The Year in Review (2007 Edition)

Jeff Alworth

In politics, change seems to come at a glacial pace.  Yet consider, when 2008 dawns: Oregonians will only pay a maximum of 36% in annual interest to cash a paycheck; gays and lesbians in committed relationships will be regarded as equal with heterosexuals before the law; the nightmare of Measure 37 will be over; you will know who Mike Huckabee is.  (Okay, not all change is noteworthy.) 

If BlueOregon followed a loose theme in 2007, the first year in a biennium in which the state House, Senate, and Governorship were controlled by Dems, it was that "Elections Matter."  Liberals lodged dozens of long-overdue wins in critical policy battles; meanwhile, the GOP saw its elective failures snowball into a mini-exodus at the end of the legislative session.  It was a year of change, and boy, were some of them biggies.  So, without further ado, here is a brief recap of the year.  Feel free to add your comments about the important events of the year.

Since the calendar alternates between election years and governing years (at least for now), it's no surprise that 2007 was marked more by policy changes than political battles.  The Democrats had control of both chambers of the legislature, with Ted Kulongoski on hand to sign bills--but they didn't have the 3/5ths majority they need to pass spending increases.  So they started out with the low-hanging fruit, those many bills Karen Minnis had kept blocked from being considered, and managed to get most of what they wanted (often by large, bipartisan margins).  Among other things, they:

Not everything was a wholesale success, however--the legislature's plan to tax cigarettes to pay for children's health care went down at the ballot; now thousands of Oregon children remain uninsured.   Democrats also failed to kick the corporate kicker or raise the corporate minimum tax.  On the whole, though, Dems made huge gains.  After years of frustrating sessions, this was one to savor.

What was more telling--former Speaker Karen Minnis sitting meekly through the session, or the post-session exodus of Republicans (including Minnis, John Dallum, Wayne Scott, Jerry Krummel, Tom Butler, and Donna Nelson)?  Or maybe it was the total number of Republican candidates running for open statewide positions of Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Treasurer: zero. Pick your metaphor, but the upshot was clear--an era of Republican leadership ended decisively in 2007. 

These changes mirrored the national picture, where Democrats flexed new political muscles.  One by one, high-profile Democrats decided to stand pat on their safe seats, exercise their seniority and clout, and let someone else challenge the one remaining Republican to have won a statewide election (Wu, Hooley, DeFazio, Blumenauer all passed).  Steve Novick (April), Jeff Merkley (July), and John Frohnmeyer (August) lead a growing pack of candidates happy to remove that final elephant in the room.

Following one of the most corrupt years in American history, 2007 boasted fewer scandals.  For example, Betsy Johnson's real estate dealings, touted as evidence of influence peddling when they roared into papers in May, exited meekly with a small fine in August.  Another one: Donna Nelson's (R-McMinnville) failure to report financial reports in her 2006 campaign resulted in a $3500 fine this year.

Scandals of conscience were more serious. In April, state Republican whip Dennis Richardson sent out an email in which he described as "tragic" both the Virginia Tech massacres and the passage of the domestic benefits (HB 2007).  And in July, a Marion County Republican Party official, in tortured grammar, declared that Oregon Democrats were "drunk with power" and "hate God." 

(And the Republicans wonder why they are no longer in power.)

Politics is the result of the vision and work of people.  Here are four who helped shape politics locally and nationally.

Keith Burns (1927-2007), Oregon legislator, chief of staff to Governor Bob Straub.
Audrey McCall (1915-2007), Oregon first lady, land-use planning advocate.
Molly Ivins (1944-2007), political writer, author of Shrub, The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush
Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), founder of the Moral Majority and Liberty University.

For those of you who are really avid historians and would like an expanded description, I spent a few hours digging around the BlueOregon archives, and I offer a month-by-month recap after the jump.

The year began with Gordon Smith apparently opposing the Bush surge.  Though he got credit in the MSM, the reality was more complex.  Despite his "opposition," Bush surged, sending 20,000 troops to Iraq.  Elsewhere, Oregon legislators considered joining the presidential primary sweepstakes and moving Oregon to Super Tuesday (but later decided agin' it--we'll go fourth to the last, thank you very much).  Finally, in a preview of coming attractions, Steve Novick wrote a story for Willamette Week titled "If I Ran."

