Sorenson deserves equal treatment in this race

T.A. Barnhart

A week after pretending Pete Sorenson was not in the Democratic race for governor, Thom Hartmann invited Jim Hill onto his show yesterday to dismiss Sorenson's candidacy once again.  Hill, understandably happy to play along, characterized Sorenson's campaign as "brave" but, alas, Pete had not managed to gain traction statewide; Hill, with his vast experience at that level (he has lost in this race before so knows how that's done) assured listeners he is the challenger to Gov Ted who can get it done.  Thom Hartmann apparently agrees and continues to use his show to decide for Democratic voters which candidates are worth hearing from.

It's been a long time since I've heard Pete on Thom's show, something his campaign confirmed for me.  Maybe it's a calendar thing; after all, scheduling in a third(!) candidate has to be terribly difficult, given only 15 hours of broadcast time a week.  Unfortunately, it continues a trend of Sorenson being shut-out by those with control over significant opportunities to allow, or disallow, candidates access to high-profile venues.  The Democratic Conference last fall, under the guidance of DPO Executive Director Neel Pender, refused Sorenson a chance to address that gathering.  The Rasmussen survey a few weeks ago included GOP super-longshot Jason Atkinson but not Sorenson.  The SEIU and OSEA, angry at Kulongski, determined — ah, intriguing possibilities of old-school backroom deals — that only Hill was a legitimate contendor (the OEA almost let its members make their own choice, but managed to keep Sorenson from that endorsement by mere percentage points; they, of course, endorsed no one, a perennial favorite of the political luddites).

Hill, of course, got whupped good and solid by Kulong0ski four years ago, not the best endorsement of his candidacy.  He also steered clear of the race until he knew John Kitzhaber was not going to run.  And here's what he offers Democrats in Oregon: He's the good Ted.  All the bad stuff Ted did?  Jim wouldn't.  He'd be the Dem who does what good Dems do.  For Democrats who are angry at the Gov but afraid of seeing Kevin Mannix or Ron Saxton in Mahonia Hall (a reasonable fear), Jim Hill is a nice, safe alternative.  The only trouble is, safe doesn't beat an incumbent.  Incumbents rarely lose, and an indistinguishable challenger with a proven record of not exciting voters statewide has little chance of taking down an incumbent, even one with a crappy approval rating.  Voters require an actual choice, and whatever else he might be, there is no doubt that Pete Sorenson represents an actual choice from Ted Kulongski.

This does not make him a better candidate than Kulongski or Hill, of course.  What it makes him, along with his years of government experience — which includes work on the national level, something neither of his opponents can boast — is legitimate.  He's not a fringe candidate, or a John Edwards trying to convert minimal time in government into an office beyond his reach.  If he won the primary, he would win the general.  Sorenson, unlike the other two candidates, represents the ascendant trend of the Democratic Party in Oregon: progressives.  The people who got excited and activated by Dean and Kucinich, who got Peter Buckley and Tom Potter into office, who took over the Benton County Dems and are now revitalizing Linn County, who are refusing to give up hope in the red rural outbacks, who give so much energy and money that the Dems may even win nationally in November — this is the Democratic Party the Sorenson campaign represents.

At the very least — the very least — Pete Sorenson deserves the respect of the Democratic Party, its leadership and those who back both the party and the progressive movement.  People like Thom Hartmann.  I don't expect, or even want, Thom to endorse Pete; but why not give him, along with the other two candidates, time on his show every week through the primary election?  Give Sorenson, Kulongski and Hill each this unique and powerful platform to address the voters, take a few calls, respond to Thom's tough questioning.  The two upcoming debates will be good exercises, but that's just two debates.  Why not six weeks of radio time dedicated to letting Oregon Dems really hear from the candidates — all the candidates — what they stand for?  Apart from Congressional District 2, there ain't much else going on in the primary.  This is the show in May.

The governor gets his weekly time with Thom, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Hill get more.  Sorenson has earned the same opportunity, and now it's just a matter of waiting to see if Hartmann, and the rest of the media, and the DPO, do the right thing and give him that opportunity.  Or will they continue to undermine democratic principles by making their own judgments who the voters get to hear from?

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    and this morning (Wednesday), talking to Hank Stern, Willamette Week's Managing Editor, about an article in there, Thom scolds WW for leaving Sorenson "out of the mix". huh. Stern, in turn, repeats the false trope that Hill has the statewide track record Pete lacks. my god, serving as State Treasurer is barely a step above Labor Commissioner (no offense intended, Dan Gardner) in terms of public notriety. add Willamette Week to the list of those who know better than the voters who is a legitimate candidate.

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    ...and here I thought this blog was part of some evil one-man conspiracy (me) to promote Ted's candidacy. I sure do hope apologies are forthcoming from all those folks with the bizarre conspiracy theories.

