What does not kill us makes us stronger (or, how we'll beat Gordon Smith)

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In just a few short hours, we're going to know whether the Democratic standard-bearer against Senator Gordon Smith will be Jeff Merkley or Steve Novick. Frankly, I haven't got any idea - and anybody who tells you otherwise is making it up. At this point, we just wait.

In the Schrödingerian state we find ourselves, it's a good time to recap a post I wrote just about a year ago:

A vibrant and robust primary election will be good for Oregon, good for Democrats, and good for the candidates themselves. And very bad for Gordon Smith.

That's right: A competitive primary election, while expensive, will make it more likely that we'll beat Gordon Smith.... [W]e'll get a better candidate, a better campaign organization, and buckets of earned media. Oregonians will spend months exploring the question "Who should replace Gordon Smith?"

And exploring that question starts with a critical assumption - that Gordon Smith should be replaced. There's nothing more important than inserting that assumption into the collective consciousness of this state.

Which is pretty much the point that Markos Moulitsas (of DailyKos fame) made last week in a column for The Hill newspaper.

[A] bitterly contested primary wasn’t a terrible thing for over half of the Senate’s newest members. Ten of the 19 senators first elected in 2004 and 2006 triumphed in contested primaries before defeating general election opponents who had been “blessed” with cleared primary fields.

In particular, Markos notes that in North Carolina, the Democrats had a competitive primary to select a nominee to run against Senator Elizabeth Dole.

Elizabeth Dole is now threatened by this dynamic. A month ago, she enjoyed a safe lead in the polls. Last week, Kay Hagan took the Democratic primary with a solid victory. And three days later, after Hagan’s name graced triumphant headlines and the Obama-led Democratic tsunami that hit North Carolina began to recede, Rasmussen fielded its second poll in the Tar Heel State. The new numbers were startling.

Hagan now leads the incumbent Dole 48-47, down from a 53-39 Dole lead in Rasmussen’s previous poll on April 10. That’s a 15-point swing in just over three weeks, joining the Democratic Party’s ever-increasing list of top-tier pickup opportunities in Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire, Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon.

Competitive primaries are tough in many ways. Especially when both candidates engender tremendous personal loyalty. A hard-fought primary takes a personal toll on those of us who work in politics; stressing friendships and pitting long-time allies against each other. Many of these relationships will take some time to heal.

But when it comes to the electorate, a competitive primary is a good thing. Whether they voted for Jeff Merkley or Steve Novick, several hundred thousand Oregon Democrats have now contemplated replacing Senator Gordon Smith. Which means that we can immediately turn our attention to winning over unaffiliated voters and disaffected Republicans.

I have no idea whether our nominee is going to be Jeff Merkley or Steve Novick. But Gordon Smith is going to lose. Of that much I am certain.

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

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Oh, and if you have any doubt that Gordon Smith also knows he's in trouble.... just check out the full-page ad in today's Oregonian from "Democrats for Smith" (bwah ha ha!) and his new TV spot today.

  • (Show?)

    Well, we have SOME idea--three polls in a week all showing the same person ahead by no fewer than 3%, an apparent surge for Obama that in at least one poll strongly correlates with improvement for Novick, and the momentum holding with Novick at +10 while Merkley stayed mathematically the same. Plus there's also the 70%+ of voters who say they've already turned in a ballot and apparently gave Novick the edge, meaning Merkley would have to crush him over the last 25% (and yet is tied with that group in SUSA).

    We certainly don't KNOW who will win, but I think it's intentional blurring to suggest that we don't have any idea. Corroborating polls + movement for one candidate + already-cast ballots equals a pretty clear Novick edge, no matter how small.

    No question the results could make a fool of me (although some would say the job was done long ago), but let's not ignore the data and probabilities that present themselves...

    There is apparently a movement afoot for an immediate "Unity Fundraising" coalition in the wake of the primary results tonight, which I am happy to join.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    Sadly, I can't see Novick beating Smith. I think Smith will eat him alive, and Smith knows it, which is why he's been trying to handpick Steve.

