Jeff Merkley endorses plan to end the War in Iraq

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

This morning, Jeff Merkley endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, a plan developed by some thoughtful (retired) military officers and presented by Darcy Burner, Donna Edwards, and a bunch of other congressional candidates around the country.

In a blog post at Huffington Post, he wrote:

I opposed this war publicly from the very beginning. It's now long past time to bring our sons and daughters home, repay the debt we owe our veterans, and restore America's standing in the world.

It's not enough to wait for a new President to lead us out of way. We must start today to bring our troops home.

The plan calls for a new diplomatic dialogue with allies in the Middle East and around the world to gain back the trust that has been lost over the last eight years. We must replace American contractors with Iraqi contractors -- and increase Iraqi involvement in rebuilding their country. And tribal leaders in Iraq will have to take responsibility for what's happening in the region.

A few weeks ago, Jeff told me why he immediately opposed the war in Iraq from the start.

Back when he worked in the Pentagon and in Congress as a strategic weapons analyst, he got to know Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle - two men who were key cheerleaders for the War in Iraq. He told me that back in the 1980s, they were well-known as men who hyped the military strength of the Soviet Union - in order to generate political support for military buildups in this country.

It was the support for the Iraq War from Wolfowitz and Perle that set Merkley's "alarm bells" ringing - and, he said, should have done the same for many others.

Anyway, here's a two-minute video from Jeff earlier today - explaining why he signed on to the Responsible Plan.

I'm proud to be working for Jeff Merkley's campaign for the US Senate - and I'm looking forward to seeing him take on Gordon Smith this fall, and walk onto the Senate floor next spring.

It's time to end this disastrous war.

[Full disclosure: My company built Jeff Merkley's website, but I speak here only for myself.]

  • verasoie (unverified)

    This is great news, though I think for the sake of fairness it should be pointed out that Novick expressed his support for this today too (and I say this as a Merkley supporter).

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    We'll have no fairness here! Merkley supporters may only speak well of their candidate, while Novick supporters will only speak well of theirs. Sheesh!

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    This is good.

    And you say Novick is on board, too? DOUBLE good.

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    Glad to know Steve endorsed it. Merkley's done a better job getting the word out, sent out an e-mail & it's up on his website visibly, neither true yet for Steve, unfortunately.

    Kudos to the Merkley folks for the pdf link, the plan is an interesting read.

    It is actually much more than a plan to end the occupation of Iraq, though it is strong on that.

    It also lays out a program to reverse the domestic constitutional destructiveness of the Bush commander-in-chief doctrine in restoring habeas corpus, rolling back signing statements, restoring a warrant standard for domestic wiretapping, & creating standing for individuals to sue based on fear of illegal wiretapping. It has significant provisions regarding veterans benefits and services, reducing private military contracting, making contractors legally accountable for their actions, and going after contractor corruption and war profiteering.

    One strength of the plan is that it calls for full troop withdrawal, with no "residual forces" beyond normal embassy security -- which goes well beyond either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton. It concurs with the Iraq Study Group in calling for no permanent bases, no attempt to dominate or control Iraq's oil, and shifting any external security responsibilities to regional and international forces. In return it proposes taking up major commitments to help Iraq's neighbors and Iraq deal with external and internal humanitarian refugee crises and major responsibilities for effective material reconstruction on a civilian basis with contracting shifted as much as possible to Iraqis.

    The devil would be in the details of simultaneously ramping down the military presence and ramping up the reconstruction efforts, and security for the latter. The reasoning appears to be that a combination of removing the irritant of U.S. occupation and getting infrastructure and employment back on their feet would dramatically reduce certain motives for violence, while the sectarian and ethnic sources are apparently envisioned to be handled through regional interests in stability creating pressures on various factions from their regional supporters.

    Perhaps for those reasons as well as the politics of Bush control of the White House, the timeline is vague, although clearly there is meant to be a definite one as soon as possible.

    Much of the plan is composed of legislation already proposed in Congress along with certain recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. Earl Blumenauer is a cosponsor eight and original sponsor of one of the fourteen house bills; Peter DeFazio cosponsor for seven; Darlene Hooley cosponsor for four; and David Wu for three. Ron Wyden is a cosponsor of the only Senate bill, concerning media ownership, which also has a several interesting Republican cosponsors.

    I'm not clear if any senatorial candidates except for Novick and Merkley have signed on yet. But as Steve Novick says, "with this clear set of objectives, I believe that Darcy Burner, Major General Eaton and others are laying the foundation for a coalition..." This really is something worth working with & it is great that both Jeff and Steve are on board early.

    (Unfortunately he ends that sentence with a Nixonian "bring our troops home with honor," a phrase that will always sound cynical to me ... but maybe that's just me :-> )

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    It took Five years to find yourself on this!

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    Didn't say that I am not happy you did!

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)

    Did I miss something?

