OpenLeft: Merkley challenges "Beltway wisdom"

Over at OpenLeft.com, Matt Stoller takes note of yesterday's Huffington Post column about Jeff Merkley.

This kind of pressure from strong Democratic leaders makes a real difference. Imagine not just one Russ Feingold in the Senate, but five or six. A lot of people misunderstand the nature of criticism of political leadership. Every decision made to throw progressives under the bus came because a progressive lost a fight in a meeting within the campaign; pressure and criticism helps empower those progressives within so those meetings go differently. And with Senators like Merkley unafraid to be public about those criticisms, we have a much better shot at enacting progressive policies.

He quotes the Huffington Post item, and then reacts:

"A major mistake has been not to force the Republicans to filibuster day and night on these issues," [Merkley] said. "The public does not see that obstruction because they don't see on their televisions a senator on the floor of the senate going through the night reading out of a thick tomb of law, if you will, in order to block bills from being considered. We have to put that on show to the American public and show that it's unacceptable... And I am [prepared to start standing up]. FISA is a good example right there. I was proud of Senator Dodd and others for what they did. They lost the vote, but I'm proud of them."

Hell yeah! That is what it means to be a Better Democrat. That is what demonstrating independence means, not kowtowing to Beltway wisdom and voting with the Republicans in a kabuki-esque repudiation of party leadership but representing the mainstream of American public opinion, who are mad at the Beltway itself. This pushes everyone to the left, adds support for Feingold and Dodd, and puts pressure on the centrist factions in the Senate that want to 'get something done' at the expense of our freedoms.

I'm proud of Merkley. I can't wait for him to be in the Senate.

Read the rest. Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)
    Hell yeah! That is what it means to be a Better Democrat. That is what demonstrating independence means, not kowtowing to Beltway wisdom and voting with the Republicans in a kabuki-esque repudiation of party leadership but representing the mainstream of American public opinion, who are mad at the Beltway itself. This pushes everyone to the left, adds support for Feingold and Dodd, and puts pressure on the centrist factions in the Senate that want to 'get something done' at the expense of our freedoms.

    I would only add that it does all those things without resorting to gratuitous name-calling. It's a principled form of expressing opposition which sharply distinguishes between the message and the messenger.

  • Floyd (unverified)
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    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    “…FISA is a good example right there. I was proud of Senator Dodd and others for what they did. They lost the vote, but I'm proud of them."

    Is this really “what it means to be a Better Democrat,” as elsewhere put it, or does it merely perpetuate a misunderstanding of the facts as they relate to the FISA legislation? I watched most of the FISA debate and as I understand it the telecoms were put between a rock and a hard place by the Bush Admin. They were given assurances at the time everything was legal and they would be held harmless. Remember the mood of the nation at that time was a bit more trusting of Bush and National Security was the watchword of the day. Subsequently, like so much of what’s come out of this President’s lying lips, it wasn’t so and so the telecoms were left holding the bag.

    The question really was should a company who in good faith and intentions be punished for doing something at the direction of the White House and supposedly to protect the country?

    I mean, given the circumstances, what would you do?

    <h3/>

    By the way, no reply from Merkley yet to my “Drug question?” In case you missed it, you can view it here.

    And, to refresh your memory of the Oregonians phony 2004 “Unnecessary Epidemic” series, please read Willamette Week’s 2006 cover story, Meth Madness

    Thanks

  • (Show?)

    The question really was should a company who in good faith and intentions be punished for doing something at the direction of the White House and supposedly to protect the country?

    Yes they should be punished. You don't get to break the law <in good="" faith<="" i="">. That's why these megacorps have battallions of lawers on the payroll.

    If corporations are legally persons, they're required to obey the law like other persons, not whatever order comes down from the current occupants of the White House.

    That is why oaths sworn by elected officials and military officers are all about upholding the constitution, not upholding the whims of any individual or group of human beings. You sound azs confused as Oliver North.....

