy-mouthed statements about how an attack would be "unhelpful" but have consistently introduce belligerent legislation while not supporting meaningful actions to stop this. Merkley has given every indication of lacking anything approaching the backbone to stand up if it means risking his career.

    I had hoped we would get another choice besides Novick, but that seems unlikely now and Merkley's don't-owe-the-voters-anything campaign style, is rapidly driving me to support Novick as the "anybody but another weasly Democrat" candidate. At least now that Novick has been snubbed by the sold-out Party establishment he is not beholden to them. We at least have a tiny chance that he will make their lives almost as miserable as they deserve if he were the nominee and then was elected.

    p.s. BlueNote -- the guest column link works for you, just like it worked for Jules Kopel-Bailey. I don't know why people whine so incessantly about what gets posted here -- we're WAAAAAYYYY more open to guest columns than just about any other blog, except the open-diary ones.

    I do have to give Kari the absolute highest marks here. While I daily am coming more and more to disagree with his choice of candidate --- due solely to Merkley already exhibiting that trademark detached style in which he communicates he owes nothing to the voter and the voter owes everything to him (after how many years of being a pol he can't give us an issues statement?) --- Kari has consistently allowed all voices to post, and been willing to cheerfully engage in the fray.

    That, far more than anything else, is in the best spirit of what the Founders' intended when they gave us a free press. The press of their day was biased, opinionated, and aggressive - which is why they gave us the First Amendment --- and they knew our freedom depended on precisely a press like that. Not the careerist, intellectual dishonest, and utterly unrealistic claim of "objectivity" that the frauds in today's dollar-driven traditional media profess to practice.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    I also want to know Merkley's positions on a severa specific things: Elected Democratic offiicals like Pelosi and Wyden (and oh yeah, that Republican guy who Smith would be his opponent) "impeachment-is-off-the-table" position. Feeble investigations of the administration that consist of saying they are going to have think about having a really important meeting if their subpeonas are refused one more time. Voters who say excuse-making Democrats are not defending their oath to the Constitution, which starts with having a backbone:

    Pelosi's Stand Blocking Impeachment in the House is Killing the Democratic Party http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/9446

    I'm sure two brilliant graduates from the Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and his campaign team can put together a clear, short response to these clear and legitimate questions. It would be irresponsible to presume anything because Merkley hasn't had the courtesy to give us fully stated specific positions on ANY issues --- except a PR piece proving that he thought he could score points by jumping on the "Impeach Gonzo" bandwagon (Of course, without criticizing Democrats and Republicans who have the authority to do something and haven't). If I have to ask for information as basic as this, Merkley is a bad choice. He has a website where he clearly communicates what and how he feels about us mere voters who haven't gone to Princeton.

  • David Bennett (unverified)
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    Jules, as a classmate of Jeff Merkley's in Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School class of 1982, let me echo how lucky Oregon is to have someone of Jeff's caliber in public office. I know Jeff to be honest and sincere, and a man who displays the highest level of integrity. Godspeed to Jeff in his quest to lead both the great state of Oregon and our United States Senate.

  • More Anonymous-er Than You (unverified)
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    Posted by: anonymous | Aug 21, 2007 11:19:45 PM ...IF the image of having nothing to offer and the expectation he is owed the seat presented by the first 20 days of his campaign is accurate, is getting tired of empty-suit careerists like him. Posted by: anonymous | Aug 22, 2007 7:30:03 AM He has a website where he clearly communicates what and how he feels about us mere voters who haven't gone to Princeton.

    Those are pretty bold words from someone who doesn't have the cajones to put a name - or even a recognizable pseudonym - to them.

    Let's check the anonymous ad hominems at the door, shall we?

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Hey "More Anonyous-er Than You" moron: I'm not running for office and I'm not asking anyone for anything. He is asking me and everyone else for our vote, the most valuable thing we have to offer politically as citizens in a representative Democracy.

