Open Letter To Harry Reid

Les AuCoin

I just sent an Open Letter to Harry Reid: 

With the latest Pew Research Center Poll showing anti-incumbent anger raging as bad as the majority-changing elections of 1994 and 2006, I reflected on 1992--when I ran for the Senate in an anti-"Insider" year and observed the following: 

With gargantuan budget deficits, Wall Street bailouts, and a soon-to-be-bigger Afghanistan war ... and no historic lunch bucket issues (i.e., health insurance reform), "either you and your Senate Ds move your butts, or you're all toast in 2010.

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Comments

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    ""either you and your Senate Ds move your butts, or you're all toast in 2010."

    They should be, but with the tribal instinct inherent in the Democratic and Republican party ranks most will be safe unless we can get more independent candidates to run. Even then the deck will be stacked against them with the corrupt campaign finance system we have.

  • Dan w. (unverified)
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    Hey Less, I hear the Republicans already have a slogan for 2012:

    “Amateur hour is over.”

  • Dan w. (unverified)
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    Hey Less, I hear the Republicans already have a slogan for 2012:

    “Amateur hour is over.”

  • (Show?)

    Right on, as usual, Les. I would add one add'l perspective that reinforces the fragility to the D majority--the tremendous number of unaffiliated or independent voters. They don't vote in the primaries, of course, but they do have an army in the fall, and they often swing races. And they are as mad or more mad than anyone about all the issues you mention (I'd throw in the growing disgruntlement over the public employee pensions which are increasingly out of line from what the rest of us are ever going to see...).

    Obama captivated frustrated independents, but these people are fickle as all can be and could just as easily jump ship against all the D's, making folks like my friend Kurt Schrader vulnerable or even John Kitzhaber (should he make it through a primary dominated by hard, blue, liberals). Several hard fought seats in the Legislature are surely at risk. (We'll all be wishing the D's had used their supermajority for something more meaningful than a finger-in-the-dike, milk-the-rich tax, even though it probably felt good in June).

    Passing health care could certainly blunt some of the sting, as could a credible scaling back in Afghanistan (I'm still hopeful), but in the end the persistent unemployment is going to take Democrat incumbents down. D incumbents should be thinking awfully hard about how they might appeal to that fickle group of independents who are neither left nor right consistently but who do want to see progress on any number of fronts.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Chris,

    In general I would agree with you, but I would add a perspective as someone who has: a) at sometime in my life been registered Republican (back when Gov. McCall was in office)Dem. (most of the time) and NAV (when I was upset at the preaching in some quarters that once a primary was over, registered Democrats lost the right to ask the nominee issue questions--good Dems were supposed to salute and take orders),

    b) not only spent time on a few 3rd party (not Nader) campaigns but also a lot of time around friends, neighbors and relatives who spend about as much time thinking about politics in a month as BO folks spend in a day--or less.

    First, there is only an "army " of NAV or 3rd party candidates when there is a rallying point. By definition, these folks are not ideologues, they are individuals.

    I am talking about a young working Mom who appreciates that someone told her about the January ballot measures and explained the concept of "marginal tax rates" in the form of "you may hear this term in news coverage, and here is what it means with an example".

    I'm talking about the retired gentleman who read both of Obama's books last year and amazed his friends in church by saying that he was going to vote for Obama based on what he read in books.

    I'm talking about someone who votes for a legislative campaign because a woman at work watched the candidate grow up, "and if she trusts him, that is enough for me". And the folks who get involved in a campaign for anything because the candidate is their neighbor, their close friend, someone in their church, or book club, or whatever.

    Or the city council candidate who was on some sort of traffic planning commission and got a 4 way stop at a bad intersection because that is what people in a particular neighborhood wanted. Or the votes for the school board candidate based on work done on other civic projects, or simply because one candidate volunteered in her child's school and it was about time that point of view was represented on the school board.

    I know someone who has voted Republican for many years but is more of a Gerald Ford Republican than the current right wing model. He liked what he heard about Schrader's job performance as Ways and Means chair.

    There are annoying people who don't spend much time thinking about politics, but if they see someone (local event, CSPAN, on broadcast news, online, whatever) talking in the sort of detailed explanation they like, they will respond favorably to that person, regardless of what political professionals tell them they should want.

    Wonderful Newsweek quote in this regard: "The American people, I think, not only have a toleration but also a hunger for explanation and complexity, and a willingness to acknowledge hard problems," Obama said. "I think one of the biggest mistakes that is made in Washington is this notion you have to dumb down things for the public."

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/197889/page/2

    There are people either registered outside major parties or mostly registered with a party just to vote in primaries who prefer that approach to "either you and your Senate Ds move your butts..." or other vague remarks which don't state an affirmative goal.

    As long as the final result out of the Senate allows the bill to go to conference committee, all the ins and outs don't really mean a lot to the 95% of the population who are not political junkies.

    If that attitude is counter to some here at BO, not my problem.

  • josegiles (unverified)
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    You can get instant full medical coverage at the lowest price from http://bit.ly/39pFJx

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "Obama captivated frustrated independents, but these people are fickle as all can be and could just as easily jump ship..."

    In many cases it is the independents who are constant despite switching from one candidate or party to another. In the case of Obama, he is the one who is fickle having made promises, real and implied, only to renege on them. Other than using the phrase about tossing someone under the bus, how would you describe Obama's change of attitude towards Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the Palestinians when they became poliical liabilities for his campaign? How about fickle?

    Same goes for almost all politicians who say one thing on the campaign trail and follow another path when it comes to legislating. That's fickle.

  • John Henry (unverified)
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    Re: "the growing disgruntlement over the public employee pensions which are increasingly out of line from what the rest of us are ever going to see":

    Why not demand that ALL people be eligible for pensions instead of demonizing public employees? There was a time (in the thirties?) when the DP and the unions stood for such principles. There was once a Left in America, and it was pro-, not anti-worker.

  • (Show?)

    (I'd throw in the growing disgruntlement over the public employee pensions which are increasingly out of line from what the rest of us are ever going to see...)

    Oh Chris, you do know that Governor Kulongoski and then-Rep. Macpherson already fixed that problem, don't you?

    State pensions for new employees are dramatically less than they have been historically. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the pensions for older employees are part of contracts that can't be abrogated.

    Like it or not, that's the deal. Blame Governors McCall, Straub, Atiyeh, and Goldschmidt - if you can find 'em.

    "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" is no way to run a state, but we're stuck with it now.

    We're just going to have to wait it out.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Open statement to Oregon Dems: Progressives have been warning you about this since a week before Obama was elected!

    So, were we psychic, lucky or know something you don't? Ditto our involvement in Iraq.

  • Customer Service Number (unverified)
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    I think we need a pre-election vote to through out everyone and then start over with new candidates. I bet that would be a shocker.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    And so, as this topic slides off the front page, we part with a link spammer sounding more coherent than the dittoheads, and a big, bend over, grab your ankles and despair, from Harry Reid.

    Guess he didn't get the memo.

    When are you going to get real with the fact that a man that gets elected to high office in Nevada does not have your values? I have lived all around the world and have never seen a more dangerously naive electorate than the Dem faithful that continue to support their leadership.

  • rw (unverified)
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    <h2>John Henry: that is a truly radical thought. We do not know our history, and we regard it as someone else's story, not our own, and not part of us/current. The tribes tell thousand year old family stories as present tense, and they do not tell is as "they", they speak it as "we".</h2>

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