Smearing Jeff Merkley with GOP talking points

By State Representative Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) and State Representative Mary Nolan (D-Portland).

This past weekend Democrats in Oregon came together in Sunriver in the common cause of advancing progressive values. The energy was high, the passion was clear. And the harmony nearly lasted.

It is an unfortunate fact that political campaigns are often about airing dirty laundry in full public view. In Oregon at least, Democrats usually reserve their sharp barbs for Republicans. Unfortunately, what should have been a unifying experience turned ugly when Senate candidate Steve Novick went on the attack against Jeff Merkley in their Sunday joint appearance. He launched the same attack in an appearance on "Outlook Portland with Nick Fish," and again in his speech at the state AFL-CIO convention Monday in Seaside.

Instead of taking aim at Gordon Smith and his failed leadership, Novick used these occasions to smear one of Oregon's true progressive leaders. It is a crass attempt to turn Democrats against one another, an effort that serves only his selfish personal agenda. And what's worse, he based his entire attack on talking points sent out by the Oregon Republican Party.

On March 21, 2003, just as the first American soldiers and Marines were planting their boots in the sands of Iraq, the Republicans who controlled the state House put forward a resolution filled with praise for those troops and President Bush, war-mongering against Saddam Hussein, and broad statements about the threat Iraq posed to civilized society.

Anyone who looks seriously at the resolution recognizes it for the rubbish it is. It was a blatant and transparent attempt to put Democrats in a bad future political position. The GOP calculation was this: if a Democrat votes against this bill, we'll say they don't support the troops; if a Democrat votes for it, we'll say you are a Bush-admiring war supporter. Either way, they've got you. It was a move right out of Karl Rove's playbook.

As legislators we had only two choices: yea or nay. We couldn't skip the vote. We couldn't vote "present." We couldn't even offer an alternative. So, five Democrats, including the two of us, said "nay." Others, like Jeff Merkley, said "yea." But whatever vote a legislator cast, there was no "right" choice.

There was, however, a right thing to do. And Jeff did it. Before he cast his vote for that resolution, he made a clear and unambiguous statement of disapproval for the war and for the resolution.

He stood up on the floor of the House of Representatives and said forcefully:

I have not been and am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources. …

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

At a time when public opinion polls in favor of the war in Iraq approached 90 percent approval, Jeff Merkley stood up and spoke out against it.

Steve Novick is a bright guy and a good campaigner. He can take apart a ridiculous Republican talking point like no one else. He really should know better.

Attacking Jeff for his vote is the equivalent of attacking us for our vote. It is the same as saying we were not willing to support the troops. That is neither fair nor correct. Jeff attacked the war, and President Bush in his floor speech and his decision was to show his support of the troops by his vote. We felt voting no was our way of attacking the war, but we both certainly support our troops, especially when wrong-headed leaders send them to fight a foolish and unjust war.

Our passionate commitment to changing this kind of demagoguery and false leadership in Washington, D.C., is why we will be working hard to make sure Jeff Merkley is our next United States Senator.

We are with Jeff because he stands up for what he believes in, regardless of how politically popular it may be. He doesn't engage in petty backbiting of the kind Novick is all too willing to embrace. Jeff sees a problem, finds a solution, and works like hell to get it done. That's what Oregon needs in a United States Senator.

What we don't need is an opportunist so narrowly focused on a short-term political gain that he loses sight of what makes us proud to be Democrats.

When he went on the attack against Jeff on Sunday at Sunriver, the energy in the room immediately evaporated. Clearly, Oregon Democrats are tired of that kind of politics. Clearly, Oregon Democrats are ready for a candidate, and a Senator, like Jeff Merkley.

Comments

  • Terry (unverified)
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    So why couldn't Merkley have voted no, like you did, Reps. Greenlick and Nolan, and then given the speech explaining his reasons?

    It's puzzling to hear Novick described as petty and opportunistic without hearing just what he said in his so-called "attack" speeches on Jeff Merkley.

    Perhaps you might provide the sordid details. Otherwise I'll be forced to conclude that the only negative campaigning is emanating from the Merkley camp.

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    Whichever of these fine candidates wins the primary, I will support. But this gets to the heart of my hesitance about Novick: by acting like every political compromise is a betrayal he implies he won't make compromises to gain accomplishments. Sorry, but compromise is the essential component to being effective. As the authors point out, there was no win vote this one, it had no bearing on the war, and Merkley made his own position crystal clear. I suppose we can thank Steve for giving Jeff a chance to refute these silly "charges" in the primary, but that's about all.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    With respect, there are still a few folks who oppose the DNC/Hillary war machine, and some have trouble differentiating Mr. Merkley from the DNC/Hillary cause. So, assuming that Mr. Novick wants to present himself as an alternative to the DNC/Hillary war machine, how would you suggest that he do so, except by aggressively pointing out the differences between himself and Mr. Merkley?

    Or is the point of this post that anti-war Dems should quietly lie down in front of the DNC/Hillary machine and allow themselves to be run over for the sake of party unity?

  • Scooter (unverified)
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    Here's a talking point:

    "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.

    What changed since then... Oh yeah, the inspectors were removed and the Oil for Food Program was corrupted.

  • (Show?)

    Terry- There was video of those remarks posted here like one or two days ago.

  • (Show?)

    No one is "attacking Jeff" whether "for his vote" or for other reasons.

    However, many of us, including me, are criticizing that vote. This is our right as citizens, voters, Democrats, and progressives.

    No one is criticizing your votes. In fact, I wish, as do many others, that Jeff Merkley had exhibited the amount of backbone you did that day.

    From where I sit the "smearing" is all originating with the Jeff Merkley camp, and it's damned unattractive.

    Here's a look at the resolution he voted for:

    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.

    That's horrifying to me. It isn't mandatory that my Senator have a stainless steel left arm, but I insist on one with a little bit more steel in his spine.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    this is so tiresome.

    look, the only reason jeff merkley doesn't get accused of negative campaigning is because his entire campaign consists of "vote for me because X, Y, and Z prominent democrats say so" or "vote for me because of my record in the state legislature".

    heaven forbid he put a little substance in his campaign, and, for example, talk about the differences between him and steve novick.

    of course if he did that, he might get accused of negative campaigning (oh no!).

    sheesh. the only reason his hands are clean is because he hasn't SAID ANYTHING yet. when he starts running a real campaign and stops hiding behind endorsements, then let's talk about who's being negative and who isn't.

    sorry, jeff merkley seems like a really nice guy, but his campaign so far really sucks in my opinion. i'm seriously SERIOUSLY worried about what will happen if he wins the primary. if this is preview of what we can expect from a general election campaign, we all might as well save our energy and get used to another 6 years of gordon smith.

    c'mon, you all can do better than this. i hope?

  • (Show?)

    I wasn't in Sunriver, so please take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I saw the video of the speech in question. Given the applause that followed Steve's speech, it doesn't seem to fit with the suggestion that the, "energy in the room immediately evaporated." The particular piece in the speech didn't get a lot of applause, but Steve (in general) seemed to get enthusiastic approval.

    I think it's unfair to describe what Steve said as a "smear." I think it's fair to say that he used his interpretation of particular vote of Speaker Merkley's to emphasize a difference between the two of them. That is, after all, what primaries are for.

    For an alternate take, I'd suggest reading Randy Stapilus' (over at Ridenbaugh Press) take on the moment. It seems he was there, and doesn't come anywhere near describing the remarks as a "smear."

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    Negative campaigning vs. negative campaigning by proxy -- still the same thing. Of course, the Merkley campaign just knew NOTHING of this article. Gee. Running for Senate is the big leagues and you can't put a shadow over your past.

  • jraad (unverified)
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    look, the only reason jeff merkley doesn't get accused of negative campaigning is because his entire campaign consists of "vote for me because X, Y, and Z prominent democrats say so" or "vote for me because of my record in the state legislature". heaven forbid he put a little substance in his campaign

    By the way, he got accused by Stephanie V upthread.A possible reason why the reasonable aren't accusing him of negative campaigning is because what you just mentioned are examples of, wait for it, POSITIVE CAMPAIGNING.

    heaven forbid someone run on their record!

  • unabashed Novick fan (unverified)
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    Steve is my guy, but . . .

    Rep. Greenlick makes some good points, particularly when it comes to not parroting the Republicans' talking points. If Steve and his camp want to go on the attack, I hope they will stick to any policy positions where they truly differ. Everyone knows it was the Republicans and Smith's camp who originally pitched the House resolution story to the media when Merkley announced for the Senate, and while I support Steve, those are some strange and unacceptable bedfellows for most Democrats.

    Debate over. Novick was anti-war, Merkley was anti-war. Next issue. What about global warming, reversing the Bush tax cuts, supporting veterans, health reform, etc.?

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    With respect, there are still a few folks who oppose the DNC/Hillary war machine, and some have trouble differentiating Mr. Merkley from the DNC/Hillary cause.

    With respect, I flat out don't see the alleged similarities. furthermore, I submit that all of this has far less to do with what Merkley did in 2003 than it does the fact that he's not Steve Novick and stands in the way of what Steve Novick wants.

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    there are still a few folks who oppose the DNC/Hillary war machine, and some have trouble differentiating Mr. Merkley from the DNC/Hillary cause....

    Ayup. and a lot of them are Merkley supporters, like me. A lot of others are Novick supporters like you. Others probably support the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    The difference here seems to be that Novick and many of his supporters (see above) are trying desperately to graft the Democratic Leadership Council ideology onto Merkley.

    Reps Greenlick and Nolan are trying to move the debate to a little more.......shall we say.....intellectually honest arena.

    I suspect that they'll have some trouble with this as it seems that this one instance is all you guys have and you will not easily give it up no matter how petty and inconsequential it seems to the rest of is.

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    DNC/Hillary war machine

    The DNC that's led by Howard Dean - that noted anti-war candidate? I'm so confused.

  • Ron Buel (unverified)
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    Steve Novick has never held public office. He doesn't have a voting record. He can be a forceful critic, which, incidentally, he is very good at.
    But Steve loves a fight, he loves being on center stage, he loves being the ONLY ONE who is right.
    It was not hard to predict on this website a month ago, which I did, that Novick would attack Merkley, and I am predicting right here and now that he will do so in his advertising. Novick, when all is said and done, has two choices that he and his well-known advisers can see -- lose or attack the likely winner of the primary. Novick is on what he sees as a holy mission, one that centers around his own ego. He will attack, as we have seen. And the purist will lose anyway. And he just may help Gordon Smith in the doing, which is a real crime because it goes exactly against what he says he is doing -- running against Gordon Smith.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: BlueNote | Oct 11, 2007 4:29:00 PM With respect, there are still a few folks who oppose the DNC/Hillary war machine, and some have trouble differentiating Mr. Merkley from the DNC/Hillary cause.
    Wait a second, are you trying to suggest that Howard Dean is part of the "war machine" and that you lump someone like Merkley as part of a the war machine because you are having trouble differentiating between them? Are you serious?
  • (Show?)

    Novick was anti-war, Merkley was anti-war. Next issue.

    Thank you, UNF! Couldn't agree more. Next issue, PLEASE.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Ron Buel | Oct 11, 2007 4:49:57 PM

    I disagree with your negative assessment that this is about Steve Novick's ego. I think he is a forthright, honest, and yes, legitimate candidate who, like Merkely, is a solid progressive. I think your insutling dismissive attiude does nothign but show what divisive crap YOU (not Merkely or Novick) are throwing out there.

  • (Show?)
    Debate over. Novick was anti-war, Merkley was anti-war. Next issue. What about global warming, reversing the Bush tax cuts, supporting veterans, health reform, etc.?

    That's not the debate. Watch the video. In fact, Mr Greenlick and Ms Nolan spell out what the debate actually is, although they apparently missed it too:

    "Steve Novick is a bright guy and a good campaigner. He can take apart a ridiculous Republican talking point like no one else."

    ...and the concern is that Mr. Merkley may not be able to.

    As for "what about the issues," Novick has been WELL out in front of Mr. Merkley in articulating those issues, specifically. He did it again today, talking about the Senate's tabling of tax reform for hedge fund managers. What's Mr. Merkley's take?

    I really like Mitch Greenlick, but this is preposterous stuff. Smear? Are they taking THEIR talking points from the campaign of John Morrison in Montana last year?

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    My typo (DNC) should be (DLC) and is acknowledged.

    They did not teach typing in law school, but that does not excuse my stupid mistake.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Oct 11, 2007 4:49:52 PM The DNC that's led by Howard Dean - that noted anti-war candidate? I'm so confused.

    Beat me to it. BlueNote's unhinged rant made me do a double-take.

  • LT (unverified)
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    What we don't need is an opportunist so narrowly focused on a short-term political gain that he loses sight of what makes us proud to be Democrats.

    When he went on the attack against Jeff on Sunday at Sunriver, the energy in the room immediately evaporated. Clearly, Oregon Democrats are tired of that kind of politics. Clearly, Oregon Democrats are ready for a candidate, and a Senator, like Jeff Merkley.

    Thanks for the simple, positive, declarative statements.

    There are 2 kinds of "negative" campaigning. One is the intelligent sort, as depicted by Tom Friedman. If he were running on a higher gas tax or a carbon tax, and an anti-taxer went after him, he said he would welcome that.

    He'd just say "My opponent favors a tax, he just doesn't call it that. There is a price to be paid in the form of high energy costs paid to foreign countries. He wants US money to be sent to countries like Saudi Arabia to pay for energy. I want Americans paying for energy to be paying the money into American coffers".

    That sort of rhetoric is issue based and proposes a solution to a problem.

    Then there is the other kind, which implies all good people think the same way. For instance, "everyone should vote for Steve because Jeff voted wrong on a 2003 resolution".

    First of all, Steve and his supporters are basically saying "if you don't think the 2003 election is a major factor in who should be the 2008 nominee, we don't want your vote". They may believe all Oregon Democrats think like they do, but are they willing to gamble the primary on that?

    Or is it that they don't have specific solutions, so they are building a campaign on someone who has never held elective office attacking the voting record of someone who has held elective office? (Worked real well for the Bruggere campaign, didn't it--Steve should remember that.)

    That kind of "gloves are off, all is fair in war and politics" attitude can have unpredicatable results. Phil Keisling and Mary Wendy Roberts were primary candidates of equal quality a decade and a half ago--that was until early 1992 when they were competing for the OEA endorsement. In proof of what my friend Julie might describe as "if they act like that, you know they know they are losing", Mary Wendy launched an attack against Phil. By golly, she had copies (which her campaign was eager to pass out at Democratic gatherings) of something Phil had written years before when working as an E. Coast journalist--about the poor quality of DC schools. That was supposed to show why he "didn't support teachers" or some such rot. Actually, it was a reason why some of us who knew both of them wondered why she should get our primary votes if that was how she intended to campaign.

    A few years before that, I was at a Democratic Platform Convention and there was more than one hotly contested statewide primary going on. A friend running in a statewide primary was speaking to a luncheon audience. It was the kind of banquet room with circular tables, and the people whose seats were not facing the podium had turned their chairs around to face the podium.

    I was shocked when my friend started saying things against an opponent. At that point, the sound of chairs scraping the floor showed that people who had turned their chairs around to face the podium decided to turn their chairs back around to the table and finish eating. Turned out what what my friend said was accurate, but how many votes did it gain him? That didn't help him win the primary. Too bad, he might have been successful winning the general if he'd had a better primary strategy.

    For those on LO and elsewhere who say negative campaigning is a fact of life:

    It didn't work in the 1992 US Senate primary. AuCoin ran ads which might now be described as Swift-Boat nasty. There were people who refused to get involved in the primary because they had better things to do than get involved in such nastiness. Once AuCoin won the primary (in a 330 vote recount), people he had alienated didn't work on his general election campaign. Bill Clinton running for president had a hopeful message and was a more attractive candidate.

    Not only that, don't let anyone tell you that the bitterness of negative campaigning is wiped from everyone's memories by the end of the election year. A member of PCOL said he was still angry (to the point of wanting physical punishment) about a particularly nasty Republican attack on a Democratic incumbent in 1990.

    And there are those who believe AuCoin's failed nomination to the Forestry Board a few years ago failed partly because people who wondered why Heffernan shouldn't remain on the board were joined by people AuCoin had alienated at some point in his life. This was on Counterpunch as part of that debate. http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly03232005.html

    I thank the legislators for writing this column. For the Merkley folks, please stay positive and talk about specific issues. For the Novick folks, yes we know you are offended by the 2003 resolution. Do you plan to go door to door saying "Vote for Novick in the Senate primary because he would have had more sense about the 2003 House resolution than Merkley had"? Won't people who hear that ask "who cares about a 2003 resolution?" or "why elect a newcomer when we can have a presiding legislative officer to run against Gordon who got elected to the US Senate as a legislative presiding officer?" .

    I know this is long. I also know that for many years I have been nagging friends who said "But you see, negative campaigning works" by asking "in which recent race?".

    Sometimes in the short term in very specific circumstances, a candidate employing nasty tactics wins. But even then, does everyone agree to support everything that candidate does, or demand they prove they are worth taking seriously?

    Sometimes it blows up in their faces. Like the push poll "Suppose I told you the incumbent has been arrested for drunk driving 3 times" which accidentally called the radio commentator who happened to know the incumbent had been stopped once, never arrested. So the next day, the push poll was the subject of a radio commentary, and the incumbent won re-election. Or the time I was going to vote for one candidate for St. Supt. but after hearing a nasty radio ad I voted for my second choice instead.

    I could go on. Like the "voice of Hitler " ad (on top of the "Mike Kopetski is so liberal he is hip" ad) which resulted in Mike Kopetski defeating Denny Smith in a year only 5 incumbent congressmen lost.

    Let me end this way. Some campaigns are absolutely sure of their target audience, and aim at that audience as if they know it will be a majority of voters. If it is not a majority, they wonder why they lost.

    Steve Novick, the last time I looked (few days ago) has only one line on his website about veterans. Yet, we are supposed to be so angry about the 2003 resolution we will forget that.

