Now this is funny

Chris Bouneff

From The Associated Press, a Merkley poll attacking his opponent for doing poll-driven campaigns. One of the messages pushed on poll respondents:

"Novick is a paid political consultant and lobbyist. He has made a political career out of developing negative attacks, poll-driven campaigns and advising candidates what to say to get elected."

Comedy, indeed.

Comments

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think the irony here is pretty superficial.

    If you read the message, it does correctly note that Steve Novick has 'made a political career out of [. . .] poll-driven campaigns'.

    That's a true statement: Novick's worked for Pyramid Communications and a number of Democratic campaigns in the past.

    Jeff Merkley has made a political career by helping the powerless. He's taken on usurious payday lenders. He's taken on insurance and drug companies. He ran grassroots campaigns for his own House District, and starting in 2003 led a broad and popular grassroots movement to recapture the Oregon House.

    Novick, by contrast, has merely relied on polls to consult his employers to victory.

    I support Jeff Merkley, because it's gonna take a leader, not a consultant, to defeat Gordon Smith and restore progressive government in the U.S. Senate.

  • (Show?)

    Isn't this poll by Merkley exactly the kind of poll that BlueOregon was attacking Bob Moore for doing in New Hampshire a couple of months ago?

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
    (Show?)
    Posted by: Jack Roberts | Mar 27, 2008 8:31:20 PM

    No, Jack, it's different. This poll isn't a push poll.

    It didn't go out to 5000 voters; it likely went only to 400. A push poll doesn't tabulate results; we can assume that this poll asked information like demographics, support, etc. that will be useful to the campaign.

    Furthermore, this poll doesn't smear Novick, whereas Bob Moore used Mitt Romney's religion against (for?) him.

    Novick, who just yesterday called Speaker Merkley 'intellectually bankrupt', should stop the faux outrage at the testing of messages against him.

    He's a paid political consultant--he should know that it's 'strictly business'.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jack,

    I'm so relieved to know that if I ever have to know what the meaning of "is" is, or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I have someone to ask.

    This is all soooooooo Clintonian. Are we absolutely sure that Jeff isn't a Hillary mole?

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This reminds me of the sign on the local church "He who throws mud loses ground".

    Where is the link to the AP story?

  • anon (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This is a non-story for this reason: all credible candidates test negative messages. Novick tested negative messages on Merkley a few weeks ago.

    If the Novick campaign wants to may hay of this, I encourage them to release the text of their poll from a few weeks ago.

    That having been said, who gives a crap whether Novick had a joke business card? Is that really one of only 4 negatives you guys could find? I'm guessing Novick found better negatives on Merkley.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pretty pathetic. I've criticized both Steve and Jeff for not fully "getting" what makes Barack the best candidate of our generation. But to see Jeff act in this matter suggests that one politician he does get is Hillary "Tonya" Clinton.

    Shame on Jeff to besmirch Steve's background in the manner suggested by the AP. Steve has demonstrated in his career that he is a devoted public servant, purely and simply.

    To the commenter who said that Steve may have engaged in similar slimy tactics, I don't know that you're correct, but if you are, I wouldn't hesitate to criticize those as well. Politicians need to take the high road, especially in intra-Party battles.

    Of course, once one guy goes slimy, the other must get more negative as well. Barack has had to do that against Hillary, and I don't blame him a bit. Then again, that merely creates a downward spiral for both candidates. It's happened in the Presidential race. Hopefully, it won't happen in the Senate race. If enough people can rally around Steve -- clearly the more charismatic of the two, as far as I'm concerned -- he can maintain his focus more on Smith than on Jeff, which is where it belongs.

  • (Show?)
    Voters are asked whether they are more or less favorably inclined toward Novick, given the following information: • "Novick is a pro-tax advocate, repeatedly supporting higher taxes for the middle classes, running on a proposal to raise Social Security taxes and falling for false Republican claims that if we don't do this, Social Security will go bankrupt." • "Novick is simply not a serious candidate who can win election. He carried joke business cards that have a Communist hammer and sickle symbol on them. He voted for Ralph Nader. His campaign ads feature jokes. That is not the person who can beat Gordon Smith." • "Novick is a paid political consultant and lobbyist. He has made a political career out of developing negative attacks, poll-driven campaigns and advising candidates what to say to get elected." Voters were also asked what in Novick's "background" concerned them most: "that he is a pro-tax advocate, political consultant, or that he is a divider."

    ...

