Led by Jeff Merkley, Oregon for Edwards leadership team endorses Barack Obama

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

At a noon press conference today, Speaker Jeff Merkley endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Previously, Merkley had been the co-chair of the Oregon for Edwards committee. Today, the leadership of the Oregon for Edwards team all endorsed Barack Obama - Merkley, Senator Margaret Carter (D-Portland), and local attorney Robert Stoll.

A number of the other members of the Oregon for Edwards steering committee also endorsed Barack Obama today, too. (I'll have a complete list later today - and it includes me. More on that later.)

In a statement, Merkley noted his and Obama's shared background of working with low-income families for affordable housing:

Barack Obama and I share something more in common than simply our determination to change America for the better ... Both of us come from the grassroots, where real change is sewn: Senator Obama was an organizer, committed to public housing in the neighborhoods of Chicago. And I worked with low- income families in need of housing through Habitat for Humanity and Human Solutions here in Portland.

Both Senator Obama and I understand what it means to empower Americans house-by-house, community-by-community. That's the reason I'm running for U.S. Senate – to put that kind of power back into the hands of everyday Oregonians again. And that's the same reason I'm endorsing Barack Obama for President today.

At the press conference today, Merkley sounded an optimistic note - saying that he looks forward to a strong Obama presidency focused on bringing the American people together.

Of course, that's a stark contrast with Steve Novick's recent comments about Barack Obama. His statement this morning was a strange and back-handed not-quite-endorsement:

[Hillary Clinton] knows, possibly better than Obama, what’s wrong with the country, and she knows what we need to do to fix it. ... I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe that he has the self-confidence to base his Presidency on hope, rather than fear. And because, even if I might ultimately be disappointed, I’d rather be disappointed in new ways, rather than the same old ways.

I don't know about you, but the presidential field this year was an embarassment of riches. Unlike some past election cycles, I wasn't deeply disappointed by any of the candidates. Sure, I had my quibbles - and I was definitely an Edwards guy first, and an Obama guy second (and hooray for Chris Dodd!), but "disappointed"? Nope.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a general election where the top of our ticket here in Oregon will be Barack Obama for President and Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate. They've both still got to win their primaries, but that's a ballot that will lead us to victory here in Oregon.

[Full disclosure: My company built Jeff Merkley's website. I was a volunteer and donor for John Edwards on the Oregon for Edwards committee. As always, I speak here only for myself.]

Comments

  • Randy2 (unverified)
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    Somebody should edit his material, not just spell-check:

    "...Both of us come from the grassroots, where real change is sewn:"

    I think he meant "sown"

    R

  • AnotherPressRelease? (unverified)
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    Just one day without Jeff Merkley being hailed for something. Please! That's all I ask.

    His campaign already sent out an email about his hard work making a better road for Oregon homeowners.

    "Oregon homebuyers are the big winners here," House Speaker Jeff Merkley said in a statement. "This bill paves a much better road for Oregon's homeowners. By restricting prepayment penalties we're making sure the dream of homeownership doesn't become a nightmare."

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    I find Novick's gushing praise of Hillary much more baffling than his back-handed endorsement of Obama.

    Seemingly equally at odds with both is Novick's old praise of Portland for having given Nader more votes than any other metro area in the 1996 election. Would he like to see Nader do equally well in Portland this November?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Wow! You're shamelessness never ceases to amaze me, Kevin.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Wow, I can't believe Kari allowed the top post to be about Novick for almost five hours(!) before swooping in with a post about Merkley.

    What this press conference says to me is that Merkley's team is really, really worried about Novick. They couldn't even let Novick be out there for one day with an Obama endorsement without rushing out with their own. As a Novick supporter, I've been saying he doesn't have a chance, but I'm more than happy to admit I'm wrong.

    The unprovoked attack on Novick's "back-handed" endorsement was uncalled for, but it's so egregious that everyone will see it for what it is.

    Game on!

  • Harry (unverified)
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    The only thing slicker than this 'mini-me-too' Merkley endorsement was the sleazy way Kari positioned it.

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    Actually, Miles.... The Novick folks heard about the Merkley press conference, and jumped the gun with their own statement.

    After all, in order to hold a press conference, you have to tell reporters what it's (mostly) about. That almost always gives them a chance to call around for comment in advance.

    One more thing: Is being "top post" on BlueOregon some magical prize? That's a strange place you live, where no one knows how to scroll down.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Come on, Kari, be proud of your bias. Own it! That's what the rest of us do.

  • Jake Weigler - Novick for Senate (unverified)
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    Wow Kari - that's a pretty strong accusation with no basis in truth. A simple call to Charlie would have disproved it (been talking to the Obama folks for a while.)

    We didn't say boo when Merkley's education plan appeared on his website an hour before Steve held a press conference calling for the repeal of No Child Left Behind. And didn't even say much when the language suddenly changed from "Improve" No Child Left Behind to "Completely Overhaul" No Child Left Behind almost immediately afterwards. That's why I write our press advisories carefully - to catch shenanigan like trying to step on our story.

    So remind me again why you get to make false allegations while being being paid by the Merkley camapign and the campaign shouldn't be held accountable for them? Particularly when your follow-up comments make it clear you've been part of the campaign's media rollout strategy for this announcement?

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    Reactions to the news that Merkley and other Edwards supporters have shifted to Obama is the news, not Kari. The squad of Novick crusaders just can't stop themselves.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    The Novick folks heard about the Merkley press conference, and jumped the gun with their own statement.

    Well that's just not true. I knew about Novick's plan to endorse Obama last week.

    And it does seem odd that what should have been a simple post about Merkley's presidential endorsement is used as yet another opportunity for the publisher of BlueOregon to bash his client's opponent with dubious claims.

    OK, it's not really that odd. It's politics as usual; certainly not the alleged change Merkley is promising.

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    I don't think the comment was that back handed. It's definitely something I've thought.

    Over and over again we hear about Obama that he could just be all talk and could end up doing not much of anything. Well, he's coming at the presidency with a fresh perspective, and we're sure to get at least something new and refreshing out of him, even if his presidency doesn't get us all the things we're hoping it will. With Hillary, we've been there before.

  • Harry (unverified)
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    pam is correct... Obama is the news. Too bad Kari's behavior shifted the dialogue to his bias and obvious Merkley shill-iness.

    No Novick crusader here, just a non-primary-voting Indy calling out slime tactics when I see 'em.

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    I knew about the pending endorsement before merkley's press advisory as well. More of that Kari Kredibility, I guess.

    I smell fear.

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    I knew about the pending endorsement before merkley's press advisory as well. More of that Kari Kredibility, I guess.

    I smell fear.

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    sorry, it claimed the first send crapped out.

    Jenni's right--there's a Facebook group called Conflicted Obama Supporters, or something similar. It's a common sentiment I think--we want transformative politics, but we know powerful forces still exist against change. Call it sober overenthusiasm.

