For the 4th, DPO releases pro-veterans spot featuring Merkley

PolitickerOR reports on a new TV spot released during the run-up to the holiday weekend from the Democratic Party of Oregon -- featuring Jeff Merkley.

Watch the spot.


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    I've seen it several times today on TV and I LOVE it. Seriously. It's the best one yet.

    I usually leave the TV running in the background while I play on my computer. Usually I tune most of it out. But this new DPO ad grabs my attention very effectively and pulls me in.

  • LT (unverified)

    My feeling too, Kevin.

    There are ads which pull people in, and ads people ignore or disparage to their friends. Money spent on the first kind is gold--worth every dime.

    IMHO, money spent on the second type of commercial is wasted, no matter how many consultants like the ad or how often it is run. Mute button on the TV remote is a wonderful thing! There was a joke in Jan. 1996 that the Gordon Smith "we're all real tired.." ad caused people who hadn't been active users of the mute button on the remote to get in the habit of using it.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    Kind of hard to argue with that message. The GOP has made a mess of veterans issues ... and the whole idea of cutting taxes for the rich at the same time that you're waging a zillion dollar war is beyond absurd.

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    There are about 365,000 veterans in Oregon. That's a significant demographic and one which could be decisive in this election. What we need is a good veterans mailing list so we can reach most of them with the message in this video. How do we get one?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    I haven't seen the ad. My only knowledgeable comment would be that I know the VA and health administration first hand. My dad is a vet and chooses to use private coverage rather than the VA. The medical care afforded our service personnel has been declining for 3 decades at least. I applaud ANY politician who wants to take an honest look at it and attempt to turn things around.

    I can assure you that if we placed all of our elected officials and administrators in DC on the VA plan that it would get fixed PDQ.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    Vets, just another political football to kick around every 2 years.

  • friend of Ben Dover (unverified)

    "Vets, just another political football to kick around every 2 years."

    You know it, man. Merkley is the same guy who 5 years ago proved his bi-partisan cred by helping the GOP pass a BS "support the troops" resolution.

    If after all this time, all you've got is a "plan" to help the troops, I say too little, too late.

    The "free tuition" for my dead parent is an atrocious gimmick. Just because you're in the military, doesn't mean you can't send your kids to school. It's horrible to think that for the majority of enlisted folks who struggle with the costs of education, the best Merkley can do is to come up with such a token only in a time of tragedy.

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    Vets, just another political football to kick around every 2 years

    Ayup. Tell that one to Darlene Hooley.

    Or even better, tell that one to Jim Webb, who's just finished going toe-to-toe with Bush and McCain over the new comprehensive GI Bill, and finally shamed them into adopting virtually the enite bill intact.


    I think that Jeff has spent a fair amount of time actually working on this issue and studying it.

    Max Cleland and Jim Rassman agree with me on this one too.

    During his 100 town tour, vets have been right up there on his priority list.

    Kudos to the DPO and the Merkley campaign.

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    For those that say Jeff has done nothing for vets:

    In Oregon, Merkley championed a bill which provided college education to family members of the fallen which he has pledged to fight for at the federal level. He also pushed through a bill that provided additional financial aid to veterans and passed a personal tax exemption to more National Guards members. Merkley also passed a bill creating incentives for employers to hire veterans. Merkley passed tax incentives for health care providers who participate in the TRICARE program. Merkley also passed House Joint Memorial 9 which urged the President to bring the troops home and end the war.

    Merkley has a long history of working to better veterans' lives, but his work is not close to being done. That's why we need to work hard to elect Jeff Merkley who will do everything in their power to honor our soldiers and reservists the way they deserve.

    What are you critics all talking about? Smith has routinely supported Bush cuts of Veteran funding. We vets need Merkley to replace Smith so that we will have a reliable supporter in the Senate, not someone who wakes up every six years.

  • LT (unverified)

    Dear F of BD.

