Fighting Back -- Oregon Style

Kristin Teigen

Last week, I wrote a post about how essential it was for Barack Obama to fight back, with all his power, against the sleazy and lying attacks of the McCain/Palin campaign. He’s been doing a great job and it’s starting to show in the polls.

The sleaze, however, is not simply confined to the national race. As we Oregonians know all too well, Gordon Smith has been outrageously attacking Jeff Merkley by suggesting that he is unsympathetic to rape victims. Rather than talking about policy, laying out plans for change and respecting the intelligence of Oregon’s voters, Gordon Smith expects us to swallow the lies and follow along like lemmings.

It’s not going to happen.

Jeff Merkley has been fighting back, not only with a fire in his belly, but with a campaign that takes the voters seriously. First, he put out two ads that told Oregonians what his real record was and called Gordon Smith on his pathetic tactics. Following that, he held a press conference with former Governor Barbara Roberts to once again highlight his record.

Here’s the truth -- Jeff Merkley has been a strong and proud supporter of the rights of women and to suggest otherwise is simply an outright lie. Merkley fought for the Access to Birth Control Act, which ensured coverage of birth control for Oregonians, as well as emergency contraception for rape victims. He is not only 100% pro-choice, he is also a proponent of laws that keep violent protestors at least 15 feet away from the doors of abortion clinics. He wants to double the child care tax credit, and increase resources for women’s health and education.

Now, what about Gordon Smith? While he shamelessly attacks Merkley, where does he really stand on issues of women’s rights? Let’s take a look.

•Gordon Smith has not only voted against a woman’s right to choose again and again, he has taken the side of violent anti-abortion protestors by voting for a law allowing them to declare bankruptcy instead of taking responsibility for their actions by paying their fines. To Gordon Smith, violent protestors deserve more protection than women.

•Gordon Smith voted against funding to prevent teen pregnancy through education and access to contraceptives.

•Gordon Smith voted, time and again, for judicial nominees like Leslie Southwick, who is opposed to Roe v. Wade and the rights of lesbian parents, as well as William Pryor, who wanted to strike down the Violence Against Women Act.

•Gordon Smith voted against programs that would aid women-owned businesses. Such programs have been tremendously successful in increasing the economic self-sufficiency of women and their families.

•Gordon Smith voted for George Bush’s tax program, which included cuts in child care tax credits. These credits are essential to working families struggling with the high cost of quality child care.

•Gordon Smith voted against an increase in the minimum wage. Fifty-eight percent of those receiving the minimum wage are women, many of whom are single mothers trying to provide for their families. Gordon Smith doesn’t think they deserve a raise. He also voted against increasing tax deductions for tuition, so he apparently doesn’t think women deserve help with their education, either.

With a record like that, I can see why Gordon Smith would have to resort to swift boat style tactics – he clearly needs to distract voters from the facts.

Jeff Merkley needs to keep fighting back, but we need to help him. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors about Gordon Smith’s appalling record on issues affecting women and our families.

Don’t let the sleaze win. Don’t let Karl Rove-style politics win. It’s time for some positive change.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    I about ralphed when I saw the advertisement with a voice-over by a woman talking about how Gordo's courageous push-back against Dubya had saved her Medicaid coverage for her disabled child (or something of that ilk). Just wait for this sort of bogus talking point to show up in The Oregonian's endorsement of Gordo.

  • (Show?)

    It's pretty clear that Slick Gordy only pushes back against his party when he knows it will not matter, that his vote will not affect the outcome of a bill, and during election season. It's gonna be a very Happy New Year indeed when Jeff Merkley takes the oath of office and former Sen Smith takes a hike.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    The Democratic Party, if not nationally then statewide, should be fighting back generically. The Republicans are sleazing and sliming in virtually every race. I would love to see a commercial of the GOP's greatest lies (maybe like the late-night oldies albums ads) with bits from 2008 and years past. Show enough of the attack to jog the memory, quickly state the truth and go to the next one. At the end, say they have been brought to you by the Republican Party.

    We have to brand the Republican Party as being led by a pack of liars who can't be trusted on anything.


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