The Resurrection of Oregon Republicans

Oregon’s Republic Party is in big trouble. It lacks focus, direction, leadership and money. It’s field of candidates for statewide and national elections is troubling. It is mired in ennui, fiscal irresponsibility and broken promises.

The Democrats currently hold every statewide office. They control both houses of the state legislature (the state senate by a 2:1 margin), the state supreme court and the state appellate courts. They dominated the reapportionment process during the last census through what can only be described as the most partisan plan ever proposed in Oregon’s history by one of the most partisan politicians ever to hold office — Bill Bradbury. They are set to repeat that process with the likely election of Sen. Kate Brown (D-Portland) as Secretary of State — a person even more partisan and more ruthless than Bradbury.

One of Oregon’s least trustworthy Republicans, Ben Westlund, is now the Democrat candidate for State Treasurer. The Republican’s best chance to gain a congressional seat was lost by nominating a sleaze ball like Mike Erickson over Kevin Mannix — a man who has lost so many times that he has become the Alf Landon of Oregon politics. The Republicans were unable to field a candidate for attorney general or for the Fourth Congressional District.

The Democrats now hold a margin of over 200,000 registered voters and, given the seventy plus percent of Independents who vote Democrat, that number swells during general elections. In this most recent primary, the Democrats had a 73.5% voter participation while the Republicans struggled to break 50%.

The only bright light remaining for the Republicans is Congressman Greg Walden and there are those in the Republican Party who seem to be hell bent on convincing him to run for governor in 2010 — an almost certain disaster given the state of the Oregon Republican Party.

The purpose here is not to “pile on” but rather to suggest some substantial degree of introspection.

Currently there is a schism amongst Oregon Republicans. There are the social conservatives who dominate the party structure as witnessed by the high priority given to social issues in the party platform. There is a decided lack of focus, or perhaps understanding, of fiscal issues and government structure. And more importantly, there is a belief among this segment of the party that government is the means for imposing social mores on Oregonians. Kevin Mannix left the Democrat Party because its stands on social issues — particularly abortion — were an anathema to him. But Mannix never left his belief that government was the solution to almost every problem as evidenced by the myriad of new government programs that he proposed in his various unsuccessful runs for public office. Many in the social conservative movement supported Mannix and his view of the role of government. Such a notion is a decidedly non-conservative point of view.

There are the Gordon Smith Republicans who believe that the way to get elected in Oregon is to avoid difficult issues and pander to traditional Democrat constituencies such as the environmental community, the anti-war movement and the entitlements advocates. The latest evidence of this is Smith’s first campaign ad which condemns his Democrat opponent for failing to garner enough votes in the last session to bypass the Oregon electorate and impose the cigarette tax increase which Oregonians subsequently rejected by an overwhelming majority. In doing so he intimates that his fellow Republicans should have voted for it. Clueless.

Often times this group is epitomized by the Portland business community who have supported Smith through three elections and garnered virtually nothing for their support. But then again, having your picture taken with an public official is often times more important than doing the right thing.

And finally, there are the fiscal conservatives who eschew tax increases, demand government accountability and seek new solutions for our failing schools. That group is most often represented by a handful of state legislators — most often from Eastern and Southern Oregon. They represent the broadest segment of the Republican Party — the working Oregonians who spend most of their time trying to keep their businesses open, keep their families together and find some means of providing a decent education for their children. They have virtually no time to engage in the routine of politics and, therefore, trust more than most that the politicians will do the right thing. They are also the group most often disappointed by Oregon’s Republicans and, as a result, the most willing to step away leaving the field for the activists.

All of these groups mistrust the others. Each competes with the other for issue priority and when they fail to win they tend to retire and withhold their active support. Until such time that these disparate groups are brought together under common leadership, the Republican ship will continue to founder.

Responsibility for the resurrection of Oregon’s Republicans rests with all of these groups. It starts with those who provide the financial support for Oregon’s Republicans. It is incumbent upon them to begin this process by finding a leader who will undertake this difficult task, and to provide him the means by which to exercise the discipline necessary to complete the task. The task will be Herculean.

My suggestion is that rather than encourage Greg Walden to undertake a difficult and risky campaign for governor that he be encouraged to remain in Congress and undertake the difficult task of repairing and re-uniting Oregon’s Republicans. The resurrection of the Republican Party can be done. But unless is begins soon, it will a generation or more before the opportunity presents itself again.

  • Jerry

    I am in your last group – fiscal conservatives – and I can tell you it will take a long, long time and much hard work to ever get me back. These insane republicans in the other groups you mentioned are so totally out of touch, so totally clueless, and so totally weak and ineffective I see nothing to be gained in ever coming to terms with them.

    Sorry, but that is how I feel. I know the dems will be happy to hear that our party is so torn asunder, but, alas, it is, and there seems to be little promise of putting it back together again anytime soon.

    The blame lies squarely on the RINO weaklings. Maybe Libertarian is the way to go. The RINO’s have sold out so long ago there is no hope. None.

    • RinoWatch

      I agree! 😉

      • Crawdude

        I second the agreement!

