Pondering the ballot on the kitchen table
By Tony Corcoran
I don’t buy the media analysis that Democrats are suffering from voter “fatigue” this election cycle, meaning the Republicans are going to win big. Sure, there are progressives who wish Obama had negotiated from a stronger position on health care, for example. Or that the U.S. Senate should have called the Republicans’ bluff on filibusters and bargained a better deal. But that doesn’t mean Oregon Democrats are going to roll over when you consider the implications of some of our races. There is clearly a strong stench of anti-incumbency out there, but Democrats haven’t forgotten who created the collapse of Wall Street and our plummeting economy. Dubya inherited a balanced federal budget from Clinton, started two wars and drove the national deficit up rapidly. And Obama and the Democrats inherited this mess.
Democrats understand how much is at stake this election. And Republicans are just so damn cute; just look at some of the tea-bagger wannabees they’ve thrown to the wolves this election cycle.
Chris Dudley faces off with John Kitzhaber. John is the former Oregon Senate president and two-term governor who successfully implemented the Oregon Health Plan and the Salmon Plan, despite a Republican majority in both chambers of the Legislature the entire time he was governor. Chris Dudley has never voted and lived in Washington to avoid Oregon taxes when he played in the NBA (shooting a record low 62 percent of his free throws). When he finally did move to Oregon, he had his 4,500 sq. ft. house burned down for a $350,000 tax break, then built a 9,000 sq. ft. house on top of it. His handlers artfully limited his debates with John to one, for obvious reasons — Dudley simply regurgitates Bush tax cuts and Tea Party values.
Then there’s Art Robinson. The two astronauts who endorsed him never reveal what planet they found him on. R-G reporter Susan Palmer should win an award for best understated neologism of this political season for describing Peter DeFazio’s opponent as having “fairly nonmainstream views.” No kidding!
Art believes we should sprinkle radioactive wastewater into our oceans and our local water supply and that “no health or environmental risks would ever occur.” And I thought the fluoride controversy was dicey! Where’s the John Birch Society when we need them?
Art believes that oil company profits in 2005 of $113 billion were “quite reasonable.” Really, Art? $113 billion?
Just 18 months ago, he said, “I think public schools should be abolished.” Just 10 months ago, he said, “Incarceration of a child in today’s American public schools is — I’m sorry to say — child abuse.” Neither of these quotes is taken out of context, and both are consistent with a review of 15 years of Robinson’s view of public education, both in writing and speaking.
I think Palmer, a relatively new political journalist, could safely say Art’s views are “fairly nonmidstream” without being accused of a left-wing liberal media bias. In my 10 years in the Oregon Legislature and my 30 years in Oregon politics, I have never heard of such bizarre notions. Art’s ideas on race and religion, specifically on blacks and Muslims, are equally incredibly misinformed.
There’s a reason Peter DeFazio has been our congressman since 1986: He’s an honorable, intelligent, hard-working man. He has been a role model to a generation of locally elected Democrats. Robinson, on the other hand, is sort of nonmainstream.
And finally there’s Marilyn Kittelman, running against Sen. Floyd Prozanski. Even NW Republican, a respected conservative Oregon Republican blog, called Kittelman a “race-baiting Republican” with strong ties to One Nation United, an out-of-state racist organization. She harassed the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua tribe so severely over their attempts to place tribal lands into federal trust that members of the Republican Party tried to have her recalled from the Douglas County Commission. As a county commissioner, Kittelman unilaterally tried to force the county museum to get rid of a statue of Hebe, a Greek goddess of youth, because Kittelman believed the statue was anti-Christian. A subsequent lawsuit cost the taxpayers of Douglas County nearly $700,000 in legal and investigative fees. The museum director eventually won her lawsuit and a huge settlement.
So, Democrats and progressives: Just vote, dammit, as my friend Dan Carol would say. Peter needs your help, John needs your help. (I think Floyd’s fine.) God save us from Art Robinson, Marilyn Kittelman and the Dud!
Tony Corcoran is a member and co-founder of the Hot Air Society of South Lane, Eugene, and Springfield (HASSLES). The views expressed herein are those of a private citizen of Oregon.