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Posts published in “Day: March 3, 2007”

Philosophical rankings

For your amusement - or as an argument stopper, or starter - the National Review rundown of "liberal" and "conservative" rankings for all the members of Congress.

Readers of this site will recall our frequent argument that both terms of political philosophy have been so twisted and abused by the politics of the last generation that both are meaningless as a practical matter. As a loose descriptor of where these members fit into the policy picture, though, it's worth a look (and maybe as a case in point of our point). These are, we should note, reviews of 2006 voting; this year's activity isn't factored in.

Northwest overall, on the liberal side, the highest numbers went to Washington Representative Jim McDermott, with second place to Senator Patty Murray. Top conservative numbers regionally went to - you were expecting Idaho to show up here, right? - Washington Representatives Cathy McMorris and Doc Hastings, respectively. All of the Oregon and Idaho members ranked in between.

All depends on how you count.

Smith among the Republicans

Two sides will run politically on the question of how well Oregon Senator Gordon Smith latest stances astride parties - mainly on Iraq, but also to some extent on cigarette taxes - will play. One is, to what extent does he pick up support from the middle, from independents? That answer will await another day. But we have some feedback on the other issue: How well will Smith's fellow Republicans, whose support he has been able to rely on up to now, accept it all?

For an early answer, we go to reports from the annual Dorchester conference, already in progress.

The well-connected Republican blogger I Am Coyote (Ted Piccolo) said he missed the Smith speech last night owing to a card game, but afterward, "I did some asking around to find out the general consensus as to how Sen. Smith was received. In general most people were still angry and growling about him. Although he did receive points for at least showing up."

Jeff Hazen, a Republican who is a commissioner at Clatsop County who attended, said "It was interesting to watch the people in the crowd and you could certainly tell who was angry with him about the stance against the president on this matter. They would not rise during one of the standing ovations. Personally, I admire him for his conviction."

All this seemed to match with the Oregonian piece on the speech and its reaction, which led: "U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith defended his rapidly changing stance on the Iraq war to a roomful of Republicans on Friday night, drawing cheers but also some harsh questions at the annual Dorchester Conference. Won't pulling back in Iraq only cause more violence? Don't your words demoralize the troops? Aren't you empowering Democrats?"

Early indications. Primary anyone?