    Matt Canter, a spokesman for Merkley, acknowledged that the campaign was behind the poll, though it's not definite whether any of the negative messages will turn up in advertising. He said Novick has repeatedly gone on the offensive against Merkley, and criticized other prominent Democrats. "Part of this poll is to test whether Steve's approach — being a political consultant, showing a willingness to insult anyone — works with voters," Canter said. "We polled fact-based assessments about Steve's candidacy to see what Oregon voters think of this approach."

    FACT-BASED?! He couldn't even stick to the facts for that one sentence, much less the poll contents. This is the kind of ugliness I expect from Republicans, not fellow Democrats. Who'd have thought that it would be Jeff Merkley, not Hillary Clinton, who would roll out the "Tonya Harding strategy" first?

  • TroyB (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This is the same kind of sleazy stuff Hillary Clinton has done against Barack Obama. If Jeff was confident enough in his experience he should be able to take the high road. It seems to me trying to marginalize your opponents with half-truths and misrepresentations is exactly what we're trying to "change" away from.

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    There's nothing wrong with doing a poll to test negative messages. The Novick campaign has done the same thing.

    Jake Weigler, Novick's campaign manager, acknowledged that they have done their own comparative polling. But he said they've tried to keep questions focused on policy differences between the two candidates.

    I know some people don't like negative campaigning, and I know some people don't like talking about motives instead of policy positions, but it's not out of the ordinary in politics.

    Of course, a poll that tests falsehoods is bad, mostly because it's a precursor to false attacks.

    Setting aside some of the opinions in the questions, would some of the Novick people tell me which stated fact is inaccurate?

    • "Novick is a pro-tax advocate (TRUE), repeatedly supporting higher taxes for the middle classes (TRUE), running on a proposal to raise Social Security taxes (TRUE) and falling for false Republican claims that if we don't do this, Social Security will go bankrupt." • "Novick is simply not a serious candidate who can win election. He carried joke business cards (TRUE) that have a Communist hammer and sickle symbol on them (TRUE). He voted for Ralph Nader (TRUE). His campaign ads feature jokes (TRUE). That is not the person who can beat Gordon Smith." • "Novick is a paid political consultant (TRUE) and lobbyist (TRUE). He has made a political career out of developing negative attacks (TRUE), poll-driven campaigns (TRUE) and advising candidates what to say to get elected (TRUE)."
  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    People have already addressed this, but there is push polling, and then there is message testing. This is message testing, not push polling.

    For future reference, push polls are not a polls at all. They're just thousands and thousands of quick phone calls with negative attacks framed as poll questions. They're designed to influence people's votes, not to gather research data. They also tend to occur in the very last days of a campaign, so there isn't enough time for them to be traced back to a candidate and cause pre-election backlash.

    Merkley's poll, as the article says, lasts half an hour and only asks three questions at the end that test negative messages. That's standard polling methodology, not sleazy/slimy/Tonya Harding territory.

  • "Cole" (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I have officially made up my mind. I do not like either of them. Now who do I vote for?

  • (Show?)

    It wouldn't matter. Sadly, Smith will mop the floor with either of these guys.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    First they said Novick didn't stand a chance against Merkley. And now Merkley is scrambling in the last few weeks of the primary to try and figure out which negative smear will work best against him.

    Beating Smith is a tall order (pun intended) because he's a very talented traditional politician. It will take something a little different to beat him, not a mildly talented traditional politician like Merkley.

    Novick's the best shot the Democrats have.

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pat, which stated fact in the poll is inaccurate?

  • True Democrat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Merkley and Clinton (remember too that Merkley and Clinton are both the DLC/DSCC pick) deserves to because he and she are examples of the rot of unprincipled politicians, with some really ugly-spirited supporters, who have done enormous damage to the Democratic Party. This latest desperate tactic by Merkley, like Clinton's scumball resort to racial animus (being the good former southerner and ex-midwestern Republican she was) is all the proof one needs to see why these two are both unfit to hold office as Democrats. Merkley is the guy who abandoned uninsured children this year, and last year would only help them if people passed a cigarette tax tha fell most heavily on the very low income people who needed the insurance for their children. Novick and Obama are none too good, but saving the party and the country first and foremost demands the repudiation of the kind of politicians of which Merkley and Clinton are emblematic.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
    (Show?)
    Posted by: True Democrat | Mar 28, 2008 1:28:58 AM

    I assume by "true Democrat' you mean 'anonymous purity troll'.

    And by the way, the DLC and the DSCC are almost completely unrelated. The one way in which they're related? They both support Democrats running for office.

    For example, the DLC supported the Iraq war. Jeff Merkley opposed it from the beginning. The DSCC has certainly promoted anti-war candidates like Jim Webb, Sherrod Brown and Jon Tester.

