A Challenge to the Oregon GOP

By State Representative Peter Buckley of Ashland, Oregon.

Thursday morning, I watched on the capitol TV network as the vice chair of the Oregon Republican Party held a press conference here in Salem. He smiled and threw out accusation after accusation of misdeeds by our candidates and allies, all absurdly broad, peppered with sure-to-grab-headline statements of "two million dollars in hidden money" by what he called "the Democrat Party."

There are actually two challenges I'd like to issue.

First, the vice chair could at least get our name right when he's attacking us. We're "the Democratic Party." It's not hard to remember, but when you're busy desperately trying to turn attention away from the disgrace brought on by the alleged corrupt activities and subsequent resignation of former Rep. Dan Doyle (R-Salem), it's sometimes hard to
remember small details.

Second, I'd like to challenge the Oregon Republican Party to put its money where its mouth is. I'll match our record to their record any day of the week in terms of transparency, accuracy and support by actual citizens of the state of Oregon, as opposed to the handful of extremist corporate and social special interests that consistently back GOP campaigns. I challenge the Oregon GOP to allow bills on campaign finance reform to actually come to a vote on the House floor, and to vote along with us to clean up our elections in a significant way.

The Oregon Republican Party is, unfortunately, all attack and no accountability. Its leadership doesn't have the guts to engage in campaigns on anything remotely close to a level playing field. We're beating them anyway.

What we want for Oregon is the same as what the vast majority of Oregonians want--decent health care, good schools, safe communities, good jobs, fair taxes. That's why we win state offices time after time, that's why we have the majority in the Senate, and that's why in the very near future, I plan to be a member of the Democratic majority in the House.

All the Oregon Republican Party has are any social issue they can come up with that might divide us, a small but powerful funding base that gets what it pays for after campaigns, and broad based smear attacks, such as today's press conference.

If the vice chair of the Republican Party is truly disturbed by how campaigns are funded in Oregon, I think that's great. His party can join with us anytime they'd like to pass laws to clean up elections in our state.

But they won't. With clean elections and a level playing field, the Oregon Republican Party would not win a statewide office or experience what it's like to be a majority in the Senate and House again for decades. Unless, of course, they decide to return to actually serving the citizens of the state of Oregon. Then they'd have a fighting chance.

That's a fight I'd welcome. I think it would be good for all of us.

Thanks & Onward,
Peter Buckley (D-Ashland)
State Representative
House District Five

  • Ted P (unverified)

    I challenge the democrats to urge their union thug friends to actually ASK the members for a political contribution, instead of taking it by force. Oh, I know the same old tired line, that people can opt out. Uh huh, like there is actually room for debate in the Bush administration.

  • JS (unverified)

    He smiled and threw out accusation after accusation of misdeeds by our candidates and allies, all absurdly broad, peppered with sure-to-grab-headline statements of "two million dollars in hidden money" by what he called "the Democrat Party."

    Minor point: I've heard Bush and other administration allies refer to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party."

    Are Republicans launching a concerted effort to say "Democrat Party" rather than Democratic Party because some Republican pollster/linguist thinks it sounds nastier?

    If so, they need to be called on it EVERY TIME, just as Rep. Buckley has done.

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    Fantastic post--thanks.

  • Isaac Laquedem (unverified)

    Republicans have been saying "Democrat Party" instead of "Democratic Party" for years; it isn't anything new. It's part of Republicans' received culture, along with how to mix martinis and use a one-iron.

  • Richard (unverified)

    This may seem dumb but, I've occasionaly wandered about the Democratic vs democratic issue. If we are Democratic then am I a Democrat or a Democratic? Are we Democratics rather than Democrats? Most often, people use "Democrats and Republicans. Should we be using Democratics and Republicans?

    Or, what difference does any of this make and how does "Democrat" Party have any negative suggestion?

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    The mischaracterization of the name of the Democratic Party by Repub Ops is not new, and is an "astroturf" term that came straight out of the Right wing think tanks years ago. Like the president's consistent mispronunciation of the word "nuclear", it is designed to highlight the idea that only "the elite" as redefined by the Right would find this offensive or even irritating..

    The whole attack is, as Representative Buckley points out, the standard reaction of Repub operatives to any charges of wrongdoing or incompetence.

    Savagely attack your opponent to deflect attention. No need to be concerned about the facts. Just make something up.

  • Ted P (unverified)

    Well as an, ahem, Republican... I remember years ago referring to the Democrat party as the "Democratic" party but was rebuked by a Democrat.

    I don't see it as that big of a deal really, but if you prefer "Democratic" to "Democrat" then I'll make sure to try to use it whenever possible.

    I however feel that the good representative plays a wonderfull game of building a straw man at the front end of his argument because the back end is weak. It is a classic move, and one that Rove does alot, that is meant to get a reader agreeing with you early on so that the momentum keeps them with you through the weak part of your argument.

    I expect it from Democrat politicians, but I detest it when the neo-cons pull it...

    I am Coyote

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    Pat Ryan's completely right. The use of the term "Democrat" is meant to mock the Democratic Party. GOP think tanks, media outlets, strategists, and candidates have been using the terminology for years. It is all part of the Republican propaganda machine. Their hope is that, if they don't say "Democratic Party" then people will think we're not democratic. What else we'd be I'm not sure, but the point is that they bring our legitimacy into question.