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    A simple call to Charlie would have disproved it (been talking to the Obama folks for a while.)

    As an Obama supporter since early last year, I'm thrilled to have both the Merkley and Novick folks on board. And I have no doubt that with Obama leading the ticket, Oregon Democrats will do well up and down the ballot, and on both sides of the Cascades.

    I can confirm I have been talking to Jake for at least a week about this endorsement, and pegging it to Merkley's timing was never part of the discussion. There's plenty of work to go around, so we're thrilled that Obama will have strong support no matter what the outcome of our U.S. Senate primary.

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    sorry, it claimed the first send crapped out.

    Jenni's right--there's a Facebook group called Conflicted Obama Supporters, or something similar. It's a common sentiment I think--we want transformative politics, but we know powerful forces still exist against change. Call it sober overenthusiasm.

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    arrgh! I don't know WHAT happened that time.

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    It's really interesting that Merkley spoke very positively about Obama while Novick spoke much more positively about Hillary than about Obama. Hillary would be "great" while Obama might "disappoint"?

    Compared side-by-side only one of these actually looks like an endorsement of Obama.

  • Harry Wilson (unverified)
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    The Harry commenting above is not Harry Wilson.

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    It's really interesting that Merkley spoke very positively about Obama while Novick spoke much more positively about Hillary than about Obama. Hillary would be "great" while Obama might "disappoint"? Compared side-by-side only one of these actually looks like an endorsement of Obama.

    and your point is....?

  • Galen (unverified)
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    Hahahaha

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Well, I'm a huge Novick fan. Make no mistake about that. But I wouldn't have been as positive about Hillary as Steve was. Also, I have been a huge Obama fan from the start, so I would also have endorsed him more thoroughly then either Merkley or Novick possibly could.

    That said, given the choice between Hillary gratuitous hatchet jobs against Obama and Kari's hatchet job against Novick, I'm not sure I can tell a difference.

    I suspect Steve was simply trying not to piss off those of his supporters who feel passionately about Hillary and didn't think that, in supporting Novick, they were purchasing diatribes against their favored Presidential candidate. Now that Steve is informing them that he is supporting Obama, it is probably the appropriately diplomatic thing to not to add insult to injury.

    But I'm not running for office, so I can be candid. Hillary is making a complete fool of herself in the way she is trying to ridicule and shame Obama, and this is on top of her Hubby playing the race card (which is especially despicable since he isn't even racist). Plus, she has run her campaign as ineptly as Bush has run the Iraq War -- assuming everything would go swimingly at first and leaving no options if it didn't.

    By the way, Hillary endorsed the Iraq War and didn't even read the Intelligence Report before doing so. That alone should make you think twice about voting for her if she figures out a way to steal this election.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    This endorsement saga is a pretty good representative of the two campaigns.

    On the one hand, you have Jeff Merkley, who as a leader of Oregon for Edwards worked with his team to find a new candidate that most closely matched the positions and style of the candidate they formerly supported. It seems like Merkley coordinated the effort with the idea of maximizing the impact of this group's decision.

    On the other hand, Steve Novick, a fellow former Edwards supporter (but not affiliated with the Oregon for Edwards team), does not feel strongly about either remaining candidate. Nevertheless, he feels compelled to make an endorsement because he holds his own opinions in high regard, even if they're not fully-formed or particularly clear. Novick's endorsement of Obama is grounded in that presidential candidate's buoyant hope; however, Novick uses a 'worst-case scenario' logic to pick between Obama and Clinton. Does that seem inconsistent to anyone else?

    This is another episode where Merkley leads and Novick simply weighs in.

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    I suspect Steve was simply trying not to piss off those of his supporters who feel passionately about Hillary and didn't think that, in supporting Novick, they were purchasing diatribes against their favored Presidential candidate.

    Wow... Well that certainly is a creative attempt to explain why Steve praised Hillary and openly cast doubt on Obama, all in the name of ostensibly "endorsing" Obama.

    You work inside the beltway, right? Can you think of a single example of a more tepid endorsement? Ever? Set aside Jeff Merkley's ringing endorsement of Obama and just try to think of any endorsement that was more back-handed than Steve Novick's.

    I've tried. I can't think of any. Even after all of the bad blood and charged rhetoric between them, Mitt Romney's endorsement of John McCain was veritably ringing in comparison to Steve Novick's "endorsement" of Obama. And Steve didn't lose a bitter election to Obama!

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    what's more interesting, IMO, is how Merkley's endorsement is all about how he's just like Obams, sort of how he was just like Edwards. By contrast, Novick examined their respective policies (which is why I suspect he was kind to Hillary in places, not because it's a safe political pander, but because like many, he likes things about both and is troubled by things about both.)

    But that's been the pattern: Merkley is bio and past achievements; novick is policy and a look ahead.

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    Now, that was a good endorsement! I'm still an undecided voter here, but I appreciate Merkley's outlook on Obama. A big reason I supported Edwards so forcefully was because of his focus on poverty issues. I hope an Obama presidency will work hard to alleviate poverty in the upper midwest and southern states in particular. Those states are really struggling.

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    Next thing, Jeff will tell us that Obama's father was a Kenyan millworker.

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    Posted by: Daniel Spiro | Feb 25, 2008 6:58:36 PM I suspect Steve was simply trying not to piss off those of his supporters who feel passionately about Hillary

    Man am I glad that we have Steve Novick in the race because he speaks truth to power and will always fight the good fight regardless of the consequences.... Oh wait never mind.

    At least Merkley had a positive reason for endorsing Obama, their similar world view that emphasizes the grassroots. Novick endorsed the person he thinks understands the problems we face the least, supports bad health care, and is going to disappoint him. I don't know about you but I would never endorse in a race I felt as tepid as Novick says he is. I only endorse candidates I believe in and usually I don't hit them in the face with a frying pan first. I mean he repeats all the bogus Clinton attacks on Obama from health care to Reagan. With friends like these who needs enemies?

  • DeanOR (unverified)
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    There is nothing "strange" about Novick's description of his thoughtful decision process between Clinton and Obama. I think it is the best discussion I've seen on the subject.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Novick's endorsement is exactly what I expect from him: thoughtful, balanced, reasoned, and honest. I agree with Jenni, I have much the same thoughts and fears about Obama that Novick does. Novick appears to be trying to explain his thought process to us, not trying to court Obama.

    Merkley's endorsement is the standard sycophantic response of a guy who is listening too much to his advisors. I mean seriously: That's the reason I'm running for U.S. Senate – to put that kind of power back into the hands of everyday Oregonians again. I like Jeff a lot, but he needs to stop listening to his consultants and start being himself.

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    Novick not once but twice referred to Hillary in terms of her becoming "a great President." Obama got referred to in terms of how me might disappoint Steve.