    You'd do well to recognize the outcome that the DSCC produced in 2006:

    44 Democratic Senate seats (incl. caucus mates) + 6 pickups (MT, MO, PA, RI, OH and VA) = 51 Democratic Seats for the majority.

    That was wildly successful for 2006.

    I think the demonization some progressives give to the DSCC is largely based on ignorance and the assumption of a 'centrist conspiracy'. That's simply not the case with the DSCC.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Let me get this straight.

    No one has debunked this:

    Novick is a pro-tax advocate (TRUE), repeatedly supporting higher taxes for the middle classes (TRUE), running on a proposal to raise Social Security taxes (TRUE) and falling for false Republican claims that if we don't do this, Social Security will go bankrupt." • "Novick is simply not a serious candidate who can win election. He carried joke business cards (TRUE) that have a Communist hammer and sickle symbol on them (TRUE). He voted for Ralph Nader (TRUE). His campaign ads feature jokes (TRUE). That is not the person who can beat Gordon Smith."

    • "Novick is a paid political consultant (TRUE) and lobbyist (TRUE). He has made a political career out of developing negative attacks (TRUE), poll-driven campaigns (TRUE) and advising candidates what to say to get elected (TRUE)."

    but still, Novick is the choice of any true Democrat?

    No wonder people don't find this an inspiring campaign.

  • True Democrat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jack Sullivan - the question is not where the inaccuracies are, but whether the questions display an inherent, fundamental intellectual dishonesty. The kind of intellectual dishonesty that earns an F- and deserved, merciless, ridicule in a logic and rhetoric class.

    That fundamental intellectual dishonesty is easily found in the capitalized section of each of the questions:

    "Novick is a pro-tax advocate, repeatedly supporting higher taxes for the middle classes, running on a proposal to raise Social Security taxes, AND FALLING FOR FALSE REPUBLICAN CLAIMS that if we don't do this, Social Security will go bankrupt."

    "Novick is simply not a serious candidate who can win election. He carried joke business cards that have a Communist hammer and sickle symbol on them. He voted for Ralph Nader. His campaign ads feature jokes. THAT IS NOT THE PERSON WHO CAN BEAT GORDON SMITH."

    "Novick is a paid political consultant and lobbyist. He has made a political career out of developing negative attacks, poll-driven campaigns and advising candidates what to say to get elected." VOTERS WERE ASKED WHAT IN NOVICK'S "BACKGROUND" CONCERNED THEM MOST: "that he is a pro-tax advocate, political consultant, or that he is a divider."

    The first one actually imputes a motive that neither the voter, the questioner, nor you you have anyway of knowing. The reason is not only because you aren't in Novick's mind, but also because we know a prioir that this is not only reason to raise SSI taxes on upper middle income and middle income people who should pay the same percentage as lower income people. Since I have seen nothing in Novick's statements that reflect his reason was as asserted by the question, that claim is blatantly intellectually dishonest and obviously is asserted to find what most MISLEADS the voter.

    The second question also makes an assertion that the voter has no way of knowing and which in fact has no basis in any empirical evidence about voter behavior. Even if it were true that Novick couldn't beat Smith, the evidence right now suggests it would be equally true for Merkley because Smith has name recognition and that Oregon voters on the whole are a fairly uncurious lot who haven't paid enough attention to Smith's actual record to even have feel they might have a reason to vote against him. Since the reasons given are just arbitrarily joined to a conclusion to form a type of conditional statement that Merkley's bottom-dwelling trolls hope they can emotionally sway voters to BELIEVE in whole, it is clear the goal is to merely get people to falsely and illogically BELIEVE just the conclusion.

    One has to be careful in speaking to the last one because the operative deceit appears to be paraphrased. If indeed the paraphrase is close to accurate (and given the first two quotes the preponderance of the evidence suggest it very well may be), most voters don't know whether the description of his background is accurate and fair. Therefore they have no valid basis on which to correctly reason to an answer, are invited by the question to instead emotionally react to the inflammatory formulation of the presentation of his background. Clearly the point here is not to present the facts of his background, but to instead find the most negative, misleading, and propagandistic way to present those (if any) facts.

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    In other words, TD, the answer is no. You're not disputing any of the facts in the poll questions - just the conclusions (opinions) drawn.

  • True Democrat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jack Murray, you're another superficial thinker, who obviously tries to mislead people with ad hominem attacks like "purity troll". (Look up ad hominem, I'm certain your understanding of it isn't what you think from the very construction of your argument.)

