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Novick’s Tax Advocacy A Problem in Tax-Averse Oregon October 15, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,Primary 2008 — taoiseach @ 8:00 am

If Steve Novick’s politics match the leftist leanings of Oregon’s Third Congressional District, why does he think he can win statewide? And can Novick overcome his reputation as a tax lover to win in a state that has a dominant, and even populist, repugnance to most taxes?

These are a couple of questions that persist after reading a January 2006 biographical piece on Novick written by the Oregonian‘s Betsy Hammond. In fact, the latter question comes almost immediately to mind after reading the headline of the article: “Policy activist tries to share his love of taxes, spending”. (Unfortunately, the Oregonian does not offer this article in the free archive, which may belie its standing as Oregon’s paper of record.) The rest of the article focuses on Novick’s encyclopedic knowledge of federal and state taxes, which Hammond notes was borne of an early life that saw the closure of his high school due to a lack of funds and his subsequent full ride to the University of Oregon.

Hammond establishes a central theme quite early:

Novick loves taxes. He doesn’t tolerate them. He celebrates them.

Look for him on April 15, marching through Pioneer Courthouse Square with friends, toting signs that say “Thank You, Oregon!” and “Public schools 18.3 percent” and “Medicaid and related health programs 8.9 percent.”

Hammond explains that Novick works for a living by advocating for a higher awareness of where taxpayer money ends up. And laudably, he has put his expertise to work in recent years by leading opposition to disastrous anti-tax ballot measures that would significantly lower Oregon’s incoming revenue. In fact, until his run for Senate, it seems that the recent Novick agenda consisted of fighting against any attempt to lower taxes while pushing for increases in the capital gains tax. The latter part of that agenda lives on today in Novick’s stump speech in support of Senator Ron Wyden’s Fair Flat Tax Act, for which Novick implies he was somewhat responsible.

Surely, Novick’s advocacy for higher capital gains taxes and a better public understanding of government revenue is adamantly progressive. The intellectual authority with which he is regarded on federal and state taxation is a feature not only of his expertise but also his passion for government spending and programs. But even Novick, less than two years ago, expected that his background and ideology would make him well-qualified to represent Oregon’s most liberal congressional district.

Hammond’s article concedes as much:

But there is one thing he has wanted for long time and hasn’t come close to: a seat in Congress.

Unlike many Novick one-liners, this one is not a joke. He is determined to run for Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s Portland seat in Oregon’s most liberal district if Blumenauer steps down.

So if Novick wanted a seat in Congress, why not just wait until Congressman Blumenauer retires? Sure, a seat in Congress could technically mean membership in either the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate, but political vernacular usually associates a Congress seat with the U.S. House (i.e. Congressman Novick versus Senator Novick). Perhaps he got tired of waiting for Blumenauer to run for something else, like Mayor or Senator. He states that he just couldn’t see Gordon Smith go unchallenged, but if he thinks that he’s a better fit for the liberal Third District, why not wait for that seat to open up?

In August 2003, the Willamette Week said that Novick would be a very intriguing candidate for the Third District:younger novick

The most interesting candidate for the congressional seat now held by Earl Blumenauer is not the gay dude with the moussed coif. It’s the short fella with the hook for a left arm.

Novick hasn’t officially announced as yet. That will wait until Blumenauer gets off the picket fence and runs for mayor in 2004, a move most expect within a couple of months. Then Novick will join Adams and an expected five or six others in a joust to fill one of the nation’s more solidly Democratic congressional seats.

That announcement never did come. All of this begs the question, if Novick truly desires the Third District seat, is his Senate run just an exercise in name-building and electoral practice? The Smith campaign could question Novick’s authentic drive to serve in the Senate when he has made many remarks about how he wants to run for the House.

Similarly, one can take the ‘potential weapon’ argument that the Novick camp has been using against Jeff Merkley and apply it here to Novick. While a progressive, pro-taxation stance would work to a candidates advantage in Portland, it is clear that Steve Novick would not be as well-received by the populist anti-tax forces throughout the whole of Oregon. This is a state that has shown its hostility to the sales tax at every opportunity. This is a state that rejected a highly necessary, but modest, tax increase to sustain state services in late 2002, and then rejected an even leaner version of that same proposal 3 months later. This is Oregon, home of the ever-popular kicker, land of 362 tax expenditures, where the last gas tax increase occurred in 1993.