    Did Jeff recant his vote for the 3/21/03 House Resolution praising George Bush, for his courage in launching an unwarranted invasion to take out Saddam Hussein?

    Just what was his working relationship with Pearle and Wolfowitz? How is it that he landed in the Pentagon in the middle of the Reagan Administration?

    I was personally offended by the flood of Merkley campaigners on Saturday who, at the fifth anniversary rally against the War, proclaimed him as the "anti-war candidate for the U.S. Senate". I explained my view to several of them.

    Why didn't he lead in the last two sessions of the Legislature, when an symbolic, and perhaps substantive (given Jefferson's Rule that state legilatures can put an impeachement Resolution on the floor of the U.S. House) Impeachment Bill might have shortened the War, or at least altered the politics of prosecuting the War? In fact, he ducked his head and did not even give the courtesy of a response to several inquiries I made on this subject.

    I am afraid he is just a loyal soldier in the "Impeachment is not on the table" crowd at the DNC, who picked him.

    The Plan and the above video are more blather. We need all those kids out of there, five years ago.

    Hillary, Jeff and others want to play games about the politics they played, then. Now, it is too late to recant, they can only explain, and dance.

    Unfortunately, there are real people who died in and as a result of this travesty.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    Maybe Kari is turning this into a Merkely-only story because it was obvious that Novick would endorse the plan to end the War (since he is a progressive's progressive), but you wouldn't have been so sure about Jeff, given all the wimps in Washington who are funding his candidacy.

    Anyway, one of the reasons I'm backing Novick is to change the culture in the Congress so that the Dems and the GOP aren't so easily mistaken for each other. But that's not a slap at Merkley, only an endorsement of Novick. In fact, I don't doubt that Merkley would be part of the "Democratic" wing of the Democratic party, and kudos to him for that (and his position today!).

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    Change! and mountains of it!

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    I'll echo Chris Lowe's fine comment here.

    It's... gratifying to see the Pacific Northwest so prominently associated with this plan, between Burner and then Merkley and now Novick.

    I'd like to see some of Merkley's veteran heavyweights like General McPeak and Colonel Zall sign on as individuals too.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)

    What keeps bothering me about this - and I posted the link as soon as it became available - and all other action, including the Peace March I attended in Portland this past weekend, is the ongoing emphasis on stopping this War... and the utter lack of emphasis on stopping War.

    We dropped the ball, my generation did… we stopped The War!

    Our War. Viet Nam.

    But we didn’t stop War.

    We forced Nixon to accountability. Whoopee! Nixon quit, The War is Over! Let’s finish our law degrees, cut our hair, and buy beemers and half-million dollar houses on the high desert!

    We stopped The War. Our War. Viet Nam. But we didn’t stop War. We finished our law degrees and bought overpriced McMansions, and left the machinations in place, notably Bush/Carlyle, Cheney/Haliburton and Rumsfield/etal, that led to the Authoritarian State - the Fascist State - we are about to, if not have, become.

    And before any of you ignorant reighwing religious nutjobs argue that War is the natural human state, you'd better be ready to argue the validity, or lack thereof, of the original Cain and Able, where the omnivorous little runt Australopithecus Afarensis wiped out the larger, stronger, vegetarian Australopithecus Boisie some three million years ago...

    War is not the natural human state, it is the natural state of the Nation-State, and Religion. We are poised, as a species, to evolve to our next iteration as Humans, and we're not going to evolve until we mature - outgrow - these irrational dependencies on adolescent fairy tales to explain away the dark... until we outgrow Religion, and the notion of Nation-State... we won't evolve, we won't even exist.

    The candidate, the party, the policy, that wants my support will advocate an end to War.

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    Ten Bears, are you 'WARM SPRINGS'?

  • BCM (unverified)

    Sure, Ten Bears, let's dissolve the nation-state, social contracts, and our current system of governance and return to a state of nature where life, as Hobbes so eloquently put it, is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." That would surely end War...

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    LETS DRAW OUT THOSE WHO WANT WAR and kill them) and do not teach that shit to your kids and what would happen?

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    John Bradach asked:

    Just what was his working relationship with Pearle and Wolfowitz? How is it that he landed in the Pentagon in the middle of the Reagan Administration?

    The answer to that is on his bio, where it's always been.

    After earning his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, Jeff won a full scholarship to the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, where he obtained his Masters Degree in Public Policy. In 1982, he won appointment as a Presidential Management Fellow, which gave him the opportunity to tackle several pressing issues in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While serving as a Presidential Fellow, he focused his analytical talents on the critical problems of safeguarding American military technology, verifying arms treaties, and assisting the U.S. delegation to NATO.

    A "Presidential Management Fellow" is basically a very high-level post-graduate-school paid two-year internship. A highly sought-after position. If I remember right, John, you're an attorney. The PMF is the rough equivalent of getting a clerkship for a federal judge. It's a nonpartisan deal and people who earn them typically go on to illustrious careers.

