WW interviews the US Senate candidates

Over at Willamette Week, they've posted their interview of US Senate candidates Jeff Merkley, Steve Novick, David Loera, and Candy Neville.

If you're still undecided, how will you decide on a candidate?


  • Craig (unverified)

    I think I'm going with Merkley.

    I'm definitely picking Hillary for president.

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)

    I wonder if the Novick trolls on this board will finally shut up now that Merkley's given them an answer on gay marriage "from his lips".

  • person (unverified)

    The tattoo that Candy Neville should get: A Chinese Symbol that means "Kind, caring person who's really is not crazy."

    She did great. An I'm really thinking about voting for her. (Oh Yeah and City Club you F-ed up by not inviting her to your event)

    If I was Merkley and Willy Week called me asking questions about my children I would have told them "Piss off." If they brought up my response in an interview I would have left.

    The simple fact is Willy Week is made up of bullies. Merkley swore but not at them and then tried to placate a question that was out of bounds. I'm not impressed.

    Novick was strong but one minute and 30 seconds of thinking to answer a straight forward questions was a mistake. Steve could have just said I'm leaning towards Merkely but I really like Candy and been fine but instead he tried to turn his answer into witty attack of Merkley but in the process lost all credibility by taking way to long to come up with it. Novick showed his biggest weakness, his willingness of letting the good be killed by the prefect.

    If I had to give grades I would say:

    Merkely: B Novick: B Candy: C David Loera: Why? Willy Week Editorial Board: A+ (for being DoucheBags)

  • TroyB (unverified)

    I thought Steve won this exchange. Jeff Merkley talked a whole lot, but I can only handle so many cookie cutter answers, and I'm sick of politicians who don't know their stuff. His attacks on Steve over capital gains is ridiculous. He told Steve he was wrong several times and it was clear to me he doesn't understand how capital gains are taxed. It was disingenuous at best to say he thought Novick was wanting to raise the tax rate of capital gains in regular folks retirements; at worst he really does NOT understand the issue. It sounded like Candy was talking to Jeff at the end when she pleaded that whoever wins try to think outside the box.

  • Opinionated (unverified)

    Craig I share your thoughts. Jeff and Hillary are my picks as well.

    As far as Candy is concerned she should go back to selling pies and building homes. Favid Leora had the best of intentions with immigration issues, but why only Latinos - there are other groups/races who face the same sort of issues as Latinos.

    I appreciate Steve Novick's slickness and all the names of people he knew and worked for and even though he policy director for Tom Bruggere who I have great respect for. He doesn't have much to stand on. WHERE IS THE BEEF? I lost him. He will simply talk, position and posture.

    Jeff Merkley is the best bet for US Senate and I will vote for him.

    I have a strong opinion about this!

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    Willamette Week is providing a great service by putting these interviews online. But I continue to be disappointed by the quality of the questions asked. There are too many questions on small or campaign issues. Where were the questions on the future of US-China relations (my favorite), trade policy in general, what to do in Pakistan, how to handle the subprime mortgage crisis, how to get the budget deficit down or the $295 billion in weapon cost overruns (see here).

    None of the candidates looked ready to take on Gordon Smith. I think more hard, serious questions might help give our Democratic candidates more gravitas. And stop the complaining about each others campaign.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    Jack posted:

    "I wonder if the Novick trolls on this board will finally shut up now that Merkley's given them an answer on gay marriage 'from his lips.'"

    So is any Novick voter who posts here a "troll"? This really is a new low for Merkley supporters.

    (And for the record, I never questioned Merkley's position on gay marriage -- my arguments for Steve don't focus primarily on Merkley's inadequacies but rather on Steve's incredible gifts.)

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    I love the fact that among the first few posts here are statements about voting for Hillary and Merkley. That combo makes sense. Both are the politicians supported by the political machine with the huge institutional advantages, who now find themselves trailing because of the incredible gifts (intelligence, charisma, integrity, just to name a few) of their opponents.

    Well, for the record, I'm supporting Obama and Novick. And I'm not one of these "I used to support Edwards but now I support Obama" people." I still don't understand why so many activist Oregonians -- including Novick and Merkley -- didn't get that Barack was THE MAN from the get go.

