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place, politics and power in oregon

Collusion or Coincidence? A Mutuality of Interests Between Steve Novick and OR GOP November 1, 2007

Filed under: Primary 2008,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 2:18 pm

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?

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12 Responses to “Collusion or Coincidence? A Mutuality of Interests Between Steve Novick and OR GOP”

  1. bdunn Says:

    Southwick’s nomination and subsequent confirmation is a disaster for this country. Southwick thinks that I should have been taken from my mother as a child simply because of her sexual orientation. For Steve Novick to criticize Jeff for his opposition to such a despicable nominee is disgraceful. Novick is just beyond the pail at what he is willing to do to try to get the nomination. Unfortunately, protecting all people in this country regardless of their sexual orientation, doesn’t seem like one of them.

  2. Stephanie V Says:

    bdunn, I am totally in sympathy with your family issues. I have friends who had to choose what state they would move to based on a similar issue. And I’m quite certain that Steve would not have voted to confirm Judge Southwick either.

    That doesn’t mean that Merkley’s attack on Smith was likely to be very effective, since so many Democratic senators WERE ready to abandon Democratic values and vote to confirm him. Shame on all of them.

    But this post reads like something from The Onion. Especially those first couple of paragraphs. I mean, real tinfoil-hat, parallel-universe stuff. “Withering criticism?” The only “withering” was to the reputations of Mitch Greenlick, Mary Nolan, and the precious Jeff Merkley, who sent his friends out to do his dirty work so that he could try (unsuccessfully) to maintain some deniability.

    It was a sorry episode and it is not too smart for anyone in the Merkley camp to be reminding people about it.

  3. Terry Says:

    I notice there’s no documentation of the “Novick camp’s” e-mail to political reporters in David Steves’ column.

    So perhaps you’re once again jumping to hasty and erroneous conclusions about Steve Novick’s supposed “mutuality of interests” (whatever that means) with Gordon Smith.

    You got a copy of the e-mail?

  4. bdunn Says:

    Stephanie V: calling them family issues is insulting. They are human rights issues. Human rights issues which your candidate is trying to repugnantly capitalize on the denial of said rights. End of story.

    I thought Steve Novick was suppose to fight Republican slop where ever he saw it, not forward their talking points to reporters to score cheap points on the back of good Democrats who stand up for what is right.

  5. Kevin Says:

    Notice Stephanie’s attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that Novick appears to be colluding with the Oregon GOP and to Tao’s mention of Greenlick and Nolan’s criticism of Novick.

  6. jraad Says:

    That doesn’t mean that Merkley’s attack on Smith was likely to be very effective, since so many Democratic senators WERE ready to abandon Democratic values and vote to confirm him. Shame on all of them.

    I’ve read this like 10 times and I’m not all sure this makes sense…
    help me?

  7. Terry, are you calling David Steves a liar? I mean, really, does every article that mentions a document have to provide that document in its entirety?

  8. Nick Wirth Says:

    I’ve read this like 10 times and I’m not all sure this makes sense…help me?

    She’s saying that Merkley’s criticism of Smith just makes democrats look bad because a number of them voted the same way as Smith.

    Incidentally, I totally disagree with that reasoning. Those democrats aren’t running for election here, Smith is, and if anything I imagine the criticism would show Merkley’s commitment to his ideals and principles, even when members of his own party are willing to lay down their own. Shame on them indeed. We aren’t electing a Senator to represent a party, we’re electing a Senator to represent us and I imagine many Oregonians would oppose Southwick regardless of what Diane Feinstein thinks.

  9. Taoiseach Says:

    It was a sorry episode and it is not too smart for anyone in the Merkley camp to be reminding people about it.

    I disagree; I thought it was a great post, and I don’t care who knows about it.

  10. torridjoe Says:

    It’s a badly inaccurate piece of writing.

  11. Terry Says:

    I’m a skeptical reader, Kari. I don’t know David Steves and I have no idea from reading his piece what sort of communication he had with the “Novick camp.”

    Until someone produces the actual e-mail proving that Novick or his reps intended to “smear” Merkley, I’ll remain a skeptic.

  12. taoiseach Says:

    terry:

    I asked Mr. Steves for copies of the emails, abut he said that he deleted them yesterday. According to Steves, the body of both messages just contained the Roll Call article. The subject like from Novick’s campaign (that’s where Steves says the email was from) said something like “Rothenberg on Merkley. Ouch.” and the Oregon Republican Party email said something to the effect of, “in case you missed this.” Steves says that both were sent from their organizations’ respective media relations staff.

    Could it be that Liz Kimmerly, the new Novick online director, is really Shawn Cleave of the OR GOP? That would really explain the similarity and synchronized timing of the two emails to Steves. Hmmm…..


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