    If Steve Novick had spent as much time talking about 2008 veterans issues (Webb GI Bill, status of Wounded Warrior Comm. reforms, or simply outrage at how vets have been treated which was more than "of course, better treatment for veterans" at the end of a discussion of war policy) I might have voted for him. But he didn't. He did, however, make a big deal about the 2003 resolution and the flammable pants video was linked to the front of his website for way too long. How many clicks did it take to find veterans on his website? Or doesn't that matter because Steve Novick is good and Jeff Merkley is bad?

    Let's be clear about something: I'm the child and grandchild of veterans, the high school friend of a disabled vet, and have lobbied veterans issues. Let's get something clear here and now. If Steve Novick had been endorsed by the DSCC, by a major veterans organization, and had raised enough money to run commercials at least once a day if not once an hour for the last month before the primary----but had otherwise run the same campaign he ran this year--I would not have voted for him.

    It is time to put all that nonsense away and look toward the future. If Steve didn't like the 2003 resolution, he could have spoken out about it IN 2003!

    I've heard from 2 politically connected friends today that although Steve has promise, they just couldn't support the kind of campaign he ran in the primary. One saw the humor in his ads but didn't think they could win downstate voters. The other passed on what she had heard from friends in an email today, "As far as Steve Novick goes--I think he's working hard to prove himself worthy of consideration for higher office in the future. He certainly has been working hard for Merkley".

    Some people may not accept that---they may believe that for the rest of his life, any time anyone sees Jeff Merkley in person they should go up to him and say "You voted wrong on that 2003 resolution and I will never trust you again for the rest of your life". Such people should write in Steve Novick for US Senate.

    But they should not expect the rest of us to agree with them, or see "You know it, man. Merkley is the same guy who 5 years ago proved his bi-partisan cred by helping the GOP pass a BS "support the troops" resolution. " as anything more than the statement of a sore loser.

    Call me any name you want--that sort of nonsense didn't win my vote in the primary, neither did the name calling here. Find an outlet for your anger out in the real world somewhere other than blogging.

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    How many clicks did it take to find veterans on his website? Or doesn't that matter because Steve Novick is good and Jeff Merkley is bad?

    Actually, to me this is pretty irrelevant - it took the same number of clicks for Merkley's web site except when it was a featured item on the front page.

    Novick did a lot more than just talk about the resolution and have a video on his site. But I'm not going to fight that battle again, since right now the most important thing is electing Jeff Merkley, not fighting over the primary.

    Disclaimer: I did work on the Novick for U.S. Senate web site, but I speak only for myself.

  • LT (unverified)

    Jenni, I agree with you about refighting the primary. But as someone who has fought to remind politicians for the last 20 years that veterans are the most ignored demographic of voters who will actively support a candidate who pays attention to them (one reason Mike Kopetski gave Denny Smith such a surprise!) I do take exception to your comment "...except when it was a featured item on the front page". A) to the best of my knowledge, veterans were never a featured item on the Novick front page, but more importantly B) Merkley had a Veterans for Merkley group. Did Novick?

    Apparently either they were impressed with the Speaker of the House and his work in the legislature, and/or they were personal friends of Jeff Merkley. How many veterans do Steve Novick, his campaign staff, his stalwart volunteers know?

    This is why I think it would be smart for Steve to do something like volunteering at a veterans hospital or work with a group of veterans on the campaign. It would build him a network of friends, and maybe help him realize and explain to supporters that there are veterans who think there are more important issues than a symbolic 2003 resolution.

    In the past, some of the most devoted veterans advocates have been combat veterans in coalition with friends who opposed particular wars but thought veterans were not at fault for those wars and often were maltreated by the "gung ho for the war, but veterans are just people wanting social services" crowd.

    This is about understanding a group of people who are important voters but may not think like some activists and public figures. There is an old story about Jack Kemp running into 2 old friends from Buffalo after becoming famous, and inviting them to his speech he was about to give to a Republican activists. These 2 men had been union members and activists their whole adult lives. They liked the beginning of the speech, but there was a section in the middle containing GOP anti-union boilerplate. The men left in disgust after hearing that section of the speech, and Kemp had a hard time understanding why--the boilerplate section was so much a part of his political identity that he couldn't comprehend it could offend anyone.