    You see, our contributors CAN write anti-Ted and pro-Pete (or Jim) stuff if they want. Shocking!

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    T.A., are you intentionally misspelling Kulongoski's name (Kulongski, Kulong0ski) for some weird Google search results reason?

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    Supporting Pete's one thing, but I think charges of "backroom" SEIU/OEA deals are unproductive -- they both have an open, member-driven process. Your problem isn't with leadership, it's with the rank and file who actually voted for Hill and a none of the above endorsement. I'm assuming you don't have proof of irregularities in the actual vote, right?

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    I've been surprised that Sorenson hasn't attracted more attention throughout this process. His candidacy looks something like Kucinich's--doomed because of a perception that he's radically liberal and unelectable. Yet that is directly contradicted by the storyline--repeated in every mention of the guv's race I've seen/heard/read--that Kulongoski is in trouble. How can he both be in trouble and Pete be so marginal?


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    I was at the OEA event and that was all membership, every ounce of it. The staff were not ever in any way engaged in this debate. OEA PIE is membership by definiation and the membership did what they did.

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    Has the Sorensen campaign called Thom Hartmann's program director, asked to come on the show, and been refused?

    Asking because my experience, (admittedly a few months back) was that Hartmann is pretty accomodating...........

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    After reading all of this, I'm wondering how one goes about signing Westlund's petition.

  • Neel Pender (unverified)

    It's always interesting to see your name invoked in the blogosphere. It's even more amusing to see the declarative statements made about motives and actions assigned to you, especially by people with whom you've never had any interaction. Nevertheless, the nice thing about Blue Oregon is that it provides a forum to clarify misconceptions.

    While it's true that Pete Sorenson didn't speak at our fall conference The Oregon Summit, the implication that he was denied due to some conspiracy against him or for the Governor is just patently wrong and grossly misinformed.

    We believe too often people's experience with "the party" and interaction with elected officials is limited to volunteering on a campaign every two years. The Oregon Summit is one event and one example of how we bring people together to build relationships with elected officials and each other, to find common ground and opportunities to work together, to engage new activists, and to build the PARTY - not any individual campaign.

    Here are the facts:

    1) The Oregon Summit is a biennial party building conference and not a candidate's forum. The DPO founded the Summit to provide an opportunity to bring together the grassroots and elected officials in the non-election year outside the spotlight and short term thinking of campaigns.

    2) The Summit's agenda is planned for months in advance and was completely maxed out with commitments to speakers and trainers long before the Sorenson campaign ever thought about wanting to speak.

    3) Because we've been very successful over the last 3 cycles, we are fortunate to have a lot of Democratic elected officials to accommodate. All of our statewide elected officials, members of Congress, two former governors and many state and local legislators attended. It just wasn't possible to give every elected official a speaking slot – much less every county commissioner.

    4) There was no gubernatorial debate because it was long before the filing deadline and the field wasn’t set. As it turns out, at least two of the candidates thinking about running at the time never materialized and one (Hill) surprised many with a late entrance.

    FYI - The DPO is privileged to be hosting the first gubernatorial forum with all three Democratic candidates on Thursday, April 6th. The event is sold-out but we’re hoping to broadcast or webcast so more people can participate. Stay tuned.

    It may be news to some but our job is principally to get Democrats elected. It may be even harder to fathom but the DPO is focused on building a winning model for Democrats in November - not the May primary. We trust the judgment of primary voters to make rational decisions on our nominees. The focus of our activities and planning starts on May 17th - the day after the primary.

    It's healthy to hash out differences and people are encouraged to follow their passions. At the end of the day, however, what unites us under the big tent of the Democratic Party is far greater than our differences and we all have a job to do this November!

  • LT (unverified)

    Don't know about Hartmann's show, only listen sometimes.

    But it seems to me that (gasp!) Hill must have impressed supporters that he is more likeable, better governor material, whatever. I don't personally know anyone who is supporting Sorenson, but then Salem is Jim Hill's home base. I know people supporting Westlund, though so that can't be the whole story.

    I have known people over the years (Hendricksen over DeFazio 1986 being a case in point) where a candidate who should have had a good chance loses due to a "know them both, and that informs my vote more than their campaign" problem. If Hill has managed to build a bigger support base, that is not the fault of Democrats (who have the right to make up their own minds), and given his history it must be amusing for Jim and friends to read he is the "safe" alternative.

    Actions like Pender's described above have happened in more primaries than some would want to admit.

    And this is a whale of an assumption: " Sorenson, unlike the other two candidates, represents the ascendant trend of the Democratic Party in Oregon: progressives"

    I guess that means I am not a progressive--Sorenson lost me here on Blue Oregon a long time ago when he said "we need a leader not a mediator" and did not specify exactly what that meant.

    It would have been interesting if Pete had been at Marion County Dems several weeks ago when Jim Hill spoke and answered questions. Don't know why he wasn't there. But it is not the responsibility of Democrats to seek out a venue where they can ask Pete questions.

