Last Observations on the Merkley Kick-off

Jeff Alworth

The great Jeff Merkley kick-off tour ended around 1pm this afternoon in Salem.  I have a sense that we may have achieved blogging saturation on the details of the event, so rather than recapping what happened in Newport, Lincoln City, and Salem today, I thought I'd offer a more global, "lessons-learned" post of what I witnessed as a ride-along who was been mostly ignorant of how politics plays behind the scenes.

Campaigns, as it turns out, are a lot like movies.  You have dozens of people contributing in their areas of expertise who are focused, moment-by-moment, on details.  There isn't any one person who can hold the big picture of the process--the participants work like a brain's neural net (an anthill?) to create a final product they all have a small piece of.  What results, when it's effective, is a seamless, organic product (movie, campaign message) that any single person can grasp in a single glance. 

What the public saw at the tour stops the last two days were tightly organized events that highlighted speeches by Merkley and guest speakers.  Ideally, the details everyone had worked hours on--equipment, materials, event planning, etc. etc.--disappeared when the speeches started. In its essential form, politics is an evanescent mixture of ideas, ideals, and connections.  Everything else is just setting up the conditions so that those elements are revealed.  From where I sat, it seemed to work.  The stops allowed Jeff to weave together the themes of his campaign and offer a kind of introductory "how do you do" to the folks who showed up.

On the other hand, the behind-the-scenes stuff, however much it needs to disappear at showtime, is fascinating.  I appreciated the chance to peek in at that world.  There are two many examples to enumerate, but one is relevant, since it ended up on the front page of the Oregonian today. I was riding in the van with campaign manager Jon Isaacs as the story emerged--news of which was greeted roundly with sighs and grumbles.  Reporter Jeff Mapes was going to run a story characterizing Merkley as a hypocrite for using "robo-calls" to announce his kick-off.  The hypocrisy angle, stretched to breaking, was that Merkley had supported a law that would prevent robo-calls to some people--but which doesn't go into effect for three months. Mapes wanted a quote. 

The frustration for the campaign wasn't principally that a critical story was coming out.  They were pissed (no other way to describe it) that the Oregonian, which hadn't written a word on the campaign's kick-off (unlike other papers--see here and here), was using the occasion to run a very dubiously-newsworthy article and ignoring the more serious issues that are actually relevant in the race--Iraq, health care, the environment.  Merkley is going to take his lumps for his positions on the issues, but this seemed like a waste of time and a distraction.

The entire thing was complicated because everyone was driving up I-5 to the next stop.  In what looked like a scene out of the West Wing--at sixty miles an hour--staffers busily discussed what to do. The story that was already written and they were left with a sticky decision--either offer a quote and risk having it used against them or skip it an have their silence used against them.   Ultimately, they decided to give a quote (further observations about the incident below the fold).  The Oregonian ran the story on the front page, which led, inevitably, to a question about the article this morning in Lincoln City. 

______

For me, successful campaigns are those where the production you see is the best, most accurate rendering of the candidate and what s/he'll offer as a leader--not a simulacrum of a candidate designed to conceal the actual guy running (see George Allen).  The thing I took away from riding with the campaign was that the rendering seems to be an accurate portrayal of the man--from the way he treated his campaign staffers (generously and as equals), to the way he treated the people who showed up to the events, staying after the speech to shake hands and chat with literally everyone who approached (including his challenger John Frohnmayer).  You may not agree with his politics, but they're his politics. 

Whoever thought it would be so much work to create an event where a candidate can introduce himself transparently to voters?  Now I know.

Random extra bits . . .

Comments

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Goodness, Jeff. Cry me a river and get yourself some federal funds to build a bridge and get over it. So, your guy got some more bad press today. (Yes, Merkley does come off like a hypocrite, and it's a shame. He made an otherwise decent impression at his debut, a month or so before his official reentry.)

    the Oregonian, which hadn't written a word on the campaign's kick-off

    That your blog routinely short shrifts (pun freely intended) Steve Novick... and you complain that other media aren't paying your guy his due? You can make up for this perceived injustice by posting another thread the next time the Merkley-Mobile makes a rest stop on I-5.

