Dems don’t care how much they spend, or who they destroy

by Dave Lister

The Democratic Party doesn’t care how much it spends, or who it destroys, to retain the status quo

You have to wonder why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided to spend well over a million dollars to wage a nasty, negative campaign against Rob Cornilles, an honest and well-intentioned Republican, in what has been a solidly Democratic district since 1975.

Was it because they had little or no confidence in their own nominee, Suzanne Bonamici? Was it because they knew that Republican national money would stay on the sidelines for the decidedly long-shot race and that simply outspending Cornilles would give them an easy win? Was it because this race was the first for national office in 2012 and the loss of a Democrat in a Democratic district was simply unacceptable? Was it because they feared the parallel to New York’s 9th District, where a Democratic congressman who also resigned in disgrace was replaced by a Republican?

Whatever the reason, it was a shameful display of the worst in American politics.

Ads for Bonamici and Cornilles began to hit the airwaves about the same time, but there was a decided difference. Cornilles’ ads, paid for by his own campaign, talked about job creation and the need for bipartisan solutions. The ads for Bonamici, paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, made no mention of their candidate, but rather took an out-of-context sound bite of Cornilles calling himself “the original Tea Party candidate” and aired it over and over again.

When Bonamici was questioned about the negative ads, she claimed, in an unconvincing fashion, that her campaign had no control over third-party spending. That’s true, of course. But she could have disavowed both the content and the tone of those ads, which she did not. After enduring the assault and trying to keep it positive for several weeks, the Cornilles campaign reacted as would any child in a schoolyard who had been bullied long enough: It responded in kind. I think that’s unfortunate, but it’s totally understandable.

The Democratic assault on Cornilles has mischaracterized everything from his positions on Social Security and Medicare to his record as a businessperson. His statement that former employees and trainees have gone on to successful careers in the sports industry and in turn created more than 500 jobs has been twisted into him falsely claiming he had 500 employees.

Much has been made over his company being assessed a federal tax lien for delinquent payroll taxes, but no mention that he overcame whatever difficulties put him in that position and paid back the taxes. His job creation credentials have also been criticized because his company, Game Face, now has only four full-time and two part-time employees. What’s not been acknowledged is that the downsizing was deliberate and a result of his being effectively occupied with running for Congress for the past three years.

As if the Democratic smear campaign wasn’t enough, Cornilles has been assaulted by members of his own party, particularly some on the red-meat-radio talk circuit, because he supported the Columbia River Crossing project and, in their view, wasn’t conservative enough. In their twisted logic it was somehow better to send a Democrat to Congress than a moderate Republican, despite the fact that a Republican hard-liner could hardly begin to mount a campaign in the 1st District, let alone win one.

The saddest fact is that neither Bonamici nor Cornilles, as a freshman representative from Oregon, would be able to do much of anything to influence the national debate. But Oregon has been a solidly blue state and the Democratic Party doesn’t care how much it spends, or who it destroys, to retain the status quo.

Dave Lister is a small-business owner who served on Portland’s Small Business Advisory Council.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Congressional Races | 15 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    I think I am coming to an understanding why the high tech folks in CD#1 line up with Obama more so than the GOP.  You’ve got Romney bashing China for unfair trade, and that probably runs counter to business interests for exporters like Intel and other “chip” companies.  Another thing is these firms use the visa process to bring in engineers and other highly skilled trades persons, and Obama seems to have a more liberal approach to granting these visas.  Obama likes high tech toys, favoring their expanded use in the military for instance.  Well off people also might favor Obama for his ability to tame the 99% ers, even if it is mostly smoke and mirrors (He’s been pretty good for crony capitalism all the while talking an anti big corporation game).  Romney getting his donations from the likes of Goldman Sachs doesn’t present very good optics.

    The sad thing is Rob Cornilles really did not run on Romney positions and would embrace most of these Obama positions gaining favor in CD#1 Silicon Forest.  But maybe CD#1 folks take their lead from the party’s national policies rather than the attributes of the local candidates.  Then too, the massive union backed PAC Ad spending offset the debate advantage Cornilles seem to gain.

    The GOP probably needs to resolve to more of a balance position regarding immigration and free trade while retaining and strengthening its fiscal conservative and smaller government brand aspirations.  The latter maybe wins better than half the time but immigration and fencing out global trade probably take from the GOPs election appeal (at least in much of the West Coast). 