In February, the Supreme Court overturned an Oregon decision to award $80-million dollars in a smoking-related lawsuit.  Global warming and its human cause was confirmed by scientists in 113 countries, and Governor Kulongoski joined four other western states in reducing greenhouse emissions.

In what amounted ultimately to amusing theater, House Republicans first supported a deal on the Rainy Day Fund, then announced they didn't.  Eventually, Dems tinkered with the proposal and it got all but nine GOP votes.  The Democrats also elected a new chair for the state party, Meredith Wood Smith, after a lively race.

Absurd: Imus waxed racist about "nappy-headed hos."  Tragic: Virginia Tech killings.  Steve Novick jumped in the US Senate race.  In Washington, Alberto Gonzales broke the all-time "I don't recall" record in Congressional hearings about the US attorney firings. The legislature began to move on some of the heavier legislation, and Peter DeFazio announced that he was out of the Senate sweepstakes.  In Portland, fans and foes of the "Burnside Couplet" bickered over transportation in the second-most interesting street debate of the year (see September, below).

Call May the month of GOP absenteeism.  On the national front, Gordon Smith, having just voted against timelines in Iraq, was dodging Oregonians.  He spent the summer visiting black-tie fundraisers, but not talking to constituents.  Meanwhile, Donna Nelson was out to lunch.  Props to her for delivering the year's best quote, though:  "Colleagues. I thought this was a great bill until I just found out I don't know what I'm talking about." 

Summer's gentle sun witnessed the revival of Bob Pamplin's plan to return part of Ross Island to the City of Portland.  The Republican Party, unerringly determined to marginalize itself, spent $70k to attack Dems with radio ads and mass mailers--it marked the first (and let's hope final) time that a party attacked another during a session.  The madness didn't stop: later, Wayne Scott led an effort by Republicans to flee the Capitol in a hapless, hopeless attempt to thwart the Democrats.  They returned, sheepishly, hours later.  More madness, this time in Corvallis: Beaver Believers go crazy as OSU repeated as national baseball champs.

Crime blotter: Vladimir Golovan was convicted of defrauding Portland's public financing system; President Bush commuted Scooter Libby's 30-month sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice.  While Gordon Smith was fundraising and avoiding his home state, a scandal continued to play out concerning his roll in the 2002 decision to divert the Klamath River, killing tens of thousands of salmon. 

Steve Novick got the news that he'd have to run a primary campaign as fellow Dem Jeff Merkley (officially) jumped into the campaign.  Also in August, the phrase "wide stance" came into regular circulation after word that Larry Craig had plead guilty for solicitation in Minnesota.  More scandal: BlueOregon's own Kari Chisholm was named Rogue of the week (in what may possibly be the weakest case in Willamette Week history).  Chisholm immediately recognized the opportunity and held a party at Rogue Brewery to celebrate.

Eugene mayor Jim Torrey changed his political registration from Republican to Independent and Senate candidate John Frohnmeyer called for Bush's impeachment.  But no one in Portland noticed: residents there were far too busy debating whether to rename Interstate Avenue after Cesar Chavez.

Al Gore won the Nobel Prize.  Other things may have happened, but they were not recorded.

Tobacco companies spent over ten million dollars to defeat the cigaratte tax proposal (Measure 50) and, not shockingly, succeeded.  It amounted to $20 a vote and was by a large margin the most ever spent on a Oregon ballot measure.  The forces of light were rewarded with a victory in Measure 49, which was a fix to the abysmal Measure 36.  It won support statewide and deprived the GOP of yet another populist talking point.  As a balm to the festering rage over the Interstate Ave debacle, the Portland City Council came up with a new idea: rename 4th Avenue, instead--it runs right by City Hall!  Someone later phoned from Chinatown, through which the street also travels, and the plan was abandoned.

All eyes are on Iowa: Hillary drops in the polls and the Edwardians and Obamaniacs rallied; Republicans continued their extremely interesting performance art piece entitled: "How no one can win the GOP nomination."  US intelligence agencies issued an NIE showing Iran has no nuclear program.  Finally, in one of the strangest moments of the year, Gordon Smith defended Trent Lott's defense of Strom Thurmond, a self-inflicted wound for which there could be seen not a single provocation.

  • (Show?)