    Bradach: I am afraid he is just a loyal soldier in the "Impeachment is not on the table" crowd at the DNC, who picked him.

    But of course you're wrong. In fact, he's said EXACTLY the opposite. Let me quote it for you:

    "Impeachment should never be off the table."

    Oh, and the DNC? They don't recruit candidates. I think you mean the DSCC.

  • LT (unverified)

    Dear John,

    It doesn't matter if there is a specific plan being discussed today because "Did Jeff recant his vote for the 3/21/03 House Resolution praising George Bush, for his courage in launching an unwarranted invasion to take out Saddam Hussein?" ???

    Thank you for giving me a good reason to vote for Jeff Merkley.

    At the top of Jeff Merkley's website is the video about this plan to end the war.

    At the top of Steve's website is "you've seen the ad, now drink the beer".

    But that is OK because Steve is really more anti-war than Jeff who will be marked for the rest of his life by a 2003 vote while his opponent who has never held public office deserves our vote?

    I'm sorry, but that logic doesn't hold up in my book. Call me any name you want, but if you are supporting Steve one would think you would want to earn votes for him, not drive them away!

    This is the sort of thing my friend was talking about in the grocery store today. She was once politically active, but no more. She has very strong views which she keeps to herself, she is tired of all the political coverage, she knows how she will vote but tunes out all this stuff.

    If you want to defeat Gordon Smith, the emphasis should be on why a Democratic candidate will be better. Because I can think of a lot more worthwhile things to do than to campaign for a guy who says the Speaker is forever marred by a 2003 vote and oh, by the way, would you like to taste our beer?

    Unless STEVE talks publicly about such serious issues as a plan to end the war, and makes them more prominent than the beer link on his website, why should we take him seriously? People can call me a Merkleyite or any name they want----but the Steve I have known all these years is more intelligent than that. Did he dream up all this stuff or did others talk him into it?

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    James, I'm for Novick, but what counts now is where people are at now and what they will do going forward.

    The program being advanced in the Responsible Plan is not one calculated to make the more cautious or timorous elements of the Democratic leadership happy & the fact that Jeff Merkley has endorsed it means he has put himself out as a force to change the whipped dog attitude, and to be part of pressure on Obama or Clinton to go further faster than their current plans. That's good for after the primary, either way. While predicting what anyone will actually do is dicey, he certainly isn't hiding his light under a bushel on this one.

    Say whatever else you want about it, it means he isn't running as a Rahm Emmanuel Democrat, and that he won't be attacking Novick from the right on this. That's good too.

    What might be especially cool would be if Steve & Jeff could use their agreement on this to draw the contrast to Smith. It shows up his express angst but do nothing tactic for the hollow shell it is. Even better if they can punch up emphasis on the economically disastrous consequences of the occupation war, it's contribution to our current economic woes, and the opportunity costs.

    In any case, I think Steve needs to make his support for this approach & his reasons known to his supporters, beyond a press release buried below the front page of the website, so we can tell other people about it when they ask.

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    There are some good videos on Steve's positions here on the multimedia page.

    You can also get a lot here on the issues page where there is text in addition to videos.

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    Most of us on BlueOregon are not lawers. Fuck you dick heads if you think you represent us!

  • LT (unverified)

    Chris, thank you for this:

    What might be especially cool would be if Steve & Jeff could use their agreement on this to draw the contrast to Smith. It shows up his express angst but do nothing tactic for the hollow shell it is. Even better if they can punch up emphasis on the economically disastrous consequences of the occupation war, it's contribution to our current economic woes, and the opportunity costs.

    In any case, I think Steve needs to make his support for this approach & his reasons known to his supporters, beyond a press release buried below the front page of the website, so we can tell other people about it when they ask.

    For the rest of you Novick supporters who think the 2003 vote and the beer are going to win the primary for you, stop and think for a minute.

    In 10 weeks, whoever wins the primary, the conversation will no longer be about the primary campaign. It will be about how to defeat Gordon Smith. But all these BO comments will still be here for anyone to read.

    Chris deserves a lot of credit because he has his eye on the prize---electing someone to the US Senate who is neither Gordon Smith nor "a Rahm Emmanuel Democrat".

    For those of you who seem to think the goal is to ram Merkley into the ground because you don't like the 2003 vote so no one else should either, are you really sure that there aren't people out there who are tired of Gordon Smith but also tired of hearing about anything that happened in 2003? Will such people vote Dem. for US Senate in November just because you want it that way?

    Or haven't you thought that far?

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    Any comment for those Merkley supporters (and Merkley himself) who is pushing the idea that Novick wasn't against the war until recently? That he was "MIA" on the issue because you can't find any media quotes or mentions on him and the issue beyond what's come in the last year or so. Never mind that Novick had a quote in the WWeek in '03.

    This goes both ways, which is why I get so tired of it.