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Oh come on, negative ads are a long standing thing and if Cornilles didn’t think they would occur and if Republicans did not want to spend what it would take to support him that is hardly Boyardee’s fault. 

    The fact is Democrats spent a fortune on this race not because they were in love with the candidate but because they did not want the moral depth charge that a loss would have incurred going into the presidential election.

    Oregon as a state is probably seen a a safe state for BO in November. What Democrats are trying to do right now is not to cede ground going into the election. That means trying not to lose states that should be safe bets for them and Oregon is certainly one of those.

    Had there been a Cornilles win that would certainly have changed the Republican national parties treatment of Oregon and all of a sudden another front would have opened up on Obamas battle to hold on to the presidency.

    The last thing BO would want is for a few Republican wins here and there to give the national party the thought that they could possibly fight and win a battle in an Obama bastion.

    The strategy right now with Democrats is if they could hold on to as much territory as possible they might get BO reelected. TO do that they cant give up any ground whatsoever as no one in their right mind thinks BO will gain ground in Novembers election.

    The strategy with Republicans is obviously to flip a few of the areas where Obama won three years ago. Republicans dont have as much to worry about with holding on to sates they won in 2008 as Obama does, all they really need to do is flip just a few of the states BO won.

    To that end, this special election was far more important to Democrats than it was to Republicans and that’s why Cornilles got far less funding than Bon Jovi did. Democrats had to win this one to an extent far more than Republicans did. Its really just that simple and you cant expect them to hold back in the fight to do that.

    What would be nice is if Republicans would get over this negative ad thing as if it were something novel or singular to Democrats. We saw where Bush 1, Bob Dole and John McCain got with their strategy of refusing to not go negative while their opponent goes negative. Might be better to stop with the feigned shock and get in the game a little.

    • valley person

      “We saw where Bush 1, Bob Dole and John McCain got with their strategy of
      refusing to not go negative while their opponent goes negative.”

      We did? Bush 1 did not call Clinton a draft dodging pot smoker? McCain/Palin didn’t call Obama a socialist who consorted with terrorists? OK. Whatever Rupert.

      Corniles lost because today’s version of the Republican Party is out of step with the voters. Its democracy at work. Get over it. If you want to win the 1st you need a Hatfield/McCall Republican, and those no longer exist because you drummed them out of your party as “RINOs”. 

      In the meantime, be happy with the southern and Great Plains states because that is about all you are likely going to win in 2012 and beyond. Destroying Medicare, more Middle east wars, banning legal abortion, and more tax cuts for the rich and large corporations are just not majority positions in most of the country, but especially in Oregon and the 1st district.

      And, 240,000 more jobs a month and declining unemployment will seal the deal. You need to hope for a catastrophe in 2012.

      • Rupert in Springfield

         >We did? Bush 1 did not call Clinton a draft dodging pot smoker?

        Nope, he didn’t.

        >McCain/Palin didn’t call Obama a socialist who consorted with terrorists?

        McCain was notorious for not attacking Obama even though he himself was being attacked. Later on in the campaign Palin did to some extent, but the point is McCain had a hands off attitude until it was too late.

        >OK. Whatever Rupert.

        Yep, whatever. I don’t think you have much of an argument here. You simply can’t argue that Bush 1, Dole or McCain went after their opponent in anywhere near a comparative fashion.

        >And, 240,000 more jobs a month and declining unemployment will seal the deal.

        Actually considering unemployment is dropping mostly because people from the job pool are being eliminated from the counting this is pretty much untrue.

        The question is will people believe it.

        They might if the media keeps reporting it the way they have been.

        This is a good point on which the Republican nominee should go on the offensive. Will they? Who knows. Maybe Mitt has it in him. However if we see no going on the offensive on this issue from the Republicans, you are right, Obama will waltz right back into the White House.

        I have said all along I will be stunned and amazed if Republicans win the presidency. My opinion is based largely on the fact that I doubt very much they will go on the offensive based on the previous campaigns I have mentioned. I simply don’t think the nominee will and due to that BO will win, even if he has majority disapproval going into November.

        • valley person

          It must be interesting to live in an alternative reality. Tell us about it.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Typical response when you don’t have much of an argument. Maybe next time think a little more before blurting out?

          • Ardbeg

            Palin told a group of donors, “Our opponent … is
            someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect
            enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their
            own country.”  Quote from Palin during the campaign.  As in the McCain/Palin campaign.

        • David Appell

          > Actually considering unemployment > is dropping mostly because people 
          > from the job pool are being eliminated 
          > from the counting this is pretty 
          > much untrue. 