    Elections are not just about websites, and regardless of what some people think, all the money in the world won't alone change the mind of someone offended by the statement of a public figure.

    I have met Jim Rassman more than once and I greatly admire the man (the man who retired to Florence, OR and ended up a major part of the 2004 Kerry campaign).

    In doing a web search of "Novick veterans issues", the links to the campaign website apparently no longer work. But I did find this:

    Yes, it is important to elect Merkley. But not to the point of never discussing anything that happened before the May primary. There are lessons to be learned. I believe one of those lessons is that voters who are put-off or offended by the actions of any campaign (Kemp, Bruggere, AuCoin, or any other candidate) would not have been won over if only the campaign had more money than they knew what to do with.

    I know, that is heresy in some quarters. And I know what it feels like to lose a primary--been there enough times.

    I think the Merkley ad is a great ad. I think that all those who said Novick ads were wonderful because they were "non-traditional" might want to consider that if Novick had done such a "traditional" ad in the primary he might have won more downstate voters.

    Also, name-calling in a primary (no names mentioned, because it is always stupid) is terribly counterproductive because the anger at the names called will last longer than a year after the primary in some cases.

    So let's get Merkley elected, but let's also have an honest debate about what happened in the primary. A friend I talked with tonight said he voted for Novick in the primary although he hadn't known much about the candidates. He also said he recently went to an event hosted by a co-worker recently for Merkley and was impressed.

    And before anyone calls this friend a "low-info voter" or one who sits around watching TV all day (as one commenter has said recently, my friend is actually a professional who at one time was a national convention delegate and at one time chair of the State Democratic Rules Comm. But as people here who haven't been involved in politics for a long time may someday discover, lots of activists are highly involved in party or other politics in one decade, but perhaps not 2 decades later.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)


    I recall Novick talking about veterans issues during the primary. And besides, Novick had every right to bring up the resolution, given that the decision to go to war in Iraq was the single worst decision this country has made in decades. Merkley didn't support the war, thank God, but the resolution he did support was something that folks like me found annoying, to say the least, and Novick spoke for us in criticizing that resolution. I faulted Novick for a few things during the primary, but bringing up the resolution wasn't one of them.

    That said, NOVICK ISN'T RUNNING FOR SENATE. Merkley is, and his opponent his Smith. Merkley would be a fine senator, and his vote for the resolution never bent me out of shape. Rather than taking shots at a truly inspirational leader who isn't running for anything right now (Steve), I'd suggest devoting your energies to explaining why Merkley -- who lacks some of Steve's charisma -- is nevertheless an infinitely better candidate than Smith, who remains heavily favored. If you have problems with Steve, raise them in the fall, when many of us will be suggesting that Oregon find a place for the guy in a high office. Right now, it's Merkley time. He needs every progressives support, and what's more, he deserves it.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    "There are ads which pull people in, and ads people ignore or disparage to their friends. Money spent on the first kind is gold--worth every dime. IMHO, money spent on the second type of commercial is wasted.

    You really, really, really think it's a waste of money to run commercials that are ignored or the subject of derision?

    You're freaking brilliant, LT. So profound. Really! How do you do it on such a regular basis?

    I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that no campaign has snapped you up as a media consultant.

  • LT (unverified)

    Daniel, have you ever been in sales? You may think you have the greatest product ever, but customers aren't required to agree.

    Yes, I know the primary is over and that there were those during the primary who agreed with "Merkley didn't support the war, thank God, but the resolution he did support was something that folks like me found annoying,"

    There were also those who agreed with Jim Rassman. What was more important--what individuals found annoying (although it happened years ago) or attracting as many votes as possible from those you have never met and may not agree with? Or is that too philisophical a question?

    My point is this: Had more Oregon Democrats agreed with you, Steve would have done better in downstate counties. Is it so hard to believe there are voters across the state who see things differently than you do?

    And as someone who argued personally with Steve about his views on and discussion of veterans issues, I don't think he discussed them enough.