    I will be watching for which candidate first starts talking seriously about veterans issues. And if it happens to be John Frohnmayer, all the screams about "you can't even look at anyone other than Jeff or Steve or else Gordon will get re-elected!" will fall on deaf ears as far as I am concerned. There are those of us who believe individuals make voting decisions, and they may not be made in ways campaigns predict.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: BlueNote | Oct 11, 2007 4:54:42 PM My typo (DNC) should be (DLC) and is acknowledged.

    So you are saying that Merkely is hard to differentiate with the DLC?

    That is even more divorced from reality than your "typo" (funny the L key is nowhere near the N key).

    Neither Merkley or Novick are anything like the DLC. Quit while you are behind.

  • (Show?)

    parroting the Republicans' talking points

    I haven't seen anyone "parrot Republican talking points" in the ten weeks we've been discussing this issue. Personally, I have stated my own strongly held opinion on this vote.

    We can all predict what the Republicans will say and do about it, however, if we give them a chance, and that is one good reason for an undecided Democratic voter to consider supporting Steve. Because Jeff Merkley, in voting for HR2, handed the Republicans a weapon to use against him. Don't we all want to beat Smith? How is it that it is somehow wrong or improper to point out that the other candidate in the primary is not vulnerable to that weapon? I want the Democratic nominee to win. Isn't that what we all want here? If Merkley is damaged goods due to the HR2 vote, isn't it better to find that out now, while we still have an alternative? How is it better to stick our heads firmly into the sand and keep repeating to ourselves, "it's not an issue!"

    Ultimately, is it all about beating Smith, or is it all about protecting Jeff?

    Mitch and Mary, with all due respect, you can't wish this away or flatly deny its importance and pretend that that is the end of the story. It happened. Votes have consequences. Merkley is a legislator and can be held accountable for that vote or any other that displeases the Democratic primary electorate. He will also reap the benefits of other votes he cast that make the primary electorate happy. That's how it is with legislators.

    Your loyalty to Jeff is understandable and laudable, but this post is not your finest hour.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Mitch Greenlick writes, "Anyone who looks seriously at the resolution recognizes it for the rubbish it is."

    So apprently Jeff merkley looked at it seriously, determined it was rubbish and then put his stamp of approval on it by voting "yes."

    That's pretty silly, Mitch (Greenlick).

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Pat Malach | Oct 11, 2007 5:03:39 PM That's pretty silly, Mitch (Greenlick).

    Thank you for the parenthetical distinction there.

  • Taoiseach (unverified)
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    Please, people, we're talking about elected officials here.

    Repeat after me:

    Representative Greenlick Representative Nolan Speaker Merkley

    Adding these titles will make all of those 'with all due respects' above actually seem respectful.

  • (Show?)

    BTW, if anyone wants to make their own decision about how to interpret Steve's remarks, they can see the speech in question on Google Video right here.

    (Steve starts at about 17:15 into the video)

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    There has been a lot of unnecessary candidate bashing from both sides, as Novick and Merkley can both be considered progressive Democrats. I'm not choosing a favorite in the primary but it's clear that Merkley's vote for HR2 would weaken his ability to criticize Smith on Iraq adventure. I do not know that this would be a fatal weakness, but it would be significant.

  • (Show?)

    Gordon Smith voted for the war. Jeff Merkley voted for a resolution supporting the troops sent to fight it.

    Which decision do you suppose swing voters will be more likely to care about? I tend to doubt they'll care about either. The question of "what are you GOING to do" in D.C. will matter more.

    I would add to LT's very good post that launching personal attacks on Gordon Smith is also likely to fail. If Steve wants votes he needs to show he won't take that bait. This is not a good start. Our candidate will need to answer any "swift-boating" right away, but initiating it will show one thing: more politics as usual. If you stand for politics as usual, the voters have less reason to throw out the incumbent.

  • (Show?)

    Rep. Nolan & Rep. Greenlick,

    I was in that room with you and share your feelings about Candidate Novick's comments.

    I am a huge fan of Steve's but am having an increasingly more difficult time matching the Steve I know and the candidate Novick I see and the attacks from his campaign and its supporters.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    If this is the best Merkley can do when attempting to avoid a steel left hook....how low is he gonna sink when $4 million dollars of the Gordo machine are bearing down on him.

    To me this shows how weak both candidates are: Novick in his backpedaling on "campaigning against Smith" and Merkley and his staff not having the competency to handle an issue as minute (in the grand scheme of things) as a resolution that was voted on in 2003.

    As Stephanie V said, this has been discussed for 10 weeks. Smith is included in a Wash Post piece involving Cheney and Klamath Falls and we hardly hear about it anymore, yet Merkley is still haggling ove a ridiculous resolution cause he cant seem to properly answer it and let it go away?

    Things dont look good.

  • john f. bradach, sr (unverified)
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    B.S.

    Today's Iraq death count of Americans is 3821.

    I stand by my posts in late August, when Merley said he had no regrets on the vote:

    <hr/>

    Posted by: John F. Bradach, Sr. | Aug 28, 2007 9:57:11 PM

    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

    <hr/>

    Posted by: John F. Bradach, Sr. | Aug 30, 2007 8:26:20 PM

    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 ***."

  • (Show?)

    LT said, "I will be watching for which candidate first starts talking seriously about veterans issues. And if it happens to be John Frohnmayer, all the screams about "you can't even look at anyone other than Jeff or Steve or else Gordon will get re-elected!" will fall on deaf ears as far as I am concerned. There are those of us who believe individuals make voting decisions, and they may not be made in ways campaigns predict."

    Where you said veterans issues I wanted to insert (or any other) in terms of my own opinion in at least considering a candidate (including Frohnmayer).

    I'm sick of these DP sponsored columns about (or defending) Merkley (otherwise referred to as the "Merkley lovefeast") on BO.

    In terms of the arguments about whether the vote was relevent or not, I think it should be discussed. It seems to me like the overall attitude is lay down in the road and vote for Merkley. Sorry..I'm just not buying it.

    (Disclosure: I have not decided who I'm voting for and do not support a particular candidate).

  • (Show?)

    meant lovefest...that was a typo.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Sorry, but compromise is the essential component to being effective.

    That's a rule and is often valid but like all rules it has had its exceptions throughout history. Gandhi and MLK, Jr are two of the good guys who didn't compromise. Lenin and Hitler were a couple of the not-so-good guys who knew when to dig their heels in and not compromise. Compromise has its virtues, but you also need to know when to draw the line otherwise you become a patsy.

  • genop (unverified)
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    Not having a dog in this fight, pointing out the weakness is healthy for the eventual goal. Defeating Smith. If we are talking about it imagine how the dark side will drool. This is a modest blip, but needs to be dealt with. Thanks for the elaboration, now I would like to hear the issue neutralized by Jeff Merkley so we can move on.

  • Jake Weigler - Novick for Senate (unverified)
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    I appreciate the Representatives sharing their thoughts on this issue, but I must respectively disagree with them on several points.

    First, as has been argued ad nauseum on this site Steve’s criticism is not a repetition of GOP talking points. The matter at hand is a question of judgment – not the GOP line about whether Speaker Merkley truly opposed this war from the beginning.

    But if echoing GOP talking points is the crime at hand, it is hard not to see this vote as an endorsement of the false GOP talking points for the Iraq War. Merkley supporters seem to want to elide the plain language of the resolution (and I appreciate others who have already posted it above), but lets look at the text of HR 2:

    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.

    The fact is that this vote is difficult to reconcile with Jeff’s statement that he opposed the war from the beginning and raises questions about his judgment in being willing to stand up to GOP tactics. This vote will trouble Democratic voters in this primary and will be used against him as long as he is running (irrespective of whether Steve Novick is in the race or not).

    A few additional points for consideration:

    • If this resolution is simply “rubbish” and “political positioning,” as the authors contend, does that mean that votes this year by Republican House members against HJR 9 (a resolution calling on President Bush to begin withdrawal of troops from Iraq) are also meaningless? Representative Greenlick, as a co-sponsor of that resolution, what do you see as the difference in the two cases?

    • The authors also assert that Jeff Merkley offered a “clear and unambiguous statement of disapproval for the war” on the floor and that “Jeff attacked the war, and President Bush in his floor speech.” Based on the transcript previously posted here by the Merkley campaign, I see Mr. Merkley stating that he is “not today persuaded” that Iraq is a threat to the United States. I see no attack on the war, nor any mention of George W. Bush. Perhaps there is additional comment after the transcript, but I haven’t seen it.

    • Finally, I must say that I am surprised by the language used by two senior members of the Oregon House in this post. You indicate Steve is driven by “short-term political gain,” that he is “crass,” and driven by a “selfish personal agenda.” Steve Novick entered this race when elected officials across Oregon were giving it a pass. He took on Smith because he couldn’t live with himself if we allowed Gordon to have another six years in office. He didn’t need the promise of millions in financial support to induce him to run and he has taken on the challenge at a substantial personal and financial cost to himself. I would have expected better.

  • Taoiseach (unverified)
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    Finally, I must say that I am surprised by the language used by two senior members of the Oregon House in this post. You indicate Steve is driven by “short-term political gain,” that he is “crass,” and driven by a “selfish personal agenda.”

    Mr. Weigler, elected officials are in fact capable of speaking the truth.

  • dannyk (unverified)
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    we need an informed public. if steve doesn’t do it who will? karl rove?

    thanks steve.

    p.s. are you the right or the far left barrel?

  • (Show?)
    I'm not choosing a favorite in the primary but it's clear that Merkley's vote for HR2 would weaken his ability to criticize Smith on Iraq adventure. I do not know that this would be a fatal weakness, but it would be significant.

    Thank you. I know at least for stephanie and myself, and I'm sure many other Novick supporters who I won't speak for, this is really all that's being said.

    It does not make Merkley a war supporter. It does not make Merkley a liar. It does not make Merkley a flip-flopper. It IS, however, an issue to consider.

    What it does is muddles the best issue Democrats have against Republican incumbents next year. THE best. And for myself, I worry it is emblematic of his style, and if so I have a style preference for someone else.

    This, apparently, is a smear. Your post and my response. Take THAT to your grave, pal! :)

  • M.Anon (unverified)
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    I do not want to see any most posts like this from sitting elected Dems.

    You are handing a load of talking points over to the RW blogs on a silver platter.

    Dumb. I don't like it.

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    "If Steve wants votes he needs to show he won't take that bait. This is not a good start."

    I beg your pardon? The implication here is that Steve has already laid personal attacks on MERKLEY. What an extrapolation from "Merkley has a problem here" to personal attacks against Gordon Smith. It's meme creep, and I'm not going to let it pass unchallenged.

  • M.Anon (unverified)
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    If this is the best Merkley can do when attempting to avoid a steel left hook....how low is he gonna sink when $4 million dollars of the Gordo machine are bearing down on him.

    Exactly. Jeff can come here and defend himself as he deems necessary. This post by the two of you poisons the well of our party. And it really pisses me off.

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    I know at least for stephanie and myself, and I'm sure many other Novick supporters who I won't speak for, this is really all that's being said.

    So if two sentences from Tom is all you've been trying to say for the past two-and-a-half months:

    A. We should have gotten Tom in sooner as I'm sure that you and your candidate are eager to move on to actual issues and policy.

    B. Since team Novick has been beating this horse (or puppy as the case may be, TJ) so repetitively, and completely disregarding the responses from Merkley's camp; Now that Reps Greenlick and Nolan have stepped in to try to clear up your confusion, and you've got Tom finally stating your own argument succinctly, can we assume that the Steveminions are finally going to give it a rest?

    My guess is that having found only one needle in the haystack, you will continue......er........needling.

    Just guessing though.

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    "Mr. Weigler, elected officials are in fact capable of speaking the truth."

    Of course they are. And ironically both did so proudly and with principle on that resolution. Today I think mostly they're covering a colleague's butt. Which they could have done POSITIVELY, as to more properly defend Mr. Merkley's decision if they wished. Again with irony, as someone pointed out upthread, the tack chosen was to be negative, personally so. Petty opportunist, et al? Shall we add that to the pile on one side, along with raving hypocrites and assholes?

    Classic projection--they are smearing Steve here by accusing him of the same. Now THAT is dirty pool in anybody's book.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: BlueNote | Oct 11, 2007 4:54:42 PM My typo (DNC) should be (DLC) and is acknowledged.

    I'm not sayin' that I'm brighter than anyone else here but... it seemed self-evidently a typo to me and I responded as if you'd not made the typo.

    That said, I stand by my earlier comment. I flat out don't see the alledged similarities. Not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact it seems to me to be more the product of equal doses of conflation and wishful thinking than the product of reality.

  • Galen (unverified)
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    I would love for the good Representatives to answer this question:

    If Speaker Merkley wins the primary, do you think his 2003 vote will make the general election marginally more difficult for him, relative to if he had casted the opposite vote, or had not faced that choice at all?

    Other Merkley supporters, by all means, feel free weigh in on this one too. It's really a simple question.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Please, people, we're talking about elected officials here. Repeat after me: Representative Greenlick ...Representative Nolan

    Taoiseach makes a good point. Unlike Merkley, Both Greenlick and Nolan rejected this "rubbish," yet they are sitting representaives -- walking talking proof that Merkley could have rejected this rubbish as well and still win an election.

    It should not go unnoticed that in their attempt to "defend" their Man from this alleged smear, they manage to accuse Novick of being "Crass" in service of "his selfish personal agenda."

    No unnecessarily negative smear there?

    And what's worse, you say Novick "based his entire attack on talking points sent out by the Oregon Republican Party." That's an argument that already earned Willamette Week's Rogue of the Week.

    A cynic might get to thinkin' that your sensibilities about negative smears are, uh, situational, to put it gently.

    By the way, Mitch and Mary, that sounds like a great name for a 70s folk group. You guys otta git some instruments and take this act on the road, 'cause it ain't sellin' here. Voters are a little smarter than you think.

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    but it's clear that Merkley's vote for HR2 would weaken his ability to criticize Smith on Iraq adventure.

    That echoes the GOP/Novick meme which seeks to artifically divorce that vote from it's context. Context which Greenlick and Nolan pointed out in the post.

    The reality of the matter is that voting No was every bit as much of a playing the GOP game as voting Yes because the entire thing was framed by the GOP.

    Anyone who thinks that, should he win, Novick wouldn't be taken to task by Smith for opposing the troops (he says he'd have voted no...) has frankly taken leave of their senses. And you know what? It'd be EVERY BIT AS VALID as whatever Camp Smith would try to do to Merkley for voting yes should he win.

    I'm tired of having my intelligence insulted by partisans with a patently obvious partisan axe to grind.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    What, exactly, is Jeff Merkley's response to this? (if anyone has a transcript of what his stance on this is, I would love to read it).

    I would presume that if the answer was sufficient enough, he wouldnt need other people doing the dirty work for him and going 'negative' on Novick. I seriously doubt these folks posted such a message without Jeff's conscent. Which begs the question, attacking another candidate's character and using words as craas and the such would constitute as negative, correct? Even if you send others to do your dirty work.

    The Merkley campaign needs to get their stuff together if they plan on making a dent on Gordo, cause this is nothing compared to whats ahead, and I think we all know that.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    As legislators we had only two choices: yea or nay. We couldn't skip the vote. We couldn't vote "present."

    Actually Greenlick and Nolan, you betray your pathologically overblown narcissm with this lie. In truth, absolutely nothing but your narcissim stopped you from doing the right thing and refusing to vote, even if it cost you your seat. Illegal war and opposing it any and every way you can is that important.

    Despite what you are arrogantly arguing here, the reality is that few people except those in the circle of synchophants and self-important Democrat leaders would ever even miss you if you had walked out --- precisely because you don't have the quality of character to have actually done it. Here is another truth for you: There are plenty of people out there who would be far better elected representatives than you could ever even hope to be. It is irrelevant whether they have stepped up to leadership. You are the one here making unbelievable pathetic excuses for YOUR utter incompetence and failure to demonstrate principled leadership. You and Merkley have been in office too long and it has gone to your head.

    Merkley has demostrated that he is same kind of excuse-making leader who in fact has not distinguished himself in any way except how much he can back-slap. His entire campaign to date has been an insult to the intelligence of any Democrat worthy of that name who actually cares to what is happening in our state and country. All he has done is brag about how many self-important, washed-out leaders like you support him. He has yet to even set forth a clear statement of his positions on the issues.

    Anybody who calls Merkley a progressive is demonstrating how that term, as it has been self-applied over the years, has included a lot of leaders who frankly have looked down their nose at people they did not consider to be their "equals". It's clear that Greenlick, Nolan, Merkley, and many prominent "progressive" Democrats who spout here are odious representatives of that disreputable strain of progressivism.

    You won't find me amongst Novick's campaign workers, contributors or advocates right now because I'm really not a fan of his. However, if Merkley and his supporters continue to be the utter and arrogant jerks they have been to date, and like Greenlick and Nolan have been in this post, I'll be voting for Novick simply as way to vote not only against Merkley, but also against that arrogant, incompetent segment of the Democratic leadership represented by the likes of Kulogonski, Greenlick, Nolan, and the rest of the elected embarrasments to the DPO that have endorsed him.

    One last thing - my comment is nor more or less anonymous than my vote. That's all they care about, and the cost to them of smugly asserting they have a right to it, as they've in fact done here, is hearing why they won't get it because they aren't even close to deserving it.

  • (Show?)

    Here, here Purple. Seriously. How quickly can I type "backlash?" Oh wow, kinda quickly.

    This post is perhaps the most troubling thing I've seen from the Merkley campaign. Novick has the hook, the guts, the whatever, to stand up in a crowded room and bring up an elephant. Sorry, Mr. Merkley, campaigns sometimes make you come face to face with something you may have done wrong. Bringing out your friends for some CYA is just SUCH an incredibly bad trait for a United States Senator.

    Mr. Merkley, you made a decision that was not so popular. Are you going to actually own up to it, explain it, justify it, make us think, realize, that heck, you really hate this war? Take the heat, or, you know, exit the kitchen. Or are you going to make your friends stand in front of the cannon for you?