    We really don't know for sure who will win in the primary or in the fall. I am undecided between Hill and Westlund--Westlund seems to have more specific proposals. If that makes me not a progressive Democrat because progressive Democrats back Sorenson, then I am not a progressive Democrat.

    I have been involved in enough primaries where unfair stuff happens that I have little sympathy that such stuff is happening this year. To my mind the most unfair Dem. primary was US Senate 10 years ago. The peer pressure of "Democrats are supposed to support Bruggere" didn't win me over, it made me register Indep. And what is reported to have happened to Pete is nowhere near what happened to Paul Hackett.

    Sorry, but after visiting the Hill, Sorenson and Westlund websites, I think Sorenson is the least specific about his proposals. Perhaps that is why he is struggling.

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    The Summit's agenda is planned for months in advance and was completely maxed out with commitments to speakers and trainers long before the Sorenson campaign ever thought about wanting to speak........It just wasn't possible to give every elected official a speaking slot – much less every county commissioner.

    Regardless of your motivation Neel, you have punked the entire left wing of your party by dissing Sorensen. This ain't the first time that I've witnessed your contempt for the grassroots beyond the One Trick Pony of fundraising. Believe it or not, your longsuffering sneer is celebrated far and wide.

    We know that you can raise funds. What we don't know is if you place any value at all on the grassroots-that-aren't-big-donors.


    Anyhow, with the extremely competent Christine Phillips and the grassroots organizers that Howard Dean is paying for, we'll get a chance to see you in action. I've been hoping that someone in authority at the DPO would finally recognize that Meredith Smith can't do all of the outreach by herself. It didn't happen until Howard gave you money and ordered that you spend it on party building.

    Not addressing motivation, just action. See you in May.

    Make us all proud..........


    Oh, yeah. I am not a Sorensen supporter, just a guy who can count..........

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    Oh please, Pat. You don't speak for the "entire left wing" of the Democratic Party. You barely speak coherently for yourself. The Oregon Summit is not a place dominated by "grassroots-who-aren't-big-donors". With ticket prices in the hundreds, plus hotel costs, it pretty much IS the place for Democratic big donors! What are you going to whine about next? Sorenson not being invited to speak at a Black-Tie fundraiser for the DLC?

    Those of us who actually know what's going on, know that Neel has bent over backwards to be fair to both Hill and Sorenson. He gave them both what they wanted - a shot at Kulongoski - by rescuing the tri-county (Multnomah/Washington/Clackamas) debate, which had up to that point been a debacle in the making. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that in the absurdly unlikely outcome that Kulongoski totally flubs and either Sorenson or Hill wins the primary - they will have Neel to thank.

    I didn't see anything in his text that resembles a "longsuffering sneer". Rather, it is your post that is filled with the haughty "holier than thou" tone of the helplessly arrogant.

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    No I speak only for myself, but I do listen to people like TA and many others who seem to feel that their boy is being given shortshrift by the kingmakers.

    Always ready to learn from those "in the know" about Mr. Pender's gymnastics on behalf of Mr. Sorensen.

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    Ticket prices weren't necessarily in the hudreds-- mine was under $100, and included meals and both big dinners. Going together with a few friends to rent a house (directly through the folks at Sunriver, not the Party) was cheaper than renting a room-- and you got a full house.

    There were plenty of us at the Summit that are not big donors.

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    i didn't start out a Sorenson supporter, btw. i was pretty much in the Ted-as-incumbent camp. i felt (and still feel) that with a Dem Leg he'd be a much better (ie, more progressive Dem) governor than he was able to be with Minnis (i totally blame her for 99.9% of what went wrong last year in the Leg; Wayne Scott gets the rest of the blame). because Pete, unlike the other two candidates, has spent so much time going to small meeting after small meeting and talking directly and personally to so many ordinary activists like me, i got to have several chats with him. i learned he's got solid progressive chops, and he's got a lot of passion.

    and when you add to that what appears to be a semi-concerted effort to block his campaign, well, you'll raise the hackles on any deanista. maybe i'm full of it, but i've seen and heard enough in the past few months to give me the impression that Sorenson is being given the bum's rush. maybe no one is trying to do that; maybe it's my imagination. but the appearance is there, and worse, no effort is being made to make sure this is not happening.

    Oregon Democrats believe themselves to be on the global cutting edge of democratic process. don't we? who do we believe is more democratic, believes more strongly and lives by these beliefs more than we? so why are those in positions of leadership not putting access above all? access of the voters to the candidates, regardless of who thinks who has a "real" chance? sorry, Neel, but the DPO ain't doing much to make the governor's race an all-comers affair. if you want the best candidate to gain the nomination, pull out all the frikkin stops for the primary. what the hell else is going on in May?

