We stand with Novick

Charlie Burr

Pic_stevestanding_272By Paddy McGuire and Charlie Burr. Paddy is a former Clinton appointee and executive director of the Democratic party. Charlie is an editor of Blue Oregon and former spokesman for Governor Kulongoski.

We’re on different sides of the Presidential race this year: Charlie is an Obama guy and Paddy is with Clinton. But we’re both proud to stand with Novick as our strongest choice against Gordon Smith. Here's why.

Oregon Democrats are poised to have a great year. We look toward the general election with more registered Democrats today than we’ve ever had in our state’s history. Between the two Presidential campaigns, a staggering 50,000 Oregonians have volunteered during our primary. And Tuesday night’s victory in Trent Lott’s old Mississippi Congressional seat marks only the most recent win in a string of special election victories.

People are hungry for something different. We’re fed up with this idiotic war, an economy seriously off track and a President who hasn’t heard about $4 a gallon gas. As veterans of statewide campaigns, everything we’ve seen and everything we know points to a simple reality: 2008 will look a lot different than 2002. And this year, the same old politics just ain’t gonna cut it.

The United States Senate is filled with folks who saw something that others didn’t and took their shot. That’s Novick. Always a few moves ahead, Novick didn’t need to wait for the political establishment to dangle millions in front of him to get him into this fight. Novick stepped up for the same reason he took on Bill Sizemore: he’s got our state’s back. He hit the ground running and has been smashing conventional wisdom ever since.

Before Novick’s blizzard of newspaper endorsements, Charlie wrote last November:

Novick would instantly capture people's imagination in a way that we have not seen since Wellstone. He would offer Oregonians a clear choice in a year in which authenticity matters. His remarkable personal story would bring the sharpest contrast to Gordon Smith. And he would beat like a gong the election issues that matter above all others: Smith's failed record and election year gamesmanship.

The fundamentals of this race have only become more favorable for Novick since.

We’ve both run tough campaigns. For us, this is not a quixotic exercise: We believe Steve is our party’s strongest candidate to take down Gordon Smith. Novick’s unconventional profile most closely matches the mood of the electorate. His scrappy campaign consistently outmaneuvers and outperforms his more well-funded opponent. And we strongly believe our nominee will need the type of positive earned media throughout the summer that Novick’s already demonstrate he can generate.

It’s worth noting that the same people who say Steve can’t win a general election are the ones who never gave him much of a prayer this primary. But nothing about this election changes our respect for Merkley and his accomplishments. Merkley’s work in Salem the past decade has made our state a better place. In another year, he’d be our choice in a heartbeat. And as with the Presidential race, we’ll work hard for Merkley if he pulls off a win this primary.

While we honor Merkley's work, elections are about looking forward. We don’t say this lightly, but we believe Novick could be another Wellstone. With no electoral experience, the professor from Carleton College didn’t fit the mold and was never given much chance to win. But Wellstone never underestimated voters and neither should Oregon Democrats this primary. As a result, he went on to become the most memorable, progressive voice in the Senate in decades.

Like Wellstone, Novick is utterly fearless. He’s unafraid to say exactly what he thinks and be the lone voice standing up for what’s right in the face of intense political pressure. Novick can also be a skillful coalition builder just as he did during the campaigns against Bill Sizemore. We have little doubt that Novick will be a gifted lawmaker.

In short, the Senate could use a guy like Novick. He’s principled, brilliant and relentless when fighting for those without a voice. And nobody is going to accuse Steve Novick of being “just another politician” because there has never been a U.S. Senator quite like Steve Novick.

As this campaign demonstrates, Novick’s no stranger to overcoming long odds. His work during the initiative wars of the 1990s was nothing short of masterful. His work on the Love Canal case saved taxpayers $129 million. And his personal story – graduating college at 18, Harvard Law at 21, using his talents to give back – can’t help but make you root for the guy.

In our estimation, Democrats need not fear that Chuck Schumer will fail to help our nominee, even if it’s not his guy. The DSCC desperately wants and needs to win this seat. They will ride the horse voters give them. They supported Jon Tester in Montana after he won the primary in 2006 and will do the same for Novick. Oregon’s numbers and landscape will just be too appealing for the DSCC to stay out.