    Also in October: the pride of Madras, Oregon, AKA Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox, earned a free taco for everyone in America by stealing a base in the World Series. OK, it's not a Nobel Peace Prize, but still: that's a lot of tacos.

  • Bert (unverified)

    You left out Kucinich bringing forward articles of impeachment:

  • Chuck P (unverified)

    Yes, however, the state legislature did not modify our state election law deadline for filing to appear on the Oregon ballot for the office of President in Fall 2008. As the law stands, with the Republican party ignoring the deadline secured in Oregon state law, the Republican nominating convention will take place after the filing deadline. Meaning, as the law currently stands, there will not be a Republican candidate for President on the Fall 2008 ballot. I find this quite amusing. The Republicans ignored and flouted the law, therefore I would agree with not modifying the law to include them.

  • DavidS (unverified)

    Not too many scandals? Well, what about the the continuing fallout from the former Governor's criminal relationship with a 14 year old on our current Governor? The former's crimes may well cast a shadow on all Democrats and hopes for progressive change since they will definitely be in the news in 2008 given Sheriff G's imminent, albeit belated, political self-destruction. Not the most important news in Oregon in 2007, but come on, it's too important to omit from a year in review.

  • (Show?)

    Progressive Oregonians interested in meaningful change in this state and in this nation owe a debt of gratitude to, among others, Speaker Jeff Merkley.

    It wasn't a perfect session by any stretch of the imagination. But it was monumental, nevertheless. And Speaker Merkley deserves a large chunk of the credit.

    ::: cue the naysayers who know I'm right but who have a vested interest in negating anything that makes Speaker Merkley look good :::

  • sean cruz (unverified)

    Jeff: also among the signal accomplishments of the 2007 Legislature were the bills slapping new regulations on the predatory patrol towing industry (SB 116 and SB 431), arguably the most popular bills in the building. The new regs take effect January 1. Prior to this legislation, the industry beat back every attempt to change status quo.

  • jamie (unverified)

    regarding "...gays and lesbians in committed relationships will be regarded as equal with heterosexuals before the law..."

    This should read instead "...gays and lesbians in committed relationships will be regarded as equal with heterosexuals before Oregon law..."

    Federal law still will not recognize us, so hundreds major benefits that apply to heterosexual couples, like social security survivor benefits, will still not apply to gay and lesbian couples.

    Sadly I know about this first hand, as my partner of 20 years died in October. Rest in peace. :(

  • (Show?)

    Well, what about the the continuing fallout from the former Governor's criminal relationship with a 14 year old on our current Governor?

    I think it cheapens our sense of graft and corruption when we call some things scandals. The Kulongoski issue amounts to a right-wing talk-radio host's vendetta on a sitting politician based on a single conversation that may or may not have happened over a decade ago. One doesn't have to minimize that situtation to see that it diminishes the word "scandal" when you compare it to the shenanigans of Dan Doyle or Bill Sizemore (or the White House, Tom DeLay, or Jack Abramoff).

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    DavidS: Lars Larson himself, on the air and in the Oregonian today, admitted that "evidence is lacking" in his charges against Kulongoski.

    So my question to you is how is it that a bottom-feeding, right-wing hate radio hack spewing lies to the bottom 29% cast a shadow on all Democrats and hopes for progressive change?

  • LT (unverified)

    "Lars Larson himself, on the air and in the Oregonian today, admitted that "evidence is lacking" in his charges against Kulongoski."

    Many years ago, Lars Larson was a well-regarded KPTV reporter. He chose to change to being a talk show host. He has gotten increasingly bitter over the years. Does he even still live in Oregon? Why should anyone else care about what he cares about unless he has documented evidence? Has he run out of targets? Is he even capable anymore of stating the affirmative--such as who he likes in the Iowa Caucuses, or whether he believes Gordon Smith deserves re-election? Does he have a clue about why the 2006 elections turned out the way they did?

    After so many months of "everyone should take Leonhardt at his word", I finally read the affadavit online. It wasn't the most clearly written, evidence based document I have ever seen. There were parts of it I would question, not the least of which was the reported breakfast with Guisto at Salem Center.