    It's the very core of our republic, and Qwest seems to have done alright with telling these Little Tin Gods to shove it.

  • Floyd (unverified)
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    Posted by: Pat Ryan | Jul 24, 2008 12:18:42 PM

    Yes they should be punished. You don't get to break the law . That's why these megacorps have battallions of lawers on the payroll.

    …snip

    Dear Pat,

    While I get and appreciate your point, no one is above the law, perhaps you should also consider the context and possible repercussions. I mean, if we were to uphold your position to its fullest we’d have to charge every solider who has done a hitch in Iraq with war crimes for willfully participating in an illegal war, obeying what we now know were/are illegal orders.

    I know that’s absurd, but I think it follows logically from your rather hard and fast position on the matter. Remember this wasn’t just “any individual or group,” it was the Commander in Chief waving his false flag while lying through his teeth. Some telecoms, like Qwest are to be acknowledged for doing the right thing, but in this case I don’t think that means the others should be punished. If you take everything into consideration, that is.

    Yes! Let’s punish the ones who really deserve it and kick these murdering SOBs out of our House. I hear there will be impeachment hearings tomorrow afternoon.

    I’m not sure how confused Oliver North may be yet I am confused as to how that relates to this matter.

    Regards…

  • (Show?)

    I’m not sure how confused Oliver North may be yet I am confused as to how that relates to this matter.

    Even though I too doubt North's confusion, I'm trying to take the advice in the Kollymore post and focus on his behavior and statements when he stood before congress in 1987 and totally missed the point. The quote:

    I'm not in the habit of questioning my superiors. If [Admiral Poindexter] deemed it not to be necessary to ask the President, I saluted smartly and charged up the hill. That's what lieutenant colonels are supposed to do. . . . And if the commander in chief tells this lieutenant colonel to go stand in the corner and stand on his head, I will do so.

    He's loyal to a person (or group) currently in power, and claims to see nothing wrong with obeying every order, illegal or otherwise.

    That's how we got to where we are. Virtually no one in the federal gummint seems to get the difference between allegiance to legal principles and the body of law built on those principles, and allegiance to the individuals currently wielding power.

  • (Show?)

    Individual soldiers, not having access to battalions of lawyers, can't reasonably, logically or legally be held to the same standard as the major telecom corporations can.

    Further, that Qwest defied the WH request (which isn't quite the same thing as an order) demonstrates the informed willingness of it's competition in going along with Dubya Inc.

  • (Show?)

    The problem with Jeff's suggestion is that the Senate hasn't functioned using the "traditional" filibuster for decades. If they didn't honor what is called the "modern" filibuster (essentially dilatory motions and threats of filibuster) the institution would grind to a halt.

    And just spell checking here, the word is "tome" not "tomb."

  • (Show?)

    If they didn't honor what is called the "modern" filibuster (essentially dilatory motions and threats of filibuster) the institution would grind to a halt.

    Why is that, Paul? Seems to me that it's the same as what they're doing now -- except that there would be fewer threats of filibuster, and more talking when filibusters actually happen...

  • Miles (unverified)
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    I would only add that it does all those things without resorting to gratuitous name-calling. It's a principled form of expressing opposition which sharply distinguishes between the message and the messenger.

    And it's why Merkley is being ignored by Democratic leadership and will continue to be ignored if he makes it to the Senate. Reid et al. aren't taking him seriously because they know he's running for office and they're pretty sure he'll fall into line once he gets there. Even if he doesn't (and I think he will, because that's the kind of Democrat Merkley is), he'll be ignored precisely because he's not willing to be the slightly crazy person in the room. You have made it clear that you don't want that kind of person in the Senate, which is fine, but you won't get any change either. Merkley will be a reliable Democratic vote, but that's all he'll be.

