Merkley reaches out to the Beardroots

Pat Ryan

Earlier this week, Jeff Alworth put up an excellent post addressing a subtle but vital point regarding the difference between quislings, dogmatists, and visionaries. I'd say that at least a plurality of the commenters got it, but there were several noses which suffered self inflicted bleeding due to the uncontrollable jerking of doctrinaire_08e0176 knees. Depressing but predictable. Jeff was specifically addressing the presidential race, but his points, with which I heartily agree, apply equally to our own senate race in both the primary and the general. With that in mind:  

A couple of months back, I'm at a Merkley event, and I'm harassing Jon Isaacs about doing some stunts. I point out that publicly, at least, his opponent has the upper.......er.......hand on this one, what with hooks and pirates, and built in bottle openers, or whatever, it's kinda rough for a serious wonk like Jeff to get his message heard over the continual stream of gimmicks.

So anyway, Jon and I do the regular Male Primate Shuffle for a while, you know how that goes, leaves are flung into the air, tree trunks get beaten with sticks, chests get thumped and so on, but at the end of it, Jon tells me that if I wanna get out of his crewcut hair and do something useful, I should organize a biker event for Jeff. Bluff called.

First stop is The Venue, and my wife Christine recalls Julianna Lukasik of @Large Films from the '04 Business Leaders for Kerry campaign. Julianna, a good progressive and Edwards fan, has a beautiful heated studio space just a block down from DPO HQ and what with the potential guest list of Original Gangsters being comprise mostly of rapidly aging Boomers, having a heated area for the bikes and the speechifying is a big plus. We also know, that there will be a few Tough Guys showing up on their bikes regardless of the weather, and they will need some thawing on arrival.

Refreshments turn out to be the easiest part for me. Christine gets the beer, wine, coffee, etcetera, and we call up my old buddy and mentor Bruce Livingston, who created and runs Playwrite, Inc., a non-profit that targets at risk youth, by having them write plays under the guidance of local actors who are trained to mentor the kids, and then stage the plays at the end of the course. Bruce, who is also a trained chef, and his lovely wife Bethany handle all of the food and it ain't gonna be the usual Rubber Chicken thing that's the norm for Portland political events.

Finally we get to the inviting and committing, which is always a nail biter, as you don't want to throw a gig, and have three attendees. I got a lot of help from my pal Mark Grubby Anderson from the Sandy area, Brian Gul Ducati Stovall from the Wasco County Dems, and one of the long time activists in both Peace and Justice and Biker Rights circles, and Dick Edmonds, keeper of the annual Shriner's benefit Bike Raffle, and good Clack Dem PCP. With this crew twisting arms, we got to 30+ excluding Merkley staff.

So when Jeff showed up, fresh from the Great Flying Prius Adventure, he had an audience that turned out to be a good cross section of the Oregon electorate. There was one evangelical minister, a couple of militant atheists, three school teachers, five Republicans, a couple of mental health counselors, some small business owners, and so on. Most of us have known Jeff throughout his years in Salem as a defender of our favorite Right not specifically stated, but broadly implied in the Bill of Rights, Justice Brandeis' Right to be Left Alone. Jeff's talk was wide ranging, thoughtful, and pulled no punches, and following the speech he opened the floor to policy questions which ranged from Constitutional issues, to the pitfalls of ethanol vs food production, to the merits of adding value to Oregon forest products, to appropriate fiscal responsibility.

The new guys that hadn't known Jeff prior to the event, got pretty jazzed up about the whole thing and one guy, that holds my old position in one of the State Motorcycle Rights Orgs, allowed as how he was going to start a Republicans for Merkley group. That's what I'm talking about.

A good argument can be made that this group is perhaps more representative of the grassroots than many of the organized groups that self-identify as such. There's good Red Meat to be had by preaching Impeachment to the Counterpunch, IndyMedia and Alternet faithful, and some candidates seem to measure themselves and their opponents by how far they are to the left of Noam Chomsky, but the fact is, that if you wanna win the General, these delicious talking points are not gonna get you to 50% plus one.

Now like I said at the start, Jeff's campaign is not going to attempt to recreate a 21st century Barnum and Bailey, because he's always been about substance over showmanship and practicality over Dogma, but at least I felt a little better about doing my bit for PR, and as it turned out, I think we put Jeff in front of a good cross section of Oregon voters. He did a tremendous job of dealing in a forthright and unscripted way with addressing their concerns, I got my photo-op, and Jon got me out of his hair for a few weeks.

Check the event photos at the Merkley website, and don't forget to drop 'em a couple of bucks.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    So let me get this straight - you didn't have to actually own a bike at the time in order to participate? I wish I'd known that. I've owned many bikes but don't currently own one. From your description I know that I would have enjoyed the event tremendously.

    Best paragraph in the whole shootin' match:

    A good argument can be made that this group is perhaps more representative of the grassroots than many of the organized groups that self-identify as such. There's good Red Meat to be had by preaching Impeachment to the Counterpunch, IndyMedia and Alternet faithful, and some candidates seem to measure themselves and their opponents by how far they are to the left of Noam Chomsky, but the fact is, that if you wanna win the General, these delicious talking points are not gonna get you to 50% plus one.

    Ain't that the truth! It's good to know that some on the Left side are not only keeping their eyes on the prize but actually know how to win it.

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    A majority favor impeachment of at least Cheney, so I'm not sure why it's suggested that such a stance is a fringe position. But the larger question is: does this mean you are ascribing to Jeff Merkley the position that he does NOT favor impeachment proceedings for the President and VP? It's what I suspected, but here's a supporter saying that's the case. Is there a reference for that?

    And is the point of this article that if you aren't very charismatic or stylish yourself, borrow it from some other group?

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    There's good Red Meat to be had by preaching Impeachment to the Counterpunch, IndyMedia and Alternet faithful, and some candidates seem to measure themselves and their opponents by how far they are to the left of Noam Chomsky

    Because, of course, the "Right to Be Left Alone" has been doing so well under the current administration. What a load of self-glorifying crap.

    And, I have to say, for all of the posturing with the bikes trying to look like he-men, this kind of attitude is exactly what get people like Bush elected. You're suckers for arguments that put you on the opposite side of an argument from the people you think are weak. You'd rather look like you're tough and stare down the Chomskyites than actually face the reality that the Democrats should have been pushing back at Bush for the past year with real investigations.

    Wimps.

  • (Show?)

    Here it comes, Pat... the "uncontrollable jerking of doctrinaire knees...."

    Once again, TJ is imagining things not written.

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    What, Pat's dismissal of impeachment as a fringe notion isn't just as doctrinaire, Kari?

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    Gee TJ, I think I was fairly clear in my post.

    I even dedicated a paragraph to the crowd which seems to see payback as a matter more pressing than good governance. I was doing my best to make sure that you were included, although I admit that I didn't address your endless parsing of partial sentnces, skewing of meanings, and all of the stuff for which you are justifiably famous out here in The Tubes.

    I just assumed that you'd be quick to trot out further examples of your Rovian patter, and indeed, you have not disappointed.

    Gotta go. I have another meeting with a local activist, down the road. I'm sure you'll have fun in my absence.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    WOW, looks packed in there.

    PIC

  • BCM (unverified)
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    WOW, looks packed in there.

    PIC

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    "Once again, TJ is imagining things not written."

    Asking questions is not really imagination, is it?

    I even dedicated a paragraph to the crowd which seems to see payback as a matter more pressing than good governance. I was doing my best to make sure that you were included,

    I have no need for payback, but in fact champion good governance, which of course includes enforcing the Constitution and re-establishing executive rule of law. As in, making sure it applies to the NEXT President, and holding THIS one accountable.

    You imply Merkley's not all about that, I'm wondering if the campaign agrees with you. As with several issues, he doesn't appear interested in saying yes or no, explicitly.

    Always great to see a Merkley supporter demonize someone who asks for clarification on a position as "Rovian." Lets me know the worry factor is still high over there...

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    Pat, are you seriously referring to impeachment as "payback"? Do you even know what impeachment is?

    There is no penalty associated with impeachment. It's not a punishment. It is the removal from office of a person who can no longer be trusted to perform their duties, for whatever reason. It's the way you keep someone from using their authority to screw things up further -- or failing to use their authority and letting a situation get worse.