    Now let's see, today the psycho-in-chief said we have to stay in Iraq so it doesn't turn out like Vietnam:

    Bush to cite Vietnam in defense of Iraq http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-bushspeech22aug22,1,7259923.story?coll=la-news-a_section

    But gee, it seems some Democrats all of a sudden started singing the same tune several days earlier:

    Baird sees need for longer U.S. role in Iraq http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/192500.html

    With Congress poised next month to look at U.S. progress in Iraq and a vote looming on U.S. funding for the war, Baird said he's inclined to seek a continued U.S. presence in Iraq beyond what many impatient Americans want. He also expects Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees U.S. troops in Iraq, to seek a redeployment of forces. "People may be upset. I wish I didn't have to say this," Baird said. He added that the United States needs to continue with its military troops surge "at least into early next year, then engage in a gradual redeployment. … I know it's going to cost hundreds of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars."

    I already hear Jeff's Princeton smug frat buddies and campaign brain trust tut-tutting that the matter is complex, and WE all just know that Jeff wouldn't be like that. Except for the fact, except that in his customary calculated political style, he chose Kulongoski as a campaign manager who , despite what people have lied here, has not renounced his support of the war (just criticized how it has been run), and is reported to have said this THREE FULL MONTHS ago:

    Oil drives governor's war stance http://blog.oregonlive.com/politics/2007/05/oil_drives_governors_war_stanc.html

    Kulongoski wrote Bush a letter opposing the "surge" of new troops to Iraq, because he believes the president should pursue a much more intensive diplomatic strategy that includes most, if not all, of the neighboring nations. But Kulongoski won't sign onto resolutions calling for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

    He says his thinking was shaped in part during a recent visit to Iraq. He was talking with a group of Army officers and one asked him what he thinks would happen if U.S. troops pulled out and a year later, Islamic militants overthrew the Saudi monarchy and imposed an Islamic state.

    (Of course, what all these people have in common is that they are incredibly ignorant that it is the very continued use of military force that will only make things worse and worse.)

    So I think we need a little more than assurance of Merkley's Princeton frat buddies that he is a good guy and we should just trust him because they are all just such upstanding folks, I guess like his fellow Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs grads Samuel Alito, Joshua Bolton, Frank Carlucci, Bill Frist, Judith Miller, and Gen. David Patreus.

    Rather than rely on honor, or guilt, by association, I'll judge Merkley how, or apparently more accurately if, he gives us the respect we are due as voters to by providing us with full and precise statements of his positions on the issues. Which he still hasn't on his website as of this posting now 22 days into his campaign.

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    I'll judge Merkley how, or apparently more accurately if, he gives us the respect we are due as voters to by providing us with full and precise statements of his positions on the issues. Which he still hasn't on his website as of this posting now 22 days into his campaign.

    Not to worry, they're coming. I'm sure you wouldn't want brief platitudes, but rather some specifics. So, that means some serious writing. Stay tuned.

    Obviously, I'm helping build JeffMerkley.com, but I speak only for myself.

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    Hey, it's no secret to anyone here that I am an ardent supporter of Steve Novick, but I think a lot of the comments about Merkley are way over the top.

    Many of us consider Merkley to be a suboptimal choice for any number of excellent substantive reasons, and it's perfectly OK to talk about his record, his words and actions (or lack thereof), his relationship to the Democratic establishment and the DSCC, etc. All of that is fair game in politics. But when I see phrases like "empty suit" being tossed around, I cringe a little bit, because it isn't fair to either Jeff or Steve to let the dialogue sink to that level. They both deserve better.

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    Amen, Stephanie. Those negative comments from people supposedly on our side here and in other posts just make my stomach curdle. Its childish and it demeans the discussion.

    Oh wait a minute... that's Republican politics 101. Great to see people on our side lowering themselves to the Karl Rove level of discourse.

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    Stephanie and Moses - you've hit it right on the head. In fact, Moses, your comment about "supposedly on our side" is more correct than you know.

    Many of the anonymous people "supporting" Steve Novick by bashing Jeff Merkley are surely Republican paid operatives.

    (I am NOT talking about Stephanie V, Bill Bodden, Colin Maloney, East Bank Thom, Darrel Plant, or any number of others... it's the drive-by anonymice.)

    No, I can't prove it - but I know it when I see it. Too many GOP turns of phrase and talking points.

    That's why it's so important for folks supporting Novick and Merkley to make their arguments in respectful and positive ways... it'll strand the right-wingers on their own island of negativity and slime.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    kari's right. i wouldn't assume that the anonymous bashers of merkely are novick supporters; my guess is that they're smith supporters couching their arguments in a calculated leftist rhetoric, hoping to score attack points.

    <h2>feh.</h2>
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