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    Fuck you all! Five Fucking years?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    Christ, LT, is there any false premise you won't put on parade?

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    Let's not turn this into another Novick/Merkley pissing match, shall we? Please?

    It's completely absurd to think that Steve's entire campaign is about some beer gimmick. It's just what happens to be on his website right now.

    Websites are not static documents intended to be frozen in time with precisely the calibrated proportions of content designed to reflect the campaign's entire strategy or message.

    Rather, a campaign website is an active document, constantly changing to reflect the priorities of a particular moment. It's just as likely that tomorrow, Novick's site will be all about some policy issue, and Merkley's will be about some silly fundraising stunt.

    Give it a rest, will ya, LT?

    p.s. I think Chris Lowe's comment is right on point.

  • LT (unverified)

    Jenni, can you direct me to evidence of this:

    "Any comment for those Merkley supporters (and Merkley himself) who is pushing the idea that Novick wasn't against the war until recently? "

    I will say right now that I know Steve was against the war from the beginning. He was so against the war he gave speeches about Jeff and the 2003 resolution. Fine. But why doesn't he have that on the front page of his website? Because the beer, the OEA and Kitzhaber endorsements are more important?

    If there is documented evidence that Merkley said Steve wasn't really against the war, shame on him.

    But that is not the point. If Merkley said that, it was stupid. As stupid as those who make a 2003 resolution (was Steve even in the gallery that day, or didn't he think it was important to speak out on until he decided to run for US Senate?) the centerpiece of why someone should vote for Steve?

    And you do realize, don't you, that lots of people who don't live in Portland don't read Willamette Week regularly?

    Jenni, you said "Never mind that Novick had a quote in the WWeek in '03."

    OK, what was that quote? Why has no one talked about it before? Has it been mentioned here or elsewhere? When?

    Chris Lowe wants me to vote for Steve and gives good reasons in his comment. But Stephanie and Pat and others seem to think if they attack me enough they will get me to vote for Steve. WRONG!

    Steve has not been nearly as specific as Jeff. Steve is responsible for what someone sees if they go to his website for the first time. If Steve can't put one of his videos on the front page of his website, generalities about what Merkley and his supporters have said or that Steve had a quote in WW 5 years ago are not enough to convince me to vote for Steve.

    Please read what I said to Stephanie on the "Novick's Plan for Victory" topic.

    I have known Steve since long before BO existed. I had formed an opinion of Steve long ago, his assets and liabilities. Unfortunately what I have seen of him since he started running for US Senate-- in person, on his website, on videos of him, and from his supporters confirm some of those assets and a lot of those liabilities (sarcasm, for instance).

    Stephanie thinks Steve is a cool dude with a lot of substance. If Merkley made comments which were terminally stupid, there is also the possibility of leaving the ballot blank. But you won't get me to vote for Steve ----media quotes are not the only thing that matters.

    I have said it before and I will say it again: the mark of a serious candidate is one who puts issues front and center in ads and on a website if there is new information. I was the one who was saying way back when that if the only choices in the Senate race were to "stand strong with Steve" or "have a tap with Tester", I would choose neither.

    On March 18, what I see is a serious proposal from Merkley on his front page and nothing but the old beer and endorsement news on the Novick front page.

    Is it going to stay that way? If it does, it will be Novick's fault. Most people vote on something other than whether there are media quotes about one candidate or another.

    Now I am going to go offline and watch Obama on Nightline. THAT is a serious campaign. I don't see the same level of seriousness in the Novick campaign. Putting a video of Steve or a statement on an issue on the front of the website, or Steve appearing in the news (interview, guest opinion, press release, etc.) and also featured on the front page of the website would be serious. Complaining about Merkley is not.

    And this isn't just about US Senate. Hillary regained some of the esteem in my eyes that she had lost in recent days with her response to Obama's speech today.

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    It was fun, it was excitintg, and it killed Travis Bradach so who cared

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    Jenni, can you direct me to evidence of this: "Any comment for those Merkley supporters (and Merkley himself) who is pushing the idea that Novick wasn't against the war until recently? "

    "I have opposed this war from the beginning, in writing and in person, when, quite frankly, Steve Novick was MIA," Merkley said.

    This was in the debate earlier this month. You can see the quote here. The idea is being pushed even further on some of the blogs that regularly post information shared with them by the campaign.

    Jenni, you said "Never mind that Novick had a quote in the WWeek in '03." OK, what was that quote? Why has no one talked about it before? Has it been mentioned here or elsewhere? When?

    It's dated August 6, 2003. Here's the paragraph it's in:

    The Nose gets the sense that Novick is the kind of guy who follows his convictions--damn the consequences. He's certainly not afraid to depart from liberal orthodoxy. "I'm not a pacifist," he told a Nose colleague. " I'm not opposed to having the strongest military in the world. The First Gulf War had some appeal: expelling invaders through international force." This war? "An oil grab and public-relations gimmick, sold on false pretenses, which is now producing $4 billion a month's worth of chaos."