    The claim was that Merkley and Clinton are the DLC and DSCC picks. We know for a fact that Merkley is the DSCC pick and that Clinton is a DLC and DSCC pick because the DSCC has said they are and Clinton is a DLC member. And are you really stupid enough to believe that Novick is preferred by the DLC over Merkley?

    Some of us also quite understand the organizational difference between the DLC and the DSCC, but also know how they together have laid the Democratic party low compared to what we should be given the reality of the last 7 years. As far as your claim about who supported the war, a large number of DSCC favorites in the Senate at the time did vote to authorize the war, with all manner of spin about their rationalizations, so your argument is simply misleading (and that's being generous.)

    Finally, your spin on the supposed electoral results of the DSCC is pure sophistry. The voters make the pick and the most you can fairly argue in many cases is that the DSCC was at least smart enough to pick candidates of those available that it was quite obvious the voters would vote for given they thought they were actually voting for Democrats because they though they would end the war. That has nothing to do with the specific merit and honesty of those candidates views in many races, or whether in some cases the DSCC actually picked the lesser quality candidate --- like Schumer and Wyden's support with the DSCC in the primary for Joe Lieberman. (The general doesn't count because the damage was done by the DSCC in the primary.) And the point here, anyway is the utter lack of merit as Democrats and low personal character Merkley and Clinton consistently exhibit.

    By the way, I guess you find Tester's condemnation of MoveOn.org and his vote to pave the way to war with Iran the kind of thing that only a "purity troll" could not like.

    Bottom line, you may call people who expose weak links like you "purity trolls", but you're just a low-quality idiot.

  • True Democrat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "In other words, TD, the answer is no. You're not disputing any of the facts in the poll questions - just the conclusions (opinions) drawn."

    No, typical slow-witted Merkley supporter who can only make a point by misrepresenting what others say: Only a true loser would even think to assert that the truth of the facts in the substantively irrelevant part of each question even matter in the face of.the utter intellectual dishonesty of the questions and, more importantly, what that clearly says about the low character of Merkley and his campaign staff and supporters as he is losing.

    Your not clever by a long shot, and simply propagandistically repeating your vacuous point just shows you really aren't capable of anything else.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This started out as a campaign between two candidates who liked and respected each other. And now look.

    This is what ails our politics, folks. This is what Barack Obama tried to campaign against. Of course, he's been drawn into the muck too.

    I would suggest this as the criterion for deciding who to vote for: which candidate has the most profound POSITIVES. Just avoid all the negativity. I know it's difficult, but it's the only way to stay politically active and sane at the same time.

    I support Novick because of Novick, not because I dislike Merkley. As frustrated as I get sometimes with Merkley and his supporters, I still basically like the guy and agree with him on many issues.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Meanwhile over at Hillary wasn't lying! Gunfire footage uncovered folks have failed to see the humor in this situation.

    That's too bad, even one of Merkley's questions seems to have an anti-humor bent to it - "Novick is simply not a serious candidate who can win election. He carried joke business cards that have a Communist hammer and sickle symbol on them. He voted for Ralph Nader. His campaign ads feature jokes. That is not the person who can beat Gordon Smith." What's funny here at BlueOregon is what's officially funny.

    Why can't a funny person beat Gordon Smith, the ultimate joke for a politician?

  • Masterpiece (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So Merkley and Novick are both testing negative messages. But only Merkley is wrong for doing it?

    Maybe if we're supposed to vote for the guy who has the most "profound positives", we should ask why Novick is referring to Merkley as "intellectually bankrupt". You might think about having a talk with your guy about that, Daniel Spiro.

    Calling for a positive campaign from the other guy why you're trying to use him as a verbal punching bag is weak.

    And Novick supporters using Obama? Isn't he a FRAUD and a SELLOUT, according to your guy?

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So Merkley and Novick are both testing negative messages.

    I've only seen one link to a news article about this, and that article is about a Merkley poll:

    Merkley campaign tests negative messages against Novick 3/26/2008, 5:43 p.m. PDT By JULIA SILVERMAN The Associated Press

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Democrat Jeff Merkley's U.S. Senate campaign is paying for a poll of Oregon voters that tests negative messages about Steve Novick, his challenger for the party's nomination.

    But that's not what's so funny about this. It seems even though Merkley has a dim view of Novick's sense of humor, some BlueOregon folks are even more mirthless about it.

  • (Show?)

    As far back as January the Novick campaign were testing negative messaging against Merkley. My understanding is that an AP reporter did some initial digging into what seemed at the time to be push polling but was unable to nail down a second source (sign of a legit journalist in action). Which of course points to a limited testing of the negative messaging.