  • Rep Chip Shields (unverified)
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    I wasn't in the legislature in 2003, and I believe Steve Novick has good intentions. But not enough has been said about Speaker Merkley’s important role in passing House Joint Memorial 9 in the last legislative session. This was an Oregon House resolution that called for a timetable and an exit strategy from the war in Iraq. Jeff backed me on the resolution, and encouraged me to negotiate the resolution’s language with Republican Rep. Brian Boquist, the House’s foremost military expert. And thanks to Jeff’s leadership, we got it passed, and we were able to send a strong, bipartisan message to Congress and the President, that our troops have done their job, and it’s time to bring the troops home. Gordon Smith got us into this terrible war, and we need Jeff Merkley to help get us out.

    See the release from his office the day it passed here.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks, Chip, and before anybody jumps once again on the "if HR2 was bullshit, how come HJM9 isn't bullshit?" meme... here's your answer:

    HR2 was bullshit because it was a classic catch-22. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    HJM9 was an honest, forthright, straight-up declaration of the Legislature's will.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kristin, do you have non-political friends, or are all your friends politically active? I challenge you to talk with 10 or more friends who are not intensely involved in the US Senate primary. Describe the 2003 resolution in any way you see fit, then ask them if it will decide their 2008 primary vote for US Senate. The people I know are more interested in the future. If Steve's campaign is only interested in people upset by that 2003 vote, he may find the like minded voters are less than 50% of the electorate.

    Posted by: Jamai Vu | Oct 11, 2007 5:13:13 PM had a very interesting comment. And I will add that in the fall debate in 1992, AuCoin tried to complain about Packwood's negative campaigning and Ol' Slick Bob had a "perfect squelch" retort: "After what you did in the primary, YOU are calling ME negative?".

    DPO sent out an email with the link to the US Senate candidates at Sunriver. I listened with interest with both. Will someone please get Jeff some voice coaching? People without perfect hearing vote, and Jeff has that annoying habit of sometimes dropping the decibel level of his voice so that I needed to turn up the volume on my computer. If people don't catch every word, how will they know what he stands for? (I come from a family where some members are professional musicians and have either had voice lessons themselves or know people who taught or took voice lessons.)

    Steve even with a cold has perfect diction and a great speaking voice.

    Matter of fact, I was impressed by most of his speech. Then he spent a minute on the 2003 resolution, and I wanted to scream "Enough already on the 2003 resolution--if I don't agree with you on that, do you want my vote?".

    Someone above mentioned HJM 9. If either candidate was appearing somewhere (esp. in the mid Willamette Valley) and were asked if they agreed with Boquist's speech on that HJM, esp. his definition of the true meaning of "support the troops", would either candidate be able to answer that question?

    Or are the campaigns just talking about symbolic resolutions in general terms and not what people said in the speeches when they were voted on? That strikes me as very Karl Rove--he tried to sell the idea "your speech doesn't matter, but we will remind you of your vote every day you disagree with us". Is that the kind of trap Democrats want to fall into?

    It was good to see Steve say even some Democratic consultants don't believe that voters can handle the truth. That is why some voters and esp. some activists don't trust consultants.

    And there is a line between wit and bad jokes which cause people to groan. I'm not sure everyone even in a Democratic gathering would have found the "germ warfare" joke funny.

    On one of these topics there was some debate on whether the air went out of the room or whatever when Steve hit the minute about the 2003 resolution in his Sunriver speech. I had the volume way up so I could hear the reaction. I didn't hear any audience reaction from the time he finished the 2003 resolution part of the speech until near the end of his Busload of Faith section. THAT is a great positive line, and I think Steve would do better if he'd use that as a theme from now on and drop the "agree that the 2003 resolution is a problem" talk.

    Yes, I understand the 2003 resolution vote is a single issue for some people--but do they only want the votes of those who agree with them? I don't think my friend who voted for Gordon in the past but might be open to voting for someone else (knowing him, more likely Frohnmayer or Merkley than Novick) will vote for Novick or any other Democrat based on a 2003 legislative vote.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kevin,

    You might hear an echo in my statement, but to tell the truth, I have not heard the Republican statements on the issue, and neither have I heard what Novick has said on it, beyond what I've read here. And as I wrote, I am not picking a primary favorite, I'd be happy with either Steve or Jeff, and believe that whoever wins the primary will stand the best chance of beating Smith. My only partisanship is pro-Democratic.

    As for HR2, of course it was a Republican setup. Of course, Merkley had a nuanced position. If he were going to run for state rep again, failure to vote to "support the troops" may have been the bigger problem. Instead, he is running for US Senate against an incumbent whose greatest weakness is his support [strong and now wavering] for Shrub's Iraq invasion and occupation. In this campaign, the one Merkley has chosen, voting to accept the trumped up WMD fears and praising Shrub's courage is a problem. When Merkley criticizes Smith's Iraq record, Smith will quote the parts of HR2 that HE chooses in rebuttal. Context means diddley squat in modern sound-bite campaigning.

    I'd rather both candidates talk about Smith instead of each other, but that's just my own take on running primary campaigns. But if Democrats are going on the attack in the primary, I just hope they keep to that strategy in the general. I've seen too many Democrats ravage their primary opponent and then turn into wimps during the general election campaign.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Sorry Shields - but you might want to go back and read your comment from another viewpoint. You may find it does neither you nor Merkley any credit. You do deserve some credit for introducing this measure and working to get it passed, but apparently maybe not as much as might be the case. You are as much as saying here that even though the country had decisively turned against the war by sometime in early 2006, you and Merkley were only capable of leading on the issue safely when the Democrats had the majority.

    Merkley (and all of the other Democratic elected officials who are supporting him) had plenty of opportunities starting in the 2005 session to introduce legislation and speak out against the war, as well as against any number of other Republican attacks on our democracy, instead of weasling around until the 2007 session when it looked like crabbed opposition to the war would be his best career move.

    True leaders would demonstrate very different character than Merkley, Greenlick, or Nolan. As a voter, frankly my advice to you is that you may want to spend some time thinking seriously if you have just shown you make poor choices in selecting political mentors.

    Here's another one for you Shields - Can we depend on you to tell Merkley your support for him depends critically on him, starting tomorrow AM, publicly and aggressively denouncing all his potential Democratic colleagues in the Senate, including his DSC puppetmasters, for this (remember it only takes 40 Democratic votes out of 50 to stop it - and maybe only 1 Senator to place a secret "hold"):

    http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/10/11/not-ready-to-make-nice/

    Well this gets a big, fat “hell, no” from me. Via e-mail from Liz Rose of the ACLU on the draft Senate version of the FISA bill, which is not yet publicly available and not being widely shared for review either:

    …the Senate bill (Committee draft) does contain immunity/amnesty for the telecom companies…Including retroactive immunity for anything they’ve done wrong in cooperating in illegal domestic spying for the past six years.

    Anybody know what Ron Wyden is going to do, since he is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and is tagged as one of those who has not made his intentions clear?

  • unabashed Novick fan (unverified)
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    I've got a very sick feeling after reading these posts, and here is why: The Smith guys are reading every one of these posts and LAUGHING THEIR ASSES OFF. Why? Because their strategy worked. They planted the story, served it up to Steve's campaign on a silver platter, and are now sitting back and enjoying every minute of it.

    Why do I have a sick feeling? Because it begs the question: why does Smith want to weaken or defeat Merkley?

    Again, I'm a Steve fan. Much of Steve's speech at Sunriver was brilliant. (Jeff's was pretty darn impressive, too.) But I would have a better feeling about Steve if Smith were trying to help Merkley beat the guy with the hard left hook. That would tell me that Steve, not Merkley, is the one Smith should fear most.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    Here is my problem, Chip: Why isnt Merkley the one talking about this....why doesnt he call the resolution what everyone else is seemingly calling it: a catch-22. And why isnt he making the other measure a focal point of his rebutal. Its like bringing this up isnt fair and people want to whine about it....but seriously, if you cant handle the criticism and the desire to hear the candidate speak, and we arent even going up against Gordo...whats gonna happen when he goes on the big stage.

    And Kari: whats the difference between what Merkley did with the resolution in 2003 and the one in 2005 and what Gordo did with his flip flop last November? These are the types of questions he needs to get out of the way now, or else they will come up when he is up against the big dog...and Merkley needs to do it himself, not through "spokespeople."

    Someone needs to tell Mitch and Mary that Novick is running against Merkley, not Gordon, why would he need to campaign against him now? Its bush league for them to come here and stump for Merkley with the kinds of preposterous comments in that letter.

  • (Show?)

    "We should have gotten Tom in sooner as I'm sure that you and your candidate are eager to move on to actual issues and policy."

    Move on? My candidate has been hitting actual issues and policy with specific bills he would support and oppose, EVERY WEEK. We STILL have yet to see specific positions at Merkley.com.

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    Purple... Jeff has talked about this.

    From the AP story:

    "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."
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    "Anyone who thinks that, should he win, Novick wouldn't be taken to task by Smith for opposing the troops (he says he'd have voted no...) has frankly taken leave of their senses."

    The problem with that theory is that almost no one believes anymore that being against the war means you don't support the troops, if ever they did.

    Steve is an expert at handling GOP BS. Mtich and Mary admit that, and you might be able to get Bill Sizemore and Howard Rich to agree. You've touched on exactly the point. I'm not worried at all about how Steve would handle himself against Smith's attacks. On the other hand...

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    With all due respect to Chip Shields, who I respect greatly and who was the REAL force behind HJM 9, it took from very early January, after Bush announced the escalation, to late March to get that bill through. It was not made a strong priority (immediately the thought was to put it off until March 19th, the anniversary), and spent quite a while with legislative counsel. While Brian Boquist's additions to the memorial made it a more informed and detailed bill, 31 votes should have been (and were) a lock even without it. For all the attempt at "bipartisanship," it got what--2 GOP votes?

    And as someone has pointed out, Mr. Merkley knows how to vote for a good bill, that's obvious. It's knowing what to do with the bad ones we're concerned with here.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Here's the answer for "unabashed Novick fan" (and frankly I'm dubious UNF is being honest).

    If the Democrat primary were not heavily contested, Merkley, as the DSC puppet with access to lots of cash, would be a problem for Smith simply because Merkley would have access to lots of cash from the party establishment and he could depend on a generally unified and committed Democratic electorate (only about 1/3 of the votes). It would not be because Merkley would actually be the more formidable political competitor or biggest vote-getter in the general compared to the other primary candidates. Do you actually think Smith would be able to turn off Merkley's voters in the general with the claim that Merkley had supported the war and now doesn't?

    Now, if Novick makes it a race and he wins, Smith actually faces even a bigger challenge (assuming that the DSC and what it sure seems will be sore losers on Merkley's side don't prove to be as churlish as they have been so far and sit it out.) In that case, Novick will have won BECAUSE he is the more formidable political competitor.

    It's pretty obvious Smith is just playing smart politics and taking it one step at a time. It's not valid to read much into the nature of the general from the conditions of the primary. However, it is worth observing that this is precisely what the Merkley supporting contingent of the Democratic Party and leadership would like the rest of the voters in the Democratic primary to do.

  • (Show?)

    Expanding our base of Democratic voters is crucial to winning 2008. The amount of microscopic analysis of the two Democratic US Senate candidates isn't the issue,the issue is to support them both, then vote in May. Either one of them is substantially better than Gordon Smith. Gordon Smith must be removed from the position of US Senator. The pettiness on this thread needs to be elevated. Think about the responsibility we are asking Novick and Merkly to take on, the committment we want from each to be good leaders, they need our support.

  • (Show?)

    Here's my proposal for a functional definition of negative campaigning for this primary: Supplying a quote to Gordon Smith that he would otherwise not have been able to use.

    First compare quotes. Novick hits Merkley for a vote for a 2003 resolution arguing, "He [Merkley] can't use the war in Iraq as an issue against Gordon Smith."

    Merkley's fellow representatives call Novick's action in the campaign "crass" and "an effort that serves only his selfish personal agenda" while Novick himself is an "opportunist".

    Which quotes can now show up in Republican advertising that didn't exist before? So which side is being negative? (He asks rhetorically.)

    I have tremendous respect for everyone participating here, especially for Representatives Greenlick and Nolan. We all know that whoever wins this primary will have the support of the primary opponent. (Right?) Let's elect the person who best represents Oregon and has the best chance of beating Gordon Smith.

    Make sure we don’t make next fall’s task more difficult.

  • interesting (unverified)
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    Has anyone noticed that few of Mr. Merkley's supposedly progressive critics, including Jake, here have addressed Merkley's words in opposition to the war that were spoken on the House floor that fateful day, a time when 90% of Americans supported the war. It took as much courage for Merkley to stand on the House floor and call bs, as it took to silently vote no from other safe Portland districts. And TJ, how many bills passed after March 19th as did before? Oh, and perhaps it was the Speaker of the frickin Oregon House was leading his chamber towards voting on contraceptive equity, establishing a real Rainy Day Fund, passing domestic partnerships and anti-discrimination language. Perhaps it was because he was fighting desperately to pass a 36% cap on consumer loans in Oregon, to to add car title lenders to similar payday lending restrictions. Oh, maybe it took the House until March 19th to pass this because the Speaker was also building support for passing one of the healthiest K-12 budgets Oregon has seen for decades, or reversing decades of cuts to the Oregon State Police. For TJ or anyone else who says Merkley hasn't taken any significant policy positions, you must not have paid any attention to the 74th legislative session. Ask his colleagues about Jeff's progressive credentials, and his incredible grasp of complicated policy initiatives. Oh, I guess we just did, and Greenlick and Nolan just answered.

  • interestingII (unverified)
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    Sorry about the numerous typos. I am so angry that Steve, who I deeply respect, and others like TJ and Jake, who have contributed a ton to progressive causes cannot see the forest through the trees. Call Jeff and insider--hell he is the Speaker after all. Call Steve an outsider--he has never held office before. Say that an outsider is the only one who can be someone as slick as Smith. Fine. But cut out the crap...the repeating of R talking points; cut out questioning Jeff's progressive credentials and his amazing record of accomplishments both in securing a House majority as caucus leader and as Speaker who held a fragile majority of 31 together to pass more progressive legislation than any legislature has in 30 years; and don't criticize Jeff on his lack of significant policy positions because his website is a little thin. Do you want to know what Jeff will fight for? Look at the last session: advances in labor rights (card check, Employee Free Choice, paid family leave); helping working families (payday lending legislation etc); investing in our economy through forward looking environmental legislation (biodiesel, a renewable energy standard, bottle bill expansion, and e-waste recycling); education investment (significant improvements in K-12, head start, and higher ed funding). Do any of you think that all Jeff did was call role at the start of a session day? Ask those who were there about his role in leading Oregon forward last session! Rosenbaum, Greenlick, Nolan, the Governor all have endorsed him because of his record, and to dismiss that is either naive or simply mean-spirited.

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    Anonymous wrote:

    If the Democrat primary were not heavily contested, Merkley, as the DSC puppet with access to lots of cash... It's pretty obvious Smith is just playing smart politics and taking it one step at a time.

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a Republican troll here. I'm giving $5 to my favorite Democratic candidate right now.

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    ...a time when 90% of Americans supported the war.

    Not true, support for the war with Iraq was never that high. See, for example, this link.

    As the war began, Americans overwhelmingly approved of U.S. action against Iraq; 69% said the U.S. did the right thing in taking military action (the highest level of support in our polls for the war). Support for the war waned in 2004.

    69% is still high, and probably terrifying to the average Democratic officeholder but I've never seen polling that put the number at 90%. (Bush's approval rating briefly hit the upper 80's after 9/11, but the war/invasion never did.)

    Also, many of us who are Novick supporters have gone out of our way to say that in terms of "policies," we don't really have problems with Jeff Merkley.

    Do you want to know what Jeff will fight for? Look at the last session...

    This, among other things mentioned in this post, is also getting old. I've said it before, and I'll probably have to say it again before the Primary is over: No one member of the Legislature, not even the Speaker, deserves all the credit for the accomplishments of a session.

    Public interest groups, legislative staff, experts who come to testify before committees, deserve a lot of credit for what happened in the last session. Ordinary Oregonians who wrote letters, called their representatives and worked their butts off to elect the Democratic majority deserve the most credit.

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    For TJ or anyone else who says Merkley hasn't taken any significant policy positions, you must not have paid any attention to the 74th legislative session.

    Is it really so? Is it the intent of Merkley to run a campaign for federal office based on being first among 31 on statewide issues from 18 months ago, as their statement of policy?

    While Mr. Merkley seems to view his past votes as his best selling point, I'm dying to know about future votes. We are still at a point where Mr. Novick publishes a policy position on a PENDING FEDERAL ISSUE at least once a week and usually more, while Mr. Merkley, at last check, continues to maintain a current issues page marked "Change coming soon." How soon is now?

    By the way, if you can find me a poll showing 90% of America backing the war shortly after the invasion (not the troops, the idea of going to war), I'll send Merkley 10 bucks. That's gilding the lilly, one of several rather loose assertions, IMO.

    The more I read this, the more surprised I am.

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    There is an exceedingly large amount of absolute crap on this thread so I will try to be judicious on what I address.

    1 Rep. Chip Shields is someone I deeply respect. TJ when you for political reasons say that Chip lied about what happened with HIS BILL, I find that insulting.

    2 I would like to support Taoiseach's comment's about officials. Its not Mr. Merkley, TJ, it is Speaker or Representative Merkley. If you take the time to add Mr. you can easily go with Rep. Just be respectful.

    3 TJ keeps pointing to the issue pages. Novick needs one because he has never been elected. Speaker Merkley doesn't, why? because the best predictor of future success is past action. How bout we talk about health care and how Novick says he supports 5 different health care plans all of which contradict themselves?

    4 It seems that there is a lack of memory. How was Smith last beaten? It seems to me that Sen. Ron Wyden - a traditional politician - made a huge deal about positive campaigning. Seems like Merkley is positioning himself just right. Negative campaigning like Novick is doing strips from him his greatest asset, his outsider status, by becoming what most people think a politician is, a negative, backbiting, self promoter.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    What a ridiculous topic this is.

    Novick isn't "smearing" Merkley by pointing out a vote that Merkley cast that Novick wouldn't have cast. He's pointing out a possible difference between them. A "smear" involves rhetoric -- ridicule, sharp language, etc. Novick has smeared Smith, to be sure, but never rhetoric.

    The mere use of the word "smear" applied to Novick is more of a smear against him than anything Novick has done to Merkley.