This year, Democrats have seen a Presidential contest like never before. We’ve witnessed our first major African American and female candidates for the nomination of our party. No matter who takes the stage in Denver, we’ve already made history and are guaranteed to have a nominee that looks (and is) like no one we’ve ever seen at the top of the ticket. Why not a nominee for the Senate that looks (and is) like no one who’s ever served in that august body?

This is Novick’s year. In the spirit of Paul Wellstone, it’s time to show the slogan “Oregon, things look different here” applies not only to our landscape but also our Senators. Think of it, two Democratic Senators from Oregon: one really tall and one really short.

Perhaps "The Big Lebowski" said it best:

“Sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause, what's a hero? Sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here - Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there.” – Narrator, "The Big Lebowski"

Novick’s the man for his time and place. We may not agree on the top of the ticket, but we both know this: Novick’s the dude.

  • Will H. (unverified)

    "Novick’s the man for his time and place. We may not agree on the top of the ticket, but we both know this: Novick’s the dude."

    He really ties the State together.

  • Novick in a split decision (unverified)

    I'm not the biggest Novick fan but I voted for him by default. The reasons are simple: Jeff Merkley is one of those politicians who calls himself a Democrat, but who really is just out for his own career and in support of that is just a water carrier for the elitist faction of the Democratic party who he thinks can help him most.

    Merkley is the DSCC pick and the DLC is happy with that.

    Merkley's health care plan is Wyden's pro-corporate health plan, and exactly in step with DLC Clinton's plan, to force us all to buy heath insurance from private health insurance companies at whatever price it costs because he certainly doesn't care to risk his personal career to fight for public health insurance.

    Merkley said poor people who smoke more should pay for their own kids health insurance through higher taxes rather than tax wealthy people (and this morning on KPOJ he said he was proud of that); the M50 plan he pushed through with the selfish elitists in our Party would have given all that money to private health insurance companies. (And all of you selfish, finger-pointing elitists who supported that sat on your hands this last session when Merkley told poor familes to pack sand and get in line for a lottery for health care rather than bring it up in the 2008 session when the controversy might have hurt his run for Senate.)

    Merkley has done nothing except make sure he is looking out for the comfortable and powerful who happen to call themselves Democrats, but who are out to protect their own selfish interests and privilege. They are the rot within our own party and they are the people to whom Jeff Merkley is happily sold out.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    Earlier in another topic in BO, there was this comment about Milquetoast Merkley:

    "The guy that finally figured out how to take back the Oregon House - after sixteen years"

    It should have been sooner - regardless of the republican attitudes.

    Jeff represented me and my district in the Oregon legislature. When he replaced Frank Sheilds, he promised a lot but didn't have the backbone to deliver them when he actually needed to deliver them. It was like he just sat in the back like he was told to so he could 'learn something'. Only when it was safe and in vougue to actually do something (i.e. without retaliation and reprisals from his fellow big wigs), he did. In short - he waited too long to invoke his promises to his constituents. It may look good now, but it should have come sooner. As constituents, we can't wait another batch of years for Jeff to get off his behind and go forward like he did as a rep. I do not think he will act on his promises until he feels it is safe to do them without him getting reprisals and retaliations from other big wigs that are important to him, but by then it will be too late.

    Thats why I feel Merkley is Milquetoast.

    Novick, however, will dive in head first and deal with anything no matter what. He won't wait - he will do. He has shown that he will use the backbone initiative to do whats right NOW - not wait until someone is ready to coronate you simply because you say "ok".

    Smith will be taken down - by someone willing to get into his face directly. Merkley is too timid to do this immediately. Novick will without reservation.

  • Daniel R. (unverified)

    Amen! I'm so glad Steve Novick is running. We need someone who is honest to a fault, someone who can speak their mind without being a politician.

  • PM (unverified)

    The way Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley have dealt with the Palestine/Israel issue and with Oregon's respective Arab and Jewish communities tells me all I need to know about the two candidates. This controversial issue, for me, quickly separates serious, principled persons from the rest of the overcrowded pack.

    Jeff Merkley is anxious to please everyone he comes across, but he knows where is bread is buttered and when push comes to shove, he follows the terrible advice of his handlers and publicly supports the most right wing of Israel's policies and virtually ignores the Palestinian suffering caused by the occupation, colonization, and collective punishment. He took this (to the Arab community) extreme public position despite the fact that he has seen it for himself and has had close ties with the local Palestinian community and despite the fact that his private discussions to Palestinians were quite different. Imagine the rough and tumble of national politics and how he will fair in that venue? He will be tossed about like a cork in the sea. His heart might be in the right place, but he doesn't have the personal courage to risk his position for his principles. On this issue, I am not even sure he has a developed set of principles, knowing, as he must, that he will need to support the Party elites on this issue. He will always be susceptible to the Chuck Schumer wing of the Democratic Party and may unable to be an independent voice for Oregon progressives.

