Protests of Gordon Smith in the East Oregonian

The front page of Gordon Smith's hometown newspaper, the East Oregonian, reports on yesterday's protests that took place in front of the Senator's offices statewide:

A small contingent of dedicated Democrats protested late Wednesday morning against Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith and his stance on the Iraq war. Local activist Ben Talley led Pendletonians Peter Walters and Barbara Wright, who at times lofted signs saying "Stop Gordon Smith."

A couple of others later joined the hardy band that was part of a statewide action the Democratic Party of Oregon organized to send a message to Smith and voters. The protest lasted from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Smith's offices in Portland, Medford, Eugene, Bend and downtown Pendleton.

About 40 people attended the protest in Eugene, 45 in Portland, 25 in Medford and 12 in Bend.

Talley said a year ago Smith announced he opposed the war in Iraq, but he continues to vote to fund it.

"He hasn't been walking his talk," Talley said. "We're here to hold Sen. Smith accountable to his record."

Talley criticized Smith, describing the senator as a political opportunist who won't stand up for Oregon when it counts.

Pendleton protesters confronted Smith's record on the war since he spoke out against it at the end of last year:

Walters said Smith once told Americans he was at the end of his rope when it came to the war in Iraq, but that doesn't seem to have held true.

"Apparently his rope was a lot longer than he thinks because he hasn't taken the lead to get us out of Iraq," Walters said.

Smith, however, has explained his view of the Iraq war in an interview with the EO in early August. The senator said he opposed the military tactics under then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld even described them as insane, while the strategy and tactics of Gen. David Petraeus are effective and the military should have used them sooner. Smith also said he wants Americans out of the Iraq War, but not through cutting off funding.

"What I have been unwilling to do is vote for the Feingold Amendment, which simply cuts off funding to the troops that are ordered to be in the trench. I think that is dangerous and I think that is dishonorable," Smith said at the time.

However, Talley, whose son, Chris, was killed in the Iraq War, said Smith's votes to fund the fighting will bring him down in the 2008 election.

"It's too late now. If he had voted with the bulk of Americans on this, he might have a chance at re-election in Oregon. But I doubt it. I think it's too late," Talley said.

Read the rest. Talley, who planned the Pendleton protest, has since sent a correction to the East Oregonian regarding his son's death. Army Spc. Chris Talley succumbed to complications relating to an Iraq War injury he suffered in 2004 -- two and 3/4 years after the day Bush said "Mission Accomplished" -- rather than in Iraq itself.


  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    The senator said he opposed the military tactics under then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld...

    What's with this man who claims to be a student of military history? The problem was going to war on Iraq in the first place. It was an illegal war, still is, and the deaths and refugees that were inevitable consequences have made it a crime against humanity.

    If we applied the principles learned from the Nuremberg Trials without hypocritical use of victors' justice, then Smith and all others in Congress who voted for this war might be charged as war criminals. Surely, military historian Smith knew about Nuremberg and the Geneva Conventions.

  • AnonMe (unverified)

    Coverage at OPB today:

    But the questions most Americans have about Romney's Mormon faith are different than the questions Oregonians have, as Ethan Lindsey reports. Standing outside of Senator Gordon Smith's Portland office at a protest rally, John Bradach, Sr. holds a sign calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President of the United States. To him, it's more than a political issue. John Bradach: “It is a basic part of morality, and good, and God that we don't go off launching preemptive wars that create circumstances that we kill 4000 of our own kids. I just don't think that's right.” ...
  • (Show?)

    But apparently, statewide protests aren't enough to garner coverage in the statewide paper.

  • Warren (unverified)

    Oregon's two biggest problems: 1) Gordon Smith, and 2)Greg Walden

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Oregon's two biggest problems: 1) Gordon Smith, and 2)Greg Walden

    Third problem: The people who vote them in.

  • j_luthergoober (unverified)

    Face it America, Republicans are psychotic. Hartmann sez you have to have the debate; democracy is about discussing the issues! But what do you do with a bald faced liar that calls the Iraqi war "criminal" on one hand, yet votes to continually fund Junior's malfeasance. There is no debate, only a carefully coordinated stonewall-like retreat by GOP half-wits.

  • Sally (unverified)

    "...then Smith and all others in Congress who voted for this war might be charged as war criminals."

