The damage caused by Novick's anti-Obama rants

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

I'll give Steve Novick some credit. The guy sticks to his guns.

Even when it looks like the better part of valor might be to apologize for some rash comments about Barack Obama, he stands by his comments.

According to Politicker, his campaign manager defended the comments thusly: "He consistently offers an honest assessment of people and issues..." and "These are comments he made in past and he stands behind them..."

Here's a recap of the comments:

On December 6, 2006:

"Doesn't this prove that Obama is just another captive-of-special-interests fraud who doesn't really care about global warming and doesn't deserve to be hailed as some great Kenya-Kansas hope?"

And a few weeks later:

"That is the mark of a complete sellout to the military-industrial complex. And of a politician sorely lacking in fiscal responsibility. ... [Obama] shows a stunning degree of fealty to the military-industrial complex, and/or unjustifiable political timidity.

Of course, this is all a bit awkward for me - since these comments were made right here at BlueOregon, where Steve was a contributor until he ran for office. And I was a participant in some of those discussions - often praising Steve for his broader themes (supporting both Al Gore and John Edwards for President.)

But the specific comments he made about Senator Obama are bound to come back and hurt him. If Steve wins out and becomes our nominee, will Oregon get the national support we need from the Obama for President campaign that we need to win the Senate race?

Especially if Oregon shifts from swing-state to blue-state late in the election (as it has with quadrennial regularity), will the presidential campaign shift its resources to another state - leaving Novick to fend for himself?

To defeat Gordon Smith, we need every Democrat in Oregon on board -- and we need national Democrats, especially the presidential campaign, to be 100% committed to helping us win, even if (especially if) Oregon moves off the big board.

As AFSCME's Joe Baessler told Politicker:

"It is this kind of disregard for consequences of what he is saying that makes it harder and harder for us to even be friendly anymore," Baessler lamented. "It’s hurtful when things like this get thrown around."

I just don't know how we can win the Senate race without the support of our presidential nominee. And unless Novick is prepared to eat a little humble pie, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

(There's more coverage from Jeff Mapes, Preemptive Karma, Senate Guru, and Willamette Week.)

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

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Kari, since I've been kinda critical of your approach in the past, I want to tell you I think you're right on the money here. I want to be proud of Novick for holding Obama's feet to the fire and helping him become a better candidate...but the words he used do go a step beyond, and if his strategy is not to acknowledge that, I'd have to say that's pretty disappointing. It goes beyond winning, too -- I want a Senator that is able to work with the President. Obama may be a forgiving sort, but there are some bridges that are pretty tough to unburn.

  • (Show?)

    Pete, did you read the whole thing in context? I ask because it's almost impossible for me to believe that you would have this reaction if you had.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kari, I am sure people will jump on you for this.

    But I have to agree with Joe.

    "It is this kind of disregard for consequences of what he is saying that makes it harder and harder for us to even be friendly anymore," Baessler lamented. "It’s hurtful when things like this get thrown around."

    It is legendary going back more than 20 years that some primaries cause friendships to fray--some can be reknit afterwards, some never are.

    A legislative primary back a couple decades ago involved 2 people running against each other who were friends before the primary, during the primary, and even after the primary when one of them won (in a 3 candidate field). They were admired for maintaining that friendship, even if some of their supporters went after "the other side" in ways worse than anything seen here.

    Bottom Line: I had known Steve since long before Blue Oregon existed. Bright guy, not my favorite person in the world, but then I was never fond of the acrebic types. A college friend once said of a very sarcastic professor "he's such a sarcat, everyone else is a sarkitten in comparison". We need such wit in the primary this year!

    Steve Duin wrote a column with a headline saying humor is more useful to Novick than anger. Does that make Duin a "Merkleyite" because all good people think Steve is infallible? Can you not recognize constructive, more in sorrow than in anger advice?

    For those of you who think the candidate of beer, clever ads, and supporters who are passionate to the point of verbal attacks on anyone who doesn't see things their way, a word of advice. There are tons of interesting campaigns this year. If Novick or anyone else inspires you, knock yourself out campaigning for that candidate!

    But as JFK said there is a free marketplace of ideas. Also of how to use spare time. And if someone thinks their local legislative race or any other campaign is worth more time than the US Senate primary, that is what they will choose to involve themselves with and pay attention to.

    (And yes, the grammarians will go after me for that last sentence. But as one of my high school English teachers said, saying one can never end a sentence with a preposition "Is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!")

  • George (unverified)
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    There is such a thing as freedom of speech and a right to an opinion. But if Oregon is worried about repercutions, then what does that say about Obama??? I admire Novick for being candid about his opinions and sticking to his guns, refreshing in a politician.

    Incidentally, I must have been missing something...when did Obama become president??

  • Paul B. (unverified)
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    No. I think Steve is right. And what's wrong with "calling it like it is?" Besides, it's funny. It's only "spiteful" because you're supporting Merkley. I mean, c'mon.

    Bottom line here: I'm supporting Clinton for the nomination. If Obama is our guy, than I'll be over in his camp, lickity-split.

    I will FULLY expect from Sen. Obama that he will be supportive of Steve in the general.

    If this is the best you can do with Steve, pulling out old blog statements that frankly are TRUE then Merkley is in more trouble than I thought.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Stephanie, is this the context you mean?

    "And, according to a recent New Yorker article, Barack Obama of Illinois has stood with other Midwesterners in supporting the sugar industry. Doesn't this prove that Obama is just another captive-of-special-interests fraud who doesn't really care about global warming and doesn't deserve to be hailed as some great Kenya-Kansas hope?"

    Because that is the only mention of Obama I saw (did not read word for word, just skimmed) in that long post. And if that is the context you meant, I think Joe's comments stand. I have known Steve long enough to imagine how his voice would sound if he was saying those words. It would be a sarcastic tone of voice. Those words in print or spoken would not impress the people I know who are active Democrats but do not live in the Portland area.

    The national convention I attended, the US Senate nominee was a member of the delegation. Just like Steve, this nominee was known for strong views, sometimes snide remarks, and being very sure there was only one legitimate point of view. Also for not going around to each delegate while at the convention, shaking hands, asking for votes. That would have taken maybe 30 seconds per delegate, and by not doing so there was conversation about the nominee being clueless, lacking people skills. No one then said all good Democrats owed the Senate nominee our unquestioning obedience and putting all other campaigns secondary to US Senate.

    Now, if I worry that a nominee Novick might be very similar, and might not make a positive impression on Obama delegates at the national convention, do I have a right to that concern?

    Or does even hinting that Steve is not perfect, not a better US Senate candidate than Ron Wyden or anyone else in my lifetime, does that make me a "Merkleyite"?

    Or just someone with 30 years experience in politics who has some serious worries about this year's Senate primary?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Paul, there is nothing wrong with "telling it like it is" if that means "Vote for Steve Novick because he told off Obama for being a midwesterner supporting the sugar industry".

    But will that really gain the votes in the primary from the folks who stood in line to get Obama tickets?

    There is a right way and a wrong way to say things--sometimes described as "a scalpel is more effective than a chainsaw". Many of us grew up with grandmothers or others warning "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". Barry Goldwater famously said "You catch more flies with honey than by hitting them over the head---he "told it like it was" but as he got older learned the value of diplomatic language. You would know someone was being told off, but the barbs had some wit in them--just like Wm. F. Buckley.

    Now, if you are proud of a candidate who believes a chainsaw is more effective than a scalpel, that vinegar and hitting people over the head are more useful than diplomatic language, then by all means vote for Steve.

    Just don't expect those who admire diplomatic language and like the saying "Any large farm animal can knock down a shed, but it takes a carpenter to build a shed" to vote for Steve.

    As long as this is a free country, the individual has the right to make the decisions Who to associate with What is admirable What is offensive.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie, yes...I did. I don't see how the fuller context makes the first one any more defensible -- if anything, the opposite. Things that Kari did not highlight: first, it was not a mere "comment," it was a blog post, which means he had plenty of time to think over what he said and how he said it. Second, it was a question he was suggesting that other people ask of Earl. It would seem to me that the sharpness of the point is something that's really up to the questioner; suggesting the most confrontational and insulting possible formulation strikes me as gratuitous.

    Look, I like Steve's politics, I've talked with him a bit, and from what I've seen he has excellent judgment and people-skills. I'm not writing him off based on this one statement, but a failure to acknowledge that it was ill-considered baffles me.

    I could say similar things about Merkley: I've heard him speak to several groups, and chatted with him a bit. I am very impressed with his command of Oregon issues, and his ability to speak persuasively to different types of audiences. But what I can discern of his campaign strategy lately makes me wonder.

    I'm convinced that either one of them has what it takes to be an excellent Senator, but I'm still waiting for them to demonstrate convincingly that's the direction they want to go.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    And unless Novick is prepared to eat a little humble pie, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    Well, the other option is quite obvious, Kari.

    If Novick refuses humility, we Democrats still have the option of voting for Jeff Merkley. Heck, many (if not most) of us were planning to do that anyway.

    What's more, by voting for Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate, we can be sure that Oregon won't face any retributive action from the Obama for President campaign. Why? Because Jeff Merkley has whole-heartedly endorsed Obama.

    Novick, in addition to his extreme statements that doubt Obama's judgment and leadership capacity, has only tepidly endorsed Obama (in a back-handed complimentary way).

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Kari, as usual, is going to the mat for his clients! Good on you Kari... nice to see blind capitalism at work!

  • (Show?)

    I should note here that George makes a good point: I'm assuming that Barack Obama will be the nominee. If he's not, then I'd assume that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. But Steve has problems there too -- calling her a "coward" and a "traitress" (which is presumably a weird Steve-ism for a female traitor.)

    And yes, Obama appears to be a forgiving sort and while I'm certain he'll support whoever our nominee is... that's a far cry from committing substantial financial and human resources to a state.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Not sure where Chisholm lives, but he might not be venturing out into true Blue Oregon (east side)... over here, there's like 10 to 1 in terms of Novick - Merkley signage.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    So Steve Novick used harsh language to elucidate a truth about Obama. He then followed this up 15 months later with an unusually honest endorsement of Obama, one where he clearly explained his hesitations about the man that he earlier criticized. And this is supposed to make me vote against him? On the contrary, this is a powerful example of exactly what I like about Steve Novick.

    Kari, your criticism of Novick is based on your belief that Obama is a spiteful, vengeful man who would take the 2006 blog postings of a Senate candidate so personally that he would sacrifice the Democratic party's ability to take a seat from the Republicans. In fact, the entire premise of your post is based on a strong critique of Obama's character and his inability to think strategically. It's the necessary corollary to your entire argument, so you've parked yourself clearly in the "critical of Obama" camp.

    The Democratic party needs critics. In case you haven't noticed, we're not winning voters based on the strength of our ideas, we're winning them based on the corruption, incompetence, and mendacity of the GOP. I wish there were dozens more Democrats like Steve Novick who are willing to turn the spotlight inward in order to exact change. As Thoreau might have said, "The party unexamined is not worth joining."

  • (Show?)

    Give it a rest, Peter. We've made a decision here at BlueOregon that it's interesting and useful for insiders to comment here. Your inane badgering isn't going to change that.

    Frankly, the presence of people like Charlie Burr, Leslie Carlson, Jon Isaacs, Les AuCoin, Randy Leonard, Karol Collymore, Lew Frederick, Chuck Sheketoff, Jonathan Poisner, and others make this a much more interesting place. Even when they're talking about their work.

    I suggest you read Jeff Alworth's excellent post - Toward Ethical Blogging. Here's a key excerpt:

    When we have an affiliation, we say so. This is an important point for a site where many of the writers are actively involved in politics. For example, Kari Chisholm is a strategic consultant and designs web strategies for many of Oregon's liberal politicians and causes. When he's writing a post or comment that involves one of his clients, he flags it. We ask other writers to be as careful when they comment, too. If this were a newspaper, we'd probably have to be far more careful about restricting speech from some of these folks--they're obviously far from objective. But blogs provide people the opportunity to engage in conversation with the actual politicos who run campaigns and design and implement policy. This is actually one of the great boons of blogs--where else can you talk to Randy Leonard, say, about the policies he's considering on the City Council?

    The bottom line remains: There's no gun to your head forcing you to either read BlueOregon, nor my posts here. If you don't like it, don't read it.

    Now, can we put the meta to rest a bit?

  • (Show?)

    Miles, looks like we were typing simultaneously. I'll refer you to the answer I gave at 12:28.

  • (Show?)

    This is almost a perfect example of a "non-issue."

    Novick was criticizing a Democratic (GASP!) Senator who held a position he disagreed with. That Senator currently happens to be the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.

    Since then Novick as become a candidate for elected office and his prior statements have come under the magnifying glass. Fair enough. THANK GOODNESS that someone in the race has the gravitas to standby a DISAGREEMENT that they had with someone they (overall) decided to endorse as the better of the two current candidates.

    2008 is not 2006. Between Clinton and Obama, Steve prefers Obama as the Democratic nominee. That's clear. Does he think that Obama is a perfect human being or candidate? Clearly not. I'm proud to back someone who is willing to look at a candidate's flaws, criticize them publicly, and still say they think that they're the better candidate (as opposed to the Second Coming).

    Any disagreements on policy would have factored in to an endorsement for a person like Steve Novick. He made the criticisms, and he made his endorsement. Period.

    As to "fallout," I'm sure that whoever the Presidential nominee happens to be, probably Obama, realizes that having a "friendly" Senate will be helpful in pursuing their agenda. As it stands, I still think, strongly, that Novick has a much better chance at beating Smith than Merkley does.

  • (Show?)

    I guess this whole exchange matters very little to me. What damage has been done? I don't hear Obama or Clinton talking about the Oregon Senate Race. They're too focused on their own race.