    In contrast, look at this photo of Steve Novick: http://www.politickeror.com/laurenlafaro/1606/novick-gets-endorsements-activists-both-sides-middle-east-divide

    In the photo, Novick is surrounded by Jewish and Arab American supporters who are impressed by his stand for fairness on the Palestine/Israel issue and his willingness to say so publicly. This is exactly the kind of principled stance we need from our politicians. These are exactly the kinds of issues that need to be addressed in an honest and open fashion by our politicians. Novick has not had the close ties (until now) with the Arab community that Merkley has had. Novick admitted that he doesn't know as much as he should about the issue but he expressed great willingness to learn more from both sides and his basic sense of fairness and his personal courage is obvious.

    Novick gets it, Merkley doesn't. Novick is willing to challenge the sacred cows of the Democratic Party, Merkley will not. Novick holds principles of fairness and human rights higher than simply positioning to various groups in order to get elected. Merkley is overly concerned with job security. Ultimately, Novick may help unite two disparate communities while Merkley will continue the politics of division.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    So..I wonder if Kari has and comments on this...

    Come on, Kari...you know you want to...

  • (Show?)
    And this year, the same old politics just ain’t gonna cut it.

    That's a really sweet sounding assertion, no doubt about it. But does it really match up with reality?

    Didn't Novick recently roll out a new TV ad criticizing negative attacks and proclaiming that he'd go out on a positive note? Then he sends out an email viciously and falsely attacking Merkley on the Healthy Kids bill?

    I'm sorry but that "do as I say, not as I do" tactic is a classic example of "the same old politics."

    And we strongly believe our nominee will need the type of positive earned media throughout the summer that Novick’s already demonstrate he can generate.

    I don't see any conclussive evidence that his quirky ads have been effective. Not when Merkley can pace him in G.E. polls without running a single TV ad.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    That's because, Kevin, Milquetoast Merkley tends to put extra sugar in his "Kool-Aid" that attracts those who really don't think for themselves, or just vote for him because they are told to - much like the reason why Milquetoast Merkley is running in the first place...someone told him "you're the one" and he said "OK" - thereby coronating him before the fact (cart before the horse).

    And besides...Steve drinks beer, not Kool-Aid.

  • (Show?)

    All the historical revisionism that goes on here makes me sick. It's pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that Merkley has been a thoughtful, liberal voice in Oregon politics and his brilliant work as Speaker reflected that. The "Milquetoast" label is stupid. Revisionism at its worst. Stop playing the political games that you claim to despise. Yeah, Merkley isn't as loud or bombastic or moralistic as Novick but that doesn't make him any less of a Democrat or any less of a good public servant.

  • trishka (unverified)

    i agree with andrew. calling merkley names isn't helpful in any way.

    he is a good democrat and a good public servant.

    (i don't think much of his campaigning skills, but that's another post)

  • (Show?)

    It's kind of late now, but I think Steve should try harder to get out the story of his work against Sizemore and how he built coalitions in that effort. Would the authors elaborate?

  • (Show?)

    I just got back from vacation, and I am very concerned about the tone this US Senate race has taken. The Novick supporters have resorted to unsophisticated tactics like name-calling and celebrating beer drinking versus other beverages. This is ridiculous, and will not convince me to support Steve Novick, should he win. If I were a Novick supporter, I would be careful in attacking Jeff Merkley - in less than a week we all need to come together in our support of the winner and this is getting harder to imagine.

    I continue to support Jeff Merkley for many reasons, and none of the negative comments here have changed my mind, nor are they likely to. I'm sure the target of the comments is "undecideds", but I am willing to bet they are beginning to see the Novick supporters in less than a positive light.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Many people are tired of their representatives in Congress and state legislatures behaving as politicians which often means sacrificing some of their humanity. Therein lies the appeal to some extent of Obama and more so of Novick. We can have some hope of change from Obama though not as much as his more starry-eyed supporters might prefer to believe. If he goes too far he might be like Carter and find not only the Republicans against him but also many Democrats. With Steve Novick the change should be more dramatic as people compare him with Gordon Smith and his platitudes. Unlike others, I have no fear of Novick being a "bomb thrower" but to continue the military metaphor he will be more like a sharpshooter carefully aiming at well-defined targets.