    The only way you're going to get change is if you 1) fire up the Democratic base so that it demands change, and 2) force the status quo leadership out of their comfort zone by demanding accountability. You get the first by speaking passionately, you get the second by naming names. Your preferred approach doesn't get either.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I can understand a common citizen being spooked by NSA agents demanding they hand over info about someone and not tell anyone. But a corporation with a fleet of lawyers should know that nobody can just show up at your door and say, "We're here on behalf of the king. Reroute all your customers' data to us." They at least need a court order. There is no king here.

  • (Show?)

    And it's why Merkley is being ignored by Democratic leadership and will continue to be ignored if he makes it to the Senate.

    Interesting.

    This is virtually the same thing that was said about Merkley when he went to the Oregon House.

    Quiet guy. Will fall in line. Won't raise a ruckus.

    And when he became Minority Leader..same thing. Won't be effective..too quiet. Won't be able to recruit good candidates. Won't be able to defeat Republicans in key seats...

    And then they defeated Republicans and Jeff became Speaker.

    Won't be effective..won't be able to hold the caucus together. Too many lobbyists and Republican obstructionists. Won't be able to get that Roadmap for Oregon passed.

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    The greatest predictor of future events is history. And damn if it isn't repeating itself.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Won't be effective..too quiet. Won't be able to recruit good candidates. Won't be able to defeat Republicans in key seats...won't be able to hold the caucus together. Too many lobbyists and Republican obstructionists. Won't be able to get that Roadmap for Oregon passed.

    I have no doubt Merkley can recruit good candidates. And he'll help defeat Republicans in swing seats across the country by signing onto the moderate status quo. And he'll help hold the caucus together by not rocking the boat. And he'll vote for pretty good Democratic legislation. Merkley will be a perfectly average Democratic Senator.

    But he won't be a catalyst for change, that's clear by everything he says and the way he says it. I'm simply pointing out that folks like Kevin say they want change but they don't want to engage in "name-calling." Because apparently saying "Senator Reid, you are WRONG on this issue and you're selling out the American people" is somehow out of bounds, even if it's the truth.

    I think you're right that Merkley's history is a good indicator of what kind of senator he'll be. He's a solid player, but not a game-changer.

  • (Show?)

    the way he says it

    I've always wondered if some folks imagined that soft speech and measured verbiage always equates with Center positions.

    Not enough Fire and Brimstone?

    Me, I look for that very measured quality and see it as a plus when evaluating a candidate, since it's one that I lack and see as central to effective leadership and persuasion.......

  • LT (unverified)
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    Miles, exactly what do you mean by "I have no doubt Merkley can recruit good candidates. And he'll help defeat Republicans in swing seats across the country by signing onto the moderate status quo" Who did Merkley recruit in this context? Did Admiral Sestak, Patrick Murphy and Tim Walz take out Republican incumbents by "signing on to the moderate status quo"? Or by being veterans who ran good campaigns?

    Did Jim Webb defeat George Allen and then get the GI Bill passed by signing onto the moderate status quo? Is that how Salazar and Tester got elected from Mountain West states?

    I agree with Pat. Give me someone who says strong things in a soft voice any day of the week. I try to do that myself--it is a technique known as "a scalpel is more effective than a chain saw".

    I'm also one of those terrible people who can see another point of view, as in "whatever else I think of---,his statement ____is admirable".

  • macmccown (unverified)
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    The only way you're going to get change is if you 1) fire up the Democratic base so that it demands change, and 2) force the status quo leadership out of their comfort zone by demanding accountability. You get the first by speaking passionately, you get the second by naming names. Your preferred approach doesn't get either.

    i seem to recall paul wellstone did quite a good job on numerous issues without having to name names or use name calling as tactics. could it be possible merkley might be able to emulate wellstone once he arrives in the senate? i certainly think it is possible.

  • (Show?)

    But he won't be a catalyst for change, that's clear by everything he says and the way he says it.

    (begin sarcasm)Of course. Which is why Oregon, under Merkley's leadership, didn't pass the most progressive legislative slate in the entire nation last year.(end sarcasm)

    Except that... they DID pass the most progressive legislative slate in the entire nation last year.