    Pete Sorenson is not getting a fair shake, and Oregon Dems, and voters in general, are the real losers. not to mention democracy.

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    I think the problem is that too many Dems seem to think that when there's an incumbent Dem that you need to support him/her. Personally, I think when you have a seat that is safely Democratic (which the polls thus far have shown), you should look at who would be the best in that position.

    If we elect the best candidate in the primary, the person who would do the best work for the state/district/city/etc., then we should have no problem winning in November.

    I get so tired of hearing that someone isn't electable, and therefore we aren't going to support or vote for him/her. It's a never ending circle-- you feel the person can't be elected, so you don't support him, then he doesn't win because you didn't support him.

    In the past few years I've heard this from many people and organizations about various races-- some of which were extremely safe D seats. It never ceases to piss me off.

  • CJ (unverified)

    Thank you TA, This is exactly my thoughts too. The establishment Dems have been shutting out legitimate candidates across the US for some time now. A really good example is Chuck Pennachio in the Pennsylvania senate race and Bob Casey being practically anointed the frontrunner. It makes me sick that the Democratic party and it's allies, who are committed to fairness, deny progressive candidates equal opportunity. It feels like we don't even have primaries anymore. The candidates are already chosen for us. Happened with Kerry and we all saw how that turned out. Sorenson is being screwed by Oregon establishment Dems like Thom Hartman and Marc Abrams. It is not too much to ask that the voters be able to know about all the people that they can vote for. Denying that information is to deny them their vote.

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    CJ, TA, and Jenni,

    Why don't you just admit the truth? There is no grand conspiracy by mysterious conspiracy of Democratic "leadership" shut out your favorite candidates - unless by "leadership" you mean the vast bulk of non-activist Democrats that you apparently disagree with. The polls are glaringly obvious: people aren't overwhelmed by Kulongoski, but seem to want his alternatives even less.

    I know it's painful to be in the minority. I was a feverent Dean supporter. I completely disagreed with the Iowa caucus activists's judgement that Kerry was more electable. But just because I end up on the losing side of an issue every once in a while, doesn't mean I'm going to invent illuminati-like conspiracy theories about the "estaaablishment" subverting the will of the majority. (Fnord.) Rather, when I'm out of the mainstream of public opinion, I proudly admit it, and think I'm right anyway. Why is that so hard?

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    You'll notice I said NOTHING about a conspiracy.

    Everything I said was based on conversations and e-mails I've personally had with various leaders in the Democratic Party-- from the local to national levels. And not just on the governorship, but also on many other races.

    Since we've been working with those people to try to resolve the problems, I'm not going to post what was said or who said it. But it's there and has been a big problem the last four years, at least.

    I've heard over and over about how they think this candidate or that candidate isn't electable, and therefore will receive no help/endorsement. There was several complaints against FuturePAC in the 2004 races in this regard, but I know they've done quite a bit of work over the past two years to change how things are done. I'm impressed with the amount of positive changes they were able to make in such a short time. Learning from your mistakes, and changing so you don't do it again, is a good thing. I only wish I had some extra money to give to FuturePAC to show my appreciation. Maybe this next cycle.

    Rob Brading one was such candidate in 2004 that received this treatment from many different Democratic/Progressive organizations and groups. The Multnomah County Democrats were one of a few groups that sent money and people his way. While he may not have won, he did extremely well and got the name recognition needed to defeat Minnis the next time. This year he has Minnis running scared based on the amount of money/time she's been spending on direct mail, phone calls, and canvasses.

    This isn't just a problem in the governor's race. This is a long standing problem that we need to change.

    And actually, Democrats don't approve of what Kulongoski has done-- his ratings are no better than Bush's. However, they're worried about a Republican governor and hear the other candidates don't have a chance. When you hear that over and over, you begin to believe it.

    We've got to stop labling candidates as unelectable and give them a shot. If they're a good candidate with good ideas, they should be given a chance, and that's something we're not very good at.

  • Neel Pender (unverified)

    Thanks Steve for the kind words and to Pat for again reinforcing my original observation.

    Sorry, I'm just getting back to this thread but the irony of all this is that yesterday when Pat was spouting off about how "Howard gave you money and ordered that (me to) spend it on party building", I was literally sitting in a meeting in DC with Howard Dean talking about strengthening state parties, building year round infrastructure and engaging the grassroots.

    What makes Gov. Dean a great party chair is that hasn't "forced" us to do anything. Quite the contrary and I'm sure he'd be appalled by the assertion.

    The DPO has a field program because that was the consensus of what people in Oregon, including but not limited to me, felt would have the most impact. I also did a half dozen site visits on behalf of Governor Dean and the DNC to other states - meeting with scores of grassroots activists and elected officials to determine how resources could be best directed in their respective states. It was a privilege to participate in that effort and Gov. Dean deserves credit for following through on his commitment.