  • mkd (unverified)

    I had no dog in this hunt until about two weeks ago when I saw the ironic Jeff-Merkely-doesn't-tear-people-down hit piece on Novick. After I finished laughing I decided I couldn't reward that kind of intelligence insulting hypocrisy.

    Then a few days ago Merkely hit one of my all time great political pet peeves- using kids as a mouthpiece for your agenda. Eight and nine-year-olds simply do not have the experience necessary to critically judge the merits of sophisticated political arguments and should never be given speaking roles in political ads. But here Merkely is having his daughter agree that "the change we need means ending the war in Iraq." I totally agree, but, no offence, what the hell does she know about it?

    Using kids to parrot partisan talking points is immoral. Period. End of story.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    The Merkley daughter ad just shows how much more "sugar" Merkley is willing to add to the already extra sweetened "Kool-Aid" he has been giving his devout followers to drink on. It was kind of patronizing (sp).

  • Rhett (unverified)

    This race is a tough call for me and I gotta say I was REALLY dismayed with Novick's comments over the weekend that he'd basically be willing to sacrifice some salmon runs in the name of global warming purity or some such. I think Steve is smarter than that and, unless that quote was taken way out of context, he grossly oversimplified the issue and needs some serious straightening-out if he makes it through the primary.

  • PMiller (unverified)

    local mom: "unsophisticated tactics like ... celebrating beer drinking!" In Oregon, the beer center of the universe? You've got to be kidding!

  • (Show?)

    localmom, I understand your concern with respect to some blog comments that I don't think help Steve.

    But there is a realio-trulio sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander problem here. There has been plenty of name-calling by Merkley supporters.

    Your point about next week is excellent. Both sides need to heed it.

  • (Show?)

    I am well aware of the "beer center of the universe". I just don't think it has anything to do with the bigger issues of the day. And if you (and other Novick supporters) do, then I need say no more.

    And about Jeff's adorable daughter - I like that he has a family and can relate to issues families face. The future of our country will affect them probably more than me and most of the commenters here. And Steve is welcome to trot out his family anytime he wants.

  • Runtmg (unverified)

    milquetoast Merkley? That is a sick burn. How about Unpredictable Novick as a counter.

    All I ask from a candidate is that they stick true to who and what they are. People are fired up for Novick and rightfully so, but there are quite a few people who are turned off by Novick's overreaching style as well. Merkley is by far a "safer" choice with all the good and bad connotations that may bring. He is the John Kerry to Novick's Howard Dean.

    Yes, Novick will take the fight to Smith, but in the chess game that is politics he could misstep badly and lose the election. Politics is like chess in the sense that you can be aggressive but expose yourself to a counter attack. Novick looks downright immature, careless, and wild with the comments that he has made whether in or out of context.

    I know that Merkley doesn't fire up the crowd and certainly isn't as progressive as Novick, however he is a PROVEN leader. He also will not self destruct on the campaign trail as I am fearful that Novick will in the general election.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "Jeff's adorable daughter"

    I never thought I would see the day when someone would equate a patronizing stance with "adorable" (sp).

    Like I said, Jeff has sure sweetended the already sugary "Kool-Aid" he has been letting his followers enthusiastically drink up. I am suprised he hasn't started to wear the robes that come with it.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Yes, Novick will take the fight to Smith, but in the chess game that is politics he could misstep badly and lose the election.

    Merkley isn't immune to making political missteps, either. There was the ... Well we don't need to recycle that one again, do we?

  • enviro4merkley (unverified)

    I want to pick up on a comment 'Rhett' posted earlier in the string. As a person who puts the environment at the top of my list of election issues and why I want to oust Gordon Smith, I too was deeply dismayed and troubled by Novick's comments in the Oregonian last weekend that he outright opposes removal of the four Snake River dams and would sacrifice salmon in the name of global warming 'purity.'

    Given that those four dams provide just tiny fraction of the region's electricity, and are mainly to make Lewiston, Idaho a seagoing port, I was stunned. The dams also help for irrigation of the desert for crop production, a very petro-dependent proposition which has its own serious global warming impacts. Energy efficiency, conservation and new renewable energy coming online can easily make up for those dams. Additionally, those of us who put global warming on the top of our list view its threats to fish and wildlife as very important. Restoring cold water ecosystems (such as by removing dams that create high-temperature lakes the kill vast numbers of baby fish) is a key way to protect species like salmon that are threatened by global warming.