    Miles: 0 Reality: 1

  • (Show?)

    I think you're right that Merkley's history is a good indicator of what kind of senator he'll be. He's a solid player, but not a game-changer.

    History isn't on your side here, Miles.

    People like you told Jeff Merkley from the very beginning that he couldn't be a "game-changer". And every single time, he proved them wrong.

    From the time he joined the Oregon House and became Minority Leader--he took action to change the House from R to D. Beginning by recruiting excellent candidates, working with them in their races and helping to raise money--Jeff did the job that needed doing.

    Then when they won on '06..people said that Jeff as Speaker would get nowhere--too much obstruction. Too many lobbyists..Republicans won't work with him. Jeff proceeded to pass one of the most productive and progressive legislative sessions in 30 years..by most every accounting.

    THAT is the essence of change. Jeff made it happen.

    Dennis Kucinich is a wonderful activist and says a lot of great things. But there's a curious lack of any substantive change that happens with the things that Kucinich says he wants. Speaking truth to power is a fabulous thing. But its little more than feel-good fluff without the goods to back it up.

    Jeff more than has the goods.

  • Miles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jeff did the job that needed doing.

    Carla, please drop the campaign bromides and let's have an honest discussion.

    Jeff proceeded to pass one of the most productive and progressive legislative sessions in 30 years. THAT is the essence of change. Jeff made it happen.

    I'm channeling your friend Torrid Joe a little bit here, but the question isn't whether Merkley should get credit for being in charge for the first completely Democratic control of the state since, what, 1989? He should. The question is whether he was really the catalyst for that change or simply took the ball that was handed to him and moved it a little bit downfield. You'll argue the former, I'll argue the latter, but unless we have a counter-historical crystal ball, we're not going to get anywhere. But it's pretty clear that Oregon's been trending blue for awhile, and I don't think you'll find many people outside of Merkley's campaign circle who will argue that he's even in the top-50 when trying to explain that trend.

    More importantly, however, we need to look at what the US Senate needs right now, and it's NOT another soft-spoken politician who is afraid to name names and afraid to hold leadership accountable. Since that's the nominee we're stuck with, however -- and since Frohnmayer is out -- I'll happily vote for Merkley. But I didn't drink enough Kool-Aid this week to allow the intellectually dishonest discussion here go without comment. If you're frustrated right now by the current Democratic leadership in DC, you're going to be even more frustrated when Merkley gets there and becomes one of the chorus. Better to set realistic expectations now rather than risk another let down.

  • (Show?)

    More importantly, however, we need to look at what the US Senate needs right now, and it's NOT another soft-spoken politician who is afraid to name names and afraid to hold leadership accountable.

    Good thing that's not who we'll be getting when Merkley defeats Smith.

    A perusal of the HuffPo post that Jeff linked to might be instructive for you, Miles. There the dominant perception is that Merkley might be too outspokenly critical and too openly naming names. Of course perceiving that will require setting down the Kool-Aid long enough to let your head clear. But of course that would require you to be open to changing your mind about Merkley.

    As Dale Carnegie famously (and sagely) quoted, "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

  • (Show?)

    Carla, please drop the campaign bromides and let's have an honest discussion.

    Miles--had you chosen not to clip the entire substantive pieces of my comments out (rather than a six word snippet), that would be much more likely.

    The question is whether he was really the catalyst for that change or simply took the ball that was handed to him and moved it a little bit downfield.

    Miles--even with the weak premise you've established, I'll bite for the sake of argument. "Moving the ball down the field" is exactly how change happens. It might not be at the clip you'd personally like to see--but then politics and legislating being what they are--that's the best indicator of an effective legislator.

    But don't take my word for it--who is your Rep. in the Oregon House? I've spoken to mine extensively about Jeff, as well as a host of others. All credit Jeff for the work I've outlined in previous comments on this thread.

    More importantly, however, we need to look at what the US Senate needs right now, and it's NOT another soft-spoken politician who is afraid to name names and afraid to hold leadership accountable.