    I have lived in Salem since before Salem Center existed, and didn't know breakfast was ever served there. Perhaps once there was a restaurant where breakfast was served (there is one space which has had a series of restaurants over the years---somehow the food court doesn't seem the ideal place for such a conversation even if any of those places serves breakfast) but that detail was a last straw for me.

    If the whole case rested on the Leonhardt affadavit and nothing else, it was a pretty thin case. Anyone who remembered Al French and the trouble he got into for hearsay in his affadavit to be in the 2004 Swifty ad has the right to be skeptical of any other affadavit.

  • DavidS (unverified)

    Well, I guess I just have a different view of scandal. To me, if someone knew about a sexual relationship between an adult and a child and did nothing about it, that would qualify as a scandal. I wouldn't limit scandal to graft and corruption.

    Haven't seen the article in today's paper Scott. I'll look at it and am pleased that Lars is eating crow. Hopefully this scandal will fade from view. A question for you: Do these allegations strengthen progressive politics in this State? Have no effect? I think I read about these allegations in the Oregonian, which reaches more than the 29% with whom you strongly disagree. I could be wrong, but I think the Governor is the most prominent Dem in this State. I think these allegations cast a shadow. I don't think they cripple his effectiveness. Mostly I just thought they deserved a mention in a year in review article.

    Happy New Year to All. Interesting process making comments and seeing the responses. Probably put my time elsewhere in the future. Not sure any of this discussion will help change things in a progressive direction.

  • (Show?)

    This is, of course, a "year in review" post. Nothing happened in the Kulongoski/Goldschmidt story this year. It's all old news - except that Lars Larson decided to raise a hulaballoo this year. (The Giusto part of the story, however, is a different story. Lots of news there.)

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)

    The sweetest gift of the year was the "downfall" of Karen Minnis. Thinking back on it, having her win her re-election only to suffer by having her wings clipped was truly inspiring. For so long, this woman had caused hardship for this state by single-handedly and arrogantly refusing to allow issues to the floor even though they had majority support.

    I give the Legislature a "B" grade for this passing session. I would have liked to have seen some sort of referendum reform to limit out-of-state funding that keeps Sizemore in business. As it is, we will likely have twenty or more ballot measures to consider in 2008, most of them funded by out-of-state conservative interest groups trying to use Oregon as a testing ground... a gentler version of Iraqi politics, perhaps?

  • (Show?)

    I would have liked to have seen some sort of referendum reform to limit out-of-state funding...

    That would be nice, but likely impossible from a constitutional perspective. If it's free speech, then you can't limit free speech to only in-state residents.

  • LT (unverified)

    "I give the Legislature a "B" grade for this passing session. I would have liked to have seen some sort of referendum reform to limit out-of-state funding that keeps Sizemore in business."

    The Legislative Commission wrestled with this, but unfortunately in some cases the money has passed through several committees by the time it is spent, making it hard to even list the true funders of petition gathering (one of the PCOL wishes) in the Voters Pamphlet.

  • rural resident (unverified)

    I'm not sure how much control the Republicans really had prior to 2007, even though they controlled at least one house of the legislature for a decade or so. When you haven't had the governorship for over 20 years and you haven't held a meaningful state office for almost as long, you're pretty much on the fringes of the process.

    That said, I'm pleased with the political demise of Karen Minnis. It couldn't happen to someone more deserving. There would be a world shortage of ill will if she got all that commodity that should be coming her way. It's one thing to be resolute and determined about one's views, and to manipulate the levers of power appropriately in order to achieve legislative goals. It's another thing to be arrogant, mean-spirited, and self-serving. Not only Ms. Minnis, but several of her top aides, acted as though associating with regular Oregon citizens was beneath them. Even when I agreed with her (rarely) on an issue, she and her policy people were so insufferable that it made me wonder about my views. It's almost too bad that she isn't forced to remain in a Dem-controlled legislature where all that negative Karma could catch up with her.

    I don't know who's running for the D-49 seat, but I would hope that Rob Brading would give it another run. If anyone deserves the opportunity to run (and, most likely, win) in a race without facing one of the most powerful members of the Oregon House, it's Mr. Brading. He may not have won, but he was certainly responsible for setting up her downfall.

