Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gordon Smith, Ignoregonian

Clearly, Gordon Smith has decided that if he's in for a penny he's in for a pound, and is casting his lot with lockstep vote after lockstep vote on a host of largely symbolic bills designed to motivate conservative voters by their failure. (Yes, it sounds a little bizarre to me too, but that's their plan.) He bit on the shiny apple of gaybashing in supporting a constitutional discrimination amendment, and did the double dip of stay the course votes for Iraq. Remember, Smith used to claim he was pro-gay. And he hasn't been in step with the majority of the state on Iraq since forever.

There's also the very non-symbolic rejection of the fair minimum wage bill last week, opting instead for a series of business tax cuts that upped the wage to a level below inflation...and a dollar below Oregon's very popular minimum. And even that failed, because there weren't enough other bonehead Republicans to try to pass that off as a minimum wage hike.

The latest indignity to actual pressing needs is his Yea vote on the consitutional flag burning amendment. Now, the conservatives will say it merely gives Congress the power to decide how the flag shall be treated, in a marvelously stilted argument that supposes Congress' power to decide about the flag shall include things like passing unconstitutional laws related to it. They wish to place rules regarding the flag in a Constitutional vacuum--since it's already been decided that burning is a protected act.

Does anyone really believe that Oregonians were hungry for another (failed) attempt to keep a dozen twits per year from burning a flag? More pointedly, does Gordon Smith believe it? Does he have any idea or recall about the things he promised Oregonians (like "I'll protect choice" and "I respect the gays")? Is he the least bit sensitive to the overwhelming concern in Oregon that we are pushing failed policy mindlessly forward? Has he foregone any pretense of moderation that is so crucial to his continued employment with the Senate?

Oh, and here's the latest smart vote: against net neutrality. Considering the huge funding he gets from the telecom industry I can't say I'm surprised, but as a representative of the Silicon Forest that's a stupid, stupid vote. Think Google feels good about moving into The Dalles, with Gordon Smith fighting against them? Is it sensible to take on Microsoft in the Pacific Northwest (especially when they dropped $26,000 into your hopper this cycle)? Is that good for Oregonians?

But hey--he (along with Wyden) did get us enough pork to keep deepening the Columbia for transport. Hooray!

Why is this man being given a virtual free pass by major state media? Just because he's not up for re-election for two more years, it's your collective job to keep reminding us of his votes on each of these bills, ridiculously symbolic or not. Do it, please.