  • Runtmg (unverified)

    At some point Novick is going to have to stop whining about Merkley's campaign tactics. Seriously, the stuff he is upset about are tiny pebbles compared to the rocks that will be thrown at him if he get's the nomination.

  • Runtmg (unverified)

    With that stated, I disagree whole heartedly with Merkley's attitude on immigration. This system is completely broken and racist. The US Government has engineered corrupt trade deals that haven't just hurt American's in loss of jobs but also didn't even provide the hope of a better life for Mexico.

    The offer of restoring the rule of law is a joke when the law on the books hasn't historically been enforced.

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    if merkley is hypocritically criticizing Novick for attacking Dems on policy failures, while smearing his own opponent with character attacks and Rush Limbaugh style "tax and spend commie" gambits, I think that's worth pointing out. HELL (let me say I don't care if Jeff says hell), he couldn't even get one sentence into his ad without attacking Dems!

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    I am voting for Jeff Merkley, Senator Obama and John Kroger.

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    Jeff Merkley performed superbly. He stood out with the depth and breadth of his knowledge and also with the way he held himself. He looked confident and competent - like a Senator.

    Ms. Neville and Mr. Loera both looked quite comfortable but their lack of depth on the issues was impossible to miss. however, they both exhibited a level of focus and ease with being in the hotseat that was only matched by Jeff Merkley. He was the only one at the table to demonstrate anything close to gravitas, IMHO.

    The camera angle didn't usually include Ms. Neville when Merkley was being questioned or responding to a question. But Mr. Loera was almost always visible and the contrast between his ability to focus and follow what was being said really stood out to me.

    Was Novick feeling ill? He seemed incredibly ill at ease.

  • Runtmg (unverified)


    It may be worth pointing out, but being called a tax and spend commie is hardly an insult that sinks a campaign. For the record, I haven't even heard Merkley say that, the first person that I have heard talking about these polls and attacks that are coming are Novick and his supporters. If he has said it, he certainly isn't reinforcing that point out there but the more Novick and his supporters talk (whine) about it, the more it will be an impression that (unfairly) sticks.

    I am not saying the Merkley won't run a negative campaign, my point is, and I hope that you can catch this without going cuckoo partisan on me, but this does seem to be really much ado about nothing. in that debate, the worst thing Merkley called Novick was a political consultant other than their policy disagreements.

    I assume the position that you and Steve are both correct in saying that Merkley has called Novick a tax and spend commie and will be running a negative smear campaign.

    Crying to the public about it isn't going to win over one single vote nor will it blunt the sharpness of the criticism. This is politics and you had better have some sharp elbows or what you believe will be swept aside come election time.

  • Bridget (unverified)

    I wonder if the Novick trolls on this board will finally shut up now that Merkley's given them an answer on gay marriage "from his lips".

    I didn't realize I was a troll. That would explain the burning desire to stand under bridges.

    I didn't see the video, but I'm assuming he said something about how he supports marriage equality. Yay! That's great! Now I hope he puts it on his website too.

    I hope, obviously, that Steve wins the primary. I'm also pretty confident that he will. But if he doesn't, I'll be ready to support the winner in his run to Capitol Hill.

    It's cool that WWeek videotaped the endorsement interview. Nice to see politics in progress.

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    Could someone from Merkley and Novick campaigns email me a paul.gronke at gmail.com? I'm going on think out loud tomorrow to talk about the DPO platform summit, and I have a question for both campaigns.

    (Actually I'd like to ask the same question of the Clinton and Obama campaign if they'd drop me a line.)


  • Bridget (unverified)

    Paul- Why don't you just call the offices?

    Novick: 503-236-7289 Merkley: 503-274-4439

  • Chris Greiveldinger (unverified)

    I just finished watching the video, and I really like Merkley's performance. He addressed all the questions directly and thoroughly, and he was able to highlight the accomplishments that he's made over the last several years.

    This interview revealed that the policy differences between Merkley and Novick are minor (capital gains and the social security cap came up), and what really sets them apart is the approach that each takes. Speaker Merkley isn't afraid to criticize or disagree with others who support him, as evidenced by his recent ad and his opposition to the LNG terminals. He takes on the substance of the disagreement and doesn't resort to inflammatory, provocative language. There's no point in alienating the people that he needs to work with to get things done.

