Merkley meets with bloggers, planet does not spin off axis

T.A. Barnhart

Sen Jeff Merkley, back in the state to meet with the locals, took an hour to share a beer with a group of local bloggers tonight. If you've never had the privilege, Merkley is a great person to have in a small group. He's informative, loose, funny (the story about Harry Reid and getting on the Banking Committee) and as honest as he can be under given circumstances. Tonight's given circumstances involved bloggers, so he gave us a few no comments regarding more delicate matters within the Senate.

He is no dummy.

A few highlights; I did not take notes, so these are from my swiss-cheese memory.

And, as good as he is in a small group, Jeff is even better one-on-one. This was the second time I've had a couple of minutes with him, just to chat personally. Both times I felt no distance between us, no Senator-and-the-peon; he's warm, caring, thoughtful and he just seems to enjoy talking with folks. Of course we talked dad stuff, and that's always great to do.

Next time I'll at least scribble some notes on a piece of paper.

PS, he's nervous about 66/67. Give him some peace of mind so he can concentrate on his work in DC. Volunteer to get this sucker done. Contact Vote Yes for Oregon and volunteer an evening to make calls. It's all about getting out the vote. The No campaign has no field campaign; they are counting on their scare tactics via tv. We are counting on you. No excuses; volunteer and save your state's vital public services. thanks.

  • Bob V (unverified)

    If the "No on 66/67 campaign has no "ground force" then who put the door hanging on my door here in south Salem?

  • alcatross (unverified)

    T.A. Barnhart posted: ..."they are strangling the Obama Administration"

    We may have sent an excellent man to Washington DC to be our junior Senator - but here he is sounding every bit the junior Senator that just stepped off the turnip truck. Sen Merkley needs to read up a bit and consider the recent history of Senate Democrats holding up Bush judicial appointments - for years... That's the way the game is played in the big leagues these days... a political version of Ali's old 'rope-a-dope' tactic. Unfortunately, it seems Republicans accelerated this practice of holding up White House nominations during some of the Clinton years - and now both parties practice it with artful glee pretty much whenever it serves their purpose.

    But if a $1.4T deficit spending spree in it's first year is the result of 'strangling' the Obama Administration, then I thank God for the latter. Between Porkulus I and the talk about Son of Porkulus, the uncertainty of 'cap-and-trade' roiling the markets, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, Obamacare and the likely promise of higher Medicare taxes, the direct and indirect effects of potential Oregon M66/67 tax increases in addition to all the other Oregon tax/fee increases, I really can't afford much more Obama Administration. I'm approaching the point where I'll soon be working more for federal/state/local government than myself.

  • Proactol Review (unverified)

    Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley flew out to Austin Texas to meet with bloggers from all across the country. He was very excited about the event as was I. Follow me below the fold to find out about Jeff Merkley's visit to Netroots Nation....

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    No field operation..pleeeeze.....the Jackson County Republicans are phone banking. R-Rep. Sal Esquivel is leading the effort.

  • former_progressive_democrat (unverified)

    As a very angry librul, Merkley's decision to vote against confirmation of Bernanke was a rare but pleasant surprise.

    The democratic party will regain my support when it stops its corporate whoring and returns to its supposed ideals:

  • Unbelievable (unverified)

    It's always amazing when the lame wingnuts in our party like T.A., (unfortunately a growing percentage), talk about feckless politicians like Merkley. Especially when they are so arrogant and stupid to think some of us don't have experience with just how undependable Merkley is, or to put it another way, dependable he'll follow wherever the crowd leads when it benefits his career.

    A prime example of all of this is Merkley's excuse for not running for Governor - which amounts to saying he wanted no part of the job if it would require him to actually be a leader and take political risk to do the right thing. Of course, Merkley, like most of the power players in the DPO actually lack the character and genuine leadership qualities it actually takes to be effective, and his excuse-making pretty much is a bald-faced admission of that.

    We also see this in Merkley's spineless excuse-making for Obama:

    His only disappointment with Obama regarding health care was that he did not push for the public option. Other than that, he said it was not the President's job to to get bills through the Congress; that was Congress' job.

    Guess he, and lamebrains like T.A., think leaders like FDR who pushed the New Deal through Congress, and LBJ who pushed the Great Society through Congress weren't doing their job or were outrageously overstepping their bounds. I wonder if Merkley and T.A. criticize Clinton and the DLC for overstepping his bounds during his term, rather than criticizing Clinton for undermining the core values of our Party for his own selfish reasons, or defend him as the kind of Democrat they like, despite the fact he undermined the core values of our Party and has done lasting damage that we see most of our "leaders" making worse right now?

    What's really disgusting about Merkley's wormy excuse making here is that he in part is running cover for Obama's failure to fight for the campaign promises he made to us as an underhanded way to make excuses for himself. Obama aggressively promised us that he opposed a mandate (he attacked the other Clinton over that very issue) and that successful reform depended on a public option as the only effective competition against the private health insurance industry. (He also let us know he was a single-payer supporter in his heart, if only we were starting from scratch). This of course was exactly Merkley's campaign promise (against Gordon Smith who supported the Wyden bill which had a mandate and no public option just like the Senate bill.) However, Merkley, even more than Obama, actually had the direct power to honor his promise because with his vote alone he, like each Democrat, could have and still can stop a bill with a mandate and no public option.

