Democratic Senate candidate Steve Novick has already been taken to task for his use of Republican talking points in smearing rival candidate Jeff Merkley on the war in Iraq. Apparently, the withering criticism of Novick’s negative campaign method by Representatives Mitch Greenlick and Mary Nolan hasn’t deterred the Novick campaign from its smear strategy. And that strategy has at least the appearance of collusion with the Oregon Republican Party, as both have the objective of stopping the growth of Jeff Merkley’s grassroots candidacy against Gordon Smith.
The perpetuation of the perceived collusion is nowhere more clear than in David Steves’ latest blog entry about Jeff Merkley’s criticism of Gordon Smith’s vote to approve far-right judicial nominee Leslie Southwick. In it, Steves notes that both the OR GOP and the Novick campaign sent him(and presumably most local media) a post by Stu Rothenberg that takes Merkley to task for a ‘partisan attack’ on Smith.
From Steves’ post:
The upbraiding of Merkley by an old D.C. hand was welcomed news both to the Oregon Republican Party and the campaign of Merkley’s Democratic rival, activist and former attorney Steve Novick; both camps emailed the punditry to Oregon political reporters before 9 a.m.
Oh? The Novick Campaign wants media to know that it thinks Rothenberg’s post about Merkley is being ‘too partisan’ is interesting? If Novick doesn’t agree with Merkley that Gordon Smith’s vote to confirm Leslie Southwick is “one more example of how [Smith is] out of step with the people he’s supposed to be representing”, then perhaps he does have a mutuality of interests with the OR GOP that transcends electoral politics. But that’s unlikely.
Most likely, Novick doesn’t disagree with Merkley on Smith’s vote for Southwick. But he does have a mutuality of interests with the OR GOP when it comes to stopping Jeff Merkley. And whether or not Novick designed this situation, it sure appears that the Novick campaign and the OR GOP are using the same strategy to attack Jeff Merkley.
It’s intellectually dishonest for Novick to promote a criticism of Merkley when they ostensibly share the same position on the issue in question. Memo to the Novick campaign: You’re running in the Democratic primary. Stop playing nice with the Oregon Republican Party–they’re the opponent, remember?