    Speaker Merkley also discussed his long fight to get domestic partnership legislation passed. When the Democrats were in the minority, he had a battle with then-Speaker Minnis over the legislation, which obviously didn't pass. His response to that setback was to work to get a Democratic majority in the House and then pass the legislation, which he did.

    Merkley's right on the issues, and he's demonstrated that he knows how to get things done. Those are the qualities that I look for in a U.S. Senator.

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    Bridget: There is a big difference between regular Novick supporters and the couple of trolls that have asked and told by the Merkley campaign several times and seen reports in the MSM that state that Merkley supports gay marriage and keep posting claims to the opposite.

    In the interview, I think Merkley clearly was more at ease and on point talking about his ability to bring people together. I think that Merkley was the only one to present a broad vision of where we should take our country. He was the only one of the candidates to not take a pass on hard questions like when have you crossed groups that support and agree with you. Further, he showed a graciousness that was lacking from other candidates pointing to good things that Novick has done on the campaign like his organizing for OEA's endorsement.

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    "told by the Merkley campaign several times and seen reports in the MSM that state that Merkley supports gay marriage"

    that's the absurdity--everyone has a position for Merkley on gay marriage except Jeff Merkley. How come no one has Merkley actually saying it?

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    Well, it appears the long posting I made last night didn't show up. I'll try to recreate...

    I wonder if the Novick trolls on this board will finally shut up now that Merkley's given them an answer on gay marriage "from his lips".

    Novick trolls... yea, that's how you're going to build a solid front against Gordon Smith after the primary.

    I liked how WW pointed out how inconsistent Merkley's comments on same sex marriage have been. I feel the same way.

    I have big reservations about him bringing up religion. He says that a marriage is a covenant between the two people and a covenant with their God. And that the law doesn't matter because your marriage is recognized by your God. I have two really big problems with that -- not everyone is religious and there are a whole host of rights that you only get if the law recognizes your marriage. Your God recognizing your marriage may make you feel good, but it still doesn't get you all the rights you should have as an equal citizen in this country.

    I watched the video, and I don't think that Merkley did that well. He was constantly trying to side step questions and answer a different question than was asked. He tried several times to make Steve's comments on capital gains to be something different than they were - even the interviewers agreed and said that what Merkley was saying was wrong.

    I didn't think that Steve did as good as he could have; however, I did feel that he was answering honestly and frankly. With Merkley I often got the feeling he was trying to hedge his answers and he came off as the typical politician that says what you want to hear.

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    I recognize that some people don't want to aknowledge certain political realities because doing so wouldn't help their candidate. But the reality is that by breaking marriage into two components Jeff Merkley was directly gutting the belief system which drove M36 and resulted in a substantial win for the bigots and the ignorant alike.

    Politics is a form of warfare. And one of the brilliant military strategist Sun Tzu's key principles was "know they enemy." Without honestly facing your enemy, you only compromise your own potential to win a victory.

    Only a fool would hog-tie him/herself before entering battle.

    Once again Jeff Merkley has demonstrated the competence and intelligence that brought such stunning achievements during the 2007 legislative session and which not even his political allies believed were possible.

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    Bridget Because I want to talk to the campaign chair, not someone who answers the phone. I have Carla's email but don't remember who is chairing Steve's campaign.

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    Novick's campaign manager is Jake Weigler. I don't know Merkley's campaign manager, but Carla is their Netroots person, not the manager.

    I'd always recommend calling their offices and asking for the manager - the campaigns might not get a chance to check the blog, as they may be busy with things like... meetings with supporters, endorsement meetings, making phone calls, etc.

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    Jon Isaacs runs Jeff's campaign.

    "Once again Jeff Merkley has demonstrated the competence and intelligence that brought such stunning achievements during the 2007 legislative session and which not even his political allies believed were possible."

    Thank you, Baghdad Bob.

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    Thanks, TJ. I couldn't recall if he was running the campaign or if he was just a consultant.