    Given Novick's repeated negative attacks on Merkley, and Democrats as a whole, the suggestion that he wouldn't test negative messaging immediately qualifies those propagating that notion for a discount rate on a tropical vacation in Nome Alaska.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: Masterpiece | Mar 28, 2008 7:53:22 AM

    Heh, exactly.

    Of course, insulting the intelligence of rank and file Oregonians is the stock in trade of the Novick campaign. How they expect to base a campaign on negativity and then turn around and expect voters to believe that they've been behaving like innocent little school girls is a sure sign of a campaign so utterly out of touch with the electorate that they're unable to see when they are doing themselves more damage than good.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    they are doing themselves more damage than good

    What evidence is there of that?

    Seems to me Steve's having a good time campaigning, and why not? His main opponent in the primary is too damn tall, and lacks a hard left hook!

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Disclaimer (seems disclaimers are in the vogue around here)

    I like Merkley, he did an excellent job working with some of our most disadvantaged workers - I'm a member of SEIU Local 503, we endorsed Merkley.

    But as I told my Union as I voted against endorsing Merkley, I'm working for Steve - he's like family. His father works for this Union, so did his brother. Besides, just because a guy comes into your home and builds you a great set of cabinets, that's no reason to plop yourself into your easy chair, open your mouth and say, "I've got some dental work to get done here too." Maybe some here at BlueOregon can see the humor in that, not many, but maybe some.

  • (Show?)

    His main opponent in the primary is too damn tall, and lacks a hard left hook!

    Kinda like my man Barack Obama?

    Hillary doesn't have a prosthesis but at least she isn't too damn tall... eh?

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kinda like my man Barack Obama?

    Yeah, like "is he black enough?"

    No wonder they call this the silly season.

    We definitely have an embarrassment of riches.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    My understanding is that an AP reporter did some initial digging into what seemed at the time to be push polling (by Novick) but was unable to nail down a second source (sign of a legit journalist in action).

    What a coincidence, Kevin. My understanding is that an AP reporter did dome initial digging into reports that Jeff Merkley was D.B. Cooper's bag man but was unable to nail down a second source.

    Damn those unsubstantiated rumors anyhows. Shameless.

  • (Show?)

    LOL - well said, Robert.

  • (Show?)

    As much as politics are politics, I think these sort of messages undermine our effort to have good government.

    Most everyone agrees that Social Security must be reformed -- they disagree about the date it will go bankrupt, but they all know the demographics are against us now.

    So as far as what I find troubling in these messages:

    "and falling for false (DEBATABLE) Republican (BIPARTISAN) claims that if we don't do this, Social Security will go bankrupt."

    "Pro-tax advocate" pounds Republican drum and undermines the reality that we need revenue to meet our social goals.

    "repeatedly supporting higher taxes for the middle classes (IS THIS REFERRING TO RAISING SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES ON THE TOP 15% OF EARNERS, WHO AREN'T REALLY "MIDDLE CLASS?" How big is the middle class?)

    • "Novick is simply not a serious candidate (FALSE) who can win election (Then why poll?).... He voted for Ralph Nader (MISLEADING - ONLY TRUE IN 1996 WHEN THERE WASN'T A SERIOUS RACE).... That is not the person who can beat Gordon Smith (FALSE)."

    While I'm a Novick supporter, I would have thought Merkley can win this thing without stooping to anti-tax baiting and obfuscation. He's got a great record, and a lot of supporters. Run on that.

  • (Show?)

    Kind of astonished by the Merkley supporters on here. Lots of commenters have said they don't like the rhetoric in Merkley's poll, and that it reflects badly on him.

    Merkley supporters are consistently responding with unsubstantiated but -- more importantly -- irrelevant points about Novick's polls.

    Criticizing one campaign does not imply endorsement of another. Responding as though it does reveals a complete fucking lack of getting it.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for the link, Kevin. It states exactly why many people find there's a problem with social security:

    "In 2042, enough new money will be coming in to pay between 73-80 percent of promised benefits."

    Given the scale of Social Security (in 2006, it was over half a trillion dollars), that's over a hundred billion 2008 dollars of shortfall. Each year.

    I think it's fiscally responsible to figure out ways to address that. Novick's smart, and willing to take on these tough issues. Kudos to him.

  • (Show?)

    The latest info on Social Security is that it looks like it will be solvent out to 2070. The reason? People, having just lost much of their savings on a series of stock/real-estate bubbles pushed by GOP financial types, are delaying their retirements. And delayed retirements help us get over the boomer hump.

    So thank you Enron and Bear Sterns! By screwing people they way you have, you've eased the overhang on our retirement system! Yeah!(*)

    (*) Sarcasm noted for the sarcasm impaired.