  • Kay (unverified)
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    Interesting side note regarding John Frohnmayer showing up to speak with Jeff. Sure would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation. In talking with several insiders, it appears three way polling in the race shows Frohnmayer leading Jeff by about a three-to-one margin. Apparently, john enjoys significant name ID based on his brother's numerous statewide races. If Frohnmayer continues to poll in the 15+ percent range it makes defeating Smith impossible and hurts Jeff's chances immeasurably. Tough situation and very discouraging to start out so far behind the eight ball.

    Frohnmayer already polls higher than Westlund ever did in the Gov's race and that is before he has even begun to campaign. It is further complicated by his message being very similar to Jeff's (anti-war, anti-bush, etc.). Not sure if Merkley supporters can persuade Frohnmayer to leave the race or not but such action will be critical to any chance of making Jeff viable. Does anyone know if the dscc polled the three way race (with Frohnmayer in) before Jeff made his decision?

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    That your blog routinely short shrifts (pun freely intended) Steve Novick... and you complain that other media aren't paying your guy his due?

    OK, Thom, I'll bite.

    Would you care to explain the ethical obligation this blog - or yours, or any other - has to "equal time"?

    I'm going to say this until I'm blue in the face: BlueOregon is not the media. It's a blog run by volunteers (and one paid intern.) Our coverage, like yours, is based on what we find interesting. It's not a newspaper of record, and we don't cover "all the news that's fit to print".

    It's my hope and goal that BlueOregon covers more topics more comprehensively than any other political blog in Oregon - because that will make for interesting reading... but we're not under any ethical obligation to do so.

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    p.s. I think Jeff Alworth's coverage has been absolutely fascinating. It's hardly Merkley hagiography. It's been a great tick-tock of a how a major U.S. Senate campaign gets off the ground.

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    Jeff's an honorable guy. I think the calls were a mistake, but if Jon's account is accurate (and I have no reason to think it's not) then they got jobbed some and they've got a right to grumble. I also agree that the coverage was strangely snarky and editorial for the front page, particularly unlabeled as analysis--as if someone had taken an Oregonlive blog post and slapped it up on the front page. But ultimately...robocalls in September? Without those there's no story in the first place. The theme being pushed hard is how professional and organized it all is--but dealing with media issues like robocalls, and dumb details like where you lease your RV, that's part of the campaign. And if you mess those little things up, you risk losing that grant of "professional" status.

    I think some of the critique is less about equal time in this case than the elevation of more fluffy stuff into newsworthy pieces, and as Jeff A sensed, a bit of saturation. The article on the candidate LEAVING a town comes to mind. So it's not hagiography, it's more like flacking. The atmosphere of primary competition at BlueO during the Guv's race seemed less focused on one candidate in a very strict cheerleading sense, I felt like. Or at least the people who wanted someone other than Ted used ample space to tear him to shreds during spring 06.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Would you care to explain the ethical obligation this blog - or yours, or any other - has to "equal time"?

    Kari, why don't you argue your "equal time" issue with the straw man who brought it up? (Oh, ya... that would be yourself.)

    What you have said is this: "I worked pretty hard to make sure that BlueOregon remained a neutral venue [...] I'm definitely committed to doing that again here." Sorry, Kari... you fail.

    BlueOregon is not the media. It's a blog run by volunteers

    Yes, and your advertisers volunteer to give your "labor of love" money... You've promoted Blue0 as "the biggest blog in Oregon" and regularly get your 15 minutes of fame on KPOJ. At least there you might consider your "ethical obligation" to tell the truth. Here? not so much...

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    Two things. First, I did try to offer an accurate account of what I saw. Covering the official kick-off of a campaign doesn't offer the opportunity to get into investigative, behind-the-scenes work. For comparison, click through on the two links from the Corvallis and Eugene papers, which are at least as positive as my coverage. I don't doubt that it comes off as flacking to some, but let's do a little reframe. If this had been paid flackery, would the campaign have let me cover it the same way?

    Invite stands to blog on Novick events on these same terms, too. Again, I'm not anti-Novick in the slightest; I'm anti-Smith and pro-Merkley.