    A quick look at his Wikipedia (or Source Watch's Congresspedia) has it right there. Under Wikipedia it's under political positions, on Congresspedia it's right under the topic of the Iraq War. Apparently Wikipedia doesn't like you to use your own site as a citation for your issue positions, as that was the reason for the removal of the lengthy positions text from Wikipedia. But the mention about this article has been present on the Wikipedia entry since October 3, 2007.

    Much easier to find than a LTE written a decade ago.

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    James and John, I am sorry to learn of your loss. One of the many despicable things about this war & occupation on the U.S. side is how it places so much of the burden on a particular group of servicemen and women and their families and friends, while hiding from the others the wider economic and social costs that affect us all.

    I can only imagine your anger and frustration at the five years. But we can't get them back.

    All we can do is try to end it now. This plan looks like having the potential to be a coalition point for getting the U.S. sooner and completely, and whatever their past sins it is good that both our senatorial candidates are helping to give it momentum. Being right didn't enable the anti-war movement to prevent the war and we have failed to end it sooner -- getting it stopped is going to need the additional forces of people who were wrong in the past or who might have done more than they did (something that certainly applies to me, too, in other ways).

    That has got to be so hard to deal with on some levels if you've lost someone or someone you love has been severely harmed by this war, and you look at someone in power who might have been a force to prevent or stop it in ways they didn't. Again I can only imagine. But I can't see a better course now than trying to look forward and pull together as much pressure as we can to end it.

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    "It's... gratifying to see the Pacific Northwest so prominently associated with this plan, between Burner and then Merkley and now Novick."

    Odd way to put it, since Novick went public with it first. Not that it matters, which is why it's curious why you'd try to create a following sense on Steve's part--especially when that's not accurate.

    When do you think he'll ever unearth this hoary document that he claims proves he was speaking out against the war? What sucks is that not only is the available record thin on his massive resistance, he's starting to claim he was the only candidate against the war! Except for that time he voted to praise it!

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    TJ, can you get the Novick people to get the word out more widely to their supporters? Steve may have been first to "go public" but he must have done so only to the press -- I get e-mail from both campaigns and Merkley's told me about the plan, him endorsing it, and gave me a link to the actual document. I wondered if Steve had a position but only learned that he did here through Jenni's good offices above with the link to your myDD post that refers to a press release.

  • edison (unverified)

    LT said: "For the rest of you Novick supporters who think the 2003 vote and the beer are going to win the primary for you, stop and think for a minute."

    I am very pleased to see Mr. Merkley's support for the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. Thank you, Mr. Merkley.

    Full disclosure: I am a Novick supporter who assigns scant significance to Mr. Merkley's 2003 vote. I also bought some beer from Mr. Novick. And I think for myself. Often. About lots of stuff. Often for more than 'a minute' at a time. Just sayin ... :-)

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)


    Maybe this will help. Steve Novick has spent his entire life being cursed with having a freakish intelligence. I know that everyone who posts on the Net think that we're all so damned brilliant, but Novick is the real McCoy.

    So ... when another law school buddy of mine puts him in touch with some brilliant ad men and they come up with ads based primarily on humor -- including BEER humor -- why not have some fun? Why go through life doing nothing but spouting off 12-point plans and showing off your razor-sharp debating skills? Why not take a moment to have a good laugh?

    Steve Novick's off-the-charts IQ would make him a good Senator. But it's his sense of humor and ability not to take ANYTHING too seriously that will make him a great Senator. If you don't get that, fine. But please, don't be like Hillary and try to rain on other Democrats' parade. Vote for Merkley if you'd like. Just try to spend less time dissing his fellow Democrat and those who find Democrat so inspiring.

    Even Kari, the Merkley partisan, is saying "enough is enough." I suspect Merkley would as well.

  • STeve (unverified)

    Gee, Mr Merkley certainly is brave for taking a stand like this especially in Oregon. How about something a little tougher like the economy, job creation, energy?

    Iraq is slowly coming off the front pages (if Obabma gets elected it will prob be gone) and soon even Mr Merkley will lose interest.

  • B (unverified)

    Kari, Would you please delete the troll.

  • james r bradach (unverified)

    Sorry Folks, I was out of it last night. The war has burned a hole in my soul.

  • LT (unverified)

    Jenni, thanks---you are a valuable member of the Novick campaign. I just read the article, and this is the context of the quote.

    There were differences, too, over Iraq, when Novick picked up on a Republican talking point and slammed Merkley for voting for an Oregon House resolution in 2003 that said, "We the House of Representatives acknowledge the courage of President George W. Bush and his Cabinet and support the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power."

    At that same time, Novick said, he had been marching in anti-war rallies.