    Who all voted for this war? I know that Obama did not, Hillary did, and I thought Edwards did (but not sure, I heard he did not want to vote for it, but advisors pressured him to vote yes?), Richardson??, Biden??. Quite a few war criminals, and mostly Republicans, but many Democrats also.

    "But apparently, statewide protests aren't enough to garner coverage in the statewide paper."

    It is a double edge sword. Highlight the meager protest turnout (less than 150 across a state of 3M is about .00005) then you also have to talk about how well Iraq and the war there are doing. Just today it was reported that: "The security situation in Iraq has improved dramatically in the past few months. That's the assessment of North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy." Pomeroy is a Democrat.

    If that's the best we can do against Smith (rail against the Senator with 150 protesters total in five statewide locations), then best to move on to another topic.

    Maybe Gay rights?

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    I hear bullshit is going to be big in 08. How about energy? There has to be a cheaper and faster way to render American 18-24 year olds into fuel so that we can go Christmas shopping...

  • Brent (unverified)

    Gordon Smith couldn’t have been happy when he got his hometown paper yesterday.

    150 protesters coming out on a weekday morning 11 months before the election shows the commitment Oregonians across the state have to replacing Gordon Smith. Oregonians have never protested all of a senator’s state offices on a single day before; it was truly a historical moment.

    If there is one value that people prize in their elected officials, it’s honesty. Gordon Smith has proven that he will say anything just to win re-election. From now until Election Day, do whatever you can to hold Gordon Smith accountable.

  • (Show?)

    Kari, Mapes covered it in his blog, as did Steves @ the R-G. Interestingly, both felt the need to essentially ridicule the protest based on Smith being against the war now. The East O was more straight in its coverage, since it was news and not a blog post.

  • (Show?)

    Yeah, the Oregonian's blog - where they put shit they don't want to really cover.

  • Purple (unverified)

    Staged protests involving a total 150 want that on the front page, Kari? Is that really "news?"

    On the one hand there is an outcry to talk about issues and less about the horse race....on the other, you want staged protests covered.

    I think Jeff Mapes does a good job on his blog....and im glad he is focusing on stories like this than on staged protests.

    A look at his links on the blog prove to be quite informative on the race.

  • Sally (unverified)

    Purple, you are just a troll who repeats GOP talking points, since you dare to question the gospel according to Kari.

    Because you have a single name handle, you are nothing but a right winger. Even your choice of moniker shows you are not one of us, a True Blue Oregonian.

    Kari will have to double check your IP address to make sure that you are not some outta state person infiltrating the discussion here.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Who all voted for this war?

    This is the Senate vote and the House vote.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    would anyone care to give an opinion regarding the recent Oregonian poll about Oregon politics indicating about 30 percent of democrats polled were pleased w/Smith's performance?

  • LT (unverified)

    Kurt, I think it was 38%.

    And it seems to me it is time for our US Senate candidates (not DPO or DSCC or any other organization, but the actual campaigns of Steve and Jeff) to start doing rapid response.

    I heard Gordon on the radio the other day making a comment on something or other. Maybe it was a Senate vote or disaster relief for the Oregon coast (was driving in traffic, not paying total attention to the radio) but I wondered why there wasn't a statement from a Democrat running for US Senate.

    There may be those among that 38% who got some sort of constituent service from Gordon (help with a federal agency, for instance), and there may be those who agree with some of his votes.

    But my guess is there is also a large Jeff and Steve WHO? factor.

    It doesn't matter what is on the websites, who endorsed, how much money they have collected from donors. Where are the press releases, the press conferences, the print guest opinions or the posts on Blue Oregon?

    Some people may think me a nag by now, but it is December 2007. Time to start reaching out beyond the insider and county party circuit to the general public. There are maybe 5 months to the registration deadline. Are any of the candidates working on a strategy to inspire those not currently registered Dem. (or not currently registered at all, esp. if they are under 20) to register Dem. and vote in this primary?

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)


    I participated in the DPO organized event in front of Gordon Smith's office mid-day Wednesday.

    In fact, I helped get the word around to supporters of the impeachment of the President and Vice President for the crimes of the Iraq War, many of whom were in attendance.

