If so, then that makes me very happy.

Oregonians are an independent bunch and we don’t take too kindly to out of state big money trying to come in and influence our elections. It appears the Koch brothers found our local Senate race between incumbent Jeff Merkley and Republican challenger Monica Wehby to be of interest to them. Over a million dollars has been spent on anti-Merkley ads by one of those shady PACs with a patriotic euphemism for a name–this one called Freedom Partners. No surprise here–it turns out the board of directors for Freedom Partners includes high-ranking executives with Koch Industries. The ads slammed Merkley for his support of Obamacare and the fact that he voted to raise the debt ceiling.

Well, the latest news is that Freedom Partners will probably be giving up their funding of the anti-Merkley campaign in October. Most likely because it hasn’t worked, the race isn’t any closer, and people in Oregon will continue to vote Democratic.

Good. This is a deep blue state, Kochs. Get the hell away from it and don’t let the door hit you on the ass too hard on your way out. If the Koch brothers consider Oregon a hopeless case, then that gives me another reason to be proud of my home.

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I can kind of sympathize with passionate conservatives at the moment.  Since the Democrats hold both the Presidency and the majority in the Senate, conservatives find themselves in the same position progressives like me have been in many times, valiantly struggling for the things they believe in without having the power to really make them happen, until that struggle turns into something a bit quixotic and silly.

There is no better example of this than the current conservative hero, Texas Senator Ted Cruz.  Conservatives sing his praises for sticking to his right-wing principles, but…what has he actually been able to get done?  So far, he is 0-to-11 in his Senate votes.  He has introduced a bill to repeal healthcare reform (snort).  He has voted against John Kerry’s confirmation for Secretary of State while attempting to smear him as anti-military, and lost that fight.  He has participated in the Chuck Hagel hearings and tried to make the Secretary of Defense nominee look anti-Semitic by quoting out of context from an interview in which Hagel in fact criticized Iran and emphasized the importance of a strong relationship with Israel.  When all else failed, Cruz threatened to filibuster Hagel’s nomination.  But this turned out to be an idea which other, more sane, Republicans are backing away from.  (And I’m using the word sane to refer to John McCain here, which feels like quite a stretch.)

I realize that when he does all this, Cruz is appealing to his conservative base.  But he is also not accomplishing much of anything.  His dramatic gestures may get attention, but that is all they are, gestures–like his letter to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel opposing gun control measures.  I’m sure Emanuel cares deeply about that one. Again, as a liberal I feel some sympathy for Cruz here.  He’s like one of those tree sitting anti-logging protesters.  You know that tree will get cut down anyway, but good old Ted is gonna keep sitting up there.

But I guess I shouldn’t completely dismiss Ted–he proudly represents the red-blooded American values of a state like Texas.  At least, until the demographics shift and Texas turns blue.  Tee hee.