    Merkley fired back that Novick was misconstruing his vote, saying he had voted yes only to demonstrate support for the military and not for its mission.

    "I have opposed this war from the beginning, in writing and in person, when, quite frankly, Steve Novick was MIA," Merkley said.

    Seems to me that Merkley gave as good as he got.

    Now if you found that quote offensive and think we all should support Steve because the 2003 HR2 vote was such a serious mistake that Jeff has a lot of nerve running for federal office after doing that, we'll have to agree to disagree.

    But it also seems to me that many ordinary folk (not connected with either campaign) would not have caught that---although people active in the campaign would have noticed.

    And most ordinary folks don't go looking up candidates on Wikipedia---they have other things going on in their lives.

    For all of you who have complained that Kari/BO have been unfair to Steve Novick, I suggest you read this

    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Mar 18, 2008 11:23:08 PM

    It would be nice to believe in campaign websites as active documents, but as of this morning Merkley's website has been refreshed---but still has the plan to end the war right there on the front page--while Novick's website front page has not been changed.

    There is an important point I want to make, and maybe this is a generational difference.

    Yesterday was like a day out of the 1968 campaign---a major speech which may change the direction of the campaign by one presidential candidate, a mature, sober, intelligent response by the other. A Supreme Court decision (open primary) which may have as much influence on the future of politics as Baker vs. Carr did in the early 1960s by mandating reapportionment after every census in line with population changes. (Yes, Stephanie, not only was I a social science major in college but I lived through all this stuff.)

    Major economic news yesterday.

    The sort of things that happened with great frequency in 1968 and changed the political landscape.

    And yesterday there was a Steve Duin column which I believe was one of the best he has ever written. And yes, that is the same Steve Duin whose recent column said Novick was better served by humor than by anger.

    Those of us who remember 1968 remember a presidential campaign so full of inspiration and substance that people who were college students then and old enough to be grandparents (or great aunts/uncles) now formed their political philosophy based on whether they were Bobby Kennedy supporters or Eugene McCarthy supporters (or whatever). There was more good natured ribbing than the intensity of attacks on supporters of the other candidate of the sort we see here between Merkley and Novick partisans. Senators E. McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy didn't go after each other hammer and tongs with dueling media quotes or other attacks as often happens here. Ideas were actually debated!

    Those of us who had hoped to see an equally inspiring presidential campaign this year saw something very powerful yesterday with the Obama speech, Clinton response, and the analysis---even people not usually Democratic boosters were saying publicly it was a powerful speech. There were serious discussions of black liberation theology being debated in seminary 40 years ago, and some saying it was based on the 4th chapter of the book of Luke.

    Today is the 5th anniversary of the start of the war, and this is the AP story on Gordon Smith's reaction:

    Mar 19, 10:43 AM EDT US Sen. Gordon Smith talks about Iraq war

    FLORENCE, Ore. (AP) -- Five years ago today, U.S. led forces invaded Iraq.

    With nearly 4,000 Americans dead in that war, Republican U.S. Senator Gordon Smith talked to KCST radio in Florence Tuesday -- on what it's going to take to get out.

    Smith believes a realistic picture is to understand the U.S. military has accomplished everything that they can and have "won all we have asked them to win."

    Smith says it is now time for leaders to give a plan to bring troops home soon, "but safely and honorably."

    But Smith says the war on terror remains important.

    I would like to see a level of seriousness and issue-oriented discussion which could elevate this US Senate primary to the level of intelligent debate we have seen often in the presidential race. So far, I'd say the video of Merkley talking about a responsible plan to end the war is the closest to that I have seen.

    If Steve's friends are solidly behind him, that is fine. But to me if a guy has the greatest IQ on the planet and can't seem to have his campaign website front page updated to reflect current events, what we have is the Bruggere campaign all over again---very smart guy who has done a lot in his life but failed to inspire others. Steve worked on that campaign. What did he learn from it?

    McCain made a major gaffe while visiting Iraq, but is that being discussed?

    Iran has been accused by the United States of funding, training and arming Iraqi Shiite militants in their uprising against the United States. There have been no allegations by the U.S. and no evidence that al-Qaida has benefited from Iranian assistance.

    After Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who was traveling with McCain, stepped forward to whisper in the candidate's ear, McCain said: "I'm sorry; the Iranians are training the extremists, not al-Qaida. Not al-Qaida. I'm sorry."

    Folks, it isn't that long until the primary. Can we agree that both Merkley and Novick are very smart guys, that all the blogs and websites will not convince people who will never look at them, and that it is time to debate issues in public?

    It may well be that I agree with Steve on some issues and Jeff on others. But it also matters how well a campaign is run. If Steve supports the Responsible Plan to end the war in Iraq, where is the publicity saying so? 3 links into a website? Going to ?

    What if someone has never been to mydd? Are they not a Democratic voter because all loyal Democrats visit that site on a daily basis?

