Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Opinions are like... pcolfan

Gawd, it's getting so that a brother can't get an opinion in edgewise these days without some blog hog getting his knickers in a twist. Such was it today when i ventured to make (an admittedly ill-postulated) point on Jeff Mapes' politics blog regarding spoilers and Oregon's recent race for the US Senate.

Posted by jeffmapes on 01/27/09 at 1:56PM

You raise an interesting point, harneycounty. Dave Brownlow of the Constitution Party did indeed receive more votes - 92,565 - than Jeff Merkley's victory margin of about 59,000 votes. Moore, however, doubts that Brownlow's candidacy cost Smith the race.

To which i responded:

Posted by EastBankThom on 01/27/09 at 3:36PM

Whereas i by no mean fault her for her candidacy (I gave her money, but Steve Novick earned my vote) i think that Candy Neville played the greater roll in unseating Senator Smith.

[Editor's note: what i should have said, and indeed intended to convey, was that Candy Neville's presence in the primary arguably affected its outcome, where as i agree with Moore that there was no Brownlow effect.]

If Merkley had been an honest broker for Neville's constituency, i would begin to accept the consolation of "no harm, no foul." But even she recognized that Merkley's anti-war cred was supported by a hollow army and she quit his campaign after her highlt publicized recruitment.

I wouldn't be mentioning this again now, but the facts were deleted last weekend from a forum run by Merkley surrogates. Jeff Merkley lied about his "anti-war" cred during the campaign.
You can stamp your feet all you want, Ms. Axtman, Senator Merkley did lie (on various occasions) when he claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this."

Just compare these quotes/lies to the "floor speach" [sic] he actually gave in an attempt to explain his vote

A vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush."

Which drew a long response from one "pcolfan":

Posted by pcolfan on 01/27/09 at 8:30PM

EBT, I know both Steve and Jeff--actually have known Steve longer.

Steve lost my vote by making an obscure 2003 vote a central point of his campaign--someone who never had to cast a tough vote as an elected official criticizing a tough vote by an elected official. As the campaign wore on, it sounded more and more as if Steve only wanted the votes of those who said "Jeff should be ashamed of himself and his speech on that 2003 resolution, and if you don't agree with that, Steve does not want your vote".

I saw (via Internet video) the Sunriver speech where Steve first brought up that issue. Other parts of the speech got applause but not that section. Are you saying Steve only wanted the votes of those who thought that part of the speech was good---and not the votes of those who thought it would have been a better speech without that section?

I did not volunteer in the US Senate race this year, and was not on a political payroll for anyone. I was working in child care in the spring of 2008 when most of this debate was going on. I thought much of the debate on Blue Oregon was childish---there were 5 Democrats who voted against the resolution, Jeff should have been the 6th, and because he wasn't, no one should vote for him for US Senate? There were no other issues???

The reason Gordon Smith was in the US Senate in the first place was because of the large 3rd party vote in 1996. Steve worked for the Democratic nominee that year, but didn't brag about that much in 2008. Perhaps because of comments like those of a friend who decided to vote for the 1996 Dem. nominee and said to when I mentioned supporting Brent Thompson, "Oh, you're saying you refuse to choose between the slick one and the chinless one?".

Bruggere ran a clueless campaign in 1996, but all good Democrats were supposed to vote for him? Why, because money is all that matters and only professionals know how the game is played?

Apparently Steve took that attitude with him (he worked for Bruggere's campaign) and thought he could win a 2008 primary by telling people what to think. It didn't work. Merkley was more appealing to downstate voters, partly because they actually saw him without having to go to the home of a supporter--Merkley had a good ground organization and appeared in public venues.

Steve is very bright, but he has a lot to learn about elective politics. I have he runs for office in Multnomah County and wins--that was a county he carried. Then he would learn about being an elected official. Some of his most vociferous supporters thought an Oregon legislator can abstain---which is not how the legislature runs. A person must vote yes or no --or if off the floor will be marked either excused, excused for legislative business or whatever. And had Steve Novick made as much of a stink about that vote in 2003 as he made in 2008, he might have been more believeable.

There are 33 counties in Oregon not named Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington. Voters in those counties also matter, but Steve didn't have ground operations or many public appearances in those downstate counties.

I saw Steve after the primary and he was just absolutely sure he'd have won had there been more money. But with enough money, ground organization and what people say to their friends and neighbors doesn't matter? Elections are decided in Portland anyway, so downstate voters don't matter?

If Jeff had released his entire floor speech to the public, and said publicly in one of the debates, "Yes, Steve, I said everything you say I said", but then asked about any of Steve's public stands or why the "beer commercial" was supposed to win over Oregon voters, would you have been happier, EBT?

Do you really think having the "pants on fire" video on the front page of the Novick website but hiding the excellent poverty video on an inside issues page really helped the Novick campaign?