In Oregon, we may love dreamers, but we sure don’t love taxes. And if Steve Novick has made a living on the promotion and celebration of taxes, Democrats need to recognize the potential weapon they would be turning over to the Smith camp to turn off all of those economically-libertarian independent voters on which so many close, critical elections of late have depended. If Steve Novick becomes the nominee, how often will we see Hammond’s headline and story about tax-loving Novick? And, more importantly, how often will Oregonians outside of Portland see that meme?

Steve Novick may want Oregonians to cozy up to the fact that taxes should be embraced rather than feared. But the string of anti-tax votes in localities of late, from Jackson County to Lane County, shows that his efforts have not been entirely successful. And it is certainly not a winning strategy for a Democrat to celebrate taxes on the stump, when one is least likely to be convinced that government spending is great.

Finally, the Boundary would also like to point out that the Hammond article describes Novick as a consummate insider. It mentions ‘top-drawer’ Democratic consultants Lisa Grove and Mark Wiener as two among Novick’s close friends. Hammond’s short biography of Novick may be indicative of his future descriptions should he become the nominee:

Novick, a political insider and communications director for a two-man nonprofit devoted to teaching Oregonians about government spending [. . .]

It is these consultants who wanted to help Novick ascend to Congress via the Third District seat. Finally, Hammond points out that Novick’s once-certain bid for that seat would not have been without a little help from his friends:

He plans to run for elected office on a slogan his friends, mainly professional political advisers, invented — “a fierce fighter with a hard left hook.” [. . .]

A tax-loving 4-foot-9 no-name faces an uphill battle, he concedes. But, he says, his politics match those of the 3rd District, he knows federal policy, and he has the right friends.

Suffice it to say that if Novick thought his candidacy for Congress in Oregon’s Third District would have been an uphill battle, the grade of his challenge on a statewide level may in fact be insurmountable. Certainly, it will take considerably more than the Portland political consultancy for Novick to overcome his tax-loving reputation in this tax-reluctant state.

(Ironically, today is October 15, exactly six months from tax day).

UPDATE: According to the FEC’s website, Novick even has a committee established to raise money for a Third District Congressional campaign. Apparently, he’s keeping it open for some reason.


54 Responses to “Novick’s Tax Advocacy A Problem in Tax-Averse Oregon”

  1. verasoie Says:

    Gotta say, as much as I occasionally wish Earl were more outspoken and a leader on certain liberal issues, now that he’s not challenging Smith I don’t want him going anywhere, he does too much for this city and state via his leadership on transportation issues for us to lose.

    And the race to replace him would be very, very crowded, there are way too many good Dems here who could ably replace him (although they wouldn’t retain his seniority). I can’t see Novick doing this to gain name recognition, I think betting on Earl leaving anytime soon (say in the next 10 years) is fantasy.

  2. Henry Says:

    Any Democratic candidate will be attacked and every single one of them will be attacked on taxes. Unless you run a Libertarian on the Democratic ticket, you’re going to see them attacked on taxes. Either Steve Novick or Speaker Merkley will be labeled as “wanting to raise taxes” (has there been a GOP vs. Dem fight in the last fifty years that hasn’t included that claim?). The real question is whether the nominee can change the conversation to something more meaningful, like health care, or the war in Iraq.

    In terms of your asinine claim that Novick would run for Senate just to get publicity for District 3, you’re swatting at ghosts. It seemed there would be an opening in Novick’s district that he thought he could fill, so he planned to run for it. There was no opening. Can somebody from District 3 not be well-fit to run for Senate?

    Would that have prevented Earl Blumenauer, who is clearly well-suited for D-3, to run for Senate this year?

    Would it then bother you that House District 47 is in Congressional District 3?

    Come on, this is just insane.

  3. Given recent headlines like this: Income inequality worst since 1920s, according to IRS data, it might not be such a bad idea to have someone brave enough to speak honestly about taxes.

    One of Steve’s key points in his campaign, and throughout his career, is that people don’t understand where their tax money really goes. I’ll paraphrase a couple of things I’ve heard Steve say, but you can check the Google Video of the recent Sunriver appearance for corroboration.

    Many Americans think that their tax dollars go mostly to foreign aid and welfare. Steve wants the IRS to send taxpayers a “thank you note,” that would explain where their tax dollars actually go. Social Security, Medicare, the Military, Interest on the Debt are big pieces of the pie.

    The Center of Budget Policies and Priorities has
    a good breakdown on where exactly our money DOES go. Steve would like people to be better informed about that and it’s been one of his driving missions in his career. I think we all should, and kudos to Steve for being forthright about it.

