Gordon Smith: Oh no! Its an election year! Time to "moderate up!"

Kevin Kamberg

This weekend, an interesting little blurb came to my attention. It seems Senator Gordon Smith (who is seeing Jeff Merkley nipping at his heels, with Novick just a half-step behind) has decided its time to get "moderate".

Behind the paid firewall of the Bend Bulletin comes this nugget of information:

Smith prefers to end some oil company tax incentives to make up for revenue that would be lost during a gas-tax suspension, (Smith spokeswoman Lindsay) Gilbride said.

That's a phenomenal turn around from Smith's previous position on tax breaks for oil companies. As Oregon's very own rightwing pandering Senator, Smith has had a cozy relationship with the oil companies.

In return for his vote, Smith has taken $276,825 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, according to The Center For Responsive Politics.

Nice work if you can get it.

Gordon Smith has voted at least seven times to give oil companies tax breaks and subsidies. Last year, Smith voted for legislation that would have gutted a provision of the energy bill rolling back oil and gas tax breaks in favor of renewable fuels. In 2006, Smith voted to provide $5 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for the oil and gas industry and in 2005 he voted for a bill that contained $9 billion in tax breaks and subsidies.

Smith also voted twice against a windfall profits tax on the sale of crude oil above $40 a barrel.

And in 2003, Smith voted for energy bill which contained $11.9 billion in tax breaks to the oil and gas industry.

Oregon's Senator from Pendleton is bought and paid for by big oil.

Except now its an election year, and Gordo's running very soft in the polls.

So he's doing what he always does when the voters start to pay attention--he puts on his "moderate mask" and gets the Oregon media to lap it up.

Comments

  • Runtmg (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think that Gordon Smith is scared and rightfully so. His party is in tatters in Oregon. Mannix and Erickson are devouring each other (which makes the Dem fight look downright civil).

    Merkley would run a careful and thorough campaign against Smith. Novick could pester Smith to force a f-up on Smith's part.

    Of course Smith moderns up when it counts just like a democrat goes right in Tennessee, it's politics 101. According to my way of thinking I see it like this; Novick will be put on the defensive by his desire to be outspoken which while sometimes likeable and endearing to his supporters may hurt him elsewhere.

    Merkley would patiently point out his differences with Smith and could risk alienating the Novick supporters with his pedesterian campaign.

    So both sides need to put Smith on the ropes for his flip flopping moderate when it's convenient style. My question is that when push comes to shove later in the campaign will Merkley bring the fire or will Novick be patient?

    The answers to those questions could shape the democratic candidates REAL chances of upsetting Smith.

  • 18yearoldwithanopinion (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Why do people think Merkley won't won a tough campaign. He is the one candidate to launch ad's attacking Gordon Smith and the one primary candidate who has been the most demanding of his opponent. Based on the last several months I would think that Merkley would take Gordon Smith to task more. Novick would run very unusual ad's but Merkley would be the toughest on Smith.

  • Runtmg (unverified)
    (Show?)

    18-

    I think Merkley would do a fine job. It comes down to intensity and fire and Novick destroys Merkley in this area. However, what Merkley lacks in fire he makes up for in dedication, skill and heart.

    There is also an opinion that Washington D.C is trying to steal Oregon's election by donating to Merkley and not Novick. There is a lot of merit to that arguement but I think it should also be noted that I recall those funds were given when Merkley first joined the race.

  • A Novick Supporter (unverified)
    (Show?)

    And WHEN Merkley was given those funds, Novick was in the race.

    What's your point??

  • 18yearoldwithanopinion (unverified)
    (Show?)

    comes down to intensity and fire and Novick destroys Merkley in this area.

    I don’t see the evidence for that. While Novick has called Obama, Clinton, Hooley, and Gore to task for their actions and statements he has yet to match Merkley in terms of calling on people in the primary. Yes Novick has made brief comments in ads on Merkley only Merkley has taken both Novick and Smith to task for their actions/words. That would seem to me to be evidence that Merkley would be bring the fire.

  • (Show?)

    You can't compare the primary and the general.

    In the primary, Novick is trying to stay away from attacking his opponent too much and instead focus on himself.