    That's thoughtful, balanced, reasoned? In an alleged endorsement for Obama?

    If I weren't a recovering addict I'd ask you for some of whatever you are smoking, Miles.

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    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    It's pointless to try to engage with Kevin on this subject.

    He professes not to understand that there might be more value in a reasoned analysis that recognizes the strengths of competitor A but still finds more value in the strengths of competitor B.

    He professes not to understand that there's a difference between endorsement and flattery.

    Steve understands that difference.

  • Dylan (unverified)
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    Wow! I didn't know Merkley was in charge of the Oregon for Edwards campaign. I may have to give him a second look...OK, I'm done. While I admire this about him, I still don't see what he brings to the table that is at all or unique or exciting about him that will allow him to beat Gordon Smith.

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    Kari, the only way to stop all this bickering is to quit posting articles about Oregon politics. Welcome everyone to Blue Botswana.

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    Hmmm...

    Competitor B (Obama): "disappointment" + recitation of Clinton talking points.

    Competitor A (Clinton): "a great President" + heavily quoted glowing NYT piece on Clinton.

    Which seems most consistent with still finds more value in the strengths of as Stephanie so creatively put it?

  • Opinionated (unverified)
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    Watch this Hillary-ous segment by Tina Fey on SNL -"Bitch is the new Black"

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    You know, I usually try to stay out of this stuff. But why is it that I see the same ole people carping on Novick as always? It's getting frustrating.

    Please read his entire statement. Reading through it sounded very much like my own thought process in supporting Obama - and the very same thing I've heard from other Edwards supporters now for Obama.

    It lists some reasons why Clinton would make a great President. And then there's the "but."

    But Barack Obama has been willing to take risks. He did, in fact, oppose the war from the beginning. No, he wasn't in or even running for the Senate in 2002, but I bet he was already thinking about it. He recently made some dangerously sensible remarks about Iran, "I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior. And there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior." He's been willing to risk the Republican battle-cry of "no new taxes" by emphasizing the need to start applying the Social Security tax to incomes above $100,000 (though perhaps with a sort of doughnut hole for incomes below $200,000.) Finally, I think the very fact that he has inspired such an impassioned following increases the likelihood that he will take the risks that have to be taken. People from cross-sections of society that have been disillusioned by conventional politics are inspiring by his campaign. Leaders respond to their followers. If Obama's elected, he'll know that millions of voters are counting on him, not just to do a decent job, but to make a big, thumping difference. He won’t want to let them down. ... I'm voting for Barack Obama largely because I wonder whether Hillary Clinton is willing to take the political risks she'd need to take to act on what she knows.

    There are several paragraphs listing reasons why, even though Hillary could make a great president, Novick disagrees with her and why Obama would be better.

    I think his statement was a great example of the thought process behind selecting a candidate and weighing the positives and negatives of each candidate.

    I think it's great that Merkley and the Oregon for Edwards team have endorsed Obama. As an Edwards supporter myself, I'm excited to see they're supporting him for many of the reasons why I'm voting for Obama. I'm glad to have them on board - that means more votes for Obama, more supporters for Obama, etc. I'm not going to bash a member of the team - I look forward to working with all Oregonians for Obama to take the White House in November. And that's regardless of our choice of candidates for other positions.

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    this is just silliness, kari. it's getting so old. anyway...

    the dem nomination is very simple now. both obama and hillary have made compromises against their progressive base in order to gain favor with different parts of the establishment:

    obama has our back on the war ans foreign policy but is going to be willing to sell us out on economic policy.

    hillary has actually staked out some quite populist positions economically, but she has long since sold us out on foreign policy.

    on other issues it's a wash.

    that is the choice, bend over, it's coming one way or the other. in this case, i am going to bend over for being sold out economically, even though it's probably going to directly hurt me personally (health insurance issues and all) a bit more than if i voted to sell myself out on war. oh well.

    anyway, i think novick's endorsement captures this sentiment pretty well. i am tempted to vote for hillary, i think she is really great in many ways, but in the end i just cannot do it.

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    There is nothing "strange" about Novick's description of his thoughtful decision process between Clinton and Obama. I think it is the best discussion I've seen on the subject.

    Which is precisely why bdunn and Kevin are working overtime to make it seem otherwise.

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    Kari, the only way to stop all this bickering is to quit posting articles about Oregon politics. Welcome everyone to Blue Botswana.

    Ha! I did try a post about Alabama last night.... :)

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    Come on, Kari, be proud of your bias. Own it! That's what the rest of us do.

    Funny. That's what I've been trying to do for months - but it seems that people don't listen! I've never pretended to be otherwise. When I post over my own name, I'm giving you exactly my opinions.

    You should check in with some of your friends, though, who seem to want me to be the only blogger in Oregon without an opinion. Truly weird stuff.

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    Just one day without Jeff Merkley being hailed for something. Please! That's all I ask.

    Funny. Since January 1, there have been 255 posts on BlueOregon. Of those, exactly seven mentioned Merkley in the headline. Eleven mentioned Novick. A grand total of 27 mentioned Merkley, Novick, Smith, or the Senate race.

    Obviously, the mere mention of a name isn't a positive post - and certainly my three posts on the Novick/PDA mess were quite critical...

    But the point remains: 89.4% of the posts since January 1st have concerned topics other than the Senate race.

    You were saying?

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    BDunn, Kevin,

    Please don't misconstrue my statement. I'm not giving credit to EITHER Merkley or Novick on the Obama issue. Both are Edwards people who are little late coming to the table, though I will concede that better late than never.

    I can't read Steve's mind as to why he said such nice things about Hillary Clinton (she who is imploding on a daily basis). What I can do is speculate that he has a legitimate reason not to piss off her supporters by adding insult to injury. That's not an issue of tactics, that's a sense of decency -- when passions are running this high, people don't need a Senate candidate to slam their favored Presidential candidate when he acknowledges that he's backing her opponent. If Novick came out in favor of Hillary right now, I'd be livid ... unless he said something nice about Barack.

    I find it strange that either side would try to score political points about these endorsements, given that they are both Edwards people. Apparently, neither Merkley nor Novick appreciate Barack half as much as I and so many others do (see the piece called "The Natural" in last month's portion of my blog, "Empathic Rationalist," for the reasons why I think that Barack is just what this nation needs). To quote the "great" Hillary Clinton (sarcasm folks, sarcasm), "shame on" the Merkely folks for trying to turn this into yet another opportunity to slam Novick when both of these candidates have essentially the same record on this Edwards/Obama/Clinton issue.

    Would you all prefer if, like some around here do for Merkley, I simply defended Novick 100% of the time? Those people act like paid operatives. I support Novick out of my own free will and because I respect him so much. He and Barack give me hope for America. Hillary? You've got to be kidding.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    BDunn, Kevin,

    Permit me to add one more point. My wife -- another Obama supporter from the beginning of the campaign -- thought Steve's endorsement was brilliant. She said that it showed that he's no Obamamaniac, he "gets" Hillary, and he's still supporting Barack. Consequently, she suggests, his message is more likely to persuade those who would otherwise be on the fence or even supportive of Hillary.