    Simply said, Americans/Oregonians are likely to be more supportive of paying their due when they understand where their money is going. Whether or not this is going to be a “problem” is another issue altogether, but not very much so (I think) since Steve does an incredible job of explaining tax policy.

  4. Galen Says:

    Excerpt from a Gordon Smith fundraising e-mail, 9/25/07:

    Chuck Schumer and his liberal national Democrat team have hand-picked a tax and spend liberal to run against me and try to put this Senate seat in Democrat hands.

    Huh, that’s interesting, because Smith has already attacked Jeff Merkley on taxes, yet this piece doesn’t mention Merkley.

    What’s also interesting is that Steve doesn’t have one vote on record to raise taxes. I daresay I know a few Oregon Democrats who differ on that count. And where, exactly, is the quotation in which Steve says he loves taxes? All I see are references to Steve’s career of fighting for a higher portion of tax dollars going to things like education and health care, and nothing about actually raising taxes. Is this really all you have?

  5. Carl Fisher Says:

    Republicans are going to attack any Democrat on Taxes.

    I was just looking over the direct mailers the Oregon GOP put out in 2002, “Bill Bradbury doesn’t bother asking Oregonians about how their money should be spent, he just decides for you….”Bradbury comes up short, he voted 57 times to raise your takes..”

    Any Democrat is going to be taken to town with this issue.

    I trust Steve to be able to use his years explaining where our tax dollars go to fight off attacks like these.

  6. Stephanie V Says:

    “Democrat X loves taxes and will raise yours” is the #1 play in the Republican playbook. Every Democrat worth the label (and some who aren’t) has to face this. It is always good to be concerned about it but I wouldn’t say I am worried — Steve is very good at repulsing anti-tax, anti-government attacks (as Bill Sizemore and Howard Rich can already attest).

  7. Taoiseach Says:

    Okay Novick Blog Team, you get points for speediness and consistency, but you seem to miss something here.

    Of course Republicans will attack any Democrat on taxes. And of course Steve Novick has turned back several anti-tax ballot measures. Granted.

    Here’s the rub: Novick was basically anonymous in his poltical efforts against TABOR and the 2000 Sizemore measure. He won’t be in this Senate campaign. Democrats accused of being ‘tax-and-spend liberals’ beat Republicans by running away from that moniker rather than embracing it.

    Steve Novick, to whom Betsy Hammond refers as all variations of ‘tax-loving’ in this article, simply cannot run away from that moniker. Similarly, his career is so intertwined with the concept of taxation that the Smith machine will make them not only congruent, but essentially the same entity. While this may not be true, it doesn’t seem that Novick has the media on his side.

    Can you see the attack ad now? “Steve Novick, not just a tax-and-spend liberal, but a tax-lover. The Oregonian says Steve Novick doesn’t just tolerate taxes–he celebrates them”.

    In the words of Novick himself when he referred to Merkley and HR 2, it would be devastating.

    So it would seem the Novick team doesn’t like the telescope pointed back at them.

  8. Henry Says:

    Ah, another simplistic attack. You’re almost too much fun, Taoiseach. I can’t speak for the rest of Novick supporters, but I’m not particularly angry about this post. I just think it’s moronic. Republicans WILL say the Democratic nominee loves taxes. They always have and they always will. We like redistribution and more money for schools and health care. They don’t. That’ll be the issue they raise no matter what.

    Likening this to H.R. 2 is just a little too far down the rabbit hole than I’m willing to go. Iraq is an issue every Democrat will have to raise in 2008 to win against a Republican. It’s an issue the American people see Democrats as stronger on. Whoever attacks Gordon Smith on Iraq will need a strong position from which to speak. Some people think Merkley’s vote on H.R. 2 weakens that position. On the other hand, taxes are taxes and any Democrat will get that attack.

    By the way, if you think the Republican attack machine needs something factual or textual to make a scathing attack, you need to do some memory exercises. “John McCain supports breast cancer” comes to mind.

    Seriously, if you have a valid complaint make it. But I have trouble with the foolish content of this blog (and particularly today’s post) being adjacent to John Edwards for President and Yes on 49.

  9. Stephanie V Says:

    Y’know, taoiseach, IF THAT IS REALLY YOUR NAME…


    … I knew what this was about as soon as I saw the headline. Goose, gander, BANG. But I also knew that you would blow your thin cover soon enough and it took even less time than I thought.