    Second, I do think the Oregonian piece is bullshit. Further evidence appears in today's paper, with a follow-up from Harry Esteve's sandbagging of Merkley yesterday. Come on--TWO articles, including a front-page story on robo-dialing and the mere implied ethical lapse? This week Steve Novick, a candidate for US Senator, called for the impeachment of the President. How many front-page stories did that garner in the O? How many stories period? This is the MSM at its worst.

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    So, Thom, you're not going to defend your "equal time" argument?

    I've certainly never argued that we need to offer equal time to all candidates. Our in-the-news stuff should be neutral/progressive, that's true - and our contributors can write whatever they want - and we allow guest columns... so I'll continue to defend our "neutral/progressive" approach (which is so different from so many other blogs) ... but that's a far cry from equal time.

    Or should we have done 50-60 posts about Pavel Goberman over the last six months? After all, he's technically a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    They were pissed (no other way to describe it)...

    How about "offended," "annoyed," "disturbed" or any of the twenty-some words listed under "offend" in Roget's Thesaurus? They may lack the pungency of "pissed" but they might give a lesser sense of permissiveness to some bloggers on this site who are inclined to wallow in the lexical gutter when trying to relieve themselves of some pent up emotion.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Kari, what part of "straw man" don't you understand?

    I'm not making any "equal time" argument here... just pointing out the moving target which is your description/explanation of how "the biggest Blog in Oregon" is being a fair player. If only Blue0 could be as neutral as the State party is (like you just said on the radio, speaking for Blue0? Mandate? Merkley? yourself?)

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Okay, I would agree with the general point that the Oregonian should be doing more coverage of politics and not just snarky pieces about robo-calling. But that doesn't make the robo-calling story un-newsworthy. There are good reasons for the new law, and those good reasons don't stop just because the law wasn't yet in effect. It was a mistake, the media reported it, and if Merkley's campaign is really the professional, seamless, organic entity that you describe, they should have known better.

    I hate to bring this up, but this morning's article quotes Merkley as saying he first learned about the robo-calls when he read about it Wednesday morning. Your post, though, says he learned about it from Mapes before the article was published. Is he lying about reading it on Wednesday morning?

    Yes, this is nitpicky, but it might be illustrative of a campaign so focused on image and spin ("I woke up Wednesday and saw it on the front page!") that it loses sight of the truth ("I first learned about this issue when contacted by the reporter.")

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    Kay,

    It may be true that Frohnmayer has recognition numbers in the 15% range--not sure.

    Westlund started out with very low name recognition and then tried to build it statewide. Frohnmayer may be starting with higher name recognition. That's obviously a good thing, if true.

    But it is quite possible (even probable--if as you say Frohnmayer's recognition level is based on respondents erroneously identifying him as the U of O president) that "reality" will help, not hurt, Frohnmayer's polling numbers.

    I point you to the well-known examples of Ross Perot and Gary Hart. Both emerged into the public consciousness rapidly, and the public knew little about them. In such instances, citizens tend to "project" their own attitudes onto the candidate, assuming the candidate agrees with them on issues, has most of the positive characteristics that you'd want in a candidate, etc. Projection recedes over time as reality intrudes.

    I'm not saying people will like Frohnmayer less as time goes on, but it's not right to assume that higher name recognition now says much about the situation in May.

    The poll (again, if true) says what is says and no more: he has higher name recognition now, and doesn't have to spend as heavily gaining name recognition.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There more I learn about Jeff Merkley, the more I'm convinced I made the right choice in supporting Steve Novick.

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    Merkley's got my vote if he can clearly demonstrate that he is not an agent of his underwriters: Chuck Schumer, DSCC, DLC, and the DPO, all of whom are beholden to BIG MONEY. We need a Senator who fights for ordinary Oregonians. Let's hope Merkley is it.

  • Pavel2008 (unverified)
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    Kari,

    Pavel is da bomb!

    About 4 years ago I canvassed his door and listened to his ranting for about 20 minutes. He wanted to prove to me how healthy he was and asked me to punch him in his stomach to show me that he was "strong like bull"

    Pavel2008

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    If only Blue0 could be as neutral as the State party is (like you just said on the radio, speaking for Blue0? Mandate? Merkley? yourself?)

    Ah but you see, BlueOregon is not the state party -- contrary to what some people believe.

    I speak only for myself. And, I suppose, for Mandate Media - since I own the company.

