Oregonians should re-elect Sen. Jeff Merkley
Your editorial on the Republican Senate candidates forum ("The GOP challenge," Jan. 27) offered only muted approval, saying, "We've yet to interview the candidates so we're not prepared to recommend voters choose one of the quintet over (U.S. Senator Jeff) Merkley." Perhaps the Herald's editorial board found, as did I, that the five candidates offered embarrassingly little in the way of positive policy ideas to support rural America and the middle class (similar to the policy-free Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night).
Instead of even mentioning such central issues as stark economic inequality, structural unemployment and underemployment, and dangers of devastating global climate change, the candidates took refuge in such ideological issues as abortion and phasing out Social Security, and even found a "socialist, communist agenda" lurking behind the new Common Core school testing standards. And they uniformly called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), even though it is already benefiting millions of Americans.
I was particularly disappointed to hear front-runner Jason Conger declare that "Borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund is a breach of trust." This is the same zombie untruth that left President Bush out on a limb in 2005. Conger and his fellow candidates should know by now that the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund actually invests in United States Treasury bonds backed by "the full faith and credit of the U.S. government."
As a result, I have no hesitancy in vigorously supporting the re-election of our outstanding Senator Jeff Merkley. Merkley has an exceptional understanding of the issues facing our nation, and he has the leadership ability to bring "We The People" together to solve those issues. I heartily recommend the speech that Merkley gave to the Netroots Nation conference last June (Google: "Merkley Netroots").
We face the choice between a country ruled by a wealthy few, leaving most of us out in the cold, or a country ruled by We the People that benefits everyone. I urge the Herald and my fellow readers to energetically support the re-election of Senator Jeff Merkley.