    You commit rhetorical failures that would get you crucified on any blog other than your own (or BlueO, the Death Star of the Merkley Empire). Most notably, you state your own opinion as incontrovertible fact and then attempt to “reason” from that “fact” to a conclusion you then expect your readers to accept.

    Not buying it here.

  10. i’m not angry. cheers!

  11. taoiseach Says:

    Colin, your lack of anger is noted for the record! I also appreciate the lack of mean-spirited words like ‘crucified’, ‘moronic’ and ‘asinine’.

  12. taoiseach Says:

    But I also knew that you would blow your thin cover soon enough and it took even less time than I thought.

    It’s not a cover, a ruse or anything of the sort. And Henry–the Novick intern–I decide the valid arguments of my posts, not you.

    I don’t know about rhetorical failures, Stephanie–there aren’t to many metaphors or metonyms; I think you mean fallacies.

    There’s no mistaking that if he is the nominee, Novick’s high regard for taxes will hurt the Party on many levels with independent voters. He’ll be a drag on the ticket in Eugene, Medford and east Multnomah County for sure–places where Democrats are trying to pick up or retain closely contested seats.

  13. Nick Wirth Says:

    “(or BlueO, the Death Star of the Merkley Empire)”

    I think I like this one even better than “Axis of Mandate Media”.

  14. Taoiseach,

    Democrats have fought for social programs during elections since World War II. It’s not a position of being “pro-tax increases.” It’s a platform of better education for all Americans, reducing the deficit, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, as well as a number of other integral, government-run programs.

    Progressives/liberals/whatevers will stand up for these programs as they have for years and years. Of course this sort of campaign (the kind of campaign either Speaker Merkley or Steve will inevitably run) will alienate some libertarian and neo-con voters. But, for the most part, I think Oregonians can get on board with the premise that if we strengthen things like schools and health care, we provide better opportunities for every child, for every family, and for every American. Let’s see the GOP attack that.

  15. Stephanie V Says:

    One point of clarification: taoiseach, are you suggesting that if nominated, Jeff Merkley would NOT be attacked as a tax-loving liberal?

  16. Stephanie V Says:

    (by the way, Nick, nothing personal)


  17. bdunn Says:

    Just because GS will use the line on both doesn’t mean that Novick isn’t going to get hit hard and it will be crippling. Especially since Novick is campaigning on raising taxes on small businesses (Wyden’s Fair flat tax proposal that Novick supports doesn’t distinguish between types of corporations). Furthermore, Novick’s proposal would raise the tax rate of the lowest bracket by 5%. Yes, there offsetting breaks but lets face facts. If Novick is the nominee he won’t be able to raise cash (he currently is raising very poorly), the DSCC isn’t going to bail him out like his supporters suggest (Cook is now listing OR as the 7th most contested Senate race and there is no incentive to spend money here rather than other presidential and senate battleground states),and this tax stuff will kill him outside of the People’s Republic of Portland if he doesn’t have the funds to combat it on the airwaves.

  18. Sally Says:

    So Colon, you’re saying most people aren’t as smart as you and don’t understand where their tax dollars go? Geeze, if that isn’t a worn out suggestion.

  19. Terry Says:

    How in the world can you call yourself a progressive, which is what Merkley calls himself, if you don’t forthrightly advocate for the money to pay for progressive programs, like national health care?

    It’s about time that someone like Novick stepped up to defend the need for increased public revenue. It’s damned refreshing, in fact, and a far cry better than playing politics with deeply held and principled views.

    Let Gordon Smith attack Novick as a tax and spender. Novick will turn him inside out. That’s the kind of candidate I want running for the Senate.

    The Blumenauer option is completely beside the point. A challenge went out to rid the Senate of Gordon Smith. Novick rose to the challenge while other establishment Dems dithered. Including Jeff Merkley.

  20. Sal Peralta Says:

    “Under Jeff Merkley, the Oregon legislature passed an $800 million tax increase and tried to stuff a tax increase into the Oregon Constitution – this, despite the fact that he was left a $1 billion budget surplus from the previous legislature and saw tax revenues increase by more than $2 billion during his one term as House Speaker.

    “In all, Oregon’s Government grew by nearly 30 percent during Merkley’s one-term in office, and still he wasn’t satisfied. He attempted to pass new taxes on beer, car insurance, and has tried to put tolls on Oregon roads.”

    Those are the GOP’s talking points about Merkley. I didn’t write them. I cribbed them from the Taxpayer’s Association and National Taxpayer’s Union.

    My point? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. If you want to defend Jeff Merkley, a poor way of doing it is to take shots at Steve Novick on issues where the GOP is likely to hit Merkley even harder than the can hit Novick.