    In Oregon we have long advocated for more party building resources. The principle difference now is not that for the first time we have a true partnership with the DNC. This program is just getting underway but ten years from now, I believe it will be reflected as the most important investment made in rebuilding the party. Frankly, it should have happened ten years ago after the 1994 defeats, but it's happening now and despite all the critics, arm chair quarterbacks and naysayers, we're going to get it done. And it's not going to be done outside the party. There are a lot of good groups and talented people doing "independent" or "progressive" work but to be very clear, this is about building the Democratic Party from the grassroots up and creating year round, local infrastructure. You are all welcome to join~

    And yes, Pat, I spend about a significant portion of time fundraising. When you pay the bills, it's a necessity. It's also the only way you get to fund the programs that make a difference. I'm proud that we have thousands of contributors who invest in what we do and we work hard to honor their trust. When I started back when Pat was still righteously toiling in the Green Party, the DPO had 2 staff people and less than a $200,000 budget. You might be able to be righteous in that environment but you can't be effective.

    To sum up, at our working dinner last night at the training, my fortune cookie aptly read: "There are dreamers and there are achievers. The difference between the two is action." I'm proud of our achievment and more excited about where we are going.

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    What the heck... I couldn't afford much, but I just did $10 to FuturePAC and $10 to the Multnomah County Dems. Doesn't add much to their total for the quarter, but it helps to show my support. It also shows that they are supported by the grassroots-- in lots of small contributions-- as opposed to a few weathly people.

    If you live in Multnomah County, I encourage you to donate to the county party as well. We're doing a lot of good work in the communities on races from the local races to the governor's race. We also recently hired staff and have begun the work to put together our Action Packets for this election cycle.

    As part of our work in the primary election cycle, we're planning a huge county-wide canvass in April. When we found out about the DNC's plans for a one-day canvass across the U.S., we knew it would be a perfect fit.

    Your support helps us to be able to print more materials, buy food for more canvassers, support the candidates, and more.

    If you're interested, we also have our annual Celsi Dinner coming up. It's sure to be lots of fun, with a large auction (silent and live), blues music, and some good southern food. Check out for more info.

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    I appreciate all the work you guys have done the past few years in building the Party here in Oregon. We may not always agree, but I am appreciative of how far the Party's come since I moved here in 2000.

    I think we all still have a ways to go, and there's going to be a lot of disagreement along the way of how to do it and where to go, but as long as we keep moving forward, we're better off than we were. It's just frustrating along the way because you keep wishing you were "there" already.

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    Welp Neel,

    I got a few shots in while I was spouting off and you answered a few. Then you made some assertions that are misleading or untrue as well.

    I, of course cannot dispute your account of your pivotal role in convincing Howard that grassroots was the new paradigm for the Party as I was not in the room.

    I can say that from closely following the news (and working my butt off as an unpaid volunteer) and yes donating money during the '04 campaign, there was a certain.......shall we say........liberal grassroots movement that grew by tremendous leaps and bounds all over the nation.

    An impartial observer might conclude that there has been at least a sharpening of focus within the DPO around this issue. Such an observer who has been in the room on numerous occasions, could have concluded that without Howie, we might still be out in the cold with our noses pressed against the glass. Be that as it may we are all fans of the grass roots now, so we can dive right into a chorus of Kumbaya.


    Regarding my Green Party background, your comment shows that you have as little knowledge of my positions as you imagine I have of your work as a paid apparatchik. I was a registered Libertarian before Al Gore and Warren Christopher decided that when it comes to rape you might as well lie back and enjoy it.

    My return to a Libertarian registration is an event which we can heartily agree can't happen soon enough. For either of us.


    I am in this fight for a variety of ideological reasons. I have posted on various topic on Blue Oregon which could offer insight if I as a lowly volunteer merited the respect of your regard. I don't bring them to my activism though.

    Just FYI, I spend upward of 30 hours per week on research, letter writing, organizing, attending Dem and candidate functions, working with other progressive orgs like ROP with a goal to finding more allies.

    In conjunction with one other local volunteer and our county chair, we have built a House District over the past four years to a vibrant organization that hosts upward of 35 people at every meeting and we will be out knocking on doors, putting up signs, phone banking and all of that using Dem Party guidelines.

    My road dog Walt Trandum (He's the Green) is working at county level with our county chair and other HD chairs to fill in some of the blanks.

    I am active in FuturePAC and will be on the ground for my incumbent state senator, our Dem house challenger, and our Dem candidate for county commission.

    Don't even get me started on my wife's efforts.


    Yep, I'm a rude, irritating, and inconvenient bastard, but do not impugn my activism. You don't know what I do or who I am.

    You get paid and are hence, by definition, a pro. I do not get paid, in fact I pay for the privilege, but I did read a book once, been to a meeting or two and I've been out there on them there internets a bit.