    Finally, a note of agreement about the passing of Molly Ivins. Such a pleasure to read, and to hear on various news shows. Her sharp wit, great common sense, empathy for the less fortunate, and appreciation for civil political discourse are so much missed. Let's hope that the Dems ascendency to the Presidency in 2009 ushers in a too-long delayed emphasis on medical research. Redirecting the wasteful spending in Iraq and promoting embryonic stem-cell research will help us find a cure for major diseases such as the one that killed Molly Ivins and many others.

  • LT (unverified)

    It is news worthy of a year in review topic that Lars would admit he doesn't have the evidence for his charge against the Gov. ""The issue is one of logic, it's not evidentiary", Larson said.

    Oh really, we are supposed to take Lars Larson's logic at face value? When was the last time he gave those who are not his loyal following any reason to take him seriously?

    The whole thing was a mess from the beginning. Had Leonhardt filed an official report with any agency, that would be evidence. Otherwise, the whole story sounds like "Believe us! ", which people have the right to accept or reject.

    Somehow I doubt that folks outside of Portland or outside of the social circles involved in a Christmas party like the one Leonhardt described (people with work and family concerns, perhaps with jobs which are physically or otherwise challenging) sat around with their friends saying "the speech writer should be believed about whether the Governor and his state police driver knew decades after the fact about a horrible crime done in the 1970s by a man who was later elected Governor".

    Also interesting is that I cannot provide a link. There the story is in the print edition, Page 1 carried over to P. 13. But don't look on for the story in "All Today's News Headlines" because it isn't there.

    Absent a ruling by the Bar examiners, the end of the year should be the end of the story.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    A concise review of the political year at the federal level might be: Congressional Democrats found abundant excuses for not confronting the outlaw Bush administration.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    Ron Wyden getting his hat handed to him at his Portland Town Hall meeting by an angry crowd.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    You also forgot the story of David Bragdon endorsing Steve Novick.

    But if this review is based on BlueOregon archives, I guess that makes sense, because BlueOregon never covered it.

  • (Show?)

    Who is David Bragdon?

    Jeff Merkley has been endorsed by many similarly unknown officials who didn't warrant a post here either. Why should it be incumbant upon Blue Oregon to put up a post every time an elected dog-catcher endorses someone?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    Ya know, Kevin, there's an old saying that says if you keep your mouth shut, people can only suspect you're a fool, but when you open your mouth, well...

    For any others out there who are as ignorant as Kevin: Bragdon is the elected president of Metro. BlueOregon has 36 posts referring to him, the last one about his funny/serious press release.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    Metro is the government representing Oregon's three largest counties. Bragdon was elected as its president.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)

    Another passing of significance -- Lucy Lahr, former leader of SEIU, board member of Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network, and much more, died in November after being struck by a hit and run driver.

    Lucy was one of those activists whose commitment to social justice and compassion balanced so gracefully that she always had a kind word, even under the most stressful of times.

  • (Show?)

    Nice recap Jeff.

    Other notables to bid farewell to:

    National: LadyBird Johnson

    And another category, International, where we bid adieu to Boris Yeltsin and...... ok, Bhutto.

    And is Donald Rumsfeld dead yet or does he just smell that way?

  • Floyd Calica (unverified)

    Did you know that all nine (9) Federally Reconized Tribes in Oregon have endorsed Senator Gordon Smith for his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Gordon Smith has placed and brought Indian Issues/Treaties and Sovereignty to Washington D.C.

    The Tribes have endorsed him and most also endorsed Governor Ted Kulongoski here recently for the Governors election (with the exception of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) who continue to support the Republican party.

    All of this goes to show we all can be non-partisan when it comes to Tribal Government and the State of Oregon and U.S. Governments Trust Responsibility and Obligation to Indians Tribes across Oregon and the Nation.

  • (Show?)

    Pat, your comment is revealing. In a post about the highlights of the year, you pick an extremely small bit of minutiae--even for the Merkley-Novick primary--to highlight. The only news there that rose to the level of mention was that they had decided to run. But your insistent focus on the conspiracy of BlueOregon animus toward Novick (who was one of our contributors) obscures what's really important in that race. You think the Bragdon endorsement was the most significant? What about Sten and Leonard (another BlueOregon contributor)?

    And, I were going to mention the endorsement of Bragdon, wouldn't you expect me to mention the dozens of elected officials endorsing Merkley? Or the union endorsements?

    My wish for 2008: that the blogosphere can get over this childish scorekeeping about supposed slights leveled at one candidate or another.

