Reactions to John McCain in Portland

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

When John McCain appeared in our fair state on Monday (declaring it a winnable swing state for the GOP), it was all-hands-on-deck for Democrats.

The DPO organized a protest outside the Sheraton Hotel where McCain was holding a $33,100/couple fundraiser. From the Mercury:

Frank Dixon is a retired Major in the Army Reserves and now the Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. He also happens to be an uncommitted superdelegate.

Major Dixon stood alongside a handful of Democrats and protested McCain’s “100 years in Iraq” comment.

“We need to get out of Iraq. There’s been over 4,000 deaths, exponentially more wounded, 100 Oregonians have died in the war so far, and we have no exit strategy. We have no good reason to stay.”

The Oregon AFL-CIO went one step further - and booked a room inside the Sheraton. They held a town hall meeting on health care. From the AFL's website:

Oregon’s working men and women waited…and waited…and waited just steps away from Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain’s $33,100 per couple fundraiser Monday evening to tell their stories of health care crisis and struggle to the presumptive Republican nominee. But McCain never showed.

In fact, when Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain offered to approach his campaign team with one last polite, in-person request to see him Chamberlain was threatened with arrest. ...

Monday’s event in Portland was the first event of its kind in the nation where union members and working families were stationed and waiting in an adjacent conference room in the same venue McCain's scheduled event, making it possible for John McCain to walk only a few steps to meet with working folks.

Who's the leader of Oregon's Democrats? The leader of the fight to defeat John McCain? Our Governor, of course.

That's why Governor Ted Kulongoski held a press conference to denounce Senator McCain's irresponsible policy on... um, wait... never mind.


Baffling. Bizarre. Inexplicable. Outrageous. Unbelievable.

Those are just a few of the words used in the dozens of emails and calls I've gotten about the Governor's appearance with John McCain.

I love Ted Kulongoski. I think he's a good man and a strong leader for Oregon. But on this one, he blew it.

Sure, there's a time and a place to set campaign politics aside - but one week before a primary election isn't it. And standing behind a campaign-branded podium isn't the way to do it.

Governor Kulongoski is passionate about climate change and renewable energy. He is absolutely committed to finding ways to create jobs while protecting the environment - and making Oregon a clean energy technology leader. And that's fantastic. I'm right there with him.

But you know who isn't? John McCain. He talks a good game about climate change, but just like his pal Gordon Smith, he's a fraud. He simply won't take the steps necessary to really reverse gears on global warming. As Jon Perr noted here at BlueOregon, it's a smoke screen.

I've talked to a number of folks close to the Governor - and they told me what I already knew: He's 100% committed to Hillary Clinton through this primary season, and will be 100% committed to the Democratic nominee for President in the fall.

John McCain says that Oregon is the purple-to-blue state that he can put back on the swing-state map. And he may be right. To defeat him in the fall, we're going to need all hands on deck.

The governor's heart was in the right place on this one, but this was a dumb, dumb, dumb mistake. Hopefully the next time he wants to highlight his efforts to create clean-energy jobs in Oregon, he'll do it standing next to someone who is actually committed to clean and renewable energy, fighting climate change, and eliminating our addiction to oil.

[Full disclosure: My firm built the website for Ted Kulongoski's campaigns in 2002 and 2006, as well as the Oregon AFL-CIO website. I speak only for myself.]

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    You don't see Clinton campaigning with Kulongoski, do you? You don't see him cutting commercials for her either. He is radioactive. I hope some of it rubs off on McCain. This is not only inept on his party, but just plain stupid. It further erodes his standing in the party and in the state.

  • Murphy (unverified)

    Crazy like a fox, I'd say. Right wing full-mooners like Larson are baying like a gang of deranged banshees about McCain's appearance with Teddy K. And the global warming stuff has sent them over the edge. It's all quite funny actually.

    At least some of their psychotic hatred for Kulongoski is bound to transfer to McCain, further separating him from his GOP "base."

  • Duke.S (unverified)

    I hate the smell of Republican victory in the morning. With Democrats like Kulongoski, who needs Republicans. I did not realize Kulongoski was such a tool.

  • jfwells (unverified)

    I particularly enjoyed the Grumpy Forester's take on the Guv's appearance with McCain.

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    This governor, we should all remember, is first and foremost, a marine.

    He has spent more time acknowledging the sacrifice of the lives of men and women from Oregon in the war in Iraq than he's spent on any other isssue.

    It does not surprise me in the least that he is ready to salute Sen John McCain.

  • (Show?)

    Nice post Kari.

    The most favorable light I can put on it is that global warming shouldn't be a narrowly partisan issue & that just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 required Republicans like Everett Dirksen of Illinois to pass, even though Barry Goldwater opposed it (along with most Southern Democrats), responding to it effectively will take lots of different kinds of people, and various kinds of rethinking.

    (For instance I was interested to learn from the Oregonian Sunday that Steve Novick has come out against Columbia River dam removal on global warming grounds, despite the cost to salmon & steelhead.)

    Governor Kulongoski may also have had in mind trying to reach the particular audience of wealthy Republicans & Republican-leaning independents(?). This could be partly in the Republican ideological context, as Murphy suggests, but also maybe in a more positive persuasive way with the audience.

    Some reports I saw mentioned in passing a particular Oregon renewable energy company being showcased, which the governor has promoted in the past. It may be that Ted was also in effect making an investment pitch to a well-heeled group. Of course, therein lies a rub, with McCain pushing market-only approaches.

    At the end of the day, you're right that this was the wrong context and that lending McCain undeserved credibility as a presidential candidate isn't what's needed.

    Let's send Senator McCain back to the Senate and encourage him to be a strong advocate there, including rethinking knee-jerk market-only ideas, if he really has decided to take this on.

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    So did Ted have to pay the $33,100 to get in or did he get some special discount?

  • pdxatheist (unverified)

    no kidding. what a goddamned boneheaded maneuver. thanks a lot ted. oregon's not a blue through and through state so that we can afford idiotic slip-ups like this. what the hell was he thinking? i've never been all that excited about kulongoski, but he's got a D after his name, and as a rabid partisan that's ultimately what matters most to me. i certainly hope he will release a VERY public statement to the effect that his appearance with mcturd does not in any way constitute an endorsement of his candidacy.

  • DE (unverified)

    I can hear the TV ad voiceover behind this photo...

    "John McCain knows environmental leadership means working together with Republicans and Democrats like Governor Ted Kulongoski. His independence and bipartisan leadership make him the right choice to bring change to Washington."

    Straight from the Ron Wyden school of photo-op science.

    BARF. Thanks, Ted.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)

    It reminds me of Sunday night before the 1980 election, when Jimmy Carter landed Air Force One by the old terminal at PDX, on his last harrah. They pulled the jet behind the stage in the eerie flickering of portable lights. Jody Powell was hiding in the shadows, the look of knowing the result on his grinning face.

    Introducing the Democratic still-President was the Mayor of Portland, and purported Democrat, Frank Ivancie. Soon he was a Reagan appointee to the Federal Maritime Commission.

    Unfortunately, Ted supported the Iraq War going in. In his Oregonian interview on the fifth anniversary of the War, he said the War was about oil and can not stop until we are energy independent.

    So, his appearance with McCain, and behind McCain's campaign sign is not a surprise.

  • Miles (unverified)

    I disagree with the criticism of Kulongoski. As Chris alludes to above, but doesn't follow through to its logical extension, global warming should not be a partisan issue. McCain was touring a renewable energy company that the Governor has promoted, and the Governor was there to also talk about renewable energy. What's important isn't the appearance, it's what Kulongoski said. Did he say we should vote for McCain? Or did her talk about the benefits of renewable energy?

    The blind partisanship that we see in this post and the comments does NOTHING to move this country forward on environmental issues. The anger that you all seem to have now that McCain is moving to the left on global warming is irrational. It's almost as though you prefer that he continue parroting the right-wing line, because. . .well, why exactly? So we can win elections more easily?

    Do you care more about winning elections, or more about saving the earth?

  • DE (unverified)

    If it's not partisan, he shouldn't be standing behind the logo of the GOP candidate for President. Surely his staff could have insisted that as this was a non-campaign event, it did not require the campaign poster.

    But it WAS a campaign event.


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    It doesn't matter that the issue is nonpartisan. The fact is that the event was a JOHN MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT event. It wasn't a Senator John McCain on the Environment event.

    I'd had questions before about what kind of event it was, but seeing the picture, it's now obvious this was a campaign event. And the governor shouldn't have been anywhere in that room, other than to ask him to speak with the working people in the other room.

    Like I said on a previous thread, it's stuff like this that pushed me to work against Kulongoski in the '06 primary.

  • Adam Robins (unverified)

    This sort of idiot maneuver is why I have long called him Special K.

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    its not about the issue they were speaking about, its about the venue of the discussion. A partisan campaign event, that cost 33,000 dollars per person...and an even bigger insult is the working men and women who were outside the event protesting McCain's lackluster support of working people.

    If the Governor has time to go to Republican campaign events, surely he had time to join the AFL-CIO folks outside the event. Can't do both at the same time so he chose the Republican campaign event.

  • DE (unverified)

    Carl and Jenni,

    Pretty sure this wasn't the 33K event next to the working folk. I believe this was at a "sustainable company." It looks like they're outdoors, not at a hotel or convention hall.

  • the other kevin (unverified)

    ted could have easily righted this wrong by talking to any reporter and saying that it was nice to hear john mccain acknowledge the global warming crisis. unfortunately the policies he is advancing are a smokescreen designed to obscure what truly needs to be done if this country is going to turn this crisis around... Ted bought a ticket to the bully pulpit when he attended the event, now he needs to show some leadership for both the environment and his party.

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    Thanks for the heads up on the photo.

    Still regardless, any event with John McCain is a campaign event this close to the May 20th. The logistics of this event just scream campaign event.

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)

    It's one thing to point out the flaws in McCain's environmental record - although two of the alleged flaws, a cap and trade system and advocacy of nuclear power, say more about the myopia of the environmental left than tbey do about McCain.

    It's another to dismiss this all as a Republican campaign trick. Kari Chisolm is descending into disgraceful partisan hackery with that charge. McCain has been touting global warming for quite a while now - to a volley of brickbats from the neanderthal majority in the Republican Party (led by Rush Limbaugh)

    It's the kind of thing the Obama campaign (and McCain's perhaps as well) are trying to get us beyond, because we're sick of it, whether it's from Kari Chisolm on the left or David Reinhard on the right.

    Our Governor, unlike the partisan hacks of Blue Oregon, will have to work with the next President of the United States to combat global warming. And there is just the off chance that John McCain will be that next President. And while John McCain is a nicer guy than a lot of Republicans, I can't imagine he wouldn't remember a snub from the Governor of Oregon if and when, as President, he started really tackling the global warming crisis facing our globe.

  • DE (unverified)

    Good point, UPO. If McCain is president, this will look like a brilliant hedge. Oregon and Teddy K will be well poised to help lead a bipartisan greening effort with the new administration. McCain will not forget the favor of how Teddy K stuck his neck out for the enemy in the heat of battle.

    Oh, but McCain will be President = America will be F*CKED.

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)

    DE: You may be right about America's fate if McCain is elected President, but at least it won't be because the U.S. government still thinks global warming is an environmentalist hoax.

  • John F. Bradach, Sr. (unverified)

    McCain will not forget. Ted will get an appointment.

  • cando (unverified)

    I have been disappointed in the Governor because he appears to like Republicans more than Democrats. He appoints Republicans much too often to state committees and commissions. His economic development efforts are consistently to help persons who are already well off, often Republicans. He was AWOL during his first legislative session, did better last time. I recently wrote him that Oregon's tax structure is much less progressive than when I first moved to Oregon and encouraged him to initiate changes. The letter I got back was that it's the legislature that has to change the tax structure. Obviously this is not an issue the Governor intends to address from his bully pulpit and he doesn't intend to suggest changes to the tax code in his state of the state. Overall, he's a disappointment.

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    His economic development efforts are consistently to help persons who are already well off, often Republicans.

    I'm sorry, but that's just flatly not true. If you're going to assert such nonsense, I suggest you offer up a link - or at least a suggestion as to what the hell you're talking about.

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    Bradach -- Would you please cite a source for your assertion that the Governor said the war "can not stop until we are energy independent."

    Because here's what he said in his 2008 State of the State:

    Lastly, when we assess the impact of national trends on Oregon, we must not forget that Oregon has paid much too high a price in lives and treasure for a war in Iraq that – after more than five years – has still not accomplished its mission... ...or even been able to define one! And let me add this: There are many ways to define "a casualty of war." There are those who literally lose their lives defending this nation’s values. But I ask you to think about what 3-trillion dollars could have done to provide health care for the American people; invest in an education system from pre-school to graduate school; make Social Security solvent for future generations; and create a sustainable and independent energy policy for our country. Yes, like you, we are all casualties of this war.
  • Fred Leonhardt (unverified)

    From The Oregonian, March 19, 2008:

    "The governor said he believes the war was planned from the start as a way to ensure U.S. access to the vast stores of oil in Iraq. As a result, he sees no end in sight unless Americans wean themselves from foreign oil supplies."

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