    You write as if being soft-spoken is antithetical to holding a politician accountable. If Jeff Merkley were to raise the decibel level on his voice tomorrow and scream the words he repeated in the HuffPo article from this week--would you then be satisified? I submit not.

    This has nothing to do with holding politicians accountable..because Merkley has already demonstrated his ability to do so by recruiting and helping to elect progressive Democrats to seats once held by obstructionist Republicans. And then leveraging that election into a hugely successful and progressive legislative session. Being the Speaker isn't just a title, as I'm sure you're aware. Further, Merkley has consistently spoke out against FISA (which even TJ/Mark has had to admit has been fantastic), Mukasey and even Leslie Southwick--and now with Obama on FISA and NAFTA. He's doing exactly what you say you want..just not while screaming.

    My expectations for Merkley are very high--based on his history as a leader and a legislator. And yeah, based on the fact that a lot of folks like you said he couldn't do it--and he proved them wrong over and over again.

    So please stop telling me to not to believe my lying eyes. I know better.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    As Dale Carnegie famously (and sagely) quoted, "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

    This is either the second or third time you've responded to me with this quote. Perhaps it will come as a surprise that some of us who disagree with you actually do so after having approached the issue openly and objectively. I am not closed-minded about Merkley. In fact, if you pause to actually read my comments, they are mostly positive. But unlike you, I am not a Merkley apologist.

    You write as if being soft-spoken is antithetical to holding a politician accountable.

    "Soft-spoken" was a poor choice of words as I'm not actually referring to volume. What I really meant was "meek". As for holding politicians accountable, look at the following two Merkley statements, and see if you can spot the difference:

    "A major mistake has been not to force the Republicans to filibuster day and night on these issues," he said.

    He argued that John McCain's Iraq policy was "absolutely" dangerous to the country

    The first is polite, careful, indirect. The second is impolitic, strong, direct. So Merkley will go after Republicans, because in partisan Washington that's okay, but not members of his own party who are clearly failing to do their jobs, which is getting us to exactly the same place as the Republicans would take us. What's wrong with saying this: "Senator Reid has made a major mistake by not forcing the Republicans to filibuster day and night on these issues."

    Merkley's indirect statement about Reid was almost certainly ignored. Reid knows the implicit criticism, and he doesn't care. However, had Merkley directly mentioned Reid, as he did McCain, Reid would have noticed. It would have been in his news clips, he would have mentioned it to his chief of staff, he probably would have said something like "Who the hell does this punk think he is?" And it would have emboldened other candidates to start saying the same thing. And instead of this bullshit game of patty-cake that all the Democrats are playing with one another, Merkley could have helped bring real pressure for change.

    I would understand your position if you didn't think that the Democratic leadership needs to be challenged. As a moderate Democrat, I can easily make the case that nationally we'll be better off if Merkley keeps giving Reid a wink and a nod and follows his DSCC talking points that say he should only go strong after Republicans. But even as a moderate, I can see that we've gone too far and need to hold our own folks accountable -- and you both seem to agree with me. But you then suggest that Merkley is going to lead that charge, and that's what I find laughable.

  • macmccown (unverified)
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    miles ... allow me to do some direct name dropping here.

    if pole vaulting over mouse turds was an olympic sport ... you would be on a slow boat china already.

    after reading you numerous posts, i am convinced you must find something to quibble about no matter how ludcrious. the fact of the matter is quite evident, merkley will make a fine senator even if he doesnt live up to your lofty interpetation of progressiveness.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thank you macmccown | Jul 25, 2008 5:56:24 PM !

    When the Senate convenes after the election, new leadershp could be elected. The mild mannered Sen. Reid could be deposed by someone more outspoken. If he really was pragmatic, Miles would say if Merkley were elected he should vote for a more outspoken Majority Leader.