    When I started reading this post, I started thinking about the Morse-Kennedy tepid relationship. At the end of the day it is critical that Obama (assuming he is the nominee)helps get as many democrats elected to congress as possible. He'll need them to pass his agenda in congress. If Steve is the nominee, then I believe Obama will support him.

    Morse and Kennedy needed each other much more than they might have disliked each other or felt uncomfortable around each other. I assume there are plenty of candidates who would be in this position if either Clinton or Obama are the nominee.

  • (Show?)

    My apologies. It turns out that "traitress" is a real word. Go figure.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Miles, looks like we were typing simultaneously. I'll refer you to the answer I gave at 12:28.

    To wit: And yes, Obama appears to be a forgiving sort and while I'm certain he'll support whoever our nominee is... that's a far cry from committing substantial financial and human resources to a state.

    Yes, we were typing simultaneously, but your 12:28 post reaffirms my point. You're suggesting that Obama will let his ego get in the way of sound political strategy, that he'll refuse to commit substantial resources based on a 2006 blog post. If you believe that, it's a devastating critique of our party's soon-to-be nominee, arguably on par with Novick's original post.

    Although I disagree with you about Obama's character, I respect you for standing by your harsh criticism. What other character flaws do you think Obama has?

  • (Show?)

    Cute. I'm saying no such thing. Rather, I'm arguing that campaigns have limited resources -- and they're more likely to spend them to support candidates that are supportive in kind. If you're the Obama campaign, would you be more likely to spend $5 million in field resources in a state, say Oregon, where the candidate has called you a "special interest fraud" and a "sellout" -- or in a state, say Colorado, where the candidate is behind you 100%?

    I'm not, btw, arguing that dissent isn't OK. I'm not arguing that we shouldn't hold our leaders' feet to the fire. I'm arguing, though, that those disagreements should be kept on policy -- not namecalling like "fraud" and "sellout" and "coward" and and "traitress."

  • (Show?)

    Two things jump out at me here:

    1) Has Jeff Merkley EVER made an argument against Steve Novick on policy? He does disagree, but does he ever discuss his superiority over Novick to voters in terms of how he would handle matters, specifically? He put out a press release attacking Novick for (I guess) excessive language or not being enough of a team guy. To borrow (gasp!) from LT, does this attack address anyone's health care needs or education situation or job retraining or stop lossed brother, et al ad infinitum? No. It's same old politics. If you feel it slipping away from you, all you have left is to start trying to bring down your opponent personally so you can eke out ahead in a damaged landscape.

    2) If Jeff Merkley's argument is that all Democrats--particularly the ones we're most hyped about at the moment--should be publicly beyond reproach, how does he back up claims to be a fighter or someone who "won't back down" as they've claimed? The problem there is that Novick is expressing what a great many Democrats, especially, are thinking. Did you not hear the commercial? We're not satisfied with the way Democrats have handled themselves in Congress against Republicans and the President. We're fighting tooth and nail just to keep things like the 1st and 4th amendments in the Constitution,whether torture should be legal, if we need to adhere to treaties or things like Congressional subpoenas, and whether our end game in Iraq is 5 years or 100. There's something wrong in the systems of power, that has removed a true check and balance...on a minority, and a hated one at that. Shrinking from facing that head on, "even if it ruffles some feathers" as the Merkley campaign has said in the past, would be a dereliction IMO.

    I don't think a majority of Oregon Democrats will weep tears of sympathy for Hillary Clinton. I think some number of Obama supporters will take offense at any denigration (as they are wont to do, just ask any Hillary supporter), but not for nothing are there groups dedicated to open-eyed followers of Obama. Cult preventists, if you will. So Steve's criticisms--policy-based, as usual--are both valid and called for. War supplication is a fair tar of Hillary Clinton, and protectionist captive of a local industry is a good way to describe how Obama has voted on crops important to Illinois and the breadbasket. Voters say they want leaders who don't offer themselves up to fear or nativism or the highest bidder or the expedient way out, and yet we can't be critical of those things when we see it?

  • (Show?)
    Cute. I'm saying no such thing. Rather, I'm arguing that campaigns have limited resources -- and they're more likely to spend them to support candidates that are supportive in kind. If you're the Obama campaign, would you be more likely to spend $5 million in field resources in a state, say Oregon, where the candidate has called you a "special interest fraud" and a "sellout" -- or in a state, say Colorado, where the candidate is behind you 100%?

    Is your argument that Steve shouldn't have said that in 2006, because it might hurt Oregon's chances 2 years into the future? Is this like reproaching Steve for backing Nader in 1996 because of what he was going to do 4 years later?

  • (Show?)

    By the way, you're speculating about the damage it MIGHT cause, which is fine. But why is the headline in the past tense, as in the damage ALREADY caused by Novick? Sort of a presumptive premise.

  • (Show?)

    And that about sums it up.

    Jeff Merkley's political career has been about bringing Democrats together to get things done. The pundits didn't think he could hold together an ideologically diverse 31-seat majority to achieve anything at all, much less the most progressive legislative session in a generation.

    Steve Novick's political career has been about being a witty and biting political commentator, willing to slam Democrats for not hewing to his view of the Truth.

    I've certainly cheered Novick from time to time as he's issued his sharp critiques and witty ripostes. He's often amusing, usually insightful, and always edgy. Personally, I'd love to see him take Lewis Black's slot on The Daily Show.

    But that's a far cry from the skill set that's needed on the floor of the US Senate to actually get things done.

  • (Show?)

    Is your argument that Steve shouldn't have said that in 2006, because it might hurt Oregon's chances 2 years into the future?

    No, it's about what he does today. Read the post: Even when it looks like the better part of valor might be to apologize for some rash comments about Barack Obama, he stands by his comments.

  • (Show?)

    He described the context as tongue in cheek, self-effacing directly of his own heritage moments later, and also took pains to note the growth and maturity of the Obama campaign, as well as his endorsement of the man to be the leader of the free world. If you're suggesting that he apologize for criticizing his sugar policy, or that he pretend he didn't really mean to say Obama was a captive of the aggro lobby on sugar, I doubt that would be either warranted or something Obama himself might respect (not that I could speak for him).

    Hey, here's an actually relevant question for a change, rather than idle speculation about what Barack Obama might do to us if we criticize him: what's Jeff Merkley's position on sugar tarrifs? Steve Novick says: insane. Not hard to parse that, is it?

    Go Kari Go! Go Jeff Go! This strategy will work, I double promise! ;)

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Kind of interesting that everyone seems to be overlooking the whole what Novick said about Obama is RIGHT thing.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)
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    Of course you can do and say what you want on your own blog, but this kind of post confuses me about the mission of BO.

    Because the premise of this entire post is that one should withdraw one's support of Novick because his two year old Obama criticism might result in tepid support for Novick.

    1) Obama has made forgiveness a campaign issue 2) are you saying Obama's that stupid? Have you looked at the US Senate composition lately? He needs every D he can get (regardless of ruffled feathers) 3) Is it REALLY all that controversial to call anyone involved with a campaign as HUGE as the Presidential race (in terms of money raised and spent) a sell out? It's practically required for national office these days!

    Well, I've never been in a campaign situation like this -- can you give me some examples of similar situations where the criticizing candidate then lost the election?

    Otherwise, I think this post is specious. While I understand the pro-Merkley perspective from this particular author, I also have come to expect astute political insight at BO, and for the insight to take precedence in the original posts. Ethical, sound journalism, even of the "blog" nature, is a far greater contribution to democratic society than electing any single candidate. These fear tactics are discouraging and disappointing.

  • FocusOnTheIssue (unverified)
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    The issue is Gordon Smith and control of the Senate, and the importance of Oregon in the general election, not petty complaints about strong words.

    Sorry Kari, but I think this post is an insult to Obama - just as he has clearly said he will support Hillary if she gets the nod, and vice versa, it is insulting to suggest that Obama would withhold effort based on Steve's comment, that the tough words somehow poisoned the eventual support of whomever wins the primary. He will be in Oregon if Oregon matters in his election and if he thinks the Democrat - Merkley or Novick - can beat Gordon Smith.

    Gordon Smith is the problem, and Obama (and Clinton) knows that. We need to show Obama that Oregon Ds are united behind anyone to beat Smith. Kari, your post sadly suggests otherwise.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: colin maloney | Mar 21, 2008 12:38:23 AM

    Novick was criticizing a Democratic (GASP!) Senator who held a position he disagreed with.

    Disagreeing with a Democrat is one thing. Using that disagreement to launch gratuitous attacks is another, very different thing.

    Take the recent hubub over LNG here in Oregon. Merkley clearly disagreed with Kulongoski and some of his major union backers, and he did so publically. But he did so without stupidly throwing in any gratuitious cheap shots like Novick did against Obama. That is the kind of level-headed reasoning that I believe most Oregonians want in a Senator.

  • LOL (unverified)
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    Kari sure learned a thing or two from the Swift-Boaters. Katy had an accurate comment "Kind of interesting that everyone seems to be overlooking the whole what Novick said about Obama is RIGHT thing."

    I'd just add that what is equally interesting is how whiny and ugly Merkley and Clinton supporters have become as the failings of their chosen candidates have been exposed. And how many of us who don't think Novick or Obama aren't that great don't mind saying so, or hearing them say that about each other, but for now will still vote for them because Merkley and Clinton are much more corporate-friendly choices who are just a further step in the wrong direction for this country and the Democratic party.

    If Merkley and Clinton supporters actually cared about unity first they would urge their candidates to step down. The only numbers that favor their candidates trace to voters views that would keep our country headed in the wrong direction, abetted by the failed wing of the Democratic Party they proudly represent.

  • (Show?)

    If you or anyone else in the Merkley camp were actually worried about how this will affect Oregon in the general election, you wouldn't be raising this as an issue now.

    This is a fairly transparent hit by the Merkley folks, and is the antithesis of the "new brand of politics" that Obama is preaching on the campaign trail.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    But bashing democrats is OK if its Jeff Merkley and his surrogates doing it to Steve Novick.

    Kari, you're a raving hypocrite with no sense of shame.

    Do you establishment schmoes ever wonder why people are so turned off by party politics?

    You're horrible.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Merkley's new slogan

    Jeff Merkley Change? Bwa ha ha ha ha ...sucker

  • (Show?)

    and is the antithesis of the "new brand of politics" that Obama is preaching on the campaign trail.

    Neat trick, Sal. Projecting Novick's foot-in-mouth disease onto Merkley doesn't change the fact that Novick takes cheap shots at Democrats while Merkley doesn't. As such there is no doubt which of the two better captures the "new brand of politics" Obama is preaching on the campaign trail - it's Jeff Merkley.

    Some talk the talk (Novick) and some walk the walk (Merkley).

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    "Novick takes cheap shots at Democrats while Merkley doesn't."

    So Kevin, when Merkley lies to voters about Novick, as reported by Steve Duin and Harry Esteve, isn't he taking a cheap shot at a fellow Democrat.

    Moreover, Novick actually believed what he was saying, while Merkley was a repeating a lie written for him by his D.C. consultants.

    Newsflash: You are the most shameless of the shamelss, Kevin.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    kari, seriously. i met you once, you seem like an awfully nice guy, i believe in your passion and your convictions.

    but this is embarrassing.

    c'mon. please?

    no matter what i figure we're going to be working together starting oh, exactly 2 months from today.

    and whether we're working to elect novick or merkley, given the size of the loudspeaker that you command in the oregon progressive community, please tell me you can do better than this.

    cuz, yeah. just like it's been said above. this is EXACTLY the kind of politics that obama is trying to move beyond with his campaign.

    i'm not just saying this because it's about my candidate, steve. i'm saying it because if this is what we go after gordon smith with, this kind of tactic, WE WILL LOSE!

    we have to do better than this!

  • (Show?)

    A few things here.

    1. Obama was wrong on ethanol. As a STAUNCH Obama guy, this one has always rankled. I've called him out on it, too.

    2. It's possible to disagree with those we support.

    3. When you do call out someone with whom you agree, you have to do it in a way that a) doesn't destroy the relationship and b) doesn't damage the candidate by giving the GOP firepower.

    4. In politics, what you say matters. The comments Kari flags are troublesome, but what Steve does with them could turn them from a problem into an opportunity. He can point out that, like Obama, he is opposed to special interests and therefore hold Barack to a higher standard, and apologize for overheated language. Or, he can let it say nothing and stick with the Obama's "another captive-of-special-interests fraud" who "hows a stunning degree of fealty to the military-industrial complex, and/or unjustifiable political timidity." Those are his words to stand by or clarify.

    5. Defenders of Steve love the fact that he's a livewire who speaks truth to power. Fair enough, but that means that he's going to have to spend some time discussing his truth-speech. If you run on a platform of flinty-eyed, unbought truth-teller, you can't very well revert to the politics of parsing and waffling and trying to have it both ways.

    6. For Novick-backers on this thread, resorting to the "yeah, but Merkley sucks, too" defense ain't gonna erase Novick's words and does little to bolster the straight-talking meme they try to spread about their man.

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    let me rephrase your posts title more accurately:

    "The damage [i am hoping will be] caused by [joining all the merkley blog surrogates together to trying amplify the non-issue that is] Novick's [criticism of obama's opportunistic positions into being seen as] anti-Obama rants".

    did i about get it right? i believe the correct term for this sort of post is "concern trolling".

    as an obama supporter i am not afraid to admit he really did disappoint early on in his senate career by just bending over for some ingrained interests (most notably sugar, and coal). though, i think it's worth mentioning that the sugar lobby owns most of congress, and that while sugar ethanol is much more efficient that corn, too much tropical deforestation is occurring in the name of new sugar cane plantations for the growing ethanol market.

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    sorry for the italics, didn't preview because my connections crawling...