    He'll be painted as an extremist and out-of-touch with average Oregonians under a barrage of multimillion dollar advertisements highlighting such items as Steve's "hammer and sickle" insignia on his business card, just to pick one random item. And he'll have no one to back him up, especially not the DSCC whom he so vociferously attacked. Why would they bother pouring money into his race when there are literally about a dozen better candidates and Senate races around the country? Heck, even Alaska has a better chance of knocking off its Republican incumbent than Oregon will with Novick at the helm. Also, Texas and North Carolina, to mention a few.

    Steve is the liberal counterpart to the Club for Growth candidates picked by the most conservative wing of the Republican party, who invariably lose because they are too extreme for the general.

  • (Show?)

    "He'll be painted as an extremist and out-of-touch with average Oregonians under a barrage of multimillion dollar advertisements highlighting such items as Steve's "hammer and sickle" insignia on his business card,"

    How's the big ad campaign and traditional attacks on Democrats working for Merkley? :)

    Why would they bother pouring money into the race? Maybe because Novick will be one of the top 2 or 3 most recognizable Dem candidates in the country below Obama, and is CURRENTLY TIED IN A GENERAL HEAT AGAINST SMITH?

    I mean, really. You pay too much attention to Gordon Smith, act too fearfully. That's why the GOP wins. No more fear, sorry Gordon.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Sen. Smith, like almost all Republicans in recent memory, will attack either Merkley or Novick as ultra-liberal. Smith's problem is people aren't buying it any more.

    The Republicans have cried wolf too many times. No one believes them.

  • (Show?)

    The Senate race is so close! I'm pulling for Merkley because I think he will be a great progressive leader at the national level and will beat Smith. That said, I'm ready to get behind whomever the nominee is and ready to get to work to oust Smith in November. We have a really good chance to send Gordo back to Pendleton!

  • (Show?)

    Hey TJ & Verasoie....

    Knock it off! There's no point to arguing this anymore. There's not a single remaining undecided voter who is going to decide based on anything you write in this thread.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    a little under 7 hours and we're all friends again, right?

  • (Show?)

    What's up with that Democrats for Smith ad, anyway. How can those people be writing that crap? DINOs?

  • (Show?)
    He'll be painted as an extremist and out-of-touch with average Oregonians under a barrage of multimillion dollar advertisements...

    That's the same tack Smith took in 2004 campaigning for George W. Bush against the ultra-liberal John Kerry -- oh, wait, Kerry was actually sort of a centrist Democrat. It's just that Smith called him a socialist.

    On health care alone, Smith is going to claim that either Merkley or Novick is trying to bring "French-style socialism" to the US when they advocate "universal access" or "coverage for all" respectively. It's what he does.

    Frankly, the idea that Gordon Smith has a better idea of who will beat him in the general election than anyone else is simply hogwash. Picking that argument is trusting the judgment of someone who clung to the Iraq war until the month after the 2006 election -- three and a half years after it started. He may think Merkley's the greater threat, but who the hell cares what Gordon Smith thinks? I don't. I think Democrats should pick their candidates based on who they think is a better challenger. I trust their judgment more than I trust Gordon Smith's or his advisors'.

    Frankly, the DSCC should have stayed out of the race until after the primary, unless it was to soften up Smith for the eventual nominee. They should have left it to the candidates to build up their organizations and battle it out. All they've done is fanned the flames of the primary battle.

  • Rodney King (unverified)
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    Thanks for this, Kari. It is in keeping with the tone that I had come to miss on BO in the past few months. I think this sentiment will be needed to heal rifts in quite a few bitter primary races, but most especially here, when the fight in the fall is what we all should be focusing on. Lord help us all if Gordon wins and the loser of tonight's race (and his proponents) begin the "what ifs". . .

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    It was really thrilling to see my state senator, Avel Gordly, endorsing Gordo in that awful Democrats for Smith advertisement today. Do I get to retroactively withdraw every vote I ever cast for her?

  • Chris (unverified)
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    I, for one, can't wait until late this evening when we all realize we're on the same team. In fact, here are some excerpts from conversations that will be taking place in just a few short hours:

    Merkley Supporters: "Hey Steve, congratulations on running a great race. You really did an unbelievable job of running an unconventional, grassroots campaign. In many ways you changed the dialogue around Oregon politics and you inspired a lot of people."