    Look, if you don't like BlueOregon, if you don't think it's credible, don't read it. Go away. Stop wasting your time.

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    There are good reasons for the new law, and those good reasons don't stop just because the law wasn't yet in effect. It was a mistake, the media reported it, and if Merkley's campaign is really the professional, seamless, organic entity that you describe, they should have known better.

    Just a minor quibble here, that no one yet seems to have raised: The Oregonian was unable to cite a single person who actually got a phone call from the campaign and was on the Do Not Call list.

    They wrote, But that didn't stop House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who backed the new law, from sending recorded calls to people on that very list.

    But they didn't name a single one.

    Presumably, they heard from someone who thought they were on the list -- but it's worth noting that lots of people think they're on the list, but aren't.

    For starters, if you signed up in the last 31 days, then your signup isn't yet active. Second, your signup only lasts for five years - or until the phone number is disconnected. Third, lots of people sign up once - and then forget to do it again when they get a new number. And finally, if you have a "business relationship" with the caller, then they can call you anyway. I'm guessing that includes donors, volunteers, and the media.

    Shoddy, shoddy reporting.

    FTC's FAQ is here.

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    Merkley's got my vote if he can clearly demonstrate that he is not an agent of his underwriters: Chuck Schumer, DSCC, DLC, and the DPO, all of whom are beholden to BIG MONEY.

    JohnH - can you provide a link to any evidence that Jeff Merkley is "underwritten" by the DPO or the DLC?

    For starters, he's not a DLC member - and his progressive legislative record is quite contrary to their general philosophical bent. And second, the DPO doesn't endorse before the primary election - and they don't generally give candidates money. Usually, the candidates give the DPO money.

    [Probably time for another disclaimer - I built Jeff Merkley's campaign website, but I speak only for myself.]

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    ...the Oregonian, which hadn't written a word on the campaign's kick-off (unlike other papers), was using the occasion to run a very dubiously-newsworthy article and ignoring the more serious issues that are actually relevant in the race--Iraq, health care, the environment.

    Merkley's campaign and the heir-apparent attitude that it gives off spring in no small part from his "superior electibility". (electibility is not a real word)

    If his campaign keeps overlooking what should be seen as obvious potential distractions from his deeper message, then you have to start questioning that "superior electibility."

    I mean, really, A campaign RV with a Washington license plate?

    Yes, it's the mainstream media at it's worst, but that is what they do. A campaign based on superior electibility should be looking out for those issues and staying in front of them. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

    The ability to win the election is an issue, especially in the primary.

    By the way, I think your posts have been good reads, but you're right about the saturation level.

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    They wrote, But that didn't stop House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who backed the new law, from sending recorded calls to people on that very list.

    But they didn't name a single one.

    Presumably, they heard from someone who thought they were on the list -- but it's worth noting that lots of people think they're on the list, but aren't.

    Kari, my husband and I got one of those calls, and we are on the Do Not Call list. We signed up about three or four years ago (I probably still have the PDF somewhere), and we have had the same phone number continuously.

    We do have a "business relationship" with the Democratic Party of Oregon, but none with Jeff Merkley for US Senate, and none with Jeff Merkley as a legislator.

    So was he using a DPO call list? Who authorized that? And while we're on the subject, who authorized his access to all of the various email lists he's been spamming with his campaign updates? I have heard an awful lot of people ask, "Why am I getting this?" Personally, I think it shows a lack of respect. Forcing people to opt out is just inherently less respectful than sending only to those who have opted IN.

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    Kari, I already said that Merkley's got my vote, if...

    Not being a DLC member is a positive first step. More info, please? I'll be watching the campaign finance reports.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    Miles,

    You seem to be confusing Merkley with his campaign manager, Isaacs. Isaacs learned about it from Mapes, the reporter, but Merkley learned about it from the Oregonian, or so the story goes.

    But more important, to me, is the likelihood that the Merkley campaign called people, presumably supporters, who had signed up on their website and requested to be notified of upcoming events. What the heck is wrong with that? And if that is true, the Oregonian article is a total sham, though the Merkley campaign is at fault for not pointing that out.