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    So Kevin, when Merkley lies to voters about Novick

    Your poor grasp of the English language doesn't constitute a lie by Merkley. He told the truth and you badly botched what any highschool kid could have accurately diagramed in English class. It really is that simple. Which, incidently, is why nobody has bothered to even respond to your attempts to get your distortion to stick on the wall. All you've accomplished is to underscore your poor grasp of your native tongue.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    kevin, perhaps you should tell Steve Duin and Harry esteve that. Y

    Shameless, kevin.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    By the way kevin, (aka karmaman, Oregon progressive and all the other pseudonyms you use) it's become quite clear that you wouldn't recognize the truth if it was sideways up your *ss.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I almost forgot. The hosts of KPOJ's morning, show where Merkley first told the lie, also seemed to think it wasn't honest because they gave Kari a chance to clear things up for his client. Of course, he (breathlessly)declined.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    see, jeff, your post is reasonable, especially point 5, and that i have no problem with.

    it's the lead blog post which is all OH NOES!!!!1!!1 OBAMA HAS ABANDONED OREGON IN ADVANCE & IT'S ALL NOVICK'S FAULT!!!

    which is just plain silly.

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    3. When you do call out someone with whom you agree, you have to do it in a way that a) doesn't destroy the relationship and b) doesn't damage the candidate by giving the GOP firepower.

    What evidence do you have that Novick's comments "destroyed the relationship"? And are you seriously claiming that the GOP -- which is all up in the ethanol lobby -- is somehow going to criticize Obama for supporting ethanol?

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    I just want to ask one thing.

    Has anyone writing here, or reading this - the original post or any of the responses - had their mind changed?

    Yeah. Thought so. This really has become a poo-flinging contest with no point other than allowing the same old crowd to attack each other over inanities.

    So let me say a few blunt words about inconvenient political truths people don't want to hear:

    <h1>1 Barak Obama would never allow a set of old commentary critical of him to trump a neutral (and, of necessity, brutally realistic) political assessment of where to spend resources to maximize votes in the Senate.</h1> <h1>2 Clearly that assessment has already been made, a long time ago, by the DSCC - an organization of which Barak Obama is a member. And the view of those Democratic senators, each with experience in successfully winning the exact kind of campaign we need to run against Gordon Smith, could not be more clear: our best chance is with the Speaker of the Oregon House, not a Portland lawyer and activist with absolutely no record of legislative accomplishment.</h1> <h1>3 No, this assessment is not the result of an anti-Democratic conspiracy by Senate Democrats. It nearly certainly comes from in-depth statewide polling and basic political common sense.</h1> <h1>4 Although in some ways Mr. Novick and Senator Clinton are extremely different, in one way they're identical. They (and their diehard followers) refuse to see that they've already lost. Their attacks also, occasionally, step over the line.</h1> <h1>5 Even if, by some bizarre accident (like another rollover), Mr. Novick did become the nominee, that brutally realistic assessment of his chances would certainly push him down to the third tier of priorities in the general.</h1> <h1>6 Clearly, however, Steve does appeal to a vocal minority who have a Naderesque view of the Democratic party (pretending they can't tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans). Jeff will need everybody he can get, including these people, so when Kari posts inflammatory commentary like this, it doesn't actually do Speaker Merkley any favors.</h1>
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    Ooooh, mean primary attacks by Democrats on Democrats! I hope nobody gets mad!

    TO: Interested Parties FR: Obama Campaign RE: A history of misleading voters DA: March 20, 2008 Senator Clinton likes to claim that she’s been vetted. But there is a salient theme emerging that has not been examined at all in this race: Senator Clinton has consistently made political calculations to deliberately mislead the American people and the voters have noticed. A new Gallup poll shows a staggering figure: far fewer Americans think Clinton is trustworthy than think she isn’t, by a margin 44-53 percent. And in the exit polling from the most recent primary, Clinton was viewed as honest and trustworthy by only 52 percent of Democratic voters.

    Perhaps Kari can take the Senator to the woodshed for calling Clinton "unstrustworthy".

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    Although in some ways Mr. Novick and Senator Clinton are extremely different, in one way they're identical. They (and their diehard followers) refuse to see that they've already lost.

    This statement defies every publicly released poll on the race for Senate in Oregon. The only polls that have been released on the primary show Novick in the lead. The only polls on the general election show Merkley running a distant third.

    So I'll ask you, Steve, what hard data could you possibly be basing your assertion on?

    As for this business about stepping over the line... I see Merkley's camp and their surrogates repeatedly going negative. That's politics, I guess, but the reason they are doing it is because they know that their guy is currently losing this race.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    If Steve wins out and becomes our nominee, will Oregon get the national support we need from the Obama for President campaign that we need to win the Senate race?

    It depends on how much evidence you have that Obama's just another petty politician.

  • petrichor (unverified)
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    quothe jeff alworth:

    " ...He can point out that, like Obama, he is opposed to special interests and therefore hold Barack to a higher standard, and apologize for overheated language. Or, he can let it say nothing ... Those are his words to stand by or clarify."

    that's actually a really good suggestion, though i emphatically reject the notion that those--like barack obama--who claim to (and make efforts to) reject "special interests" be held to a higher standard. basically by doing this we give an implicit pass to politicians who make no effort. that is a horrible precedent to set: all politicians need to be held to the same high standard, regardless of whether or not they try to run a cleaner campaign.

    novick has no need to apologize, but he could clarify his comments in a manner similar to your suggestion if he wanted to be slightly more constructive.

    "If you run on a platform of flinty-eyed, unbought truth-teller, you can't very well revert to the politics of parsing and waffling and trying to have it both ways."

    i'm not sure how this applies, there was no "parsing and waffling" by novick, it was the exact opposite, in fact...

    "6. For Novick-backers on this thread, resorting to the 'yeah, but Merkley sucks, too' defense ain't gonna erase Novick's words and does little to bolster the straight-talking meme they try to spread about their man."

    1. i love it when partisans from any campaign give "advice" to partisans from the other side (this applies to both campaigns supporters, but this is blueoregon where the majority of concern trolling comes from the merkley side).

    2. "merkley sucks!".... kidding. i am actually a fan of merkley the oregon house majority leader, just not so much a fan of the less than inspiring merkley senate campaign.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    I'm glad some others have recognized Kari's harsh criticism of Obama in this post for what it is: rank hypocrisy. It's almost laughable that in order to attack Novick, Kari has to argue that Obama is petty, vindictive, and thin-skinned.

    I'm arguing that campaigns have limited resources -- and they're more likely to spend them to support candidates that are supportive in kind.

    As party leader Obama will spend money where it has the best chance of making a difference. He will put aside every personal view he may have of the candidates. I wouldn't be supporting him for president if I didn't think he had the character to make such an objective decision. Since you disagree, why are you supporting him for president?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Steve M. is right that the DSCC already made their choice in Oregon's primary, and if Novick wins then the Oregon race will fall out of the top tier. It's a harsh reality, but still no reason to support Merkley. Why? Because Merkley can't beat Smith no matter how much money he gets from the DSCC. Smith is probably not going to lose to anyone, but certainly not to a moderate, straight-from-the-mold candidate like Merkley. But Smith just might lose to a quirky, off-beat, whip smart bomb-thrower like Novick. Even without the DSCC's money.

    But, you say, that goes against all the conventional wisdom political consultants in DC can muster! Sure. Just like CW suggested the Merkley would dispatch with Novick easily. That hasn't happened, as evidenced by Merkley's descent into negative attacks.

    As for your little Nader dig, I'll put my centrist Democrat positions up against yours anyday. My support for Novick has nothing to do with progressive purity. I love Jeff Merkley, and am far closer to him in personality and political views than I am to Novick. My support for Novick is pragmatic (I think he's the only one who can win) and strategic (I think the Senate needs fewer Merkleys and more Novicks).

    Peace out.

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    Kari has to argue that Obama is petty, vindictive, and thin-skinned.

    I think that as with many other areas of life, people expect others to act the way they themselves would respond. It's why people who are open and trusting -- and expect others to do the same -- are often portrayed as gullible, and it's why conniving schemers like Richard Nixon tended to see conspiracies in every nook and cranny.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I agree with Novick's critique of Obama. I doubt that Steve would speak in such strong terms today, given his position and Obama's position, but he spoke honestly and out of concern for Democrats doing what is right when he wrote in 2006. That he stands by statements that have become politically inconvenient demonstrates Novick's integrity.

    What Joe Baessler called "disregard for consequences" is exactly what we need from elected officials - the passion for and vision of what is right for this nation, and the willingness to call out bankrupt political conventionality. It is exactly what Barack Obama claims for himself as a leader who can bring change.

    Note: I have not endorsed a candidate for US Senate in Oregon.

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    If Steve wins out and becomes our nominee, will Oregon get the national support we need from the Obama for President campaign that we need to win the Senate race?

    If Steve wins the primary and national Democrats choose to take their ball and go home leaving Republican Gordon Smith in place after coddling Joe "I'm speaking at the GOP convention!" Lieberman for the past eight years, then there's going to be some 'splaining to do.

    Sort of like how Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has been taken to task the past week for not supporting challengers in her home state against Republicans, despite her heading DCCC program entrusted with picking off Republicans.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Right on Jeff!

    More importantly, how many people here think those watching Obama this morning--in person, on TV, online--really cared about what Steve said about Obama's stand on ethanol or any other subject?

    That Obama speech is why people rank him with FDR, JFK, Bobby Kennedy. None of them perfect individuals, but politicians who inspired ordinary folk.

    For all you Novick fans, stop and think for a minute. You can attack me for what follows this paragraph, or you can stop and think a minute.

    That was an amazing sight--Richardson and Obama. Was 1988 the first year we had anyone as a Democratic nominee able to speak Spanish to crowds that would understand it?

    On a scale of 0-10, I though Obama this morning was an 11! He talked about an end to cynicism, about caring about something outside yourself, about actually helping kids, senior citizens, veterans, workers who are struggling or have lost jobs.

    How is the Novick campaign addressing those issues, specifically? (The name Merkley should not be part of the answer.)

    Here is a challenge to the Novick fans--of your own personal knowledge (or after checking with the campaign), tell us:

    a) We all know Steve has overcome many hardships in his life. He has become a succcessful professional. Tell us a story about Steve helping a less fortunate person or group of people overcome hardships (in a role other than as a consultant to a campaign which defeated Sizemore or some other public figure).

    b) Tell us an inspiring story about Steve--something he has done which will inspire others. (For example: Drove for Meals on Wheels, kept a community center from closing, or some other action which didn't have to do with his professional work we all know about from his biography)

    c)How's that grass roots organizing going? There had to be an infrastructure in Oregon for Obama's campaign to organize appearances in Portland, Salem, Medford (I know the work involved because I was once part of that infrastructure for a presidential candidate's visit and national campaign advance people can't do it all without local help.) So how many counties have active Novick for US Senate grass roots campaign organizations?

    d) Where has Steve spoken to an audience downstate (not Mult., Clackamas, or Washington County) which was not a debate? Where the audience was more than 50 people?

    e) Obama spoke of telling a group of Detroit automakers his plan to increase gas mileage in all cars. THAT is speaking truth to power. Where has Steve made such a speech/appearance since he announced he was running for US Senate? (Saying things in a TV interview or his speech in Sunriver where he said some unpopular things doesn't count.)

    f) Yes, true believers, there are people looking for the soaring rhetoric of the Obama campaign in other candidates as well. If, after seeing the Obama speech today they find the clever Novick ads, the beer, the pointed remarks Steve is famous for and anything else they have noticed unimpressive, can you give us a positive 25 words or less saying "Steve would be a great US Senate nominee and can defeat Gordon Smith because...."?

    I await the responses. Parts of this campaign have been as nasty as anything in the 1992 US Senate primary or the general elections Denny Smith ran against Mike Kopetski. If that sentence bothers you because Steve is the greatest candidate ever and everyone should just realize that and stop asking tough questions, then ignore what I have asked.

    You have something like 8 weeks to win the support of enough Democrats to win the nomination.

    Let's see who is up to this challenge.

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    What evidence do you have that Novick's comments "destroyed the relationship"?

    That's for no one but Obama to judge. If he's satisfied with the context of the comments, I am too. My point, perhaps too obliquely implied, is that Novick's straight talk has a consequence we should weigh. A lot of people have made some variant of Darrel's argument on this thread--that for Novick's words to be harmful, Obama had to be offended. But, when you're calling people frauds and tools, we as voters can judge whether we think it's smart politics that will advance the progressive agenda. Whether or not Obama would be offended by these comments, they have an effect.

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    i love it when partisans from any campaign give "advice" to partisans from the other side (this applies to both campaigns supporters, but this is blueoregon where the majority of concern trolling comes from the merkley side).

    Where did I call it advice? My point was that it's not particularly convincing to answer legitimate concerns with smears. This is far from disingenuous commentary; if, as Novickians argue, Novick will beat Merkley, I'd like to see his supporters (which by then will include me) not damage the candidate with this kind of silly politics.

    For example, these comments are not useful to the effort to defeat Gordon Smith (does anyone doubt that's my main concern?):

    "Kari sure learned a thing or two from the Swift-Boaters.... If Merkley and Clinton supporters actually cared about unity first they would urge their candidates to step down." "Moreover, Novick actually believed what he was saying, while Merkley was a repeating a lie written for him by his D.C. consultants." "Do you establishment schmoes ever wonder why people are so turned off by party politics?"

    We can do better than that.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: Tom Civiletti | Mar 21, 2008 11:02:17 AM

    I agree with Novick's critique of Obama. I doubt that Steve would speak in such strong terms today, given his position and Obama's position, but he spoke honestly and out of concern for Democrats doing what is right when he wrote in 2006. That he stands by statements that have become politically inconvenient demonstrates Novick's integrity.

    I fail to see why taking a shot at Obama's ethnicity or calling him a fraud was necessary in order to register disagreement with him on any given issue.