    Novick Supporters: "Aww, shucks, thanks Jeff. You know, I didn't say this enough during the campaign, but I really do appreciate all of the work you've done in the House. You did an amazing job of building a progressive majority that put the priorities of Oregonians over partisanship. What the Legislature accomplished under your leadership in the 2007 and 2008 Sessions was truly remarkable. If you really are just an institution candidate, that's an institution that I would vote for any day. Oregon would be lucky to have you in any elected office."

    Merkley's Camp: "I really appreciate your kind words, Steve. You know, even though you don't yet have experience as an elected official, you've dedicated your life to doing a lot of unglamorous, but very important work. I really admire that. It's just as important as what we did in the Legislature. If you really are a maverick, lose cannon candidate I think maybe we could use a few more of those. Oregon would be lucky to have you in any elected position, too."

    Kroger Supporters: "You know, Greg, I'm sorry our primary battle got a little bit heated."

    Macpherson Supporters: "Me too, John. I'm sorry that some of my ads may have suggested that you didn't have the experience necessary to be a good Attorney General. In reality, I really admire all the work you've done as a prosecutor and as a law professor. You've made a career out of fighting for the right people. You're a brilliant guy, and I think Oregon would be lucky to have you in any election position."

    Kroger's Camp: "Thanks, Greg. That's really nice of you to say. I also want to let you know that I've always thought that your record in the Legislature was outstanding. You've been one of the few legislators that has been willing to tackle really tough issues. You had the courage to take on PERS reform, and while I may have done some things differently, your willingness to roll up your sleeves and take on the issue is rare in government these days. I really admire that. Say, have you ever considered running for Congress? Anyway, I think Oregon would be lucky to have you in any elected position, too."

    [Hugs all around]

  • Mike Austin (unverified)
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    We have a really good chance to send Gordo back to Pendleton!

    I'll give you 10 to 1 that he takes a lobbying job. He's enjoyed the power and prestige of Washington too much to return to Pendleton.

  • (Show?)

    "There's not a single remaining undecided voter who is going to decide based on anything you write in this thread."

    Persuading undecided voters has never really been an aim, at least not consciously. I like the discussion on its own terms.

  • charlie (unverified)
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    Play nice now. As an independent voter I have no "dog in the race" for who will be the Democratic candidate for Senator this November, I don't get to vote. However I am happy to see that two extremely well-qualified candidates are vying for the job, both with policies that I can endorse. I am certain that Mr. Smith will not go back to Washington next January, well at least not with my vote.

  • (Show?)

    I'll give you 10 to 1 that he takes a lobbying job. He's enjoyed the power and prestige of Washington too much to return to Pendleton.

    And besides, he really needs the money. Right?

  • (Show?)

    Let's please talk about the Smith ad! What is with Elizabeth Furse, whose voting record in Congress was as progressive as anyone's? What is she thinking? Shoemaker? Disappointing, but he's not been seen since stepping down forever ago, so who knows what's going on in his head. Avel? I gave up on understanding her logic years ago -- endorsing Lim over Wyden, bolting the caucus? I know being a Democrat is a self-identification, but, Avel, if you're reading, given your actions over the past six years, I challenge you to explain what you think constitutes your adherence either to party or to its principles? Rob Drake? He's bolted so much, I doubt he's really a D anymore, but simply hasn't gotten around to changing his voter registration. Ditto Lonnie Roberts. Here's the bottom line: not a SINGLE Democrat currently serving in partisan office AS a Democrat. Just more from the Gordon Smith fog machine...

  • (Show?)

    Here's the bottom line: not a SINGLE Democrat currently serving in partisan office AS a Democrat.

    So endorsements from former Democratic officeholders doesn't mean anything? Then how come so much space has been given in Blue Oregon to discussing who Barbara Roberts and John Kitzhaber were endorsing in various races?

    I think both Elizabeth Furse and Avel Gordley have paid their dues. They've earned the right to endorse whomever they want--and this is not the first time either has endorsed Gordon. And neither of them has to post a disclaimer explaining that someone is paying them to hold that opinion.

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    Frankly, the DSCC should have stayed out of the race until after the primary, unless it was to soften up Smith for the eventual nominee. They should have left it to the candidates to build up their organizations and battle it out. All they've done is fanned the flames of the primary battle.

    word darrelplant :)

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    What everyone is conveniently forgetting is the candidacy of Frohnmayer. Had he not entered the race, I'd be doing the naked happy dance right now.