    And most important of all, of course, is the otherwise nonexistent coverage of the Merkley campaign in general. I mean, here is the beginning of the campaign of main challenger of am vulnerable incumbent Senator, and this is the coverage it gets? Where's the substance? The issues? The Oregonian is such crap, it doesn't deal with issues, just horserace bullshit and hitpieces, no wonder their circulation is tanking.

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    "I mean, here is the beginning of the campaign of main challenger of am vulnerable incumbent Senator, and this is the coverage it gets?"

    Says who? You won't catch me defending the scientific accuracy of online polls, but in the absence of something faith-worthy, it's relevant to note the performance of two Portland progressives at Portland's progressive radio station: Novick 53% Merkley 29% Neville 18%

    Neville's numbers are artificially inflated by her recent appearance on KPOJ, and if one is to guess I'd say that her stances put her a bit closer to Steve than Jeff among strong liberals.

    If you want to call Jeff Merkley A strong challenger, the national party's pick or the pundits' favorite I can't quibble. But "main challenger" is awfully premature and based on little to no empirical evidence, IMO.

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    Oh, also--the "do not call" thing goes right over people's heads, IMO. The base facts are that the Merkley campaign conducted robocalls, and many people don't like them. (I personally don't care; I just hang up if I don't want to listen). And he surely knows from working to pass the bill that people don't like them, in general.

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    the likelihood that the Merkley campaign called people, presumably supporters, who had signed up on their website and requested to be notified of upcoming events.

    I have no issue with Jeff Merkley or anyone else calling supporters who have signed up to receive calls. But what's the explanation for the call that came into my home?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    JohnH - can you provide a link to any evidence that Jeff Merkley is "underwritten" by the DPO or the DLC?

    Chuck Schumer helped recruit Merkley, so it would be judicious to consider the possibility, if not the probability, that Merkley will be under some influence exerted by Schumer. This should be of concern to anyone concerned about who is running the Democratic party - the people or the oligarchs.

    Schumer is a backer of Michael Mukasey who was nominated by Bush to the next Attorney General. As this article from Media Matters indicates, there is cause to be concerned about Mukasey - and anyone who supports him.

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    Merkley's campaign and the heir-apparent attitude that it gives off spring in no small part from his "superior electibility". (electibility is not a real word)

    I get a strong sense that that's the attitude among the lefty 'sphere, but I think it's about as wrong as the idea that Merkley's not a lefty himself. I'd be interested to see where the Merkley camp ever evinced an "heir-apparent attitude." Novick-backers chafed at the national Dem support Merkley got, but that's hardly the same as identifying an attitude coming from the campaign.

    I'm going to post some video from the tour at some point, and I hope people will look at it and compare what they see to what they now believe about the candidate. They may be pretty different things. (An attitude of privilege or cockiness isn't anything I saw at all.)

  • workingmom (unverified)
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    Really, folks. If you're going to make election decisions based on a couple of minor tactical errors/oversights made by a candidate's staffer, you're going to find yourself with no one to vote for by the time election day arrives. I got a robo call from the guy, and it annoyed me, but geeze it's not the deciding factor on who best to represent me in the U.S. Senate!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Really, folks. If you're going to make election decisions based on a couple of minor tactical errors/oversights made by a candidate's staffer,...

    The "minor tactical errors/oversights" are not what gets people's attention as much as the thinking or lack thereof that may be behind these mistakes. Bush made his share of mistakes when he ran against Gore. Maybe if more people had paid attention to the root cause of some of those mistakes less people might have voted for him.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Miles, you seem to be confusing Merkley with his campaign manager, Isaacs. Isaacs learned about it from Mapes, the reporter, but Merkley learned about it from the Oregonian, or so the story goes.

    That's the story they're putting out. But I'm going off of Jeff's post, which says that Isaacs was notified by Mapes when "everyone was driving up I-5" and "staffers busily discussed what to do." Are we to believe that no one informed Merkley -- who was of course on the trip -- about this before he read it in the paper the next morning? That seems unlikely, and perhaps even irresponsible on Isaacs part.

    I'm not trying to blow this into something it's not, I just think they got caught up in trying to spin it to the point that what appeared in the paper this morning was misleading.

