Saturday, October 11, 2014

All you need to know about the Big Zero

So, faced with a candidate they themselves declare unelectable vs. an incumbent they admit is competent and who suitably represents the people who elected him, the Oregonian refuses to make the only endorsement possible in such a match.

Their ideal is more Ron Wyden, the third senator from New York, who almost single handedly nearly torpedoed health care reform, loves cutting estate taxes (like on his rich wife's family), and supports lower labor and environmental standards that help send Oregon jobs overseas.

Senator Jeff Merkley not only towers above Wehby in stature and effectiveness, but above Wyden as well.  The best thing that could happen for Oregon is for Peter Defazio to take Wyden's place next time the seat is up or if Wyden decides to admit that he no longer has any connection to Oregon.  Meekly and Defazio would be a terrific team for Oregon in the Senate.

Then, of course, there was Wehby's aversion (until very recently) to debating Merkley, which many voters have probably interpreted as an admission of incompetence. Chunks of her policy material also turned out to be plagiarized, further eroding the credibility of a campaign seemingly built on the assumption that serving in the Senate ain't brain surgery.  In the end, questions about Wehby's suitability for elective office loom so large that her views on policy hardly matter. She's unelectable.

That's a shame. There's no question that Merkley's competent. His weakness, rather, is his highly partisan record. If Merkley had patterned himself after fellow Democrat Ron Wyden, we'd be happy to endorse him. Instead, he quickly became known as one of the Senate's most left-leaning members. For instance, while Wyden in 2011 supported free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia – not surprising given Oregon's dependence upon trade – Merkley opposed them.

Merkley, Wehby both unsupportable: Editorial endorsement
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