    Perhaps she's right. Perhaps Steve sent the right message to bring the party together and convert those who might otherwise be skeptical about Barack. Perhaps, in short, my speculation that Steve is trying not to "add insult to injury" is off-base.

    My problem is that I am just too far down the road in favor of Barack AND against the Clintons to prefer such a measured response. While a lifelong Democrat, and a progressive one at that, I may well cast my first GOP vote in 30 years of voting if Hillary were to get the nomination. That's how strongly I feel that her candidacy -- which would potentially mean 28 years of Bush/Clinton, even assuming Jeb loses in 2016 -- would be the worst thing that could happen to my Party. In any event, we thankfully won't have to worry about her winning. And it may be that Steve is smart in thinking that Job 1 is to convert my analogues on the Hillary-side who are considering not voting for Barack but might be persuaded if a fellow-traveler who gets Hillary explains the case for her opponent.

    Frankly, the only way to really know what Steve is thinking is to ask him.

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    I find it strange that either side would try to score political points about these endorsements, given that they are both Edwards people.

    Given the fact that the Novick campaign has crowed about this "endorsement" on several national blogs while the Merkley campaign hasn't done so anywhere but their own website... It's clear that Team Novick is trying very, very hard to score political points with this. Indeed, he seems much more interested in scoring political points than he does in Obama, whom he ostensibly just endorsed for President.

    Frankly, taking it all into consideration it seems to me that scoring political points is really the point of this exercise for the Novick campaign. It certainly isn't an "endorsement" which will elicit enthusiasm for Obama among undecided Oregonians.

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    Consequently, she suggests, his message is more likely to persuade those who would otherwise be on the fence or even supportive of Hillary.

    By twice using "a great President" in context of Hillary and twice using "disappointment" in context of Obama?

    Really?

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    Kevin, this is so weak.

    Steve gave us a reasoned analysis of why he was choosing to vote for Obama. It was personal in tone and respectful of both candidates for their respective good qualities, and respectful of John Edwards for the issues he brought to the fore.

    He did not simply dust off his endorsement of Edwards and do a global search and replace of Edwards --> Obama, John --> Barack, and North Carolina --> illinois.

    To read Merkley's Obama endorsement is as if the whole Edwards campaign never existed. It is obliterated from history as Merkley bravely moves on.

    Steve acknowledges and respects the Edwards issues that Merkley claimed to be animated by, back in the day when Merkley was, you know, a cochair of the Edwards Oregon campaign. Merkley just sold John Edwards out completely.

    I was an Edwards supporter. So were lots of people in Oregon. Many of them were ardent Merkley supporters as well. For example -- Sarah Lane, tell me the truth, does it please you to see Jeff Merkley pretending in his Obama endorsement that John Edwards never existed?

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    Ok, this is really getting frustrating.

    So here are the two times he uses the word "great":

    She could be a great President. So why am I voting for Barack Obama? I’m voting for Barack Obama largely because I wonder whether Hillary Clinton is willing to take the political risks she’d need to take to act on what she knows.

    She COULD be a great president. He didn't say would, he said could.

    But if Hillary Clinton becomes our party’s nominee, I’ll support her. And if she becomes President, I will do whatever I can to help her become a great President.

    He's saying if she wins the nominee and then becomes President, he'll do everything he can to help make her a great President. Exactly. It's what we should all do - work for, fight for, and then make sure that the Dem who becomes President is a great President.

    And where are the two times he uses disappointment?

    I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe that he has the self-confidence to base his Presidency on hope, rather than fear. And because, even if I might ultimately be disappointed, I’d rather be disappointed in new ways, rather than the same old ways.

    He's talking about hope. And as we all know, hope isn't guaranteed. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And when you lose, you're disappointed. But did he say he was disappointed at or with Obama? No.

    I'm getting really tired of this crap of pulling out a word here or a word there and trying to make more of it than it is. His statement is an honest explanation of why Clinton is a good candidate, but why Obama is better. Yes, he praises Clinton. But then he goes on to say that even with all of that, Obama is still the better candidate.

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    Nice edit job, Jenni. Here's the context:

    Rarely have I read anything so impressive about an American politician. I felt completely at home with that Hillary Clinton. She’s read the same history I have. (Since she’s a bit older than I am, and she has directly experienced more of it too.) She’s come to the same conclusions. She knows this stuff. She could be a great President. So why am I voting for Barack Obama? I’m voting for Barack Obama largely because I wonder whether Hillary Clinton is willing to take the political risks she’d need to take to act on what she knows.

    Steve gushes about Hillary. Nothing even close about Obama!

    I am voting for Barack Obama because I believe that he has the self-confidence to base his Presidency on hope, rather than fear. And because, even if I might ultimately be disappointed, I’d rather be disappointed in new ways, rather than the same old ways. But if Hillary Clinton becomes our party’s nominee, I’ll support her. And if she becomes President, I will do whatever I can to help her become a great President. I’ll just take that New York Times article along whenever I get a chance to see her. I’ll wave it at her and say, “Madame President, I know that you know what to do. So, as a little Oregon shoe company likes to say – ‘Just Do It!’”

    For Obama: I’d rather be disappointed in new ways, rather than the same old ways.

    For Hillary: Rarely have I read anything so impressive about an American politician. I felt completely at home with that Hillary Clinton. She’s read the same history I have. (Since she’s a bit older than I am, and she has directly experienced more of it too.) She’s come to the same conclusions. She knows this stuff. She could be a great President.

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    Steve gave us a reasoned analysis of why he was choosing to vote for Obama. It was personal in tone and respectful of both candidates for their respective good qualities, and respectful of John Edwards for the issues he brought to the fore.

    So respectful of the guy he was allegedly endorsing that he started off reciting Hillary's talking points against Obama.

    But the most impressive part was where he liberally quoted a NYT piece praising Hillary and then proceeded to praise her effusively himself. Obama didn't get anything even close to comparable praise from Novick. Yet Obama is the one he was allegedly there to endorse! Over Hillary!!

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    so sad, what Kevin and the Merkley campaign are reduced to here. It is patently absurd to suggest that it constitutes high praise to say someone talks the talk, but can't be counted on to walk the walk. That is Novick's final assessment of Hillary in his piece: she knows what to do, but is afraid to do it.

    I daresay that assessment happens to apply pretty well to Novick's primary opponent, as well.

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    Well, at least Steve Novick can now honestly say that he was for Hillary before he was against her.

    Rarely have I read anything so impressive about an American politician. I felt completely at home with that Hillary Clinton. She’s read the same history I have. (Since she’s a bit older than I am, and she has directly experienced more of it too.) She’s come to the same conclusions. She knows this stuff. She could be a great President.