    As it is, there is a very small majority: out of the 51 Senators who make it possible for Reid to be Majority Leader, 2 are independents who caucus with the Democrats (Sanders, Lieberman) and 2 have had health problems which have kept them from voting at certain times (Tim Johnson, Ted Kennedy). In such situations, it seems wise to have a mild mannered Majority Leader, lest someone do in reverse what Jim Jeffords did which turned the US Senate from 50-50 to 51-49.

    But maybe Miles considers himself the savior of intelligent politics in this country. If so, he should tell us his credentials. Was he involved in politics prior to the 2008 election cycle? Has he ever worked for an elected official or held a title on a campaign?

  • (Show?)

    Perhaps it will come as a surprise that some of us who disagree with you actually do so after having approached the issue openly and objectively.

    Really? Is that why your arguments here have consisted of bald-faced assertions sans any supporting evidence and premised on a thin hypothesis which likewise consists of bald-faced assertions?

    Carla has already done what you've been unwilling or unable to do - point out some specific evidence to back her argument up. Let me add some more.

    You characterize Merkley as "meek". Yet who was it that The Oregonian labeled one of the "losers" following this Spring's special session because he allegedly burned bridges with fellow Dems? Merkley. And why? Because he was trying his damndest to get mortgage reform through the Oregon senate.

    That's "meek"?

    Senate Majority Leader Devlin (D) and Senate President Courtney (also D) were unhelpful, to say the least. Nigel Jaquiss provides more specific details here.

    A genuinely "meek" legislator might have let it drop there - after all, it was out of his control and nobody would have questioned that explanation had he chosen to go with it. He'd gotten it passed in his own chamber. Surely no reasonable person could expect more than that of him. But he refused to take "no" for an answer and set about personally lobbying every senator he could find - which led directly to the charge that he'd burned bridges.

    That's "meek"???

    I see no evidence whatsoever that you've approached this openly or objectively, as you claim to have. An objective person would rely upon more than bald-faced assertions and untried hypothesis.

    The Carnegie quote has been repeated because it fits.

  • (Show?)

    LT, you do realize that you're arguing against Jeff Merkley as much as Miles, don't you?

    I seem to recall a previous debate in which someone argued that in fact the Jeffords episode was anomalous due to the Senate having been organized in an unusual way in that session of Congress, and that Reid could not lose the leadership in the manner you posit. The truth of that proposition I don't know.

    Miles, I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised to find Merkley saying even this much, and think that it puts him more "out there" in terms of criticizing the Democratic mode of acting in the past session than most sitting senators. Admittedly, that's not saying that much. The question to me is whether there will be enough co-thinkers along these lines for Merkley to work with, and to find mentors and protectors against being marginalized, if he gets elected and tries to act on these views.

    Even if Reid remains leader, it may well be that with more of a margin the Senate Ds will be more willing to fight Republican obstructionism, especially if Obama is elected. Of course, some of that would depend on how sophisticated Obama proves to be in "reaching out," in terms of carrots and sticks.

    But I'm counting chickens ...

  • bumpy (unverified)
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    As someone who worked the 2007 legislative session as a citizen lobbyist, I would say Miles' characterization of Jeff is right on. I often have the feeling that he's fishing for a response because he's not sure what to say for fear he might lose someone. He's too cautious. I had hoped that Steve's campaign would have sharpened him some but that doesn't seem to have happened--I saw him two weeks ago on his 100 cities campaign and nothing had changed.

    And I'll tell you who made a differece in making the 2007 session progressive from my view--reps like Holvey, Chris Edwards, Bonamici, Kotek, Gelser, Nathanson--four of whom were there for the first time. The Senate was a waste.

    Which is to say, of course I'm voting for Jeff and have sent the campaign money. and as a precinct captian I will do my best to highlight why another Dem in the US Senate is so important.

    And I hope that Jeff finds a more assertive, passionate voice. If he doesn't, he will lose against Smith.

  • (Show?)

    And I'll tell you who made a differece in making the 2007 session progressive from my view--reps like Holvey, Chris Edwards, Bonamici, Kotek, Gelser, Nathanson--four of whom were there for the first time.