My next door neighbor said she didn't see what opening a beer bottle had to do with running for US Senate. My friend who used to work in a substance abuse program was offended by the beer commercial. But that wouldn't have mattered if only Jeff had satisfied people like you over the obscure 2003 resolution?

Were there people who voted Obama/Smith ? Or would looking into that take too much work?

Steve and I had email exchanges about this. I think he made rookie mistakes in his statewide campaign. In the end I voted legislators over non-office holders for US Senate and AG because I decided experience was important. In a free country I do have that right to decide my vote using my own criteria, even though some Novick supporters thought they were helping the Novick campaign by attacking anyone on a blog who disagreed with them.

I heard Merkley in a Marion County town hall meeting answer specific questions in a public venue (not just someone's home). I never saw Steve do that.

I understand how angry some people were about this issue, esp. TJ and Stephanie and Miles on Blue Oregon. But did that anger help or hurt the Novick for Senate campaign?

EBT, there is a whole wide state of Oregon which doesn't live in Portland and might just put issues aside from how the Iraq War started at the top of their priority list when deciding how to vote for US Senate. And there are people who value good manners and what they see as common sense when they decide how to vote.

I'd love to see Bob Moore put every comment on this topic on his liberal-->conservative political spectrum.

There was a lot there, and to be honest, my eyes glazed over a wee bit. But there seemed some room for discourse. So i posted back:

Posted by EastBankThom on 01/28/09 at 10:00AM

your response was long and considered. Where our opinions differ, i think thoughtful people can indeed disagree. But just to correct the record...

Steve lost my vote by making an obscure 2003 vote a central point of his campaign--someone who never had to cast a tough vote as an elected official criticizing a tough vote by an elected official.

I don't think it ever was a central part of the campaign. As for when Merkley's vote in support of Bush and the invasion first surfaced as a campaign issue, it happened a while before the Sun River event you allude to.

Posted by: Jake Weigler - Novick for Senate | Aug 3, 2007 11:56:36 AM

I just wanted to clarify Steve's comments on this Iraq War resolution as it appears there may have been some confusion.

The state GOP put out this attack and a reporter asked Steve - who had never heard of the resolution before - how he would have voted. Steve provided an honest answer:

"It's a resolution that quote 'acknowledges the courage of President George W Bush.' You would not have found me saying that the war in Iraq is a reflection of the courage of President George W Bush."

The Novick campaign did not introduce this argument or attempt to "use" it

I submit that it was the Merkley campaign who then went into overdrive and using its main internet media surrogate (BlueOregon), initiated and sustained the "negative Novick" meme, a characterization of the former candidate with which i disagree.

there were 5 Democrats who voted against the resolution, Jeff should have been the 6th, and because he wasn't, no one should vote for him for US Senate? There were no other issues???

Ending the costly Occupation of Iraq and holding the Bush administration accountable were my top issues. It's not that Merkley was AWOL when it came to what mattered to me the most... It's that he went on to lie about it.

He claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this."

Your main argument seems to be against the truth. Sen. Merkley didn't say in his HRes2 floor speech what he later (on multiple occasions) claimed he said. The links are above, including Merkley being busted on the claim of having "published" an anti-war article before the invasion.

I heard Merkley in a Marion County town hall meeting answer specific questions in a public venue (not just someone's home). I never saw Steve do that.

I first heard Steve at the WashCo Dems (open to the public). Later, I saw him at EastSide Dems (open to the public). You seem to be quibbling here, and again your experience doesn't seem to fit the facts.

I really don't understand why you got so riled up. The conversation (including Mapes, the post author) touched on the topic of "spoilers." I merely offered my opinion that Neville more likely affected the outcome as opposed to Brownlow.

Oregon's peace and justice votes (which come from all across the State) were split between Novick and Neville. You give seeming anecdotal evidence that Democrats for whom Iraq was not a major issue were more likely to support Merkley.

Update: Ugh... Here come the M.bots. It seems that Jeff Merkley remains a delicate flower. Do not criticize him or else be faced with the wrath of his surrogates.

Posted by verasoie on 01/27/09 at 8:33PM

Poor EBT, still searching for some solace and significance in the face of an election that rendered him irrelevant.

So how exactly did Bonbon Chamberlain play a more significant role than Brownlow? Yeah, you didn't exactly elaborate that, did you, preferring to hijack the thread with more of your pitiful rants.

Yikes! And it looks like "pcolfan" is going off the deep end now:

Posted by pcolfan on 01/28/09 at 10:57AM

EBT, you make my point. YOU see things from your point of view. Had the voters of Oregon seen things from your point of view, Novick might have been the nominee. Apparently there were voters who thought other issues were important.

I see things from the point of view of this Jeff Mapes blog item.

I also didn't see why the beer ad made Novick the more qualified candidate. And why it wasn't wise to support the primary candidate with the best developed statewide grass roots effort.