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    Were we all watching the same video? I would have thought Steve would be comfortable being interviewed by his pals at WW. Instead, he seemed testy and tried too hard to score political points rather than give thoughtful answers.

    The biggest disappointment was when Steve gave his "vote" (if he didn't win the primary) to Candy Neville. This after a painfully long pause. Give me a break. She seems to be a very nice person with a passion about ending the war, but she has no legislative experience and no breadth of knowledge on the issues. He just couldn't admit that Jeff would be the better choice? His jabs at the Speaker made Steve look small - and I'm not talking about his stature!

    Thank you Chris Greiveldinger for putting my sentiments exactly into your post!

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    Well, I seem to keep losing the comments I post...

    Actually, Kevin, I understand that we're having to deal with bigots and those who are hung up on the word "marriage." I understand that it's likely that what we're going to end up with is some sort of civil union type thing that is the same as marriage, but without the word "marriage." And that it will be some time still before we can use the word "marriage" to describe unions between same sex couples. It'll likely be my generation that accepts that, but we have to get to the point where we're the ones in power, and not our previous baby boomer generation.

    I've actually discussed this in-depth numerous times on this very blog.

    However, that doesn't mean that because I realize we can't get it now that I can't be for same sex marriage.

    And like I said, I have a huge problem with bringing religion into it - especially since a chunk of our population does not belong to any set religion (or they're a member of a religion that doesn't recognize marriages). We're talking about civil and equal rights here, not whether or not some God recognizes your marriage.

    I'm working on a transcript of what Merkley had to say on this topic. It's just taking a little while because it often resets itself and then I have to let it play all over again until it gets to the point that I need. I'm trying to see if I can grab the actual video so I can jump to points as I want.

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    Carla...campaign manager, U.S. Senate race...

    Uh, no.

    I think I'll stay in the more shallow end of the pool. I'm a niche girl, I think. LOL

    Carla, Netroots Outreach, Jeff Merkley for Oregon

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    Don't blame ya one bit. ; )

  • Runtmg (unverified)

    Novick clearly is better on same sex marriage than Merkley was in the past. Merkley is not as progressive as Novick on this issue but he still holds respect from some gay/lesbian/transgendered groups. My question such as it is, why isn't more of the comments going to the organization who voiced support for Merkley in the first place? I think that is fairer than bashing Merkley for picking up support.

  • LT (unverified)

    " I think that is fairer than bashing Merkley for picking up support. "

    Isn't that the whole point--people angry about who got the endorsement?

    Happens every election--some group endorses and makes people unhappy, and those who didn't get the endorsement wonder why.

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    My question such as it is, why isn't more of the comments going to the organization who voiced support for Merkley in the first place?

    That's because we can't see what people are doing outside this blog. Comments to BRO are more likely happening in the form of calls, e-mails, and letters to the organization. As a supporter of BRO, I know I certainly will be contacting them and letting them know how displeased I am with their endorsement.

    I've long been a supporter of GLBT rights - most of my best friends growing up are members of the GLBT community, as is my sister. I'm also in a marriage that not that long ago wasn't recognized in Oregon for many of the same excuses as is given for same sex marriages (my husband and I are not of the same race). I'd hate for someone to be able to stop us from being able to be married, and I don't want to see the same happen to anyone else.


    I was finally able to get the transcript done. It's almost completely accurate - Merkley has the habit of saying "uh" and "um" a lot, and I didn't write them all down. And there is one point where he speaks over the interviewer and you can't quite hear what is said. Other than that, it should be accurate. I've spent thousand of hours transcribing audio (including for some items that were admitted into court), so I have a lot of experience with this sort of thing. I think I've caught all my typing errors, so this should be accurate...

    It all begins at the 29 minute mark in the video...

    WW: What is your position on gay marriage?

    Merkley: I support gay marriage and I support marriage equality.

    WW: Have you always supported gay marriage?

    M: I believe I have.

    WW: But... I just want to read this statement from the 2004 cycle when you spoke to the Oregonian - you know they did the typical what are your positions - you said "I believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between a couple and God and is bes addressed through one's church or other religious home. That doesn't seem to be consistent with supporting gay marriage."

