Undaunted, Smith launched a second, even sharper-edged ad on the furniture theme.
"Jeff Merkley attacked the former House speaker [Republican Karen Minnis] for spending thousands redecorating," the ad says. Merkley said it wasted our tax dollars. But when Merkley became speaker - you guessed it, he spent millions. Flat-screen TVs. $4,000 desks. $6,700 for matching hutch, credenza and wardrobe.
But Smith is the real hypocrite, the Democrats promptly charged, because his state director, Kerry Tymchuk, was a member of a public commission that approved the Capitol renovations. The Democrats' claim was disingenuous because - as the Smith side quickly pointed out - Tymchuk only signed off on the overall $34 million project, not the extravagant (according to the Republicans, anyway) office furniture and carpet.
There haven't been any new ads from Smith on the furniture theme. Hopefully we've seen the last of them. But way too much time, money and attention already has been frittered away on the Furniture War.
It's not as if the country, and Oregon, don't have anything else to worry about. Just to tick off a few items: the loss of federal timber payments to rural counties, the health care mess, the foreclosure crisis, the credit crunch, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in Iraq that continues to burn money at the rate of $12 billion a month. (That could buy a hell of a lot of credenzas.)
We're hoping Smith and Merkley will get around to debating at least a few of these issues between now and Election Day. In the meantime, we went out and bought another BOOT so we could give one to each of them for trivializing this campaign.