    Nope, no high praise there just as torridjoe claims... I totally got "talks the talk, but can't be counted on to walk the walk" from that paragraph too.

    You are so good at this explaining stuff, TJ! Really! You have a real gift for it. Perhaps you could explain to us why Steve said, "I can recite the arguments against Obama in my sleep," and "I know there are excellent arguments for Hillary Clinton," but never mentioned being able to recite any arguments against Hillary or knows any excellent arguments for Obama? I mean, this was an endorsement of Obama... right???

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kari,

    If Steve Novick is a progressive, then expecting disappointment from the likely next president is easy to understand. Whether Clinton, Obama, or McCain replaces Shrub, we are unlikely to see a move from corporatism and military hegemony as the organizing principles of federal government. None of them supports single-payer healthcare. None of them supports cuts in military spending. None of them reflects the views of the prototypical US progressive, even though they may look good compared to the current disaster in the White House.

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    kevin,

    do you have any goals in your discussions on blogs other than to obfuscate against novick?

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    I have to agree with Kevin. Reading this Novick "endorsement" of Obama, I come away with the strongest impression that if Hillary were ahead in the polls, he'd be endorsing her instead.

    Maybe he should just come out with a Mad-Lib endorsement: "I, Steve Novick, endorse ____(*) as the absolutely best candidate for the position of ____(+)! I hope you remember me as you vote for them! I'll be on the ballot too!"

    (*) Please insert the candidate you prefer here. (+) Please insert the position here, except for US Senator.

  • (Show?)

    This discussion is all very sad.

    Isn't it more complimentary of B to praise A and then choose B?

    A knows that A was considered, and B knows that B earned the endorsement instead of having defaulted into it.

    Further, I agree with Steve: Hillary has many good qualities and could be a great President. She has the raw materials. She probably wouldn't, but she could be. Although Jeff Merkley apparently had no pangs about pretending John Edwards had never existed and then sticking his finger in the wind to decide to leap onto the Obama bandwagon, it speaks well of Steve that he did have pangs about switching his preference to another candidate, that he gave a nod to Edwards in his statement, and that he went through a reasoned analysis to decide whom to select.

    As an Edwards supporter, I'm angry that there was no nod to Edwards in Jeff's statement. It was as if that whole "co-chair of Oregon for Edwards" thing was just a bad dream. Jeff Merkley is like a divorced bride who insists on wearing a white dress and veil the second time around. And it's even less pretty than it sounds.

  • (Show?)

    Petrichor,

    If it were just me then you might have a point, despite the fact that I've quoted Steve extensively here and it's his own words that are in the witness stand here. But folks with no horse in the race have had the same reaction. They may not read as much into it as I have, but they read Novick's "endorsement" and wonder WTF?

    Put down the Kool-Aid long enough to listen to those not yet ready to bet on a horse and you'll find that I'm correct here - Novick's endorsement appears for all the world like he's trying to hedge his bets. The only real question, given Steve's reputation for being a very bright guy, is why he rushed out this patently not ready for prime time "endorsement?"

    Might Kari be correct and this was an attempt by Novick to steal Merkley's spotlight by rushing an endorsement out before Merkley could? Surely with the number of folks involved in Edwards' Oregon leadership team it could hardly have been an unknowable secret that an endorsement was in the works and when it was scheduled to be released.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie V Isn't it more complimentary of B to praise A and then choose B?

    I'm not sure praising A, taking a bunch of swipes at B, but then deciding to choose B because of even further swipes at A, is really complementary.

    Steve Novick: "I’m voting for Barack Obama largely because I wonder whether Hillary Clinton is willing to take the political risks she’d need to take to act on what she knows."

    Wow. Talk about damning someone with faint praise. Obama is less bad than Hillary.

    None the less, I'm taking Steve at his word that this wasn't some attempt to steal Jeff's thunder. I just wish Stephanie wouldn't try so hard in her calculated umbridge trying to impute some insult from Jeff talking about Obama, rather than his original candidate.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Hmmm....so, Steve endorsed Obama and Jeff endorsed Obama...and the main thing everyone is focusing on is who decided to endorse first and/or who decided to announce their endorsement first ("me first. No, ME first!"), and spinning both endorsements in order to bash the other candidate for Senate. Pathetic....

    Hey, folks, the bottom line and true point here is....

    OBAMA has the endorsement of both major D candidates for US Senate. Whoohooo! Go OBAMA Go!

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Hooray for Ms. Mel Harmon!

    Thanks.

    Oh, and kevin, here's a bit that might come in handy if you ever decide to write an autobiography.

    Douche bag: n. a device for douching.

  • (Show?)
    If it were just me then you might have a point, despite the fact that I've quoted Steve extensively here and it's his own words that are in the witness stand here. But folks with no horse in the race have had the same reaction. They may not read as much into it as I have, but they read Novick's "endorsement" and wonder WTF?

    Hundreds of readers on Daily Kos read Steve's endorsement post yesterday and praised and/or recommended it for its thoughtfulness and reasoning. Those were largely readers who, unlike you or me, do not have a preference in our Senate primary. I'm just sayin'.

    I just wish Stephanie wouldn't try so hard in her calculated umbridge trying to impute some insult from Jeff talking about Obama, rather than his original candidate.

    Oh, it's not calculated. I am an Edwards diehard. Even Sarah Lane or one or more other Merkley people can confirm that. I was really annoyed when I read that press release. I reread it several times and even did an electronic search for the word "Edwards." I was sure I had missed it. And just a word to the wise: UMBRAGE is anger, aka how I feel. UMBRIDGE is a bitch in a pink sweater in the late Harry Potter books. Easy mistake to make, though!

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    All the attempts to shoot down Novick here is starting to remind me of why I didn't like Novick's endorsement. It praised Hillary too much, and she has run one nasty, classless campaign -- the kind that doesn't deserve praise. (Remember folks: this campaign shows Hillary as Chief Executive of a large enterprise, and she's made a mess of it, unlike Barack, who has excelled.)

    There are a number of Merkleyites who are following in her footsteps in trying to bash Novick every chance they get. Seriously -- both Novick and Merkley missed the boat on Barack originally, and now are jumping on. Sorry they're late to the party, but glad they're here now. Story over.

    It doesn't reflect well on Merkley that his supporters feel that they must destroy Novick in order to win (like Hillary feels she must destroy Barack). I know you're behind in the polls, but you're not that far behind. Why don't you concentrate on why you like Merkley instead of why you're upset with Novick?

  • LT (unverified)
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    This is why the US Senate race this year doesn't inspire me and I am still undecided. Yes, I get that there are some partisans who are convinced their candidate is the greatest and the other candidate isn't. I've been active in primaries like that.