  • Tarogomi (unverified)
    (Show?)

    To everyone who is shocked -- simply shocked! -- that a candidate would test negative messages...

    Whatever world you're living in sounds beautiful. Can I ride my unicorn over sometime and spend a day or two just contemplating rainbows?

    Surprise! This is how campaigns are run, end of story. Congrats on the Merkley camp for doing their job. Congrats on the Novick camp for doing theirs. And bollocks to the both of them for pretending to be aghast at every little thing that would otherwise be normal. I swear I will flip a goddamn coin to make my decision in this primary, just so long as it's not Gordon Smith.

    By the way, everybody poops. Get over it.

  • (Show?)

    Tarogami,

    I quite agree. It seems self-evident that candidates test negative messages.

    That said... Scanning through the thread here I'm having a hard time finding any Merkley supporters denying that their candidate tested negative messaging. What I see is a lot of Novick supporters trying to make hay with the AP report without conceding the obvious - that their guy does it too.

    I presume your comment was phrased to avoid looking like you were taking sides in a contentious primary race - an understandable choice, IMHO.

  • Oats (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I don't think this is funny at all. Great, 10 weeks of negative campaigns. And I don't live in a land of sunshine and unicorns.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Thanks, Oats, I too live in the real world. And just contacted the Merkley campaign to ask what on earth is going on.

    If everything said about Steve is true and, for instance I know someone who can't sell a home in Jackson County, am unemployed, worried about a local library closing in a timber dependent community, have a loved one serving overseas, or even just bought gas today, why would I think this sort of juvenile activity is worthy of a US Senate campaign?

    Let's see some serious people debating serious issues!

  • (Show?)

    Why are Merkley supporters using as their defense "but Novick does comparative testing too?" Weigler makes it clear in the article that his campaign has tested lines of weakness against Merkley. NO ONE is talking about the practice itself. The issue is the line of attacks being considered from the tenor of Merkley's questioning. And when you are contemplating calling your DEMOCRATIC opponent a tax n spend commie, I think that's worth discussing.

    It's an attack that comes clearly from the right side of the political divide. Contrary to constant assertion by some, there will be no GOP effort in the fall to argue (as Novick has) that Jeff Merkley may not be savvy enough to deal with GOP dirty tricks. (They WILL argue that Jeff Merkley was for the war, despite it seeming not to be true, based on his vote. And Merkley will have to waste valuable time and energy explaining how HIS Yes vote isn't like Smith's Yes votes). But you'd better believe that "tax and spend uberliberal" is what the Republicans would trot out against Steve in November. Why does Merkley want to make that argument for him?

  • (Show?)

    Ah, sorry, one other thing:

    If you read the message, it does correctly note that Steve Novick has 'made a political career out of [. . .] poll-driven campaigns'. That's a true statement: Novick's worked for Pyramid Communications and a number of Democratic campaigns in the past. Jeff Merkley has made a political career by helping the powerless.

    Sorry, you can't have it both ways. Either he was a leader in flipping the House, and thus oversaw poll driven campaigns and political attacks (cough--Minnis ad!--cough), or he had no part in that sausage making, and thus can't take credit for the victories. But claiming Merkley wasn't knee-deep in consultancy and political strategizing during the last elections is 100% nonsense.

  • (Show?)

    Evan,

    Nobody on the planet is saying that SSI will be fiscally secure forever.

    The question is: Do the known facts justify putting SSI at the top or near the top of our nation's short-term priority list?

    Merkley's apparent answer is the same as most everyone who is not a member of the GOP: "No."

    Answering "no" to that question in NO WAY implies that SSI will never need to be addressed until the proverbial gross stuff hits the fan in 2041/42.

    As a nation we have other, more pressing short-term fiscal problems and it makes no fiscal or logical sense to run around calling people "intellectually bankrupt" for recognizing that reality. In fact, it seems to me that the "intellectual bankruptcy" is in demagoguing the issue for crass, self-serving political gain.

  • (Show?)

    The thing that interests me about the campaign, isn't the way Chris Bouneff tried to lie about this being a push poll, the way it attracted purity trolls like (the-one-and-only) "TrueDemocrat" (more democraticer than thou, though he likely voted for Nader), or even the non-story itself. What interests me is why the AP is trying to kneecap Speaker Merkley.

    As has been noted above, campaigns testing negative messages (even when they have no plans at all to do anything with the message) is so routine, it's utterly boring. So the only reason the AP has to run this story is to attack Speaker's Merkley by pretending this is something out of the ordinary.

