This afternoon at the Governor Hotel, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-People's Republic of East Portland) gave a short speech on his hopes for the nation (and Oregon) in light of November's decidedly Democratic election results. Blumenauer's speech covered nearly every hot-button issue. Except, that is, the popular, long-reigning East Side rep's plans for the 2008 election.
The speech, titled "Brave New World or the Same Old Stuff: A User's Guide to the Post-Election Environment," was attended by around 200 people—primarily members of the City Club of Portland, who arranged Blumenauer's appearance.
"I have never been prouder of the Oregon electorate," the perennially bowtied bike enthusiast said of the Beaver State's November verdicts. "You tiptoed past landmines."
Along with the election, Blumenauer's talking points included immigration and current income disparities and the problems associated with them. Much of his short speech earned enthusiastic applause from his engaged (and, of course, decidedly partisan-friendly) audience.
Blumenauer ended with a discussion on the Iraq war. He spoke about the Iraq Study Group's report, saying he felt conflicted by its release. While he said he was pleased by what he called an "amazing report" pointing out that "the emperor has no clothes," he also said that a part of him was cranky about the whole thing.
"Why do we have an independent commission doing what I distinctly remember the U.S. Congress doing in my youth on the Vietnam War?" He said he felt that politicians had fallen short of their duties. When he was specifically asked about how he felt about the speech Sen. Gordon Smith gave this week blasting the Administration's handling of the Iraq war, he replied that he felt that the change was "better late than never."
Asked if he will run against Smith in 2008, Blumenauer replied "I'm more concerned with the issues in '07. But there's no question that those 21 [Republican senators running for re-election] will face rigorous opposition."