In the July 5th edition of the Oregonian, Mr. Jim Rassman bemoans the fact that that publication has, yet again, fallen for the ruse that Senator Gordon Smith is a "moderate" republican, this time due to his comments regarding the Iraq war. Mr. Rassman is correct in pointing out the contradiction between Senator Smith's words and his senatorial votes, but, alas, the contradiction is but the latest in Senator Smith's long history of attempting to appear moderate in the lead up to elections, while slavishly following the party line dictated by his republican leadership as he serves his term.
Although Senator Smith might wish it, I cannot forget how, during his reelection bid of 2002, the grieving mother of Matthew Shepherd appeared in the Senator's campaign advertisements, stating that she was sure Matthew would have viewed Senator Smith as a friend because of the Senator's advocacy for gay rights. Of course, after his reelection, Senator Smith quickly betrayed his gay and lesbian constituency by voting for the Protection of Marriage Amendment in 2004.
Senator Smith was also very vocal in his opposition to oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Alas, his ardor for the cause melted like polar ice caps when the Bush administration applied pressure and caused him to change his vote.
I can also recall the outrage that Senator Smith expressed upon hearing about the capers of former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger for illegally removing highly classified documents from the national Archives. The Senator was seen on various cable news outlets expressing his shock and disdain for the act. And yet, we have heard nary a word from Senator Smith regarding the conviction of I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was convicted for obstruction of justice and perjury in the investigation into the leaking of a national security asset.
And, going all the way back to the impeachment trial of President Clinton, when certain moderate republican senators publicly stated that they would vote for acquittal, who was it that appeared at the side of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, to announce that he would vote to convict, and thereby keep the impeachment effort from collapsing? None other than Gordon Smith.
Oregonians need leadership that reflects our independence of thought. We do not need a senator that meekly follows the line dictated by GOP leaders, straying only when it is safe to do so. I hope our state will recognize how poorly she is served by her junior senator, and vote next year to remove him from office.