    This isn't the first time the national press has selectively pressed stories to push a (predictably conservative) agenda. But I'm unsure about their motivation in this case. There are three possibilities: 1] They see Mr. Novick as being significantly more conservative than Speaker Merkley, so are pushing him for that reason, 2] They see Mr. Novick as the weaker Democratic challenger to take on Senator Smith, or 3] They see a short guy opening beer bottles with a hook as news of the weird material, much better to sell modern infotainment with than some boring old guy with a long record of credible progressive accomplishment.

    I'm going to discount #1 out of hand because Steve and Jeff are nearly identical from an ideological perspective. But I really can't decide between #2 and #3.

    Probably it's both.

  • Janet Reno (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [Off-topic ranting by someone who isn't Janet Reno deleted. -editor.]

  • (Show?)

    "I'm going to discount #1 out of hand because Steve and Jeff are nearly identical from an ideological perspective. But I really can't decide between #2 and #3.

    Probably it's both."

    You seem to studiously avoid option #4--the specific things Merkley is testing are unusual in their lack of substantive argument, and position him well to the right of Novick in their tone. Or do you often find Democratic candidates considering whether to call their Democratic opponent a tax and spend Communist?

  • (Show?)
    Or do you often find Democratic candidates considering whether to call their Democratic opponent a tax and spend Communist?

    This is my point exactly.

  • (Show?)

    I think the question Speaker Merkley's campaign was trying to sound out was whether Democratic voters thought a guy calling himself a Communist (even in jest) was likely to win over swing voters who have previously voted for Gordon Smith.

    There is a right way and a wrong way to sell the exact same policies.

  • (Show?)

    I thought Jeff Merkley thought it was wrong to criticize other Democrats.

    Are Merkley and his supporters now saying that it's OK to criticize other Democrats, but only when they deserve it?

    How exactly is that different from Novick's much-maligned point of view?

  • (Show?)

    (It should be obvious but "deserve it" should probably be in quotes)

  • (Show?)

    "whether Democratic voters thought a guy calling himself a Communist (even in jest)"

    when did Novick do that, exactly? He carried around a card that was personally made for him as a joke. Did he present you with one at some point?

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Stephanie, Steven is right, "There is a right way and a wrong way to sell the exact same policies."

    And how do you expect to convince someone like Posted by: Oats | Mar 28, 2008 12:06:15 PM

    with your comment, even if you did get an answer?

    Folks, the Portland City Club debate is in a week, the economy is falling apart, Iraq is falling apart, some people are talking serious solutions--Chris Dodd and Barney Frank on the economy, for instance.

    Whatever anyone says about Merkley, I haven't seen a joke like "pants on fire" on his website. I would suggest that instead of sniping on a blog, it might be wise to research past US Senate Portland City Club debates. It is legendary (I didn't live here then) that Bob Packwood may have won in 1968 at that debate. I do know that as nasty as the 1992 US Senate primary was, the debate was on a higher level than this one, esp. at Portland City Club.

    Or maybe I am just a nag telling people to do homework when they would rather hang out and take potshots at each other.

  • (Show?)

    LT, I haven't seen a detailed discussion of credit default swaps--and specifically the good work of Barney Frank--on Merkley's site either. But it's right there in Steve'ss press release on the mortgage industry.

    Humor and thoughtful policy are not zero sum alternatives.

  • (Show?)
    Or maybe I am just a nag telling people to do homework when they would rather hang out and take potshots at each other.

    I think you are making unwarranted assumptions about a lot of people here, including me. I personally have been engaged in registering Democratic voters, wrangling lawn signs, recruiting supporters for Steve from among my friends, and raising thousands of dollars for Steve from among those friends. I have had significant positive results doing these things. I have done all of this in addition to personally contributing to Steve the maximum amount permitted under Federal law, and I plan to canvass my neighborhood as the primary gets closer. I'm sure there are other things I could be doing, and I'm equally sure that Jake or Steve will ask me to do them. And I will. So I confess I am a little bit tired of listening to you tell me how I don't understand how to win an election, LT.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: Stephanie V | Mar 28, 2008 3:19:55 PM

    I thought Jeff Merkley thought it was wrong to criticize other Democrats.

    I don't believe he's ever said that and I know that you aren't privy to his thoughts.

    Bottom line is that the choice between emulating Ralph Nader's attacks on Democrats and not doing, saying or thinking anything even remotely critical of a single Democrat is a False Choice.

  • Galen (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I don't believe he's ever said that and I know that you aren't privy to his thoughts.

    Hahahahaha.

