The Pandagon Awaits. (Gordon Smith, and a harrowing tale of political naivete.)

Pandagon is a national blog - and a most excellent one - chock-full of great writing and tremendous wit. Alumni of Pandagon (think "Pentagon, with Pandas") have gone to work for various campaigns, including Ted Strickland for Governor (Ohio) and John Edwards for President 2008.

Anyway, blogger Auguste would like to apologize for his 1996 vote for Gordon Smith.

First, how it happened:

A confession to make: I’ve only cast one vote for a national-level Republican candidate in my life, and that was in 1996. I was an idealistic - and by idealistic, I mean poseur - 21-year-old, and after happily voting “Killer Ron” Wyden in to replace Bob “I Say, Priscilla, Why Are Oregonians Such Fucking* Perverts” Packwood, I felt pressured to prove that I was one of those Big Thinkers who voted for the CANDIDATE rather than the PARTY. Gordon “Maverick” Smith seemed like that guy, since he was running against Tom “Slider” Bruggere, a candidate I remember as being about as exciting as an emissions test.

Smith was pro-balanced-budget, opposed the sales tax, and promised to save the Oregon Health Plan. Sounded good to me. Woo! I’m so open-minded. Anyway, time went on, and when Smith came out in favor of stem cell research or hate crimes laws or Medicaid, I was able to say to myself “yep. Yep. Did the right thing.”

But, even then, something was amiss:

But, frankly, I knew I was wrong. I knew that Smith was a typical dyed-in-the-wool social conservative, only able to come to the “right” positions when something touched him directly. “Compassion” wasn’t in his vocabulary, nor, despite the stem-cell stance, was “choice.” For crying out loud, he voted with Bill Frist 82% of the time in 2006. Trouble in paradise.

When Smith voted for the bankruptcy bill, I pretty much washed my hands of him. I even sent him a Dear John letter telling him how hard I was planning to work for his opponent in 2008. Thus divested of the painful monkey on my back, I settled myself into a nice, comfortable Republican-free existence.

But wait! The Iraq War is "absurd, even criminal" says our man Gordon!

But like a spurned lover, Smith tried one last, grandiose gambit to win me back. I won’t say he almost succeeded, but he did start my mental processes a-working. And like a lover spurned for all the right reasons, it wasn’t even a month before he was right back to his old tricks.

And now Auguste, like the rest of us, awaits a challenger.

So. Thank the Disco Ball he showed his true colors again so quickly. Last thing I would have wanted to do was squire him around town with everyone laughing behind my back at my political cuckoldry.

I can’t wait to find my rebound Democrat.

Us too, Auguste. Us too.

Discuss at Pandagon.


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