    For the record: I have NEVER written a word critical of Steve Novick. I think he rocks. If he beats Jeff Merkley, I'll happily support his candidacy. However, I happen to support Jeff Merkley a little more. Can we get over this crap, please?

  • (Show?)

    I have NEVER written a word critical of Steve Novick. I think he rocks. If he beats Jeff Merkley, I'll happily support his candidacy. However, I happen to support Jeff Merkley a little more.

    Well put. It's nice to have an embarrassment of riches, isn't it?

  • (Show?)


    I know who David Bragdon is. The point is that he's not exactly a well known name and typically posts anywhere in the blogosphere about endorsements are reserved for politicians who are in the public eye, which Bragdon is not. Especially not in comparison to city commissioners Sten and Leonard.

    Is there anyone regularly reading Blue Oregon who doesn't know that A) I strongly support Jeff Merkley and B) that I've got a blog that's fairly well known. Yet I've only written about three politicians who've endorsed Merkley: Governors Kulongoski and Roberts as well as Senator Tester. And of those three I wrote critically of the Governors' endorsement because of the timing. Those three are but a tiny fraction of the elected officials who have endorsed him.

    Now, by your twisted reasoning one would have to conclude that I don't like Jeff Merkley because I haven't written posts about every dog-catcher and mayor who has endorsed him.

    Grow up already!

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    Actually, Jeff, I didn't really expect you to cover the Bragdon endorsement in this year-end post. It was simply an opportunity to note that BlueOregon gave absolutely no notice at all to this good news for Novick -- not with a short "in the news," not with an "elsewhere" when The Oregonian reporters published a brief notice Dec. 20. Nada! Zip! Zero! Zilch! Squat!

    I don't know that it's a conspiracy. But I imagine if you're not all that motivated to find and print good news about Novick, things like this will slide by. (But BO did, quite revealingly, have time to find and front page a relatively "newsless" post from a Merkely diary on Huffpo).

    "My wish for 2008: that the blogosphere can get over this childish scorekeeping about supposed slights leveled at one candidate or another ... can we get over this crap please."

    Easy enough, Jeff. Simply put your money where your mouth is and try as hard as possible to make BlueOregon a "progressive" blog and not an official Jeff Merkley campaign site.

    That will be difficult because you, Kari and Nick are all obviously Merkley supporters and Novick-supporting Charlie Burr seems to mostly post about Obama (or great tunes form Youtube :)

    Despite the lopsided number of BO founders, editors and fellows who support Merkley, I think you're all professional enough to at least give BlueOregon the appearance of objectivity and fairness. But that's not going to happen if you ignore stuff like this endorsement and then turn around and front page what is basically Merkley campaign literature.

    Putting the tiny amount of effort into an "in the news" about the Bragdon endorsement would have gone a long way toward doing that. But BO failed on this one. I think that's a fair critique.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    "Is there anyone regularly reading Blue Oregon who doesn't know that A) I strongly support Jeff Merkley and B) that I've got a blog that's fairly well known."

    Kevin, see my earlier comment about people only being able to suspect you're a fool if you keep your mouth shut.

  • (Show?)

    Pat, we do a great job of balancing it, and if you look through the archives you'll see that Novick has gotten as much or move coverage by BlueOregon than almost any blog. For the very avid fans of his, it will never be enough, but then, this isn't just a site for the very avid fans of Steve Novick. They have sites like yours and TJ's for that (where, it ought to be noted, Jeff Merkley gets nothing like the positive coverage Steve does here--which is fine, they're your blogs).

  • LT (unverified)

    All the fuss over the Bragdon endorsement obscures a truth often ignored in blogs like this:

    The nominee for US Senate (and any other contested primary) will not be chosen by outsiders, but by people more preoccupied at the moment with: whether it snowed at their home or between home and work cleanup if they had holiday company, unpacking if they visited family elsewhere *children home on vaction, end of year activities, etc.

    Each candidate has something they need to work on: Merkley needs voice coaching as Novick has by far the better speaking voice Novick needs to remember that he probably knows more about politics than any 5 people in a general audience, and tailor his remarks accordingly. (Example, in talking about health care, either Former Gov. Kitzhaber or Dr. Kitzhaber rather than "Kitzhaber says...".) When I heard him speak earlier this year, I noticed that several times in a speech to an audience containing voters who may have been in middle school when John Kitzhaber was governor. Since it was Marion County Demoforum where he spoke, I wonder how many of those young people are even aware that Metro is a Portland-area regional government. How is that relevant to their lives?

