Jeff Merkley: Let's Send A True Blue Democrat To The Senate!
Most of the Senate seats we flipped two years ago, and most we can flip this year, were and are of the red to purple variety. Electing true blue Democrats just isn't easy. But we can do it, in Oregon. The most recent polls show Jeff Merkley pulling ahead.
How great is Jeff Merkley?
Jeff Merkley opposed the boondoggle Wall Street Bailout.
As did Barack Obama, Jeff Merkley opposed the Iraq War before it started. He was also the first U.S. Senate candidate to sign on to "A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq”.
Jeff Merkley believes we must provide universal health care.
Jeff Merkley wants to fully fund Head Start and public schools, and overhaul No Child Left Behind.
Jeff Merkley supports a comprehensive plan to honor and serve our veterans.
Jeff Merkley believes in free trade, but also believes we must reform trade agreements to add labor and environmental standards, stop offshore tax shelters, and prevent fast track.
What Merkley may lack in charisma, he more than makes up for in substance and smarts. The five-term legislator from Portland has shown that he knows how to get things done in Salem. As minority leader during the 2003 and 2005 sessions, he helped engineer the Democratic victories in 2006 that ended 16 years of Republican control of the House. His colleagues elected him speaker for the 2007 session. That session was the most productive in recent memory, with achievements in education funding, civil rights, consumer protection and budgetary stability.
Values such as standing up for consumers and creating budgetary stability played a part in Merkley’s opposition to the just-passed $700 billion bailout plan for the financial markets. We share many of Merkley’s concerns about a lack of accountability and oversight in the bailout, but disagree with his opposition in one significant respect: We believe immediate action on a bill that Congress could accept was needed right now to stabilize a panicked marketplace. Smith correctly and courageously voted for this unpopular but necessary intervention. Nonetheless, Merkley raises important questions about the way the bailout was structured, and his misgivings are shared by Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio — both of whom voted against the bailout — and countless other Oregonians.
Merkley heard firsthand the economic anxiety Oregonians are feeling as he traveled throughout the state on his 100 Towns Tour for Change. He has promised that if elected he’ll sign on as a cosponsor of Wyden’s Healthy Americans Act. It’s a pragmatic approach to health care reform that would guarantee every American affordable, comprehensive, portable health coverage with benefits that are at least as good as those members of Congress receive today.
It’s impossible to do it justice here, but Merkley’s impressive résumé includes degrees from Stanford and Princeton; experience in the Congressional Budget Office; expertise in nuclear weapons issues; and a three-year stint as director of Habitat for Humanity in Portland.
The Daily Astorian:
In a nutshell, at the end of 12 years in the Senate, Gordon Smith has not distinguished himself with significant accomplishment. That is ignominious for a man who talked about being Sen. Mark Hatfield's successor. Hatfield came to the Senate as an opponent of the Vietnam War. Smith's eventual opposition to the Iraq War smelled of convenience as it was announced at 10 p.m. on the last night of a Congress.
Smith is a relatively inconsequential senator. That is especially clear when one sees Smith's colleague, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden writing a tax reform bill as well as a health care bill - two monumental pieces of legislation that will be substantive vehicles in the next Congress.
By contrast, Jeff Merkley has distinguished himself in the Oregon Legislature. He turned in a spectacular session as speaker of the Oregon House. The 2007 session was the legislature's most productive in a decade. This happened because Merkley initiated several reforms to bring the two parties together in the House of Representatives.
The difference is this. Merkley is genetically programmed to be a legislator, as is Ron Wyden. Gordon Smith simply lacks that aptitude. He will never rise to prominence in the Senate because he lacks the kind of intense drive that one sees in Wyden or saw in Dick Neuberger, Wayne Morse and Mark Hatfield. What we've seen from Smith in 12 years is what we would get in a third term.