    I respect people for their accomplishments but have zero respect for their rank or title. I'm not that guy lining up to have his picture taken, I'm just trying to save the Bill of Rights, and you guys are the best shot at that.


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    Dang, didn't get te italics close off. Sorry Kari

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    Pat Ryan is definitely my favorite Libertarian (a very short list, i'm afraid, as i don't think much of Lib'ism). he's definitely one of my favorite BlOr commenters.

    and he's right about one thing: when anyone starts to talk about grassroots activism, they have to begin with 3 words: Dean for America. those of us who got out there & worked for Dean (and, as i have been admitting more and more, with teeth less clenched (a great band, btw: Teeth Less Clenched) Kucinich) are the ones who brought this sea change to the Democratic Party. it's great to see the mainstream party get on board; Jim Edmundson's editorial in the L.A. Times recently was a kick. and of course the DPO, like most state Dem parties that are not totally beholden to the DLC or Hillary, welcomes the new field staff provided by Dean. not to mention the fundraising that he leaves in-state. but it's not DPO leading the charge; it's "us", the activists in the counties and towns and around the cities, people new to politics and newly energized. it's nice the DPO is seeing the light, but they are definitely the ones playing catch-up.

    and btw, Pete will be on Thom's show Wednesday, 7:30am. funny how that worked out. thanks, Thom (or was it Heidi?)

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    Are any of you progressives like me fantasizing about what IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) would mean in this 3 horse race??

  • LT (unverified)

    So, if someone's first choice is Hill, they aren't impressed with Sorenson, and they have a lot of questions which Ted K has not answered---but Westlund looks interesting--how should they vote in an IRV primary situation: Hill as choices 1, 2, 3?

    Not to mention most people's lives are so complicated they would not be happy if someone changed the voting system on them.

  • myranda (unverified)

    "And actually, Democrats don't approve of what Kulongoski has done-- his ratings are no better than Bush's." I am new to BlueOregon and I don't understand why Democrats don't approve of what Kulongoski has done. He's created jobs, he's created access to universities and community colleges, he's protected right to choose, he supports gay/lesbian rights, and his first-term record of accomplishments on environmental issues is great. All of this when Oregon was in a big recession. He's a "doer" and he shows tons of leadership. Plus, he threw a great opening pitch last night at the Beavers game. What's not to like?

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    Many are unhappy with him because he showed very little leadership in Salem. He didn't participate in the budget process, he didn't bring forth a plan for the schools until session was almost over, didn't push harder for the undone dozen (12 bills that had bipartisan support in the Senate, but were killed in the House), etc.

    During the session he was definitely no a "doer." He was a "sit back and let others do the work, and then either take the credit or blame it on Minnis." Yes, Minnis was a hinderance. However, when you have on branch of the legislature, it's a lot easier to then pressure the other branch to at least vote on the bills that had bi-partisan support. We've had Democratic governors do more, all while having the R's control both the House and Senate.

    Many of the jobs created have been low paying jobs that don't have a living wage and often have no health insurance. Many, many people are still out of work or horribly under-employed. Our unemployment numbers aren't close to what the real numbers are-- many people have dropped off of unemployment either because they became frustrated of looking for years or dropped off because they'd been on too long. There are many who were never counted in the first place-- many of us hurt in the dot-com bust were contract employees who were ineligible for unemployment.

    It's become harder and harder for people to go to college. Tuition is on the rise, grants and other forms of non-loan help are decreasing, etc. We have many, many people across the state who culd have afforded college just a few years ago, but now it is out of their reach. Students are carrying higher amounts of school related debt than they did a few years ago.

    I see so much credited to Kulongoski where he had either very little to do with it, or it's something where he showed no leadership at all (such as with SB 1000-- he could have played "hard ball" and gotten a vote on this in the House).

    I was a big supporter of Kulongoski in 2002. Now I'm one of those 60%+ of Oregonians who disapprove of him and how he's handled things.

  • LT (unverified)

    Myranda, Jenni is right. There are those of us who supported Ted K. in the primary and general in 2002 and are disappointed. Do we have the right to be disappointed? Or is Oregon a state where a person who votes for someone has entered into a contract where they are required to support that person for the rest of their political career?

    The approach of the re-elect Kulongoski campaign, "the Gov. is doing what the people want done", implies those of us who are disappointed have no right to an opinion.

    To say that many 2002 TK voters don't think Ted did what they expected him to do when they voted for him--but are supposed to support him anyway because he is a great guy others think did wonderful things--- is a good way to lose an election.

    It will be interesting to see how Ted does in the April debates. If he says "I did the best under difficult circumstances, so you're supposed to support me and not ask such tough questions", he's likely to lose because that is basically the Minnis attitude: leadership has been chosen, and questions are not allowed.

    As someone who has known Ted K. for decades, I was telling a neighbor who is down on Kulongoski "there are those of us who think what we got is not the guy we thought we voted for".