    The issue that the Democrats should have taken up last January was whether Bush and Cheney could be trusted to run the country for another two years, based on their actions over the previous six years. Unless the answer was an unqualified "yes", then the Democratic leadership should have been considering the alternatives, of which there is only one: impeachment and removal from office.

    I would have thought that a man of your age would have known the difference between removal from office and some sort of "payback". Guess I was wrong.

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    Jeff was specifically addressing the presidential race, but his points, with which I heartily agree, apply equally to our own senate race in both the primary and the general.

    R-o, and actually, I specifically mentioned the analogue to the Merkley/Novick race, though mainly in the sense that Merkley's approach appears to be like Obama's. Novick, having not governed, is a little bit of a mystery.

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    You imply Merkley's not all about that...

    That's the imaginary part. I don't read Pat's post as implying any such thing.

    Whatever. TJ, your reflexive beating up on Merkley is boring. It's not like repeatedly saying the same thing over and over and over in the comments is going to change anybody's mind about anything.

    [Full disclosure: My company built Jeff Merkley's campaign website, but I speak only for myself.]

  • Justin (unverified)
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    it's good to see that Chisholm's clients are getting good coverage on here! keep it up!

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    Yes Justin, I too am extremely glad that Kari doesn't take on just anyone as a client, but instead takes on only those people he's already for. Many political consultants have no such qualms, and will represent both Democrats and Republicans alike.

    I'm sure Kari could make more money by offering his services to anyone. I'm glad he doesn't.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    "it's good to see that Chisholm's clients are getting good coverage on here! keep it up!"

    Blue Oregon, a microcosm of a capitalist democracy.

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    You'd rather look like you're tough and stare down the Chomskyites than actually face the reality that the Democrats should have been pushing back at Bush for the past year with real investigations.

    Wimps.

    OK Darrel, I can see that you're feeling left out so:

    Either

    <h1>1) You've never read and internalized my many posts and comments regarding the DLC, the craven cowardice of the current Dem elected "leadership", and praise of Wyden and Dodd for their positions re the Bill of Rights, right here on Blue Oregon and are ignorant of my positions, or;</h1>

    You're dishonestly attributing positions to me that are demonstrably false, i.e. purposely distorting my stance on the issues.

    I do read every comment on any thread that I join and I know you to be intelligent, so I'd guess it's #2.

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    let's not play dumb now, Kari:

    1) statement that impeachment talk is red meat that won't win the election for the Dem. 2) having 1) appear in a piece promoting Merkley's candidacy.

    The only alternatives are that Pat disapproves of impeachment as a strategy--but believes Merkley is for it, and doesn't care--and thinks including this conflict with his candidate in a piece promoting the candidate is a good idea...or the impeachment discussion was a complete non sequitur, has nothing to do with Merkley and his style, and Pat just threw that part in there apropos of nothing.

    As for boring repetition: if I've discussed Merkley's opinion on it at BlueO before, I would love to see where. See, I don't yet KNOW his position. I was hoping Pat might know, since as noted above he made a strong rhetorical connection. If that's "bashing"--asking for a clarification that really shouldn't ne necessary in the first place--I guess that's the way it goes. Sorry it bores you. Maybe you've long since turned off your critical thinking cap when it comes to Merkley; some of us are still trying to find out what he actually stands for. Do YOU know?

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    TJ (Mark) again tries to derail the topic by putting bogus arguments and words into other people's posts and comments. Same schtick from as always by Mark... derail, obfuscate and try to invent the meme out of whole cloth that Merkley is somehow not a strong enough progressive because of his own contrived distinctions without a difference... wash... rinse... repeat.

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    Typical behavior of purity trolls, who hate the Democratic party, while pretending to speak for it. What else is new?

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    Justin, I don't have any control over what Pat Ryan writes. (And if you knew Pat Ryan, you'd know that nobody has any control over what he writes.) He's been a contributor here for a long, long time. Since the beginning, actually.

    If you've got something to say, post a guest column. Meanwhile, our contributors continue to be free to write whatever they want, whenever they want, with no editorial control from me or the other editors.

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    I'd really love to be a fly on the wall when Justin calls Pat a Kari stooge to his face. I'd sell tickets to that event (and donate the proceeds to Merkley!).

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    "derail, obfuscate"

    so I guess Mitch doesn't know Merkley's position, either--thus HIS derailing and obfuscating comment, adding to the din created by Kari.

    It's a simple question: does Pat's reference to impeachment as a bad strategy, coupled with his support of Merkley, mean that as far as he knows Merkley thinks it's a bad strategy too? And regardless of that tension--what IS Merkley's position on impeachment of Bush, Cheney and even Rice?

    Don't blame me--I didn't bring up impeachment and Merkley. That was Pat.

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    "Typical behavior of purity trolls, who hate the Democratic party,"

    Talk about Rovian! Substitute the word "America" for "Democratic party," and see if it doesn't give you chills.

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    Pat, I'm just going by what you wrote above. Saying "some candidates seem to measure themselves and their opponents by how far they are to the left of Noam Chomsky." Like who?

    You're the one who compared impeachment to "payback". You dug that hole yourself.

    What I'll be interested in hearing is who has a meeting with the DLC's Harold Ford while Ford's in town this weekend. He's speaking at Reed in the afternoon on Saturday, but unless he's just flying in and out for that talk, he might have time to show up at the Celsi dinner or maybe press the flesh in private with a Senate candidate. Maybe he'll meet with all the Senate candidates, including Goberman, I don't know.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Elsewhere today there is a post about Hilton workers, the union UniteHere, a contract dispute, and what one union member thinks of one candidate.

    On the day John Edwards dropped out but said he would continue to press for issues like poverty to be a part of the political discussion, I have a comment to make about the difference between the Democratic Party a couple decades ago and some of what I read here on Blue Oregon and sometimes here from staffers or other activists.

    Just now I looked up meme as in lestatdelc | Jan 30, 2008 3:41:59 PM "try to invent the meme out of whole cloth".

    I agree with that comment. My problem with the language is the jargon. If someone supporting any primary candidate were to go into most union halls, grange halls, candidate social events/house parties (as opposed to the Have a Tap With Tester or Stand Strong With Steve events in Portland which involve money, political insiders, etc.) I'm not sure how many people at those gatherings of ordinary folks would recognize that term. How many ordinary folks (retail, construction, medical, education, small business, agriculture, etc.) use the concepts from either of these Dictionary.com definitions in their ordinary conversation?

    *a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

    *meme philosophy /meem/ [By analogy with "gene"] Richard Dawkins's term for an idea considered as a replicator, especially with the connotation that memes parasitise people into propagating them much as viruses do.

    John Edwards may only have collected about 65 delegates, but he energized a lot of people. Down to earth people who don't use philosophical jargon in their everyday lives.

    If someone is out of work or only working part time and hears in an interview "We are offering $9 per hour with no benefits" for a job involving about a 30 mile round trip commute each day; or "sorry, but we hired someone with experience using Quickbooks" or "really need someone who can always get to this job even if snow and ice are so bad the schools are closed", what does it matter what kind of a progressive a candidate is? Sometimes it seems like political activists need to get out in the real world--that lack of real world understanding is what finally drove a close friend of mine to quit politics cold turkey because "5% of the population thinks they decide elections when in truth it is the other 95% who will decide elections!"

    Folks, there are Oregonians who vote on the basis of someone they have known for years, or "my wife knows his wife" or the public figure who helped solve a problem (union dispute, change in a law, getting 4 way stop signs at that bad intersection which has seen so many accidents, etc.) or really liking one candidate for whatever reason, or being offended by an ad or something by the other candidate.

    One reason some people ignore politics is that it is not relevant to their lives. People can argue all day about who is a better "progressive", but in the end the folks who decide they like one candidate over another when they finally start paying attention to elections are the ones who are going to win. Regardless of ideological label.

    Did you folks see the Gordon Smith reaction to the State of the Union? Is this the same Gordon we saw prior to Nov. 2006?

  • (Show?)
    "Typical behavior of purity trolls, who hate the Democratic party," Talk about Rovian! Substitute the word "America" for "Democratic party," and see if it doesn't give you chills.

    If you use some other words as substitutes for "purity trolls", the chills get even better, but then that's an old game with that commenter.

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    Sheesh, here we go again. TJ just chill!

