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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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?

 

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…?

 

OR GOP: Out of Touch with Time and Distance October 29, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,Geography,Jeff Merkley,Oregon GOP,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 3:28 pm

Doomed missionary Marcus Whitman often has this quote attributed to him: “My plans require time and distance”.

It’s an expression that’s doubly lost on the Oregon Republican Party and its erstwhile digital mouthpieces, Oregon Catalyst and NW Republican, in a botched attack on a Democratic candidate.

First, the OR GOP fumbled a rudimentary understanding of geography and distance. In a press release issued earlier this month, Vance Day and his minority party wrongly criticize U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley for failing to take his campaign ‘east of the Cascade Mountains’ during its inaugural phase. In fact, Merkley and his staff had visited Deschutes County before the break of the GOP’s press release. Twice.

But apparently we were all supposed to know what they meant–not ‘east of the Cascades’, as they originally stated, but ‘Eastern Oregon’. Talk about literally moving the goal posts a hundred miles or so just to make a stupid press release seem consistent. Maybe the OR GOP can’t afford a proofreader in these tough times for the ultra-right wing?

Not content to call ‘Mulligans’ on the first foul-up, the OR GOP had to come out all wrong on time, too. Today the Catalyst and NW Republican blogs chastise Merkley again for failing to come to Eastern Oregon, instead of just ‘east of the Cascades’. Problem is, both articles came the very day after Jeff Merkley announced his extensive tour of Eastern Oregon! Perhaps before issuing an attack article, the OR GOP and its blog spots would do well to make sure that there are in fact grounds, or at least facts, for such an attack.

It’s obvious that the OR GOP directed the Catalyst and NW Republican to post this–NW Republican even has a graphic that says “Authorized and Paid for by the Oregon Republican Party” on its post. It’s a coordinated effort, and since it’s so badly botched, it has the fingerprints of party leaders Shawn Cleave and Vance Day all over it. Such incompetence is standard from both blogs, but the synchronization of this attack’s execution clearly points to the blundering leadership of the Oregon Republican Party.

With the OR GOP seriously screwing up an early attack, as it has with both attempts of this geography gaffe, it suggests that there are some serious gaps in the Party’s research abilities. Is the OR GOP so worried about Gordon Smith’s weakness in Eastern Oregon that they need to stoke the base with such flimsy material? Smith’s re-elect numbers are surely swirling in the toilet, but that definitely isn’t helped by Cleave’s butchering of an attack that was lame to begin with.

Take a look at Jeff Merkley’s Eastern Oregon kickoff agenda over at new blog Lefty Lane. It’s an extensive tour that undoubtedly went into planning well before the GOP’s first press release.

We’ll have to wait for Shawn Cleave’s next gaffe, but probably not for too long. Unlike Marcus Whitman, he’s too impatient for time and too ignorant to understand distance.

 

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.

 

Congratulations, Sen. & Mrs. Wyden October 26, 2007

Filed under: U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 12:00 pm

Sen. Ron Wyden and Nancy Bass Wyden just had twins! And if genetics has anything to do with it, the world has two new future brainy liberals.

From the Oregonian‘s politics blog:

Ava Rose Wyden was born at 9:23 this morning,” said Wyden spokesman Tom Towslee. “William Peter Wyden was born 45 seconds later. Everyone is doing well.”

Ava Rose weighed just over 5 pounds; William Peter came in at 6 pounds.

On behalf of Oregon lefty blogs, the Boundary wishes Mr. and Mrs. Wyden congratulations and best wishes with their children.

(Now, this could be considered ‘puff’, but the Wydens have earned it!)

 

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…)