    But if you want to say the primary is over and no one should ever again debate anything that happened during the primary because it is impossible to learn any lessons from that particular campaign, fine with me. And where is it that you live, Daniel? How do you know what conversations Steve had about veterans?

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    Actually, Steve did indeed have veterans issues on the front page of his web site on at least a few occasions while I was working on the site. I don't know how many times after that, since I didn't have much of a reason to visit any of the candidates' sites. The video he made was at the top for a little while and then moved down as newer items came up. As far as the group goes - I don't know. I wasn't on the staff and I was only a consultant through November of last year.

    But like I said, it's stupid right now to bring this up - right now none of it matters. Talking about Merkley is what we need to be doing, not talking about what you think Novick did wrong during the primary. Doing so just continues to bring up the hard feelings that were there during the primary - which is exactly what we don't need to be doing. We're trying to heal the wounds from the primary, not continually pulling the scab up a little.

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    I like this ad. It's got Jeff Merkley saying in a clear way something that needs to be said. I hope it is a foundation piece for later ads that a) tie Gordon Smith to the Bush budgeting that has undermined vets to appease the "oppose all discretionary non-military spending" forces in the GOP, and b) give more details on the GOP betrayals of vets.

    Kurt, every individual's needs differ, and I'm not in any position to have an opinion on your father's situation or choices both out of ignorance and because it's none of my business anyway.

    But I would say three things. First is that we need to distinguish the V.A. from the military health system, which handles returning injured vets who are still in the service. Walter Reed was a military hospital, not a V.A. hospital. Many of the atrocities such as trying to get bad discharges for vets still in service with PTSD who have discipline or conduct problems, as has been documented in some Marine units, are driven by budget politics involving the V.A. but carried out within the military itself. Bush's politicization of the military internally in such matters is somewhat similar to his monkeying with the Justice Department and needs more scrutiny.

    Second, until the Bush tax cuts, there was widespread opinion that the V.A. had made substantial and effective reforms that had improved it greatly in the previous 10 or 15 years. That isn't to say it had become the best thing since sliced bread. But the V.A. shouldn't be blamed for being sabotaged by knee-jerk anti-government ideologues who are willing to pursue their agenda by reducing the quatlity of veterans' services.

    Third, even with the sabotage, overall satisfaction by users of the V.A. system with their care is significantly higher than overall general population satisfaction with their care in the private system.

    Last year I took a class called "Health Systems Organization," a required course in the Oregon Master of Public Health program for all tracks. One of our assignments was to break into groups that each took one of a wide variety of systems and make a poster presentation for the class. The was a guy in the class who was a Doc who had been a doctor in the military (i.e. not in the V.A.) and had no ideological pre-orientations that I saw -- compared to myself, for instance. Anyway, he was in the group that did the V.A. system, and he said that the research he had done had impressed him, both in terms of the levels of satisfaction he found, and the general quality of the system, beyond what he had expected.

    Again, not to claim the system is perfect. I expect that if we got into it we'd find some things that the V.A. does quite well, better than most private providers, and others where it really needs improvement, and serves worse than other providers, and that satisfaction with the system probably varies with whether your needs fall into the first or second categories.

  • Friend of Ben Dover (unverified)

    "Max Cleland and Jim Rassman agree with me on this one too."

    It is sad that they were duped in to reciting the "against the war from the start" slogan. When it was time for Merkley to stand up against the war, he chose to call for having a "conversation another day."

    I simply don't believe that mediocrity should be promoted.

  • LT (unverified)

    F of BD, What were you doing in 2003 to speak out against the war? Or are you just trying to make trouble anonymously as an agent provocatauer?

    Either you are one of those who can't understand that Novick was not to everyone's taste, or else you are a Smith supporter.

    If you are opposed to mediocrity, who is your example of excellence? Or would it be too much of a strain to say something nice about someone?

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    Posted by: Friend of Ben Dover | Jul 6, 2008 10:28:59 PM

    <h2>Friend of Bend Over... is that an alias for Gordon Smith? Must be, since he's the only one who you seem to be helping here.</h2>
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