  • purple (unverified)
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    Im new to the state, and while I definitely lean to the left, my vote is still very much undecided (Smith or a D). Prior to the Novick and Merkley announcement...I found BO to be quite the informative source, especially with the relative lack of coverage coming from the Oregonian.

    Having said that, its a bit surprising how much this has changed, since the likes of Kari and others have "picked sides."

    I completely understand the natural slant that writers are going to take. As a former journalist, I understand the idea of complete objectivity just isnt real....you are always going to lean to one side of the other, and even so, you should try your best to be objective. Having said that, you are wrong on many points, Kari.

    First, while BO is a blog and not a "newspaper of record," what makes a blog credible is the fact that it makes every attempt to be objective, and more importantly, fair. If it was your choice to work for Merkley, I think removing yourself from any posts or blogs on BO is the fair thing to do (for the readers), if you want to keep BO credible.

    By choosing to go on BO and posting, you not only damage Merkley's campaign (example: John Edwards staffers), but you ruin the purpose of this site. Your objectivity is lost due to perception, no matter how many times you say "I speak for myself." The truth is that you dont. Not anymore.

    You have a forum, its on the Merkley site. All you do by replying to accusatory posts is cloud the idea that this is an open forum where people go to get news that is of interest to them....if I want to hear about merkley ALL the TIME, then I can go see your blog on his site.

    The idea that you hide behind the "a blog isnt the media" is pretty comical. This isnt the 1970s or 60s where newspapers were the primary source of news and opinion. People seek online content because its fast, easy to access and late breaking....but what separates a good site and a bad one is accuracy; sources; and objectivity.

    And now you are telling people to leave if they dont like it (you tell EBT to leave the site in a post, hardly inclusive)? I mean, Ill be honest, as a voter...I have a sour taste in my mouth just from knowing someone like you works for Merkley. I appreciate your opinions, but man, the snarky comments and smart alec responses just arent becoming of someone who writes on a public forum. You never respond to your critics, thats the cardinal rule. It makes you look amateurish and simultaneously costs you credibility.

    Secondly, the robocall story is legit, since Merkley was involved in passing that bill, and to this point, no denial has been made from his camp. Slick how you pointed out that they had no quotes from people who received the call....there also wasnt a denial from the Merkley camp (which you conveniently didnt mention...who is being shoddy now?). I would argue that is more relevant than a random source. He hasnt denied it....thats the bottom line.

    Anyway, this post is long enough....but Ill just leave you with this, and this applies to all of the contributors at BO....whats the goal? To bring news that are of interest to those who cant seem to get it in other locations....or to pander for one candidate or another. If everyone who is writing is on the Merkley bandwagon at BO, thats ok, just state it....but if you are trying to be objective, then I would suggest the writers and contributors attempt to be as transparent as possible in their effort to cover all aspects of this Primary, or you risk not only losing voters like me, but not to Merkley or Novick, but to Gordon....

    And while I know alot of this is on a volunteer basis for many, it doesnt make it an excuse to not do your best in coverage.

    my two cents.

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    Purple, a few comments.

    First, while we "pick sides," we don't always pick the same sides--I'm for Obama, for example. Others who write on this site are for Novick. (No one is for Smith!) And while you may think this biases writers, let's turn it around: is a reader more able to make a judgment about the credibility of a story when s/he knows who the writer is supporting, or when that fact isn't included? Reporters are generally voters and generally have also "picked sides." Readers just don't get this info. Revealing our biases creates more transparency, not less.

    Moving on, if your attitude is that "the snarky comments and smart alec responses just arent becoming of someone who writes on a public forum"--it's possible that blogs aren't for you.

    Moving still further, you seem to be taking Kari to task for my post. Since you make a lot of accusations about not being straight with the facts, I'd like some specificity. If I've missed something, I'll run an update and correct it. Otherwise, the shots about it not being "the best in coverage" aren't warranted.

    And finally, what's the goal? It's right there under the "What is BlueOregon" tag at the top left column: "BlueOregon is a place for progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip." If you click through and read more, you'll find it even more explicitly stated: "Our goal? To be the single best place for progressive Oregonians to catch the zeitgeist of our world; to motivate, educate, and elucidate; to help keep Oregon Blue."

    Blue talk for blue folk. Maybe that ain't for you, either.