    But to read statements like this, "... doesn't reflect well on Merkley that his supporters feel that they must destroy Novick in order to win (like Hillary feels she must destroy Barack). "

    makes me remember earlier in the campaign---the original websites never mentioned veterans, then Steve beat Jeff getting an initial statement on veterans issues, then Jeff had a more substantial statement then Jeff. There was that time when we were supposed to choose between "stand strong with Steve" or "have a tap with Tester"---as if issues didn't matter. I was unimpressed by the AuCoin endorsement of Novick, didn't think the 2003 House resolution was a reason to vote against Merkley which would mean voting for a candidate who never held elective office, and then of course there was the problem one friend described as "a couple of bloggers got under your skin".

    I have heard Merkley give one very impressive speech (before he was Speaker), heard Steve at an appearance where the Q & A was more impressive than the speech. I have known Steve since long before I knew Jeff Merkley existed---and use the impressions gained over all those years as part of my decision process.

    But to read some of the comments here, you'd think either that people like me don't matter because those who matter have already made up their minds, or that anyone who hasn't already signed up to be a Novick supporter is a Merkleyite.

    As Kristen said in her post "Inspire Me", there are campaigns which inspire people to get up at 4 AM, and there are other campaigns.

    It is the end of February, and you folks who strongly support a Senate candidate would do well to state the affirmative---"My candidate is best because...." and don't diss those who disagree with you.

    And you Novick supporters might want to chat with Les AuCoin and ask him if he would run a campaign in the 21st century the way he ran his 1992 US Senate campaign. There were friends of mine who totally stayed away from that primary because they saw it as too nasty, and there were others who noticed that after the recount, AuCoin never did do outreach to those who didn't vote for him.

    And you might want to ask Steve what mistakes the Bruggere campaign (which he worked on) made which he has made sure his campaign doesn't make.

  • (Show?)

    "And you Novick supporters might want to chat with Les AuCoin and ask him if he would run a campaign in the 21st century the way he ran his 1992 US Senate campaign."

    WTF? Who cares what kind of campaign Les would run? He's not running for anything.

    But I actually came to note Steven Mauer's utterly shocking declaration: "I have to agree with Kevin."

  • (Show?)

    Ms Mel Harmon,

    Who decided to do what first is, at best, a side issue. And as a fellow Obamaniac from long before Edwards dropped out I agree that it's great that both guys say they are endorsing him. But I disagree that nothing else matters. Obama isn't the only one in an election race.

    That said... for a guy who claims to have a "stiff left hook," Steve Novick's endorsement was tepid at best and an apparent attempt to hedge his bets at worst. I mean y'know? With a slogan like that you pretty much gotta bring it and he didn't bring any of it to this endorsement.

    Fast forward a couple years - Obama is President and there's an impending vacancy on the Supreme Court. Who do you think Obama would want to have his back in the crucial Senate deliberations on his nominee... the guy who gave him a straight-up endorsement or the guy who couldn't seem to decide who or what he wanted? Loyalty wouldn't be an issue. The ability to clearly and effectively make a case would be.

  • (Show?)
    Who do you think Obama would want to have his back in the crucial Senate deliberations on his nominee... the guy who gave him a straight-up endorsement or the guy who couldn't seem to decide who or what he wanted?

    You are TOTALLY deluded if you think this would make ANY difference to ANY President. Who the fuck tracks endorsements from Senate candidates like you suggest? What kind of hopelessly insecure egomaniac would bother? How can you possibly think any President worth his jockstrap would give a single rat's ass about something so stupid as you propose? And furthermore, who CARES what Obama thinks in that scenario; what he wants is irrelevant to whether the Senate passes his nominee. What the Senator from Oregon thinks of Obama would be the relevant metric, not the other way around.

    We get it. Stung by the overwhelmingly positive review of Novick's endorsement for Obama, and worried that Merkley's followup endorsement looks like the sad little me-too attempt to glom onto Obama's personality cult that it was, you are trying like mad to pretend that Novick didn't actually endorse Obama, or that there is some way that one can offer their vote in varying degrees. It's not working, because what you're suggesting is flat out ridiculous. For heaven's sake, please move on to the next counterintuitive smear of Novick that the Merkley camp feeds you. This one was a dud.

  • (Show?)

    torridjoe: I actually came to note Steven Mauer's utterly shocking declaration: "I have to agree with Kevin."

    Well maybe you'll be shocked then that I agree with you, rather than Kevin, that these endorsements are unlikely to affect President Obama's relationship with a freshly minted Democratic Senator. Still, I see great value in comparing them because they offer insight into the candidate's thought processes.

    Jeff endorsement is brief, to the point, and offers a positive reason why he's decided on Obama. Novick partisans desperately trying to criticize Jeff, spin this into some sort of disrespect for Edwards. But given that Jeff was the leader of Edward's steering committee in Oregon, that says more about them than about Jeff.

    Steve comes off in his "endorsement" as a guy who can barely stand the preferences of the vast majority of Democratic Party voters. It's clearly a Naderesque holding-his-nose lesser-of-two-evils announcement. I would have been shocked if it wasn't praised by the "more purer than thou" crowd in the online community who hold similar disrespect for Democratic party voters. But of course, people in such forums are hardly representative of Democratic voters as a whole, much less Oregonians.

    But before you go bandying around the next crude appeal to tribalism (yes we get it, you, Stephanie, and Novick are the "good guys" - Kevin, Merkley, and I are crude unthinking tools of the Democratic party, which are almost as bad as Republicans), I would mildly explain to you that the feeling is not mutual. I disagree with you on this race (as I do with Kari on the Macpherson/Kroger race), but I don't think you actually intend to damage the progressive movement. It's just that constant exposure to left-wing echo chamber websites has caused you to lose perspective. You think they reflect reality, rather than a tiny sliver of it.

    (Real reality is that most Democratic voters haven't even started to look at this race - and when they get the opportunity to, they'll pick the Democratic House Speaker over the Portland Lawyer and Activist.)

    So yes, I think you're wrong. But I've been wrong too at times. It's no crime.

    Just wanted to note that.

  • (Show?)
    Steve comes off in his "endorsement" as a guy who can barely stand the preferences of the vast majority of Democratic Party voters. It's clearly a Naderesque holding-his-nose lesser-of-two-evils announcement.

    Then I have to wonder why about 200 national Obamamaniacs at Kos enthusiastically praised and recommended Novick's endorsement of him? Several not only approved, they called it literally the best endorsement for Obama they had ever read. Why? I believe because it reflected an open, due deliberation of strengths and weaknesses. The knock on many Obama supporters is that they work on blind faith and optimism. I think what struck a chord with many of them on this is that Steve clearly is NOT blindly optimistic; he has thought long and hard about his choice before making it, and has no illusions about Obama as the Jesus of the 21st Century. I think it also scored points to show that it wasn't necessary to view Clinton as a demonic shrew, in order to go for Obama instead. In short, it was obvious to most that his endorsement was not a political decision but rather a highly personal, highly evolved decision.