"Oregon's peace and justice votes (which come from all across the State) were split between Novick and Neville. "

How involved in the campaign were you, EBT, to know that ?

In a variety of downstate counties, Novick +Neville did not = Merkley's vote.

There was an attitude among some Novickians that they had the revealed truth and all good people would support their guy, after all, he has a hard left hook--what else do we need to know?
As I said before, had Steve been outspoken on the 2003 speech in 2003, that would have been a different matter.

EBT, you are angry that Jeff gave a speech you didn't like. Did you express your outrage in 2003?
Or was it just when Steve was running for office that you became outraged at the speech?

In 3 decades as a political volunteer, "Vote for my candidate because the opponent made a speech years ago I find offensive" was never a reason I voted for anyone.

Certainly there are better topics to discuss in Jan. 2009.

Obviously "pcolfan" was an ardent support of Jeff Merkley for Senate. Seriously, at this point it's like arguing with a Fundamentalist.

Posted by EastBankThom on 01/28/09 at 11:14AM

pcolfan, if you're going to willfully ignore my responses, then there really is no point. It's not the speech that irks me so, it's the lies he told after it. (Links in my first comment.)

As a matter of fact, my initial response when i heard about his vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush" was to give him a break.

Posted by: East Bank Thom | Aug 4, 2007 12:44:20 PM

... I'm with those right now saying let this pass.

And speaking of fundamentalists, ist looks like Merkely surrogate Kevin Kamberg of Preemptive Karma (and one time extra in a Merkley for Senate campaign ad) wants to pile on too. Sheesh... And as it turns out, "pcolfan is just a sock puppet for "LT" - one of the most curmudgeony of Blue0's devotees. And for good measure, Mitch Gore - the spooky "lestatdelc" who also trolls BO also piped in. The rest of the chatter, for your bemusement.

Posted by navvoter on 01/28/09 at 2:22PM

EBT's claim that he was merely offering Ms. Neville as a "spoiler" relevant to Jeff's post is belied by the fact that EBT squandered less pixels on that offering then he did on trying to reargue the merits of a thoroughly beaten-to-death issue.

Posted by pcolfan on 01/28/09 at 8:54PM

Thank you for your comments NAV voter--if Democrats are all supposed to think like EBT, I should become NAV---all I ever did was 3 decades as a volunteer, once a member of State Central Comm., once a national convention delegate. But I am one of those "radicals" who thinks for myself, therefore some people see me as subversive.

If that means I'm not real Democrat (not the first time I've been told that) because we were all supposed to be good little boys and girls and view the world through the eyes of Novick and Neville and shun Merkley, the Portland Democrats (Does DPO stand for Democratic Portland Organization) can have their party--they don't want me.

I also wonder how many campaigns EBT worked on (staff or volunteer) prior to the 2008 primary.

I looked up the counties Merkley won in Nov. other than Lane and Mult.
Here they are, with the margins. Only about a third of the margin between Gordon and Jeff..
6978 Benton
856 Clatsop
487 Columbia
975 Hood River
2633 Lincoln
5253 Washington

But as people have been saying for years, Mult., Clackamas, and Washington are major counties one needs to win. And for a Democrat to win 2 coastal counties and Hood River county is doing pretty well.

I suspect I know what the problem is----EBT wanted a candidate who sounded like Bernie Sanders, but that is not who the voters chose in the primary. They chose someone who sounds a lot more like Hatfield. Gordon wanted to be seen as Hatfield's successor, but he wasn't even close.

And I suspect many Oregonians see the fight over whether Merkley lied or was merely "not always on message with the truth" (wonderful line from former college student body president who later became a political consultant), who gave what speech when, who was polite or rude about the whole issue, why people were more publicly outraged about a 2003 speech in 2008 than in 2003, and other such debates as just so much inside baseball.

Steve is a very bright guy who should have a future in politics if he learns lessons from the 2008 primary. But if he thinks enough money to run the beer ad every day when some people were offended by it, or making fun of an opponent, or demanding that people agree with him is more helpful in winning votes than speaking out on poverty, or that ads which create buzz can substitute for a ground operation, he is likely to lose if he tries again.

I'm old enough to have had friends fight in the Vietnam War--one was a casualty. I never saw statements like "he was wrong on the war" to be helpful. When a friend worked as a young man in Wayne Morse's office his last year in the US Senate, I think that did more to advance the anti-war cause than attending rallies or speaking out the way Steve spoke out.

How long after the invasion was the HR 2 vote--less than 72 hours? Or was it weeks afterwards? What good would it have done with the great middle of the population to say that soon after an invasion that W was an SOB? Because Steve's friends wanted that? I don't recall Steve being that outspoken in 2003.
And a search of Blue Oregon showed some Novick supporters understanding Merkley's reason for his vote.

