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Progressive Democrat Jeff Merkley is in a dead heat with Republican Gordon Smith in the race for Oregon Senate. According to polls, the Oregon race is currently the closest race in the country. Considering our desperate need for more strong-willed progressive Democrats in the Senate, it's no wonder Senator Russ Feingold is traveling all the way to Oregon to stump for Jeff Merkley. More below the fold....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

Prior to Feingold's visit to Oregon, he took a minute to talk with Beth Slovic from the Willamette Week. Senator Feingold was one of 23 Senators to oppose the Iraq War. My Senator Ron Wyden voted against the Iraq War Resolution and my other Senator, Republican Gordon Smith supported the war and continues to vote to keep the war going. Feingold spoke about Gordon Smith's real record on the war, and not what Smith wants Oregonians to believe. Here's a snippet from the interview:

Slovic: Without employing any slogans or Democratic talking points, can you give me one good reason why Gordon Smith shouldn’t return to the Senate for a third term?

Feingold: Gordon Smith really isn’t an ally for progressive causes. Occasionally, he’ll throw us a good vote. But even when he realized the Iraq war was basically morally bankrupt and said so on the floor of the Senate, he continued to vote against the legislation that would have brought our troops home. He doesn’t live up to these allegedly heartfelt statements that he makes. He just keeps voting to keep this travesty going.

Slovic: After that famous change of heart in December 2006, did Smith ever seek your advice on ending the war, seeing as how you are one of the antiwar leaders in the Senate?

Feingold: I think we may have talked a little. I remember seeing him give that statement [on the floor of the Senate], and I was momentarily impressed that Gordon Smith really was going to try to make up for the terrible mistake he made voting for the war. But when it came to what really counts, which is voting, he didn’t do that. And that is the worst of all worlds—saying you’re deeply concerned, but when you have a chance to do something, you don’t.

Senator Feingold is right about Republican Gordon Smith. Smith is no ally for progressive causes. Gordon Smith helped block the Employee Free Choice Act, supported deregulation of the financial industry, supports tax breaks for big oil, supports telecom immunity and the erosion of our civil liberties and has voted to overturn Roe v Wade three times.

When it comes to the Iraq War, Gordon Smith is trying to use his 2006 floor speech as a way to convince Oregon voters that he is some sort of anti-war hero. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gordon Smith has voted more than 20 times in support of the Iraq War going and last year alone voted to continue the war five times. The only thing Smith has done when it comes to ending the war in Iraq is giving a speech and airing misleading ads about his record. Smith isn't just proving that he has bad judgment on foreign policy matters, he's also showing a total lack of leadership.

Jeff Merkley has been opposed to the war from the start and will do everything in his power to bring the troops home. Merkley was also the first Senate candidate to sign on to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and wants to form a Truman style committee to investigate war profiteering if elected.

Feingold knows the importance of strengthening the progressive caucus in the Senate. It is after all about electing, "Better" Democrats. By helping elect Merkley, Feingold will have a strong ally who will work with him to end the war, protect our civil liberties and restore our integrity abroad.

Rally with Feingold and Merkley!

Senator Feingold will be holding events in Portland then will travel with Speaker Merkley to Eugene for a huge rally. If there are any Oregon Kossacks out there who live in the Eugene area, we'd love for you to come to the Feingold rally for Merkley. Here's the info for the event:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

1:30pm – 2:30pm

Ben Linder Room, Erb Memorial Union

13th & University Avenue

University of Oregon  

Eugene, OR

Help Send a Strong Progressive to the Senate

The race in Oregon is a complete tossup. We have a real chance to send a progressive Democrat with a depth of knowledge on foreign policy matters and a candidate who has shown amazing legislative skills in the Oregon House. If you live in Oregon, please consider volunteering for Merkley or you can donate to the Kossacks for Merkley Act Blue Page.

Originally posted to sarahlane on Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 02:15 PM PDT.

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