beaver boundary

place, politics and power in oregon

Frankly, Mr. Smith, I Don’t Give A Damn November 5, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,Ethics,Gordon Smith,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 8:59 am

The Congressional Franking privilege, which allows members of Congress to send correspondence to constituents without cost, dates back to the seventeenth century in the British House of Commons. Over four centuries, it’s been subject to quite a bit of abuse by politicians to use official dollars for electoral pandering come campaign time. That doesn’t mean that Gordon Smith won’t take that abuse to new levels in order to save his Republican hide in blue Oregon.

The Boundary obtained a copy of Smith’s latest direct-mail piece franked newsletter form a source residing in the Portland metropolitan area. Based on Smith’s sweater-wearing peacenik persona that’s featured in the piece, it would seem the flyer probably went only to Portland-area voters. (More franking crankiness after the jump.) (more…)

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Smith: Bush’s Scary Political Doppelganger October 31, 2007

Filed under: Gordon Smith,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 2:02 pm

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (yes, that DSCC) may strike fear into the hearts of Novick supporters, but they can probably get behind the latest video from the organization, which features the Republican ‘monsters’ that inhabit the U.S. Senate.

Sure, it’s no Willamette Week‘s ‘The Good, The Bad and the Awful’ (which has absolutely sucked recently), but it’s timely :

Ah, dig that 1930s Universal production value!

And of course, they save the scariest Senator for last: Oregon’s own Bush doppelganger Gordon Smith, who has perpetrated a 90% pro-Bush voting record on his own Oregon constituents.

The Boundary just watched 1980s horror classic The Reanimator last night. And while Smith’s political career may well be dead, there’s no limit to the amount of re-agent his campaign coffers can buy.

But who can stop him…?

 

Smith’s Honorary Campaign Chair Fined for Ethics Breach October 27, 2007

Filed under: Gordon Smith,House Republicans,Jeff Merkley,Lobbyists,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 1:21 pm

Did you know that Gordon Smith’s re-election campaign has organized itself into geographical units by congressional district, with an honorary chair for each district? Together they compose the ‘Smith 2008 Republican Leadership Team’. Well, one of Gordon Smith’s honorary chairs, House Republican Leader Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) just resolved his breach of ethics with a state commission yesterday.

According to David Steves of the Eugene Register-Guard:

Hanna, whose district includes eastern Lane and Douglas counties, will pay $100 for each of his two ethics-law violations. They involved two trips to the Sunriver resort that were paid for by lobbying organizations, but which Hanna did not publicly disclose as required. Hanna’s $215 trip in 2005 to the Central Oregon resort was paid for by a trade group that lobbies for hospitals. His $147 Sunriver trip in 2004 was financed by the grocery industry’s lobbying arm.

Hanna was on a hunting vacation Friday and not available for comment. The Roseburg lawmaker has previously acknowledged that he failed to comply with legal requirements to disclose such gratuities when furnished by those that lobby the Legislature.

That’s two trips to the same place, both paid for by lobby groups. It sounds a little fishy that both groups would hold a conference in the same place, but it could possibly be entirely coincidental. Or maybe Rep. Hanna can easily find himself sponsors to his favorite resort. Who knows?

The thing is, ethics violations are commonplace to a good number of Smith’s honorary campaign chairs. Heck, it seems like past ethics problems are nearly a requirement to sign up with the Smith campaign! To name the obvious:

And one other thing: after Nelson and Scott were fined for failing to report the 2004 trip Hawaii, they went again in 2006 to collect over $30,000 in campaign contributions!  What’s more, Hanna joined Scott and Nelson on that second trip–creating a complete ‘Lobbyist Luau’ contingent on Smith’s team.

Obviously, Gordon Smith is showing Oregonians the kind of Senator he’ll continue to be by appointing these ethically-challenged lawmakers as honorary chairs of his campaign. By virtue of association, Smith reveals his true agenda for the continued exploitation of government by the special interests for the benefit of a few powerful and influential individuals.