    Would Merkley's supporters please just confine their arguments to the substance of the campaign? Tell people why we should vote for Merkley, not why you're pissed at Novick.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Anonymous wrote:

    If the Democrat primary were not heavily contested, Merkley, as the DSC puppet with access to lots of cash... It's pretty obvious Smith is just playing smart politics and taking it one step at a time.
    Ding, ding, ding! We have a Republican troll here. I'm giving $5 to my favorite Democratic candidate right now.

    Actually Kari, you and Jeff proved long ago you are not the brightest bulbs on the tree. But if simple commentary about the mechanics of politics that happens to show your boy Merkley really is a pathetic candidate gets you to give lots of money to Democrats, that's fine with me.

    I'll even repeat it if that will make you spend more money:

    If the primary were relatively uncontested, Smith would see Merkley as his biggest challenger during the primary season because Merkley would be the presumptive nominee and would have DSC support and money. Now that the primary is contested, if Novick wins Smith will see Novick as a more formidable competitor than Merkley would have been in a relatively uncontested primary because Novick won the contested primary. Unless, that is, the DSC and what it sure seems will be sore losers on Merkley's side prove to be as churlish as they have been so far and sit it out.

    Please send five more dollars to whatever candidate your prefer. And please re-read this comment once an hour right up to primary election day and send five more dollars each time so I don't have to repeat it.

    ...a time when 90% of Americans supported the war.

    Not true, support for the war with Iraq was never that high.

    Colin Maloney is right, but that isn't even the half of it. First of all if you look here:

    http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq15.htm

    and keep going back to March 20, 2003, you'll see none of the polling about Iraq at that time broke support down by party. There is a pretty good circumstantial evidence of reporting at that time, including constituent calls to Congress, that there never was a majority of Democratic voters, Merkley's base, supporting the war.

    In that light, Merkley's combination of his vote and his speech is the epitome of his weasly political style. He wanted to make sure there was no vote on record that he would have to defend, not that he would have the backbone to do it. At the same time he wanted to be sure he could point to ineffectual and meaningless words of opposition in the official record when today came. He, Greenlick, and Nolan really are the face of that peculiar cowardice we see in the Democratic party. It almost seems they have all become too enamored with their office and status. For sure, they no longer are credible advocates of what we stand for as Democrats.

    Merkley had his personal moment of truth, and he folded. All evidence supports the claim that it was because he was worried about his political career. No amount of dancing by his supporters can ever change that fact, and it's actually quite sad to watch them try. We'll have to see whether it was a good strategy by Novick to make this part of his campaign strategy. My guess is that by itself it won't be enough, but Novick can break it open by fastening on to one or two other issues (the polls suggest health care would be a good one) that Merkley also is weasly about. Which to date actually would be just about every issue, as already noted.

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    I'm a Novick voter who thinks this tactic is a mistake that is muddying the waters about him more than anything else it is doing.

    This is not going to be an effective issue for Gordon Smith. His biggest hypocrisy and flip-flops about the war have all occurred within the last 6 months. They are much different than a symbolic gotcha vote.

    I regret that Reps. Greenlick and Nolan used some of the extreme character-assassination language that they did toward the end of their piece. It undermines their main point. But I wish my fellow Novick supporters (and his campaign person) would look at what these folks who voted no say: that this was not a character vote, it was a smear trap either way. If the vote meant what you are saying it did, these people who voted no wouldn't be willing to support Merkley.

    I don't know Mary Nolan's record but "anonymous" is just wrong about Mitch Greenlick.

    What Steve should do is say: this is how I will be approaching the occupation/war question in Iraq, and call on Jeff to do the same.

    Getting out of Iraq is going to take the votes of a hell of a lot of Dems who gave it much stronger backing than Jeff's vote on this nonsense.

    If Smith tries to use this vote, he will look desperate. It makes Steve look desperate now. He should hang it up and get back to his strengths, which are willingness to fight for substance. Here he's shadow boxing, and steel left hooks do very little to shadows.

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    Here is the thing that I find most offensive in this whole discussion: how dare anyone tell me that I am not allowed to be concerned about the implications of Merkley's vote for HR2?

    I don't know about the rest of you, but this is not performance art for me.

    This is a place where I express my sincerely and deeply held opinion. I care a lot about HR2 and all I see is Merkley supporters accusing Steve of the basest reasons for bringing it up. It is a wholly legitimate issue, both because of what it says about Merkley's inclination to get rolled, and because it is a weapon for the Republicans to use against him.

    Merkley's supporters really seem to care more about denying this issue and protecting him from it (if necessary, by attributing the basest possible motives to those who feel differently) than about maximizing the Democrats' chances of winning the general election. That is a fatally flawed strategy since even if Steve Novick were hit by a bus tomorrow, Jeff Merkley would still have to answer for this issue to other Democratic candidates and (assuming a primary victory) in a general election campaign.

  • Not Pollyanna (unverified)
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    If talking about a vote is "going negative", then what do you call suggesting that Novick is "a false leader", "a demagogue", "an opportunist", and a "backbiter" for bringing up Merkley's voting record?

    Merkley may be hiding behind Greenlick and Nolan, but this piece is coming straight from his campaign, and it stinks way worse than anything Steve has said about Jeff.

    Are Democrats only allowed to discuss Jeff's good votes from now on?

    In my view, Novick is right to raise the Iraq vote as issue during the primary because that vote is going to have an impact on Merkley's viability as a candidate against Smith in the general.

    Anyone who doesn't think that voters in Portland and Eugene will be treated to a steady Smith-fed diet of ads saying that Merkley "spoke out against it before he voted for it" is sorely mistaken.

    Better that Democrats know about it now so that they can elect a nominee who is not vulnerable to that particular line of attack.

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    There should be no confusion about whether Jeff Merkley's vote on the resolution supporting the war will be an issue in the general election if he is nominated. Of course it will, and it should be. Daniel Webster, as quoted by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage, put it best: "Inconsistencies of opinion arising from changes of circumstances are often justifiable. But there is one inconsistency that is culpable: it is the inconsistency between a man's conviction and his vote, between his conscience and his conduct." Gordon Smith changed his mind about the war. Merkley, while speaking against the war, voted to support it. Voters will be asked to decide which man they trust to represent them in the United States Senate--the one who votes his conscience, or the one who votes his political calculation.

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    And there you go folks. That's the spin from the GOP.

    Straight from the mouth of a former candidate for Governor and the last Republican to win statewide office.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    <blocknote>Posted by: interesting | Oct 11, 2007 11:17:40 PM

    Has anyone noticed that few of Mr. Merkley's supposedly progressive critics, including Jake, here have addressed Merkley's words in opposition to the war that were spoken on the House floor that fateful day, a time when 90% of Americans supported the war. It took as much courage for Merkley to stand on the House floor</blocknote>

    You missed it...

    "I see no attack on the war, nor any mention of George W. Bush." - Jake

    Merkley himself exaggerates the courage profiled in his "floor speach." The claim that "Jeff attacked the war, and President Bush in his floor speech" is pure political spin. Read for yourself.

    I am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources.

    Far from attacking Bush, Mr. Merkley couldn't even come up with cogent criticism. He couldn't even say for certain if launching a pre-emptive attack on Iraq was the best way to fight Al Qaida. It's just like when he showed up at the Hawthorne bridge peace vigil. He gave his speech and left. Merkely's so worried about saying the right thing (and even bungles that), at least on the issue of the war, he's not doing the right thing.

    The authentic swiftboat style smear is originting from the Speaker himself. There was a "wrong" vote on HRes2 and Merkley made it. First we saw his surrogates try an level the field by crying foul against Novick simply for noting this fact. Then Merkley's staffers got in the act and the Mandate Machine hasn't stopped since.

    "Republicans, Novick press attack on Merkley" (brought to you by the "neutral" voice of BlueOregon)

    When they failed to make the "attack" meme stick, they dug deep and now have his political friends piling on the swift-bandwagon.

    This is what turns me off most about politicians as usual.

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    Correction: ". . . and the last Republican other than Gordon Smith to win statewide office."

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    It is a wholly legitimate issue, both because of what it says about Merkley's inclination to get rolled, and because it is a weapon for the Republicans to use against him.

    It is a wholly illegitimate issue.

    1. He didn't get rolled by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I would submit that Merkley is on an exceedingly short list of legislators who smartly side-stepped the GOP frame and thus proved his mettle to be our next junior Senator. Novick, by his own admission, would have played precisely the role that the GOP wanted.

    2. Simply being alive will be used against him... DUH!! If not this than something else. The same would go for Novick were he to win. You make is sound as if a Democratic candidate could somehow insulate themself and prevent any GOP attacks by voting a certain way. The real world simply doesn't work that way.

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    True, Jack. Though I usually don't include the federal offices in "statewide office". Either way.

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    The problem with that theory is that almost no one believes anymore that being against the war means you don't support the troops, if ever they did.

    By your own admission you don't believe that Merkley supported the war and that his statements at the time demonstrate that fact. So what makes you think that Smith would only twist one side of that resolution vote but not the other?

    This is exactly what I mean about having my intelligence insulted.

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    As for HR2, of course it was a Republican setup. Of course, Merkley had a nuanced position. If he were going to run for state rep again, failure to vote to "support the troops" may have been the bigger problem. Instead, he is running for US Senate against an incumbent whose greatest weakness is his support [strong and now wavering] for Shrub's Iraq invasion and occupation. In this campaign, the one Merkley has chosen, voting to accept the trumped up WMD fears and praising Shrub's courage is a problem. When Merkley criticizes Smith's Iraq record, Smith will quote the parts of HR2 that HE chooses in rebuttal. Context means diddley squat in modern sound-bite campaigning.

    Of course Smith will, regardless of who wins the Dem primary. This is precisely what Greenlick and Nolan are saying - everything about that resolution was deliberately set up to be cannon fodder for future election campaigns. Smith could every bit as easily quote the parts of HR2 that HE chooses in framing Novick as hating the troops... and it would be no more or less legitimate than what he'll do to Merkley.

    The stunningly nieve assumption by some Novick supporters, and apparently by Novick himself, that Smith would only play dirty pool with Merkley (visa-vis HR2) should give Oregon Democrats pause when considering who to choose in the Primary.

  • Shane Dixon Kavanaugh (unverified)
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    Both Merkley and Novick are great folks, they are both great candidates, and either one will serve as a formidable challenge to Gordon Smith in the general election. Calling Novick's criticism of Merkley "petty backbiting," and Novick himself "oportunistic" and "narrowly focused" only serves to perpetuate the ongoing pissing match between both camps. Thanks, Blue Oregon, for providing the forum for Greenlick's and Nolan's hatchet job! Are we all feeling even now (and a little more politically divided)? Can we move on to more important topics of discussion?

  • trishka (unverified)
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    way back upthread, jraad responded to my post by asserting that merkley relying on his legislative record is an example of positive campaigning. i agree with this. i also recognize & acknowledge that for some voters, this is all they need to know in order to cast their vote for merkley. for some of the rest of us, it's encouraging, but not enough by itself. the fact that his campaign is not coming out with anything more of substance, like we're seeing consistently come out of steve novick's campaign, is why i have switched from undecided to supporting novick.

    however, i also think that chris lowe's has a point that continuing to bring this up may hurt novick more than it is helping him. i don't know about that. but it is worth considering, purely from a political standpoint. this isn't saying that it is not a legitimate issue, just thinking smart politics here.

    thirdly, i agree with others who have pointed out that the language used by greenlick and nolan in the original diary entry far outstrips anything that novick has said in terms of negativity. in calling out his (supposed) negativity, they are raising the ante by resorting to namecalling like they have. and either merkley's campaign needs to denounce it or they are worse than novick, without a doubt.

    which brings me to my last point. i have decided to support novick in this election, but i'm also hedging my bets because i know it is going to be a contested race & because of the power of the democratIC (<---see, not a troll) party machine behind him. and my biggest concern right now is not whether or not novick can win the primary, but that everything that i'm seeing from the merkley campaign suggests to me that, should he win, he will LOSE --->BIG TIME<--- to gordon smith.

    this post is not partisan bickering or snarky backbiting. this is coming from a sincere progressive who is consciensously concerned about regaining this senate seat for a progressive. if merkley wins the primary, you (his campaign), and we (democrats) have got to do better in the general. the campaign that i see from merkley relies, so far, on three planks:

    1. endorsements from prominent elected democrats
    2. his legislative record
    3. slamming steve novick

    and this may be enough to steamroll over novick in the primary, but i'm telling you - it ain't gonna fly in the general election!!!!

    and i swear to all the gods, goddesses, flying spaghetti monsters and disco balls in the universe, that if the democratic party, of which i have been a lifelong member chooses merkley in the primary and he goes on to lose to smith, i will be done with it.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    HR2 was bullshit because it was a classic catch-22. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    HJM9 was an honest, forthright, straight-up declaration of the Legislature's will.

    The other difference: Merkley voted to acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush when 69% of people supported the war. He voted for HR9 (to bring the troops home when) 70% of the country opposed the war.

    You're right, Kari, they're not the same thing at all. It brings up the legitimate question: Is your Man a leader or a follower?

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    East Bank Thom is correct in identifying the Merkley campaign is the one engaged in character attacks. They are following the Rove textboock of negative campaiging right down to every period and comma:

    1) Make sure your candidate NEVER gives a clear statement of his or her position, much less stand up and commit to action, on any actual issue so he or she can never be pinned down.

    2) Get a lot of cheerleaders to make sure the campaign is only about how popular your boy or girl is: Modern media folks and bloggers, generally being easy to distract with shiny objects, will love it. Preferrably do that with unverifiable encomiums about he or she was personally and single-handedly responsible for EVERYTHING positive that EVER happened in close political proximity, and how he or she is just congenitally incapable of even possibly being responsible for any of the manifest failures.

    3) Throw in a few safe, posturing positions that your leader would never actually even have the chance to act on. But make sure he or she never takes a forceful, unambiguous position that would require action. (See the link above on Senate Democrats proposing to retroactively grant immunity to telecoms for criminal acts collaborating in domestic spying.)

    4) Attack your opponent where he or she is stronger than you to keep the spotlight off the fact you have little substantive or principled to actually say or offer --- make the campaign seem like a junior high spat over offended egos. In this case, the point is his weasly position on the war and failure to stand up in the only manner that would have mattered when his time came. In that way, Merkley demonstrated himself to be indistinguishable from that whole group of Democrats who got us into war and allowed right-wing neo-fascists to tear up our constitution, and who have proved uninterested and ineffectual since then in repudiating and rolling back what they bear major responsibility for creating.

    And Kari, regardless of whether Jack Roberts is a living breathing example of how Republicans really don't have much to offer the state or the country anymore (and he is that), he at least demonstrates some factual about politics, personal character, and leadership that Merkley and his attack snakes like Greenlick, Nolan and you, apparently don't.

    There must be at least three or four comments in there about the moral bankruptcy of fellow Democrats around Merkley that you can't answer and therefore will slime as evidence of a Republican troll. Please send another $15-$20 to the Democratic candidates of your choice.

  • Not Pollyanna (unverified)
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    You're right, Kari, they're not the same thing at all. It brings up the legitimate question: Is your Man a leader or a follower?

    Totally unfair, Pat. You know as well as I do that Merkley was instrumental in getting Gonzales out when he called for Gonzales' resignation a week before t happened. I mean, without that press release my man Alberto would still be in charge of the DOJ.

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    "So what makes you think that Smith would only twist one side of that resolution vote but not the other?"

    I didn't say that. What I said was that the argument Smith might try to make against Novick is not believable on its face. "He doesn't support the troops because he didn't back the war" doesn't wash with anybody except the folks who still follow Mr. 27%. But it's much more believeable to accuse Merkley of "supporting the war," based on a reading of the resolution and his Yes vote.

    Merkley will have to (again) explain the bill, what he was thinking, and which parts he did and didn't support. Most Oregonians have no opinion on the resolution, likely not even having heard of it. But they have an opinion already on whether being anti-war is equal to being unsupportive of the troops.

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    Would Speaker Merkley's inclination to "support the troops" no matter what that support was wrapped in have led him to vote for the "sense of the Senate" resolution a couple of weeks ago that condemned MoveOn.org for their "General Betrayus" ad? That was a similarly toothless measure put up by Republicans to wave their flags and show how unpatriotic Democrats were. A lot of Senators fell for that one. How would Speaker Merkley have voted?

    What if the stakes were real? What if it came to a choice to end a war in Iran by cutting off funding for the war or continuing bombing under the next administration? I got a call from a DCCC fund-raiser last spring who was quite adamant about how cutting off funding would leave the troops literally starving in Baghdad. How could someone who couldn't even vote against a "rubbish" resolution that promoted the Iraq war and praised George Bush because there was a single line in there praising the troops bring themselves to take the heat for bringing a war to an end through a funding cut-off?

    If the Republicans can insert some line of yellow ribbon into even odious legislation, will Speaker Merkley feel honor-bound to support it? That's not a Republican talking point, that's a matter of judgment. It's not going to be something that's going to appear in social spending bills, but "support the troops" is going to be a theme in almost any Middle East foreign policy matters over the next six years.

  • Galen (unverified)
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    I read this piece again this morning, and I'm still sick to my stomach. This is nothing more than drive-by character assassination.

    Do Representatives Greenlick and Nolan have enough respect for this audience and this venue to come back and answer questions posed in this thread and respond to the handful of factual inaccuracies?

    I'm holding out hope.

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    Galen, I'm more interested in whether Mr. Merkley's campaign will either back his colleagues or disavow their truly personal attacks. And yes, I call him Mr. Merkley because that's fully appropriate. No one bitches when the NYT calls the President and a sitting Senator Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry. Also, will Mr. Merkley be presiding in Salem next Februrary? I'm not sure it's been explained how he will handle the short session and his primary campaign at the same time. Maybe he hasn't realized he has to RUN a primary campaign yet...

  • chris w (unverified)
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    Mr. Greenlick and Ms. Nolan-

    You're right about one thing, and that is the campaign just got ugly- thanks to the two of you. It's one thing for Steve to point out that Jeff made a vote he didn't agree with. But the name calling and ridiculous accusations you both make here actually do qualify as an attack, and you should both be ashamed of yourselves for trying to put this kind of spin on it. And the idea that Steve should only focus his attention on Gordon Smith is pretty dumb. After all, this is the PRIMARY, so the point is to show how the two democratic candidates differ from each other.
    Steve Novick an opportunist who cares only about his own political gain? Please...