          What do conservatives want? Do you want a parent to stay home with their children, or do you both parents to work? They can’t both be true, and if it’s the former then an increase in those not in the labor force is a good thing, right?

          (That last number has increased by 2.4 M in the last 12 months. Employment has increased by 2.3 M, and unemployment by -1.1 M.)

          • Rupert in Springfield

            > What do conservatives want?

            Id settle for unemployment going down to Bush 2 levels as a start.

            >Do you want a parent to stay home with their children, or do you both parents to work?

            I think you are confusing Pelosi for a Republican, she is the one who made the claim some years back that unemployment had some good aspects, parents getting to stay home being one of them.

            She went on to become the shortest term Speaker in House history.

            Didn’t work for her, wont work for you. No one is going to buy that people giving up on finding a job is a good thing.

            >(That last number has increased by 2.4 M in the last 12 months. Employment has increased by 2.3 M, and unemployment by -1.1 M.)

            For a guy trying to be a science writer you have a remarkably obtuse way of stating numbers.

            At any rate, other than a small spike at the beginning of 2010 the labour force has gone in one direction since BO tool office, straight down. There is no denying its an awfull performance and absent discounting those people, the unemployment figure would be absolutely horrendous.

            The good news for your side is the media is reporting this sparsely at all. The bad news is, things suck and will likely remain that way for quite some time, thank you Obama!

          • David Appell

            > No one is going to buy > that people giving up on 
            > finding a job is a good thing. 

            Your interpretation of the statistic is biased. If there are to be more parents staying home with their children–which I thought was a conservative value–the number of those “Not in the Labor Force” must necessarily increase. Yet now you are complaining that the number is increasing. It seems to me that in this aspect, at least, conservative values are in conflict.

          • valley person

            ” Id settle for unemployment going down to Bush 2 levels as a start.”

            Congratulations then. Unemployment was 8.5% when Bush left office, and is 8.3% today.

            “No one is going to buy that people giving up on finding a job is a good thing. ”

            Doesn’t it depend on why they gave up looking? Maybe their spouse found a good job and they don’t need one now. Maybe their investments recovered. Maybe they retired.  Maybe they got an inheritance. Aren’t those all good things?

  • JoelinPDX

    Well Dave, what can we expect from the party that lies. The Daily Caller is running a video clip today of Nancy Pelousy doing a long and convoluted response to the simple question is it time that she, Harry Greed and Barry Obozo took responsibility for the horrible state if the economy. She goes on for minutes blaming Bush and steadfastly refusing any responsibility.

    Furthermore, she refuses to acknowledge that a major reason the economy is improving is because Republicans control the House and maintain an effective block on the Democrats in the Senate. She, as a Democrat, prefers to spew a passel of lies.

  • Devin

    Ok first of all, I was the one that personally asked Rob Cornilles about the CRC during the primary after he said he not only supported it but said that “The 1st District for too many years has not had a real strong voice in Congress to help us build the infrastructure”.  I was pissed, after personally writing to various representatives including the national highway administration, and Herrera Beutler about the disastrous CRC project which has already wasted hundreds of millions of our tax dollars (and I hope in small part lead to her fighting back against the forces supporting this such as here:  I voiced my complaint to him about this issue directly, in person, during the primary.  If we cannot do that we will never get good candidates for office. That said I know many people that think that Cornilles is a moderate and made their voice known during the primary, but didn’t say anything negative during the general.
    As to a more conservative candidate could never win on CD-1, I disagree strongly.  I believe Reagan said it best here: .  I suggest you re-watch that.  A more conservative candidate could easily have inspired republicans to vote in a higher %, while at the same time showing a clear contrast with the democrat and explaining how the socialist policies that she was pushing were bad for everyone.

  • Greg Halvorson

    This article is, well, misguided….  The assumption that being called “the original Tea Party candidate” is somehow a scurrilous slander is truly laughable, as is the assumption that “red-meat talk radio” somehow derailed the mushy, incoherent, stand for nothing inarticulateness of a poorly marketed candidate lacking fire.  Get over your “hard-liner” pabulum and understand that a message of Liberty, well articulated, resonates with people, certainly enough people to overcome 11-points.  

  • guest

    David is write on – and, das DemSnortz posting here and in the big flab peter principled Bahtia fish wrapper ed page have really let their brain fartz go out onto the stage to incite and so receive rotten egg and vegetableau accolades.  Yeahhhhh

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