  21. Hawthorne Says:


    I don’t always agree with what you write, but here you are right on.

    First Novick is attacked for using GOP talking points…and now you attack with…GOP talking points? wtf?

  22. Hawthorne Says:

    Sorry, to be clear…now “taoiseach” attacks…

    and this post, btw, is very untao.

  23. bdunn wrote: …the DSCC isn’t going to bail him [Novick] out like his supporters suggest…

    You got a source on that Bradley? I’d love to see it if you do.

    I sincerely doubt that the DSCC would take the position that they’d help unseat Gordon Smith but only if we nominate their preferred candidate.

    The level of support from the DSCC might be different, but I think they (and others) will back, financially, whoever the nominee is.

  24. Buddy Says:

    What’s this? Democrats have earned a reputation as chronic tax hikers? Stop the presses!

  25. well, “Buddy,”

    Unlike Republican Presidents like Reagan and Bush Jr., at least Democrats try to raise money to pay for their spending. You can thank the aforementioned Republicans for our immense National Debt.

    I’ll take “pay for it now,” over “pay (much more) for it later,” thank you very much. The out of control spending by these Republican administrations will be a debtors’ prison for future generations of Americans.

  26. Buddy Says:

    Well Colon, I’m glad we agree on the general reputation of Democrats regarding taxation. Not that I’d completely disagree with your assessment of our current administrations fiscal polices, assuming it’s W. you’re referring to as “Bush Jr.”, but you might have a slightly warped view of the big picture from the 60’s to present and our basic economic model post WWII. The truth lies somewhere between “Reagan was a god” as the Limbaugh’s of the world would have you believe and the modern progressive revisionist history spewed forth on liberal blogs.

  27. Stephanie… How in the name of god can BlueOregon be the “Death Star of the Merkley Empire” when we’ve got one editor that’s endorsed him (Charlie Burr), one contributor that is Novick’s PR staffer (Leslie Carlson), one contributor that is his most prominent endorser (Randy Leonard), and at least 3-4 others that are publicly (I think) supporting him?

    I’ve begged them all to write columns stating why they support Novick – and I asked YOU to be a regular contributor (which you turned down, and I understand your personal reasons) – and we’ve got a FREAKING GUEST COLUMN link that anyone can use.

    For the record, not a single Novick supporter has sent us a guest column supporting Steve Novick. I don’t know why that is, it just is.

    For the love of God, am I going to have to get schizophrenic, make up a second personality, and start posting Novick stuff myself? Or will SOMEONE, ANYONE who supports him post something on BlueOregon?

    Don’t make me beg.

    Oh wait, too late.

  28. Stephanie V Says:

    For the record, not a single Novick supporter has sent us a guest column supporting Steve Novick. I don’t know why that is, it just is.

    Maybe it’s because we are all so busy defending him and ourselves in the continuous onslaught of anti-Novick attacks and pro-Merkley puffery there and in the aligned blogs like this one. There are only so many hours in the day, after all.

  29. bdunn Says:

    Colin, a clarification, do you want links to where TJ and others have repeatedly demonized the DSCC and then a mere sentance or two latter hinge their candidate’s entire fundraising opperation on the hope that the big bad scary national Democrats will come in and save the day, or do you want my source that says that the DSCC will make Novick the 2007 version of Bradburry?

    I can provide the former if that is what you want but my two sources for the later are personal friends who weren’t suppose to share the info in the first place. But really is it hard to figure out? Novick is accusing the DSCC of using germ warfare against him, the DSCC showed how much faith in Novick they had when they didn’t even bother to meet with him, and Cook shows that there are already 6 better pick up opportunities in the field assuming Merkley is the candidate which plummets precipitously down the list if Novick is the nominee.

    Budy stop using ad homien attacks on Colin they are unjustified.

    Stephanie V you get LO, we get BB, BlueO is pretty neutral that is the turf if you don’t like it start another blog. Furthermore, if there is no Novick supporter who cares about their candidate enough to write a guest article for BlueO then you really need to stop complaining.

  30. Daniel Spiro Says:

    Novick’s problem isn’t that he loves taxes. The truth is that far from loving taxes, he simply recognizes their value and wishes to help people become less ignorant about them, so that we all can hate them less.

    No, Novick’s problem is that he is an honest-to-God progressive. And in this day and age — an era when the nation has been run either by right wingers or triangulators — many Democrats react to true progressives with fear.