  • (Show?)

    "Then how come so much space has been given in Blue Oregon to discussing who Barbara Roberts and John Kitzhaber were endorsing in various races?"

    Slight difference in notoriety, I think.

  • (Show?)

    Chris: In fact, here are some excerpts from conversations that will be taking place in just a few short hours...

    Somehow I think it will take more than a few hours to get to that place, Chris, at least for a lot of people. I mean look at torridjoe. He's just stated what's been obvious to me for a long time: he argues not because it's effective, but just for the sake of the fight.

    Here's a better question. Is there any consolation prize available to those beat out after the winnowing that's about to take place? I may not have voted for Steve Novick - but even if he loses, I'd rather not see him drop from sight. Jeff Merkley gave up his job as Speaker to take on Gordon Smith. In the event that PDX voters prefer a beer bottle opener to actual legislative leadership, is Jeff going to just be kicked to the street?

    I'm less concerned with the AG race, because John can keep his professorship, and Greg is gainfully employed at his law firm. I'm a little concerned about Kate if somehow there's an upset, but the other contenders (I think) are the middle of their Senate campaigns, so no worries there.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    tj forgot to mention how Gov's. Roberts and Kitzhaber have remained involved in the party, unlike those people who allowed Gordo to use them.

  • (Show?)
    Jeff Merkley gave up his job as Speaker to take on Gordon Smith. In the event that PDX voters prefer a beer bottle opener to actual legislative leadership

    You know, that really is the difference between the partisans of the two camps, I think. I'm more than willing (as, I think is TJ or any other Novick supporter) to acknowledge Merkley's work in the legislature, while still preferring Novick as a potential Senate candidate.

    You, on the other hand, dismiss Novick as a "beer bottle opener", dismissing his work as an activist and a lawyer for whatever reason.

    Kind of pathetic, really.

  • (Show?)

    I too live in Avel Gordly's Senate district and am eagerly looking forward to replacing her with Jackie Dingfelder.

    I contributed to Jackie and I am even prepared to forgive her for campaigning with Merkley.

    %^>

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Marc,

    Oregon Democrats have a tendency to support tall, soft-spoken Republican US Senators. Democrats for Hatfield included most of the top Dems in office in 1990. At the time they endorsed Hatfield, Lonsdale was ahead in the polls.

    I believe Furse was one of the elected Democrats supporting Hatfield. Does anyone remember the others?

  • (Show?)

    I think both Elizabeth Furse and Avel Gordley have paid their dues. They've earned the right to endorse whomever they want--and this is not the first time either has endorsed Gordon. And neither of them has to post a disclaimer explaining that someone is paying them to hold that opinion.

    Elizabeth Furse, yeah sure, she can endorse Smith if she that's what she's into. But it's Avel Gordly (I-Portland) not (D-Portland), and she doesn't even caucus with the dems in the state senate. So I'm not sure where she comes off thinking she is a "Democrat for Smith" and can use the name of a party other people have spent their time building up to support her preferred candidate.

  • (Show?)

    "He's just stated what's been obvious to me for a long time: he argues not because it's effective, but just for the sake of the fight."

    Actually, I stated no such thing. I said I enjoyed the discussion, but I didn't explain why I suppose. I'm testing out what I believe, seeing what others believe, and challenging both them and myself to see who makes the best case. It's excellent mental exercise, and sharpens my focus for the next discussion.

    It's all an unfinished process, because tomorrow new data will come in to either verify or challenge today's. No argument is truly ever won or lost; it's just put aside until new info brings us back.

  • (Show?)

    I have always felt that Merkley's our stronger general-election candidate, but props where props are due--Novick has run a helluva campaign and made me think he might be able to persuade some rural Oregonians to vote for him. If any year's the year, this is it.

    I expect to see nothing but love and happiness and unity tomorrow morning, as we toast our nominee and the guy who will usher Gordon Smith into the history books. Me and Stephanie V on the same page. It'll be nice.

  • (Show?)

    darrelplant: You, on the other hand, dismiss Novick as a "beer bottle opener"

    Those were the ads he ran. That's how he introduced himself to the public. I'm not being dismissive. I'm just being descriptive.