    On other environmental issues, I've found Steve to be fairly sound bite heavy, while showing a poor understanding of specifics. Contrast this with Merkley, who has a real record working on many environmental issues and actually helping write or shepherd policy through a tightly divided legislature.

    Merkley's the best choice for a whole lot of reasons, and there are very tangible reasons many of the state's leading environmental advocates are backing him over Novick.

  • opinionated (unverified)

    A sharp toungue, left hook, a bottle of beer and a lot of negative whining is not the way to win against Smith. Jeff is not timid - he is an issues guy, down to earth who has the political and legislative wit to get things done. That is what we need - not a wild west left hook and a bloody nose at the end.

  • PMiller (unverified)

    I agree with enviro4merkley that we SHOULD strive to both save the salmon and take decisive against global warming. Novick is facing the issue; I think incorrectly, that we may be forced to engage in environmental triage. What if keeping the dams saves hundreds of other species, polar bears, narwhals, etc. etc? Would it be worth it? What if nuclear power would allow us to do both? Would that be worth it? I happen to think we should go all out for "energy efficiency, conservation and new renewable energy," but will it be enough? It is not that Novick is anti-environment by any means, but that the BIG environmental problem, global warming, is running away from us and will impact billions of human lives and thousands of species.

    Speaking of triage, though, the Democratic Party, as represented by Merkley, is quite happy to engage in its own form of human triage by ignoring our role in the plight of the Palestinian people and by supporting, either directly or by silence, the aspects of Israel's settlements, walls, and occupation that are destroying a chance for a Palestinian state. This conflict continues at our pleasure and with our money and involvement, yet all but a few Democrats are silent. Racists? Probably. Hypocrites. Absolutely.

  • (Show?)

    As someone who's committed my life to being an environmental advocate, I back Novick. Leading advocates of dam removal back Novick as well.

    The dams are something we can discuss with him. We haven't had much luck with our existing electeds on the dams, but Novick is someone who listens to the best data and science and bases his decisions on them.

    For example, he's willing to take on the problem of the Social Security gap in funding, even though other Democrats shrink from the challenge.

    And why does he have his current position on dams? To fight global warming pollution, the defining environmental issue of our time.

    If you care about the environment, Steve's done a huge amount -- to hold polluters accountable for Love Canal, serving on the board of the Oregon Environmental Council, and helping 1000 Friends of Oregon fight nasty ballot measures.

    Finally, if you're so concerned about the dams, is Merkley planning on taking them out? No, he's equivocating. From the O:

    For example, both say they want to help restore endangered salmon runs along the Columbia River -- and both say the Bush administration was wrong to refuse even to study removing the Snake River dams as an option. "We should bring the science to bear" on this question, Merkley says, adding that "after studying this, I might come down on that side of it (in favor of removing the dams), but I'm not ready to say that yet."

  • enviro4merkley (unverified)


    Novick's position on hydropower and salmon as expressed in the Oregonian is completely retrograde, only now under the banner of global warming 'purity.' I'd expect that kind of answer out of Gordon Smith who always tries to play it both ways. If Novick listens to the best data and science, and if, as you claim, unnamed dam removal advocates support him, why would he preemptively rule out dam removal? Are you suggesting the Oregonian got it wrong? We can 'discuss this with him'? Please. I'm really concerned that Novick's environmental supporters either haven't done that already, or were similarly blindsided by his position this late in the game. At least Merkley's left the door open for dam removal while putting himself on record that we should bring the science to bear. That is in fact a lot more than many other Northwest elected officials have done.

    Novick's Love Canal work, while commendable, happened nearly 15 years ago in another part of the country. And serving on the board of an environmental group, and a fairly business friendly one at that, is hardly something people who want to see a real change in environmental policy should hang their hats on. The only environmental group to endorse in this primary - the Sierra Club - is supporting Merkley in fact. And a quick Google search will reveal the Sierra Club is both fighting global warming and advocating for removal of the four Snake River dams. Those four dams account for something like 5% of the region's electricity, but are responsible for wiping out 90% of the inland West's wild salmon runs over the past 25 years. Energy efficiency and renewable energy policies that Jeff Merkley helped bring to this state in 2007 should make those dams even more obsolete.

