This Proud Liberal lives in Oregon, where 4 of the 5 US representatives in my metro area are Democrats. Gordon Smith, a Republican, is pretending to be a Democrat, and that’s very sad – and he won’t get away with it.
As soon as the 2006 midterm elections were over, and the decimation of Republican warmongers was visible, a chill must have gone up Smith’s backside. You see, Oregon is a very even-keeled place, but everything being equal, the Republicans and their love of the war were just not popular. And though Smith wants to appear anti-war from the beginning (his commercial tends to try and make it like he’s been against the war from prior to the invasion of Iraq – which is just not true!), he can’t hide from the facts.
Yes, it’s true that in December 2006, well after he saw the loss of fellow colleagues because of their war stance, that Smith gave an anti-war speech on the Senate floor. But just prior to the election, Smith would not even talk to anti-war protesters. Here’s a story from September, 2006 (all pertinent sections marked as bold by ProudLiberal):
U. Oregon: Protest against Iraq war ends in arrest of 2 Oregon women.
(From University Wire)
Byline: Jill Aho
Two Oregon women were arrested Tuesday afternoon after refusing to leave the Federal Building in downtown Eugene, Ore., during a protest aimed at ending U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq.
Eugene police arrested Margaret “Peg” Morton of Eugene and Michele Darr of Corvallis, Ore., for second-degree criminal trespassing after the women were asked to leave the building several times by federal security and police officers, said police spokeswoman Kerry Delf.
The women had planned on being arrested if Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., refused to sign a pledge to end the war, which he rejected, said Rich Klopfer, an organizer of the event.
Smith refused to sign the one-page “Declaration of Peace” which calls for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and coalition forces from Iraq and forbids a preventive war against Iran or any other nation.
The document, created by a movement of religious and peace organizations, also demands “return of Iraqi control over its oil resource sources” and the establishment of a “peace dividend for job creation, health care, education, housing, and other vital social needs.” Smith made a speech on the Senate floor June 21, 2006 stating he supported the continuation of Iraqi war efforts.
“When I hear things like ‘Bush lied, kids died,’ … my heart cries out for something more dignified,” Smith said. “I don’t think their dissent is unpatriotic. I simply believe it to be unwise,”The speech was in response to an amendment created by Democrat Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan calling for a timetable to end the war in Iraq.
“He’s saying he supports the war in Iraq and the policies of this administration,” Klopfer said.
Before the arrests, about 20 protesters gathered for a noon rally in preparation for their appointment with a Smith representative. As part of a national day of action, the group was one of many activist organizations nationwide to present its Congressional representative with the document.
Darr, 36, is the mother of six children, all of whom were present at the protest.
“It is vital we come out and put a face on collateral damage,” she said. “We need to be a very strong and unequivocal in our statements.” Home-schooler Lucy Helm, 15, helped at the demonstration by asking participants and passersby to sign a petition for the declaration. Helm said she believed Darr was “doing the right thing.” “She doesn’t want kids to get killed,” Helm said.
Another protester, Michael Carrigan, said Smith prides himself in being an independent voice.
“We want him to show he’s truly independent by opposing President Bush and support bringing our soldiers home,” Carrigan said.
Representatives of Raging Grannies, which has a chapter in Corvallis, Ore., sang songs to pedestrians and motorists at the busy intersection of East 7th Avenue and Pearl Street.
Trudy and Ed Necker have been holding a vigil outside the Federal Building every Wednesday since the United States began bombing Afghanistan. Ed Necker, a Vietnam veteran, serves on many boards and committees and is a volunteer, he said.
His experience in Vietnam inspires him to believe that protesting is the right thing to do, he said.
“I lived through a war that was wrong,” he said. “I hate to see another one happen.” Cold War veteran Gordon Sturrock said Oregon Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio had given protesters some encouragement in their efforts to stop the war in Iraq.
“Today, we gave them the day off,” Sturrock said. “I don’t believe they’ve signed, but we’ll ask them to.” ((Distributed via M2 Communications Ltd – http://www.m2.com))
So there you have it. Representative Gordon Smith is being totally insincere about his Iraq stance because it’s convenient. He says that questioning the president and the administration’s Iraq policy is unwise, and said he fully supported Bush. That’s the tone of a man who’s proud to be out of step with his president? No, it’s the tone of a man who is desperate – and will say and do anything – to keep his job.