    Enjoy Paddy's fine writing. Over the years, his contributions to BO are among my very favorite. He paints a great word picture, he spoofs the whole political process, he spoofs himself and he represents a cross-section of the grassroots that resonates with me and others who've lived all over Oregon. He and his wife are incredibly interesting because they have the ability to view Oregon's politics so many perspectives; Oregon's Small Business Council to bikers, to Asian Democrats and more. I met them while working on Oregon Businesses for Kerry. Once in a while he and I would sit at his wife's conference room table at her successful business and just let it rip!

    Pat's voice is often the only common sense voice on BO. Pat's the kind of guy I grew up with, ya' know, sitting on the tailgate of an ol' beat up pickup, hoisting a few and shooting beer cans off a stump. He can also gussy up with the best of them, attending swanky events all over the state.

    I'm off to search for some bikers to support some of our local candidates. Thanks Pat, you are the salt of the earth. Looking forward to another great post.

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    "TJ just chill!"

    Oh, I'm chilled. I just got interested there for a minute, thinking Merkley's position on impeachment had been cleared up. Based on the defensive commentary, it would seem not. Ciphertastic!

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    TJ, for the umpteenth time, Merkely has said that hearing and investigations should be undertaken on impeachment, but since A) he would be a Senator and since impeachment comes form the House, it isn't up to him. B) By the time the next Junior Senator from Oregon (be it Merkley or Novick) Bush will have a whopping 26 days in office left. C) Your only intent here in this is to try and gin up distinctions without a difference to derail and troll for Merkley (one of the reasons I stopped supporting him BTW because of the negative shit you and the Web Wonks 4 Novick, with tacit approval by the campaign have engaged in)... your carping on, and fabricating out of whole cloth a strawman to then set a flame while feigning that this is anything other than something created out of your own fevered partisan mind, this is disingenuous at best.

    Nothing you do in this is helping Novick, Merkley, or the party in defeating Smith and thereby gaining a progressive voice in the Senate. Nothing.

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    correction:

    ...and troll for Novick (against Merkley)

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    This is just TJ doing what he always does when a post could be construed as helping Merkley more than Novick - he tries his best to yank it off-topic and malign Merkley at the same time.

    (yawn)

    So, Pat... what kind of bikes showed up? Any rice-burners or only American Iron?

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    gag me next we'll be singing kumbaya with lieberman.

    Rule of Law!

    Why can't a Democratic candidate run on rule of law? I thought the Republicans LOVE rule of law. Want to pander and cow-tow to the right? Well, how about upholding The Constitution?

    What will Gordon Smith think of his bloody Constitution, Patriot Act, destruction of the FISA courts, illegal wars, torture if there is a Democrat in the White House? You can bet your sweet bippie he'll get religion and will again be all about rule of law.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    So, then y'all are cool with letting them get away with it all? 935 lies? 244 for Powell, Hillary's "distinguished American" who she'll send far and wide on our behalf? Nothing to see here, move along.

    You would have Merkley and others pander to those who asked me, "what will you tell your children" re the BJ. Oh, the horror! Yet now that my boys are teens, I must tell them, "move along, nevermind that you could be drafted into these immoral oil wars." "Sons, ignore the fact that we've given you a massive credit card bill and killed the planet."

    Nothing to see here.

    No Republican or Democratic President should be crowned King.

    Turn the tables on Smith. What will he do if a President Obama has the powers he has bestowed on Bush? Are you cool if Obama's Attorney General, Maxine Waters, says waterboarding and child rape are okay?

    What say you Gordon Smith?

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Impeachment and investigation of their crimes is not just about revenge. It is about the future. Have we decided as a people to throw out the Geneva Conventions? Are they quaint? Goddess help us.

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    TJ, for the umpteenth time, Merkely has said that hearing and investigations should be undertaken on impeachment,

    Said to whom? Not to the Ashland Daily Tidings, which reports only that "it should be on the table," which of course it has been for the last 200+ years. Hardly a call for actual hearings.

    Not to the Coos Bay World, who reports explicitly that Merkley has "avoided any call for impeachment."

    And he didn't even say it to some guy running a blog called Wiseass-- who said "While Merkley didn't explicitly state he was calling for impeaching Bush or Cheney at this moment..."

    Sucks to be contradicted by yourself, I bet.

    This is the pattern of responses he has given. Which is why when Pat Ryan juxtaposed a dismissal of impeachment with support for Merkley, it made me wonder if he knew something I didn't. Apparently not; we're still at the mushmouth stage with Merkley on that issue, to go with the others where he wants you to believe he has a position without actually saying he TAKES that position (cf same sex marriage, NCLB repeal).

    Nothing you do in this is helping Novick, Merkley, or the party in defeating Smith and thereby gaining a progressive voice in the Senate. Nothing.

    Hey, but it certainly helped point out that YOU'RE certainly not to be trusted in explaining Merkley's positions, since you can't even keep your own words straight from month to month, and either don't know your candidate or want to like him so much that you'll rationalize away what he actually says. And that telling the truth in plain English is "negative shit" in your world. I think the term you're actually looking for is "unwanted cognitive dissonance." :)

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    Backbeat, what part of "Merkely has said that hearing and investigations should be undertaken on impeachment" translates into being OK "with letting them get away with it all"...?

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    There are no candidates running in Oregon DP races who are remotely near as left as Noam Chomsky, and the Chomskyists on IndyMedia may hate the DP (hold it in comtempt is more like it) but neither they nor Chomsky would claim to speak for the DP.

    I took Pat's main point to be not about Merkley but about the crowd he'd pulled together -- that impeachment wasn't a priority for them. Also took his contrast depiction as not-to-serious hyperbole, but since it has brought out serious support that he seems to accept or embrace, perhaps I was mistaken about that.

    Steve, the folks you label purity trolls do not on the whole purport to speak for the DP. A few of them get into appointing themselves judges of who or what "real Democrats" are. That of course is also a game played with great energy from the center-right by moderation purity fanatics such as often are found in the DLC, Blue Dogs etc, The implications by some around here sometimes that left-wing people somehow aren't real people (as opposed to our being a minority) can take a similar form, btw.

    But mostly the complaint ("whining") would be that that the party doesn't represent them, or listen to them, & even the "not real Democrats" silliness boils down to a form of that. And a lot of what you label purity trolls don't take the position that the DP as it is aren't real Democrats, or that they speak for the party either, but take the position that the DP isn't what they'd like it to be, or can't be.

    Hating the DP is an interesting claim. Those who truly hate or disdain the party as such mostly are outside of it. There are currents that are a bit subtler, of hating ways that the party is or acts in certain ways, or parts of it do, or what the leadership does or doesn't do.

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    TJ & Lestat, Mark & Mitch, could we set up a nice little Google group for the two of you?

    TJ, saying impeachment should be "on the table" is not just a generic constitutional statement. It is a direct response and differentiation from Nancy Pelosi's fiat that it is "off the table." You are smart. You know what Pelosi said. You know, you must know, that this is proper context in which to interpret Merkley's remark. Your refusal to do so is simple intellectual dishonesty.

    Lestat, TJ nonetheless is correct in saying this has not been and is not a major priority of Jeff's (I actually am not sure it is that much of one for Steve either). Both Pat and yourself say as much, and you adumbrate some reasons why impeachment per se wouldn't be.

    But the question that concerns me about any candidate is whether they are committed to fighting to roll back the Bush power grabs and constitutional assaults, especially should a Democrat become president and the DP retain control of Congress. Impeachment is in part a crude proxy for that, and of decreasing utility as the time in which it might be carried out shrinks.

    But "Constitutional crisis" hearings, to identify in public the myriad things Bush & his people have done that need to be reversed, might still be useful.

    The absolute best thing I have learned about Hillary Clinton is that she has explicitly said that she will not simply accept the expanded and outrageous claims to presidential power that the next president will inherit, but will actively cooperate in restoring the constitutional order.

    And actually it concerns me about the "ordinary folks" too. They may not be interested in impeachment. But it just isn't good enough to say "people don't have time for politics" in this situation. We need some real leadership to get them interested in this particular bit of politics.