    M: It's completely consistent, actually. I feel like when we have a couple that is married here in our state, you're married because you have a covenant with your partner and you have a covenant with your God. Uh, and if you cross state lines, you're still married even if that state doesn't, doesn't recognize you. And, uh, you, this is true for our gay and lesbian partnerships as well as heterosexual partnerships.

    WW: But.., maybe I'm misunderstanding, because if you say you favor gay marriage, it sounds like, do you support a legalization of gay marriage through government means?

    M: Yes, I certainly do.

    WW: Because, that doesn't seem to be consistent with saying that it's a sacred covenant between a couple and God and best addressed through one';s church or other religious home. That seems to eliminate {Merkley speaks over interviewer}

    M: No, they're completely, no they're completely consistent because one is about the moral issue, um, I don't know if you're married or not

    {interviewer answers in the affirmative}

    M: So you're married, and I suspect if the state were to send you a letter saying there was a mistake in your legal documentation and you didn't completely it correctly, you would say hey - spiritually I'm still married. Legally, I may not be. But we're going to fix the legal part.

    M: There are two separate questions - it's the spiritual component and it is the legal documentation component. Now if we had no government at all to give us a piece of paper and people partner with another person and they say this is my partner, I'm married, they're married regardless of whether the paper ever catches up with them or not.

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    You don't like that religion is part of the issue. I get that. Really I do.

    Guess what? I hate black licorice! Yet there it is in the candy section of every store I go into, just as it has been for years. My disliking black licorice has never made it go away or made it cease to be a part of objective reality.

    Religion is part of this issue whether you, I, Jeff or anyone else likes it or not.

    Blaming Merkley for dealing with reality says more about you than it does about him.

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    No, obviously you don't get it.

    Believe me, I completely understand the religion aspect to it. I'm a Southern Baptist, and they're about as anti same sex marriage as you can get. I can't tell you how many times the issue has come up in service or Sunday School lessons.

    But there is a population in this state and in this country who have no religion. So does that mean if their state doesn't have same sex marriage or civil unions that they're out of luck - that no option is available?

    And what is that covenant between you and God going to get you when you travel into other state and you're in an accident or your partner becomes ill - is God going to make them allow you in the room or make medical decisions?

    Personally, I think religion should be completely left out of it. I realize that to some people, it's all about religion - but just because I realize that doesn't mean I have to frame the issue in terms of religion. Other than assuring people that their churches won't be forced to participate in same sex marriage ceremonies, there should be little mention of religion.

    I prefer to frame this issue about what it should be about - rights and equality. That this is about the civil meaning behind marriage.

    The major moral part of this issue isn't about a covenant between you and God - it's about treating others equally and how you want to be treated.

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    You're totally missing the point, Jenni.

    1. Jeff Merkley unequivocably stated his support for gay civil marriage.

    2. Jeff Merkley demonstrated a keen grasp of the religious-based opposition to gay civil marriage.

    It doesn't matter whether you would prefer to frame the issue a certain way. It's out there, in the public consciousness! Your permission wasn't required or asked for! It was framed long before you or I were born.

    For every Jenni Simonis who insists that it ought to be framed a given way, there is another insisting that it be framed the other way. Or a third way.

    How the F#*% do we get a simple majority on the same page if everyone is petulently demanding that everyone else bend to his/her wishes and only frame it a certain way???

    I'll tell you how.

    We'll get a simple majority on the same F#*%ing page when a simple majority chooses to focus on a common understanding rather than focusing on the myriad minute differences between us all. As long as we maintain our focus on where we don't all perfectly agree... agreement is quite literally impossible.

    Like it or not, those who filter marriage through their religious beliefs are a majority - as M36 and similar measures in other states amply demonstrated.

    That is REALITY. That is P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L reality.

    Jeff demonstrated that he "gets" that reality.

    More to the point here, Jeff cut to the very heart of why gay civil marriage does not threaten the religious view of marriage. You even quoted it in your brief transcript. Only you're so hung up on not liking the fact that he aknowledge the political reality out there that you utterly missed the point he was making.

