Swords at dawn, Rove, for you have insulted the honor of Multnomah!

PiratesBy Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen and his motley band of pirates policy wonks - Marissa Madrigal, Karol Collymore & Warren Fish.

Editor's note: The good folks at TPM Muckraker have alerted denizens of the internet tubes that Karl Rove - who will be in Oregon on Friday - has gravely wounded the honor of Oregon's vote-by-mail system, calling out Multnomah County in particular:

On Election Day, I remember, in the city of Portland, Multnomah County -- I'm going to mispronounce the name -- but there were four of voting places in the city, for those of you who don't get the ballots, well, we had to put out 100 lawyers that day in Portland, because we had people showing up with library cards, voting at multiple places.

I mean, why was it that those young people showed up at all four places, showing their library card from one library in the Portland area? I mean, there's a problem with this. ... we need to have procedures in place that allow us to monitor it.

And in the city of Portland, we could not monitor. If somebody showed up at one of those four voting locations, we couldn't monitor whether they had already cast their mail-in ballot or not. And we lost the state by 5,000 votes.

An Open Challenge to Karl Rove, Courtesy of Team Cogen

Dear Sir Rove,

We understand that you will soon be gracing our community with your presence. Alas, we were not invited to join you at your secure, undisclosed location so we’ve taken the liberty of writing you an open letter via: the internet – a tool you have yet to effectively muzzle.

It’s been a long and arduous relationship you’ve put us through. After you cleverly stole the 2000 Florida election, we cursed your name but admired your moxie. When you smeared and outed a public servant, Valerie Plame, the only thing we could hope for was that you'd be brought to justice; sadly, you weren’t. When you orchestrated mass voter fraud in 2004 to save your job, we were infuriated, but felt powerless to stop you. You‘ve been slippery as Teflon for a long time now, but your coating has worn thin and someday soon you’ll get caught up in the sticky slime of your own misdeeds. Despite your crimes against America, we've taken no action against you, working instead to restore Democrats to Congress and laying the groundwork for your replacements.

That changes today, Sir, because you have sullied the honor of the great County of Multnomah.

For that affront, we cannot stand idly by.

You have attacked our community’s honor, claiming that our vote by mail system (admired from sea to shining sea) encourages fraud – a subject about which you are admittedly an expert. You implied that if your lawyers had been able to "monitor" the 2004 elections in Portland, you might have won in our fair State of Oregon. If by "monitor" you mean get rid of vote by mail and move all but one polling place to Klamath Falls, we suspect you'd be right.

But that's not how we do things here, Turd Blossom. Here in the fair County of Multnomah, the people your party has abandoned – the working, the poor, the sick & the dying – have two leisurely weeks to vote against you and your friends. They don't need to take a day off work to stand at a polling station for ten hours. They don't have to make sure they're voting at the right precinct. The citizens of Multnomah County can kick up their feet and have intelligent conversation in their homes about whom and what they will vote for. Can you imagine it, people taking time to make thoughtful choices about their representation?

And for those who haven't received a ballot within a week of the election, they can have their first one voided by requesting another—which will be the only one counted. Oregon’s voter rolls are managed statewide to prevent any duplicate registrations, and the signature on every ballot envelope is verified to match the signature on the registration card.

For a man whose political career has been defined by preventing his opponents from voting – through fear, intimidation, confusion, subterfuge and straight out lying – our system of voting is no doubt quite frustrating.

Tough luck, Karl. Welcome to Oregon.

Most Sincerely,

Team Cogen
(Jeff Cogen, Marissa Madrigal, Karol Collymore & Warren Fish)

  • Anon (unverified)

    Most excellent!

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    This goes a lot deeper than Rove shooting his mouth off against our fair city. It's part of his career-long strategy of trying to turn Republican weaknesses into strengths. Everyone remembers the accusations against Republican party operatives of conspiracy to defraud voters in Florida 2000 and in Ohio 2004. So how does Rove respond? By trying to position Republicans as victims of voter fraud.

    The following is excerpted from yesterday's article in the NYT titled Panel Said to Alter Finding on Voter Fraud:

    A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.

    Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.

    The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians, who have long suggested that voter fraud is widespread and justifies the voter identification laws that have been passed in at least two dozen states.

    Next week, be prepared to hear Rove explain how electronic voting machines without a paper trail actually help fight fraud. It would be amusing if it weren't so scary.

  • Labrys (unverified)

    Oh, thank you, thank you! I LOVE what you have done with the English Language and the turd blossom! I posted this to my message board so others who have less time to blog-search can enjoy it! If there is a problem with me posting, let me know and I will take it right down and link instead.