    I went over to Chuck Butcher's blog to try to figure out his recent cryptic stuff about the Bill of Rights vis a vis Obama & Clinton. While there I came across a most interesting post about a conservative group opposed to most of the Bush illegalities the American Freedom Agenda. Chuck writes:

    I am going to directly copy and paste their 10 point agenda, so there is no mistaking my words or wishes with theirs : Prohibit military commissions whose verdicts are suspect except in places of active hostilities where a battlefield tribunal is necessary to obtain fresh testimony or to prevent anarchy; Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture or coercion in military or civilian tribunals; Prohibit the detention of American citizens as unlawful enemy combatants without proof of criminal activity on the President’s say-so; Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien enemy combatants, i.e., non-citizens who have allegedly participated in active hostilities against the United States, to protect the innocent; Prohibit the National Security Agency from intercepting phone conversations or emails or breaking and entering homes on the President’s say-so in violation of federal law; Empower the House of Representatives and the Senate collectively to challenge in the Supreme Court the constitutionality of signing statements that declare the intent of the President to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills he has signed into law because he maintains they are unconstitutional; Prohibit the executive from invoking the state secrets privilege to deny justice to victims of constitutional violations perpetrated by government officers or agents; and, establish legislative-executive committees in the House and Senate to adjudicate the withholding of information from Congress based on executive privilege that obstructs oversight and government in the sunshine; Prohibit the President from kidnapping, detaining, and torturing persons abroad in collaboration with foreign governments; Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution; and; Prohibit the listing of individuals or organizations with a presence in the United States as global terrorists or global terrorist organizations based on secret evidence.

    I am not aware of anything this clear or systematic on the left or in the DP. (Links to educate me welcome.) This is what we need to be working on. It is not about "payback" or revenge, it is about whether we are going to let the hollowing out of the republic and the slide into a police state continue. If "ordinary people" don't know or understand that this stuff is at stake, it should be up to everyone who does know, and specifically political leaders, to inform them.

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    Chris Lowe, I hear what you are saying with regard to my friend TJ, but I would like to observe that Jeff Merkley has established a bit of a pattern in terms of trying to be on both sides of certain contentious issues, so that when he or his supporters encounter an ardent advocate for one side or the other, they can cite evidence that "Jeff Merkley is with you and supports XYZ," whatever XYZ happens to be (I am thinking specifically of marriage equality, various progressive tax reforms, and repeal of NCLB, in addition to impeachment. I don't doubt that there are others.)

    And thank you for reposting the American Freedom Agenda here -- that was a huge public service. You are right, we have got to focus on that stuff. It's vital.

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    Posted by: Stephanie V | Jan 31, 2008 2:03:20 AM I am thinking specifically of marriage equality

    Holding LGBT's right to equal treatment under the law hostage to your insistance that they wait until such time as the State acquiesces to your notions on the rite of marriage is hardly a reason for anyone to vote for someone other than Jeff Merkley.

    You've effectively taken the side of the reich-wing, the only substantive difference being what ought to be the qualifications for receiving said religious rite.

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    I really don't understand why Kevin keeps making the claim that anyone wants to make LGBT wait for civil unions. It's made-up. One does not need to be opposed to DPs in order to favor marriage. The question is whether DPS is where it stops. For Merkley it is. For novick, the final goal is marriage equality. Which is why the equality community endorsed Steve and not Jeff, I bet.

    Chris, I never intended to discuss Merkley relative to Pelosi or the OR delegation. I thin "on the table" is a safely meaningless distinction; just because you put the knife on the table, that doesn't get the meat cut. The comparison is between Merkley and Novick. As usual, Novick is clear. By contrast, the evidence suggests Merkley avoided calling for the process to begin. He won't commit to saying we should pick up the knife.

    And thus the pattern continues: rather than simply owning that he doesn't go as far as Novick--a position I disagree with but which is perfectly defensible--his supporters take his careful parsing and declare it to be the same position as Novick's. It's not the positions, it's the weaseling.

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    Chris, I'll be more than happy to admit that there are, as you call them, "moderation purity fanatics". Certainly, guys like Al From, founder of the DLC, would strike me as a classic archetype of that. His attacks on mainstream Democrats on TV show that - or did, before the rise of mainstream Democratic bloggers like Markos Moulitsas showed the media how unrepresentative he was.

    But let's face facts. DLC types are nearly nonexistent on Democratic forums. I've never seen anyone, for instance, argue that Democrats should vote for Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont (even though 30% of registered dems did just that). And even when you go to their websites, you find most of the DLC's screeds written in a surprisingly positive frame, so that even when you don't agree with them you don't feel insulted - unless you intended to be insulted from the beginning.

    Purity trolls, on the other hand are rife in Democratic blogs. And far from your experience, the vast majority I see not only purport to be Democrats, they attack Democrats (even progressive Democrats) at a rate and savagery that I never see from moderates.

    Look at Jeff Merkley. Can you imagine the DLC laying into one of their own, say Harold Ford Jr., the way that the purity trolls here have against one of the most progressive members of the Oregon House? Or the way "Democrats for Nader" tore into Al Gore during the 2000 election, pretending that Gore and Bush were indistinguishable? Al GORE????

    The sheer intellectual dishonesty, as you rightly described it, is absolutely staggering. It is more than reminiscent of the ethics, and thought processes, of arch-right wing conservatives. And I assert that there's a reason. Which is, except for their view of who they think should be on top, that that is exactly what they actually are.

    There's an old joke that goes: "there are two kinds of people in this world - those that divide people into two kinds of people, and those that don't". That joke has an element of truth. Conservatives are people who divide people into various ranking systems, race, ethnicity, religion, wealth, etc." They love these hierarchies, and love to look down on people who don't measure up. Liberals, by contrast, seek to bring people together.

    So what are the people who rail about imaginary "corporatists"? What difference is there between their belief - that an indistinct group of people are going out of their way to make poor people's lives miserable - and the right wing theocons' belief that imaginary "secular humanists" are going out of their way to destroy Christianity? Are they dividing people, categorizing them, or trying to bring them together? Are they trying to appeal to people's better natures, or merely seeking to find ways to blame others for their own discontent?

    The "holier than thou" ethos that drives purity trolls is exactly the same literal "holier than thou" ethos of various religious theocons. It's sadly ironic too, because both real liberalism and real Christianity, are distinctly anti-hierarchical.

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    Which is why the equality community endorsed Steve and not Jeff, I bet.

    Huh? Who?

    Did you mean the past-tense "endorsed" or is that a typo that should have been the future-tense "endorses"?

    What organization or group of people are we talking about here?

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    So what are the people who rail about imaginary "corporatists"? What difference is there between their belief - that an indistinct group of people are going out of their way to make poor people's lives miserable - and the right wing theocons' belief that imaginary "secular humanists" are going out of their way to destroy Christianity?

    That's an example of bell curve purity right there.

    You equate the claim of one extreme with the other, by pretending that the allegations on one side are the same and making a false equation that if one is wrong then the other must be wrong as well. It's an easy way to dismiss both claims while examining neither. You can write "A" and "C" off as "holier than thou", and smugly claim that you are in the middle and ipso facto correct.

    But sometimes "B" isn't the right answer.

    Is the claim that corporations are "going out of their way to make poor people's lives miserable"? Or is that simply your characterization ? Perhaps the real argument is that corporations with unchecked power make people's lives miserable like any other unchecked entity: government, individual, whatever.

    It doesn't help your case to come off sounding like you've never given the argument a moment's thought.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    OK, first time responder, long time reader. Sound familiar. Having known Jeff Merkley since his first time in office, not before. I have supported him in all aspects.

    Having been one of Pat's "BeardRoots/Greybeards", even before it changed color. I for one, was in actual attendance, unlike many posters in this thread.

    Where were many of us in 1988,or was it '87, when "Big Brother" jumped up and said "Thou Shalt". Accompanined by the insurance industry, medical community, et al. Who were out to save your/my life? Granted, at the time, I lived in the State of Tejas, but was full time active military. I have lived in a 'FREE STATE", whereas, this ain't one.

    Being a native-born son, I object. Granted I grew up in California, but returned before I achived my majority. Oregon in the late "60's was a nice place. Less than 2 mil. folks, lots of leg room. Went of to serve YOU and came back to be spat upon, etc.

    If I am contrary, DAMN RIGHT.

    It must be nice to live a sheltered life where one is not required to make a split decision, at a moments notice. Swerve left right, left or just go straight and hope nobody hits me. Don't want to fall down. However, been there, done that, and don't really blame the fool.

    Let us live our lives as we wish. Let us support who we wish. And don't run over us. Think you can do that? We lose too many people, pedal bikes, M/C'ers and Peds. Support someone who will support all the laws, not just a select few.

    And for Kevin, no you don't have to 'own/ride/or even love bikes. Look around, there are many organizations, that are a-political, as in non-profit which push motocycle awareness. I KNOW, I'm combining subjects. Find you local ABATE of Oregon Chapter and see what they have to say/do about things. Yeah, know Pat, slap me. Been there before.