There was a quote in Jeff's speech,

"Today I rise to praise our young men and women serving our nation at great personal risk. Today we are not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal; we are Americans concerned about the safety and support of our troops. "

There were people in the middle of the political spectrum who were going to decide the Nov. election. They included friends/family of those serving in Iraq. Did those folks really object to such language, or would they have found it comforting?

I know an Iraq vet who is an active Democrat. He spoke to a local Democratic audience in maybe 2004. Some people in that audience lambasted him for not coming back from Iraq and immediately joining an anti-war group. I thought that was bad manners and told a friend so--leading to a debate.

Friends, "Thank you for your service but if you come back from combat and join a political movement we don't agree with, you're not worthy of being treated with courtesy and good manners because all the good people agree with us" is what extremists do. It is what some people did to WWI veterans, much less any vet in an subsequent war. It is what the Bushies did to Gore, Cleland, Kerry. Democrats doing that to their own who were Guard, Reserve, or regular military because they didn't think like certain local Democrats is unbecoming behavior IMO.

I noticed Steve wasn't outspoken on veterans issues---for too long the subject of veterans was just a short paragraph on his website under the topic Defense.

Merkley had active support from veterans. But good people were not supposed to support him because EBT or TJ, Miles, Steph. V. on Blue Oregon supported Novick?

I spent too much of my life crusading as a volunteer for better treatment of veterans to say Merkley was a bad person because of what he said in that speech.
EBT doesn't like that, but then I would think twice in the future about supporting a primary candidate EBT supports unless there were other reasons to do so.

And if you don't like that, EBT, that is the way the Oreo disintigrates.

A friend of mine who had been involved in Oregon politics since the early 1970s (but wasn't big on using computers or blogging) called me up last spring. He said the Novick supporters on BO had no clue how to win statewide elections.

Turned out he was right--his % was wrong but he was correct in the geographic distribution of votes.


Posted by EastBankThom on 01/29/09 at 8:08AM

I get it, pcolfan. You really, really like Merkley. Were you in his campaign commercials too like "Navvoter?

Pcol, Merkley gave a nice floor speech in defense of his vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush." It's a shame he went on to lie about the content of that speech.


Posted by
pcolfan on 01/29/09 at 1:27PM

You don't get it, do you EBT?

Even if every Merkley supporter and Jeff Merkley himself had said "You're right, that was a lie about the 2003 speech", Steve lost my vote in so many other ways that I would have left the ballot line blank before I would have voted for Steve. In a free country, voters do have that right.

I WAS genuinely undecided at the beginning of the primary. But because that meant I wasn't a devoted Novickian, Novick supporters attacked me for saying things as bland as "I like both Novick and Merkley, but on this issue, I think Merkley makes more sense when he says...".

No, I was not in any ad. Some of my friends were, like the one who read BO and said the bloggers for Steve had no clue how to win statewide elections. Were you in any Novick ad? Were you a volunteer or a staffer?

Once too often Novick supporters were really condescending or sarcastic---if I didn't think the beer ad helped the campaign, therefore I was a "Merkleyite". So I decided to get a Merkley bumper sticker. If that means that for the rest of your life you will look down on me, not my problem.

Politicians have to EARN votes. I registered NAV in 1996 because I was offended by Bruggere, but I was supposed to vote for Bruggere employee Novick that many years later because some people were preoccupied by a 2003 vote and later statements about it, so nothing else mattered? What world do you live in? A world where you wish I had remained NAV and could thus not have voted for Obama in the presidential primary and would have been excluded from the US Senate primary?

You keep dredging up old arguments as if peer pressure is an effective political tool. Steve should have learned from the Bruggere campaign that peer pressure alone doesn't win elections.

But right now I am more interested in state and national stimulus packages

If you are more interested in refighting the 2008 primary, not my problem.


Posted by
EastBankThom on 01/29/09 at 1:46PM

OMG! It is you, LT!

Now i understand why it doesn't matter to you that Merkley lied about his anti-war cred.


Posted by
lestatdelc on 01/30/09 at 2:24PM

The problem with this polling is that it relies on self-labeling and identification as opposed wot what their views are on the issues.

If you look at polling on major issues, the overwhelming majority consistently favors positions which are labeled "liberal" even when those same voted self-identity as moderate, or even conservative.

Given the decades long PR campaign by the GOP and movement conservatives to make "liberal" the scarlet letter in politics, and akin to calling someone a commie back in the day, of course you will get voters rejecting that label even though their views on issues remains (and in some cases such as Universal Health Care, etc. become more) "liberal".

I see Hans (aka EBT) is still his whacked out, howling at the moon, self even after the election. Seek help.


Posted by
EastBankThom on 01/30/09 at 7:13PM

Lestat, are you like stalking me?

On the other hand, LOL.

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