OR-1: Bonamici votes like a liberal. In other news, water is still wet.

Carla Axtman

I don't know if Jeff Mapes was simply short on his column inches quota or if this is an homage to "balanced reporting". However you decide to slice it, the pearl-clutching tone of this piece borders on laughable:

She's been a consistent supporter of environmental causes and has been a close ally of unions and other groups that work tightly with Democrats in the Legislature. She acknowledges that she can't recall ever voting against a tax or fee hike that has made it to the floor.

In some of the Legislature's most contentious votes, she's sided with lawmakers from such Democratic strongholds as Portland, Eugene and Corvallis instead of with rural or suburban moderates.

Bonamici's record attracted little attention as she was easily elected to the House in 2006 and the Senate in 2008 and 2010 in safely Democratic districts.

But that's changed now that she's running against Republican Rob Cornilles in the 1st Congressional District, where independent voters in the political middle could play a decisive role.

Bonamici, who left the Legislature last month to pursue her race for Congress, rejects the idea that she stands to the political left of most of her colleagues. Instead, she says she is a pragmatic problem-solver who listens carefully to constituents and works in a bipartisan fashion.

"I look at each piece of policy and make a decision based on whether that particular bill is going to be good for constituents and good for my district," she says. "If I'm seen as someone who stands up for consumers and small businesses and seniors, working families, I'm proud of that."

But Republicans say that Bonamici, who lives in the Beaverton area, tilts more closely in her voting to the Portland side of the district than she does to the Washington County side.

"She's a Pearl District liberal and her voting record clearly identifies her that way," says Sen. Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro. "Without a question she's more liberal than the rest of the Washington County delegation."

A Democrat who...(gasp!)...votes with a lefty bent! Quick! Someone get the smelling salts and shove the fainting couch this way. And please...Bruce Starr? He's been little more than a cypher in the state legislature, too busy whining about being in the minority to do anything that might actually, say, be helpful to his district. He wouldn't know bipartisan if it reached up and bit him in the ass, preferring the 4th grade style of referring to his "Democrat" colleagues.

I don't know why Mapes didn't just cut and paste the latest Cornilles press release into his column and leave it at that. It would have taken the same amount of effort as this piece. It also would have been more honest than writing up some pretend shock and awe about the fact that Bonamici votes the way that the constituents who sent her to the legislature expect.

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    If Bonamici "votes the way that the constituents who sent her to the legislature expect", then why is a Mapes articles touting this truth a "cut and paste" of the latest Cornilles press release? Couldn't one just as effectively argue that it is a "cut and paste" of a Bonamici press release? I don't get it.

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      Darrell: why not just report it as a straight new story--rather than add in all breathless undertones of shock, dismay and inferences of deception?

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    Actually, I think Bruce Starr has been too busy taking junkets out of state and out of country...

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    Proud that we will be represented in Congress by a woman who votes her (and our) progressive values. And if that is all that Mapes can find to criticize after his less than favorable piece on Cornilles' fabrications and misrepresentations last week, I'd say the voters in the First CD are well served by this two-part series.

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    Jeff Mapes is very smart reporter. But he must be Republican. Maybe we should email Jeff Mapes and tell him Democrat is better.

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    I don't really have any major arguments with this article. I wonder if we're all hearing an undertone here because we're expecting that from the Oregonian. When I look at each sentence and paragraph in isolation, I'm not seeing a lot to quibble with.

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      I don't think anyone is arguing that Mapes is making things up, Kari. The question as to why he is putting all this up is the question.

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        I think it's curious that a website dedicated to progressive Democratic Party politics assumes that an article trumpeting a candidate's liberal progressive voting record is intended as an attack.

        I assume most BlueOregon readers like Sen. Bonamicci's voting record. Why, then, is it considered somehow inappropriate for Mapes to write an article drawing attention to that voting record.

        I think Kari has it right on this one.

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          I think its curious that the piece clearly goes out of its way to use Bonamici quotes to counter the idea that she votes to the left--and then uses Republican Bruce Starr to whine that she's a liberal, using the word as a pejorative.

          It's a big set up to make being a liberal look bad.

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            I think you guys are all ascribing far too much power and influence to the press--something I thought only my fellow Republicans did.

            Of course SENATOR Bruce Starr used liberal as a pejorative. Unless you're willing to agree that every time the Oregonian quotes a Democrat using conservative as a pejorative that's an example of the liberal bias of the press (which many of my friends have done for years), you're really complaining about nothing.

            Although I guess it's nice to know the one area of bipartisan agreement is press bashing!

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          Re your needle, Jack, point taken (as it were). The real point about the piece, and more fundamentally about Mapes, is stated by John Calhoun, three up from you. Mapes is not reporting news with Suzanne; he's trying to make it. And he treats her opponent entirely differently.

          Les AuCoin

          The Les AuCoin Blog

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    It is a faulty metric to judge a legislator's partisanship by floor votes. Virtually every bill brought to a vote has a known status. Votes in committee are more likely to show that Democrats are not an organized party. Given that over 4000 bills are introduced, the process of vetting those bills that even get to committee would reveal numerous fault lines that are not based on party. Senator Bonamici is not an ideology as suggested by this topic.

    And, we are not talking about the Democratic Party. We are talking about 16 elected senators. This is pretty small sample to suggest that 16 senators represent the party. They likely vote alike because they share common values on most issues. I’m pretty sure the caucus does not meet in a closed room, decide how to vote, and vote in lock step. That tactic works but not with Democrats, at least the ones I know.

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    I don't think there have been 60 different taxes for which Bonamici could have cast a vote!

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