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    Kari--and others-- equalitygiving.org.

    They endorse those candidates who are competitive in their races, and who are explicit about their support for marriage equality. IIRC--the list is on a flash page I can't see right now--there are three Senate candidates endorsed: Al Franken, the guy running against Liddy Dole...and Steve. Fortune favors the bold!

  • Randy (unverified)
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    PS: Forgot, check Pats photo shoot. Third guy from the right, back row.

    Randy

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    Well, given the prominence of the "off the table" phrase I still think it has more substance than you allow. It is clearly addressed to the political context that Pelosi created by pre-empting a full debate within the new Democratic majority early last year. And it clearly distinguishes Merkley from that leadership position.

    You're right, though it is not as specific as it could be, I'll admit, & I take back my insult against you. Sorry.

    It's just that you and Mitch have reached the point comparable to the joke about the comedians' old age home, where no one bothers to tell the actual jokes anymore, because everyone knows them by heart, they just stand up and say numbers. We all know the numbers, & I let my impatience get the better of me. (Actual joke: A new arrival watches as one woman says "76," and everyone cracks up, then a guy says "683" to gales of laughter, and this goes on while the new arrival gets an old-timer to explain what is going on. Then someone stands up and says "224", but there's almost no reaction. The new arrival asks "what happened?", and the old-timer says "He blew the timing.")

    After some digging, I find Steve has made a clearer statement about impeachment for Cheney, but it's nowhere obvious on his webpage (which lacks a search function). You have to dig down to the second page of press releases to see his call for people to sign an online petition in favor of impeaching Cheney. So he's kind of hiding his light under a bushel on this one, even if the position is clear.

    It's too bad there isn't a civil liberties/ defend the constitution & the powers of the legislative & judicial branches "issues" link to correspond to his fine civil rights link. Of course, Jeff has nothing like that either.

    Both Steve and Jeff are good on FISA & supporting Ron Wyden. Jeff has an interesting item on an approach to limit CIA torture. He also called clearly for impeachment of Alberto Gonzales last August, which does contrast to the vaguer "should be on the table" line on Cheney or Bush.

    Stephanie, see my apology to TJ above. The thanks for the AFA link & info go to Chuck Butcher, who really is quite strong on the whole Bill of Rights, in addition to his particular 2nd Amendment gun rights concerns.

    <hr/>

    Kevin, I used to be where you are on marriage and civil unions, but I've changed my mind. It's intellectually neat, but poses deep political and emotional problems on both sides of the debate.

    The French got where they are via an anti-clericalism rooted in their Revolution and the Old Régime role of the established Catholic Church; there is nothing similar here.

    To get where you want, we'd have to abolish the long established pattern where religious marriage officiants are also deputized as civil marriage officiants, with additional civil marriage officiants who perform civil marriages for persons who don't want or can't get religious ones (can't get as in civilly divorced Catholics & Orthodox (I think) remarrying). We also have a long tradition of civil marriage called marriage.

    To go down the path of completely separate civil unions that create the legal relationship actually would be to profoundly change the nature of existing marriages. Or you'd have to grandfather them in, in which case you'd have lots of civil unions that were created by religious officiants, so why not have more? Conversely, the changes required will just give the antis ammo -- see they ARE changing your marriage.

    In addition, I think there may be quite a lot of same sex individuals who want to be married & have that name for their relationship, who may not want a religious marriage. What they want is a civil marriage, not a civil union, not a religious marriage. If we want to support full equality, I think we need to support people who want to be married, but not religiously.

    I agree with TJ that this in no way implies not having other improved steps along the way, if that's how it has to go practically.

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    "It is clearly addressed to the political context that Pelosi created by pre-empting a full debate within the new Democratic majority early last year. And it clearly distinguishes Merkley from that leadership position.

    Oh, no disagreement there at all. The difference between "would consider it" and "would not consider it" is substantive, in that the chance with Pelosi is zero, and with Merkley is zero or above. My only point there would be to reiterate that it's certainly easy enough to leave your options open, while not really having any intention to seek or even support that option should it arise.

    But as I said, we are making a choice as to who to put in there with Wyden and the rest of the OR delegation, and we have a choice between someone who wants to use the knife, and someone who at this stage only wants to keep the knife relatively handy. If you favor the latter position, go and be well, but don't try to say your position is the same as mine if I want the knife actually used.

    On impeachment, I too am frustrated by the lack of a search tool on EITHER candidate website. But if you look under press releases, there is a transcript of a speech where he is more specific about Bush, Cheney and Rice:

    I do, however, believe that an impeachment investigation by the House of Representatives is strongly warranted by the facts, on at least two grounds: the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, and the false – and possibly deliberately misleading – statements made by the President and others to justify the invasion of Iraq, including perhaps most famously the 2003 State of the Union speech alleging that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium from Africa as part of a nuclear weapons program.

    And to sum up my other responses: 47, 128, and of course -6.

    ;)

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    I KNOW, I'm combining subjects. Find you local ABATE of Oregon Chapter and see what they have to say/do about things. Yeah, know Pat, slap me. Been there before.

    No problems here Randy. I didn't mention ABATE, because of their policies regarding endorsements and so on, not my policies.

    Kevin's owned a few, and may again, anyhow, he's a bud and I forgot to invite him.

    My bad.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Went of to serve YOU and came back to be spat upon, etc.

    Thanks for your service. Where/when and who spat on you? Just curious. Thanks.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    Thanks for the reminder Pat. Actually, for the others out there. ABATE can not endorse anyone due to their non-profit status. However, they can be a source of info about what is happening with the M/C world as well as social events. Again, Pat, my apologies.

    Randy

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    came back to be spat upon

    Who spat on you, Randy? When and where?

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    I too am frustrated by the lack of a search tool on EITHER candidate website

    Just Google it:

    impeachment site:votehook.com (5 results) AP: Novick joins calls for Bush impeachment Register-Guard: Second Senate hopeful presses impeachment Ashland Daily Tidings: Senate Candidate Calls for Bush Impeachment Novick Calls for Impeachment Investigation of Bush Administration Wiretapping Novick Asks Supporters to Join Cheney Impeachment Petition

    impeach site:votehook.com (0 results)

    impeachment site:jeffmerkley.com (1 result) The crowd had excellent questions about healthcare, Iraq, impeachment,trade...

    impeach site:jeffmerkley.com (3 results) Impeach Alberto Gonzales Impeach Alberto Gonzales Impeach Alberto Gonzales

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    Hey backbeat and darrel, not sure why you're running off on this particular tangent, but if you're feeling left out of the whole spitting thing, by all means put up a post asking for volunteers.

    Blue Oregon is here for the entire progressive community, and I'm pretty sure that few would discriminate against you salivaphiles, if that's your kink.

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    Look at Jeff Merkley. Can you imagine the DLC laying into one of their own, say Harold Ford Jr., the way that the purity trolls here have against one of the most progressive members of the Oregon House?

    I want to understand you, because this is important.

    Are you saying that we are not allowed to criticize Jeff Merkley because he is "a good progressive" and therefore he is one of our own and we should lay off?

    I certainly hope not. This is a primary election. We are choosing from a field that consists entirely of our own. In order to choose, we must draw distinctions among them and decide which one is the one we most wish to see elected to the US Senate.

    I'll be the first to admit that I don't know enough about Candy Neville and David Loera to assess them fully, so I won't try. The main event here is between Merkley and Novick.

    My support for Steve is well-known in this forum. But when I look at the candidates on the issues -- several very important issues -- I see significant daylight between them on the "progressive" side of the scale. And in each instance that I am aware of -- I listed them above -- Steve holds the view most people would call "more progressive."

    Is it somehow heinous to publicly state this just because Jeff Merkley is "one of the most progressive members of the Oregon legislature?" This is not a gold watch for meritorious service we are handing out, nor are we grading on a curve where the population in the curve is the Democratic membership of the Oregon House. We are talking about a US Senate nomination. This primary election belongs to us as individual Democrats, and to us collectively. It does not belong to Governor Kulongoski or Governor Roberts or the DSCC or anyone else.

    If Jeff Merkley walked into this thing expecting to be coronated as our nominee as a reward for his TWO WHOLE YEARS as Speaker of the Oregon House, or because it is somehow his turn, then he has another think coming. (In fairness, I am not sure I can ascribe that point of view to him, although it does seem to predominate among his supporters.) He is in a primary election here, with another good progressive who -- GUESS WHAT! -- might be even a "better progressive" than Merkley is.

