Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Final Thoughts... Long Overdue

To anyone who has seen this blog of mine it is obvious which candidates in this election season I support. Mid-May was Oregon's primary and although the national democratic race went the way I had hoped, the senatorial primary race did not. We Novick supporters watched the numbers come in knowing that the man favored to win was indeed going to get the nod and that our underdog campaign was over.
In the days that followed I felt a bit disgruntled, even angry at times. We had fought a good fight (Novick being the first individual to inspire me enough to work on a campaign). The next day, my Merkley supporting co-worker jokingly offered me a Merkley pin to wear to replace my "Hook" pin and I graciously declined. I was still sore from the loss and was not quite ready to entertain such a thought as supporting the opposition. Still, no progressive, liberal, Democrat truly wants to see Gordon Smith reelected. Yes, I will be voting for Jeff but in the days following the primary election I just wasn't quite ready to jump on board his bandwagon.
Time has passed.... I'm still not jumping. And here is why:
Jeff Merkley ran a campaign straight out of the GOP handbook. Red-baiting, negative polling & ads, smear tactics, and use of wedge issues. This he did against a fellow progressive, a fellow Democrat. One might think that an intelligent guy decrying Novick for attacking fellow Dems would see the irony in having a campaign smearing someone on the same team. But hey, what do I know? I'm just part of that inner-Portland "Kremlin" circle.

1. Merkley accused Novick (and his supporters) of being Commies. My co-worker stated that her biggest reason for not liking Steve was that he used the hammer and sickle emblem of the Communist party during his campaign. First of all, he didn't. Second, a lefty accusing another lefty of being socialist? Huh? Don't all lefties have some connection with the ideals touted by Communism? Whatever. And last but not least what is up with a Cold War campaign tactic in 2008? Were the Merks serious?!! Red-baiting in the post-Cold War era? It is silly coming from the right when it does but it is absolutely absurd coming from the left.

2. A buddy of mine who majored in Poli. Sci. but who found himself "out of the loop" and undecided commented that when he saw Merk's smear campaign "Novick Insults Democrats" his decision was made: He voted for Novick. He explained it as such: First, being critical of elected officials is part of being in a healthy democracy. Just because an individual is in your party doesn't mean they should get a free pass (unless you of course are a Republican). Second, Steve was making valid points, so much so that when his comments were posted Merk's lacky, Kari Chrisholm (and the plagiarizer responsible for the Novick Insults Democrats website), didn't even bat an eye. Finally, the quotes Merk and Co. used were taken out of context. Oh, Republican play book, how did Merkley end up with a copy of you? The "insult" of Gore was particularly amusing seeing as though Steve's overall message in the piece was that Al should run for president.

3. I won't get into the negative polling thing here except to say that Merkley's people called my house doing the poll and were incredibly rude when I told them I was supporting Steve.

4. Now the wedge issue, which is related to Merkley's assertion that we here in Portland are like the "inner circle of the Kremlin" was not just red-baiting but a wedge meant to be driven between urban and rural Democrats. The tension between these two parts of Oregon society unfortunately plays out more than I would prefer. But for a progressive who says that he will work with people this tactic is stupid, mean spirited, and unhealthy for the state's Dems. Thanks for helping our party go in reverse and for alienating urbanites Jeff.

Well, congrats Jeff Merkley and supporters. You won! Your political maneuvering worked! You out spent Steve, you invented non-issues, you took the low road of division, and you proved that the GOP premise that you must play dirty to win is right! Sadly though, you also lost. You lost my respect. You lost that feeling of unity. You lost any chance of grass roots support from those "Commies" who have always been on the same team as you.
So to Jeff Merkley and his peeps I promise I will vote Dem in November. I promise I will tell the few undecided citizens I know that Jeff is a better choice for Oregon than Gordo. But I also promise I will not make phone calls, carry signs, sport pins, or make any contributions to you either. Now that my feelings have settled, now that I see that my critiques of your campaign are not simply done out of spite, now that I am clear headed enough to see that the criticisms are valid, I can say without guilt that I will not work on your campaign. You played so dirty in the primaries I don't want to play for you now. Maybe I should have started a site "Merkley Insults Portlanders" but then I would be just as bad as you and yours. I'd be... well, like a Republican.
Best of Luck in November! May you kick Mr. Smith out of Washington.


Blogger Portlandia said...

Thank you for that, Luke.

5:26 PM  

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