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    The sound of hands clapping on the sidelines are from supporters of Senator Gordon Smith. What, if anything has been accomplished by the yo-yo comments by Novick and Merkley supporters? BlueOregon is a roadshow. Attempts by a candidate in any race to distinguish himself/herself from another candidate are predictable and expected. The most convincing arguments are statements from Merkley and Novick that distinguish themselves from Gordon Smith. I want to hear how each Democratic US Senate candidate will pull back the expansion of executive power by this president. I want to hear how they will prevent PowerPoint presentations to government employees during work time for purely poltical ends. Ours will be a woeful 6 more years if Gordon Smith is reelected. Move forward without mocking each other and may the best candidate win in May.

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    Actually Kari, you and Jeff proved long ago you are not the brightest bulbs on the tree.

    Light bulbs grow on trees? [rimshot]

    Is anyone growing tired of this fight? Good god. I like both candidates, I'll delightedly vote for either one next November, and I'm voting for Merkley in May. But this horse is dead, buried, and gone. Let's move on.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    "So what makes you think that Smith would only twist one side of that resolution vote but not the other?"

    The best insurance against having to watch Smith play that card successfully in a televised statewide debate is probably best summed up by Mitch'n'Mary themselves:

    "Steve Novick is a bright guy and a good campaigner. He can take apart a ridiculous Republican talking point like no one else."

    Better to send the "bright guy" who "can take apart a ridiculous Republican talking point like no one else" to face Smith than the guy who puts his stamp of approval on the GOP "rubbish," which how Mitch'n'Mary described the resolution Merkley approved.

    Smith is vulnerable. This isn't the time to send the next-in-line candidate to face him. It's time to send the bright guy who can take him apart.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Representatives Greenlick and/or Nolan also misrepresent the facts, as does Speaker Merkley himself.

    Jeff attacked the war, and President Bush in his floor speech

    And this is what Jeff himself now claims after the fact.

    "This was two days after the invasion and a day before the very first Oregonian was killed in Iraq. So I stood up on the house floor and said what I had said in an article previously, that the Iraq war is, uh, um, a di'. Using military force is uh, is uh, um uh, a, a terrible way to approach this. And that is, uh. I have grave doubts about the strategy"

    Merkley's campaign manager, Jon Isaacs, posted the complete transcript of the "floor speach" the first time around when the Mandate Machine tried to turn Merkley's misguided vote into an attack on Novick. There was no attack of Bush or his war policy. On the contrary, the soon to be Speaker wanted that to be a "conversation or a debate for another day."

    Oregonians were being marched off to a "foolish and unjust war," and the best Mr. Merkley could do was wave a flag...

  • pat malach (unverified)
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    Light bulbs grow on trees? [rimshot]

    [laughter and applause]

    How fair is it to let these two drop their names, then drop this stink bomb, and then say "let's move on" ??????

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    Fair left the building weeks ago.

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    What I said was that the argument Smith might try to make against Novick is not believable on its face.

    Sure it is! Just as Tom said, all Smith has to do is selectively cite the portion of that resolution expressing support for the troops and combine it with Novick's statement that he'd have voted no, again selectively edited to remove context.

    Most Oregonians have no opinion on the resolution, likely not even having heard of it. But they have an opinion already on whether being anti-war is equal to being unsupportive of the troops.

    The ghosts of Vietnam remain active, TJ. Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact of the matter is that not only do a lot of folks (especially from Center to far Right) equate anti-war with anti-troop, but so do an element of the anti-war movement... exceedingly small though they may be.

    We all know that Smith isn't very popular with his base and that despite that fact the conventional wisdom is that this upcoming general election will be anything but a cakewalk for whomever wins the Dem primary. It strikes me as very nieve to assume that Smith wouldn't relish the opportunity to frame Novick as anti-troop based solely on the HR2 issue. In fact it seems to me that Smith would be much more reticent to try to frame Merkley because of his own record of unqualified support for the war and on actual legislation. If I were playing his hand, the last thing I'd want to do is open up that can of worms by challenging Merkley. Novick would be much less problematic to challenge, IMHO.

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    It is a crass attempt to turn Democrats against one another, an effort that serves only his selfish personal agenda.

    I left the Summit in Sunriver before Jeff and Steve took the stage, so I sat down after a day at classes this week and took a look at the video.

    Respectfully Mitch and Mary I don't think you could be more wrong. I also doubt that you could walk up to Steve and say what you've jointly written here on this blog...after all you wrote it for a blog. I know, when I'm really cross with people, I go post a blog entry and call them crass and selfish.

    If you think a “selfish personal agenda” is the Boxer-Sanders Bill ( Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act ) that will help combat global climate change, seeing through the full recommendations of the Baker Commission, insuring 47 million Americans who don't have any health insurance, the Employee Free Choice Act, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, and the rest of the issues that Steve mentioned at Sunriver and his website are a “selfish personal agenda”, then sign me up. I wish I was that selfish.

    Anyone who looks seriously at the resolution recognizes it for the rubbish it is.

    Mary, Mitch I commend you for voting nay on a resolution we all agree is rubbish. Here's a thought: If a bill is good vote yea. If a bill is bad or “rubbish” vote nay. Maybe I don't understand the complex strategery that goes into voting yea on a bill everyone agrees is “rubbish”, I guess that's why I'm not in the legislature.

    I don't buy the whole thought of “damned if you do, damned if you don't” As Jean Luc-Picard said, “If we're to be damned, let's be damned for who we really are.” Vote nay against “rubbish” legislation.

    What we don't need is an opportunist so narrowly focused on a short-term political gain that he loses sight of what makes us proud to be Democrats.

    Again, if repairing the environment, insuring 47 million Americans who need health care and the rest above is short-term political gain then what exactly is long term political gain?

    When he went on the attack against Jeff on Sunday at Sunriver, the energy in the room immediately evaporated. Clearly, Oregon Democrats are tired of that kind of politics.

    After watching the video a third time, my thought is the room when silent because people were probably surprised that Steve Novick was going to differentiate himself from his opponent. It was an open forum. I rather think that people shut up for a little bit to actually seriously consider what Steve was saying. Had he said something that was horribly untrue Oregon Democrats would have booed him off the stage. His applause was about the same as Jeff Merkley's throughout the whole joint appearance.

    Mitch, Mary go have a coffee with Steve and tell him these things to his face and let us know how it goes.

  • Dave3544 (unverified)
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    I get the sense that we are all supposed to realize that Speaker Merkley has the money, the backing, and is the chosen one. Any Dem who criticizes him will be accused of doing the work of the GOP. I think we're all supposed to shut up and get working for the "real" Democratic candidate for the Senate.

    We are certainly not supposed to be concerned that the chosen candidate for our party apparently cast votes he does really mean. We are also supposed to know that he didn't mean it and we are certainly never supposed to talk about it.

    I, for one, will remain very leery of any Democratic candidate who votes for pro-war resolutions, but wants to assure me that he (in this case) doesn't really support the war.

    Further, I take Speaker Merkley's actions to mean that he will vote for other things that he's against and vote against things he really supports -- depending one what is politically expedient at the time. Does anyone think we need another Democrat voting for warrantless wiretapping or against nationalized health care?

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    Does anyone think we need another Democrat voting for warrantless wiretapping or against nationalized health care?

    I'm sorry but that is the worst kind of Strawman logical fallacy. A vote for (or against) a NON-BINDING resolution, where drawing lines between what one does/doesn't support is fair game and carries an equal legal weight to not drawing distinctions, simply is NOT equal to a vote for (or against) binding legislation where drawing distinctions carries ZERO weight!

    If you're concerned about how Senator Merkley would vote on BINDING legislation than look at his voting record on BINDING legislation. Nothing could be simpler... unless one has a partisan axe to grind.

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    Regarding "damned if you do damned if you don't" resolutions, what damnation has anyone faced for voting against HR2?

    Kevin says: "If you're concerned about how Senator Merkley would vote on BINDING legislation than look at his voting record on BINDING legislation" So far as I can tell, there hasn't been any BINDING legislation in the House about the conduct of the war in Iraq, so if you have any suggestions as to where to find that, please point that out.

    All I can say is that if the Speaker felt he had to vote even for a "rubbish" NON-BINDING resolution because it included a line about supporting the troops even if he didn't agree with the bulk of the language. it throws some doubt about whether he would be able to take a stand in the US Senate that could be cast by the GOP as unpatriotic or unsupportive of the troops. It's not as if that's an unheard of tactic.

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    If you're concerned about how Senator Merkley would vote on BINDING legislation than look at his voting record on BINDING legislation. Nothing could be simpler... unless one has a partisan axe to grind.

    What's Randy Stapilus' partisan axe to grind, I wonder?

    I don't think we're getting very far otherwise in the discussion about how much easier it is to defend a No vote on the war than a Yes vote. It's always easier to say "No, because" instead of "Yes, but." Mr. Merkley's answer to "You voted Yes on the war" was "YES, BUT only to support the troops." Mr. Novick's answer would be "I'd have voted No BECAUSE it wasn't a serious bill, it was a trap to get Democrats to say they supported Bush's invasion." For low info Democratic, independent and anti-war Republican voters, which is easier to grasp on its face without knowing anything about the bill?

    But I think you're still missing the real point, which is not so much that it impugns Merkley's true position on the war, as it makes it MUCH harder to indict SMITH's position. If Merkley has to rely on nuance to describe his votes, Smith will use exactly the same excuse. And then what?

    This is the biggest issue facing the country, and Smith's most serious liability is his unflagging support of the war for three-plus years, and then awkward attempt to shift positions once it was clear the tide had turned against him.

    The ability for Merkley to argue that Smith is playing politics with war votes becomes a difficult sell when Smith's easy reply is "wasn't Merkley playing politics on HR 2?" Novick, on the other hand, has a 100% clear shot on Smith as regards the war. One guy will have to explain, one guy can go on the offensive. Which do you prefer?

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Sure it is! Just as Tom said, all Smith has to do is selectively cite the portion of that resolution expressing support for the troops and combine it with Novick's statement that he'd have voted no, again selectively edited to remove context."

    And what if the people in the audience at a debate or a campaign stop or even in a living room meeting with candidates or discussing the campaign among friends say,

    "Enough already about this debate! I want to know where the candidates stand on executive power, universal health care, veterans benefits, education policy, foreign policy outside of Iraq/Iran, energy and environment policy. And every minute arguing a stupid 2003 ballot measure is a minute not answering those questions."

    So what if Gordon runs ads every hour on the hour saying "vote for me because my opponent said this about a 2003 legislative resolution"? What if people don't see the ads, or if they talk among their friend saying "these folks are so shallow talking about a 2003 resolution instead of current issues, didn't I hear there is a third candidate?" how does that get Gordon re-elected? THAT, ladies and gentlemen, not "I've admired John Frohnmayer ever since I have read his book" is the true threat of a 3rd party campaign.

    Remember, the time when Gordon ran the incessant "we're all real tired of career politicians" ads was when he lost. How long before Gordon becomes a "career politician"? Or would you rather debate a 4 year old symbolic resolution?

    EBT, are you trying to gain votes for Steve? Posted by: East Bank Thom | Oct 12, 2007 10:09:54 AM is your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

    But if you really want to gain votes for Steve, quit blogging and start the sort of "real world" activism Paulie talked about here and Tom Friedman talked about in a column printed recently in the Oregonian. The door to door and organizing activities which get you out in the real world. Talking face to face with people who might vote for Steve, might volunteer, might contribute or help raise money. Organizing fundraisers and community meetings. That sort of thing which takes you away from blogging. The easiest way to get Gordon 4 more years is this kind of fighting. Do you really expect those who agree with the 2 state reps to say "OK, blogging convinced me, the stupidest thing Merkley ever did in his life was his vote on the 2003 resolution, where do I sign up for the Novick campaign?"n because if you do you may be in for a shock. Life out in the real world (esp. outside your own neighborhood/ own circle of friends) is more complex than that. Have you ever volunteered on a federal (non-presidential) campaign before this one?

    I have not decided how to vote in May, but every time I see another claim that the most important issue in the 2008 primary is a 2003 symbolic resolution where only one of the candidates actually was serving in the House at the time of the vote, that is one more reason not to get involved in another nasty primary (been there, done that with close friends in the past and no patience for that nonsense now), and to look seriously at Frohnmayer if this sort of nasty fight is what we will see next year.

    Seems to me there is a children's story about a gingham dog and a calico cat killing each other in a fight. That is what this sounds like, and you Novick supporters might want to talk with Steve about whether this is still a good idea. When I listened to the Sunriver speeches online, with the sound turned all the way up I heard only silence after Steve read the resolution. I didn't hear any cheering or applause until the mention of the Busload of Faith.

    It is in the hands of the Novick campaign: Do they want to approach non-political voters (the kind one meets on doorsteps, on college campuses, at other events which draw more than the party faithful---the 95% of the population who decide elections) with "Vote for Steve because Jeff voted wrong on the 2003 symbolic legislative resolution"? Or does the campaign want to win voters with "Come join Novick's Busload of Faith, the faith we can have a better Senator than Gordon Smith"? It is up to you, and conversations inside the campaign, not blogging here or elsewhere, is what should make that campaign policy decision.

    No matter how many people post on blogs like this one, elections are decided in the real world, not the virtual world.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    So, once again political "debate" descends to the level of asking the other candidate whether he still beats his wife....

  • (Show?)
    But if you really want to gain votes for Steve, quit blogging and start the sort of "real world" activism Paulie talked about here and Tom Friedman talked about in a column printed recently in the Oregonian.

    Anyone who takes advice from Tom "Suck. On. This." Friedman about anything is doomed.

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    Mr. Merkley's answer to "You voted Yes on the war" was "YES, BUT only to support the troops." Mr. Novick's answer would be "I'd have voted No BECAUSE it wasn't a serious bill, it was a trap to get Democrats to say they supported Bush's invasion." For low info Democratic, independent and anti-war Republican voters, which is easier to grasp on its face without knowing anything about the bill?

    Thank you, TJ, for making my point for me. Look at how much more verbage you had to use to put Novick's position into the desired context.

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    LT, give it a rest. You say the same thing every time, and it's always an exaggerated hypothetical that seems to exist mostly in your own mind, I'm afraid: "every time I see another claim that the most important issue in the 2008 primary is a 2003 symbolic resolution"

    Please document ONE claim that the resolution is the most important issue. Endless repetition of your belief it is so, does not make it so.

    And then this:

    It is in the hands of the Novick campaign: Do they want to approach non-political voters (the kind one meets on doorsteps, on college campuses, at other events which draw more than the party faithful---the 95% of the population who decide elections) with "Vote for Steve because Jeff voted wrong on the 2003 symbolic legislative resolution"? Or does the campaign want to win voters with "Come join Novick's Busload of Faith, the faith we can have a better Senator than Gordon Smith"? It is up to you, and conversations inside the campaign, not blogging here or elsewhere, is what should make that campaign policy decision.

    You ARE aware this thread is underneath a column written by MERKLEY supporters, right? Why are you telling Steve Novick that blogging isn't the answer, instead of the Merkey campaign? And at this stage of your repetition, I can only conclude that you simply refuse to even try discovering anything about the Novick campaign, because you keep pretending that 95% of his campaign hasn't been a copious set of analyses and positions on pressing federal issues, expounded on in exactly the kind of personal appearances you seem to think he isn't going to.

    And again: "Seems to me there is a children's story about a gingham dog and a calico cat killing each other in a fight. That is what this sounds like, and you Novick supporters might want to talk with Steve about whether this is still a good idea."

    Why are you chastising Novick supporters in a thread started by Merkley supporters attacking Steve personally? A little selectively outraged, perhaps?

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I don't think a non-binding resolution has many practical out-comes. As has been stated it was a Catch 22 proposal with no practical consequences. It was rank propaganda.

    All that said, anybody who thinks the Rs will not engage in such behavior after 2009 is living in another world. If voting follows polling trends the Rs post '09 will be fighting for their lives. That means one of two things will happen, they will change their stance or they will ramp up their current behavior. Regardless, they will need media attention and talking points.

    This matter enters into my consideration, it is not the biggest nor most important, but it is worthy of consideration. I'm much more interested in why I should like the guy who is making his pitch, not versus the other guy, but the person himself.

    What neither side in this argument seems to get is that criticism of a vote is negative and criticism of that criticism is negative, it is the same game and it is going to cost each side supporters come General Election campaign. Each side is making more of it than is there, and it is being done for political advantage and by now neither side is looking particularly good for their heat on the issue.

    I believe both sides are making miscalculations, I'm also not going to give advice to either side at this point other than find a better way to deal with this. I am entirely unimpressed with personal attacks based on criticism and not particularly impressed by the method of critique. I am a Democrat, and based on the values indicated by that, I want Gordon Smith gone...and replaced by a good Senator. I am unimpressed with the small r Independent, but he is going to enter into calculations in the General and that means he's a part of the calculus in the Primary. While I may have issues with his blog flog shill, that doesn't mean I'm paying no attention, it will matter.

    Frankly, the BS seems to be coming from Blog supporters, not the candidates. At this point I am here to help both of them, when I change that, I will let them know. Because I am so involved in the Nov 10 Baker Democrats event it will not be prior to that time, regardless.

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    "Thank you, TJ, for making my point for me. Look at how much more verbage you had to use to put Novick's position into the desired context."

    The length of the response (and I can make it shorter--how about "All dishonestly written bills get a No from me"?) is less important than whether the response is believable or consistent. "I had to support the troops" is a statement that elides lack of control, ie "I was trapped!" Which of course is true, he felt trapped and apparently tried to cover all bases at once. Also, Merkley is defending a contradiction, whereas Novick would be dismissing the premise. And since most Oregonians assuredly ALREADY dismiss the premise, Novick has the easier job.

    What of the other point Steve is making, however? Not that Smith will attack Merkley for his vote, but that the muddling of the issue means Merkley can not effectively attack Smith for HIS?

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    "I had to support the troops" is a statement that elides lack of control, ie "I was trapped!" Which of course is true, he felt trapped and apparently tried to cover all bases at once.