    His campaign has responded to that challenge by adopting deliberately parsed and vague positions on the issues I named, trying to have it both ways. His supporters seem to be OK with that but the Jeff Merkley I met is better than that. He spoke directly and without parsing or pandering when I asked him about his views. I gave him credit then, and give him credit now, for his frankness. His campaign and his supporters need to step up their game to be as good as the man they support. He knows what his views are and he was willing to state them bluntly to me when I asked him. Let his true views be a matter of record. He'll get a lot of votes from people who agree with him or who just plain like him. That's OK. But the weaseling has got to stop. It is unworthy of the "great guy" we are talking about.

  • Randy (unverified)
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    Darrel and Backbeat,

    Who spat on you, Randy? When and where?

    Spring of 1972, returned from an unpopular war. GI's back then were required to wear their pretty uniforms to get off base, even for vacation.

    The day I left, there were a bunch of folks outside the main gate of the naval base in San Fran.

    As I walked out, glad to be home, I was cursed, spat upon, called Baby Killer and a bunch of other not so nice things. I just walked down the middle of the street, did not raise my hand to them, but they parted like the Red Sea. Once around the corner, I was able to remove my coat, which by that time was filthy.

    Whoever they were, to me, they weren't that important. And those types, still aren't. I still love my country

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    Kevin, I used to be where you are on marriage and civil unions, but I've changed my mind. It's intellectually neat, but poses deep political and emotional problems on both sides of the debate.

    Chris,

    I think you're missing some serious context here. It's not an "all or nothing" proposition, in my view. Nor is that what I've suggested.

    This... "debate" initially got started, as has sooooo often been the case of late, because TJ and Stephanie started doing their Purity Troll routine by insisting that Novick is somehow more "progressive" than Merkley because he favors making legal marriage apply to everyone. The Straw Man they've set up has one source and one source only - Stephanie. She claims that Merkley favors Civil Unions for everyone and that this somehow makes him less "progressive" than Novick. He may or may not advocate that solution, but either way there is zero evidence outside of Stephanie's assertions. None, nada, zilch!

    I simply called BS on their Purity Trolling. If "progressive" purity (a self-evident fiction to anyone with the slightest understanding of the history of the modern progressive movement, but that's beside the point here) is all that matters to them then it seems clear to me and many others (including some LGBT activists, BTW) that "marriage" for all is not the epitome of progressivism.

    Now... having said that I want to stress that I had ZERO interest in making a big deal out of this. That has been totally driven by TJ and Stephanie and their Purity Trolling.

    All that I and others have done is to push back. First and foremost because what they are doing is intellectually dishonest. And only secondarily as a means of defending Merkley against their smears.

    In fact I wrote two posts on this topic on my blog and not once did I mention Novick or Merkley in either post. Their names only came up when TJ came over and did his Purity Troll routine in comments. I'd be happy to link you to the relevant posts & resulting comment threads if you'd like so that you can see for yourself that I'm describing exactly what happened.

    To anyone tired of this crap: I offer my apology. This is NOT what I want to have to do on this blog, my blog or any other blog. But given the choice between silent acquiescence to Purity Trolling and pushing back, I will push back because silent acquiescence has wrought far too many evils among humanity to be considered a tolerable option by this particular progressive.

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    The Straw Man they've set up has one source and one source only - Stephanie. She claims that Merkley favors Civil Unions for everyone and that this somehow makes him less "progressive" than Novick. He may or may not advocate that solution, but either way there is zero evidence outside of Stephanie's assertions. None, nada, zilch!

    I wrote that diary more than six weeks ago and published it on a well-known local blog. I also published it on dailykos. The conversation was witnessed in part by Jon Isaacs, Merkley's campaign manager. It took place in full view of a roomful of Democrats.

    Because my support of Novick is so well-known, I made every effort to write it up as honestly as I could. While the diary was current, and during the entire period since, no one from the Merkley campaign has come forward to say that I got it wrong or simply to state that he DOES support full marriage equality.

    But that's not what Kari, Kevin, Bradley Dunn, Sarah Lane, or other Merkley supporters have said. They have said, instead, that his position is somehow MORE progressive because he allegedly wants to abolish civil marriage completely. Interestingly, their support for THAT point of view also comes only from me. I quoted Merkley as saying to me, "maybe the government should get out of the marriage business altogether," or words to that effect, and Kevin and his pals leaped on THAT to construct an elaborate fantasy of a campaign position in which civil marriage is abolished, everybody gets a "civil union," and only churches can marry people. That's a really bad idea for a lot of reasons I have written about elsewhere.

    But while it is a really bad idea, I don't believe at this time that Jeff Merkley truly has taken a position advocating the abolition of civil marriage. I think he was brainstorming, kicking around ideas in a conversation. I applaud his willingness to do that -- many candidates would be too cautious to say anything of the kind, especially to a non-supporter. But when I asked him if he advocated extending civil marriage to same sex couples, he declined to do so.

    If I did get it wrong I will happily retract it because I personally support full marriage equality, and I think that all progressives should. I'll welcome any convert into the fold.

    I'm not saying that marriage equality should be the centerpiece issue of a US Senate campaign. What I am saying is that it is a marker for generally advanced progressive views, and as such, it suggests that a pattern may exist. Sure enough, a pattern does exist, and on a variety of issues that matter to progressives, Steve Novick holds a more progressive view than Jeff Merkley does.

    Merkley may be more in the mainstream of Oregon Democrats than Novick, and if he is, then he has nothing to fear from people like me calling out these distinctions.

    But when people like Kevin (and Kari, and Bradley, and Sarah, and others) repeatedly challenge the distinctions, without substantiation of any kind other than to say, "well, Stephanie is reporting it so it can't be true!" -- frankly, that suggests a desire to obfuscate the truth, rather than to illuminate it. The only alternative explanation is deep denial. And who can blame them?!

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    I too am frustrated by the lack of a search tool on EITHER candidate website

    Don't you have a Google Toolbar? Ever since Google rolled that out a few years ago, on-site search engines have plummeted in usage and designers have stopped giving up that valuable real estate.

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    They have said, instead, that his position is somehow MORE progressive because he allegedly wants to abolish civil marriage completely.

    I don't think I said that. In fact, I don't believe I characterized Jeff's views on the issue at all. (Though certainly others have.)

  • LT (unverified)
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    "She claims that Merkley favors Civil Unions for everyone and that this somehow makes him less "progressive" than Novick"

    Excuse me--this is how to defeat Gordon Smith?

    I don't believe Gordon will be defeated if Democrats ignore the votes of "marriage is a sacrament, but I am OK with civil unions" voters. You may recall that there were people who really anguished over Measure 36--from those who voted Kerry and yes on 36 to those who voted for Bush but thought (along with people in their church, in some cases--church members campaigned on both sides of 36)that 36 was discriminatory and voted no. But such votes don't matter because all that matters is having the most "progressive" (by whose definition?) candidate?

    Let's get real, folks. CBS News had a story tonite about an Iraq vet who died of melanoma because his enlistment physical caught it over a decade ago but he was never told and it wasn't in his medical records and he was sent to Iraq (sun wouldn't agravate skin cancer? or don't they care?). But apparently even after Judicial Review of Veterans Claims and all sorts of other reforms, his family can't sue military doctors for malpractice?

    Either we want Democrats elected to House and Senate to solve such problems, or we want ideologically pure politicians who say "I don't care about your religious beliefs--I want full gay marriage and if you aren't willing to go beyond civil unions I don't want your vote".

    And then some of the partisans wonder why people like me say so far this has been an uninspiring US Senate primary!

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    I don't believe Gordon will be defeated if Democrats ignore the votes of "marriage is a sacrament, but I am OK with civil unions" voters.

    He won't if M36's winning margin is any measure. And how would that help the LGBT community? Does anyone anywhere truly believe that Gordon Smith would do right by them if he's sent back to the Senate?

    And let's not kid ourselves here, a Clinton/McCain match-up could potentially keep the White House (and judicial nominees) in GOP hands, if the match-up polling forecasts I've seen are any indication. If that were to happen and Smith were to win because of strident litmus testing by progressives... That's not to say that McCain would necessarily beat Hillary. But he does match-up very well with her.