    I will vote for the candidate who appears to me to be running the best US Senate campaign, even if that means I agree with that person on some issues and disagree on others. There is more to life than dueling websites and media quotes. We live in serious times and need a candidate with a well run campaign to be running against Gordon in the fall.

  • john f bradach, sr (unverified)

    Thanks to Chris Lowe for the sympathy. (Travis is only part of the story).

    But, sympathy was of little use once the saluting shots were fired, the flag folded and the jets back on the ground.

    So, we have been active. There are former minefields in Cambodia and Bosnia which were cleared as a result of my sister's activism and the support of our family and friends. James has been with her every step of the way.

    We raised money for Kerry and campaigned for him. He let us down on the Saturday before the election, when he froze in his tracks at the Osama Bin Laden press release, as the President flew to Florida and reenacted the 9/11 speach after landing in a helicopter.

    Since then, I have been pushing and shoving, inside and outside the Democratic Party for attention to the War, and Impeachment of the President and Vice President as the most viable vehicle to move toward that end.

    I am absolutely appalled at the abject failure of the Democrats in Congress to recognize the reason they won in November 2006, and their sworn duty and lever the impeachable offenses to end the War. I am sick of the political games that assure that more families get to experience what we did.

    Long complex plans are wonderful, but I want to hear someone say, let's get them out in the most expeditious way possible consistent with keeping them safe on the way out. If I had the power, I would do it in 90 days.

    Also, I am not willing to give a free pass to those politicians who supported the Invasion of Iraq and refuse to recant votes they took then, regardless of party. It is easy enough, in light of all we know now to say, "I screwed up. I am sorry." Now, it is too late, they are trapped.

    I am particularly distressed by this morning's Oregonian interview with the Governor. If he believes it was all about oil, he ought to be advocating impeachment to our Members of Congress. His comment that it will go on until we are energy independent is not encouraging, but it is more honest than anyone in office has been about it. Unfortunately, if that it the truth, John McCain is your man.

    There is a small patch of America in Willamette National Cemetary (and in each of our hearts), where what happened in 2003 still matters.

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    LT's a riot--votes in the Legislature are meaningless, but whether you've updated your website in the last THAT'S a decision-swinger!

    I also find it interesting that lying about your opponent's record and fudging your own represents "giving as good as you've gotten." And this moment of Merkley's represented a debate on the issues (as in what to do about Iraq), how exactly LT?

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    I'm checking with the campaign, Chris. I do know they're slammed and at this precise moment a bit short-staffed. There are a number of things afoot in the next couple of weeks, including negotiations and prep for a number of additional debates in different locations (great news!).

    I'm passing along your request to see it better publicized. I agree I'd like to see it given more play, because at the very least it's a great way to combine the progressive efforts in WA and OR and make sure our candidates run on the war in the fall, with an effective and thoughtful strategy.

    Beyond the blurb at MyDD, it did get a mention at OpenLeft, where Matt Stoller lives (and is one of the blog organizers for the plan). And one might have hoped that the news would hit the MSM today, obviating the need for the blogs to actually cover the news.

    Of course, if Kari had simply mentioned Novick's endorsement at the same time he did Merkley's, other blogs wouldn't need to do it for BlueO's readership. :)

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    Oh, there was also a diary posted at Kos around lunchtime, mentioning it.

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    Cute, TJ.

    Novick was a johnny-come-lately on this one, issuing a quick little press release to try and steal a little limelight from a major policy roll-out from Merkley.

    And if you doubt that, check with the Novick campaign. They know what they were up to.

    (Not that I blame 'em for pulling that stunt; this is big boy politics, Merkley can take it. They'd do the same.)

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    More of that highly accurate reportage from Kari! They've been discussing it for a number of days. They were reviewing the plan before committing to it. This I already know. You really need to retune your antenna, or simply to stop making claims you have no basis for, as you've done on the subject before.

    And it's pretty funny that you admit "they'd do the same," since they've BEEN doing it for months. Merkley has been me-tooing his way through the entire race. NCLB's just one good example.

    And what major policy rollout does Jeff have planned? Not Burner's plan, I assume; that's HER rollout. Or are you saying Jeff didn't have a plan for Iraq before this? Most of what's in it is stuff Novick proposed months ago; who's the New Jack on this issue, again? ;)

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    Check with Darcy Burner et al and you'll find that in fact Jeff Merkley was the first Senate challenger to sign onto the plan.

    Of course with his solid foreign policy/military creds being far superior to anyone else in the race, including Gordon Smith, it's not surprising that Jeff Merkley didn't have to Focus Group the Burner plan to see the inherent strength and value in it.

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    solid foreign policy/military creds being far superior to anyone else in the race

    You know, unless Merkley came out with a verifiable, unequivocal statement that the Iraq war was absolutely the wrong thing to do five years ago, I'm not sure this is the year to be crowing about "foreign policy/military creds."