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    Posted by: purple | Sep 20, 2007 2:42:41 PM Im new to the state, and while I definitely lean to the left, my vote is still very much undecided (Smith or a D).

    That you claim to "lean to the left" and would still consider voting for Smith doesn't pass the smell test. I call bullshit.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    Leaning to the left may not make me full on progressive...hence my user name. Purple is a mixture of red and blue....and if I was trying to hide my political affiliation, I wouldnt disclose it on my post. And while we may all wish that the world is as simple as blue or read, many of the voters you hope dont vote for smith are...well, purple. Thanks for the BS comment though, classy.

    Jeff, my comments were in referrence to the posts Kari placed within your story (regarding the O story last night and today)....I understand (through reading BO and through the tagline you offer), that these are clearly opinions and thoughts...but if im not mistaken, its based on links and stories the many of you find in order to inform readers (for the most part).

    My comment was merely an observation that since the Merkley announcement, this has turned into a very one-sided site, where it seems more play is played for a particular candidate....maybe its merely a coinscidence, and once Novick begins to have events, the coverage will be just as overwhelming. My surprise came at the level of disdain toward dissenting opinions within the comments coming from actual writers, and while its fine that other commenters decide they want to make assumptions about other posters, I dont know how appropriate it is for it to come from writers and contributors. If you and the rest of BO are comfortable with that, then thats fair.

    The idea that a "blog isnt for me" is curious.....I guess the better question is probably whether THIS BLOG is for me. In that, I agree...but the reality of it is that there were three days of coverage of a candidate where no issues were discussed, no comments or questions were made. You spent time with his CM and didnt take the opportunity to discuss the issues are important to Oregonians? And last I checked, almost all blogs include snarky comments (and by comments, I am differentiating from a story posted), but certainly not from writers or people in charge of running the site, who also works for one of the candidates.

    To answer your question, of course, as a reader,you want to know what side a columnist stands on. Mawreen Dowd is liberal, it doesnt make her any more or less intelligent or a great writer....but she doesnt claim to be anything less than that. Maybe you want BO to take a stance on who they lean on, but if you "cant" find writers who cover other candidates (like Novick), then why is this different than Kari's blog on Merkley's site? I guess the confussion for me (and from others ive read) is not that many dont know where you stand, its whether or not your views and the views of others that run with site are influencing the posts and coverage. The Novick announcement (regarding impeachment) didnt run on the site until others complained. Meanwhile, posts of Merkley's bus and speech in front of 8 people is the highlight. Not to mention, Maureen Dowd isnt workng for any candidate...where as many writers appear to be. I guess I would just like to see some clarification on that. It is during those times where things get cloudy for me.

    For someone like me, who is going through the process of determining who I should vote for (and at the end of the day, and educated voter, regardless of side, should be what we all aim for), its just dissapointing, considering the great level of commentary that was provided here prior to Merkley and Novick announcing. And ive seen previous posts that have asked for the same thing...substance....you have the opportunity and power to get this from these candidates, yet seem content on stroking. At least thats what I see.

    And yes, Jeff, its great you are an Obama guy...unfortunately, he isnt running for Senate. Though based on what you have written, I think I can gather who you want to win (see my point?). And thats fine, I just wish people would call a spade a spade.

    At the end of the day, I dont base my vote on a blog....Ill do my diligence in researching who the best candidate is. I guess I just wanted to voice my opinion on how I saw this blog going.

  • Virginia Bruce (unverified)
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    I am one of the people who received the damnable robocall and I am firmly on the do not call list. I was so ticked off that I went to the Merkley website, found the "contact us" link, and wrote to tell them that the call had really turned me off.

    It will take a lot of convincing for me to take another look at Merkley. I find robocalling really tacky. My judgment is based on his estimation of my intelligence. I hope I'm wrong.

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    First, while BO is a blog and not a "newspaper of record," what makes a blog credible is the fact that it makes every attempt to be objective, and more importantly, fair.

    That's hilarious. Would you care to share a few links to political blogs that are "objective"? That's hardly based in reality.

    And now you are telling people to leave if they dont like it...

    Look, I may be flip about it once in a while - but this seems obvious to me: If you don't think the content is credible; if you don't think the writers are ethical; and if you don't think the discussion is meaningful... then why spend your time here?