    As I understand the re-elect Ted strategy, it is to tell people like me that the above paragraph is rank heresy and we are all supposed to support Ted because we are being told to do so.

    My sentiments are split between Hill and Westlund, people I know but more importantly people with specific proposals and willing to discuss them with the general public.

  • myranda (unverified)

    Thanks, Jenni and LT. Sorry, but I still don't get your disppointment in the governor. I still don't understand what you think he should've done that he hasn't done. I still don't understand why you think "he is not the guy we thought we voted for" (to quote LT). Of course some people are still unemployed or underemployed. Kulongoski knows that and said so in his State of the State address. But 100,000 fewer people in Oregon are jobless than in 2003, thanks to some things that he has done. I don't understand why that's unacceptable. I don't understand why he shouldn't have four more years to add another 100,000 jobs. As for Kulongoski's leadership during the legislative session, it seems to me that he led, for example, the increase in funding for the "opportunity grants" for higher education. If you think someone else led the way on that, tell me who, please. As for SB 1000, what bill would you have traded to Speaker Minnis to get a hearing in the house? Abortion rights curtailment? Thank you.

  • LT (unverified)

    But 100,000 fewer people in Oregon are jobless than in 2003, thanks to some things that he has done. I don't understand why that's unacceptable.

    As someone who was employed in 2002 but laid off in Sept. 2003, I am tired of hearing that because statistics say the state is doing well, the Gov. needn't say in public and often "Yes, I realize there are people who the recovery has not touched".

    The Ted K. I knew 20+ years ago understood that. Myranda, if you don't like what Jenni and I are saying, I hope you are spending all your spare time volunteering on the Ted K. re-election campaign.

    I thought Ted would be more visible in public than he has been. He should have spoken out against Minnis and the closed door budget hearings--or did Minnis threaten him that they would still be in session on Halloween if he did that? Ted seems more interested in pleasing the business community than in answering questions from ordinary citizens. One I would like to ask him is "What made you think AuCoin for Forestry Board was a good idea? " But maybe that was acceptable because after all "But 100,000 fewer people in Oregon are jobless than in 2003, thanks to some things that he has done"? Minnis is responsible for being Queen Karen and with any luck Rob Brading will defeat her this fall. But no one other than Kulongoski is responsible for the stupidity of the AuCoin nomination. That was the first time I really got angry with Ted K. and wondered what he was thinking. Ted Ferrioli handled that situation better than Ted Kulongoski. And if that makes me not a good Democrat then maybe I should register Independent. I have in the past told a state rep. I once voted for that I was disappointed and would not vote to re-elect. Either I have the right to tell Ted K. I am disappointed (whether those Ted K. fans posting here like that or not)and will not support him in the primary or else we are back 100 years ago when everyone registered with a party was supposed to vote party line. Of course, 100 years ago, women didn't have the right to vote.

  • myranda (unverified)

    Thanks for your comments, LT. I wouldn't dream of suggesting that you are not a good Democrat. It's not that I don't like what you're saying--I was just wondering about the basis for your comments. I hope you noticed the cool link called "Ask the Candidates" here at BlueOregon. Perhaps you should submit you query about Les AuCoin on that form. (By the way, remind me what was the problem with that nomination?) Thanks.

  • (Show?)

    Certainly you have to wonder how accurate the statement about 100,000 less people being unemployed truly is.

    That number doesn't take into account people underemployed, or people who still consider Oregon home but have left because the job market was pretty bad in the latter half of 2003.

    Now, I'm not saying the statistics themselves are Kulongoski's fault, just that they can be misleading.

  • (Show?)

    Just to clarify why I have a problem with the statistic, I am one of those who moved outside the state (and the country) at the time due to the fact the job market was bad.

  • LT (unverified)

    With regard to the AuCoin nomination, there are 2 philosophies about the standard for confirming nominees from the executive branch.

    One is "the executive won the election and deserves to have all nominees confirmed without question". (Isn't that Bush's attitude?) The other is "The executive branch appoints, the legislative branch confirms (or not), and in that process wise people answer questions about why the nominee deserves confirmation".

    I subscribe to the 2nd philosophy. There are those who say wryly that Kulongoski did us all a favor by appointing AuCoin--the coalition which killed the AuCoin nomination was larger (in number and across the political spectrum)than anyone would have imagined 2 years ago. It showed that given the right circumstances people would work together across political lines and this state really isn't as polarized as some claim it is. Sen. Repub. Leader Ted Ferrioli sent out an email only mentioning AuCoin's name once (amazed those who thought he'd do a personal attack) basically asking "what's wrong with Chris--- who has the seat now?". That question was never answered.

    At the other end of the spectrum were posts by a Green Party member on Counterpunch:

    If you don't know the story, they make for interesting reading by someone who was once a Democrat.

