Return of The Kitz

The big news this last week has been the decision by federal prosecutors to not charge former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. the United States, it has become more difficult to pursue elected officials on charges of corruption because an explicit agreement linking a campaign donation or gift to a contract, grant or vote is now required as opposed a general appearance of impropriety. Given the new standard passed down by the High Court, this decision did not come as a surprise to many.

Back in 2015, I joined many in calling for Governor Kitzhaber to resign. After the millions of dollars spent on failed projects like the Columbia River Crossing and Cover Oregon, the Rudy Crew Scandal, and the alleged pay to play politics of Cylvia Hayes, I figured enough was enough and he would be incapable of providing Oregon with the leadership that we needed. Since that time, however, I had on many occasions come to wish that it were still Kitzhaber in the Governor’s office as opposed to Kate Brown. You can say whatever you want about the guy, but at the end of the day, John Kitzhaber was a strong leader. Were Kitzhaber Governor at the time, I think we could have very likely avoided the divisive ballot measure fight we had over Measure 97. Even with his scandals, he will likely go down as the most influential Oregon politician since Mark Hatfield.

Now that the Kitz won’t face charges, he is free to weigh back into the political arena. Will he wage a Count of Monte Cristo style campaign of revenge against the Democrats who stepped on his metaphorical throat right at the end? Will he seek public office again? Or will he simply play an active role as an elder statesman while simultaneously cashing some rather sizable checks for consulting on healthcare or other issues? My guess would probably be the latter.

So welcome back from exile Governor Kitzhaber. I am still relatively sure that you were guilty of some impropriety, but congrats on beating the rap I guess. I hope you will play an important role in the direction of our state and will push back on some of the more extreme forces that have taken control of your party of late.

Lord knows Oregon has a bit of a leadership vacuum, and while I would personally like to see it filled by Republicans, I would take it being filled by someone in the mold of John Kitzhaber as opposed to someone in the mold of Tina Kotek.

Jacob Vandever is political activist, lifelong Oregonian, and proud Oregon State graduate. Jacob is the Editor of the Oregon Upstart Blog.

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Posted by at 02:01 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Dan Meek

    One problem with yout email alerts is that you do not identify the author of the piece in the email. That is true, for example, for this piece.

  • Ron Glynn

    Saw your short resume on the end of the article. I am a Christian Conservative Republican political activist since 1990, native Oregonian since 1951, and a proud Summa Cum Laude graduate of Eastern Oregon State College(now University) Jacob, you are young and idealistic. Dr. John is too old and too tainted for a political comeback. His own Democratic Party pals threw him under the bus. In short, the man is now toxic and is no longer of any use to the Democratic Party. As far as cashing big consulting checks. Why? They don’t need him. In and out of politics, many a older good man has been brought down by the wiles of a younger pretty woman. John got a good looker, but he ended up giving his political legacy for it. He now joins Governor Neil Goldschmidt in the ash bin of Oregon Political History.

  • Bob Clark

    Yes, I knew right away SEIU owned Brown would be worse than Kitzslabber. I still wish Dudley had won, and he only lost by a half of percentage point or less. He didn’t have the smarts but I believe he had something just as valuable if not more; and that is humility. Smart guys like Kitzslabber are too smart for our own britches. They are so sure of themselves they take bigger risks with the people’s money and oftern come away losing most if not all of it…such as the CRC, BETC, the testing system that went down in flames after tens of millions were wasted on it, and Oregon Health Plan version 1.0 and still flailing. This is the drag of Oregon’s command and control economy. And only gets worse with puppets of public employee unions like Brown.

    • Dave Lister

      Bob Caldwell at the Oregonian, before he committed suicide by prostitute, made sure Kitz would win over Dudley He did it by endorsing Dudley. Alley would have won. I wrote for Bob Caldwell, but his partisanship was unbridled. Not only was he unable to keep it in his pants, but he and his brothers were Blue Dog (Red, Green , Purple… I can’t remember) Democrats.
      That was one of the saddest outcomes of a single newspaper city and a single party government.

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