  • LT (unverified)

    Pat, Steve has not exactly been ignored---check out

    and he has a wonderful piece full of Novick wit titled "Why Meek should not inherit the earth"

    I found this by typing his name into the Blue Oregon Google window. Something like a page and a half of Novick citations, even if the Bragdon endorsement wasn't posted.

    But even if BO promised that for every Merkley post there would be a Novick post, that would not win the primary. I took a friend who has turned 19 recently to hear Steve at Marion Demoforum because I wanted the perspective of someone who had NOT known him for years.

    Reactions were along the lines of "nice guy but...", not being impressed by the allusion to Gordon Smith and Wizard of Oz (nice guy, bad wizard/senator).

    With all due respect, Pat, that is the sort of person who needs to be convinced to vote in the Democratic primary. And if you think BO publishing every nice thing about Steve on this blog (as if it doesn't show up on LO or elsewhere) is really that important to Steve's campaign, I have an Eagles song to dedicate to you,

    Get Over It

    I agree with Jeff on this.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    this isn't just a site for the very avid fans of Steve Novick.

    I agree. Moreover, the avid fans of Steve Novick already know about the Bragdon endorsement. I'm thinking of the more casual readers who get political news from BlueOregon.

    I'm still not sure why the Bragdon endorsement got --and continues to get-- zero notice here.

    (Now Jeff, imagine you're an Oregonian reporter with exponentially more readers watching your every move for fairness).

  • (Show?)

    "Pat, we do a great job of balancing it, and if you look through the archives you'll see that Novick has gotten as much or move coverage by BlueOregon than almost any blog."

    Is that really the standard? The question posed was whether Novick's coverage at all approaches that given to Merkley. One would think an endorsement from one of the most recognizable names in Portland would rate a mention, while a simple blog post would not, but that's editorial discretion for ya.

    Also, I found it interesting that nobody told Kevin to "grow up" when he unnecessarily inserted a pitch for HIS candidate into a year-end review...

  • (Show?)

    This fresh display of sour grapes illustrates why you continue to lose credibility in the progressive Oregon blogosphere, Torrid.

    1. Jeff Alworth openly solicited readers to throw in their own comments about the important events of the year.

    2. Jeff mentioned Novick by name four times in the post. Merkley and Frohnmeye only merited two mentions each.

    3. Nowhere in the post did Alworth mention either Kulongoski's or Robert's endorsements of Merkley. Both of them have vastly greater name recognition anywhere in the state than Bragdon does. Yet you and Pat both whined about Bragdon's endorsement wasn't mentioned.

    4. Pat wasn't told to "grow up" for mentioning Bragdon's endorsement of Novick. He was told to "grow up" for his infantile whining about a nonexistant bias in Alworth's summary post.

    5. Grow up!!

  • (Show?)

    Now Jeff, imagine you're an Oregonian reporter with exponentially more readers watching your every move for fairness

    Did the Oregonian cover the news of the Bragdon endorsement? I've been slow on my newspaper reading lately, but I don't think so.

    We did, btw, cover the AuCoin endorsement.

    And don't get me wrong. I think very highly of David Bragdon and who he endorses matters to me. You see, I was his campaign manager in 1998 when he was first elected to office. He's a good friend. I think he's one of the smartest elected officials in the state. He's been a client of Mandate Media in his recent campaigns.

    But if we're going to cover every local elected official, it's going to be a very boring BlueOregon. And we promised you, we'll never be boring.

    As for HuffPo, you're kidding, right, Pat? Or maybe you don't know that HuffPo gets more traffic than any other progressive political blog on the planet?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    The amount of Traffic the Huffinggton Post gets is irrelevant to the news value of Merkley's diary there (and re-posted here at BlueOregon). It was campaign literature, nothing more. It's been up quite awhile and nobody seems to have found it worthy of the simplest comment -- even crazy-for-Merkley Kevin. So, with all due respect, your promise about never being boring is a little off the mark here.