    I will admit to being dismissive of the appallingly large number of voters who've decided to vote for Steve Novick purely on that basis - many of whom don't know anything about the legislature and can't even name their own Congressman. (Don't believe me? Try it yourself, like I did at the Obama rally.)

    But even then, I can't blame Mr. Novick for going after the "politics as entertainment" crowd the way he has. In fact, I can only admire the smart strategy. If he's the Democratic nominee, he's going to need every one of those votes in the fall.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Judge Maurer, please don't dismiss the swathes of the citzenry who can't retain the particulars of the politcal elite for ready regurgitation. That doesn't mean they are ignorant of political realities: they get smacked in the face with it every day when they get the news or pull up to the pump. Certainly most politicians are not attentive to the average Joe's concerns either, since they spend so much time chasing down big donors for their re-election bid. I have a gut feeling that the political establishment is just fine with putting a decent education out of their reach, since that just makes them restless and cranky. We have a long way to go in making our country amenable to political involvement at the grassroots. How can you be surprised?

  • MollyM (unverified)
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    Anyone who claims that Steve's "beer commercial" was just about him being able to open beer in an unconventional way is being ridiculous. I know its easy to get all caught up in the pretty pictures and colors when you're watching TV, but Steve WAS actually talking during that commercial, too, and not about beer. I didn't see Merkley's latest commercial and think, "oh, he's just some dad". There's nothing wrong with a commercial that is substantive AND funny.

  • (Show?)

    Hi Ed. Judge Steven L. Maurer is not the same guy as me, Steven D. Maurer.

    I say this largely to keep the poor Judge out of trouble.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Pardon my assumption, Steve.

    Still, I think your anecdotal sampling of the uninformed electorate as indicating that people at large are foolish enough to view politics as mere sideshow is elitist and self-assuring.

  • (Show?)

    Ed Bickford: I have a gut feeling that the political establishment is just fine with putting a decent education out of their reach, since that just makes them restless and cranky. We have a long way to go in making our country amenable to political involvement at the grassroots. How can you be surprised?

    OK Ed, let's break this down. Your "gut feeling" is 100% wrong. You'd know this if you'd ever ever ever bothered to show up to a Democratic party meeting. Education is practically an obsession among Democratic party elected officials.

    Second, take it from a seasoned canvasser: if grassroots political involvement were any more accessible, we'd be arrested for home invasion. There are party meetings, candidates with websites, campaign offices, town halls, house parties, and, if you are physically incapable of walking out your own front door, people like me dropping lit and asking people to take yard signs. No matter what time you can spend, or money you have, there is a way to be involved.

    And the candidates themselves are nearly always there. Just about anyone who wants to will pretty quickly meet every single one of their elected representatives. If you actually show up, it's almost hard not to.

    The fact that you don't know this leads me to the conclusion that you've never really tried getting involved in any sort of grassroots political activity. So let me mildly suggest that before you criticize, you go out and see what you're criticizing.

    You can start tonight by going to an election party. That's not too hard, is it?

  • (Show?)

    Can we say we've talked over Steve M.'s rhetoric enough now and turn to his substantive point? Because it's an excellent one.

    Both of these guys should have a future in Oregon Democratic politics, whoever wins. Each of them stepped up to take on the challenge of Smith when higher profile people didn't. But the world isn't fair.

    I don't know that blogs can have much influence on this question, nor how to make it happen. I personally have zero influence on it. But I'd like to register my support for Steve M.'s basic point here.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    I do have a further response to Steve M's rhetoric, in that he has once again extrapolated insufficient observation into entirely unsupported conclusions, most recently aobout my personal experience in grassroots politics. I was totally involved in volunteer grassroots campaigning in 2003 - 2004, when I lived in Washington State, serving for over a year as a Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, got re-elected, working on Dean for President (serving as a delegate to the State Convention) and Kerry for President and several local campaigns. I have suffered personal setbacks that are none of your damn business, but I have been active somewhat this year, too. Your conclusions are once again elitist and self-assuring.

    Chris L., I'm not sure what was substantive about the point of S. M's. comment you cite. This diatribe certainly negates any sincerity of concern expressed elsewhere:

    "Jeff Merkley gave up his job as Speaker to take on Gordon Smith. In the event that PDX voters prefer a beer bottle opener to actual legislative leadership, is Jeff going to just be kicked to the street?"