    Senator Trent Lott found out what plenty of others have - that rhetorical diaria is really, really stupid for a Senator to let loose in public. Particularly with respect to ethnicity.

    How would Oregon be served with a Senator marginalized by his own inability to resist making monumentally STUPID statements in public?

    Calling Obama a fraud just reveals Novick's hypocrisy. God knows we have no shortage of hypocritical representatives in Congress.

    Calling Obama the "great Kenya-Kansas hope" was flat out stupid. It was utterly unnecessary to making his point. That he later took shots at his own ethnicity just demonstrates how incredibly tone-deaf Novick is with respect to ethnicity as a whole.

    Oregon can do MUCH better. Although I will concede that the fact that Trent Lott continues on does make the case that Novick could be a Senator.

  • (Show?)
    Novick's straight talk has a consequence we should weigh.

    What, does Jeff Merkley never speak his mind? Are you saying he's comparatively wishy-washy?

    Shouldn't we then be weighing the consequences of a lack of straight talk from Merkley against Novick's propensity for speaking his mind when selecting a Democratic Senate candidate?

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    What, does Jeff Merkley never speak his mind? Are you saying he's comparatively wishy-washy?

    That's about as glaring of a Strawman fallacy as I've ever seen.

    In what alternate reality is the only alternative to "wishy-washy" verbal diaria?

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    paging Kari, Kevin, Steve Maurer, et al --

    This particular smear is a loser for you, but I'm not going to waste a lot of time feeling your pain, because I'm sure you've got some more mud piled up out back, and we'll all see it flying in Steve Novick's general direction soon enough.

    Still: just give this one up. It's so unattractive.

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    How is taking shots at the messenger (Obama) rather than the message (his ethanol policy) now being reinvented as "straight talk"?

    If Steve Novick had a problem with a policy Obama was advocating then nothing at all prevented him from laying into that policy with all of his might. But taking a shot at the person was petty, stupid and above all divisive. It was utterly unnecessary!!

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    Bottom line question for Oregonians:

    How would progressive change be furthered by a Senator who openly mocks "prudence" and has a history of taking cheap shots at either of the Democrats who may well be our next President?

  • BCM (unverified)
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    Novick is way off the mark and his refusal to back down only compounds the problem. He obviously believes what he's saying though, which is the biggest problem of all since it tells us he's a [Ron] Paul-tard.

  • (Show?)

    I am so sick and tired of this stuff. And this "you're not a real Democrat" crap towards us Novick supporters is really pissing me off.

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    How would progressive change be furthered by a Senator who openly mocks "prudence" and has a history of taking cheap shots at either of the Democrats who may well be our next President?

    Dana Carvey as George H.W. Bush: "Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture."

    A little less prudence from the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate the past eight years would have been more than welcome. I mean, instead of the whole sucking up to the Iraq war thing.

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    LT, since Steve's campaign has signed off BlueO for the duration, you may wish to direct your questions to them in email, or in some other venue where they can read and respond. That's assuming that you are actually interested in the answers, and not simply fulminating as you sometimes do.

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    That's about as glaring of a Strawman fallacy as I've ever seen.

    Actually, it's fairly simple logic.

    If you're criticizing Novick as a candidate for saying things that might piss off someone in the party leadership, then you're presenting the case that your candidate would never do such a thing (otherwise they would be subject to similar criticism).

    If your candidate would never say anything that would upset someone in the party leadership, they're basically going to have to be a yes man -- or person.

    Simple enough.

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    If you're criticizing Novick as a candidate for saying things that might piss off someone in the party leadership, then you're presenting the case that your candidate would never do such a thing (otherwise they would be subject to similar criticism).

    All you've done is to restate it as another glaring Strawman fallacy.

    It is entirely possible to say things that might piss off someone in party leadership without resorting to childish schoolyard tactics of calling them names or taking shots at their ethnicity.

  • (Show?)
    helping kids, senior citizens, veterans, workers who are struggling or have lost jobs. How is the Novick campaign addressing those issues, specifically?

    Have you, uh, looked at the Issues page on Novick's website?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kevin,

    Your comments look like hyper-criticality to me. Merkley supporters instantly absolved Jeff for voting in favor of a resolution that praised the courage of Shrub for invading Iraq, but they are aghast at Novick for noticing that some of Obama's questionable decisions have pleased wealthy interests. This is out of balance thinking.

    To demonstrate my neutrality, I offer this critique of Novick: Steve called out Obama for what looked like fealty to Big Ag and weapon manufacturers, but actively opposed the effort (Measures 46 and 47) to limit the political influence of wealthy interests here in Oregon, and did so by personally attacking the measures' primary author, Dan Meek. Might it be that Novick was influenced by the position of some of the left-leaning groups that have paid for his services?

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    I don't like it when politicians play it safe, but I do think Novick went a bit too far saying Obama is captive to special interests fraud. It looks as though Obama will be our nominee, and you don't want Smith drudging up these old comments to use against Novick.

    I will say that we should be more worried about the mud flung between the Obama and Hillary camps. How can either of them support each other without having all their negative attacks come up?

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    If your candidate would never say anything that would upset someone in the party leadership, they're basically going to have to be a yes man -- or person.

    LNG terminals in Oregon are the perfect example to debunk your Strawman fallacy.

    Do you think that Governor Kulongoski LIKED it when Jeff Merkley, the guy he'd endorsed, publically opposed his policy? Do you think that some of the unions which had likewise endorsed him LIKED it when he publically opposed a concept which some of their union members stood to benefit from via new jobs?

    Did Jeff Merkley have to resort to calling Kulongoski a "fraud" or make smartass quips about the ethnicity of union leaders? Hell NO.

    THAT is how a grown-up speaks truth to power. They make their point crystal clear without having to resort to childish name-calling or petty ethnic quips.

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    ...childish schoolyard tactics of calling them names...

    So Merkley is never going to call anyone a "special-interests fraud" even if he truly believes that they are indeed a fraud regarding special interests?

    Sounds "honest" to me!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kevin wrote:

    "THAT is how a grown-up speaks truth to power. They make their point crystal clear without having to resort to childish name-calling or petty ethnic quips."

    No, Kevin, that is how the subversion of democracy by moneyed interests goes unchallenged in this country.

    As to the "Kenya-Kansas" quip, it echoes Obama's own words. It is hardly a macaca moment.

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    Merkley supporters instantly absolved Jeff for voting in favor of a resolution that praised the courage of Shrub for invading Iraq

    Tom, thanks for that perfect example of why numerically superior Dems continue struggle against numerically inferior GOPers. Far too many of you obstinantly refuse to learn Sun Tzu's maxim - Know Thy Enemy. As a consequence, many of you gullibly fell for this repackaged, GOP-originated smear of Jeff Merkley. A little time with our friend Google would have enlightened you to the stunningly obvious fact that voting against HR2 and it's varied cousins across the country was and is what the Republicans were hoping Dems would do.

    It's too bad that Novick disavows prudence, because if he valued it then he might have figured out that by parroting the RPO's HR2 attack he is carrying Gordo's water for him.

    It is the height of irony that Novickistas continue to attack Jeff Merkley for having actually grasped the HR2 trap for what it was and used it to his advantage... or had you missed the fact that veterans have been swarming to Merkley's side in this primary???

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    No, Kevin, that is how the subversion of democracy by moneyed interests goes unchallenged in this country.

    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tom, do you seriously expect anyone to buy that load of bovine droppings?

    By publically opposing LNG terminals in Oregon Jeff Merkley was actually subversively furthering the goals of moneyed interests????????????????????????

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    Darrel,

    If your idea of progressive change is to turn the United States Senate into an elementary playground where name calling and ethnic jokes are the norm then by all means I would urge you to stand up and shout it from the rooftops.

    I think you'll find that the overwhelming majority of Oregonians don't buy into your idea.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    No, Kevin, I was not commenting of Jeff's LNG position, but on your criticism of Novick's statements about Obama. I apologize for the ambiguity.

  • David McDonald (unverified)
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    It always impresses me when I hear Oregonians so concerned with decorum and the need to "be nice". In other parts of this country;i.e. CHICAGO, people are willing to speak candidly and frankly about their feelings toward others. What you also find is people with tough enough skin to let things roll off their backs.

    It's about time Oregonians became more interested in substance, and less worried about not offending anyone.

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    No, Kevin, I was not commenting of Jeff's LNG position, but on your criticism of Novick's statements about Obama. I apologize for the ambiguity.

    Again, I offer Jeff's handling of his opposition to LNG terminals as an example of how one can very effectively stand up to moneyed interests without resorting to schoolyard name calling.

    If anything, resorting to name calling just undercuts whatever "speaking truth to power" needs to be done. Jeff clearly understands that. Steve clearly doesn't.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, "I am so sick and tired of this stuff. And this "you're not a real Democrat" crap towards us Novick supporters is really pissing me off. "

    Did I say that here? Posted by: LT | Mar 21, 2008 11:35:17 AM

    This is about a question of campaign philosophy which reaches back to long before anyone in Oregon knew the names Steve Novick or Jeff Merkley.

    The question is this: are campaigns about the voters, or are campaigns about the candidates?

    Some of the above comments imply anyone questioning ANYTHING about Steve Novick is a "Merkleyite". Is that really how you are going to win the primary--that anyone who has not already signed up to "stand strong with Steve" is a Merkleyite and deserves to be verbally attacked?

    3 months from now, when the general election gets underway (if there is a recount it would take that long), will you be able to rally independent voters to the Democratic nominee's cause with what has been said here?

    And as TJ said (me quoting him quoting me-gasp :) ) how do any of the comments here feed the hungry, provide health care, end the war, help veterans?

    Or has this become such an intense intramural battle that nothing else matters?

    Because if it has, the US Senate campaign in the summer and fall will likely drop to the bottom of the priority lists of some activists---and no Stop Gordon Smith website will be able to change that.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kevin wrote:

    "A little time with our friend Google would have enlightened you to the stunningly obvious fact that voting against HR2 and it's varied cousins across the country was and is what the Republicans were hoping Dems would do."

    Crafty politics and good governance are not always served by the same decision. Yes, HR2 was a political "gotcha" by the Rs. Jeff decided to play it politically safe and praise a war crime. That is understandable politics, but not good leadership, which is what what I suggested at the time, if you care to look through the first threads on the issue.

  • (Show?)

    Jeff decided to play it politically safe and praise a war crime.

    Yes, that's a pretty concise parroting of the RPO's smear. Nice work, Tom.

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    If your idea of progressive change is to turn the United States Senate into an elementary playground where name calling and ethnic jokes are the norm then by all means I would urge you to stand up and shout it from the rooftops.

    Now that's an example of a straw man argument.

    For one, there are rules about how members of the US Senate can address each other on the Senate floor.

    And as for how they can address each other off the Senate floor, I already posted a part of an Obama letter from just yesterday about Hillary Clinton deliberately misleading the American people, being dishonest, and fudging her experience credentials.

    So spare me the Lieberman-like tears over bitter partisanship within the party. Conflict and competition are how parties evolve. If you'd rather have a big old ossified lockstep organization, I'm sure the Republicans would be happy to have you back voting for them.

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    That is understandable politics, but not good leadership

    Riddle me this, Tom... Why isn't there any apparent grassroots support among veterans (ya know... the ones who Jeff gave a shout out to with HR2) for either Steve Novick or Gordon Smith? Why is Jeff Merkley apparently the one who most lefty veterans are rallying to?

    Do you think that lefty veterans just don't recognize "good leadership" when they see it? Or maybe they're all just Republican moles?

    What is it that you understand so well and which those lefty veterans remain clueless about?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kevin,

    Sometimes the opposition is correct. That is a consequence of human imperfection. Based on your criticism of Novick's justifiable statements as politically disadvantageous and your support for Merkley's politically expedient vote for HR2, you seem to be more concerned with winning than with promoting good policy. Your attitude seems to me better suited to competitive sports than to democratic governance.

    Also, I have seen few Republicans call the Iraq adventure a war crime, as almost all of them supported it enthusiastically at the time of HR2.

  • Sandra (unverified)
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    As someone who occasionally reads this blog, I have to say that I find this post as well as this entire string of comments to be what deters me from being a daily reader. It reminds me a bit too much of middle school.

    Steve Novick's comments are relatively old and to me taken out of context. But then, I'm not as deeply involved with the various details of the whole showdown. I came to the site today to see what Blue Oregon might have to say about Obama's speech in Portland today.

    Whatever Mr. Novick thinks about Obama, his supporters were canvassing the lines of supporters this morning pretty heavily.

    As someone who's undecided on the Merkeley/Novick race, I really don't see how Novick's comments on Obama in 2006 matter - to Obama or Oregon Democrats.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kevin,

    Why is the wisdom and morality of US foreign policy something to be determined only by "lefty veterans", who you claim support Merkley? I just to not understand the sense of your argument.

    If Jeff wanted to make his support of US military personnel part of the record, he could have done so independently and concurrently with voting against HR2. He chose otherwise. It was not a fatal mistake, and it was an understandable one, but it was a mistake.

  • LT (unverified)
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    OK, OK!

    No one should be inspired by the Obama speeches today, they should really be concentrating on comments about sugar and the voting records of Midwestern Senators, or else they should be bogged down in debates over a 2003 Oregon House resolution: "Based on your criticism of Novick's justifiable statements as politically disadvantageous and your support for Merkley's politically expedient vote for HR2.."

    If you think that attitude is going to defeat Gordon Smith this fall, you have a different view of what "sells" in Oregon politics than I do.

    Seems to me the Obama campaign (and other non-US Senate campaigns) are more worthy of my time than who insulted whose beliefs more often--Steve or Jeff.

    Guess that any hope of an inspiring US Senate campaign went out the window a long time ago.

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    Did I say that here?

    I never said you did. But others on here continue to say things like those who support Novick dislike the Democratic Party, see no difference between the two parties, are Nader supporters, etc.

    I've never been anything but 100% Democrat. I see a ton of difference between the two parties. And I have never ever voted for Nader - never even considered it.

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    LT,

    we're trying to win a PRIMARY here, in case you hadn't noticed.

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    Why is Jeff Merkley apparently the one who most lefty veterans are rallying to?

    Because they have a different opinion of who the better candidate is, maybe? Because they've had more dealings with him in the past?

    That doesn't seem like such a difficult question to answer, any more than why the OEA endorsed Novick and other unions endorsed Merkley. Difference of opinion.

    I know that's a difficult concept for some thought police purists to grasp.

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    Kari, this is just lame.

    Quoth LT

    OK, OK!

    No one should be inspired by the Obama speeches today, they should really be concentrating on comments about sugar and the voting records of Midwestern Senators,

    LT, take it up with Kari. He's the one who put this idiotic minor distraction up, with predictable results. And I have to say you took the bait hook, line and sinker -- this would have more credibility it had been your first comment rather than your fourth following three treating Kari's weak post with great seriousness at great length.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    Steve Novick's comments about Obama, whether two months old or fifteen months old, demonstrate a pattern of his contempt for the leaders of his party.

    To me, it's pretty clear that Novick has strongly objected to those Democrats who don't hold every single absolutely uncompromising progressive policy position, even when on the whole the Democrat might be strongly progressive.

    Why does Novick seem to find Democratic politicians repugnant, and yet persist to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate?

    Obama provides the party with perhaps its boldest, most idealistic nominee. And that's not enough for Novick apparently, in fact, Obama is both 'disappointing' and a 'sellout'.

    At the very least, Novick has a very acerbic form of hyperbole. And that sort of inflammatory discourse won't help Obama win Oregon, nor will it help us Democrats to win over moderates and defeat Gordon Smith.

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    Geeze,

    I went all the way out to the wilds of Beaverton and back and although this thread is at over 100 comments, no one has called Novick out for his blatant slam against the Celtic people.

    It's Scots-Irish, with maybe a few Welsh and Gallegos thrown in.

    Scotch is for alcohol and clear cellophane tape manufactured by 3M.

    Where's the outrage?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    "Why does Novick seem to find Democratic politicians repugnant, and yet persist to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate?"

    Perhaps he believes he can do better. How very American!

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    Posted by: Tom Civiletti | Mar 21, 2008 4:43:28 PM

    Ah, but here's the rub: Novick's repugnance is based on such small policy differences. The Obama platform is not that different from the Merkley platform or the Novick platform. Yet, he turns these arguably small differences into divisive, contemptuous remarks that aren't healthy to the cause at hand.

    He should have to be responsible for calling Obama a 'sellout' and Hillary Clinton a 'traitress'. If he's not proactive about that responsibility, if he doesn't clarify his remarks, we voters have the opportunity to hold him responsible at the ballot.

    The abrasive indignation of Steve Novick's campaign messaging, taken together with his previous statements of disdain for Democratic leaders, shows that Steve Novick time and again lets the perfect be the enemy of the good. And the unofficial motto of the U.S. Senate is "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good".

    I am persuaded that Steve Novick's irresponsible ranting indicates his future ineffectiveness in a legislative body like the Senate.

    And for the record, Willamette Week brought this up, not Kari.

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)
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    To all the Novick fans who are defending his opposition to the sugar industry:

    On that score, Novick is right. The sugar industry has been an obamination, a special interest par excellence

    But that is completely beside the point. The point is that Novick didn't just register his disaffection with Obama's policy position. He called him a "fraud".

    It's about name-calling, not policy disagreement.

    Here's a concrete way to think about this: If Novick had been in the Senate in 2006, what would have been the best way to get Obama to change his position on the sugar ethanol issue? By taking to the Senate floor and calling him names? Or quietly requesting a meeting at which he would make his best case.

    Novick is an excellent bomb-thrower. But Merkley will be more effective at actually making change happen.

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    Aren't "rants" supposed to be angry in tone?

    Those comments weren't angry. They were pointed and funny, hardly angry.

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    The point is that Novick didn't just register his disaffection with Obama's policy position. He called him a "fraud".

    It's about name-calling, not policy disagreement.

    Exactly!

    As a policy disagreement I agree with Novick about the sugar lobby. But that's not what this is about. Which just underscores the counterproductiveness of a politician who eschews prudence in favor of gratuitous name calling.

    Given the choice between two equally progressive candidates, one of whom demonstrates tact and relies upon the strength of his argument to pursuade others to his cause and another one of whom seems overly fond of his own witticisms and demonstrates very poor impulse control... I'm going to choose the former. And I'll do so for eminently pragmatic reasons. I want change!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Jack Murray,

    Novick's statements were not about Obama's platform, but about his positions in the Senate. Obama has been campaigning as the candidate who can free government from special interest control in favor of something more attuned to the interests of the people. That is great if he means it.

    I do not speak for Novick, who I have not even endorsed, but I use fairly strong language when I talk about the influence of moneyed interests on government, because their effect is huge, pervasive, and deleterious; and it is minimized by political leaders [no surprise] and the corporate media [no surprise]. The problem is not, usually, one of personal corruption, but of institutional corruption. I doubt very much that Novick believes Obama is an evil man, just as I did not believe Novick [and Kari Chisholm] were evil men when I suggested they were lapdogs of the labor unions during the debate on Measures 46 and 47. For a contemporary discussion of the issue, check out the piece on Larry Lessig available on CommonDreams: Time To Reject Corporate Influence on Washington

    Combating the effect of special interests on government requires strong speech. Obama's record, unlike, for instance, the record of Dennis Kucinich, suggests that he is not immune to the influence of the big lobbies. Perhaps his success at raising money from the little people will fortify his backbone and make him a great president. I hope so. But that would be in the future, and Novick's critique was of Obama in 2006 when it was not off-target.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    I think Kari needs to work for the Clinton campaign. He has that same, slimy kitchen sink approach to politics. Obama, by contrast, is a high-minded man who would never hold it against Novick for a few intemperate remarks Steve might have said. When Barack needed Steve's support -- which is now -- Steve is on board. That's more than can be said for the majority of political candidates in Pennsylvania and in a number of other states.

    Can Kari really be so stupid as to believe that Barack would withhold his support for Steve based on a comment made in 2006? Of course not. Kari has decided that the kitchen sink should be thrown on behalf of Merkley. It's making Jeff look like a weasel (he apparently isn't calling off the attack-dogs) and adding to the likelihood that if Steve won't win, Smith will.

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    "Given the choice between two equally progressive candidates, one of whom demonstrates tact and relies upon the strength of his argument to pursuade others to his cause"

    1) Where are these two equally progressive candidates? There's no plausible basis for not admitting that Novick clearly has the more progressive platform.

    2) how tactful and persuasive was it to threaten to hold up Senate legislation until they heard his mortgage bill?

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    Sometimes "tact" really means timidity.

    Sometimes "getting along" means "going along."

    I personally have had more than enough of that from Jeff Merkley.

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    Jenni Simonis: [O]thers on here continue to say things like those who support Novick dislike the Democratic Party, see no difference between the two parties, are Nader supporters, etc.

    By no means are all Novick supporters people who dislike the Democratic party. I never said that. There are some, like Miles, who honestly believe that Steve Novick is the more electable candidate in both the primary and the general. I have nothing but respect for them, because on primary election day, either they or I will have to admit our perceptions of the race were wrong, and we'll all come together to try to put the Democratic winner into the senate.

    But it's also true that angry leftists who do dislike the Democratic party (yet also want to vote in our primaries), disproportionately support Steve Novick.

    That's not an insult, Jenni. It's simple reality.

    I would venture that the main reason they do is because Mr. Novick occasionally hurls insults at major Democratic leaders when they don't do exactly what he thinks is right (or even merely based on the turn of phrase used in some campaign website). So of course Naderites are going to be attracted to the candidate who most reminds them of Ralph circa 2000 as he led the Green party against Al Gore.

    None of this has anything to do with actually moving the country in the progressive direction. But it hardly matters to Naderites. They're really more interested in expressing their juvenile alienation than doing anything actually constructive.

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    But it's also true that angry leftists who do dislike the Democratic party (yet also want to vote in our primaries), disproportionately support Steve Novick.

    I think the reason is that Novick isn't the same old same old. He's not afraid to be critical of others, even when it's not necessarily popular. He's willing to be honest about his feelings about a position, an issue, etc., even when it means disagreeing loudly with fellow Dems. He doesn't appear to be the type who will go to DC and just follow right along with a Senate that many Americans are extremely unhappy with. He represents a hope that maybe a few people like him in the Senate will help finally push a progressive agenda through. They see him as a way to inject some spine into Congress, the same way many of these same people worked hard for Dean.

    I think the reason why many of these people dislike the Democratic Party is because of what they see happening (or, in actuality, not happening) in DC. Many people equate the "Party" with our representatives in Congress. They become increasingly dissatisfied with Congress, and therefore the Party. I can't tell you how many people I've had write in angrily to be removed as PCPs, from our county mailing list, etc., and all because of Congress.

    Many of these same dissatisfied people were actually looking at the Party as a friend and not a foe for the first time in years. They're signing up to volunteer, filing to run as a PCP, etc. And I'm not surprised to find that all of these people that I've talked to thus far are also Obama supporters - they also see him as a candidate who represents change from politics as usual.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    ...and it is everyone else's growing insensitivity for the FACTS that is causing us to say sweet f*ck all to the Democratic party.

    It's often been debated what the relationship is between the Party, the facts, being progressive and individual candidates on this blog. There can be no further doubt. Kari declares that Novick's remarks are insensitive based PURELY on their effect. No consideration about their accuracy. "We need the party." Not we need more people like Novick. And after what he's done for this blog? As I re-read the post, I am actually getting physically ill. This is disgusting.

    And like this debate would hurt Obama. Do you just like the idea of sucking up to powerful people? Certainly seems to motivate you more than standing behind progressive ones!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It's Scots-Irish, with maybe a few Welsh and Gallegos thrown in.

    Scotch is for alcohol and clear cellophane tape manufactured by 3M.

    The above is correct according to Scots; that is, the Scottish people, but Scotch-Irish is correct using American-English. They say the plane arrived on "shedule" but we say on "skedule."

  • LT (unverified)
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    About comments like this, "I think the reason is that Novick isn't the same old same old. He's not afraid to be critical of others, even when it's not necessarily popular."

    Is being popular a bad thing?

    Secondly, there have been some amazing offline conversations this year when one person who knew Steve before he announced for US Sen. talks to another such person ---conversations between friends.

    One of those people mentions knowing someone active on the Novick campaign, and the other says "Sorry, I've known Steve a long time, but I don't think a 2003 legislative resolution should be the basis for a 2008 US Senate campaign" (or some similar statement). Such discussions do go on, and not necessarily to the betterment of the Novick campaign. Sometimes the person who speaks well of Novick looks shocked that someone else would have a negative reaction to Steve. But maybe that doesn't matter here in the blog world where often it seems that "success" means verbal banter/attack.

    Some people think Steve is the greatest thing since sliced bread, others do not. Why would those others vote for someone who might think Steve is too critical of others while not being specific enough himself going to vote for him? Or don't they matter?

    Chris, there were no comments on this topic when I first started typing---as if that matters. Out in the real world, many of us have other concerns.

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    Four and five years ago I was one of those angry liberals who supported Howard Dean. I'm still angry but I don't seem to recall becoming a "leftist." Perhaps you can help me figure that out, Steve Maurer, because that transition must have been great. I'd like to remember it.

    I still think we would have done no worse with Howard Dean as our nominee, and possibly better, than we did with John Kerry. Sometimes you need something different. All indications are that 2008 is such a year. Voters are screaming for change, and Steve Novick embodies change in a way that Jeff Merkley never would (unless perhaps he were running for President of the League of Women Voters). There is not another white guy candidate in America who embodies change the way Steve Novick does, although Al Franken may come closest.

    Gordon Smith is a highly talented traditional politician. Jeff Merkley is a moderately talented traditional politician. We already know how that election turns out.

    Steve Novick, although far from perfect as we all know (and if we did not know, Blue Oregon would contrive to remind us), is a very talented and clever nontraditional politician who will confound Smith in a general election campaign. It will be just like watching the rebel forces trip up the Imperial Blizzard Walkers in the Battle of Hoth.

    "Sorry, I've known Steve a long time, but I don't think a 2003 legislative resolution should be the basis for a 2008 US Senate campaign" (or some similar statement).

    Since Steve was running for the Senate months before Jeff Merkley announced, and never heard of HR2 until a reporter asked him about it when Merkley decided to run, I think it is inaccurate at best to characterize Steve's campaign as being "based on a 2003 legislative resolution." But that resolution is highly revealing of a sharp distinction between the two principal Democrats in this contest, and the more voters know about it, the more they will make an informed choice as to their preference. Surely, LT, no one can be opposed to making sure the electorate is well informed about the candidates and their similarities and differences? Or is Steve supposed to just lie down and let Chuck Schumer and the DSCC railroad him out of the campaign?

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    I never said being popular is a bad thing. But sometimes, you need to speak up about what is right and what is wrong, even if it isn't popular.

  • LT (unverified)
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    OK Stephanie,

    Are you saying you are willing to bet that nominee Merkley WILL lose and nothing can change that result, but Steve WILL win because no one will be offended by anything he said in the primary or says in the general election and besides he is a better candidate ? Your evidence for that is....?

    When will we hear where Steve stands on the new Sen. Webb GI Bill with 51 current Sen. co-sponsors (but not McCain)? Why not be demanding Gordon Smith speak out on that issue--or is it more fun to blast Merkley?