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    It's fair, Stephanie, to point out distinctions - if there really are any. That's why I supported Lamont early in his Democratic primary against Lieberman.

    But the phrase you use - "drawing distinctions" - is this year's euphemism for negative campaigning against a progressive Democratic candidate by deliberately distorting their record. TJ and the Novick campaign practice it. Bill Clinton and the Hillary campaign practice it. And I don't like it.

    I also don't think it works, except maybe to torpedo your own campaign. Undecided voters may not always pay as much attention as we'd like them to, but they can smell bullshit a mile away.

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    LT (and Kevin, what follows bounces around responding to both of you in not clearly separated ways),

    Pretty obviously "more progressive" here is by the definition of those who are using the phrase. They're allowed to have their definition just as you are.

    As far as I can see, Steve Novick has not said he doesn't want anyone's vote. Your conclusion that it may lose him some votes is not at all the same as saying he doesn't want them.

    Nor has Stephanie said anything like that. Stephanie has said she supports Novick because she agrees with his positions on a number of issues where they differ from Jeff Merkley's.

    She quite explicitly has said that people who don't care as much about those issues or have different opinions on them would be reasonable in voting for Jeff Merkley and that she wouldn't criticize them for doing so. Nor is she trashing Jeff Merkley in any way that I can see; insofar as that seems to be the sine qua non of the term "purity troll" as defined by its inventor, Steve M., I think Kevin is misapplying it, unfairly.

    Likewise it would be grossly unfair to say that anything she has said reflects "hatred of the Democratic Party," another of Steve's P.T. characteristics. (That's responding to Kevin more, I guess.)

    You (back to LT) and Stephanie appear to be agreeing vehemently that Jeff and Steve have substantive differences on a number of issues. Where you differ is on how to think about those differences.

    A real "purity troll" as I understand it would not only say that there are those differences, and not only say that (IMO FWIW WMNBTM) that makes Steve more progressive, but would say, "and if Steve doesn't win the nomination, I'm going to sit this one out," or maybe vote for John Frohnmeyer, if we cast him in the Nader role for "Democrats-for-Nader" purposes.

    I know for a fact that Stephanie has repeatedly said just the opposite, that she will support Merkley if he gets the nod, made a point of saying it, made a point too of expressing admiration for his candor an likeability, including on this thread but not only here. W

    Far from trashing Jeff Merkley, what she has written about him actually makes me think better of him in a "fill-in-the-blanks" kind of thinking better. (Unlike most of you I have never seen the man in person & do not know him at all). I respect someone who's willing to be candid in the way Stephanie describes.

    She actually has been a more effective advocate to me for Jeff in the bigger sense than most of his supporters. If he gets the nomination, her description of him will make it easier for me to be enthusiastic about supporting him than flat, colorless platitudes about "two solid progressive candidates" -- not saying that's not true, just that it doesn't really say much, any more than a generic claim of "more progressive" says much.

    There is just no legitimate way that what Stephanie has written can be construed as expressing hatred or vitriol toward Jeff M., as has been charged. (Kevin again.)

    For you (LT), this seems to be primarily an electability issue. That's a perfectly fine way to decide who to vote for. I use it on some issues, not others. My particular values and personal relationships on this issue won't let me look at it that way in good conscience. I also think there are a number of dimensions to electability & I think Steve N. will make up in other respects what he may lose here by being frank and open about his honest views.

    Please note that I am not saying my values are better than yours or anyone else's, much less that I am more conscientious than you -- obviously you are a serious thinker and an ethical person & I am virtually certain that in a number of ways you are more conscientious than I am. I'm just saying that in a primary election, when there's a difference on this one, it matters enough to me that it's a significant factor in who I choose to vote for.

    And there is such a difference and it affects my primary voting intentions accordingly. It isn't the only factor, very far from it. But it matters to me and it is o.k. that it matters to me and it doesn't make me a "purity troll" that it matters to me. Same goes for Stephanie, IMO, and for TJ.

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    Blue Oregon is here for the entire progressive community, and I'm pretty sure that few would discriminate against you salivaphiles, if that's your kink.

    I'm not sure what got up in your ass, Pat. I asked a civil question. I've heard the stories about spitting, but I've also read accounts from people who've tried to track down actual accounts and couldn't find anyone who was spat upon simply for being in uniform.

    I used to know a guy in my neighborhood who we thought was a Vietnam vet -- because he told us he was -- even though he seemed a little slow to have ever been accepted into the Army. That and he was always talking about the Uzis he had buried in the backyard. Then, when he hurt his back roofing and we tried to get him to go to the VA hospital, it came out that he just liked to tell people he'd been in "the 'Nam".

    So go blow.

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    A decade or so ago when there were more people panhandling and claiming to be Vietnam vets, I used to ask them what year they were born. From some of the answers I got, there were an awful lot of 14 and 15-year-olds shipped out in the spring of '73.

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    Maybe Randy should contact this guy and set him straight.

    http://www.amazon.com/Spitting-Image-Memory-Legacy-Vietnam/dp/0814751474

    The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam by Jerry Lembcke No, Holy Cross College sociology professor Lembcke can't prove a negative, but he makes a strong case that tales of antiwar activists spitting at returning vets are myth. Lembcke, a Nam vet who was active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, opens with Persian Gulf War politicians' use of "the spitting image" and then traces Nixon and Agnew's agitated response to antiwar activism by GIs and veterans. He notes that contemporary media, government, and polling data show no evidence of antiwar spitting incidents; the few events reported had supporters of the war targeting opponents. But later studies reported hostility toward veterans; "the spitting image" epitomized that narrative. Similar images were common in post-World War I Germany and France after Indochina; Lembcke suggests the Nixon administration cultivated this notion of betrayal because it stigmatized both the antiwar movement and veterans against the war. With development of a new psychiatric diagnosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, a good vet/bad vet split was complete, and Hollywood films shifted attention from the war itself to its GI victims.
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    the term "purity troll" as defined by its inventor, Steve M.

    Minor point, but that term wasn't invented here. Plenty of Google hits, plus a dKosopedia definition:

    * "Purity Trolls". These are trolls from the left. Otherwise known in reallife as drama queens. No matter how pure your position is, their position is more pure. No matter how compassionate or informed or skeptical or vigorous your opinion is, theirs is more of it. These trolls are insistent that they are the true spirit of liberalism, and spend their time being quite put out that the rest of us don't turn over our resources, our audiences, and our respect to them, regardless of how thin their positions may be on the merits. Drives me nuts, personally. ...The [purity troll] is more pesky and more irritating, since they won't take the hint that if they're really so far left that they think Howard Dean and Al Gore are fascists, we don't want them here, and there are other sites that would welcome them more openly, and good luck with that.
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    But the phrase you use - "drawing distinctions" - is this year's euphemism for negative campaigning against a progressive Democratic candidate by deliberately distorting their record. TJ and the Novick campaign practice it.

    Please cite an example of the Novick campaign or TJ "deliberately distorting [the] record" of Jeff Merkley.

    Please also clarify whether you are accusing me, by "drawing distinctions," of engaging in such distortions, and if so, please cite an example of that.

    Please also clarify whether you are accusing me of being a "purity troll," as defined above.

    Thank you.

    And Chris Lowe, thank you very much for the kind words.

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    So, Kari, are the people calling folks purity trolls here saying that the people they're describing are "so far left that they think Howard Dean and Al Gore are fascists"? Any proof of that?

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    Chris,

    The definition Kari quoted is what I was talking about. If I had half an hour to collect all the links and post them here, I could link you to many, many places around the internets where Stephanie absolutely does claim in very explicit terms that Steve is more progressive than Jeff and cites this marriage thing on every one of them.

    She's a purity troll in the truest sense of the term as far as I can discern.

    IF... she were saying that SHE thinks Steve is more progressive and cited her reasons why then that would be one thing. She doesn't do that. She makes flat declarations just as she has here.

    And again I want to stress that pushing back against purity trolls is NOT what I enjoy about blogs. In fact I've come to loath it. But I loath the senseless divisiveness of purity trolls even more.

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    I'm not sure what got up in your ass, Pat. I asked a civil question. I've heard the stories about spitting, but I've also read accounts from people who've tried to track down actual accounts and couldn't find anyone who was spat upon simply for being in uniform.

    What got up my ass was your following posts which I saw coming as soon as the two of jumped in on the who spat? question, followed by the it never happened assertion.