Oregonians deserve a senator who believes in good government of, by and for the people. That senator is Jeff Merkley, who in the 2007 legislative session successfully pushed for greater accountability in our public officials. To show just how important this bill was to him, Speaker Merkley carried this bill himself on the House floor:

“Restoring the public’s faith in their elected leaders starts with a strong ethical standard,” said House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D-Portland), who carried the bill during floor debate. “When our constituents see us receive exotic vacations and expensive dinners, they wonder if their interests are really being served here. They wonder if their voice is as important as someone giving a lavish gift. Today, we’re putting an end to that.”

Jeff Merkley puts process before power. And that’s more than anyone can say for Gordon Smith and his collection of corrupt co-chairs.

 

Jeff Merkley at Washington County Democrats, Oct. 24 October 25, 2007

U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley spent part of his birthday last night addressing a big group of Washington County Democrats in Aloha. He was on the stump, and the Washington County crowd was visibly excited as he talked about his leadership in the state legislature and his commitment to making health care for all a priority in the U.S. Senate. Of course, he didn’t waste any time saying that his first priority in the Senate would be to end the war in Iraq.

There’s a video up at jeffmerkley.com and at the Washington County Democrats’ site.

Cut to the picture after the jump. (Having problems with wordpress…will post more pictures later). (more…)

 

Gordon Smith Puff Parade, Entry 26

Filed under: 2008 General,Gordon Smith,Puff,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 8:51 pm

Why spend money when you can earn media for yourself? And hey, while we’re at it, why earn media when it’s just handed to you for merely existing? The latter question frames the current puff parade for Gordon Smith, who’s riding a series of hollow news stories to keep his name in the press and in the public mind, all without doing anything particularly notable.

And now, for entry number 26 in the parade, we have the Oregonian’s Charles Pope on a typical new-guy assignment. In this hollow float of a report, we see Gordon Smith receiving an award in a star-studded reception for his fake leadership on gay rights. Cue Pope:

On Saturday Smith will be honored by the Matthew Shepard Foundation for his “longstanding leadership in replacing hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance” at a splashy dinner in Los Angeles.

The “Making a Difference” award will be presented to Smith at the group’s celebrity-tinged ceremony. Smith will accept the honor in person, his staff said, joining Cyndi and Elen Lauper, Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wi.

Also honored will be Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who co-sponsored the hate crimes bill with Smith.

Those who have been paying attention know Smith’s record on gay rights. He’s voted in favor of the federal marriage amendment, and he stayed silent this year when the Oregon Legislature narrowly passed anti-discrimination and domestic partnership laws for gay Oregonians. Most recently, he canceled out Sen. Ron Wyden’s vote by supporting the confirmation of Judge Leslie Southwick, who “found that a mother’s sexual orientation alone was grounds for denying her custody of her children”, to the federal bench.

When he could have made a difference in support of gay rights, he has cowered away from the spotlight. Yet, Smith gets his political cover by offering a bill that he knows that President Bush will veto–an anti-hate crimes bill. And, apparently, he’s relishing the chance to rub elbows with congressional Democrats and Hollywood personalities in an election year.

If there is a Grand Marshal of the Smith Puff Parade, it is the Oregonian. Pope’s article aides and abets Smith’s head-fake on gay rights leadership and lets him walk away with the illusion of bipartisanship.

There’s perhaps no better political contrast to Smith here in Oregon than House Speaker Jeff Merkley. In 2005, then-minority leader Merkley fought like hell against the anti-democratic and bigoted grip of the House Republicans on SB 1000, which would have created civil unions for Oregon’s gay couples. After session adjourned, he went hard to work to recruit candidates and win back the Oregon House. And, of course, after Democrats retook the majority, Merkley delivered, passing SB 2 and HB 2007.

Smith, supposedly a leader on gay rights, looked on from the sidelines, probably trying to figure out his multiple conflicting positions on the Iraq war.