    “Oh my. This guy is serious. He really cares about addressing the inequality of wealth in this country. Yikes. We can’t have that. We’ll never get him elected.”

    Folks, what’s the difference between an unabashed Republican and a Democrat who fears “the people” so much that he can only support triangulators and other tongue-biters on the Democratic side? Not much. The GOP gave us the Iraq War idea, whereas the wimpy/inauthentic Democrats voted for the War, and are now keeping it going. The same could be said for their positions on domestic issue, such as how progressive our taxes should be.

    Mind you, I’m not attacking Merkley here. I’m not willing to call him a tongue-biter, though I might be if he doesn’t start making more joint appearances with Novick. Hopefully, Merkley will soon embrace the opportunity to tour the state with Novick and “let the best man win.” But I am saying that Novick is what Oregon needs — he’s what America needs — and if you’re too scared to support him despite your agreement with what he says, please call yourself a “conservative” because you’ve already given up on progressive change … the best you can hope for is the status quo, with perhaps a tiny bit of left-leaning tinkering. And that, my friends, is well within the definition of a conservative.

  31. Taoiseach Says:

    Does anybody here know what ‘opposition research’ is? If you do, you’ll see my point, as Novick has basically directly provided this to the Smith campaign with his proactive love of taxes.

    Legislators encounter taxes as a matter of the job. Novick has not held any elected positions, yet the list of activities and statements in Novick’s tax fever must be a mile long.

    Of course the Democratic nominee will get attacked on taxes. But Novick has done Smith’s work for him through his unabashed advocacy of a highly unpopular, but necessary, concept.

    The campaign to defeat Smith should be about his failed leadership and misrepresentation of Oregon, not about how much we should all love taxes.

  32. darrelplant Says:

    The campaign to defeat Smith should be about his failed leadership and misrepresentation of Oregon, not about how much we should all love taxes.

    It’s not exactly as if Novick has been uncritical of Gordon Smith.

    Personally, I think Novick’s strategy does well to blunt the inevitable attacks on him (or any Democrat) as a “tax and spend liberal”. Reconnect the notion of paying taxes with what the taxes are doing, in much the same way that the current SCHIP campaign associates making health care for children a priority. I don’t think that Novick’s going to have a problem wholeheartedly defending that concept.

  33. Bradley, it was the latter I was interested in. If you can’t source it, please realize that many of us simply aren’t going to believe you.

    I’m sure some have “demonized” the DSCC in general, but the gist that I get is that most people who are concerned are more bothered by the timing rather than the involvement in general.

    Most political organizations recognize the dangers in choosing a horse in a Primary election. They range from creating a complacent/vulnerable candidate who didn’t have to work hard for their nomination to picking the wrong horse and alienating the candidate, to upsetting the electorate who doesn’t want an out of state organization to have a finger on the scale.

    If, do note the qualification, the DSCC is threatening to back out of the race if Steve Novick wins the nomination, then Merkley is potentially more beholden to them than I would be comfortable with.

    The DSCC’s mission is to elect Democrats to the Senate. Not particular Democrats. The 2002 election between Smith and Bradbury is a bad corollary for a number of reasons, by the way. 2002 was a great year for Republicans nationwide, especially being the year after 9/11. Bradbury also didn’t run a particularly energetic or exciting campaign. 2008 will (hopefully) be more like 2006 than 2002, and Democrats enjoy a much stronger position thatn they did in 2002. Also, Novick isn’t Bradbury, and will run a much more forceful and engaging campaign.

  34. torridjoe Says:

    “Colin, a clarification, do you want links to where TJ and others have repeatedly demonized the DSCC and then a mere sentance or two latter hinge their candidate’s entire fundraising opperation on the hope that the big bad scary national Democrats will come in and save the day,”

    I’ve certainly criticized the DSCC’s policy of backing one Democrat over another. What does that have to do with post-primary fundraising? And I certainly never said his campaign fundraising hinges on the DSCC; money will flow in like water for either man once they are the nominee.

    Some other funny, but specious, points:

    “If Novick is the nominee he won’t be able to raise cash (he currently is raising very poorly),”

    Says who? He’s raising pretty well considering Oregon donors are being told to look elsewhere, and once again–primary and general conditions are not comparable.

    “Cook is now listing OR as the 7th most contested Senate race and there is no incentive to spend money here rather than other presidential and senate battleground states)”

    Considering it’s been 5th most of the year until Warner and Domenici dropped out, there’s been no effective change in ranking. Obviously open seats move to the top of the list. As for money, why is winning a Senate seat not sufficient incentive, exactly? And you realize that the Democratic Party is positively swimming in money, right? They’ll have money to burn.