    The way you guys play, it was almost inevitable that you would attempt to undermine the narrative of a first time poster who has stuck his head into Blue O for a look around.

    I know that you have the sole mission of discrediting anything or anyone who dares to compliment your sworn enemy Merkley about anything anywhere any time, but when I invite Republicans, Independents, and other first timers onto this site, I'm hoping that they'll be encouraged to stick around for the high level policy discussions and thoughtful commentary, which might offer them some new perspectives on the issues.

    Immediate attacks on newbie poster credibility is an ineffective way to engage potential new allies, although I didn't expect you to notice anything besides the Assassination game and you did not disappoint.

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    Pat, I didn't say it never happened to Randy. I suggested he might want to contact the guy who wrote the book about it not happening to tell his story.

    You sure don't read very well. I never attacked Randy's credibility. His story may be completely true. In which case, I think he ought to -- as I said -- contact the author and "set him straight."

    Of course, there are worse things than being spat upon. At about the same time Randy says he was getting out of the Navy base in San Francisco, SF police were actually clubbing anti-war protesters and sending them to the hospital. And there are plenty of other documented cases of non-violent protesters being beaten or clubbed or even shot protesting the war during that period.

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    And let me get one thing straight, pat. Are you actually in favor of people posing as war vets? We were actually trying to help the guy who hurt his back -- despite the fact that he was incredibly annoying -- when we offered to help him get services. My wife's former law partner had been one of the people behind the Oregon Vietnam Vets Memorial and we thought we might be able to hook up through him through some of the veteran's organizations to help the guy out.

    But I guess your prejudices about people get in the way of your thinking.

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    Darrel, I think this may be more of a simple miscommunication than anything else because I got the exact same thing out of your earlier comment that Pat did. It seemed pretty clear to me that you were challenging Randy's credibility. Maybe we misread it and maybe you weren't as clear as you might have been. Probably it's a bit of both. C'est la vie. It's not worth fighting about if it was nothing more than a miscommunication.

    My 2 cents worth...

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    Kevin, It is no more purity trolling to say that one candidate is more progressive than another and provide the criteria by which one is making that judgment than it is to state one's belief that one candidate will be better than another in handling the give and take of the legislature, for instance.

    The definitions Steve cited most recently focus on trashing and hatred. Stephanie doesn't do that. The definition Kari cites focuses on self-absorption & self-congratulation, setting oneself up as superior (a theme Steve has mentioned a number of times in the past).
    Stephanie is not saying she's better than anyone else, she's saying why she thinks Steve is more progressive than Jeff according to her criteria.

    This just isn't purity trolling. Its about reasons for voting. LT at least offers a different take on what the differences between Jeff and Steve mean and why one might choose Jeff over Steve -- the interesting thing about her reasoning is that you could accept it if you also thought Stephanie is exaggerating the differences, or that they represent different types of progressivism rather than a more vs. less distinction, or even if you thought she's right & Steve is more progressive.

    I have a somewhat different assessment than LT about the tradeoffs involved, and I assert that my belief that Steve is more progressive (or call it "better," "clearer in a way that matters" or anything else you like, I don't really care, they all go into how I think about it) is a legitimate reason for favoring Steve over Jeff in a primary election. You or LT or anyone else may question my judgment. But to cast outrageous aspersions on my motives (here I am aligning myself with Stephanie as I understand her position) is nothing but a smear.

    End of the day, a real "purity troll" in this context would be someone saying that Jeff Merkley shouldn't be supported in the general if he gets the nomination because he isn't "pure" enough in some sense. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT, not even TJ, my criticisms of whose rhetorical style around here have been regular, clear and at least sometimes forceful.

    As is often the case with motives aspersions, looseness in throwing around accusations of "purity trolling" partakes of many of the characteristics it supposedly decries.

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    It seemed pretty clear to me that you were challenging Randy's credibility.

    Where did I question Randy's credibility? backbeat asked about when and where it happened first after explicitly thanking Randy for his service. I asked about when it happened next. The second comment after that is Pat suggesting we put up a call for people willing to spit on us.

    ...if you're feeling left out of the whole spitting thing, by all means put up a post asking for volunteers. Blue Oregon is here for the entire progressive community, and I'm pretty sure that few would discriminate against you salivaphiles, if that's your kink.

    Which is legally assault, by the way.

    Intentionally spitting on another person qualifies as “simple assault” under the theory of assault as an attempted or completed battery, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. Agreeing with three other circuits that even a seemingly slight, but intentional, offensive touching can suffice for a battery, the court unanimously affirmed a Washington man’s conviction under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 113(a)(5) for spitting in another man’s face on the grounds of a Veterans Administration hospital. The statute punishes anyone found guilty of committing simple assault within U.S. maritime and territorial jurisdiction with up to six months in prison.

    My comments on the fake Vietnam vets I've encountered didn't come until after that. You can call me a purist, but at least I don't advocate or threaten physical assault.

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    I had the same reaction as Darrel, having remembered that research. I too was interested to hear his first-hand account, because one of the problems in verifying the story was that it was always second hand or beyond. Also, according tobthe author many accounts involve SFO airport, when apparently nearly everyone flee into Oakland. Perhaps the naval returnees have a more credible story in that vein.

    I agree that randy should definitely contact the author and offer his account. And as I say to nearly every vet I encounter--thanks for your service.

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    I should probably add, for those who don't go through that link, that the guy who spit on the other guy at the VA hospital in the story above was a volunteer at the hospital, knew the man he spit on, and was himself a vet.

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    responding briefly to Chris: I have stated publicly my vote for Merkley as the Dem nominee is 100% guaranteed, failing some horrible crime in his past or whatever--something I find highly unlikely given his background. I have a poll going at LO on this very question, and my vote was the first to say I definitely will vote for Jeff if he wins. I would simply prefer it if he didn't. :)

    And that's not purity trolling, sorry Kevin. If I said merkley's failure to explicitly back marriage equality meant he's not a real progressive, or not a faithful Democrat--THAT would be purity trolling. I'm merely saying he's not progressive ENOUGH for me on those issues.

    I feel pretty confident in saying I've never knowingly distorted Merkley's record--but I find curious and disappointing the way select supporters distort my apprehensions of his positions to ne smears.

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    I have a somewhat different assessment than LT about the tradeoffs involved, and I assert that my belief that Steve is more progressive (or call it "better," "clearer in a way that matters" or anything else you like, I don't really care, they all go into how I think about it) is a legitimate reason for favoring Steve over Jeff in a primary election. You or LT or anyone else may question my judgment. But to cast outrageous aspersions on my motives (here I am aligning myself with Stephanie as I understand her position) is nothing but a smear.

    You've created a Straw Man, Chris. This isn't about you or anyone else stating a subjective opinion about Steve v. Jeff. It's the flat declarative assertions masquerading as objective statements that I've taken exception to. You are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. You aren't entitled to make sweeping judgements based on exceptionally subjective criteria, use that to tar and feather a candidate you don't like and think that nobody is going to challenge you on it.

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    I feel pretty confident in saying I've never knowingly distorted Merkley's record--but I find curious and disappointing the way select supporters distort my apprehensions of his positions to ne smears.

    This from the same guy who charged into a serious discussion on gay rights and Church/State separation on my blog and tried his damndest to drag it into a partisan mud fight over Novick and Merkley.

    You're not have as clever as you think you are, TJ. And readers here and elsewhere aren't half as stupid as you think they are.

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    Flat declarative statements of what clearly is a matter of opinion do not masquerade as objective. And you are the one creating the straw man, as far as I am concerned, because in any case the statements in question are not "flat declarative" ones, but statements that a) go on to specify criteria on which the judgment is made or opinion held, and b) generally contextualize Jeff Merkley as an apparently good guy with admirable qualities of candor and thoughtfulness and generally progressive values, programs & positions. The differences are not pointed out to say that Merkley is bad, only to adduce reasons for a different preference in a primary election vote.

    And actually I'm quite as entitled to make flat declarative statements as you are to cast motives aspersions. In my opinion the latter is much more objectionable, and such aspersions in fact often are a tool of "purity trolls" (along with other types of internet plug-uglies) which is part of where the self-righteousness comes in.

    You're also doing an conceptual Gresham's Law thing to yourself here, Kevin. If "purity troll" means so many different things, many of which seem to boil down to having subjective opinions you disagree with, and even applies to someone who actually substantially praises the person allegedly under purity trolling attack, it winds up meaning nothing, or very little.

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