Fight back at StopGordonSmith.com, who has a special Halloween poll up about Smith’s scary scorecard in Congress.

Then head over to JeffMerkley.com to see how he’d fight for fair-minded judges through his seat in the U.S. Senate. And wish him a belated Happy Birthday while you’re at it!

 

Gordon Smith is No Udall October 23, 2007

Colin Fogarty of OPB throws a nice media softball right at Senator Gordon Smith, who was ready at the plate with his corked bat. The central gist of Fogarty’s clip is clear: Gordon Smith is so moderate, he has elected Democrats in the family that he considers ‘brothers’. Hell, Smith’s part of a family dynasty that has its grip on government, so why even try ousting him?

It’s interesting to see that Fogarty, one of OPB’s sharpest analysts in the news department, has been relegated to the bureau of warm human interest pieces. To wit:

Following the meandering branches of most family trees is inevitably complicated. And in Mormon families polygamist marriages were common several generations back. So figuring out who’s related to whom can be even more complex. [. . .]

Having three Udalls in the U.S. Senate would be unprecedented. But it would not be out of character for a family dynasty that is full of so many state legislators, government officials, and state Supreme Court justices. The family is considered the Kennedys of the west.

Fogarty foretells the prospect of a political power family winning three Senate elections without even coming close to spelling out the process or likelihood of that happening. And that’s either sloppy or outright favorable coverage of Senator Smith, who gets to again wear his moderate clothing unexamined.

First of all, Congressman Mark Udall, Senator Smith, and, if he decides to run, Congressman Tom Udall will all stand in the 2008 Senate election, presuming they make it through the primary. Secondly, according to Senate race-rankers, Smith, a 10-year Senate veteran, faces almost as much difficulty in winning his contest as his two ‘brothers’, who would be running for seats currently held by Republicans. Congressman Mark Udall is actively campaigning for retiring Sen. Wayne Allard’s (R) seat in Colorado, while Congressman Tom Udall is mulling a run at the New Mexico seat that Sen. Pete Domenici (R) is leaving.

CQPolitics.com currently ranks the Colorado and New Mexico races as ‘No Clear Favorite’ because of the strengths of the possible Democratic nominees seeking election to seats currently held by Republicans. Senator Smith’s race is in the next-closest column, ‘Leans Republican’. These two categories represent the most unstable and up-in-the-air contests in the 2008 Senate electoral field. While it may be fun and light-hearted to talk ‘what-if’ about the makeup of the 111th Congress, it’s disingenuous of Fogarty to make anything more than a passing reference to the actual likelihood of that happening.

If you’re wondering, here’s the passing reference:

Smith says he considers both his cousins “brothers”. But they are Democrats, so don’t looking for any brotherly love on the campaign trail.

Gordon Smith: “I’m going to stay out of the race. And I wish them well. I’d love to serve with them. I also know there are forces at play that are bigger than any of us individually. But no matter how it turns out, they’ll still be my brothers and maybe they’ll be my colleagues.”

Smith statement, “I’m going to stay out of the race”, is quite ambiguous. Which race? His own, or one of the Udalls’? Of course, Smith’s absence in the former is only wishful thinking on his part–he’ll undoubtedly have to campaign his ass off to even try to hold on to his seat. But since Fogarty didn’t press Smith on his prospects of re-election, Smith gets a free pass to make it seem like he has no opposition at all! It seems that as Jeff Merkley’s campaign picks up speed and momentum in the grassroots, Smith may be in the most elective trouble out of all three ‘Udalls’.  

Finally, if instead of this ‘Smith-is-moderate’ fluff OPB’s news department really wanted a story of political dynasty, it would have done well to link Smith more inexorably with Congressman Mo Udall. Though it would have little ostensible connection in substance, the two will undoubtedly share one outcome: losing an election.

Mo Udall lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Gordon Smith will lose his seat in the U.S. Senate to Jeff Merkley in 2008.