  • LT (unverified)

    Measures like 36 are only defeated when people who were married in church ceremonies refuse to sign/ refuse to vote in favor of such measures. PERIOD

    If Jeff Merkley and every other candidate like him at every level were to shout from the housetops EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS FOR ALL! would that elect a majority of Democrats at all levels?

    Those of us who think that would be more like political suicide than a way to advance the causes they believe in aren't going to vote for Steve Novick just because some of his supporters don't like how he frames an issue.

    In 1982, someone in Linn County gave a coffee for a major candidate well known for support of abortion and all other women's rights issues. Before the event, the hostess said to the candidate, "These are my friends. They are willing to give you fair hearing. But some of them are very opposed to abortion, so if you could soft pedal that, it would help gain their support."

    Q & A after the candidate's remarks, and someone asks the candidate's view on abortion. Candidate proudly says "I'm FOR it!".

    At that point some of the neighbors at the coffee shut their ears, because they have learned all they want to know about the candidate. That candidate came within roughly 7 votes per pct. of defeating a Republican incumbent.

    2 years later, the hostess (someone I didn't meet until 1984 ) told me that story and was still angry the candidate had to be so outspoken instead of paying attention to the audience. (For people who knew that candidate and see some of the same attitude in Steve Novick, that doesn't help Steve win over those people.)

    Now, I know there are people who may not like that story. But it seems to me from the transcript that the hostess wishing for a less blunt approach would appreciate what Jeff was trying to do.

    After all, is the best way to win an election to appeal only to the purists, or to the broadest possible audience? Seems like Steve's supporters favor purists, and Jeff's supporters can understand why that hostess was angry at the candidate.

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    The fact that so many people filter marriage through religion is exactly why you have to reframe the issue. As long as you make religion the issue, you're letting them frame the issue. And this is exactly what we need to stop doing.

    I never said you had to run in there and force a certain framing at people. But by continuing the religion framing, we're never going to win this battle. I've been battling with religious fanatics since I was 12. And the only times we won against them was when we reframed the issue, showed them that what we were proposing didn't hurt them or their religion, and showed them how it met their other morals and values (such as being a good neighbor, treating others the way you want to be treated, etc.). As long as we stuck with the religious framing, we lost.

    But then again, we're obviously not going to agree on this, because like everything, if I'm on the opposite side as Merkley on an issue, it must be the wrong side. It must be that the way he says it should be is the correct way to frame it in order to win and build unity. Whatever. I just don't buy that. There's more than one way to build unity.

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    And no, I don't favor "purists." There are plenty of things I disagree with Steve on, just as there are things that Merkley and I agree on. The issue of same sex marriage is also something I disagree with Obama on (he does not favor gay marriage because of his religious beliefs).

    "Purist" seems to be the term that people around here like to throw at people just because they disagree with a certain candidate's position. Like I've said time and time again, you can support the full or strongest version of something while at the same time realizing you're only going to get there step by step because there will be compromises. But that doesn't mean you have to make the compromise in what you believe. Believing in it doesn't mean that it's all you will accept or nothing. Or that you're going to go in and alienate people to get there. It means that is what you want the outcome to be, and you'll try hard to get it, but that the end product may only get you halfway there.

    I disagree with how Merkley's handled this issue, and I have for some time now. I was hugely disappointed at his comment in The Oregonian back in 2004 (the one that WW talked about). For those who didn't read it back in 2004 like I did, let me refresh your memory:

    O: Should the Legislature address same-sex marriage? If so, how? If not, why? M: The Legislature should ensure that all couples are accorded civil rights such as tax, health insurance, inheritance and visitation rights. I believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between a couple and God and is best addressed through one's church or other religious home.

    This is in no way edited, truncated, etc. on my part. This is the entire piece from The Oregonian article. It was a guide to the HD 47 race.

  • LT (unverified)

    "I never said you had to run in there and force a certain framing at people. But by continuing the religion framing, we're never going to win this battle."

    Years ago, when the OCA was still powerful, a speech professor gave a presentation of how they won. They told stories, their opponents used facts and figures.

    I think it is still true. Getting your audience's attention by telling stories and speaking from the heart is more powerful than all the professional "framing" anyone could do----I just decided that in one primary not often discussed here, I'm going to vote for the candidate who speaks from the heart, not the one who sounds like speeches were written with the help of professional consultants.