    After the festivities, I encountered a former big firm law partner of mine (a "Democrat") in the Pioneer Place Food Court. She seemed astonished that the Democratic Party of Oregon would sponsor such an event, given that Senataor Ron Wyden seemed so supportive of and chummy with Gordon Smith at the Oregon Leadership Summit she attended two days before. She predicted an era of Hatfield/Packwood-like influence for Oregon's benefit in the Senate, as both Smith and Wyden gain seniority. I am reminded of press coverage early in the Summer indicating that Senator Wyden and Governor Kulongoski would not vigorously campaign against Senator Smith in the coming election.

    This attitude is probably a significant source of the poll results referenced upstream.

    Back to the Wednesday DPO Stop Gordon Smith street protest. It was a good start, with reasonable attendance.

    It was disappointing in several respects:

    1. Neither of the beneficiary declared Democratic Candidates for Smith's seat bothered to attend. Since I got a personal invitation from the DPO event organizer, I expect they did, too. If either expects to win, they better get ready for a street fight.

    2. The Press turnout was modest. Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian relegated the lukewarm story to his blog, a result which would have no doubt been different, had declared candidates been there, and some focused press advance work had been done. Colin Fogarty was there from OPB, but he was focused on the Gordon Smith Morman connection, and Mitt Romney's religion speach earlier in the day. No television coverage was provided. It surprises me that DPO can not get the TV stations out to cover what was an in your face event.

    3. There was no P.A. system and the DPO STOP GORDON SMITH talking points were stale, by the time they hit the street, at 11:40 a.m., drown out by the jackhammers echoing in the urban canyon. The jackhammers predictably stopped for the noon hour. But, by then everyone was in the process of leaving. A pre-event survey and modest schedule adjustment would have enhanced the impact.

    4. In my opinion, the focus of the DPO event was spot on. Gordon Smith's friendship with and unwavering support of George W. Bush, particularly his vote to invade Iraq, must push him out of office. His early November 2006 epiphany, after the votes were counted deserves careful reading and analysis. The focus of his remarks was the status quo. He couched it, so he could swing as far either way as necessary to get elected, in support of surge or redeployment. Smith's hiding behind the Democrats who voted to authorize military action is predicatable. My reaction is that any Member of Congress who so voted, and who does not recant that vote (like John Edwards) should be thrown out of office and denied further office. This means Hillary, too. The lies are clear, the disasterous results and cost in lives and national wealth are coming into focus. This is not a time for inter-party kumbaya.

    Gordon Smith must go.

  • LT (unverified)

    John, you are right. Gordon Smith must go. Where are our candidates Steve and Jeff while Ron and Gordon are touring the flood / wind damaged areas? Are they touring the same areas, dressed in work clothes ready to help with cleanup? Had either done enough background work to even have identified supporters in the counties declared disaster areas prior to the storm so they could have contacted these supporters and asked "Are you OK? Anything I can do?".

    Or do they have a game plan written months ago and a belief that as long as they follow the game plan they won't have to react to current events? (For why that is stupid, see GW Bush reaction to Katrina---esp. in the excellent book Greatest Story Ever Sold by Frank Rich.)

    Honestly, even if every registered Democrat decides to either "have a tap with Tester " or "Stand Strong with Steve " and promises to volunteer a certain number of hours to their chosen campaign, I don't see how either of them attract the attention of any voter who doesn't already know Merkley's first name is Jeff and Novick's first name is Steve.

    Gordon and Ron were on TV today in wet weather clothing visiting the survivors of the storm in places like Vernonia and Tillamook and looking Senatorial. Where were Jeff and Steve? Dialing for dollars? Holiday shopping?

    If the candidates can't develop organized campaigns able to adapt to changing circumstances, why should any of us care--esp. those of us who have seen failing statewide campaigns before and recognize the signs? I've been around politics too long to be gung ho for candidates who can't seem to get their act together.

  • Purple (unverified)

    If the candidates can't develop organized campaigns able to adapt to changing circumstances, why should any of us care--esp. those of us who have seen failing statewide campaigns before and recognize the signs? I've been around politics too long to be gung ho for candidates who can't seem to get their act together.

    <h2>This is what Ive been trying to point out...but apparently, people on this site (and who run this site) think elections are won on issues alone.</h2>
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