    Was it really smart to send out an email from the campaign "War, Peace, Beer...." or might it have been smarter to send one email with just the support of "A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq" and another with the other items---so that the one about the plan to end the war could be fwd to people who care about the war but don't drink beer and would consider the other items frivilous?

    Or shouldn't anyone even ask that question?

    "Well informed about the candidates"? What parts of Obama's speech today does Steve admire most? Does he support what the Fed did this week? Does he have any opinions on Obama's speech about race? Did he notice that there is a lot of similarity between what Obama said today about education and what Huckabee was saying?

    Obama has done community organizing (getting actual people into job training, for instance). What has Steve done along those lines, or has his work in Oregon all been behind the scenes--Sen. Dems, Bruggere campaign, etc. ?

    The reason some people I know say "Merkley for Senate, Novick for Chief of Staff" is that they think Steve's greatest strength is behind the scenes. Are they wrong?

    You may not have lived here then, but the primary which nominated DeFazio for his first term in Congress featured a contest not unlike this one--in that case a county comm. running against a state legislator. People outside the district were trying to pressure people there to vote the way they wanted them to vote. People inside the district were saying "Have voted for both of them in the past, and this time each of us makes their own decision which one has the best background and temperment for serving in Congress".

    Would that be a good basis for this primary, or should we consider why the Novick fans are angry at DSCC as a factor (and forget that Steve worked for the DSCC endorsed candidate in 1996)?

    Are you saying that people who have known Steve for years shouldn't base their decision on that experience? How many people have you talked with recently who don't know Steve and were happy to talk with someone who does?

    "Or is Steve supposed to just lie down and let Chuck Schumer and the DSCC railroad him out of the campaign?"

    Where did I say that the guy who worked for the DSCC candidate in 1996 should drop out in favor of the DSCC candidate this time? Or is that just a talking point to rely on when nothing else seems to work?

    Gee, I thought I was saying "Steve is very bright but has made many mistakes and I'd like to see his supporters make a positive, issue oriented case for why Steve should be nominated without mentioning the name Merkley".

    I have said to several people that my concern is an opportunity squandered--we could have had an intelligent issue debate in this primary but instead we see attacks. And before you attack Merkley and say he has done bad things, I don't care. Even if Jeff had been silenced and no one spoke on his behalf, the Novick campaign is responsible for the actions of the Novick campaign, just as it was brainless for Republicans to answer charges against Bush with "But the Democrats...".

    If Steve wins the nomination and doesn't move to unify activists (including praise for all those who worked hard on the Merkley campaign) there is nothing anyone can say or do which will force people to make US Senate their most important fall campaign. (Believe me, the Bruggere campaign tried that and it didn't work!)

    And no, this is not about Kari. If BO did not exist, if I had seen the ads on TV and not online, if I had read the text of the Sunriver speech, combined with the time I took an 18 year old to hear Steve speak in person, I would still feel the same way.

    Most voters have never heard of Kari.

    And how's that downstate grassroots organizing coming along--or shouldn't I be asking that question because it can't be answered with talking points?

    What kinds of crowds is Steve gathering in downstate appearances?

    Stephanie, even if every blogger said "Steve is the greatest candidate ever and Merkley has no good qualities" that is such a small fraction of the electorate that it wouldn't win a statewide campaign.

    I know what it takes to win a statewide campaign--I've worked on such campaigns that won, lost, and one which ended in a 330 vote margin against my candidate.

    In favor of Les AuCoin--who won that recount, didn't reach out to the opposition in the summer and fall, and lost the 1992 election. Now let's see you tie that to Schumer and the DSCC!

    Or, Stephanie, you could write a comment "5 positive reasons why Steve should win the primary". THAT might do the Novick campaign some good among all those people who read BO but don't comment!

  • LT (unverified)
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    "I never said being popular is a bad thing. But sometimes, you need to speak up about what is right and what is wrong, even if it isn't popular."

    Jenni, I admire the poster WHAT IS RIGHT IS NOT ALWAYS POPULAR, WHAT IS POPULAR IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT.

    However, I also believe what a friend says that the approach of "this is what I believe and this is why", said in a diplomatic way, can cause people to say "well, I don't agree with you on that, but I admire the way you say that". It is why Huckabee had fans who strongly disagreed with him on some issues and admired his courage for some of the things he said outside party orthodoxy--esp. on education.

    What I do not admire is the acerbic remark when the same thing could be said diplomatically (wasn't that one of Obama's themes today?).

    An 18 year old friend who might not have been able to name Oregon's 2 Senators was taken to hear Steve speak in person. Unlike Obama's rhetoric (speaking in terms that the people in his old Chicago neighborhood could understand, but using elegant language), Steve sometimes speaks as if he is talking to activists who share his knowledge base (other public figures have the same problem). And rhetorical devices only work if they impress people. At the end of that speech, Steve used his line inspired by the Wizard of Oz, that "Gordon Smith is a good man but a bad Senator".

    The 18 year old's reaction was that Steve reminded her of the Wizard of Oz. There might be others who may think it is time for Gordon to be sent back to the frozen food plant who can name some good things he did as Senator. How does Steve's remark impress those people?

    "The Democratic electorate" is not static. It is anyone who registers in the Democratic Party by the deadline in April---including those who register to vote for Obama. How many such people has Steve spent time with?

    If there is someone in a college dorm who likes Merkley and convinces a fellow student to take a look at Merkley, how is anything said here going to change that student's mind in favor of Novick?

    Steve Novick has a first class mind, but it is sometimes clouded with the certitude that he knows what voters think without asking them (he and I argued about this long before Steve announced for office).

    I'm just trying to get people to see things from a point of view other than their own.

    I find Obama a lot more inspiring than any US Senate candidate. Why would I vote for Novick--because he says things that make him unpopular in some circles? Sorry, that isn't enough of a reason.

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    Why would I vote for Novick--because he says things that make him unpopular in some circles? Sorry, that isn't enough of a reason.

    See, that's the problem. You take one little item and make it seem like that's all there is. No, you shouldn't vote for someone just because he says things that make him unpopular in some circles. He has plenty of text, video, etc. on a variety of issues available. That's a reason to vote for him - his positions on issues, his plans, his ideas, etc.

    You bring up people you've taken to see Steve, but myself and others have had the exact opposite experience. People I've encouraged to see Steve, people I've played videos of his speech to, etc. are inspired by him. His words resonate with them. And not a single one of them are activists.

    If there is someone in a college dorm who likes Merkley and convinces a fellow student to take a look at Merkley, how is anything said here going to change that student's mind in favor of Novick?

    None of us have said it would. What would change the person's mind in favor of Novick would be finding out that person's issues, what they think is important, etc. and then giving them information on Novick in regards to those issues. Making it personal for someone is always the best way to get a vote.

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    They see him as a way to inject some spine into Congress, the same way many of these same people worked hard for Dean.

    There are plenty of Deaniacs supporting Merkley, and for the EXACT same reason. I could tick off several names and I don't know but a tiny fraction of Merkley supporters.

    I think the reason why many of these people dislike the Democratic Party is because of what they see happening (or, in actuality, not happening) in DC.

    There are plenty of progressive non-Dems supporting Merkley too. Again, I could tick off several names just from my limited contact with Merkley supporters.

    And I'm not surprised to find that all of these people that I've talked to thus far are also Obama supporters - they also see him as a candidate who represents change from politics as usual.

    Same song, third verse.

    None of those reasons or demographics explain why some choose Novick and some choose Merkley.

    I think Steven is essentially correct about the "angry" part. Although I would substitute "petulant." That's the one big difference that I see. Most Merkley supporters that I've had interaction with see the cup as being half full rather than half empty. They understand that the 50% + 1 divide and conquer tactics of the GOP represent the worst of America rather than the best of America. My sense is that most Novick supporters would be only too happy with 50% + 1, by whatever means necessary.

    I remember the many months early on when Merkley was focused solely on Gordon Smith and Novick supporters kept whining about it, petulantly demanding that Merkley pay attention to Novick. Novick kept taking shots at Merkley and Merkley kept ignoring them to maintain his focus on Gordon Smith... you know, the REPUBLICAN we're trying to get rid of.

    Now that Merkley is paying attention to Novick, once again the Novick supporters are... whining!!!

    When Novick gets a union endorsement they crow about how great it is.

    When Merkley gets a union endorsement they pooh-pooh the merit of any endorsement as not being all that important.

    When Novick gets a major political figure to endorse him they crow about how he's got all this momentum.

    When Merkley gets a major political figure to endorse him they discount anything but the vote in May as being meaningful.

    Most of your online contingent come across as angry, whining, malcontent children petulantly throwing temper tantrums when things don't go exactly how they think it should.

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    I remember the many months early on when Merkley was focused solely on Gordon Smith and Novick supporters kept whining about it, petulantly demanding that Merkley pay attention to Novick. Novick kept taking shots at Merkley and Merkley kept ignoring them to maintain his focus on Gordon Smith... you know, the REPUBLICAN we're trying to get rid of. Now that Merkley is paying attention to Novick, once again the Novick supporters are... whining!!!

    And of course the person to blame for that is...Jeff Merkley. When Merkley entered the primary, Steve thought the best way to help Democrats was a series of joint appearances where both men would make the case against Smith, and make their own case so voters could compare at the same time. It would keep the focus where it belongs, keep the primary civil and on point because of their interaction, and show a party ready to take over that seat no matter who you preferred.

    Merkley had none of it, was told by the DC boys to keep his head down and raise, and assumed the posture of the presumptive nominee. Now that strategy has bitten them in the ass, and you want to blame Novick? Good one.

    And he's not paying attention to Novick, he's paying attention to stuff that has nothing to do with honest debate. He's going Clinton, trying to regain momentum by slashing at the guy getting the good press. This latest silly season salvo is like buttonholing Dad barely in the front door from work, telling that Steve said a curse word, but Jeff made his bed and has Dad's pipe. Talk about childish!

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, such is life: "You bring up people you've taken to see Steve, but myself and others have had the exact opposite experience".

    And that is OK. If everyone you know has a positive impression of Steve, more power to you!

    I agree that making it personal to someone is what wins elections.

    I have no idea how the Novick organizing is doing outside the Portland area, where he stands on particular legislation I care about (like Sen. Webb's new GI Bill), what he agrees/ disagrees with in the Oregon Obama speeches and the speech on race and unity earlier this week. I wonder how much of a tour of the state Steve is doing, where he is appearing, what kind of crowds he is getting.

    But it seems those are all secondary to the comments of many here.

    If Steve got 50 people to show up for an appearance in Medford, then what does it matter that DSCC backed Merkley? If he backs the Webb GI bill or some other specific legislation, what does it matter that Kari supports Merkley?

    My problem is that I recall an outspoken candidate who showed up to a roomful of people in Albany years ago and was warned to soft pedal the abortion issue. The hostess said these people might vote for a Democrat who was not in-your-face about that issue but wouldn't support a "say it loud, I'm a NARAL member and I'm proud" politician.

    When asked about abortion, this candidate said "I'm for it!" instead of a more nuanced answer. The audience then tuned out the candidate and the hostess was still angry about that weeks later.

    That candidate was as outspoken as Steve, had an equally strong base of support, won some primaries but never won elective office. But according to some here, that could never happen to Steve and anyone who worries about that sort of thing must be a Merkley supporter. Not the best way to win friends and influence people!

    If I worry Steve might do something similar, being told I don't realize people like him because he says unpopular things is not going to make me worry less about that.

    THIS is what I worry about with the Novick campaign. If he wins the nomination, then "But Kari and the Merkley campaign..." are stale remarks, well beyond the sell-by date the day after the primary. What will those who are so gung ho on Steve now say then? That it is our duty to support Steve and never ask another question? That was tried in 1996 and it failed miserably.

    If the focus of Steve's campaign is what's wrong with Merkley, and no one should express concern about what some consider not ready for prime time activities (the beer, the emphasis on shallow but clever and memorable ads, the anger towards anyone who has the "gall" to see value in an elected official running for higher office even if every Democrat doesn't agree with every item in the voting record),what happens if Steve wins the nomination? Will all Democrats automatically say Steve's the one and never give him constructive criticism after that? How would that help defeat Gordon Smith?

    Statements of support like: "Darned right I am voting for Steve because of his stand on..."

    "Gee, I am so proud of Steve because of the work he did on..."

    "My friend convinced me to vote for Steve because..."

    "I've known Steve for many years and really appreciate how he treats his friends"

    would be more convincing than:

    "Kari, you're a raving hypocrite with no sense of shame."

    "If you would only read what he has on his website, you'd agree" (as if it is impossible to read the entire website and not agree with everything---that is an old political trick, "you have read it, therefore you agree with everything it says" but not a very successful approach with people like me)

    "we're trying to win a PRIMARY here, in case you hadn't noticed. "

    "And of course the person to blame for that is...Jeff Merkley".

    But if people don't understand "where I am coming from" on this, there is nothing I can do.

  • Tiresias (unverified)
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    To the dozen or so people who are ruining this blog:

    Have you nothing better to do with your Friday night? Haven't you rehashed every possible Merkley vs. Novick argument by now? Most of you appear to be good writers who are genuinely intelligent, but this insanity is a waste of your talent.

    Please stop. Please.

  • (Show?)
    When will we hear where Steve stands on the new Sen. Webb GI Bill with 51 current Sen. co-sponsors (but not McCain)? Why not be demanding Gordon Smith speak out on that issue--or is it more fun to blast Merkley?

    Perhaps you haven't been paying attention, but Gordon Smith came out as a co-sponsor of the bill earlier this month. It's not exactly "new," Webb introduced it the first day the Democrats took over the majority in the Senate last year, and Wyden's been a co-sponsor for a year already.

    Smith's right there in the list of the bill's sponsors. And he even managed to get the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to send out an email praising him for signing on.