    How many people understand what "continuing the religion framing" means? If Bill from a congregation which campaigned against 36 is debating Tim from a congregation which campaigned in favor of 36, how do you avoid religion? Or don't you think Bill and Tim are a significant enough part of the population to worry about?

    I believe it was Barack Obama when he was first elected to the US Senate who said it is impossible to totally leave religion out of discussions because that way you sideline a number of people who think the Republicans understand their church is part of their lives and Democrats don't.

    I believe it was Bill Bradley who said he had mixed feelings about gay marriage because marriage is a sacrament. What has Al Gore said on the subject? But although Bradley lost the presidential primary, he sure got himself elected to the US Senate---when first elected in 1978 was the youngest member of the Senate, decided not to run for re-election in 1996 because politics was broken.

    According to the logic that "I believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between a couple and God and is best addressed through one's church or other religious home" is a dangerous way to campaign, how did Bradley do so well in politics if he said marriage is a sacrament?

    I believe Democrats do better if they are not fighting off the "GOP is the religious party, Democrats are the secular party" talking points. But obviously Jenni disagrees.

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    And the only times we won against them was when we reframed the issue, showed them that what we were proposing didn't hurt them or their religion, and showed them how it met their other morals and values (such as being a good neighbor, treating others the way you want to be treated, etc.).

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer

    Stick your fingers in your ears and stamp your feet if that's what floats your boat. But the reality is that Jeff Merkley has done precisely what you are suggesting. He has reframed it, but he has done so in a way which directly aknowleges the root objection that religious conservatives have against gay civil marriage rather than avoiding it as you appear to favor.

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    I'm not sticking my fingers in my ears. He's using the same framing that people use to oppose gay marriage - that it is a moral issue and a covenant between you and your God.

    But like I said, we're obviously not going to agree, so I'm not going to waste my time arguing the point with you. It's obvious that no matter what I say, you're going to disagree because I don't agree with Merkley. Fine. I prefer to base my arguments on almost two decades of experience rather than the words of one candidate.

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    What a cowardly, weaselley way to refuse admitting you're hedging your bets by mushing the issue. You cannot believe marriage is best left to entities other than government, and ALSO believe government should offer marriage. That's called a contradiction. What you're left with is only supporting gay marriage if a church offers it.

    Be for or against it, like Obama. Don't piss on gay people and tell them it's an equality rain.

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    He's using the same framing that people use to oppose gay marriage - that it is a moral issue and a covenant between you and your God.

    By that "logic" anyone aknowledging that Gordon Smith is a Republican is using the same framing that Smith's GOP supporters use because they dared to use some of the same terminology.

    Personally, I belive that you and Merkley are both wrong. I've long advocated sending the totality of "marriage" back to the religions which spawned it. Give everyone a purely and unmistakably civil contract, call it something descriptive and be done with it!

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)

    Government should get out of the marrage business, PERIOD! Merkley's comments show how confusing it is for folks to grasp this simple concept.

    Steve ended up explaining his hesitation regarding who, in the room - later modified to mean who in the room running - he would vote for if he couldn't vote for himself. He said he would vote for the democratic nominee. Steve is clearly hurt by the possibility that Jeff can hardly wait to go negative on him.

    I like Jeff a lot, and hope he continues to be the person I see him as - which is not the kind of person who would waste his campaign money going negative on Steve. But campaigns are likely to end the primary season waaaaaaay short of Smith in cash. Each should be making the clear difference between themself and Smith with every dime they spend.

    Naturally I'm hoping Steve wins.

  • Bridget (unverified)

    Oh my golly, I agree with Kevin Kamberg about something! Get the government out of marriage. I would REALLY LOVE THAT! Too bad the evangelists will cry foul and blame it on the gays if it ever happens.

  • cando (unverified)
    <h2>I am grateful WW posted its interview. After viewing the entire 90 minutes, I still don't know who I will vote for. It's the first time I've really seen Merkley, I met Steve last August and was very impressed. Someone has to beat Gordon Smith. May be best candidate win!</h2>
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