  • (Show?)
    constant exposure to left-wing echo chamber websites has caused you to lose perspective

    Wow, who was that again who was supposedly adopting Republican talking points?

  • (Show?)

    So, are you saying that "Portlandia" and "Stephanie V" are actually two different people, and not just two pseudonyms of the same person?

  • (Show?)

    It's all me. That's been widely known for a long time. Sorry you didn't get the memo.

  • (Show?)

    Markos has said on a number of occasions that the people on his site don't reflect the Democratic electorate. Among other things, they love Kucinich, even though he doesn't.

    So I don't think yet another appeal to tribalism - "You're either with us in believing things that we'd like to be true or you're one of them bad guys - is very credible.

  • Atlar Eplas (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am totally sick of the Democratic primary for US Senate.

    The slights, perceived slights, and other batshit crazy things you guys are finding to argue about has all the intensity of a sorority pillow fight with absolutely none of the reasons to watch.

    Gas is at $4 per gallon. Toxic beef is getting into our food supply. Our national parks are as pristine as the exhaust pipe of a '74 pinto, Kevin Mannix is going to preparing to jam a $400 million unfunded mandate down our throats, and you guys are foaming at the mouth over which candidate failed to adequately trip over themselves fast enough, or hard enough, to step onto Obama's moving train?

    Here's a news flash for supporters on both sides:

    Usually an endorsement is meant to lend support for the endorsee. In this particular cace, both endorsments are transparent attempts to sponge reflected glory from the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. Sure, Novick took a few extra steps to ensure that he doesn't piss off the Hillary people. I'm actually surprised that Isaacs didn't think of it first. Maybe he was waiting for more poll data to take a position?

    Both sides suck. Opus for US Senate. Or Frohnmayer. Or Pavel Golberman.

    Whatever.

  • (Show?)

    The knock on many Obama supporters is that they work on blind faith and optimism.

    I've been on the Obama bandwagon for a while now and frankly that is an accurate description of many Obamaniacs. It's the one thing that put me off the longest before I finally decided to set it aside and jump on for my own reasons.

  • (Show?)
    So I don't think yet another appeal to tribalism - "You're either with us in believing things that we'd like to be true or you're one of them bad guys - is very credible.

    Huh? Where did this straw man come from?

  • Miles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The slights, perceived slights, and other batshit crazy things you guys are finding to argue about has all the intensity of a sorority pillow fight with absolutely none of the reasons to watch.

    Not only is Atlar right, but this is the funniest thing I've read all week.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Miles, I agree with you. And lest any of the Novick supporters attack you, or I, or Atlar, it is time to remind them of a basic fact:

    Individuals vote. Not groups, individuals.

    Sometimes without reading blogs or visiting websites. Sometimes talking to friends is their main source of information. And no matter what anyone says here or elsewhere, there is "word of mouth" discussion going on all over the state. Sometimes it involves people who've been active in politics so long they choose their campaigns carefully and may decide that a local election is more to their liking. Sometimes they may know both candidates well enough to say both of them made them angry at some point or other.

    And a person who says "I've known Steve Novick for quite awhile. I like him but I understand how he could get on someone's nerves" is not a "Merkleyite" and may well dislike Jeff.

    So those of you here (and elsewhere) who are gung ho for a candidate may want to consider whether posting a snide remark on a blog really helps your candidate.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie: Where did this straw man come from?

    That non-strawman came directly from your quote attacking me for supposedly "adopting Republican Talking Points" because I stated a simple observable fact that you don't find convenient to your beliefs.

    You don't attack the fact because you can't. So instead you attempt to turn it into a tribal identity thing: it can't be true because it reminds you of something you once heard a Republican say.

    Since we're on the subject of logical fallacies, while your "strawman" attack is clearly false, the one you yourself committed is called Guilt By Association.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    OK, here is what is wrong with current politics---"would rather be disappointed in new ways rather than the same old ways"?

    And then an arguement about "talking points". Does anyone really believe that the Civil Rights Movement, or the anti-war movement, or the original environmentalists, or anyone else built their movements on "talking points"? Maybe instead of that they used community organizing skills---like those Obama used in Chicago when he was young? Did Vietnam Veterans against the War use "talking points", or did they speak from the heart?

    Just got done watching an American Masters documentary on Pete Seeger on PBS. Amazing life--blacklisted from broadcasts for 17 years and it was the Smothers Brothers who finally put him on the air after all that time. And then when the censors cut one song, the Smothers Brothers fought the censors and finally were able to get the song included in the show.

    The song was "Waist Deep In The Big Muddy" and you can read the lyrics here: http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/snd/waistdeep.html

    The words struck me as the perfect answer to those who agree with McCain on the Iraq War, "Waist deep in the big muddy, and the big fool says to push on".

    Some people say that a cynic is a disappointed romantic. Perhaps Obama (for all his comments about how arguments have gone on since the 1960s) has tapped into the energy of the 1960s--positive energy which went along with folk songs like that one, or We Shall Overcome, or so many more songs incl. Turn, Turn, Turn which is really Bible verses put to music with a few lines added. And they all had beautiful, easily singable tunes. Audience participation (not just listening) were part of those songs and their power.

    If more of our major candidates would adopt the optimism, vision for the future, unifying message of those songs and the people who were involved in trying to change the world 40 years ago, they would be more successful in attracting supporters.

  • (Show?)
    Markos has said on a number of occasions that the people on his site don't reflect the Democratic electorate.

    Perhaps so, but that's entirely irrelevant to the fact that the hundreds who reccommended the diary were part of the VERY large horde of Obama fans populating Kos these days. I never said anything about the representation to the electorate; I simply said that for many supporters of Obama--who one would think would be the most sensitive to an insincere or half-hearted endorsement--Steve's process and result was highly satisfying to them.

    The only appeal to tribalism I saw was from Merkley, who wanted mostly to talk about how much like Obama he is, a little like the Korean shopkeeper in Do the Right Thing who, when threatened with the same violence that overwhelmed Danny Aiello's pizzeria, shouted "I black!" to the angry crowd. Worked for the Korean, anyway.

  • (Show?)

    Steve Maurer, I apologize to you for lumping you in with all of the other Merkley supporters who have attacked Steve Novick on the flimsiest of bases over the past few months. You are obviously a man apart, a man of discerning individual preferences who doesn't just follow the herd.

    But it seemed to me at the time, and I hope you will pardon my noticing this, that even predating the notorious Greenlick letter, as we like to call it (apologies to Mary Nolan -- it's always the woman who loses credit for these joint achievements), that it seemed to be brutally dangerous around here even to acknowledge that Republican arguments existed that might get some traction, and therefore I foolisly assumed that ACTUALLY QUOTING AND USING THEM AGAINST A DEMOCRAT might be, you know, at least equally bad.