    There are some several million blogs in America, including at several thousand in Oregon (at least), if you don't like this one - go read something else.

    Or do what Jesse, Jeff, Charlie and I did: Start one of your own. Heck, we'll even help drive readers your way. We love new blogs.

    There are lots of blogs out there that I used to read but don't anymore - precisely because I found them boring, repetitive, unethical, or otherwise uninteresting. There's no reason to keep reading one that don't like.

    Life is too short. Don't read blogs you don't like. Seriously. We'll survive. (Or maybe we won't. That'd be OK too.)

  • BHamm (unverified)
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    Purple, I also call bullshit on your past as a journalist. Too many comma splices.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    http://www.sparknotes.com/writing/style/topic_160.html

    "You might notice that comma splices are rampant in respected newspapers, celebrated novels, and so on."

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/10/gore200710?printable=true&currentPage=all

    Interesting quote in the article,which I guess is what I am getting at:

    "As for (Maureen)Dowd, a Democratic operative recalls running into her and having an argument with her about her columns on the 2000 debates, in which, he felt, she devoted as much attention to Gore's sighing as she did to Bush's not knowing that Social Security was a federal program. "I basically said, 'How could you equate the two?'" he recalls. "'How could Gore's personal tics deserve as many column inches as the other guy being an idiot?' And her defense was 'Well, I voted for Gore.' I thought, Well, that's great. But hundreds of thousands of people who read your column probably didn't."

    Granted, Maureen Dowd has many more readers, but as it relates to BO and the Senate race, I know just as many republicans who are aware of BO as dems, which tells me its fair to assume that just as many "undecided" or "uninformed" are probably aware....understanding that premise, shouldnt it be more appropriate to cover "issues" as they relate to Merkley (a candidate who is not nearly as well known as Smth) and Novick (with the same obstacle), than the inner workings of a campaign launch? Just a thought.....

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    "That you claim to "lean to the left" and would still consider voting for Smith doesn't pass the smell test. I call bullshit."

    He/she's also new to the state. Is it possible maybe they just aren't as familiar as the rest of us about Smith's record, and might appreciate some polite education? I don't think he's going to listen to you anymore on the subject, now.

    purple, a keyword search of "Gordon Smith" at BlueO might be illuminating, as would be a trip to StopGordonSmith.com. I think if you really do "lean left" it shouldn't take much to convince you Smith's not fit to be re-elected, so if you want to know why I'm sure there are plenty of takers who would offer their take.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    That you claim to "lean to the left" and would still consider voting for Smith doesn't pass the smell test. I call bullshit.

    It's this kind of arrogance that hurts Merkley's chances. Not only that he's treated like the presumptive nominee, but he himself acts like an incumbent, preferring the comfort of his green zone RVs rather than agree to debates, which would give Oregonians a better picture than any "absolutely fascinating" footage Alworth could post.

    D party insiders seem to have the expectation that you'll vote for their guy no matter what. It's reinforced by many of the Merkley.bots here. "Your either with us or a GOP troll." A shame, really. I've met Merkley. He's not half as bad as some of you make him come off. (He's just made a few bad decisions is all...)

    [Disclaimer: I know i was told to "go away" again. I guess i have a problem respecting his authority.]

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    It's this kind of arrogance that hurts Merkley's chances. Not only that he's treated like the presumptive nominee, but he himself acts like an incumbent, preferring the comfort of his green zone RVs rather than agree to debates, which would give Oregonians a better picture than any "absolutely fascinating" footage Alworth could post.

    Thom, as I think you well know, Torrid backs Novick, not Merkley. Are you trying to muddy the waters here?

    As to the fascinating-ness of my posts, only readers can be the judge. I give it my best shot.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Jeff, the comment i quoted came from lestatdlc (who as you know goes both ways). As for your attempt to muddy the waters... you fail ;-)

    As to the fascinating-ness of my posts, only readers can be the judge.

    <h2>Well, you have Kari's endorsement. And we certainly have plenty of pro-merkley threads here to judge your fascination. We'll be better able to judge Speaker Merkley himself as soon as Mandate gets around to posting his positions on the campaign site.</h2>

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