  35. torridjoe Says:

    And as I wondered back at my place, does this mean your advocacy is for Merkley NOT to back capital gains reform or the Fair Flat Tax? Or to back it and just pretend to voters that he doesn’t, so he can get elected?

    Mr. Hobson, white courtesy phone please…

  36. taoiseach Says:

    Due to the absence of statements otherwise here in the comments section, it must have been conceded by the Novick blog team that Steve Novick, close friend of Lisa Grove, Mark Wiener and any number of political consultants, is officially a political insider.

  37. taoiseach Says:


    The only thing I’m advocating for is that we not have a nominee for a statewide election that basically wears an ‘I Heart Taxes’ T-Shirt from small town to small town, turning off the conservative Ds and NAVs we need to win this race and many other down-ticket races.

    My argument is not about Novick’s principle, which is fine on this issue, rather it is about the political reality of statewide appeal. Steve ‘Taxes are Wonderful’ Novick will surely find pockets of support in the liberal enclaves of Portland, Eugene and Ashland (from where I presume most of these commenters hail). But because politics is dialectical, and many swingable voters still buy into conservative anti-tax rhetoric because it is Populist, the issue of Novick’s tax-loving will become the sole factor in NAV/conservative D votes.

  38. Chris Lowe Says:

    “Tax and spend” was a quote from one of FDR’s close aides, either Harry Hopkins or Harold Ickes I think. It was the basis of a highly successful political strategy based on a progressive tax structure plus providing services people wanted.

    There’s a lot of water under the bridge since then, but surveys show that people do want government to do things for them — see e.g. widespread support for SCHIP which includes a new tax.

    Reagan was quite as bad for debt in his day as W. is today. Some folks analyzed it as “military Keynesianism” despite Reagan’s monetarist & supply side veneer. W. says he’s stimulating the economy with low taxes — maybe it’s just good old Johnson style deficit spending.

    Both Steve and Jeff could and should come back at any “tax and spend” rhetoric by attacking “borrow and spend Cadillac Escalade conservatives who are hocking our children and grandchildren’s future to pay interest to their banker and stockbroker cronies.” If Smith calls Steve a “tax-lover”, Steve should just call him a “debt-lover”.

    They should also reframe the debate as asking “what do we want government to do” first, then figuring out how to pay for it, or if not choosing to forego it.

  39. Maybe it’s because we are all so busy defending him and ourselves in the continuous onslaught of anti-Novick attacks and pro-Merkley puffery there and in the aligned blogs like this one. There are only so many hours in the day, after all.

    Would you mind providing a link to a single anti-Novick attack posted on BlueOregon – other than the very recent Nolan/Greenlink one?

    Because I’m not buying your assertion that BlueOregon has been anti-Novick. We’ve given him more consistent and more positive coverage than any other media outlet in the state.

  40. Stephanie V Says:

    So you do acknowledge that the Nolan-Greenlick post was an attack on Steve! Thank you. That’s progress.

    I’m not just talking about official posts. I’m talking about the day in, day out comments over there. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a severe reluctance to remain silent in the face of injustice, and there’s been plenty of that over there to be dealt with.

    As for taoiseach, there’s a word for someone who engages in this kind of posturing. Well, two words: concern troll. Enough said.

  41. taoiseach Says:

    Stephanie V Says: October 16th, 2007 at 3:27 pm e

    Acutally Stephanie, I’m more fond of gnomes myself.

    (Also, isn’t it a bit difficult for one to troll one’s own blog?)

  42. Stephanie V Says:

    >(Also, isn’t it a bit difficult for one to troll one’s own blog?)

    For some more than others, I would say.

  43. bdunn Says:

    Acutally Stephanie, I’m more fond of gnomes myself.

    (Also, isn’t it a bit difficult for one to troll one’s own blog?)

    Taoiseach, I think we should be friends 🙂

  44. torridjoe Says:

    “Due to the absence of statements otherwise here in the comments section, it must have been conceded by the Novick blog team that Steve Novick, close friend of Lisa Grove, Mark Wiener and any number of political consultants, is officially a political insider.”

    Yes, that’s often how it works. Someone on a blog makes a declaration–and if no one bothers to repudiate it for the 100th time in various fora, it MUST be true!