    Silly me.

    Again, my profound apologies.

  • bart (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Back-handed?

    Agree with them or not, Steve Novick's reflections and ambivalence on Clinton and Obama echo the conflict many progressives have about the two candidates.

    This is the kind of introspection we have been craving, a man who is not afraid to express publicly all sides of an issue or candidate before taking making an endorsement. The Rovians would call this "flip-flopping". I call it "discernment", the process which leads to a measured judgment.

  • (Show?)

    Thank you, Stephanie. I've been wrong in the past, and admitted it here. I'm glad we can all be civil even when we disagree.

    But I'm wondering if you see the difference, as I do, between echoing a largely false attack based on a clear Republican set-up, and whether some comments in dailykos really imply there's major grassroots support for Steve among Obama-supporting Oregonians.

    I certainly admit that TJ is on solid ground when he says that Obama supporters are flooding dailykos. But I'm really not sure whether these are new people or just the same crowd as always. Dailykos, after all, was also flooded by Deaniacs in 2004, and look where that got him in the primaries. Certainly, among the realistic-left (where I count myself) to the hard-left, Hillary is not at all favored. So it doesn't at all follow that praise for Steve's piece isn't just coming from the same old regulars looking for validation and support of their already held worldview.

    In fact, strip Bart's comment above of it's positive spin, and you discover he's saying the same thing as I am. You, and TJ, and Bart, may all like the "ambivalence" of Steve, as he essentially admits that in a perfect world he wouldn't have to choose either of these two.

    Whereas, the vast majority of Democratic voters feel that in a perfect world, they'd be able to choose both.

  • (Show?)

    Just got done watching an American Masters documentary on Pete Seeger on PBS. Amazing life--blacklisted from broadcasts for 17 years and it was the Smothers Brothers who finally put him on the air after all that time. And then when the censors cut one song, the Smothers Brothers fought the censors and finally were able to get the song included in the show.

    I watched that too and it was AWESOME! I loved how he just swept aside both the accolades and the fame. None of that mattered to him. He just believed that if we could all sing together that we'd be the better for it. Looks like he was right.

  • (Show?)
    In fact, strip Bart's comment above of it's positive spin, and you discover he's saying the same thing as I am. You, and TJ, and Bart, may all like the "ambivalence" of Steve, as he essentially admits that in a perfect world he wouldn't have to choose either of these two.

    Try taking a look at Hendrik Hertzberg's Talk Of The Town piece about the Democratic candidates from the February 11 New Yorker. The ability to see positive attributes in both Obama and Clinton is hardly unique to Steve, TJ, Bart, and me.

    Last Thursday night’s televised debate between the two remaining Democrats—a civilized and substantive conversation—has eased the tension. But politics ain’t beanbag. One of the arguments made on behalf of the Clintons is that they know how to win. They do what is necessary. They fight hard. They’ve shown they can survive the worst the Republican attack machine can throw at them, next to which the relatively mild roughing-up they’re giving Obama is downright Gandhian. But there are hard-nosed arguments for Obama, too. Nothing would energize the dispirited, disoriented Republicans like running against Hillary Clinton. And a late-entry challenge from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his billions would be far less likely if Obama became the Democratic nominee. Obama’s Democratic critics worry that his soaring rhetoric of reconciliation is naïve. But, as Mark Schmitt has argued in The American Prospect, Obama’s national-unity pitch should be viewed as a tactic as well as an ideal. It might lengthen his coattails, helping Democratic candidates for the House and the Senate in marginally red districts and states. It would not protect him from attack, of course, but it would enable him to fire back from the high ground. And, as a new President elected with a not quite filibuster-proof Senate, he would be in a better position to peel off the handful of Republican senators he would need to make meaningful legislative progress than someone who started from a defensive crouch. Hillary Clinton would make a competent, knowledgeable, and responsible President. Barack Obama just might make a transformative one.
  • (Show?)
    Obama’s Democratic critics worry that his soaring rhetoric of reconciliation is naïve. But, as Mark Schmitt has argued in The American Prospect, Obama’s national-unity pitch should be viewed as a tactic as well as an ideal. It might lengthen his coattails, helping Democratic candidates for the House and the Senate in marginally red districts and states.

    And there's the motive his Democratic critics to hedge their bets and put on a good show of backing him. Yep, sounds like politics as usual.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Obama’s Democratic critics worry that his soaring rhetoric of reconciliation is naïve.

    Obama is "naive" only if all politics is nasty and there is no longer room for inspiration.

    A year or more ago Hillary Clinton was everyone's favorite to the point that some were saying the media had nominated her before the Democrats decided to hold the convention in Denver.

    That Obama is now the front runner (11 wins in a row is a fact, mistakes by Hillary's campaign are a topic of conversation among some activists and others) after all the pro-Hillary hype is not because Obama is the media darling. Way back when, commentators said things like "if Obama's fundraising isn't close to Hillary Clinton's fundraising in the first reporting quarter, it could be all over before it begins".

    Old timers will remember an ad that a certain company made money "the old fashioned way---they earn it!". If Obama is the nominee, it wasn't handed to him, he earned it-- with a good message, a good strategy, and a lot of common sense along with the inspiring rhetoric.

  • (Show?)

    LT:

    Speaking of fundraising, word tonight is that Obama raised $50M in February. Hillary raised $35M.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, that just goes to show that audacity and hope can sometimes be more successful than famous consultants.

    The McAuliffe years at DNC were all about cultivating major donors who can afford to give the maximum contribution. As I understand it, the average Obama donation is a little over $100. Look who is more successful.

  • (Show?)

    So it doesn't at all follow that praise for Steve's piece isn't just coming from the same old regulars looking for validation and support of their already held worldview.

    The difficulty you will have supporting that like of reasoning is that the polling numbers for Novick are stronger than the polling numbers for Merkley, and that Merkley has consistently lagged in every poll that has been released to the public.

    Of course, none of this matters much. I would much rather worry about the fact that Oregon spends more general fund dollars incarcerating its citizens than any other state in the nation.

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti said about Obamary and McCain: "None of them reflects the views of the prototypical US progressive"

    As usual, Tom is correct, but I would go further and say that none of them reflects the views of the prototypical U.S. citizen.

    The last "debate" was an obnoxious attempt by both Democrats to pander to the various military-related lobbies and should have scared real progressives. The fix is in, and Obama is already moving to the right. If Steve Novick sees this as portending disappointment, then he shows a lot of sense. I only wish he would return to his 1996 sentiments. Matt Gonzalez is a great running mate.

  • (Show?)

    LT:

    <h2>The number I heard was $109. And I think that's great. That means there are thousands of people all over the country giving small amounts. Those people are more likely to be people who have never given to a campaign, are lower income, under 35, etc. - the sort of people often ignored by politicians.</h2>

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