Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Feingold/Reid amendment fails in Senate; "moderate" Smith votes to continue "possibly criminal" war indefinitely

Today it's good news and bad news if you're Gordon Smith (apart from the question of whether you think it would be good or bad news to be Gordon Smith--work with me here, people):

On the up side, you won't get a 2008 challenge from Earl Blumenauer. In a statement with the says-it-all title "Why I’m Not Running," Rep. Blumenauer writes:
There is no question that Gordon Smith is vulnerable to defeat. His post-election turnaround on Iraq leaves no doubt that he knows he's out of step with most Oregonians. Gordon Smith and the Republicans were supporters and enablers of the Bush/Cheney Administration and its disastrous policies not just in Iraq but, on the environment, impeding and influencing justice, questionable political appointees, Terry Schiavo........ The list is extensive on the many ways Gordon Smith and George W. Bush are out of step with Oregon.

There is also no doubt that the Senate Democrats under the Chairmanship of Senator Chuck Schumer are poised to build on their 2006 success, with all the resources necessary to wage a winning campaign.

The difficulty in even doing the ground work to evaluate the race was that I have an important, all consuming day job. After years of working in the minority, fighting the Bush administration and Tom DeLay to stop reckless policies and promote Oregon priorities, the world has dramatically changed.

My issues, from ending the Iraq war to stopping global warming, to making sure everyone has health care they can afford, a quality education, and a good job, have gained not just attention, but traction and even momentum. My committee assignments put me in the best possible position to deal with these priorities everyday

. . . and you can figure out where it goes from there. From Smith's point of view, this up side could probably stand to be a little upper, since (unlike Smith's Senate colleague Ron Wyden) Blumenauer adds:
I look forward to fighting hard to replace Gordon Smith with a progressive leader for Oregon and continuing to work with the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate to strengthen our majorities while we hold the Bush administration and their Republican allies accountable in 2008.

(Emphasis added.) But--again assuming for the moment that you're Smith--on the down side, although Rep. Pete DeFazio, the other high profile possible who might have taken you on, bowed out last month, you still face a vigorous challenge from Steve Novick, sharpening his "Paul Wellstone campaign on steroids" and aiming it directly at your most vulnerable areas.

And, of course, Smith still has to worry about a primary challenge from his right, from the Club for Growth/kill the RINOs crowd. It's amazing to think there are conservatives out there in numbers sufficient to mount a right-flank attack for whom Gordon Smith isn't conservative enough, but such is the state of American politics in 2007.

Perhaps with today's vote on the Feingold/Reid amendment--killing the amendment by voting against cloture--Smith hopes he can re-ingratiate himself with the right that he's been working so hard to drop like a bad smell since the weekend after the Republicans lost both houses of Congress last fall.


Me, I think he's basically dynamiting both ends of a bridge and hoping he can stand on the middle part that doesn't fall. But that only works for the Road Runner.

And while Smith is waffling and diddling, the war drags on to no possible good end. Thanks, Senator.

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