    In regards to news value, The Oregonian's Harry Esteve covered the Bragdon endorsement of Novick here more than a week ago.

    BlueOregon failed to make any mention at all. And instead of accepting a little fair criticism or considering correcting your holiday-chaos oversight, you get all defensive.

    Kevin, perhaps you missed it when I wrote this: "Actually, Jeff, I didn't really expect you to cover the Bragdon endorsement in this year-end post."

    As per the usual, you're a day late and a dollar short when it comes to keeping up with the discussion. Again, I'd have to refer you to my previous advice about the virtues of silence lest you confirm people's suspicions that you are quite possibly a fool.

  • (Show?)

    kevin, as noted by Pat again, your lack of comprehension as to the actual discussion at hand suggests that I'm probably doing something right to be considered incredible by you. I'm surprised to discover you now represent the "progressive political blogosphere." Self-aggrandize much?

  • (Show?)

    oh, I only represent Oregon's progressive blogosphere. My bad.

  • (Show?)

    The Oregonian's Harry Esteve covered the Bragdon endorsement of Novick here more than a week ago.

    And by "covered", you mean of course that Esteve posted it on the blog - which is where the O puts stuff that they're NOT going to cover. They have a newspaper, y'know.

  • (Show?)

    And yes, traffic size does matter. If Novick gets featured, say, on 60 Minutes... that's newsworthy here at BlueO.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    Well, I think BlueOregon compares more accurately with The Oregonian's blog than it does to a Pulitzer winning statewide newspaper with hundreds of thousands of readers, so we'll have to disagree here.

    Good to hear traffic size matters, so if an article about Novick from Good Magazine was reprinted on Huffington Post, you'd cover that? Nope.

    Or if Harper's Magazine wrote about Novick, you'd cover that? Nope.

    Or if the state's largest newspaper prints news about a Novick endorsement on its website, you'd cover that? Nuh-uh.

    But if the Merkley campaign posts its literature on Huffpo diary, that's news? Yep.

    Strange Days indeed. Must be Christmas fever.

  • (Show?)

    Well, of course we don't compare to a newspaper. But they've got a tier-two place to stuff crap they don't care about. We don't.

    Our "front page" (our only page) is our best real estate. And we'll hold it for the most important stories.

    That's the first I'd seen the earlier HuffPo piece. No one told me about it at the time.

    Harper's Magazine didn't cover Novick. Their blog did. And it gets only slightly more traffic than BlueOregon does.

    Just the other day, I was lamenting the lack of front page coverage at DailyKos of anything related to this race - whether it be Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley, or Steve Novick.

    One major front-pager there told me, "Well, we cover stuff we want to cover. It's not supposed to be fair. We each write about what we want to write about."

    I'd say the same is true of BlueOregon. We work pretty hard to cover all the candidates in the Democratic primaries - and I daresay that BlueO has given Novick more coverage than any other media outlet in the state (except maybe Loaded O). But the bottom line is that we're humans. And if none of the editors finds something particular interesting, it's not likely to covered. And of course, what's interesting on a slow-news day is different than what's interesting on a busy and exciting day.

    The Harpers thing was just ANOTHER personality profile. My god, if we elsewhere'd every one of those for every candidate, this would be boring as hell. Merkley used HuffPo to outline a major policy direction.

    Maybe it's not interesting to you. It was apparently interesting to the editor that posted it here. (And it wasn't me.)

  • (Show?)

    LT has a point and I suspect that the Novick campaign actually feels the same way, since they don't seem to go out of their way to get stuff into BlueOregon that they probably could if they really thought it mattered.

    Surely Charlie Burr is not the only Novick-supporting BO contributor who can post directly, if it matters so much?

  • (Show?)

    Pat and TJ, I'm happy to compare BlueOregon's record with any blog in Oregon in the number of positive pieces it's done on the Dems in the US Senate race. Pat, you have zero credibility--you regularly run hit pieces on Merkley. That's you're right, of course, but it makes your lectures about our balance a little rich.

    <h2>Matter of fact, I don't remember ever lecturing you guys what to cover on your blogs. Why do you give a flying fig what we cover? You have your blogs, go to it. Thanks for the input, but we're doing fine. Never did we say we'd offer perfect balance. We don't ask it of you, either. Fair enough?</h2>

connect with blueoregon