    Who, besides you, said that Jeff "had to" support the troops?

    Has it ever occurred to you that he WANTED to support the troops? That he was willing to wade through a patently BS resolution because he had a heartfelt empathy for those soldiers and their families?

    I've said repeatedly that I admire how Merkley handled that vote because it's precisely what I would have done. And the reason is very simple. My two best friends from high school (they're friends but I was the common bond) were both in the Army and one of them was sent to Iraq at the very beginning. I was closer to the one who was sent to Iraq than I have ever been to my own brothers. And I remain a close friend of his entire family to this day. I cared a great deal that they, and his wife, may never see him (alive) again.

    For me, supporting the troops isn't about scoring political points or about covering my political backside.

    From the way that you (and Novick) frame supporting troops as a distasteful negative I'm guessing that neither of you is close to anyone who was sent to Iraq.

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    By the way, TJ... my buddy who was sent to Iraq opposed the War too. As did his wife.

    Expressing empathy and support for members of the military in NO WAY implies one iota of support for the War itself.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Jack Roberts ignores Gordon Smith's votes for Shrub's occupation SINCE he said "It may even be criminal."

    Now there's a glaring inconsistency between conscience and action. Gordon Smith should be prosecuted, not just voted out of office.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
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    I've said repeatedly that I admire how Merkley handled that vote because it's precisely what I would have done.

    Whoa, Kevin! A little ego there?

    Anyway, posts like this one by Greenlick and Nolan have a single effect on me and it's cumulative... it makes me increasingly less inclined to want anything to do with Jeff Merkeley's campaigns, now or in the future. If his supporters insist on crying like little girls when somebody says something they don't like and squealing like Ned Beatty in Deliverance when get a little elbow in a tight game, they should get out of politics and leave it to the grownups. Grown ups who, I feel confident, will judge the candidates' statements- positive and negative- for themselves.

    I despised this kind of self-righteous smear by accusation when I saw the REAL pros doing it (in both Bush presidential campaigns) and I don't like it any better coming from "progressive" Democrats.

    Regardless of how the Merkeley-Novick campaigns play out, I think it's very very unlikely I'll be voting for Representative Greenlick again. Not exclusively because of this essay, but certainly it has added weight to the scales against him.

    This is the most amazing example of Democrats forming up a firing squad I've seen in years. Keep it up and there'll be two Udall cousins in the Senate next cycle.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    But if you really want to gain votes for Steve, quit blogging and start the sort of "real world" activism Paulie talked about here and Tom Friedman talked about in a column printed recently in the Oregonian. The door to door and organizing activities which get you out in the real world. Talking face to face with people who might vote for Steve, might volunteer, might contribute or help raise money. Organizing fundraisers and community meetings.

    well, the two activities are not, in fact, mutually exclusive. i would not assume that you know what any of us are doing in terms of organizing activities in the real world, based on what we do or don't post in the virtual one.

    i for one just sent out nearly 50 invitations to real world friends & colleagues to attend a house party for steve novick. and i doubt i'm the only novick supporter here on these boards who has put themselves out there to reach voters on his behalf. so please lose the lecturing & condescending attitude, LT.

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    Kevin, you and I continue to have several conversations, beceause you continue to object to a frame that doesn't exist.

    "From the way that you (and Novick) frame supporting troops as a distasteful negative I'm guessing that neither of you is close to anyone who was sent to Iraq."

    What's distasteful is not "supporting the troops," it's using "supporting the troops" as tasteless bait to get weak-kneed Democrats to sign onto a war resolution. You continue to treat the bill as if it was the slightest bit legitimate. Nolan and Greelick make it clear they knew it was "rubbish." It wasn't real, Kevin. The Republicans were not interested in supporting the troops (not least because they were sending them to die in a needless war). They were interested in baiting Democrats. For Mr. Merkley, it worked.

    and

    "Expressing empathy and support for members of the military in NO WAY implies one iota of support for the War itself."

    Which is agreed to by everyone except the Republicans, I believe. So what's your point? No one here is saying Merkley supported the war. How many times does that need to be explained? But only Mr. Merkley needs to explain his way around HR 2 before expressing his antiwar bonafides. Novick has no such barrier, and that advantage makes going after Smith for the war--job #1--easier for him.

    That's not an attack, that's the situation.

    Let's redirect to this thread, though. Kevin: do you support Greenlick and Nolan referring to Steve Novick as selfish, petty, backbiting, et al? I'd like to see which Merkley supporters back this letter, and which cannot.

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    sorry, that should have said "separate conversations," not "several." But we've had several, too! ;)

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    Mr. Kevin, was voting for HR2 the only way Rep. Merkley could support the troops? That a resolution stipulating to the rationale for war and the goodness of President Bush the only method he had to express "empathy and support for members of the military"?

    Are you saying that the authors of this post didn't support the troops because they voted against HR2?

    The resolution wasn't about supporting the troops. It did nothing to support the troops. It was garbage, and simply a way for Republicans in the House to add another flag to their lapels. Jingo, jingo. Surely Rep. Merkley knew in his heart of hearts that he supported the troops. He didn't need to vote for a bogus resolution to prove his support.

    Yet, unaccaountably, he did.

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    Here's my bottom line: HR2 and the vote and the implications of the vote are a real and legitimate issue. As with every issue, it is up to individual voters to decide how heavily to weight it in their deliberations. But what's really a smear is to attack Steve personally for doing what candidates have to do: call out the issues and draw distinctions. (In a factual and non-hysterical manner, I might add.)

    From where I sit, the only "smearing" I see is being carried out by Jeff Merkley's surrogates and supporters.

    I don't know Mary Nolan but I have heard of her great intelligence. I do know Mitch Greenlick and I have supported him and admired him for years. Their post has disappointed and saddened me deeply -- not because their attacks might be taken seriously (I see little evidence of that), but because I would not have expected either or both of them to stoop so low.

    I don't really know what to make of this attack on Steve except to assume that Mitch and Mary would never have published this post in this venue without the full approval of Jeff Merkley himself.

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    Mr. Kevin, was voting for HR2 the only way Rep. Merkley could support the troops?

    Certainly not. Voting no with accompanying public statements (akin to Merkley's approach) expressing said support would have accomplished the same thing, IMHO.

    The resolution wasn't about supporting the troops. It did nothing to support the troops.

    Of course it didn't. It was a non-binding resolution. By their very nature they don't do anything concrete... it's simply an expression of sentiment. If you are looking for a politician who did something concrete via a non-binding resolution then I'm here to tell you that you will forever be disappointed.

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    What's distasteful is not "supporting the troops," it's using "supporting the troops" as tasteless bait to get weak-kneed Democrats to sign onto a war resolution.

    TJ, all you've done is to rephrase your Strawman logical fallacy and thereby continue to demonstrate your utter lack of objectivity with respect to this issue.

    Your entire premise is built upon the house of cards that appeals to PRESUMED motive on the part of Merkley. That your PRESUMED motive for Merkley just happens to work nicely for your patently obvious partisan views on the Dem Primary pretty much reveals your own motives for the continued logically fallacious smear.

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    "Of course it didn't. It was a non-binding resolution."

    It has NOTHING to do with it being non-binding, Kevin. Don't you get it? IT WAS A PRETEND BILL. IT WAS NOT REAL. It was not a sincere attempt to get legislators to "support the troops."

    As for presumed motive, what are you talking about? Merkley put out a statement explaining his motives, which were that he felt he had to vote yes in order to support the troops.

    How am I partisan on behalf of one Democrat over another Democrat? Is that logically possible?

    And will you please address the sad partisan motives of Randy Stapilus, who immediately understood the point of what Novick is saying?

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    TJ, I've given one explanation for "had to support the troops" and you've given a starkly different one. Your entire premise requires your explanation to be the only one possible. Thus the logical fallacy.

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    When you see "had to support the troops" you ass-u-me that it was a political calculation. But that's obviously far from the only possible explanation. Yet you ignore any and all other explanations to obstinantly insist that YOUR assumed explanation is the only possible one. I'm just calling BS.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    This whole argument is silly. What the Merkley folks want is for this to be a "non-issue." The reality is that in a political race, all is fair game, and just because Merkley can't seem to shake this decision (regardless of when he voted for this resolution) shows to me that he hasnt provided voters a clear-cut rationale behind his vote.

    And yes, he said that he voted "in support" of the troops, but what he hasnt answered is that if it was clear, in his mind, that this was a non-binding resolution to show support for the troops, why did others choose to vote no? That tells me that for others, maybe this resolution wasnt a clear way to show support for the troops. He needs to clarify himself and explain his stance, or this will continue on past Novick (who I think he will beat) and Gordo will carry that batton.

    Having representatives call "no fair" for him, instead of showing support of Merkley's rationale (which is what they should be doing) only adds fuel to the fire. If he isn't savvy enough to have seen this resolution as a trap, whats gonna happen when he is playing with the big boys in DC and he is put in a similar situation.

    Whether its "smear" tactics or not, Novick has a responsibility to separate himself from his opponent...and this is one way.

    We will see if this proves effective, but at the end of the day, whats more telling is the approach the Merkley campaign is taking, and its not looking too good, cause this wont work with the GOP machine. If you cant seem to quiet an opponent with relatively little money...whats gonna happen when $4 million worth of ads after ads of "Merkley voted in support of the war in 2003" and "Gordon stood up to the GOP on the Senate floor...Merkley couldn't even do it in his own state" start to come.

    Having representatives cry "foul" wont work then...and if fact, will make him look even more inferior than he does now.

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    "Yet you ignore any and all other explanations to obstinantly insist that YOUR assumed explanation is the only possible one. I'm just calling BS."

    It's not an assumption, Kevin! It's taken directly from what Merkley himself said. He voted yes to support the troops. That obviously means he HAD to support the troops, because in his mind a No vote meant he did not support them, and he couldn't do that...right?

    I'm ignoring all other explanations, in favor of the one Merkley himself gave.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    purple: great post. i couldn't agree more.

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    It's taken directly from what Merkley himself said. He voted yes to support the troops. That obviously means he HAD to support the troops, because in his mind a No vote meant he did not support them, and he couldn't do that...right?

    So... your position is that Merkley voted based upon what he saw as a moral imperative (to support the troops)... and that moral decision qualified him for your "weak kneed" label? So in essence what you're saying is that moral choice = weak kneed?

    Thanks for clarifying that for us...

    :::rolls eyes:::

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    "So... your position is that Merkley voted based upon what he saw as a moral imperative (to support the troops)... and that moral decision qualified him for your "weak kneed" label? So in essence what you're saying is that moral choice = weak kneed?"

    No, I'm saying that he misinterpreted a real moral choice with a spurious one--ie, that he believed or pretended for political reasons that it was a legitimate bill, and he was legitimately being asked to support the troops, instead of actually supporting the exploitation of the notion of support in order to get a Yes vote on the war. And that these twin miscalculations--taking Republicans on their faith or good word, and trying to cover bases politically in order to hide a perceived weakness (ie, voting against the war in 2003)--are things that should be considered before sending someone off to battle against Gordon Smith.

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    I don't really know what to make of this attack on Steve except to assume that Mitch and Mary would never have published this post in this venue without the full approval of Jeff Merkley himself.

    Indeed. With all the BS floating around about "negative campaigning," I suppose it might have taken wind out of certain sails for Merkley to respond directly in a way that would paint Steve's remarks as a "smear."

    Representatives Greenlick and Nolan are both intelligent and it's unlikely that any statement would have been issued by them, for Merkley, without having the campaign "vet" it first.

    It would be interesting to hear what Merkley himself has to say, directly, about the whole affair. Likely, he'll continue the "above the fray," approach he's taken so far and let others do most of the speaking for him.

    Meanwhile, Novick continues to issue statements weekly regarding specific actions he'd take as the Junior Senator from Oregon.

  • (Show?)

    I thought this thread would end about fifty comments ago so I didn't add my 2 cents. Since it looks like it will go on forever, I finally decided to weigh in.

    My bottom line; a pox on both houses and most of you blogging who keep trashing the other Democratic camp. I like both Jeff and Steve and it pains me to see this happening.

    I thought Steve was out of place making the comment in the context of Sunriver and it was a jarring statement at that moment. At the same time I realize that he uses it in his other talks and it is fair for him to do so. The language in this blog by my two legislative friends, especially the headline word "Smear" , is equally jarring and in my opinion not productive. The fact that this thread is so long and so emotional speaks to that. Can this be the last comment so we can move on to more productive discussions?

  • Not Pollyanna (unverified)
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    Indeed. With all the BS floating around about "negative campaigning," I suppose it might have taken wind out of certain sails for Merkley to respond directly in a way that would paint Steve's remarks as a "smear."

    It seems pretty clear that Isaacs has data that shows how bad this issue hurts Merkley both with the Democratic base and with the electorate at large, and is using Greenlick and Nolan as proxies to try and pressure Steve to quit talking about it.

    It's bad strategy on Jon's part because from May onward it will be all flip-flop all the time in every media market that matters to his campaign courtesy of El Gordo. He might as well inoculate his client now.

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    No, I'm saying that he misinterpreted a real moral choice with a spurious one

    LOL it's heartening to know that the Faux Reich aren't the only ones out there willing to tell the rest of us what is moral and what isn't. I'm sure my friends who worried about whether their son/brother/husband/father would survive being sent to Iraq would be equally heartened to know that Merkley's sentiment was "spurious."

    Perhaps Merkley ought to be bouncing any future ideas off Novick's morality police just in case he again confuses a moral imperative with something "spurious"?

    Gee... maybe I ought to as well? I mean, yes... I was once invited by Mensa to test for membership (and I can prove it) but maybe I'm just not smart enough, unlike you and Steve, to distinguish between what I believe to be morally important and a sneaky trap laid by those cunning Republicans?

    Time to face facts, TJ. You've framed yourself into a corner. If any Dem who voted to support any aspect of HR2 was "weak kneed" or just not bright enough (your other meme) then obviously not a single one of them could possibly have been following a heartfelt conviction because you've neatly eliminated every possible explanation but those which, oh so conveniently, make Merkley look bad and (again, conveniently) make Novick look like a freaking genius/pillar of moral strength and conviction.

  • wow (unverified)
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    One quick question to Novick backers on this thread. Is there anything that Speaker Merkley can do to gain your vote? You claim he hasn't addressed his vote on the resolution, but he has numerous times. You claim he hasn't outline policies. But he has spent a lot time talking about his position on Iraq, impeachment of then-AG Gonzalez; he spoke economics and labor rights at AFL-CIO convention; he has discussed his record on progressive issues in the legislature and how will pursue similar issues in Congress. Still not enough for you. He has attempted to stay positive and focused on the campaign, and you guys are angry that he has acted as if he is ignore Steve. He complimented Steve's presence in the race at Sunriver, and yet this still isn't enough for you folks. He has done his best to run an aggressive, professional campaign...raising the money necessary to best the well-funded Smith; picking up important endorsements (something every candidate for every office tries to do); and gaining the support of organizations like the DSCC (something Steve would not have rejected if they had approached him)...and yet you take pot shots at minor campaign mistakes. Does it really not matter to you when progressive leaders like Rep. Greenlick and Rep. Nolan stand up and cry foul; or are you so cynical that you truly think that this post isn't reflective of these two amazing individuals think about the Speaker and this race? So, what would it take for you to support the Speaker? My question is this...will you actually support him after May if he wins? Or have you all deluded yourselves into thinking he is somehow less progressive, less well-meaning, and forward thinking than Gordon Smith? Are you really concerned about helping move Oregon forward, or are you more concerned with winning an argument? What would it take?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Never was one to be a fan of Isaacs, but it seems to me the Merkley camp has handled this one better than Novick's folks.

    But I am so fed up with this whole debate! We could be debating all sorts of other issues (how will Gordon react to Gore's Nobel prize, are accident liability laws--esp. for people injured in someplace like a store--slanted towards protecting a company from lawsuit rather than what is best for the person who fell, what about veterans health care or education or transportation funding or many other issues). But instead, it is how sarcastic can one camp be towards the other camp.

    I've been involved in successful "retirement" of Republican incumbents. This is NOT the way it is done. It is done with a quality candidate where all the supporters can talk about how great their candidates is more often than what is wrong with an opponent. It is done by hard work in the real world (offline) from organizing to fundraising to putting on events to door-to-door and other face to face campaigning.

    Just came back from a family dinner. The gray haired man and his blond wife seated at the next table were Denny and Deanna Smith. Hate to say it, folks, but Gordon has done more good while in DC (mental health and suicide prevention if nothing else) than Denny did in his 10 years in Congress.

    Those of you who are so intensely involved in this debate, ask yourself a question. What is the most important goal? Is it defeating Gordon Smith next year? Is it uniting all Democrats after the primary? Or is it "Our guy is best and if he can't convince others to back him and ignore the other candidate, why be involved in the US Senate campaign?".

    Because I worry there are those here whose goal is really the 3rd one, I'm going to drop all interest in the US Senate primary until I hear actual issues from 2007-8 being discussed. If you want to continue discussing a 2003 vote (Merkley was there, Novick was not, so we'll never know how he would have voted), you can do it without me.

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    Tom Civiletti, thank you -- Smith has voted for a war he calls criminal, not consistently "changed his mind" but taken both sides in statements and one side (pro-war) in votes.

    Stephanie V., your opinion is legitimate, I am not so sure about the issue myself (my opinion or doubt being equally sincere to your opinion) but I am quite sure it is BAD issue for Steve.

    TJ, No one has said "this is the most important issue," but a whole lot of Steve's supporters have put much more time into pushing this than talking about anything else. That's one reason it's a bad issue for Steve. The fact that people feel a need to be so defensive of him about it is another.

    Again, the claim that Jeff M. would be vulnerable to attack from Smith over this or that it would hamper his ability to hammer Smith on the war is just weak. Tom Civiletti puts his finger on it.

    I'd prefer Steve as the candidate. I think that those of you who keep harping on this and who encourage him to do so make that less likely. If it doesn't stop eventually it will become a character and political judgment issue for me about Steve at least as important as the 2003 vote.

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    Gee... maybe I ought to as well? I mean, yes... I was once invited by Mensa to test for membership (and I can prove it)...

