Never known as the brightest bulb in the pack, Oregonian associate editor and columnist David Reinhard pronounced Jeff Merkley the winner of the Democratic Primary in today's newspaper.
At issue is that most coveted of awards - "The Wooden Slime Bucket Award" - given by the Wooden Slime Bucket himself, David Reinhard. As the O's resident conservative columnist Reinhard has never managed to dog-paddle outside of the shallow end of the intellectual pool. Which is probably why he inspired a now defunct blog called Down With Reinhard! which accurately denounces him as "the RNC talking points regurgitator that he is."
So when a solid progressive like Jeff Merkley wins Blowhard's... er... Reinhard's "Wooden Slime Bucket Award" it is cause for celebration. But I'll get to that in a minute.
What caught my attention in Reinhard's regurgitation is that he unwittingly - or should I say dim-wittedly - proclaims that Merkley won the primary... 9 days early! Which appears to be a fraudian slip on his part betraying the source of his latest talking points.
The Oregon House speaker running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate won with a double-barreled performance.
R.C. Hammond is probably kicking himself for not just writing the damn column himself rather than passing the talking points on to Reinhard. Hammond obviously shared the Smith campaign's internal polling with Reinhard, which Reinhard didn't have the presence of mind to not blurt out for all of Oregon to see. But then consider who we're talking about here... dog-paddling... shallow end of the intellectual pool... Need I say more?
Anyway, Reinhard tries to hide the source of his talking points by leading off with a dig at Merkley's ad about Novick. But it is obvious from reading the column that what follows is the real raison d'etre of the column.
In another ad, Merkley reminds us that his father was "a logger, a millworker in Myrtle Creek and Roseburg." OK, fine, it's been a long trek to cookie-cutter Portland liberal for Merkley. It's the next line of the ad, however, that's troubling: "So Gordon Smith and I come from two very different places."
Is this "bringing people together"? Or is it a divisive disservice to Smith and his father? Yes, to both.
Oy vey...! The gall of Merkley to point out a fundamental truth! A truth, BTW, which is every bit as true if we compare Novick to Smith.
No, Milan Smith wasn't a logger or millworker, but he was a Pendleton food-processor who would step right in when there was a break in the line. When he wasn't building his frozen foods business, he served as Pendleton Round-Up director, Boy Scout volunteer, Rotary Club district governor for Oregon and stake president in the Mormon Church. His commitment to public service led to jobs in the Eisenhower administration.
Well there you have it, David. You just explained how and why, in fact, Jeff Merkley and Gordon Smith come from very different places. What part of comfortable affluence and political power vs. gritty working-class and no political clout strikes you as being the same?
The biggest problem I have with RNC talking points like these which Reinhard regurgitates is that they insult our intelligence by utterly ignoring the profound differences that distinguish affluence from non-affluence, political power from political powerlessness. It's the same intellectual vacuity that gave us "trickle down" economics but neglected to provide any toilet paper to clean up the resulting mess.