DSCC IE hits back at Gordon Smith, defends Jeff Merkley

In a new ad, the DSCC hits back at Gordon Smith - and defends Jeff Merkley.

The ad was produced by the DSCC's independent expenditure operation (not coordinated with any campaign, or even with the DSCC people who work with campaigns).

(Hat tip to Jeff Mapes.)

Comments

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    Glad to see that the DSCC has Oregon's back. They know that Smith is super-vulnerable, and they also are willing to hit back at Smith's lame-ass attempts to defend himself from Jeff Merkley.

    I think it's interesting that Steve Novick started this campaign railing against Gordon Smith (his 'If I Ran' article was all about Smith), but now talks only about Jeff Merkley. I think Novick loses sight of the endgame too easily, and that's why I support Jeff Merkley.

    Merkley has left enough in his quiver to go after Smith, who's the real opponent here. Novick and Merkley may be adversaries contesting the primary, but they're not running in opposition to one another.

    Merkley's campaign understands that. Novick and his team have gotten caught up in defending Steve's loose cannon style no matter what.

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    That's a pretty nice piece. Better than the hacktackular Smith launched, in a low-grade, ham-handed way, at Merkley.

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    You know what Jack? Gordon Smith didn't show up on my primary ballot. That makes this statement pretty stupid:

    "Novick and Merkley may be adversaries contesting the primary, but they're not running in opposition to one another. "

    You might want to tell Mr. Sleaze that--he seems to be working pretty hard to smear his primary opponent. This ad came from the DSCC, not Merkley.

  • s.gothman (unverified)
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    Well, I would like to think the DSCC can see the writing on the wall. New Democrats registered by the thousands, Obama expected to have huge coattails in November, very weak statewide support for the incumbent Republican Senator. All signs show that this is a seat the Democrat nominee should be able to wrest away. Pretty exciting stuff.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    Well, TJ, I think your comment just highlights another key difference between Merkley and Novick.

    The reason why I say they're not running in opposition to one another is because they both ostensibly know that Gordon Smith is the real target. It's like they're at an Olympics trial heat in Eugene, vying to be the representative of their country that takes on Nigeria, or whoever has the Gold medal in running right now.

    Merkley is in it for the long run; he's supporting the nominee wholeheartedly no-matter-what. Novick's style is to hem-and-haw, talk about how great John Frohnmayer is, and begrudgingly commit to supporting the eventual nominee if it's not him.

    We should send Merkley, who over the course of this primary has proven that he's got the enthusiasm and experience to shake Smith out of the Senate.

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    "Merkley is in it for the long run; he's supporting the nominee wholeheartedly no-matter-what."

    Funny, that's what Novick said, too, never any different.

    I agree with your Olympic trial metaphor. Nobody who runs in a trial against other Americans, would spend all his time prepping for that race by watching what the guys from Ethiopia are doing. First things first.

    And let's be honest--Merkley focused on Smith because he thought he was being handed the nomination.

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    "The ad was produced by the DSCC's independent expenditure operation (not coordinated with any campaign, or even with the DSCC people who work with campaigns)."

    ...the latter being the ones calling Oregonians and telling them to vote for Merkley, I suppose. Let's hope it works as well as British citizens calling Ohio did for Kerry in '04.

  • peter c (unverified)
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    wait... the DSCC is doing GOTV for merkley??

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Yes, TJ, he did say different when he said he'd vote for the independent who only shows up on the general election ballot. That said, I believe him when he later said the complete opposite, that the independent should get out of the race and that he wouldn't vote for him.

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    Yes, TJ, he did say different when he said he'd vote for the independent who only shows up on the general election ballot

    He was answering who his preference was to be the nominee if not himself, while making clear he'd vote for the actual nominee. He explains that process in the WW video.

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    Glad to see that the DSCC has Oregon's back. They know that Smith is super-vulnerable,

    If, by "super-vulnerable" you mean that there's about a 1:3 chance of unseating him. Rasmussen's estimate from 5/10 says they think Smith has a 65% chance of retaining his seat against either challenger. That doesn't sound so super to me.

    It's still a decent chance that he'll be defeated, but let's not pretend it's going to be a George Tenet-style "slam dunk."

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    Actually, Novick has said multiples times since April of last year that he would whole heartedly support the nominee, whoever it may be, because the most important thing is beating Smith in November.