    What's to prove? It's not as if a membership in is that restrictive. Top 2% on an IQ test? That's 6 million people in the US. Thirty thousand or so in Oregon.

    If you're really all that smart, you ought to know that intelligence doesn't necessarily come with good judgment. Sort of like bragging about being invited into Mensa and how you can prove it.

    Merkley's choice wasn't a matter of morality as you would like to cast it, Kevin. It was a judgment call. I think he knew exactly what he was doing. He's a former defense analyst, he worked at the Pentagon, he's obviously been an effective politician in the Oregon House.

    Just like the judgment calls made by 60% of the Democrats in the US Senate on trusting George Bush with an opening for an Iraq war, and the judgment calls made by Senators on the Patriot Act and the judgment calls made on FISA and the judgment calls made on the Lieberman-Kyl ammendment, smart people can make poor choices. Driven by an urge to wear their patriotism on their lapels or some other reason, they keep making those poor judgment calls. Even in cases of politicans who have voted against some of those measures, their opposition has been strangely passive.

    Greenlick and Nolan said themselves that the measure Merkley voted for was rubbish. Yet Jeff Merkley said he had to vote for it because he could never pass up the opportunity to show support for the troops. That was his call. If it's not a problem for him, then he should just ignore it.

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    wow: Of course I will support Jeff Merkley if he wins the nomination. Nor am I the only Novick supporter who has said so. Likewise I believe a number of Merkley supporters have said that they would support Novick if he wins.

    That's a different question from gaining my vote in the primary. As I've said a couple of times before on this thread, I think the harping on the 2003 resolution is a bad issue for Steve Novick, and as someone planning to vote for him I wish he and his campaign would give it up. But I also think, despite my respect for Mitch Greenlick, that the final paragraphs of this letter are over the top, unjustified character assassination.

    The bad judgment involved and the unlikelihood of two experienced state legislators writing this without a green light from the Merkley campaign temper my growing dismay at the bad judgment of the Novick campaign in harping on the 2003 resolution issue. At this point I think both campaigns are on the edge of pushing each other into disaster and I just hope they step back.

    What would it take to gain your vote for Novick, wow? Will nothing convince you? Have you deluded yourself so much that that you think Novick supporters are so ill-intentioned that Gordon Smith is better? These are insulting rhetorical questions. So are yours. Back off.

    BTW to Taoieasach and Bdunn -- I'm not a respecter of persons or titles. Idiots and malfeasants can hold exalted titles, as our current national leadership illustrates. I don't respect George W. Bush or Dick Cheney and wouldn't even if they'd really won the 2000 election; I didn't respect Ronald Reagan but thought him a mean-spirited little man; I didn't respect Bill Clinton's triangulation, willingness to reward his enemies and punish his friends, or his willingness to execute a retarded man, Ricky Ray Rector, who asked to save part of his last meal for after his exectution, in order to prove his "toughness" on crime. I respect Al Gore more now than I did when he didn't fight for the rights of all Florida voters in 2000, and threw away my vote here thereby; I respected him more at the end of the 1990s than at the beginning, because he changed. Jeff Merkley has done a pretty decent if relatively cautious job and I will have no problem supporting him on that basis if he wins the nomination. But I respect him for what he does, not who he is or what his title is.

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    I'd prefer Steve as the candidate. I think that those of you who keep harping on this and who encourage him to do so make that less likely. If it doesn't stop eventually it will become a character and political judgment issue for me about Steve at least as important as the 2003 vote.

    Please remember that all this "harping" is in the context of a brutal attack on Steve about this issue, made by two Merkley surrogates in the blog run by Merkley's internet consultant, which also happens to be the most widely read liberal blog in Oregon. We cannot be silent and allow the attacks to go unanswered, or else this thread becomes just another echo chamber for the Merkley camp to project its alternative version of reality and give it the veneer of authenticity.

    Any time anyone attacks Steve Novick for mentioning this issue, I view it as my duty (not only as a supporter and friend, but also as a Democratic voter who cares about this issue) to show up and defend him to the utmost of my ability. When the attack is this virulent and mean-spirited, my duty is redoubled.

    Instead of cluttering up the debate with actual issue positions, Merkley has chosen to run on endorsements and his "record," which seems to him to mostly mean taking credit for all of the the accomplishments of the Democratic majority in this past session. But his "record" comprises all of his actions and votes, and the HR2 vote is one of them. So, he's choosing to run on his record, and I have a right to look at his record and say, hmmm, that's a pretty good record, and under some circumstances I might support him, but there's a better candidate that I want to support instead.

    If Merkley wins the primary, I'll be very disappointed, but of course I will support him at that point. I am a Democrat, after all.

    And I'm with Chris Lowe re: respect. Respect is earned. The Electoral College cannot accord it, and neither can popular vote. Honorifics aren't always automatic. For what it's worth I still call it just plain old "National Airport," too.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    One quick question to wow. Are you new to this discussion? ... 'cause much of your rhetorical diatribe has already been addressed. Some points to repeat...

    You claim he hasn't addressed his vote on the resolution, but he has numerous times.

    "numerous"? Well, it's all relative, i guess. When i heard him respond on the radio, Merkley wasn't quite truthful when he claimed, "I stood up on the House floor and said the Iraq war, using military force is a terrible way to approach this. And I have grave doubts about this strategy." His "floor speach" contained no such denunciation. It was a sad attempt to deceive.

    You claim he hasn't outline policies. But he has spent a lot time talking about his position

    Yes, campaigning is "hard work," even when you have the best spin machine that money can buy. Still, Kari Chisholm should have been able to come up with more than 276 words (not counting the slogan "Change is coming") to express the Speaker's stance on the issues.

    He has attempted to stay positive

    Assuming this is true, he has failed in as much as his paid staffers have thrown around insults here like "asshole" and "raving hypocrites."

    you guys are angry that he has acted as if he is ignore Steve

    "you guys"? Best not to lump all of "us" together. What irritates "me" is the presumption on the part of the party insiders. "They" pick... "We" pretend to decide. It's also annoying how Merkley is avoiding face to face debates.

    gaining the support of organizations like the DSCC

    There a time an place for the DSCC. At this time, they need to stay the heck out of Oregon. It is not their place to meddle in our primary.

    Does it really not matter to you when progressive leaders like Rep. Greenlick and Rep. Nolan stand up and cry foul

    What matters to me is that these fine legislators would be so bold in their dishonest smear attempt. Collectively they claim "Jeff attacked the war, and President Bush in his floor speech." It must have been a pretty secret attack, since he didn't even mention Bush. Again, read it for yourself before buying this swiftboat ad. Mr. Merkley gave our servicemen and women lip service with his floor speech. He gave Bush ground support with his vote.

    Is there anything that Speaker Merkley can do to gain your vote?

    In the primary? Doubtful. In the general election, i'll be voting for a candidate whose call to hold Bush, Cheney & Co. accountable is strong and credible.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    Wow,

    My issue isnt with his vote, or with his reasoning behind it (though I think he needs to be more clear, and put this to bed).

    My issue is that two reps are going on this board and crying foul....and if you dont think this wasnt orchestrated or approved by Merkley, then you are naive. Of all people, these Reps. understand what a political race is all about, and to come here and "whine" about Novick is weak....and reflects bad on Merkley. If he thinks Novick is going negative, then Merkley needs to defend himself (on his own). For two people to inject themselves into this race in this fashion is just plain pathetic. I dont send others to do the battling for me, and neither should Merkley. Thats my problem. He will probably still get my vote...but if I dont believe he has the spine to stand up to those in DC, then I will seriously have to consider other options. So far....the jury is still out.

  • Purple (unverified)
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    Wow,

    My issue isnt with his vote, or with his reasoning behind it (though I think he needs to be more clear, and put this to bed).

    My issue is that two reps are going on this board and crying foul....and if you dont think this wasnt orchestrated or approved by Merkley, then you are naive. Of all people, these Reps. understand what a political race is all about, and to come here and "whine" about Novick is weak....and reflects bad on Merkley. If he thinks Novick is going negative, then Merkley needs to defend himself (on his own). For two people to inject themselves into this race in this fashion is just plain pathetic. I dont send others to do the battling for me, and neither should Merkley. Thats my problem. He will probably still get my vote...but if I dont believe he has the spine to stand up to those in DC, then I will seriously have to consider other options. So far....the jury is still out.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I think that in regards to this issue, Mitch'n'Mary deserve the respect due anyone who writes a post that disingenuously frames the issue, mischaracterizes Novick's approach to it, and then calls him names and accuses him of sinister motivations.

    Insulting your readers' intelligence is never a good way to earn respect. But it's a pretty quick way to lose it.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    "wow" provides an explicit example of what only can properly be called "ignorance" (in the proper English usage of that term) that typifies far too many frequent commenters on Blue Oregon, and I quote:

    You claim he hasn't outline(d) policies. But he has spent a lot time talking about his position on Iraq, impeachment of then-AG Gonzalez; he spoke economics and labor rights at AFL-CIO convention;

    From all the evidence he himself has provided, Merkley is a prime example of that kind of pure politician that takes all meaning out of self-applied adjective "progressive", and who has done great disservice to our party. He and his campaign demonstrate fundamental disrespect for the voters. His entire campaign is one of spouting spin, never stating precise positions on specific issues that would involve specific voting positions that HE CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR. That includes pointed criticism of political friends and competitors who take positions and votes that conflict with positions and votes he claims he would take.

    What this whole thing with Greenlick and Nolan has demonstrated is that he and his campaign are apparently so arrogant, and have so much contempt for voters, that they actually think it is a good idea to trot out fellow pols in support of Merkley who have become such empty souls themselves that they can't even cover up their own arrogance and contempt for voters. The way they all have behaved, through no fault of anybody but themselves, really brings it to our awareness that there are too many people in leadership who do a great disservice to our state, and to our state and national Democratic Party.

    So "wow", unless Merkley suddenly finds a level of character integrity and a set of leadership qualities he has strongly suggested to this point that he lacks, there probably is little he can do to change minds during the primary. (Which is not to say whether he will win or not, only that Novick will be the beneficiary of Merkley's manifest deficiencies.) And at this point, I am really starting to hope and believe that critically judging Merkley in this way actually could be the beginning of how we take back and rebuild the Democratic Party for the good of the state, the country, and all of us.

  • Jessica (unverified)
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    I was staying out of this race until after the general, but it's only October, and already Novick is violating what should be a basic rule: don't bash a fellow Democrat in a primary.

    And by the way, Merkley supporters questioning the Novick attacks is not the same. Merkley has not attacked Novick. Every time Merkley speaks, he focuses on Smith, not Novick. When Novick comes up, Merkley says complimentary things. I have seen this.

    I regret even posting this, because it breaks the no attack rule. And that's the problem with attacks. It makes us all go into the mud.

  • (Show?)

    Greenlick and Nolan said themselves that the measure Merkley voted for was rubbish.

    Of course they did, and their respective "No" votes are completely consistent with that view.

    Yet Jeff Merkley said he had to vote for it because he could never pass up the opportunity to show support for the troops. That was his call.

    BS. Not according to TJ and virtually all of the other Novick supporters who have been piling on Merkley's HR2 vote. The meme has been loud and clear - Merkley was either a dupe, not bright enough or both. There simply is no room in those memes for him to have made an informed judgement call based on the moral choice to express support for troops who, by the way, had zero choice over whether or not they were sent into harm's way.

    If it's not a problem for him, then he should just ignore it.

    Darrel, he IS ignoring it. Novick's the one who keeps bringing it up by repeatedly insinuating that the only possible explanation for Merkley's vote was craven, self-center politicking. And you Novick supporters have been at the vanguard of pushing that meme on the blogs. The ONLY times that I've seen any Novick critics mention HR2 is to RESPOND to Novick bringing it up or one of you supporters bringing it up. Camp Merkley ISN'T driving this self-destructive train!

  • Jessica (unverified)
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    I regret to say that what this seems to highlight is that Steve Novick has never had to take a tough vote.

    He has not had to lead a team and get criticized in that role.

    What he has done is work for political consultants as an attack dog. And now he is pointing his attacks at a Fellow Democrat.

    We need to get past the in-fighting. Including me.

  • (Show?)
    Darrel, he IS ignoring it. Novick's the one who keeps bringing it up by repeatedly insinuating that the only possible explanation for Merkley's vote was craven, self-center politicking.

    Greenlick and Nolan, writing here about their colleague, are not ignoring it. You aren't ignoring it. Whoever posted the piece by Greenlick and Nolan wasn't ignoring it. This discussion wouldn't be taking place if this piece hadn't been posted. They are driving the train.

    If you'd listened to Novick talk about the HR2 vote, he doesn't characterize Merkley as being a dupe or stupid. He casts it as a matter of strategy and opposition. His words from the original AP article were:

    "I think voters respect people who are willing to stand up for their principles, even when doing that is politically difficult," said Novick, who strongly opposed the war from the outset and marched in several anti-war demonstrations. "A lot of Democratic voters have been demoralized for years because they feel their leaders have missed opportunities along the way to take a strong stand against the war," he said.

    That's not calling Merkley dumb, just saying that he has a different take on how to oppose bad policies. Given the number of bad policies that have ridden roughshod over the Democrats in recent years -- the Democrats were in control of the Senate when the Iraq war resolution was passed -- that might not be such a bad thing.

  • (Show?)

    in the blog run by Merkley's internet consultant

    Stephanie, please stop mischaracterizing BlueOregon's "management" - when you know it's not true.

    BlueOregon is technically "owned" by Mandate Media for legal reasons - but is "run" by three co-editors. I am one of them, that's true. Jeff Alworth is another, and he's never been paid by any campaign for anything. Charlie Burr is the third, and he's a committed Steve Novick supporter. Most of the content these days is being produced by Nick Wirth, the BlueOregon Fellow, who is a college student at Lewis & Clark College. I don't have any idea what his opinion is on the Senate race. Beyond that, all of our regular contributors can post directly to the home page without any editorial control. In recent days, I've explicitly asked the ones that I know are Novick supporters to PLEASE post columns on why they support Steve. I want a robust discussion here at BlueOregon.

    The Novick campaign has a direct pipeline to BlueOregon's front page, both via Charlie and Nick.

    Steve Novick is a friend of mine and I wish him well. I advised him to run for City Council or State Senate or County Commission when Merkley got in the race, and would have happily supported him for any of those offices - but that's neither here nor there. I haven't posted a single negative thing about Steve, and nor do I intend to.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thank you Kari.

    Today there is a Washington Post editorial about Gore's Nobel Prize and Bush's reaction.

    Maybe we could hear the Senate candidates talk about the Warner-Lieberman bill next week. That would be refreshing.

    Fortunately, Congress is beginning to consider climate-change legislation. Support is growing for putting a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system with mandatory emission-reduction targets. Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) will introduce their climate bill next week. Mr. Bush could and should be an active and productive participant in the debate to follow. This is the stuff of legacy: He has the chance to transcend any talk of besting or being bested by Mr. Gore if he helps put in place concrete solutions to the problems so dramatically outlined in "An Inconvenient Truth." If the president continues to sit on the sidelines, not only the Nobel committee but history as well will judge him poorly. <<

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie V., I'd like to encourage you to submit a guest column on why you support Steve. We'd love to publish it. I've known Steve for 10 years and am crazy about the guy, but you can't really fault us for posting this guest piece by Reps. Nolan and Greenlick. Of course it's worthy of a post. And it's equally appropriate for you to push back. But this blog platform isn't really -- or shouldn't really -- be the issue.

    On an unrelated note, to Pat Ryan's comment from way back: any time the flying spaghetti monster makes its way into the dialogue, the process wins.

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    I've pretty much stayed out of this debate, but I feel the need to say something.

    There is a big difference between attacking people and discussing a vote they made. Attacking people in politics is usually seen as using false information or info from their personal life against them. Take a look at Saxton's mailers in last year's election and you'll have a good idea of what an attack is.

    I was there at the Summit. I heard what Steve said. He brought up a vote that Speaker Merkley made and how the Republicans would use that against him. That's not an attack - it's a political reality. The Republicans indeed will use the vote against him in a similar way that they did to Kerry ("he voted for it before it was against it...").

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with referring to your opponent's record and pointing out what you would have done differently and where that record would be used by the Republicans against him. That's not negative campaigning, it is comparisons on the candidate's record.

    The real attacks are name calling, questioning loyalty to Democratic ideals, and things like the headline - "smearing Jeff Merkley with GOP talking points." Those have absolutely nothing to do with the record, the two candidates' issues, etc. and are instead personal attacks. And these kinds of attacks shouldn't be coming from supporters on either side. I find it very insulting to have someone even insinuate that I'd use GOP talking points against another Democrat just because I see how a piece of his record could be used against him.

    And yes, there is a way Merkley could earn my vote - win the primary. Just as I did in the gubernatorial primary last year, I'll support my candidate as strongly as I can through 8 p.m. on Election Day. But as soon as the winner is evident, that person gets 100% of my support to defeat Gordon Smith. They're both great candidates, I just prefer Novick for this position.

    Disclaimer: I work on the Novick for Senate web site; however, I only speak for myself and not the campaign.

  • pennoyer (unverified)
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    The Republicans indeed will use the vote against him in a similar way that they did to Kerry ("he voted for it before it was against it...").

    But Jeff Merkley was against the war from the beginning. He didn't vote for war. He didn't vote to approve the war. He didn't do anything like that.

    Yes, the Republicans will smear Jeff Merkley. And Steve Novick should be against that, not use it to his advantage. The Republicans will smear Steve Novick too, you know.

  • (Show?)

    But Jeff Merkley was against the war from the beginning. He didn't vote for war. He didn't vote to approve the war. He didn't do anything like that.

    pennoyer,

    Have you read the text of the Resolution that Mr. Merkley voted for?

    If not, it's upthread a bit.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say that voting for the Resolution means that Merkley was "pro-war," but it certainly doesn't establish him as strongly against. Floor speech or no, he voted for a resolution that, "express[es] our support for the victorious removal of Saddam Hussein from power."

    Interpret as you will.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    Clearly, the resolution in '03 was BS and Jeff knew it and explained himself on the house floor. Jeff is anti war and progressive on most issues. It's not like he's a Joe Lieberman/Scoop Jackson hawk and it's absurd to suggest that he is. An anti war Demcorat should easily be able to vote for Jeff as well as Steve.