    Merkley's got the record of fighting for the environment (this decade) that Novick just can't match. I'm not sure we can trust what Steve would do, and the dam comment really confirms that.

  • (Show?)

    Evan Manvel: The dams are something we can discuss with him. We haven't had much luck with our existing electeds on the dams, but Novick is someone who listens to the best data and science and bases his decisions on them.

    So listening to the best data and science and THEN basing decisions on that best data and science is a good thing?

    Evan Manvel: Finally, if you're so concerned about the dams, is Merkley planning on taking them out? No, he's equivocating.

    Translation: Novick does it = good. Merkley does exact same thing = bad.

    It's obvious that you don't give a tinker's damn about the dams. The shame of it is that you are besmirching the reputation of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters with your rabidly partisan double-talk.

  • (Show?)

    Kevin thinks Evan is rabidly partisan. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Kevin, a brief primer:

    YOU'RE rabidly partisan.

    I'M rabidly partisan.

    Evan Manvel may be partisan, but he's hardly rabid. Get some perspective, dude.

  • Charlie Burr (unverified)

    Kevin is way out of line. Evan Manvel has every bit as much right to advocate for his friend Steve Novick as OLCV executive director Jonathan Poisner does for Jeff Merkley. Both have thoughtfully evaluated the race without ever losing sight of the fact either candidate will be an exponential improvement over Gordon Smith.

    As someone who serves on the board of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the only "besmirching" here is coming from Kevin's attempt to draw a neutral organization into the muck. There is nothing remotely inappropriate about Jonathan or Evan's personal endorsements. Nor do I even pretend to understand the argument that its is inappropriate for Evan but not Jonathan.

  • (Show?)

    Charlie Burr: Evan Manvel has every bit as much right to advocate for his friend Steve Novick as OLCV executive director Jonathan Poisner does for Jeff Merkley.

    What's with the StrawMan Fallacy, Charlie? Of course Manvel has as much right to "advocate" as Poisner does. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

    Here's the difference between the two - and you know it as well as I do - Poisner JUST advocated and nothing else. In fact, Poisner was very generous to Novick while A-D-V-O-C-A-T-I-N-G for Merkley.

    At literally the other end of the spectrum was Manvel right here in this thread dishonestly attacking Merkley for doing exactly what he had just praised Novick for doing. Not only was Manvel's attack on Merkley fundamentally dishonest, but by definition it wasn't advocacy.

    You know that as well as anyone does.

    What? Now you wanna hang your hat on his legal right to smear whomever he wants? Save yourself the effort. I'll concede the point.

    Bottom line: Evan Manvel's deliberate choice to dishonestly smear Jeff Merkley here is no better than what the Reich-Wing of the GOP do. Dishonest is dishonest is dishonest. Period. You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

  • LT (unverified)

    I'm with opinionated.

    And I am very glad not to be affiliated with a campaign which would do what Mapes wrote about here.


  • (Show?)

    This is becoming a pattern, Kevin. You were out of line writing about Rev. Chuck Currie -- who you said had lost his "moral authority" -- and you are equally out of line bringing OLCV into this. Legality isn't the issue. You wrote that Evan was "besmirching" OLCV and that Evan didn't really care about dams. Your words brought OLCV into the muck, not Evan's. WTF. I really think you're losing perspective and any sense of proportionality in this race.

  • (Show?)

    LT -

    I agree with you about Novick's new attack.

    Sometimes I'm not sure if his campaign has no clue what happened in Salem in the '07 session or if they are just trying to rewrite the history.

  • (Show?)

    Ah... your reply was very enlightening, Charlie. I hadn't understood your very uncharacteristically snarky comment to me a few days ago - not the least of which was because I'd always deliberately gone out of my way to avoid being snarky to you.

    Contrary to your assertion the other day, this really is personal for you - at least as it pertains to me. You were angry with me. Hell, you're still angry with me.

    Welcome to politics, Charlie. It's a crazy world where you get to pick and choose which personal attacks are somehow out of line and which are apparently okay - which is what you've done here. You also get to pick and choose which partisan spin is acceptable and which isn't - ditto. What you don't get to do is dictate to me what is/isn't important or ethical to me or anyone else.

    If it helps, I've been as offended by some of your stances over the last few weeks as you have mine. I'm not sure I'll ever see you in the same light again. But then that's probably a good thing because I hate to admit it but I'd put you up on a pedestal long ago and nobody deserves to be held to unrealistically high expectations.