  • Zachary (unverified)

    On the topic of voter fraud, the New York Times recently reported on the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to dig up cases of voter fraud. After five years and thousands of work hours and tax-payer dollars? The have found very little.

    But what does an ideologue do who "knows" voter fraud is real, but runs right into reports that say otherwise? Why doctor those reports of course!

    This probably goes without saying, but does it not strike everyone as terribly ironic that the party that most benefits from fraudulent elections (think Florida, feel free to highlight other examples) is the one raving on about fraud? Let's not forget, they are trying to enact laws that would most disenfranchise minorities and the low income, demographics that traditionally vote Democratic. As Kevin Drum says, "Just a coincidence, I'm sure."

  • Zachary (unverified)

    The Zachs attack! While I was distracted from my commenting for a few minutes, it looks like my well-named friend linked to the same reports. Well done!

  • Thomas Ware (unverified)

    The National Priorities Project Cost of War index reports Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) has cost the City of Bend $51 million, Oregon $3.35 billion.

    That's a lot of schools, law enforcement, roads, sewer and water.

  • TomCat (unverified)

    The only voter fraud I've seen here was in 2000. A couple guys were looking for homeless street people on a list they were carrying, giving the ones they found a pre-filled ballot to sign, and giving the ones who signed the ballots a six=pack or bottle of cheap wine from a van that was circling the block. I don't think they were Democrats. They wore lapel pins: one "Bush/Cheney" and the other "Jesus Saves". When I confronted them, they jumped in the van and drove off.

  • (Show?)

    Laybrs, post away! We appreciate the share and hope others will share it as well.

  • (Show?)

    Here's what Rove's doing: He takes the fact that you could drop off the ballot you received in the mail in a secure box at a public library and turned it into voting with only a library card for identification. He knows better but it plays to his audience. And lost by 5,000 votes? Must be some other state. In Oregon they lost by 76,332.

    This stuff is plain old unfunny lies.

  • (Show?)

    I love this post. And the comments are excellent.

  • (Show?)

    Sue, you're talking about the 2004 election, but Rove was talking about the 2000 election - which Bush lost to Gore by 720,342 to 713,577 - a margin of 6700 votes.

  • (Show?)

    I love this line:

    ...a subject about which you are admittedly an expert.

    It's not ironic that those who have benefitted most from actual election fraud are raving about fraud that is trivial or doesn't exist at all--as has been pointed out already, it's a conscious strategy on their part. They are raving about fake problems precisely in order to confuse the issue so they can continue to defraud voters and the country for real and so they can justify putting in place as many barriers to voting as possible for people who don't tend to vote their way.

    What I think is ironic about Karl and his friends is that they purport to be defenders of "morality" and yet they are all about the ends justifying the means. Lying, cheating and stealing are as natural to them as breathing.

  • (Show?)

    Ah. Isn't clear in the excerpt.

  • Clackablog (unverified)

    Oh, yeah. Yeah, baby. Monitor me, Karl.

    For an example of how neocons 'monitor' elections, one need merely examine these illustrations from home, the Land of La Vida Loco, the Sunshine State:


    Kinda whitebread as mobs go, especially given the demographics of Dade County; but wait, let's identify the mobstas:


    Yeah. Monitor me, baby!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Let's face it, Rove was upset that vote by mail eliminated Republican ability to intimidate voters and otherwise disenfranchise them.

    And Cogen sounds like the Champion of Reason, who is, by the way, quite good with a saber.

    check out the screenplay

  • Curt Dewees (unverified)

    Addressing Mr. Rove as "Turd Blossom," is very funny; however, any association or linkage to Karl Rove is insult to all other types of blossoms. As a gesture of respect for blossoms everywhere, please remove the word "blossom" from Karl Rove's new nickname. The shorter, one-word version is more accurate, anyway.

    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth Madrigal (unverified)

    Oregon has trumped the true Axis of Evil: Ceremonial President George Bush, Evil Twin and Acting President Dick Cheney and Slime-Boy Fascist Karl Rove.

    Vote by mail is the only true way to eliminate hanky-panky at the polling booth including ballot stuffing, electronic (no receipt) voting, and impediments (like 10 hours in line) and voter intimidation (spreading rumors Democrats vote on Wednesday or will be arrested for parking tickets at the polling booth) to true and full voter participation.

    All I can add is this ain't Florida or Ohio, little man.