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    Darrel, I doubt that anyone deems Rasmussen the sole arbiter on these matters, but a one-third chance to unseat an two-term incumbent with $8m in cash on hand does seem pretty vulnerable. And ten to one it goes to fifty-fifty by September.

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    Actually, Novick has said multiples times since April of last year that he would whole heartedly support the nominee, whoever it may be, because the most important thing is beating Smith in November.

    Which makes his statement to the WWeek editorial board that he'd vote for Frohnmayer all the more confusing. He obviously took his time deciding with that incredibly looooooong pause. And even then he had to be prompted later in the interview before he changed his answer.

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    "Which makes his statement to the WWeek editorial board that he'd vote for Frohnmayer all the more confusing."

    Only if you continue to refuse to understand Novick's answer, which was one based on preference in a hypothetical. You're getting hung up on the word "vote."

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    Which answer would that be, TJ? The one where he paused for an eternity to consider his answer and then said that he'd vote for Frohnmayer? Or the politically expedient answer he gave later after being prompted by the very editorial board which ended up endorsing him (like that came as a surprise)?

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    TJ, it's not our fault that we're not buying into your Pretzel Logic, so don't get mad at us for not following you.

    After all, we Merkley supporters know that our candidate unequivocally supports the Democratic nominee, whoever that may be.

    Apparently to understand Novick's statement, you have to be an expert in circumlocution, not unlike yourself.

    So you'll forgive us if we prefer the candidate who's made it clear where his allegiances lie: with the party that actually has a chance to defeat Gordon Smith.

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    "Which answer would that be, TJ? The one where he paused for an eternity to consider his answer and then said that he'd vote for Frohnmayer?"

    Yes, that's the one--where he stated his preference for Frohnmayer but said he would support the nominee in the general. The "politically expedient" answer was no different than the answer he'd given to the question previously, so where do you see him saying otherwise?

    Jack--you prefer Novick too? That's cool, I thought you were a Merkley supporter, but since Novick has made clear where his allegiances lie since long before Merkley was even in the race, we're grateful for your switch!

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    TJ, for someone who complains about words taken out of context you sure have conflated my sentence. I am a Merkley supporter; Merkley is the one who's steadfastly pledged to support the Democratic nominee.

    Steve Novick's allegiance lies with Steve Novick. He made that clear when he said he prefers John Frohnmayer over all of his fellow Democratic candidates; when he called Obama a 'special interest fraud'; when he slandered Hillary as a 'traitress' and 'coward'; when he bought into GOP talking points at the very beginning of the primary season and threw Jeff's support of the troop under the bus.

    Jeff Merkley won't lose sight of going after Gordon Smith. He's doing it right now.

    Novick on the other hand has been shaken off course. He seemed to hit Gordon Smith over and over a the beginning of the primary, but now all he can do is complain about Jeff Merkley.

    We Democrats need someone with a thick skin to weather the Gordon Smith attack storm. Jeff Merkley's proving that he can do it right now.

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    Voting for someone isn't wholeheartedly supporting them.

    I believe Steve will actually go beyond that and work hard for Jeff, in terms of rallying his supporters behind him, should Jeff be the nominee. I also believe Jeff will work hard for Steve in the same way if Steve should be the nominee.

    But the Willamette Week comment was Steve's worst moment in the campaign IMO, a bad and sorry mistake.

    Likewise I believe the deliberate misrepresentation of Steve's words in the Merkley attack ad and associated website is Jeff's ongoing worst moment, also a bad and sorry mistake.

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    Merkley's ad and the associated website very accurately reveal a man (Steve Novick) who is either unwilling or unable to refrain from recklessly throwing in utterly gratuitous insults while trying to make a point. The points Novick was making in each instance are irrelevant to the gratuitous insults that provided the direct quotes.

    It's enlightening that Chris Lowe would put a strong pro-Novick spin on the issue just a day after lecturing me about how " failure to acknowledge the existence of competing reasonable explanations is an act of spin." But then that thread has scrolled off the front page and that presumably resets the goal posts...

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    Back to the issue at hand: Smith is pulling 'facts & figgers' out of his butt, and the DSCC is kicking back and calling him a rotten scum sucking yellow belly liar (more or less.) And the fact that a few Rep seats in tradionally red districts fell this week can only serve to keep Slick Gordy - the Filthy Pea-Picking Liar - running scared. Look for dark circles under his eyes by fall. And lets all work to hasten his departure without beating each other up in the process.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
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    I'll say it more clearly:

    Merkley is scaring Gordon Smith. His campaign fired back at Gordon Smith, triggering two independent expenditures against Gordon Smith and for the Democratic side.

    I think this is a great opening salvo to the general election, but I realize that it also serves as a preview for us primary voters.

    Who's really got what it takes? Merkley's showing that he does with this strategy.

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)
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    deliberate misrepresentation of Steve's words

    OK, would someone PLEASE explain what was misrepresented? Sure, I've heard the complaints about the Hooley quote ("lie"), but let's talk about a few of the others.

    Novick called Obama a "complete sellout to the military-industrial complex" and "a politician sorely lacking in fiscal responsibility".

    Please do tell me what the "appropriate" context is for calling Obama those things?

    After all, in that blog post, Novick dropped those attacks because of five words of pablum on a issues web page. Let's talk about "deliberate misrepresentation", shall we?

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    Kevin,

    I'll cop to lecturing you and to not acknowledging enough over there (though I did mention it) the legitimacy of vigorous advocacy.

    But I don't think what I said there applies in this case. In the first place Over on the other page my original comment about spin in poll interpretation was pretty minimizing ("at least a little") and your response disproportionate to what I'd said, and actually not responsive to the substance of why I said it could be read that way. My "lecture" answered a question you posed, in fairly sharp terms.

    As to the Merkley hit ad, you've only just now made the first thing that approaches a serious, reasonable argument about it that I've seen: that the "insults" are gratuitous and irrelevant to the points.

    But the repeated claim that the ad and website are "very accurate" just isn't true. The alleged attack on Gore is a straightforward misrepresentation. It is drawn from what actually was an attack on Clinton. But the ad formulators already had a negative comment about Hillary and wanted to misleadingly add Gore to the list. So they lied.

    The Hooley quote does not fit your argument. She was peddling a lie, and a Republican regressive lie at that. Saying was true and exactly the point, and not irrelevant at all. In this case the misleadingness is restricted to not mentioning what Steve was referring to.

    The point of the ad that I agree with most was Steve's "traitress" remark about Hillary Clinton. I don't like throwing the term traitor around loosely, and the feminizing of the word was gratuitous & calls in sexist undertones from the culture (apart from whether it's actually a word or how it would be spelled). But again, the implication of taking the word alone is that Steve was accusing Clinton of being a traitor to the country, whereas he actually was referring to her betraying a much narrower cause.

    Still, in this case your "gratuitous" argument has real weight, IMO.

    On the Obama quote, in the first place it takes a question and turns it into a statement. And here the "relevance" point cuts against the anti-Novick position, if one is honest about it. The purpose of the question was to be provocative, and the language was exactly related to that purpose. Personally I don't object to it because I continue to have the same question, is there a gap between Senator Obama's rather holier-than-thou claims about his relationships to big business interests and funding, and the reality?

    I think there is. It's nowhere near as big as John McCain's. The argument that this involved and Illinois industry and business and that's what senators do is legitimate -- but that's also the point, isn't it? That Obama is not as distinctive on his relationships to corporate America as he makes out?

    Are you ever willing to criticize Jeff Merkley or anything his campaign has done?

    Personally I don't believe that being a Democrat means I have to check my brain at the door or never criticize another Democrat. Neither does Jeff Merkley, apparently, nor many of his supporters around here, except that they think the only Democrat who should ever be criticized is Steve Novick. At least, that's how they act.

    [Disclaimer: Though frequently exposed to the slogan "Criticize Eva" when walking past the bookstore on campus in grad school, my views on criticism and critical thinking are my own. But Don Quixote still speaks for me. And Generallisimo Francisco Franco is still dead, thank heaven.]

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    [Disclaimer Disclaimer: That's "Criticize Eva!" and Generalissimo Francisco Franco.]

  • Will Newman II (unverified)
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    "Jeff Merkley didn't take a dime from state lobbyists during the legislative session."

    Does that mean he did between sessions? Or he took money from out of state lobbyists?

    I am not familiar with statement(s) made by Smith which prompted this response, so the above statement may make more sense when connected with the original "accusation", but it seems that the response is a little muddy standing alone in the DSCC ad, which is the way most people will be exposed to it.

    In fact, to me, as it is, it sounds more like typical spin-doctored political fast footwork, which I suspect it is not, really.

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