  • (Show?)


    Get a grip, man. Evan Manvel was only pointing out that Jeff doesn't have a definite view about the dams, so it's not a choice between Novick who at this point wants to keep the dams, per the Oregonian, and Merkley who wants them down. Rather the comparison is to a Merkley who isn't sure.

    Evan says Novick too ultimately decides this kind of thing based on the science. The bit of the O article he quoted, which says that Steve and Jeff both criticized Bush for not even studying the question, is evidence that Steve, like Jeff, is interested in the science.

    After looking for this alleged huge mendacious "attack" by Evan on Jeff, all I can conclude is that you object to the word "equivocating". At worst that's a little spin. L-i-t-t-l-e. Very little compared to your quite regular output. It might not even be that.

    Equivocate, according to my dictionary, can have a negative connotation implying intent to deceive, but doesn't necessarily have one.

    Most of its definitions mean undecided or avoiding committing oneself. E.g. Equivocate "to use eqivocal language," with "equivocal" having a meaning of "undecided." That is Jeff's position, isn't it?

    Equivocate can also mean "to avoid committing oneself in what one says." That is a quite accurate description of Jeff's actions, for which Eviro4Merkley has made a strong case IMO.

    Jeff has given reasons for not having decided. They seem reasonable. Evan quoted the reasons, having to with wanting to understand "the science" better. Evan has already said that relying on "the science" is how he thinks the decision should be made, and that his support of Steve is based on conviction that's how Steve operates.

    Evan uoting Jeff using Evan's preferred criterion is a reason for thinking he's using "equivocate" in its simple senses of not decided or avoiding commitment in speech, and not in any worse way.

    Other language might have avoided the possibility of a more negative connotation. But this isn't a major attack. It just isn't. Nor is it a major inconsistency in treating Steve and Jeff. Nor is it dishonest in any way.


    To shift over to the substance, it seems to me that actually it's pretty hard to even know what we're talking about. A couple of years ago, if we'd been talking about "the science" in debates over dam removal, it would have been science focused pretty strictly on the dams' effects on salmon, and the likely effects of dam removal in improving salmon recovery, to be considered in relation to other effects of dam removal.

    But now "the science" has become more complicated, because it involves the science of the meaning of dam removal not only for salmon (& other fish), but for replacement of lost non-greenhouse gas emitting power generation. Enviro4Merkley says the Snake River dams contribute "a tiny fraction" of "the region's hydropower." O.k. But what would it take to replace that fraction? My Eastern Washington in-laws tell me that their communities didn't really want the dams when they went in, but were pressured to take them and then to rely on barges to get their wheat out. Since then the railroads on which they previously relied have been torn up. So if we end up closing the Port of Lewiston & the barge traffic, that's going to mean shipping grain from some of the largest wheat-growing counties in the nation out on trucks, I guess. Which means more exhaust air pollution. How much more? I don't know. Effects on wheat prices? I don't know.

    I'm not saying that this leads me to any definite conclusions. Actually it leads me into equivocation, based on my own ignorance. But it seems to me that the questions I want to ask of "the science," and actually the definition of what "the" relevant science is, have shifted.


    Back to politics. Provisionally, based on this discussion, I think Jeff's open equivocation is the better position on the Snake River dams, provided it is combined with strong demand to do the science and do it honestly. However, neither this discussion nor the Oregonian story go into how Steve reached his position.

    What I do know one of Steve's positions that I like, that is clearly stated and more than in passing on the issues page of his websit, is his clear identification of restoring integrity to science that has been manipulated and interfered with by the Bush administration as a priority. This doesn't happen to be stated as a distinct issue for Jeff, though I have no doubt at all that he would support science integrity initiatives, especially given his emphasis on research about renewable energy. It's just a little less clear if he'd be as active in seeking them out or generating them.


    Behind all of that I think is a bigger kind of debate that we need to work out about what the focus on global warming does to other kinds of ecological thinking and the weight of other ecological problems. There seems to be a definite risk of pushing other things out of sight (e.g. Hanford & toxics) that should stay in view. Salmon recovery possibly fits that. There also seems to be a definite possibility that older priorities may need to be readjusted in some cases because of their greenhouse gas implicaions. Removing Snake River Dams possibly fits that.

connect with blueoregon