    And Merkley was the person who set the agenda,set up the committees and assisted each and every one of these people in the progressive work they were doing. Not to mention helping to recruit and help with their campaigns to get them into office in the first place.

    Ask them. I've personally spoken with 5 of the 6 of these listed, either in person or via email. Each of them has responded about Jeff's leadership exactly the way I've outlined in this thread.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "...that with more of a margin the Senate Ds will be more willing to fight Republican obstructionism"

    Chris, thanks for making my point for me. If all incumbents are re-elected, Jeff and 3 other challengers winning would provide that larger margin in the Senate.

    Reid with his small margin after all those years in minority, and Jeff with his small margin after all those years in minority, both faced an uphill battle--Republicans were used to getting their way. I submit Jeff did a better job.

  • (Show?)

    Reid with his small margin after all those years in minority, and Jeff with his small margin after all those years in minority, both faced an uphill battle--Republicans were used to getting their way. I submit Jeff did a better job.

    Bingo!

  • (Show?)

    Or perhaps

    Bullshit!!!!!

    It is not the shortage of Democrats that keeps the Democratic Party electeds paralyzed.

    It is Stockholm Sydrome and and the corollary, being hopelessly compromised by donations and contracts let by the very bastards that they are supposed to be protecting us from.

    If you ever do financial research on the Dem leadership, the defense, healthcare, insurance, and Wall Street money in their pockets provides sufficent motivation for them to piss on our heads. And they do.

    Look no further.

    It's all about Occam's Razor here.

  • (Show?)

    Regarding the relative progressivism of Jeff Merkley--

    Out there in the Tubes, virtually every hardcore Lefty that was unable to vote in the Oregon primary seems to agree that Merkley and Burner are the two most progressive Dems running in this cycle.........

  • LT (unverified)
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    Gee, I guess it is the Democrats fault that Sen. Tom Coburn (R) is holding up seventy bills so he can play parliamentary games. Democratic Senate leaders required a Saturday session to deal with those bills and parliamentary games, but if they'd really cared about "progressives" they would have been screaming?

    Now if only the Democrats weren't "being hopelessly compromised by donations and contracts let by the very bastards that they are supposed to be protecting us from", Sen. Coburn wouldn't be playing power games?

    Next thing we know, someone will be saying that if Jeff Merkley were really a "progressive", he would have been able to control Wayne Scott's behavior in 2007.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    [Miles] should tell us his credentials. Was he involved in politics prior to the 2008 election cycle? Has he ever worked for an elected official or held a title on a campaign?

    Why are resumes so important to you, LT?

    [It shouldn't matter, but I've been involved in politics since 1992 and I've worked for seven elected officials, and counting.]

    In such situations, it seems wise to have a mild mannered Majority Leader, lest someone do in reverse what Jim Jeffords did which turned the US Senate from 50-50 to 51-49.

    LT, you seem to be arguing that Sen. Reid is doing a good job as majority leader. That's a legitimate argument to make, although not one that I agree with. However, it's not the argument that Kevin and Carla and the other Merkley cheerleaders are making.

    It's worth reiterating that I'm not actually criticizing Merkley's progressive cred. He's a pretty progressive guy who, when presented with a favorable situation, makes the most of it. I'm criticizing Merkley's style and his ability to be a game-changer. His style was a good match for this last Oregon legislative session. And there are many times in our history that I would have argued his style would be good for the U.S. Senate. This is not one of those times.

    If you want to bolster the Democratic party's ability to play offense instead of simply a lousy version of prevent defense, Merkley's not your guy. And every time we oversell him as the great Oregon hope (The next Wayne Morse! The next Paul Wellstone! The next Russ Feingold!), it comes across as forced.

  • (Show?)

    I'm criticizing Merkley's style and his ability to be a game-changer.

    Yeah, because he didn't change the game one iota in 2006.

    <h2>[rolling eyes]</h2>
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