    If Novick is our nominee, that tactic will change. Novick will no longer be running against someone in his own party. He'll no longer have to run a campaign that has to be careful about giving the Republicans ammunition - if you attack a fellow Dem too much, those attacks will be used by the Republicans later (something people have been furious will Senator Clinton on).

    I can assure you that Novick in a general election campaign would be calling out Smith plenty.

  • (Show?)

    You still can't just be relentlessly negative in a general either, though. And that's where Steve's humor comes into play, IMO. Ronald Reagan got to say a bunch of nasty shit while bobbing his dewlap and chuckling. If Steve disarms with humor, he can make Smith look more the out of touch buffoon. If he's doing his job right, it is not the jester who's the fool.

  • (Show?)

    Yes, you definitely don't want to be relentlessly negative - you want to give people a reason to vote for you, not just a reason to vote against the other guy.

  • (Show?)

    In the primary, Novick is trying to stay away from attacking his opponent too much and instead focus on himself.

    Yeah... that's why he spent months attacking Merkley on the same subject featured in his attack ad which KATU slipped onto the air while many of his online supporters complained bitterly that Merkley was ignoring Novick. Then when Merkley stopped ignoring Novick they complained some more.

    Novick's campaign also complained bitterly when the AFL-CIO didn't endorse him back in December, effectively accusing the union of being DSCC tools.

  • (Show?)

    Man, I'm tired of Gordon Smith's pendulum politics. Back and forth, back and forth. It's too bad the pendulum swings conservative five years out of six...

    But, I guess that means we'll just have to clobber him hard.

  • Runtmg (unverified)
    (Show?)

    First,

    Yes you can compare the primary and the general. How a person campaigns is how they campaign. While both races are different in many ways they are comparable.

    Second,

    My point is that Novick wasn't taken seriously by the DSCC or DLC or any other national democratic party group. It is a compliment in many ways to Novick for making his campaign something to be respected and that goes to the people who support Novick as well. I don't view the money given to Merkley early on as a slight against Novick or any other democrat for that matter. It has rightly or wrongly hurt Merkley in terms of progressive popular opinion depending on your viewpoint.

    As far as Steve's humor goes, I think that this campaign should show him that people do respond to his humor but perhaps not as much to his critiques. Part of electing a candidate is their ability to be an "empty vessel" to the population at large. It's what George W Bush could do, it's certainly what Barack Obama can do. Oddly enough its also what John Kerry, Hilary Clinton, and John McCain can't do. The ability to be the sum of all things is where Steve's political inexperience has hurt him. For me personally his desire to be outspoken and honest has tipped over into hyperbole and tactless.

    The idiot reply is to say "well no one wants to be like George Bush." Of course! However from a political standpoint, Bush did what we all hope to see happen, he was able to line up people behind the agenda that he wanted to push no matter how terrible or ill conceived it may have been. If we can build that type of coalition for things like EFCA or SCHIP then we can really see the progress that this country has been deprived of.

    I started out bashing Merkley as being propped up by the DSCC and feeling the way that many Novick supporters feel. At the same time, I have been impressed by his poise during this campaign. He has not been funny or flashy just merely steady and consistent which is what he was like in the legislature.

    These are my thoughts and opinion on the matter.

  • (Show?)

    Gordon Smith has voted at least seven times to give oil companies tax breaks and subsidies. Last year, Smith voted for legislation that would have gutted a provision of the energy bill rolling back oil and gas tax breaks in favor of renewable fuels. In 2006, Smith voted to provide $5 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for the oil and gas industry and in 2005 he voted for a bill that contained $9 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. Smith also voted twice against a windfall profits tax on the sale of crude oil above $40 a barrel. And in 2003, Smith voted for energy bill which contained $11.9 billion in tax breaks to the oil and gas industry. Oregon's Senator from Pendleton is bought and paid for by big oil.

    Readers should print out the above info, and pass out copies to eveyone you know, while asking how much they spend to fill the tank of their car. Tell them your Democratic candidate for US Senate will no longer give Big Oil such a break, and will work to reign in fuel prices.

  • (Show?)

    Kevin, the AFL-CIO's a federation of unions, not "the union."

connect with blueoregon