    Joe Biden had "foreign policy/military creds." So did Chris Dodd. Hillary Clinton claims to have them and she says John (Iran is helping al-Qaeda" McCain does, too. But they all voted to give Bush the authority to use force against Iraq, which kind of turns all that cred into crud.

    So where is Merkley's statement from the months before or the months just after the invasion saying that the war was a bad idea? How about some proof that his experience as a defense analyst was actually put to use?

    And just in the interests of fairness, Merkley may have worked in the defense establishment during the Reagan era, but I believe Novick entered the Justice Department under GHW Bush. When you reach the age you start your career in your chosen field, you really can't control who's in the White House.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)

    James Bradach - No, I am a 'mutt'.

    BCM - Humans exist on this world within a very narrow set of parameters, subject to rapid and catastrophic chance. If we destroy this world in the name of Race, or Religion, or the Nation-State, what of our quality of life then, aeh?

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    darrel, Steve was hired by Ed Meese, also in the Reagan era.

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    kevin, if he's got so much military cred, why is he the only Dem in the race to have praised the courage of the President in invading Iraq? Does Hillary fucking up her vote in favor of war make her the most credible, too?

    Steve didn't focus group it, he READ it--and found it said the same things he'd proposed months ago. Apparently Jeff read it and said, hey, why didn't I think of that?

    Shouldn't a guy with so much cred come up with his own plan??

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    I should say Meese didn't directly hire him (that I know of), but he was Steve's boss.

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    Posted by: darrelplant | Mar 19, 2008 12:53:18 PM

    You know, unless Merkley came out with a verifiable, unequivocal statement that the Iraq war was absolutely the wrong thing to do five years ago, I'm not sure this is the year to be crowing about "foreign policy/military creds."

    Ah yes, that's a veiled reference to the Republican Party of Oregon smear which Steve Novick & Supporters promptly coopted as their own.

    Setting aside the problem of Novick choosing to do the RPO's dirty work for them, I don't suppose it has escaped your notice that both Steve Novick and Gordon Smith have zero organized support listed on their respective campaign websites while Jeff Merkley has a sizable and growing one listed on his. And you wanna talk about who has military cred? LOL

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    That should read "zero organized VETERANS support..."

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    One thing that's interesting here is that the Council for a Livable World endorsed exactly 15 Congressional and Senate candidates nationwide. Jeff Merkley was one of those 15. So too was Darcy Burner.

    Here's what the Council had to say, in part, about Jeff:

    Merkley will be an important progressive leader in the Senate. His background on nuclear weapons, his knowledge of national security issues and his political experience clearly indicate that we need him in the U.S. Senate.
  • Lynn Porter (unverified)

    I don't like the plan. It doesn't say anything that matters. There are two questions we should be asking all of the Senate candidates:

    1. Will you pledge to vote against any further funding for the Iraq war?

    2. Are you willing to lead a filibuster against any Iraq war funding bill?

    Lynn Porter

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    Ah yes, that's a veiled reference to the Republican Party of Oregon smear which Steve Novick & Supporters promptly coopted as their own.

    Actually, no, that's a direct reference to the Merkley campaign's claim that Merkley spoke out against the war and published a column opposing the war back when it began.

    You'd think that if someone could find Novick's letter about Nader from a decade ago that they could find the statement against the war that Merkley has said that he wrote just a few years back.

    doveryai no proveryai

    Pretending that this is some sort of GOP attack is sort of silly. I was willing to take an enormous amount of flak when I reported Sen. Wyden's wishy-washy response about holding the administration accountable on the war last summer, and it had nothing to do with the GOP. Nor was he running for office.

    Maybe you don't think that the war is an important issue, Kevin, but I haven't seen anything from Merkely that shows he had the foresight to say that he though the war was going to be a disaster -- as many other people did -- or that if he did that he was willing to speak out (or write) about it.

    I'd have these same questions about his judgment even if he was the only candidate in the primary.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Good to hear Jeff's clear statement on Iraq. A few comments:

    It leads to better understanding to talk about occupation, not war. The US invasion and removal of the Iraqi regime was war. Since then the US part in this has been as an occupying force. If there is war, it is a civil war among Iraqi groups with several outside interests taking limited roles. The US fomented this civil war, but we cannot stop it, and indeed, our presence likely fuels it. So, we can and should end our occupation. We should take part in international efforts to end the war we leave behind.

    Ten Bears makes an important point. Our concern should be not only about Iraq, but also for the longstanding and ongoing warlike nature of the US. Our internal propaganda leads many Americans to believe we are a peace-loving nation. History and present behavior suggest otherwise. We spend more on weapons than everyone else. We invade more nations than anyone else. We threaten, we support violent despots, we covertly undermine governments and popular national movements. We need to change.

    <h2>Note to Jeff's media people: Get some light on his eyes. He has a prominent brow that can make him look Nixonesque under bad lighting.</h2>

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