    AuCoin showed he'd learned nothing from his 1992 defeat, when he ran a primary campaign which some now call "Swift Boat nasty". He won the primary in a recount, and lost the general election because he never made an effort to win over the people he'd offended by his primary attacks. In 2005, instead of going around to each Senator and asking for their vote for confirmation (before March of last year one Dem. Senator had informed the caucus office "sorry, but I can't be one of the 16 votes to confirm", so he needed 16 of the remaining 17 votes)AuCoin sent out a nasty email saying there would be retribution for those voting against him (sound at all like some of the things Republicans have done if one of their number didn't want to vote to confirm a Bush nominee?) AND he misspelled the name of a Sen. committee chair in the email. How to win friends and influence people??

    After it was all over, a friend who was a Dem. House staffer expressed admiration for how Ted Ferrioli handled the situation (given how nasty House Republicans have been in recent years) and how unexpected it was that a Republican would be the reasonable person in the equation. "He gave Les AuCoin the opportunity to slash and burn himself" was the comment.

    This was a revealing look at the mentality of insiders. One long time lobbyist said in a conversation about all this, "Why didn't Sen.--- support the nomination, given all the fundraisers Ted did?". The response, "but before the Senator was elected, there were those who elected Ted as Gov by voting for him in the primary and the general---and as one of those people I don't remember signing a contract saying any supporter agrees to support every decision the Gov. makes", really startled this lobbyist in a "gee, never thought of that" sense.

    More recently was the Bryant nomination. Why would a Dem. Gov. nominate a former GOP state senator? Bryant crashed and burned after making a juvenile remark, and I am proud that my state sen. showed exactly the right amount of outrage at the juvenile remark.

    Kulongoski's most inspired nomination was Max Williams to head Dept. of Corrections. But it is possible to admire that nomination without being required to support every single nomination because of some generalized "Ted has made difficult decisions for the good of the state" campaign statement (his campaign manager says such things often--is Ted K well served by that campaign manager?

    I asked tough questions of candidates before 2002, and never did I dream that my choice for Gov. in that year would turn into a politician claiming "the incumbent is doing the right thing and you're not supposed to ask questions".

    I am offended that a candidate I supported would turn into a "take orders and shut up" sort of politician.

    I already did a question on the DPO form, and with my 50 words asked a more general question: Address the concerns of lower paid workers, the underemployed and the unemployed, and if any of the tax breaks in this state should be changed.

  • myranda (unverified)

    Thanks for ths history, LT. It seems you know more details about statehouse politics than I ever will. It also seems that you have some issues with the Governor that run deeper than whether he has (A)improved the state and would continue to do so if re-elected (B)more leadership and experience than demonstrated by the other candidates. So I am going to end this apparently one-on-one discussion and vote for Ted for Governor until persuaded otherwise on those two key points.

  • LT (unverified)

    Anyone who believes Ted K is a true leader who has improved the state should vote for him.

    But in a free country we have a right to decide that question for ourselves without cracks like "It also seems that you have some issues with the Governor ".

    Just wrote an email to a friend about this whole question about whether the state really is in good shape and candidates for Governor.

    Included was this story:

    This morning in church an old friend was teasing me (he's always been a Repub.) and saying "what do you think are your friend Mannix's chances?".

    I said Kevin had said one thing this year I agree with and my choices are Hill and Westlund.

    "Westlund, the independent guy?"

    "Yes, the guy with the radical idea of discussing concrete proposals and actual solutions".

    He didn't argue with that.

    Why Democrats can't for instance, go to read the proposals, and say "I agree with Ben on this and disagree on that" is beyond me.

  • (Show?)

    LT -- I'd be happy to evaluate Ben's proposals on their face, but unfortunately, that's not going to be enough. He's running around trumpeting a pro-choice voting record while pretending that he didn't sponsor three Right to Life bills.

    Now, I'm sure there are plenty of good reasons why we would sponsor those bills (you've mentioned "consensus building"; might also be legit horse-trading) but to pretend it didn't happen is silly.

    Ben's styling himself as a plain-speakin' truth-tellin' guy, but this pro-choice/right-to-life business is only the most glaring inconsistency -- and one that makes folks question everything else he says or publishes.

    [And as always - I built Ted K's website, but I don't speak for him or his campaign.]

  • LT (unverified)

    This was on the SJ website. Too bad it was such a busy day with late dinner and I didn't see it until after 9pm.

    Candidate for governor to appear tonight at Governor’s Cup

    April 3, 2006

    Who: Pete Sorenson, a Democratic candidate for Oregon governor in the May 16 primary

    What: Town hall meeting

    When: 7 to 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Governor’s Cup, 471 Court St. NE.

    Contact: (541) 302-5929.

    Seems to be proof (at least to me) of fairness that in Jim Hill's town the newspaper announced this event. Whether or not it was in the print edition (thru action of the paper or of the campaign not informing the paper in time) I don't know.


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