    Heavy congratulations to Jeff and his amazing team.

  • Jake Oken-Berg (unverified)

    Well put Team Cogen! You continue to make Oregon proud! Anyone care to join me outside the fundraiser tomorrow? Some questions I plan to ask: Why have the Washington County Republicans chosen Karl Rove as their keynote speaker? Does Rove really embody the values they uphold as Republicans?

  • (Show?)

    SPECTACULAR work, but since Mr. Rove is assuredly NOT a gentleman, can a gentleman properly challenge him to a duel? We need a Code of Honor expert to weigh in. BTW, some of you I think were not aware that "Turd Blossom" is GWBush's own nickname for Rove that Team Cogen has adopted.

  • (Show?)

    Yes, as with most things, a full explanation of "Turd Blossom" can be had at Wikipedia.

  • (Show?)


    Jeff, I'm not sure why an elected county commissioner feels it necessary to call someone "Turd Blossom" in a public forum. Leave that to others, OK?

    And has no one else noticed the irony--people are citing the recent two NY Times articles approvingly--but these same articles completely undercut any claims of "massive vote fraud" in 2004?

    Jeff, your points are dead center. But plese avoid the needlessly juvenile rhetoric. Otherwise, you'll just end up preaching to the choir.

    Just keep in mind that you've been elected to represent all of Multnomah County.

  • Eric (unverified)


    As Kari pointed out in the above post, Turd Blossom is the nickname Bush gave to Rove, I don't think calling someone by their acknowledged nickname is juvenile rhetoric.

  • Tfunk (unverified)

    Red Rover is the pinnacle of hypocrisy and will get his just deserts. Perhaps if Multnomah County were in OH instead of OR in '04 our citizenry might have been accosted by an army of his minions.

  • (Show?)

    I'm no legal scholar, Jeff, but it appears that you may be in violation of Article II, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, which explicitly states:

    Penalty for dueling. Every person who shall give, or accept a challenge to fight a duel, or who shall knowingly carry to another person such challenge, or who shall agree to go out of the State to fight a duel, shall be ineligible to any office of trust, or profit.


  • (Show?)

    One serious side to this is that Rove's coming here makes it pretty clear that the GOP, both in Oregon and nationally, view Washington County as an important battleground -- one that they have been losing badly in recent years.

    Unfortunately for them, they still have not figured out that the rejection of Karl Rove and his politics is a big part of the reason why they are losing in Washington County.

    Democratic operatives should be snapping pictures of Rove with anyone and everyone he shakes hands with at the event because one or more of those people will be running for office in 2008, and it will make great campaign material as Bush and his cronies are dead weight on the ankles of GOP candidates in places like Washington County.

  • Steiny (unverified)

    I'll be happy to stay at home Friday night, quietly chanting "Frog March, Frog March", and wishing the Blood Clot into a higher Plane of Conciousness...and hoping that "Little Beirut" lives up to our name...

  • (Show?)

    Penalty for dueling.

    For what it's worth, I wrote that headline and added the picture. There's not actually a dueling challenge in the text -- though I'd love to see it.

  • Glo (unverified)

    Good for you!

    Add to that, Rove & company's attack on the first ammendment to the constitution by inflitrating every executive branch department with rabid christian mythologists determined to revoke freedom of religion. -- That, I believe, is the biggest threat posed by the GOP today. ... Oh, wait! Unless it's the party's new power to invoke martial law and revoke the constition alltogether. ... Oh, wait! ... Oh, nevermind. The list is too long to enumerate.

    I'm a registered Republican. So, shoot me. Nonetheless, I'm ashamed of the GOP for groveling before the militant advocates of a theological government. I've never voted for a Democrat in my life. Come 2008, I will vote a straight Democrat ticket in hopes of evicting the christian menace from government, that is if GWB allows elections in 2008.

    Keep the peaces. Glo

  • Miles (unverified)

    I'm actually encouraged to see that commenters here don't believe there is massive voter fraud in this country -- either in 2006 or 2004. Each side has used voter fraud as an excuse to avoid the truth, which is that sometimes you just lose. We (the Left) were beat in 2004 on the issues. The American public supported the continuation of Bush's war in Iraq, and they didn't see any reason for change. Due to continued mismanagement of that war, a majority of voters came to believe that we were right, and in 2006 they decided change was necessary.

    Let's remember this debate the next time we lose an election so we don't spend useless hours creating voter fraud conspiracies that don't actually exist.

  • The Eye of Ra (unverified)
    <h2>I need to move to Multnomah County!</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon