Reinhard calls election a week early

Kevin Kamberg

Never known as the brightest bulb in the pack, Oregonian associate editor and columnist David Reinhard pronounced Jeff Merkley the winner of the Democratic Primary in today's newspaper.

At issue is that most coveted of awards - "The Wooden Slime Bucket Award" - given by the Wooden Slime Bucket himself, David Reinhard. As the O's resident conservative columnist Reinhard has never managed to dog-paddle outside of the shallow end of the intellectual pool. Which is probably why he inspired a now defunct blog called Down With Reinhard! which accurately denounces him as "the RNC talking points regurgitator that he is."

So when a solid progressive like Jeff Merkley wins Blowhard's... er... Reinhard's "Wooden Slime Bucket Award" it is cause for celebration. But I'll get to that in a minute.

What caught my attention in Reinhard's regurgitation is that he unwittingly - or should I say dim-wittedly - proclaims that Merkley won the primary... 9 days early! Which appears to be a fraudian slip on his part betraying the source of his latest talking points.

The Oregon House speaker running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate won with a double-barreled performance.

R.C. Hammond is probably kicking himself for not just writing the damn column himself rather than passing the talking points on to Reinhard. Hammond obviously shared the Smith campaign's internal polling with Reinhard, which Reinhard didn't have the presence of mind to not blurt out for all of Oregon to see. But then consider who we're talking about here... dog-paddling... shallow end of the intellectual pool... Need I say more?

Anyway, Reinhard tries to hide the source of his talking points by leading off with a dig at Merkley's ad about Novick. But it is obvious from reading the column that what follows is the real raison d'etre of the column.

In another ad, Merkley reminds us that his father was "a logger, a millworker in Myrtle Creek and Roseburg." OK, fine, it's been a long trek to cookie-cutter Portland liberal for Merkley. It's the next line of the ad, however, that's troubling: "So Gordon Smith and I come from two very different places."

Is this "bringing people together"? Or is it a divisive disservice to Smith and his father? Yes, to both.

Oy vey...! The gall of Merkley to point out a fundamental truth! A truth, BTW, which is every bit as true if we compare Novick to Smith.

No, Milan Smith wasn't a logger or millworker, but he was a Pendleton food-processor who would step right in when there was a break in the line. When he wasn't building his frozen foods business, he served as Pendleton Round-Up director, Boy Scout volunteer, Rotary Club district governor for Oregon and stake president in the Mormon Church. His commitment to public service led to jobs in the Eisenhower administration.

Well there you have it, David. You just explained how and why, in fact, Jeff Merkley and Gordon Smith come from very different places. What part of comfortable affluence and political power vs. gritty working-class and no political clout strikes you as being the same?

The biggest problem I have with RNC talking points like these which Reinhard regurgitates is that they insult our intelligence by utterly ignoring the profound differences that distinguish affluence from non-affluence, political power from political powerlessness. It's the same intellectual vacuity that gave us "trickle down" economics but neglected to provide any toilet paper to clean up the resulting mess.

  • TroyB (unverified)

    I'm not a big Reinhard fan myself, but I believe when he says "won" he is referring to his slime bucket award... Not the Senate primary.

  • KatieLady (unverified)

    "Macpherson was close, but the Wooden Slime Bucket goes to . . . Jeff Merkley. The Oregon House speaker running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate won with a double-barreled performance. He mixed insufferable sanctimony about his political high-mindedness with standard attacks against primary foe Steve Novick and Republican incumbent Gordon Smith. Hypocrisy and unfairness directed at two targets. You can't coach this kind of sleaziness."

    Either the author of this post misread the above paragraph...or this is another example of someone's statements being chopped up and/or taken out of context.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    Others are pissed off at Merkley for his negative campaigning. But he faces a talent deficit against Novick, so why shouldn't he go a bit negative? Steve has said some things he shouldn't have, and Merkley has simply taken advantage of the opportunity.

    The reason to vote for Novick is not because Merkley has been too negative. The reason to vote for Novick is because Steve is an extraordinary talent who is just what we need to shake up the do-nothing Congress that Merkley would fit into a little too snugly.

    IMHO, Steve is the better man. But Jeff seems fine to me and if Oregon's Democrats are stupid enough to nominate him, I think he would make a major upgrade to Smith. Merkley has done a good job in the Congress and has a generally progressive voting record. Let's not denigrate him, but let's recognize in Novick the incredible wit, intelligence, policy-knowledge, courage, and integrity that the man possesses.

    As for the title of this post, others have said it better, but if Novick had just cured cancer and Merkley was found to have planned the Twin Towers bombings, Kevin would still find a way to score it for Merkley. What's the point of being a "progressive" if you're going to act like that? Is incessant one-sided spinning a progressive value?

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    Don't look now but this Reinhard column is also a preview of how Smith would attack Novick should he win. And I preemptively pointed out that Steve comes from as different a place than Smith as Merkley does.

    Now I'll grant you that my adding that wasn't exactly a Nobel Prize for having cured cancer. But then Steve hasn't cured cancer.

    Your attempt to point out my bias says more about your bias than it does about mine.


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    I'm not a big Reinhard fan myself, but I believe when he says "won" he is referring to his slime bucket award... Not the Senate primary.

    Agreed, he definitely is referring to his "award", rather than disclosing some secret information.

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    I think Kevin misses the larger picture. Spinning and laughing the barbs from the right away, fails to note that they're coming just as hard from the left and middle. Jeff Mapes? Says Merkley ad out of context. David Steves, Eugene? Out of context. Steve Duin? Just SAVAGES Merkley today, and brings Nick Fish along with him to praise Novick instead.

    He's got the crank vote; Bojack and Phil Stanford/Robert Pamplin. He's got the far right vote in RINO Watch. He's got the plutocrat right vote from Reinhard. But he's also got the philosophical, venerable Isaac Laquedem and everyone's pal in the pulpit, Chuck Currie. The popular City Councillors? Check. The irreverents on the left like the Merc? Yep. Scion of the Zinn crowd Thom Hartmann and his comedy sidekick? Uh huh. Music stars to bring in the creatives? Sure. And then there's that 35-11 edge among people under 34, "Ben from Aloha" who's 70 and the mortgage broker conservative who walks his dogs past my bus stop. And can we forget the Oregonians who vote with their money, and since the calendar turned have given almost $100,000 more to Steve than they have Merkley in itemized contributions? According to the state Constitution, they're speaking too.

    You have to be in a very tightly wrapped cocoon not to see Steve's support--and disdain for Merkley--coming from such a wide range of quarters that this "haha, if Reinhard's upset we must be doing something good" schtick isn't fooling a soul.

    It didn't work. Merkley came across mean spirited, hypocritical, and carrying the wrong message. And everybody seems to have noticed.

  • SBC (unverified)

    I'm skeptical about Kevin's dismissive tone. Agree with Reinhard's politics or not, he's clearly talking about something important and his views are shared, albeit in slightly less polemical terms, by the rest of the Oregonian's editorial board. (Read today's unsigned editorial, if you haven't already.)

    Voters don't like nasty, negative ads. That's not an RNC talking point, it's the truth. That doesn't mean that they can't be potent but I think candidates should be careful before dropping tens of thousands of dollars to tell voters why the other guy sucks.

    It's clear that the Merkley and Macpherson campaigns were not as thoughtful as they should have been because it backfired. I don't have any math or anything to back me up, but I bet that today's two articles hurt both campaigns more than the negative ads helped.

    Oh and you can't call me a Novick shill because I voted for Merkley. I just think he's run a lousy campaign and I have enough balls to say that, unlike other Merkley supporters. (But I did vote for Kroger. That dude rocks and Macpherson's attacks on him were stupid and not what I'd expect from someone of Mac's supposed stature.)

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    This post wins my Jumped Shark Award. Does this mean I'm calling the race for Merkley now too?

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    Does this mean I'm calling the race for Merkley now too?

    LOL - if I were to disagree would that be another reason why I'm decrying the unfairness of Blue Oregon?

    Yeah, I jumped the shark. But it was fun to write!

    I've tried polite civility with you, Charlie. This post is full of snark. Clearly, no matter what I write you're gonna dog me at least until after May 20. But then I haven't saved the world from an asteroid or cancer, have I?

    C'est la vie.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)


    I admit my bias. But I do try to be at least somewhat balanced. I have criticized Novick in Blue Oregon on different occasions (e.g., his capital punishment position, and his comments about Hillary -- the positive ones, not the stupid "traitress" comment, which I'm also not going to defend). I have also generally been positive about Merkley, though I've sometimes been annoyed with him and expressed that. You'll note a very different tone that I take with Hillary, who I really think has gone below the belt.

    You, by contrast, aren't merely biased. You seem to deny Novick his talents, which are amazing. You seem to act like those petty little negatives he possesses outweighs his incredible positives. That's the bone I have to pick with your posting.

    So what if Smith will try to go negative against Novick? If the Democrats would only let the people of Oregon focus on Novick for the next several months, they would see what a tremendous guy he is. If he weren't, I wouldn't be flying out to Oregon next week to be there for the big event.

    This country would benefit from having Merkley in the Senate. But it NEEDS Novick. That's the difference. I focus on their positives, not their negatives. People who worry about petty negative ads are killing our political system.

    I don't question people for supporting Merkley. I only question people for hammering Novick incessantly. It's beneath a Democrat.

  • Anon (unverified)

    Kevin's misreading of the column misses a bigger point -- another conservative voice trying to open the field for Novick.

    It's not surprising. The anti-establishmentarians (Mercury, WWeek, Duin) want Novick as a hook-in-the-eye to what they view as the establishment, thanks to a good sales-job from the Novick people. The right-leaners (Oregonian, Gordon Smith attack ads, Reinhard) want to beat Merkley because they see him as the stronger candidate, perhaps because they see him as the establishment candidate. It's a tiny bit like the Nader plus Republican alliances of the past.

    The Merkley campaign has been too (insert adjective) to stop it, and Novick supporters play along with perceived-underdog vigor. This race is frustrating and annoying.

  • Kevin's Teacher (unverified)

    Please forgive my little student Kevin and his reading comprehension problems. Back in school he was busy pulling little Janie's pigtails when he should have been in detention practicing his reading skills.

  • Maude (unverified)

    "Never known as the brightest bulb in the pack" of Blue Oregon contributors, Kevin obviously misread what Reinhard wrote... or intentionally lied about it.

    Kinda embarrassing, to put down as a fool somebody else, while at the same time exposing yourself as even more foolish.

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    I think the only point Kevin really missed emphasizing is the repellent irony of David Reinhard criticizing anyone for questionable ethics and distortion of someone's record. Other than regurgitating RNC talking points, it's all he does. This is, after all, the editor who recently encouraged Oregon Republicans to engage in voter fraud.

    Kevin made a wee error, perhaps reading too quickly, but Reinhard is a hypocrite and a dirtbag.

  • LT (unverified)

    My prediction: Top 3 in US Senate primary will be (alphabetically) Merkley, Neville, Novick.

    What I wouldn't bet money on is which will be in which position. Call it instinct or just a hunch, but I think it is possible Neville comes in second (or in a real shocker, first) because some of the undecideds are tired of the back and forth between Jeff and Steve.

    If memory serves, that is how Carol Mosely Braun got elected to US Senate.

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    Daniel: You seem to deny Novick his talents, which are amazing. You seem to act like those petty little negatives he possesses outweighs his incredible positives.

    You mean like this

    I've been wanting someone like Novick to run for Congress in my district for many years. He'd have my vote, my support, my money and everything else I could do to help if he were to run here. In a friggin' New York minute, baby!

    That's the problem with partisan filters... you only see what affirms your preexisting opinions. Not unlike my post here.

    I screwed up. Honestly, screwed up. But now that it's been pointed out to me I can see how I mistook what Reinhard meant by "won."

    It'd have been easy for me to yank the post after getting the first couple of comments pointing out my mistake, and thereby limit how many people got to read it. But I'd like to believe that my ego isn't vested in this... And just in case it is, a little ego-puncturing would be good for me. So I'm leaving it up. The bottom half of it is still valid, although clearly nobody wants to talk about that. C'est la vie.

    Kari warned me upfront that being a contributor gives me free reign to shine or make a fool of myself in a very public way. He was right. LOL

    I'm a big boy, though.


  • SBC (unverified)

    LT -

    You serious about Candy Neville? She doesn't even have a VP statement! I'll give her 10-15 percent but no more than that.

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    Kevin, WADR, this is idiotic, below even your usual standard.

    Reinhard's a right wing tool for sure. But it's not as if he's some kind of an outlier in holding this particular opinion. Jeff Merkley's campaign and his negative ads are being savaged all across the ideological spectrum. The most telling point is the way a progressive like Nick Fish -- a man with nothing to gain by taking sides in the Senate race -- wades in and points out all the reasons that progressives are choosing Steve Novick as their standardbearer this time around. His silence on the subject of Jeff Merkley is devastating.

    Both Novick and Merkley started out with hard core supporters who were going to vote for them no matter what. Novick had a few, Merkley more than a few. But the measure of a campaign is how compellingly it attracts the loyalty of those who have never met the candidate, or perhaps only met him or her for a few moments. How do you approach the vast "not today persuaded" middle and convince those people to vote for you, canvass for you, phonebank for you, give you money, and raise money for you? As between these two guys it is clear that Novick is the one who has better figured that out.

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    But the measure of a campaign is how compellingly it attracts the loyalty of those who have never met the candidate, or perhaps only met him or her for a few moments.

    I couldn't agree more.

    Look at the polling data, taking note of the trends over time.

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    I'm going to repeat my suggestion that we listen to Democrats of all stripes across Oregon about the Senate race and tune out the Republicans attempting to meddle. Trying discern whatever kind of "Jedi mind tricks" they're attempting by weighing in on the primary is generally a useless endeavor.

    And Kevin, seriously, your "misreading" was not "funny." So when Charlie calls you out on it, don't feign victimization.

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    Kevin, I'm not sure how you get this:

    I've tried polite civility with you, Charlie. This post is full of snark. Clearly, no matter what I write you're gonna dog me at least until after May 20. But then I haven't saved the world from an asteroid or cancer, have I?

    From my original comment:

    This post wins my Jumped Shark Award. Does this mean I'm calling the race for Merkley now too?

    It reads like you're conflating my response to your post with some kind of personal attack. It is not a personal attack. I pointed out that the post is mildly ridiculous because, well, it is.

    I don't see this race in personal terms. I'm proud of the race Steve has run and think he's going to be one helluva Senator. That doesn't mean I'm anti-Jeff. Not at all. In fact, Jeff Merkley came to a BBQ for Obama I co-hosted last night, and if he's the nominee, I'm going to work to raise a lot of money for him. Until then, I'm helping my friend Novick.

    Vive la difference.

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    Not at all personal, Charlie. As I said earlier, it'd have been easy to yank the post or try to rewrite it before too many saw it. But I chose to take ownership of it and expose myself to the free shots that predictably came. If this was personal for me then I'd have made a different choice.

    I'm not going to get into a back-and-forth with you on the previous comments. I made the point I wanted to and unless I've overestimated you I certain you understood it. My other comments in this thread address everything else relevant to your last comment here.

    'nuff said.

    See ya on the other side of May 20.

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    Daniel- You just said that we shouldn't denigrate Merkley yet you just did that by calling Oregon Dems who vote for him stupid. Maybe some Oregonians like myself like his progressive record in the House and think he's our best bet against Smith.

  • R. Mexico (unverified)

    So im confused, Kevin. You admit that you misread the column or that you didn't read it at all?

    Almost as if your boy was getting sandbagged and you wanted to respond....without reading things from an objective perspective.....then again, objectivity goes out the window when you start appearing in commercials.

    I have half a mind to think you are back on the wagon with the garbage you have been posting and commenting of late.

    At least some folks admit that while Merkley may be a better candidate, he has run a terrible campaign.

    Apparently, you have decided to chase the kool aid down with a nice glass of Macallums 12...cause you cant see up from down.

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    Daniel, I voted for Steve & have supported him around here but I have to agree with Sarah Lane. Those voting for Jeff are not stupid and if the Democratic electorate collectively votes for him enough to make him the nominee, they won't be stupid either. Time to lay off such stuff, it ain't gonna help us pull together as will be necessary to beat Smith. And to me, in this post, Kevin here for the most part is laying off it, in a good way.

    Kevin, thanks for writing a post which didn't take the tack of Anon at 1:59 pm. It's too bad that so many of the responses want to get us back into the rut of playing rock'em sock'em robots over our choices of who to support.

    The value of this piece to me is that it helps shift our focus to how the Rs are going to approach defending Smith's seat, which isn't really affected by your misreading -- thanks for keeping it up despite that. Reinhard's obfuscation of the differences in backgrounds between Smith and Merkley is worth noting and taking apart, as you did. While Merkley was the target & thus gets the analysis, you note correctly and fairly that there is a real contrast in Novick's case as well. So kudos for getting off the hamster wheel.

  • bigfeet (unverified)

    To Kevin - whoever you are. Read Maude's comment. She nailed you dead on. When you make a mistake like that, you have no credibility to say anything. You're a waste o time.


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