    Dear Darrel Plant, Great news! Your senator, Gordon Smith, just took a major step towards making a modern GI Bill a reality by signing onto S.22, the new legislation that is making its way through Congress. As you know, IAVA's number one priority this year is getting the new GI Bill passed, so that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can afford to go to college after they return from war. Please take a minute to call Senator Smith and thank him for his support of this critical legislation.

    Never too late to give lip service in an election year, I guess.

    I passed copies of the IAVA message on to Jake Weigler of the Novick campaign and Kari.

  • (Show?)

    None of those reasons or demographics explain why some choose Novick and some choose Merkley.

    And I wasn't trying to. I was explaining why some of those people chose Novick. I wasn't talking about Merkley.

    There are at least dozens of different reasons why people have chosen Merkley. Some did it because he's already an elected official and they see him standing a better chance. Some people like Merkley's position on an issue better than they do Novick. Some are good friends with Merkley and always support him. Some are fellow legislators and believe he'll be a great U.S. Senator. There are a ton of reasons why someone could pick one over the other.

    I was just pointing out the reasons why those I know that fall into the categories Steve Maurer described.

    And calling Novick supporters petulant is like calling the kettle black. I've seen you just as rude to Novick supporters as some Novick supporters have been to Merkley supporters. I try to stay out of the name calling and petty bickering, but it is making me madder and madder to see this crap continue. You can't criticize Novick (a Democrat) and then whine about him criticizing Democrats. You can't be rude to others and then accuse them of being rude. That seems to be a big problem around here - people accusing others of activities they're guilty of themselves. I know I, for one, am tired of it. It gets us nowhere except in this stupid circular firing squad, which honestly are chasing some people away from supporting the nominee if it's not their candidate. That's a very stupid course of action for any of us to take if our goal is indeed to defeat Gordon Smith this fall. After all, we need more than just all our active supporters' votes, we also need their time knocking on doors, their dollars to run the campaign, etc. And people who are turned off by a campaign's actions are extremely unlikely to give anything more than their single vote.

    I'm sure the Republicans just sit back and laugh at all the time we take bashing each other over stupid stuff like a 10 year-old letter to the editor, a blog entry that was at least half tongue-in-cheek, etc. All the less time to spend on looking into Smith, what he's up to, etc. If we spent the time digging into Smith that we did digging up useless junk, we have a chance at winning in November.

  • (Show?)

    Also, having spoken with numerous "silent" Blue Oregon visitors recently, the feelings above that I just wrote are a fair description of how they felt as well. They wish it would all just stop from supporters on both sides so that we can get into the real issues. But as long as one side stirs something up, the other side will always feel duty bound to respond.

    I feel like I'm a mom with little kids that need to be separated.

    "He started it."

    "No, he started it."

    I feel like something needs to step in my like mom always did, separate us, and say "and now I ended it."

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I'll be voting for Obama unless something extraordinary occurs to cause me to change my mind, but I find it absurd that anyone might take the position of see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil about Obama. He is clearly the best, or the least flawed, of the remaining candidates running for president, but he has been in politics for some time and it would be surprising if some "special interests" haven't already purchased a piece of the action. If Obama gets the nomination, much stronger criticism than Steve Novick's will be hurled at him. It is about time for the more starry-eyed acolytes in Obama's entourage to get the message that he doesn't walk on water, nor is he perfect. That way they will be better able to deal with attacks from the right wing and not collapse with some sense of betrayal if some of those attacks stick.

    This http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat?pid=300860>Clinton Lie Kills Her Credibility on Trade Policy is another reason why I'm opposed to Hillary and for Obama. This quote from an article by Gore Vidal reinforces that decision: "I speak ex cathedra now, ad urbe et orbe, with a warning that no society so marinated in falsity can long survive in a real world."

  • anon (unverified)
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    I never said being popular is a bad thing. But sometimes, you need to speak up about what is right and what is wrong, even if it isn't popular.

    So it's "right" to say that Obama is a "fraud" and a "sellout"?

    Novick supporters on this thread are really missing the point, it seems.

  • (Show?)

    I had breakfast yesterday with an Oregon senator and during the conversation, he mentioned the disconnect that occurs between running as an ideologue focused on favorite issues, and the reality of being a legislator and actually getting favored legislation passed.

    We talked about several legislators, some of whom never get beyond the tiny notes pinned to their foreheads, while others buckle down and learned the rules, customs, and personalities that determine if a bill gets heard and/or passed.

    Now I've railed against the incumbent Dem legislators for their behavior and lack of attention to the Constiution and progressive values, and will continue to do so. I'm no fan of protocol, mutual comity, or diplomacy, and I ain't running for office, in fact I'd bet that if I announced for Dog Catcher here on Blue Oregon, the derisive laughter from list regulars could be heard all the way out here in Sandy.

    In short, I'm a bomb thrower, and even if he has 50 IQ points on me, Novick's a bomb thrower too, whose behavior both in person annd in comments and speeches, is a lot more about throwing witty lines than building coalitions to accomplish progressive goals.

    So Jenny, add this to your list of reasons why poeple support Merkley.

    I support him because, he has demonstrated the ability to change minds without personal insult, build coalitions through persuasion, and advance shared goals.

    Novick has, shown me personally and in print, that he's at least as ill suited to this task as I am.

    I don't want a senator that says lots of things that make me feel good, but in the end is so polarizing as to be totally ineffective.

    The fact is that these two candidates are pretty similar in their actual policy positions, so I have to judge based on who I think will get the job done, not who can get a headline for speaking truth to power or some other long charished lefty cliche.

    If you demonstrate none of the skills required to govern, I ain't voting for you over the guy that shares your goals and has a record of success in implementing those goals.

  • Ben Hubbird (unverified)
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    This thread is ridiculous. Novick's comments were clearly a joke. To pretend otherwise is so disingenuous as to be laughable.

    Next week on BlueOregon: "Novick supported term limits!!! Read his voters pamplet statement!!!"

  • (Show?)

    "whose behavior both in person annd in comments and speeches, is a lot more about throwing witty lines than building coalitions to accomplish progressive goals."

    You do realize that a contested primary isn't at all like governing or mobilizing for change on a specific issue, right? Sort of not the time. Steve's bonafides on building coalitions to accomplish goals are well established--and usually occur in the vacuum left by legislative inaction at one level or another. So this is a canard, frankly.

    And I think lighting a lurker's candle rather than cursing the regulars' darkness is probably more useful, Tiresias.

  • (Show?)
    I had breakfast yesterday with an Oregon senator and during the conversation, he mentioned the disconnect that occurs between running as an ideologue focused on favorite issues, and the reality of being a legislator and actually getting favored legislation passed.

    Well, if that Oregon senator was Ron Wyden, perhaps you could have asked him why it took three years before he spoke out against the Iraq war once he'd cast his vote on the AUMF. Sometimes "getting things done" actually means taking a stand on an issue and pushing that agenda forward, not sitting back and letting the waves of history wash over you.

    Take a look at Wyden's press releases and news clips from 2003 to 2006. Not a word there about ending the war. There are a few pieces about oversight of war spending, but nothing said about the need to actually end the war.

    Wyden's one of the two-fifths of the Democrats in the Senate who voted against the AUMF originally. But for whatever reason, he wasn't willing to speak out publicly against the biggest policy disaster of the past five years.

    If you want a disconnect, it was staring you right in the face over breakfast.

  • anon (unverified)
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    This thread is ridiculous. Novick's comments were clearly a joke. To pretend otherwise is so disingenuous as to be laughable.

    So does this mean that when Novick gets offensive, it's all just a big joke and we should laugh it off?

    This is what you want me to vote for when I make my mark on the primary ballot for U.S. Senate?

  • (Show?)

    "Argue ideas but don't attack a person" is the first thing that they teach you in high school debate. Steve Novick apparently never learned that lesson.

    Obama is wrong on sugar. But his other measures to fight greenhouse gases (like 100% auction of permits in his cap and trade system) are historic in their opposition to special interests.

    Calling a great American and Democrat a fraud because you disagree with him on one out of thousands of issues on which you agree is no way to be a successful legislator.

  • (Show?)

    Darrel,

    I should have specified that it was a state senator.

    As for your attack on Wyden, do your reaserch. He's been one of the very few senators that has stood solidly for the Bill of Rights and against this alleged foreign policy for years. If you feel that he's been insufficiently vitriolic, I'd disagree. (see my comment above).

    TJ,

    When you say You do realize that a contested primary isn't at all like governing or mobilizing for change on a specific issue, right? , you make my point for me, except that there's a huge difference in skill sets required to be a lobbyist.......er, moblize for change.....and actually governing. Since Novick has never held elective office, we pretty much have to go on what he says and how he behaves.

    That was the whole point of my comment. Novick's abrasive and witty style provides a warm feeling for the faithful while piling up resentment from the targets of his ridicule. Not a good way to move the progressive agenda forward.

    Contrast Obama's style with that of Novick, and it's a pretty stark difference.

    Contrast Novick's style and statements with Merkley's and your choice of candidates is clear too. Two candidates with very similar platforms, and very different approaches to governance.

    I'm not gonna be happy with a stack of rhetorical bon mots. I want progressive change, and that happens through coalition building within the Senate.

    Novick has so far exhibited no skills in that area.

    Merkley has been through that fire, both in the minority and as majority leader.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Pat, thank you for this remark:

    "That was the whole point of my comment. Novick's abrasive and witty style provides a warm feeling for the faithful while piling up resentment from the targets of his ridicule. Not a good way to move the progressive agenda forward."

    I have been applying Barry Goldwater's famous "Catch more flies with vinegar than by hitting them over the head" test to candidates since long before the Internet existed. The idea is as old as the Aesop's fable of the Wind and the Sun (a contest where the wind and the sun compete to see who can get the man to take his coat off first, and the wind just makes the man wrap it tighter around himself).

    Personal touches say a lot. I recall one campaign year when the frontrunning candidate was coming to town and either he or his campaign called the leader of a campaign whose candidate had dropped out and issued a personal invitation to a luncheon.

    Another time, someone working for a presidential campaign made a comment "manners cost you nothing, but they can reap big awards".

    Maybe some consider such "soft skills" less important than "speaking truth to power", but who says we can't demonad both?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Obama is wrong on sugar. But his other measures to fight greenhouse gases (like 100% auction of permits in his cap and trade system) are historic in their opposition to special interests.

    If Obama is still for bio-fuels then he is wrong on that, too. It is part of The Folly of Turning Water Into Fuel and raising the price of food.

  • (Show?)

    Pat Ryan: Darrel, I should have specified that it was a state senator.

    That's OK. He's an equal-opportunity hater.

  • (Show?)

    Pat, I have done my research. I went through Wyden's press releases and statements. I used an online newspaper database to look for articles where he'd made statements about the war.

    That's how I can say with relative certainty that in the first three years of the war Wyden never issued a press release or made a public statement calling for the end of the war. Even the info sheet Wyden's staff passed out at last August's PSU town hall said that his first call against the war didn't come until April 8, 2006. It's not that he wasn't "sufficiently vitriolic." He didn't say anything.

    And for all of you Barry Goldwater fans, Goldwater at least put his marker on the line in May 1973 -- a year before the House began impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon -- and said that if Nixon had lied to the American people that he should resign before it came to impeachment.

    Should President Nixon resign? If the President of the United States lied to the American people, then the question is: Can you trust him? Impeachment would come up. And this country is in too much trouble internationally to have such a gigantic demonstration of distrust in its leaders. I'm convinced he knew nothing at the inception [of the Watergate affair]. But the coverup? If it can be proved that he lied, resignation would have to be considered. It would be quick. Everything would be over, ended. It wouldn't drag out like impeachment.

    That trust question was the one I asked Wyden seven months ago, after he'd spent a couple of hours telling everyone impeachment would take too long. It took less than six months to go from the House considering impeachment against Nixon to him leaving the White House.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Pat, glad to know there is a state senator who understands the difference between ideologues and those who get things done--I'll bet that applies to several who understand the difference and several who don't.

    And about this: In short, I'm a bomb thrower, and even if he has 50 IQ points on me, Novick's a bomb thrower too, whose behavior both in person annd in comments and speeches, is a lot more about throwing witty lines than building coalitions to accomplish progressive goals.

    Those of us who have been at the state capitol or part of coalitions that actually get things passed understand that. Someone once compared the process to a movie maker who wants to make a movie a particular way. Changing the ending, or changing one of the characters into a different kind of person would fit the description of violating core principles. Changing the lighting in one scene from a green lighting to white or blue lighting is about how something looks, not the core message. Lighting changes don't change the ending of the movie, for instance.

    Unfortunately, what burns out many people on politics is just this question:

    Are you willing to do the equivalent of changing the lighting from green to blue lighting to achieve the goal? Or must it be the whole package and if people don't like the green lighting they don't see why something is important?

    THAT is what frustrates some people who might agree with Steve on some issues and admit he is very bright. If they don't think the ads are so cool Steve should never be asked to run more substantive ads, if they are unimpressed with the beer, then they just don't understand that Steve speaks truth to power! Yeah, right.

    Those of us who have ever made a living in sales understand that the customer rules--a Mac person is unlikely to buy a PC, someone with a 3 story house is unlikely to buy a 20 lb. vacuum and lug it up those stairs just because the sales person thinks the product is the best ever.

    And no, those of us who say Novick fans should be making a positive case rather than what we have seen over the last several months are not "Merkleyites".

    They are the equivalent of a customer saying "That sales person is pushy and rude!" as they walk away contemplating whether to report the sales person to the management before walking out of the store and possibly never going back to that store again.

    There are people who work in stores and in other customer service occupations who understand this better than people who have had low customer contact/ high paying/ high prestige jobs for most or all of their lives. Like my friend who was a server for a venue which did a lot of political fundraisers (along with her other job) and told all her friends which candidates treated her as a potential voter and which treated her like "the help". The first candidate wanted her vote, the second led to her telling all her friends why she wouldn't support that candidate (regardless of party or anything else).