    The national Republican party (and, unfortunately, sometimes Oregon Republicans) will go to any lengths to trash liberals, Democrats, and basically anyone who disagrees with them or challenges them in any way. Maybe it's time we started fighting back with language of our own. I'd rather fight fire with fire than get burned up trying to play nice.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Why Democrat Party? It appeals to the scowling lowbrow current among Republicans. It leaves Democrats with one less syllable than Republicans. Not using a proper name is a common method of minimizing and disrespecting.

    I think I will henceforth refer to "them" as Repubes.

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    We do need to make the distinction between Republican propagandist/strategists and the rank and file of the party.

    Attacking well meaning people for holding beliefs that we disagree with is destructive to our efforts.

    Attacking propagandists for their lying, misdirection, and distortion of a given debate is completely on mission for us.

    That's one of the reasons that we have the resource of this forum available to us. We should constantly return to the facts and present said facts within our own framework rather than conceding that ground to the aforementioned propagandists.

  • Randy Leonard (unverified)

    For those of us Democrats who grew up on republicans like Tom McCall, it is disgusting to view the current crop of leaders that dominate the Oregon republican party. Many of us in the early 70's were proud to vote for Tom McCall's brand of republicanism.

    Today's republican party leaders do not, I believe (or maybe pray), reflect mainstream thought in Oregon today. They come across as venal, mean spirited and without principle.

    It is sad to witness the breathless R's hysterically point fingers at everyone but their own. They bring dishonor and disdain upon not only themselves, but all who are associated with them.

    I have heard many good things about Rep. Peter Buckley. After his post here, I now know why.

  • Ted P (unverified)

    (i thought i posted this already, i hope i did not do it twice and thus recieve a torent of criticism cascading upon my head)

    "Repubes," Now THAT is funny. Touche'

    But I'll not change the name of my blog to "NWRepubican."


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    Ted P(iccolo?):

    Your quarrel isn't with unions or the Dems, it's with voters who have consistently voted down paycheck protection measures here and elsewhere in the West.

    Paycheck "protection" is about silencing political voices- and systematically going after funding sources for progressive candidates. As you probably know. Real campaign finance reform should be about leveling the playing field and advancing a robust debate, not advancing an agenda for a one-party America.

  • Ted P (unverified)

    Yes the very same Ted Piccolo...

    Actually I have a beef with the fact that the public employee unions do not want to ask their members if they want to make a political contribution. Why is that? Is it too difficult? Are they afraid of a "democratic" answer coming from the membership being "no?"

    Why? You know it is not up to the voters in Oregon, in fact the public employee unions could very well institute such democratic changes without a vote. Couldn't they?

    As for the vote, it is remarkable that the "pay-check protection" was voted down only after the PEU's spend, what $3 million dollars and the opposition spent nothing? And then the vote was verrry close.

    No, I don't necassarily desire a law forcing paycheck protection. We have that in Washington State and the PEU's have just decided to skip the protection, violate the law (democraticly enacted mind ya) and pay the fines. It's cheaper.

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    I guess some of us don't get out too much. The "Democrat Party" thing got its big push from Newt Gingrich and company in the old Contract on America days.

    The word sounds harsher and doesn't have all the positive connotations of "democratic".

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    Ted P,

    If you don't support paycheck "protection/deception" laws then we're kind of on the same page, but the effort here in Oregon has been to pass such laws to do exactly that.

    And the people who were most deeply opposed to it, not surpringly, were the rank and file union members this law was supposed to "help." The reality is it would sharply limit their political voice- and is designed to really do one thing: weaken the rights of workers.

    Public employees can already, under our existing system, opt out by filling out a simple form. Again, this is under our existing system.

    Now, it's true that unions spent a lot of money to defeat it. But a votes a vote, yes? Plus, to a degree, the money spent defeating paycheck protection is part of the point.

    After California's version of Measure 59 went down, Grover Norquist said that if unions are forced to spend $20 million to preserve the status quo, then that's a victory. I'll give him that- fighting a war of attrition against powerful, deep-pocketed corporate interests isn't great for progressives. But losing the fight would have been much, much worse.

    But now that we've vote on this, and voted again, politicians in Salem should "listen"*** to Oregonians.

    *** This is a reference to a piece you did against Hales, which as I recall was shaped like an ear ("Downtown" Charlie isn't listening to YOU...). BTW: We disagree on most issues, but I thought the piece was pretty creative. If I can still remember it now, I guess that says something...

  • Ted P (unverified)

    LOL... yes it was an ear "Ted Piccolo, Listening to You" or something like that. It was a coaster and I was able to get some bar/tavern owners to run with it... But that also tells you just how in step I was with Portland eh?

    I do know all about the paycheck protection initiatives that ran in Oregon. I actually (and probably one of the few that have the cajones enough to admit it) am a friend of Bill S.

    My problem with paycheck protection is, as I stated earlier, that the unions just ignore it here in Washington. They break the law and pay the fine.

    As far as employees being able to opt out. Well now, that is kinda deceptive also. For I know many peu members that are afraid to opt out, and it just is not as easy as that.

    I actually kind like the idea of just letting the fundraising rip and force the campaigns (and committees, that being the unions as well) to report where every dollar comes from online.

    You know, kinda like the wild west we inhabit? Although my wild west is my indian reservation these days...

    aka Coyote

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    FWIW, the first Republican to use the "Democrat Party" nomenclature was none other than that fine pillar of their party Joe McCarthy.

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