    This guy just keeps getting better. How about another front-page post on BO, Kevin? I mean, it's been at LEAST a full day since you last prominently lied about both Novick and Merkley. We're all just dying to see what you come up with next.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Today on the radio someone said the presidential campaign was starting to sound like the kids fighting in the back seat and was reaching the level of a parent saying "Knock it off! If you 2 can't figure out a way to get along, I will have to stop the car".

    Even if someone believes one Senate candidate is infallible and the other is worthless (either way) putting something like this on a blog sounds to some people like the 2 kids in the back seat of the car.

    Is this really how you plan to defeat Gordon? Or aren't you thinking past May?

    And TJ, I have substituted in middle schools where I have seen signs like It is not funny when......... (someone is offended, it starts a fight, property is damaged, someone is physically hurt etc.)

    It IS possible to be humorous and discuss public policy. But if 5 people watch an ad or a candidate appearance and later argue over whether it was funny, that does not score a perfect 10 on the humor scale, does it?

    And is it really a zero sum game between the Novick site and the Merkley site?

    Or should the approach be "I would be the best candidate against Gordon Smith because of my position on...."?

    Why is that such a tough question for some people to answer?

  • (Show?)
    Or should the approach be "I would be the best candidate against Gordon Smith because of my position on...."? Why is that such a tough question for some people to answer?

    LT, when Steve gave a tough but true answer to that question at the Oregon Summit, some people around here didn't like it very much.

  • (Show?)

    From the AP piece:

    Jake Weigler, Novick's campaign manager, acknowledged that they have done their own comparative polling. But he said they've <u>tried to keep questions focused on policy differences</u> between the two candidates.

    That sounds a lot like Howard Kurtz's defense of Rush Limbaugh:

    "Has the Senator listened to Rush lately? Sure, he aggressively pokes fun at Democrats and lionizes Republicans, <u>but mainly about policy.</u>"

    IOW, Weigler's vague assertion is largely meaningless without something concrete to back it up. Especially given his and Novick's long record of attacking Jeff Merkley.

    Weigler could easily clear this up by publishing the exact questions his campaign is "testing" with.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Stephanie, A tough but true answer?

    Are you saying that people who voted for Gordon Smith in the past are going to vote for Steve (but would not vote for Jeff) because of a 2003 legislative resolution?

    You KNOW that from conversations with actual voters, or you assume that is how people vote?

    As hot a topic as this has been here, many voters are not aware the controversy exists.

    It seems like some people here believe there is nothing of current concern (conditions facing returning veterans, the unrest in Basra and the curfew in Baghdad, the economic situation incl. the housing problems--esp. in areas where unemployment is double digits and that doesn't even count people working part time who would like to work full time, global warming, transportation infrastructure, etc.)for Republicans to use in speeches or ads and thus that the GOP is going to replay the Rove/DeLay greatest hits and make the 2003 resolution the centerpiece of the Oregon Republican strategy.

    Where is the evidence for that? Because it seems to be an article of faith with some people there is no possibility that could be a wrong assumption?

    The last paragraph of the AP story titled "Merkley launches poll of voters" begins,

    "But Novick has put up a fight, and in recent weeks the campaigns have been sniping at each other..." and ends "...to Merkley's vote for a House resolution praising the service of the troops shortly after the start of the Iraq war".

    Stephanie, are you saying there is no other reason to vote for Steve?

    What you said was,

    Posted by: Stephanie V | Mar 29, 2008 3:07:58 PM

    Or should the approach be "I would be the best candidate against Gordon Smith because of my position on...."? Why is that such a tough question for some people to answer?

    LT, when Steve gave a tough but true answer to that question at the Oregon Summit,...

    Stephanie, are you saying no one should vote for Steve because he supports the Responsible Plan to End the War, they shouldn't vote for him because of that great poverty video on his website, they shouldn't vote for him because of all the issues on his issues page?

    Steve gave people the only thing they need to know to vote for him when

    when Steve gave a tough but true answer to that question at the Oregon Summit,... ??

    We don't need any current commentary on major issues from Steve because all we need to know is that "tough but true answer"? Is that what you are saying?

    The Steve Novick I used to know will show up at the Portland City Club equipped to answer questions on any topic listed on the issues page of his website AND anything in the news this coming week.

    Maybe you know a Steve Novick who never has to go beyond the speech at Sunriver.

    If so, we know different guys named Steve Novick.

  • (Show?)

    LT,

    enough with the strawmen, please.

    I didn't say that was the only thing voters needed to know. I did say that that was an answer to the question why Steve would be a better candidate against Jeff Merkley in November.

    It is one such answer. It is not the only one.

    <hr/>

connect with blueoregon