    Now customer service workers understand this but very intelligent people can't grasp that concept, then it is not the fault of those who are not impressed with the tone of the Novick campaign.

    This section DOES NOT belong in the same email with the endorsement of the Responsible Plan to End the War from the Novick campaign (email signed Novick Campaign Team--complain to them if you don't like people being unimpressed with their email).

    New Video Clips: Steve & Jeff at the Eugene City Club We've got highlights from the March 7 candidates forum in Eugene for your viewing pleasure. Find out which candidate catches fire, and which candidate's pants catch on fire ... then pass it on to your friends who haven't made up their minds yet.

    If it appears juvenile, makes some people who get the email say OH! GROW UP!, then it is not helping the campaign.

    ---and if that makes me an old fogey, it sure doesn't make me someone who would fwd the email to friends, much less campaign for Steve!

  • (Show?)

    This thread is ridiculous. Novick's comments were clearly a joke. To pretend otherwise is so disingenuous as to be laughable.

    Ben, I don't think so, but I could see how his first set of comments could be considered a joke.

    The second set of comments, however, can't possibly be construed as a joke.

    "That is the mark of a complete sellout to the military-industrial complex. And of a politician sorely lacking in fiscal responsibility. ... [Obama] shows a stunning degree of fealty to the military-industrial complex, and/or unjustifiable political timidity."

  • (Show?)
    When you say You do realize that a contested primary isn't at all like governing or mobilizing for change on a specific issue, right? , you make my point for me, except that there's a huge difference in skill sets required to be a lobbyist.......er, moblize for change.....and actually governing. Since Novick has never held elective office, we pretty much have to go on what he says and how he behaves.</blocquote> Only if you stopped reading what I said, where you clipped it. As I noted, Steve has a strong record of working with coalitions he had to help build (not ones that were there for him, like legislative colleagues) and getting things done--where legislators couldn't. And I'll ask again--what coalition did Merkley build with Peter Courtney and other Senate colleagues when he threatened to hold their bills hostage unless they considered his? I'll take tough talk over obstreperous, pointless behavior any day.
  • (Show?)

    As I noted, Steve has a strong record of working with coalitions he had to help build (not ones that were there for him, like legislative colleagues) and getting things done--where legislators couldn't.

    Again you make my point for me. Novick ain't running to be the head of a "coalition that he had to help build."

    He's running for US Senate, which as you note is "already there for him", and that is what the winner of the '08 election will encounter in DC, whether they agree with or like any of the other 99 senators.

    Whole different dynamic requiring a whole other skillset.

    In the legislature, you deal with those present, not those that you wish to deal with. You never ever win 'em all in that environment, but if you don't burn your bridges with your colleagues, you might get a chance to win the next one.

    Merkley gets that, as proven by his track record.

  • (Show?)
    In the legislature, you deal with those present, not those that you wish to deal with. You never ever win 'em all in that environment, but if you don't burn your bridges with your colleagues, you might get a chance to win the next one.

    There's a long leap from the claim in this post that remarks by Steve Novick made here at Blue Oregon -- and now considered "rants" by Kari -- have burned any bridges with anyone.

    As I've pointed out on this very thread, Obama's own campaign is characterizing Clinton as dishonest and accuses her of "misleading the American people." Calling her a liar, in short. Yet Obama presumably believes that he can manage to get past that once the nomination is settled and he has to lead the party, which is roughly split between his supporters and people who have supported the woman he's calling a liar. The same thing goes double if Clinton manages to pull it out by some miracle.

  • (Show?)

    Merkley's track record? His track record of "burning bridges" with his colleagues as he did this session?

    LT, surely you remember your Leg history well enough to know that Steve's been inside the Capitol a time or two, given his job with the Senate. Ask Kate Brown or Cliff Trow whether he was useful and cooperative in a legislative setting, how about--and if he was instrumental in reversing the trend away from a GOP Senate and towards a Democratic one, starting in that 97-98 cycle.

  • (Show?)

    If we spent the time digging into Smith that we did digging up useless junk, we have a chance at winning in November.

    Jenni,

    That's what Jeff was doing! That's what his supporters were more than content with. It is, afterall, the prize which LT keeps wisely suggesting we keep our eyes on. That's what WE kept saying back when TJ, Stephanie and the rest of them kept trying to make it all about Steve versus Jeff.

    So now you want to plaintively bemoan the lack of focus as if you didn't know that the genesis of this spat can be traced directly back to Steve Novick? Is that really the reputation you want to follow you long after this primary race is over?

  • (Show?)

    Kevin:

    Actually, I have no problem with there being information that distinguishes Merkley from Novick. There should be - they are running against each other. Otherwise, how will voters know what the difference is between the two candidates?

    However, it should be things about how they disagree on how they'd vote on something, the differences between their positions, etc.

    This stuff that's been going around is just junk.

  • anon (unverified)
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    Merkley's track record? His track record of "burning bridges" with his colleagues as he did this session?

    Which colleagues, specifically?

    You know as well as anyone that in the 2007 session, Merkley brought together Republicans AND Democrats. So you must have some idea which in the 2008 session you're referring to.

    Merkley has a great reputation for bringing legislators together to solve problems. So you must have a list of burned bridges. Share it please.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    How many Obama supporters are basically arguing that substance, intelligence and judgment make up for "experience" when it comes to Obama becoming commander-in-chief but are arguing against Steve Novick for not having held elective office? This is a brief abstract from Paul Wellstone's biography on Wikipedia:

    "In 1982, he ran for state auditor, but lost to Arne Carlson. In 1988, he was the Minnesota campaign manager for Jesse Jackson's Presidential campaign.

    "In 1990, Wellstone ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Rudy Boschwitz, beginning the race as a serious underdog. He narrowly won the election, after being outspent by a 7-to-1 margin."

    According to that summary, it looks like Paul Wellstone went to the Senate without the "benefit" of having held elective office.

    There is not much I would rather see than Steve Novick be his own version of Wellstone in the Senate.

    What was the original purpose of this thread - rant - other than to get something negative going against Steve Novick? We need more people in Congress who are individuals representing the people and living up to their oaths to defend the Constitution instead of betraying their oaths like Gordon Smith and Merkley's sponsor, Chuck Schumer.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Bill,you miss the point. A candidate as witty as Wellstone would be doing better now than an angry candidate with angry supporters who can't understand why people actually question details of the campaign (such as the "pants on fire" item in an otherwise serious email).

    Ron Wyden had never held public office before running for Congress and he won. But Ron was never known for acerbic comments, had a background in grass roots organizing (Gray Panthers) and has always worked on bringing people together--by actual hard work, not acerbic remarks and an attitude that his friends like him therefore everyone else should as well. Ron runs serious campaigns, made and kept the promise of at least one town hall meeting every year in every county (has done 2 in Salem this year) and engages in dialogue rather than just being clever.

    TJ, are you saying Steve recruited candidates, and went out to their districts and campaigned for them?

    "...he was instrumental in reversing the trend away from a GOP Senate and towards a Democratic one, starting in that 97-98 cycle."

    We had a 1998 State Senate campaign here, but I don't recall any help from the caucus office. Did he help Tony Corcoran defeat Cedric Hayden, or Metsger defeat Grisham?

    And wasn't he in a staff role? Why is that the same as elective office?

    It is my belief that what finally broke the Republican majority was a number of efforts including the 2002 Bus Project campaigning. One of the Senators elected that year also thought that was a major factor in his race.

    Bill, why do you think comments like "Merkley's sponsor Chuck Schumer" will gain votes for Steve?

    The tide has turned, folks, and people are looking for optimism, not just old line "we know what we are doing" politics (that's why Hillary is having such a tough time).

    We know all your reasons why Steve is the greatest candidate and thus we shouldn't ever say anything nice about Merkley, but repeating them won't win over the unconvinced.

  • (Show?)
    A candidate as witty as Wellstone would be doing better now than an angry candidate with angry supporters who can't understand why people actually question details of the campaign (such as the "pants on fire" item in an otherwise serious email).

    In reality, Wellstone's first months in office were so rocky that his fellow senators called him "Senator Millstone." He gave an angry polemic on the evils of capitalism to a bunch of Minneapolis lawyers he was trying to touch for campaign funds. He pushed a copy of a tape of Gulf War protesters onto VP Dan Quayle. He needled President Bush in person. There were bumper stickers in Minnesota that read "Don't blame me. I voted for Wellstone, but I didn't think he could win." He pissed off vet groups by holding a news conference against the Gulf War at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

    He told the National Journal: "Rocking the boat creates some risk in public service. But there is a greater risk to me in not being outspoken."

    He overcame his early missteps, made peace with the veterans groups, and went on to become the person that most people remember.

    But he still stuck to his principles, and that continued to piss some people off. When he opposed the Iraq AUMF shortly before he died, a DSCC staffer wrote that the idea of spending millions of dollars on someone who "decides to commit suicide" by voting against the resolution made them "physically ill," no matter how "principled and otherwise defensible" their position was.

    If you're going to remember Wellstone, remember him the way he actually was.

  • Anon (unverified)
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    Wellstone was an organizer with a career spent bringing people together. (That also helped him in his campaign, because he could tap into that grassroots network.) For all of Novick's virtues, the comparison to Wellstone is not too apt. Novick would be his own kind of Senator.

  • (Show?)
    Wellstone was an organizer with a career spent bringing people together.

    Bill brought up Wellstone in relation to the charge that Novick couldn't be a good senator because he hasn't held elective office.

    As for a bringing people together, I sort of remember the same thing being said about a certain former state senate president before he became a US senator. Doesn't make him a good senator in and of itself.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Wyden's one of the two-fifths of the Democrats in the Senate who voted against the AUMF originally. But for whatever reason, he wasn't willing to speak out publicly against the biggest policy disaster of the past five years.

    To repeat a point I've made before but seems not to have registered with some people, when Wyden visited Central Oregon before the October 2002 vote on Iraq, he gave people the impression he was inclined to vote for the war. His audience let him know they were opposed in no uncertain terms. That and probably similar experiences in other parts of Oregon may explain why he voted against the war, but his earlier inclination may explain why he hasn't been a strong opponent of the war.

    My point above regarding Paul Wellstone was to counteract the argument about the importance of pre-elective office.

  • LT (unverified)
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    You are right, Darrell.

    However, the 1996 election featured people supporting Bruggere the nominee the way some people here support Novick---as if it were the duty of every registered Democrat to make electing Bruggere their top priority. Questions about where the nominee stood on issues were subversive--at least Steve isn't making that mistake.

    Because of the attitude of Bruggere supporters, a large number of people decided not to, in my friend's words, "choose between the slick one and the chinless one", voting 3rd party instead. At least the 3rd party candidates were talking issues that mattered to them, actually listening to voter questions and then answering, etc..

    Suppose Steve wins the primary and afterwards ordinary people say "given the choice between the slick one and the one with the hard left hook, I think I will vote for the incumbent because at least he has a voting record". How would Steve respond to that? Do we even know he would support Sen. Webb's new GI Bill, or is answering that not as important as attacking Merkley?

    There WERE people who voted 3rd party in 1996 secure in the knowledge that they might not like Gordon's voting record, but at least they had seen him actually voting on bills and the decisions he made. It was called "truth in labeling"--they would know how he'd vote because he had a voting record and we were being asked to take Bruggere on faith.

    Steve is a very bright guy, but has not run the world's most inspiring campaign.

    And if I say that I believe it was a mistake for the "Novick Campaign Team" (signature on the email) to put the support for the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq in the same campaign email as the "pants on fire" comment, and someone here calls me a nitpicker, how exactly does that gain my vote?

    Or doesn't that matter because all good Democrats vote for Steve and anyone who isn't a Novick supporter deserves verbal attack on blogs?

    Every time something stupid (like that email) or questionable (like the beer) or clueless (like assertions that no one should object to any acerbic comment by Steve because he will "speak truth to power" and thus his wisdom should never be questioned), that is a reason to vote for Merkley in protest of the actions of the Novick campaign.

    And a really big blunder is the excessive certitude of "you have read it, therefore you believe everything it says". Republicans and pressure groups have been doing that sort of thing for years. DLC did that in the 1990s--how DARE anyone say they only agree with a fraction of their platform, as the whole thing is supposed to be accepted without question!! (And no, I did not say Steve is DLC, just that his campaign is about as open to question from the public as DLC sometimes.)

    People here quote from the website as if it is revealed truth. I HAVE READ ALL ISSUE PAPERS ON THE WEBSITE, some more than once. I think Steve would be smart if he made a campaign ad out of the video on poverty or another issue video from the site. That would prove his seriousness, and attract the sort of voters who were not impressed with the beer ad (what good is an ad if it gets national attention but ordinary voters here discount it as being from a campaign which is not sufficiently serious?).

    I DO NOT AGREE that the website issues section entirely-- either that it is detailed enough in all areas, or that I agree with every one of Steve's ideas.

    I am no fan of AuCoin, and wonder why I should vote for a candidate endorsed by AuCoin and to some extent running a campaign similar to AuCoin for US Senate, 1992.

    But to say anything other than "Steve is the greatest!" is to be labeled a "Merkleyite" by some here.

    Obama is the standard of quality in a primary candidate. Neither of our US Senate candidates comes close to that standard. But at least the Merkley campaign is not telling me I have no right to ask questions.

  • billy (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "If Steve wins out and becomes our nominee, will Oregon get the national support we need from the Obama for President campaign that we need to win the Senate race?"

    in a nutshell: of course.

    that such a politically naive question is floated here is understandable: that it generates so much pointless rancor is disturbing. the notion that a few comments, albeit pretty snarky ones, might cause obama to hold a grudge and consider such retaliation is not fit for serious consideration. he is not nixon (or cheney).

    (i am not a regular

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