  • (Show?)

    I am sorry you've suffered personal setbacks, Ed. I was not meaning to disparage your situation, or any level of activism you can manage, great or small.

    I am at a loss, however, to reconcile your statement that "we have a long way to go in making our country amenable to political involvement at the grassroots" with what you state is your own experience. Were you expecting your fellow activists to help with those setbacks so you could continue your activism? If not, what experience drove you to the conclusion that the country not amenable to political involvement?

    Insofar as your taking calculated outrage at my views of the Senate race, including my observations on how Steve Novick has achieved a remarkable amount of support through appeals to trivialities, try it on someone else. My observations are neither offensive nor unique. And like the Hillary supporters desperately pretending that "sweeteegate" means anything, you only impact your own credibility.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Steve M., I didn't want this to degenerate to a flame war, and I'm perfectly happy to disagree over the campaign of Steve N. My personal setbacks were unconnected with politics, and have no bearing here.

    The political establishment which I blamed for hostility to grassroots activism is certainly not limited to the Democratic Party, nor absent from it. The R-led movement to decapitate the education system of our country with NCLB is aimed squarely at producing a dumbed-down electorate, and the attitude of the current Administration of treating the electorate as morons to be led around by the nose is vindication of my suspicions.

    The DLC-led wing of the Party is hostile to grassroots organizing in that they believe they can go to corporate donors for their funding while compaigning for office to serve the working class. That leaves them beholden to the political opponents of their supposed constituency. That way lies defeat.

    You may think my opinions are wrong, but don't assume you know my reasoning is unsound before debating it.

  • DINO (unverified)
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    Hi,

    I'm a DINO for this primary. I was a registered Republican but switched parties to vote in the Presidential primary. Since this thread is about how you're going to beat Smith in November I'll tell you why I voted Novick. I believe that Merkley's campaign would be better suited to compete against Gordon Smith given the inroads he's made in traditional (R) areas (such as pretty much everywhere but Portland, Salem, and Eugene). I also believe Gordon Smith would have a harder time exposing Merkley's socialism. Because Novick is pretty much a big Portland Lib and wears his socialism like a badge of honor, he's definately the candidate to match up versus Smith in my book.

    my .02,

    DINO.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "What is with Elizabeth Furse, whose voting record in Congress was as progressive as anyone's? What is she thinking? "

    Wasn't she a Democrat for Hatfield in 1990?

  • gregdewar (unverified)
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    look i hear y'all on how a bitter primary can make life crappy but for the love of God, please retire a shthead like Gordon Smith, with his Faux Centrist Bullsht and send the kind of people Oregon has sent who have proudly represented their state first and their party second but those things don't have to be mutually exclusive.

    One more Democrat with a brain and a mind and smarts and whatnot is worth more than 50 dumbass Republicans who will vote lockstep with some goddamned think tank that tells them to vote for policies that enrich their donors at the expense of our security and our future. This can't be Rome, folks!

  • (Show?)

    Hi Ed,

    As a Dean supporter (from early in his original Presidential campaign all the way to his being National Chair), I think the 50 State Strategy is exactly the antidote to what you're worried about. So if you can be a Neighborhood Leader, sign up. There's this nice DVD featuring Chairman Dean that will tell you how easy it is.

    Personally, I also think the DLC is already spent as a political force within the party, and progressives waste too much time worrying about them. None of the Presidential candidates showed up at their convention. If that isn't a political death knell, I don't know what is.

    However, for the record, I will also say that if I had even the slightest hint that Speaker Merkley was a DLCer - instead of the fine progressive that he is - I would have taken a much different view of this race.

    Regardless, the way to further reduce the power of the DLC is not to waste resources focusing on their candidates, but rather to render them moot by replacing enough Republicans with progressives to have a true majority no matter how they vote. Only when we get to the point that we have no Republicans we can focus on to knock off, will it make sense to start focusing on DLCers in primary races. And even then, that's useless if those DLCers actually represent the views of their districts. DLC or not, for example, any non-racist Democrat in West Virginia is probably a step up from who voters there would otherwise elect.

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