    Did you perhaps consider that there’s simply too much else that’s ripe for the picking–wholly unsupported statements, speculations and exagerrations–that there simply isn’t time to push back on that silly “he’s an insider” meme again?

  45. Stephanie V Says:

    the issue of Novick’s tax-loving will become the sole factor in NAV/conservative D votes.

    whew! THAT’s a big relief. Because if that’s the sole factor, and some of them have at least half a brain, Steve will pick those votes up. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  46. taoiseach Says:

    Did you perhaps consider that there’s simply too much else that’s ripe for the picking–wholly unsupported statements, speculations and exagerrations–that there simply isn’t time to push back on that silly “he’s an insider” meme again?

    Sounds like the Novick blog team is in need of recruits! To the college campuses! (Oh wait…Jeff Merkley’s campaign snatched a lot of them up already…)

    As for ‘wholly unsupported statements, speculations and exagerrations’–you do know that this is a blog, right? Not a fancy ‘journal’ like LO.

  47. Henry Says:


    I’d refrain from speaking so rashly on the subject of college recruits.

    If you mean a handful of kids from Willamette University, one from Lewis and Clark and one from Oregon State, then you’re right, Speaker Merkley has swept the college campuses clean!

    Or maybe you could go to Portland State, University of Oregon or Lewis and Clark and see the rapidly growing support Steve Novick has.

    Please, please, please [Tao]. Look before you leap on statements like the above.

    By the way, there appears to be this idea that Novick supporters don’t like this blog because you’ve endorsed Merkley. Not so. Again, I can’t speak for the rest, but I have no problem with people who’ve endorsed the Speaker. Many of them are great leaders. Of course, we have a right to disagree with those fine statesmen. To steal from Mario Puzo, it’s not personal, it’s business.

    But if because you endorse the Speaker, you decide to spit venom at a good man like Steve, then it stops being business. Then you lose our respect. And that simply shouldn’t happen.

  48. bdunn Says:

    Um Henry we are way more than a few! We have more members of our facebook group that all of the Novick schools combined. i would also like to mention that we have a substantially higher proportion of our schools population involved with Willamette Students for Merkley.

    That would be what we call a slam!(this is meant to be playful)

    Also Henry before you start condeming proMerkley blogs as smear you should look at proNovick blogs

    oh i hope the image works its funny

  49. bdunn Says:

    damn no image

  50. Henry Says:

    You’re right, Brad. The four more students Willamette Students for Merkley has than the Portland State and Western Oregon groups is overwhelming. What are we even doing in the race with such expansive opposition?

    It should be noted that candidates can have supporters in college who don’t join the facebook group.

    Don’t get me wrong, Brad. I think it’s great that you folks at Willamette are involved. But you as well as I know that not everybody who joins a Facebook group is actually going to volunteer, and even if they all did, I would say that 39 people qualifies as a handful of the 2500 some students at Willamette.

  51. bdunn Says:

    Dude your off your rocker if you don’t think elections are decided on facebook! Elections don’t actually happen they just show up in the news feed. If you want to leave the race now I promise not to mock you 🙂

    Plus your way off about our size were only about 2/3 that size right around 1800.

    Finally, if getting people on facebook is so easy why are you guys not doing it your school especially since you have like 12x more kids than us? If facebook isn’t a good measure of us kicking your butt, what is?

    Maybe its this: We have had 14 different students (off the top of my head) volunteer for the Merkley campaign in some capacity so far so I think were doing just fine.

  52. Henry Says:

    Well, counting grad students, it’s about 2500. Regardless, I figured there’d be something about the size of Portland State brought about.

    Now, you’re smart enough to not need me to do this, but you’re baiting me, so I’m going to have to.

    You guys LIVE in Salem. You’re around the legislature constantly. The fact that you have students who are willing to volunteer for the Speaker of the House doesn’t astound anybody. Steve Novick has been behind the scenes most of his career, and he’s just now coming to many peoples’ attention at Portland State. If we don’t have more members after next week, then you’ll have something pertinent to criticize.

  53. bdunn Says:

    dude henry are you serious?

    you want points because your guy has no name recognition?

    Also I would argue penalizing us because we actually get out and volunteer is really silly.

    My favorite quote of all time about why Jeff Merkley rocks is “I know Jeff Merkley got a lot of amazing things accomplished during the legislative session. How? because I put all those great things in file cabinets.”

  54. bdunn Says:

    also what does this mean?

    Regardless, I figured there’d be something about the size of Portland State brought about.

    When Im done with my thesis we should get a beer if you drink and a caffeinated type liquid if you don’t.

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