  • (Show?)

    An anti war Demcorat should easily be able to vote for Jeff as well as Steve.

    Maybe you haven't been following the argument here. Can't reaally blame you - it's over 160 comments now. Here are the Cliff Notes.

    • Everyone here understands that Jeff was always against the war.

    • Because we understand that, some of us are deeply angry that he voted for a pro-war resolution for political reasons. To me, personally, it means he got rolled, walked into a Republican dialectic and a Republican trap.

    • Although we all understand that Jeff was always against the war, we recognize that in voting for HR2 he has handed a weapon to Gordon Smith, who will use it to obfuscate the issue of whether he (Jeff) really WAS always against the war, and whether he (Smith) is every bit as anti-war as Merkley.

    So for both philosophical and tactical reasons, I can't support Jeff Merkley today. If he does manage to get nominated, I'll support him cheerfully. But as long as there is a better alternative available, that's the way I have to roll.

  • (Show?)

    - Although we all understand that Jeff was always against the war, we recognize that in voting for HR2 he has handed a weapon to Gordon Smith, who will use it to obfuscate the issue of whether he (Jeff) really WAS always against the war, and whether he (Smith) is every bit as anti-war as Merkley.

    Stephanie, that makes no sense to me. Not only would it easily be disproven by Merkley but, more importantly, it would open the door to Merkley examining Smith's support for the war (unqualified and on actual binding legislation), and I can't imagine why Smith would want to do that.

    Novick (and you, TJ, Colin, et al) are doing Smith's job for him in the safest (for Smith) way possible because the backlash goes towards Novick rather than opening up Smith's record in the forum of public opinion. Come the General election Smith will avoid comparing his anti-war creds with whomever he finds himself up against as much as he can because it's a lose/lose proposition for him. There is NOTHING that Smith did in 2003 or 2004 or 2005 or even the vast bulk of 2006 that even hints at ANYTHING less that unqualified and enthusiastic support for whatever Bush wanted to do in Iraq. It's absolutely ludicrous to say that with that kind of a record that Smith will want to go back and talk about a HIGHLY qualified vote by Merkley in 2003 on a freaking non-binding resolution.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie,

    That was clearly and reasonably put. You said upthread that it is an important issue for you. It isn't for me, and I disagree about Smith's capacity to use it against Steve, which I think is small, especially given Jeff's consistency in the intervening period compared to Smith's dissimulation.

    The claim that Steve hasn't attacked Jeff by Jenni S. is a little more complicated. Maybe Steve personally hasn't, but around here, some of his supporters have, along with some anti-Merkley people who may not be Novick supporters (e.g."anonymous").

    It partly turns on how people interpret phrases like "got rolled" or the idea that he voted against what he really believed. If Steve is saying he wouldn't "get rolled," what is he saying about Jeff? That they disagree about the way to defang R smear-traps? That's fair and a small reason I'd support Steve. That Jeff isn't tactically as clever Steve? We're getting into territory that some folks will see as attacks. That Jeff is a moral coward who won't stand up for what he believes? Don't see how that's not an attack.

    If you look at the ground on which Merkley's supporters are pushing back, it is very much in terms of interpreting the argument that Jeff voted against what he really believes as a near proxy for accusing him of moral cowardice or not really believing what he says he does.

    Part of the reason this is ultimately a losing issue for Steve is that while looking back, he can't shake the places where it cannot help slipping over into a personal attack, even if that's not what wants.

    If Steve were to reframe it as a future issue -- "how would you respond to a similar trap on a bill that was more symbolic? -- here's what I'd do" or "how would you have voted on (pick your recent national example in the Senate) -- here's what I'd have done" he could try to distinguish himself as a more vigorous fighter (I suppose his ultimate aim) without appearing to make a rather deeper kind of attack on Jeff. He would also be setting up both of them to develop themes that would help them attack Smith's disingenuous claim to oppose the war.

    If Smith says "first he supported the war, then he opposed it, me too," The answer is an ad that says "Jeff questioned the war to begin with but voted to support the troops. Since then he has been consistent in trying to bring the troops home soon, and got a bipartisan anti-war resolution passed by the Oregon legislature. Gordon Smith supported the war, then decided it was "almost criminal" when that helped his election chances, then consistently sided with President Bush on all votes aimed at bringing the troops home soon." It's just not that hard.

    The response by Novick supporters to the character assassination in Reps. Greenlick and Nolan's piece is understandable. I regret that the Merkley side decided to escalate in this way. But the harping has been going on for weeks and people keep coming back to it.

    It's time for Steve Novick to find a better way to highlight his strengths as an advocate and to use other examples to differentiate himself from Jeff Merkley. Going further down this path will only hurt Steve.

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    Greenlick and Nolan, writing here about their colleague, are not ignoring it. You aren't ignoring it. Whoever posted the piece by Greenlick and Nolan wasn't ignoring it. This discussion wouldn't be taking place if this piece hadn't been posted. They are driving the train.

    The gratuitous insulting of Oregonian's intelligence continues...

    That is a classic bait-and-switch, Darrel. You'd said If it's not a problem for him (Merkley), then he should just ignore it. And I pointed out, TRUTHFULLY, the stunningly obvious fact that he IS ignoring it. Now you want to fundamentally alter your own equation and it's dishonest of you to do so.

    1. I don't work for Merkley or anyone else in politics.

    2. You haven't the faintest shred of evidence that Greenlick, Nolan, whomever posted it here at Blue Oregon or the Dogcatcher did anything whatsoever at the behest of Merkley or anyone working for his campaign.

    Of the two Democratic candidates for Senate there is only one who keeps bringing this issue up - NOVICK. You trying to pin this all on Merkley is AT BEST intellectual dishonesty in action.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    EBT, are you trying to gain votes for Steve? But if you really want to gain votes for Steve, quit blogging and start the sort of "real world" activism Paulie talked about here

    You're preaching to the choir, LT. I hit the streets for the recent peace rally. I met Chris there as he was tabling for MoveOn. Didn't see Merkley there, though. Week before last I went to City Hall. There i did manage to see the Speaker. I joined Vets for Peace and have been working with others to persuade Rep. Blumenauer to proceed with impeachment. Any idea what Merkley's current stance is, BTW?

    "Vote for Steve because Jeff voted wrong on the 2003 symbolic legislative resolution"? Or does the campaign want to win voters with "Come join Novick's Busload of Faith

    This is an ironic dig, given Merkley's prayers from his now famous floor speech ("I pray now that the fighting will be brief; that the casualties on both sides will be sparse; that international aid to rebuild Iraq will be swift and abundant").

    My faith in Steve Novick is based on his biography and his past accomplishments. Sure, most of us would prefer any Dem over Smith. I prefer a Dem who will defend and uphold the Constitution.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Good for you, EBT--the sort of activism we need.

    You and I will have to agree to disagree. I'd like to hear more from both candidates about specific 2007-8 issues. I've known Steve longer than Jeff, and at the moment are not impressed with the campaign of either.

    Vets for Peace ought to press Steve to be more vocal about veterans issues than just the last line of the "Prioritized Defense Spending" section on issues.

    I've fought the good fight for veterans issues for decades (did you know Oregon was only the 2nd state to pass an Agent Orange bill as well as other issues decades ago?) and I know from experience people would rather talk about war issues than what happens to vets when they return. There have been times when bipartisan elected officials worked very hard on veterans issues.

    Veterans are one of those groups of voters who won't vote for just anyone but, if mobilized in favor of someone they admire, are the "secret weapon" any campaign would be thrilled to have.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    You and I will have to agree to disagree.

    That's cool, just so long as we understand what the disagreement's about. Like you, i am suffering from HRes 2 fatigue. I'm tired of mistyping hres instead of href every time i try and leave a hotlink on this clunky interface!

    I didn't blog on the issue until nearly a month after it became an issue here (brought to the forum by Merkley supporters, i might add...). I would have been happy to let my original comments here stand, namely that it's NOT a do-or-die issue for me, but support for HRes2 simply makes me less likely to support politicians who voted for it.

    What i still resent is the continued insistence from the likes of Merkley's paid media guy down to his most vocal volunteer supporters who insist that by me holding the opinion that voting yes on HRes 2 was wrong, that this makes me a dupe of the GOP.

    Novick is fucking it up by legitimizing the GOP crap as even a legitimate disagreement. That there are alleged Democrats and "progressives" saying Merkley "goofed" on this is beyond pathetic. Way to do the GOP work for them. -lestatdelc

    What i resent most though is the failed meme since Merkley made his recruitment into the race official that Steve Novick had been somehow calling Merkley a war supporter, or the Blue0 sponsored ad campaign that Novick is attacking Merkley by merely criticizing the vote. I get the sense that this story has been rehashed time and time again because Blue0's chief cook and salad spinner has failed to adequately tar Merkley's opponent with it. (But damn, if he doesn't keep trying...)

    At any rate, LT, maybe you and i have learned enough about each other through this thread to begin to repair the breach?

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    That is a classic bait-and-switch, Darrel. You'd said If it's not a problem for him (Merkley), then he should just ignore it.

    OK, then, let me put it more explicitly: If Jeff Merkley's vote on HR2 isn't a problem, then his supporters and colleagues should just ignore it. Why get incensed about it if it doesn't make any difference?

    To me, Merkley's vote is important as an indicator of whether he'd be the kind of person who would feel compelled to wear his patriotism on his lapel, or whether he -- like Barack Obama -- knows that a true patriot is judged by their actions.

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    Kari said: "I advised him to run for City Council or State Senate or County Commission when Merkley got in the race,"

    So you tried to get the only guy willing to step in when no one else would, to DROP OUT for your preferred candidate?

    Some friend. I might have said, "I can't back ya Steve...but good luck." "Clear the field for my client" rings a little less...convivially, let's say.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Folks, don't assume that someone who disagrees with the whole 2003 resolution debate is someone who has already signed up to volunteer for Merkley. All this debate merely strengthens my intention to be neutral in this debate until 2008.

    People have been quoting Merkley and the resolution ad nauseum.

    I think it is time to choose one line from a Novick statement and see if people want to debate that. This is from an article linked to the Novick site from the Polk Itemizer-Observer about his debate in Monmouth. Do all you Steve Novick supporters agree with him on this?

    If elected, Novick says, he would propose replacing Andrew Jackson's picture on the $20 bill with Chief Sitting Bull, in recognition of Jackson's Indian removal policy during the 1800s.
    
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    Sure LT, why not? You sticking up for Jackson there?

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    and perhaps a better question in reply--is who's on the $20 going to be the #1 way to attack Gordon Smith next year?

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    So you tried to get the only guy willing to step in when no one else would, to DROP OUT for your preferred candidate? Some friend.

    That's a fair criticism, TJ. Sounds pretty Machiavellian out of context... So, here's a little context; we'll see if it helps.

    I think Steve is a great guy. I think he's whip-smart, understands the issues, and is right on most of 'em.

    Now, I happen to think Jeff Merkley qualifies in all those ways too. But, I think that Jeff Merkley has a much better shot at defeating Gordon Smith than Steve Novick does.

    Before everyone jumps all over me, I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge that I might be monstrously wrong. But that's my judgment on the race. And that's what I told Steve. Based on that call, and my desire to see Steve elected to public office, I advised him to run for something else.

    Steve disagreed, and that's why he's still running.

    If Steve winds up the nominee, well, I'll work as hard as I can to prove myself wrong and help him defeat Gordon Smith.

    That's all.

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    thanks for the response. I guess you're at least good enough friends to talk bluntly about his chances as you see them...!

  • Kija (unverified)
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    To all those who want both candidates to "speak-no-evil":

    The great thing about a primary challenge is that it creates light and heat, both of which should benefit both candidates so long as they have nothing to hide.

    An unchallenged and unchallenging primary will only leave both Novick and Merkeley in obscurity. The heat of challenge will draw press attention and bring their name recognition and increase their ability to compete in the General.

    So please don't urge that debate and challenge be stifled. That is exactly what's needed to draw attention to the campaingns.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "An unchallenged and unchallenging primary will only leave both Novick and Merkeley in obscurity. The heat of challenge will draw press attention and bring their name recognition and increase their ability to compete in the General.

    So please don't urge that debate and challenge be stifled. That is exactly what's needed to draw attention to the campaingns."

    What kind of debate and challenge?

    Today I was talking in the store with someone whose successful campaign I worked on many years ago and who once said there is more relationship between politics and sales than some people would like to admit.

    This person said of Novick "why is he starting at the top rather than running for lower office first?" and that Merkley is a great guy but it is too bad he didn't stay in the House longer.

    I said I wished they would both talk more about veterans issues, as that is something of concern to many voters who may or may not care how Merkley voted in the legislature in 2003.

    Is that the sort of "debate and challenge" we should have?

    Or should we still be only discussing a 2003 Oregon House resolution in the US Senate campaign in 2008 because nothing else matters?

    The other thing I said to the old friend I had campaigned for years ago was that people are looking for candidates who inspire them to follow a campaign or get involved. And if either campaign is not well managed, or if they get sidetracked on issues the general public doesn't care about, that would create an opening for John Frohnmayer.

    One paragraph in this post is this:

    "We are with Jeff because he stands up for what he believes in, regardless of how politically popular it may be. He doesn't engage in petty backbiting of the kind Novick is all too willing to embrace. Jeff sees a problem, finds a solution, and works like hell to get it done. That's what Oregon needs in a United States Senator."

    I happen to think that is positive campaigning, and I happen to think Reps. M. Greenlick and M. Nolan are defending a friend they believe is being attacked. I do NOT believe that the 2 state reps. are robots doing the bidding of the Merkley campaign because they couldn't possibly have come up with this idea themselves.

    I agree with Posted by: unabashed Novick fan | Oct 11, 2007 4:44:28 PM

    If I were a candidate and my supporters said things like:

    "Mitch and Mary, with all due respect, you can't wish this away or flatly deny its importance and pretend that that is the end of the story. "

    or

    "If this is the best Merkley can do when attempting to avoid a steel left hook....how low is he gonna sink when $4 million dollars of the Gordo machine are bearing down on him."

    or

    "Sorry Shields - but you might want to go back and read your comment from another viewpoint. You may find it does neither you nor Merkley any credit."

    or

    "True leaders would demonstrate very different character than Merkley, Greenlick, or Nolan."

    I would let my supporters know either privately or publicly "You're not helping. There are people who believe the above comments show disrespect to Speaker Merkley and Representatives Shields, Greenlick, Nolan. They are not going to support a campaign whose supporters show such disrespect just because someone says that treating elected officials with respect by using their titles is 'stifling debate', so let's show we are capable of good manners and give them something positive to support".

    Let me be clear. There are some people very angry about the 2003 resolution, and they should spend their spare time volunteering for Novick.

    But if they believe "Vote Novick, the guy with the strong left hook who would have been smart enough to have voted differently than Merkley on the 2003 ballot measure" is going to gain votes for Steve Novick from people not currently supporters of the Novick campaign, they should think again.

    Steve and Jeff each have a flaw which could "turn off" voters. Steve has a great speaking voice but some of his "wit" doesn't impress people and sounds like a speechwriter wrote it rather than a truly off the cuff remark. Jeff is less likely to be witty and can speak passionately but at times too generally, AND he needs voice coaching to make sure all his words are heard and that the change in decibel level (esp. at the end of sentences) doesn't cause some of his words to be lost if the accoustics aren't great or people have hearing problems. Steve could probably speak from a stage if the microphone went out, Jeff could probably only be heard in the first few rows if that happened. Believe it or not, some people base their votes (other things being equal) with such "tiebreaker" aspects of looking at campaigns.

    Lots of Oregonians who will be voting in the primary may very well today be saying "Novick and Merkley who?".

    What do you want the first thing they know about your chosen candidate to be? Is it "...will be an effective Senator because..."? Or some fight over a 4 year old symbolic resolution? If voters want to forget the Minnis years as Speaker, are you really going to get them to vote in a US SENATE primary by saying one candidate voted "wrong" when Karen was playing political games?

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    As the author of the comment that included this:

    Mitch and Mary, with all due respect, you can't wish this away or flatly deny its importance and pretend that that is the end of the story.

    I'd like to state for the record that I am personally acquainted with Mitch Greenlick (in fact we had some private email discussion of this post initiated by me), and have called him Mitch for years. I used to live in his district. I acknowledged in my comments that I am not personally acquainted with Mary Nolan. But my husband is, and has told me how smart and likable she is, and so I did not feel it disrespectful to call her Mary.

    I am 51 years old. I typically call other adults by their first names if there is not some reason to do otherwise (when they are the doctors/clergy/etc in my life). I do not consider it disrespectful to call two state legislators by their first names and I frankly doubt that most Democrats will care about that at all. The two individual commenters (taoiseach and bdunn) who previously expressed issues with it are ardent Jeff Merkley partisans who seemed to me to be using this generic plea for "respect" to partisan ends. But of course I am also a partisan and could be mistaken about their intentions.

    In any event, I do not feel I have been disrespectful to Mitch and Mary, and therefore I must respectfully disagree with you, LT.

    As for the substance of what you say, in my mind, this is not a "fight over a 4 year old symbolic resolution" per se. Rather, it is a fight over the legitimacy of my and others' concern about that vote, and if we are going to talk about disrespecting people, then I feel disrespected when someone tells me I am not allowed to care about the vote, not strictly for its own sake, but for the underlying philosophical approach I fear it represents. I'm not going to go through the whole thing again, but I will not let anyone tell me that Jeff Merkley is "running on his record" but that one of his votes shouldn't count as part of that record. That's just absurd.

    LT, you have expressed your view that most voters won't care about the substance of my objection to the vote, and you may be right, I don't know. But you haven't addressed the second issue about it that I and others discussed above: that Merkley in so voting handed the Republicans a potential weapon to use against him in a general election, to obfuscate his actual views in 2003, and muddy the comparison with Smith. You have obviously been politically active for many years, and you've seen how Republicans campaign. Do you really believe that the Republicans won't use that against him (potentially to devastating advantage) if he is the nominee?

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    I apologize for inadvertently using another name here. I am Portlandia elsewhere in the blogosphere but never intended to sockpuppet here at Blue O.

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