    What we sent to DC was an example of the just how little the DPO and those calling themselves progressives in Oregon who defend Merkley and Wyden (we'll have to see about defenders of the House delegation once we have a final bill), really are. These obviously show by their words and deeds they have few principles other than to win, if principles mean things you actually stand for rather than compromise for selfish advantage. As we see in this post, T.A. and the blogger community like him are just so desperate for ego strokes and status, even if it means just being used by a conniving sellout politician so they can say they spent time in his company, they'll pretty much say anything or do anything.

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    the best part of letting trolls play with the real people (ie, unbelievable) is to read their comic screeds. imagine if they had an actual thought & were not just channeling the slimiest dregs of our political culture. this one needs to be saved, Kari; it's all over the map and i cannot tell if this is meant ultra-leftie, teabag or just crackhead. awesome job, man. you gave me a big smile tonight. thanks.

  • Unbelievable (unverified)

    Rave on T.A. The reality of course is that the Democratic "leaders" across the country and here in Oregon are just besides themselves because those of us faithful voters and donors with a "D"' on our voter registration cards who they call on regularly each election cycle are fed up with them. And pitiful, inconsequent fools who fawn over and enable these failed leaders for their own sad and selfish reasons like T.A. fawns over Merkley here.

    Coakley in MA has managed to blow a 30+ point lead by being exactly the kind of feckless Democrat that Wyden and Merkley have repeatedly shown themselves to be. A commentator interviewed by The Hill pegged this really reprehensible character flaw we see in a distressing large of Democratic politicians these days when he said:

    “I think the president’s blood is up,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University. “He tends to be a dispassionate person, but if the conditions are right he comes out of his corner ready to fight." ... Baker argues that while Obama’s “default mode” is cerebral, that masks a willingness to fight when his political life depends on it It’s something that was seen on the campaign trail in 2008, when Obama cut Rev. Jeremiah Wright loose. Obama did so after the preacher, who officiated Obama’s wedding, made controversial remarks on race.

    Notice Baker didn't say the man has a willingness to fight when important principles depend on it, but only when, like Merkley and Wyden, a personal political career depends on it. There is a world of difference between the two.

    By the way, buried in that same story is what has to be the hypocritical statement of a generation as Democrats betray families and businesses by passing a health care reform bill that endorses the true status quo of an abusive private health insurance industry monopoly by mandating that we pour money into the pockets of private insurance companies without offering us the choice of a responsible, publicly-owned alternative:

    “Let me tell you something, if Republicans want to campaign against something by standing up for the status quo and for insurance companies over families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have,” Obama said Thursday.

    So T.A. if it makes you feel better to believe I'm anything but a mainstream Democrat in far bigger company then people like you are, by all means go ahead and believe that. You're not making the job any easier of those Democratic "leaders" freaking out at the melt down in party support they have caused in less than a year.

  • Richard (unverified)

    What a whopper!

    Merkley made his name, right here, bashing progressive bloggers.

    Funny, how he chooses his friends , unless they're anti-blogger too...

    <img src="">

    <center>"I said assclown 25 times today, and sockpuppet 15 times! Yeah, I got a bunch of purity trolls added to the terror watch list! "</center>

    Posted by: t.a. barnhart | Jan 16, 2010 10:45:42 PM

    the best part of letting trolls play with the real people (ie, unbelievable) is to read their comic screeds!

    You know, the term invented for your compadre, isn't gender specific!

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Glad to read somebody is pleased w/Merkley. To his points: 1. The recent agreements between environmentalists and timber companies was brokered though hard work by Congressman Walden and his staff.

    1. the rpublicans are only playing by the same playbook used by democrats over the past 8 years. Seems if Obama wants to keep nominating folks like the SEIU attorny for the NLRB he gets what he asks for. The reason the board is so low in numbers is the dems blocked moderate nominees for years. Shoe hurts when it is on the other foot.

    2. Merkley should be furious with his president and his party for the open and shameless horse trading that went into the Senate version of the bill. He is as partisan as they come when it comes to this. To bad he lacks the cajones of a DeFazio.

    3. Re afghanistan - memo to pacifiis Merkley; its a war stupid. We wold like to win this one.

    4. Hmm, do I REALLY want my senator wasting time driving a U-Haul cross country? Anyone want to bet if he followed (or even knew) the duty hours of service requirements for truckers?

    5. Merkley knows the die hard democrats who put him in office. He knows the plutocrats of Portland and the friendly confines of places like Eugene and Ashland. Other than that he doesn't know shinola from excrement.

  • Russell Sadler (unverified)

    T.A. don't let anyone minimize John Shelk's role in achieving those East Side timber agreements. Shelk is the management of Ochoco Lumber Company. Both Kerr and Shelk have been voices in my ear for more than 25 years and I can tell, it was their decision to trust one another that made this happen. Both Kerr and Shelk have put their reputation with their peers on the line for this agreement.

  • Russell Sadler (unverified)

    I don't know where Kurt Chapman gets his information, but Shelk and Kerr did the work. Walden signed on because Shelk asked him too after the work was done.

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    Russell, Merkley was talking about Southern Oregon, where he'd been earlier in the day. these agreements work because a variety of people choose to make them possible, all across the spectrum. exactly why health care & climate legislation is failing in DC: too many people are choosing to block rather than help. i'm sorry i don't know more about the individuals involved; there's probably a number of good stories in there.

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    <h2>ps, Richard, excellent comic stylings. i love your dadaist-performance art-neo-nihilist-self-indulgent-pseudo-wannabe-satire-masturbatory-playschool-fingerpaints. awesome work.</h2>

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