    • 1Jane

      A guy told me the other day, “I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me.”

  • What A Waste of Space

    Wow Larry. It is too bad that you have so much time to rant and so little time to help solve problems. It seems to me you are what is wrong. You — like so many others — feel so comfortable pointing at problems rather than solving them. Sadly, I think that is why our Republican brand is where it is today.

    Maybe you should become a PCP and get involved in fixing things or help a campaign or at the grassroots level. How are you any different than an ivory tower liberal who just says how he/she thinks it should be and expects it to be done?

    You sort of prove your own point.

    • Ted Kennedy;s Liver

      You must be one of those incompetents in the party heirarchy who got us where we are today.

      • Whambo

        Nay, that would be people like Larry Huss and Larry Campbell, Cheryl Clifford, and Kevin “The Fat Idiot” Mannix.

        There are people who are working to bring it back from the brink, but it is going to take a while.

        To be honest, it would have been better if Perry Atkinson was still Chairman.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    You know I hear this argument often, this or that party is fractured because they are composed of these various constituencies. I hear Rush make this point almost daily in regards to the Democratic party. To some extent it is a true statement, but what of it? Is there any large group that is not composed of various subsets within the Venn diagram of the whole?

    I think the approach of uniting constituencies is not an especially good idea. It is both difficult to achieve and results in a flawed whole. As an example, one could attempt to bring in “Social Republicans” those concerned with abortion and gay marriage. We could start by agreeing partial birth abortion is horrible, and sponsor an amendment to ban gay marriage. But what of it? Are these really issues that are crucial to peoples lives one way or another? Is it worth the effort to showboat on matters of consequence to few, and of which the state has little control in an attempt mollify the concerns of every subset? I don’t think so.

    I would strongly advise the Republican party to concentrate on issues that are core to the conservative movement, over which the state has some control, and which directly affect peoples lives.

    Point out how Bill Bradbury exercised veto power over any initiative he didn’t like, and how Kate Brown promises more of the same. A lot of people feel their vote doesn’t count, in large part due to Bradbury. They are right.

    How about for once being on the side of working people? It might be nice if the Republican party realized that a large amount of their base is self starters, individualists. These people run small businesses. Do you think the average business owner might be getting a little sick and tired of hearing “Corporations pay little or no taxes in Oregon” constantly going unanswered? Do you think just maybe you could pick up a few votes by pointing out to the average mom and pop business what Kate Browns promise to tax corporations means to them?

    How about an ad featuring a husband and wife who actually own a business, and now get to fork over an additional $500 to Kate Brown? I could make an ad for that in about five minutes.

    How about for once, I mean just once, have an ad that features two real people, rather than two incredibly fit and superbly aged 50 something’s? I am so sick of moron hubby, pouring himself coffee in the kitchen and a wife reading the paper and cluing Mr. Stupid in about the other candidate?

    Who the hell came up with that template as the only ad format allowed in Oregon? I swear to God if I have to spend another election cycle listening to endless variations of stupid moron coffee husband and prattling turtle neck wife I am going to put a gun to my head.

    How about an ad pointing out the singularly annoying aspect of listening to another person sipping coffee? I know a lot of people would unite behind that. It might not be a core conservative issue but its worth a shot. I bet I could pick up 10,000 votes on that issue alone if I promised to ban any coffee drinking sipping or pouring in a political ad.

  • Larry is wrong

    Who’s the clueless one, Larry? First off, there are more than three kinds of Republicans in Oregon. You forgot the hawks, security moms and a laundry list of others. However, what irritates me is your assessment of Gordon Smith Republicans. You disparage these types of Republicans, the kind who make up a solid, if silent, block of the party, who actually believe in social justice (in the best sense of that term) and working with other people. Who are these Republicans? Educated professionals who will still vote Republican despite the contempt a vocal minority seem to have for them. To argue that they view the world differently than you because they have a desire to “pander” to others is at best naive and at worst just plain mean-spirited. Oh, and by the way, you’re wrong.

    It’s ironic that you call for the “Resurrection of Oregon’s Republicans” by asking “Gordon Smith Republicans”, which you and others apparently disdain, to join in and take responsibility in turning things around for the party. That’s like a domestic abuser slapping a spouse in the face and saying “but I love you.” Did you think calling “Gordon Smith Republicans” valueless panderers is endearing?

    The ultimate irony is that you identify Greg Walden as a unifying force in the party behind which we all should coalesce. I couldn’t agree with you more, but for different reasons. You see Greg as a successful, bright, well-liked Republican with all the characteristics of a great leader. He is all those things. But he is also a person who is respectful of other people and their opinions. You would never see him calling out others as “RINOS” or what have you.

    We have already been through a bruising round of exodus from the party with many leaving the party to become independents because they were chased out by this kind of thinking. In the last year, a new exodus has occurred as some have left the party over the Bush administration, the war and to support some guy from Chicago. We can ill afford to lose others and still have a viable party.

    In one sense you are right, Larry. Oregon Republicans do need a standard-bearer like Greg Walden. Republicans in Oregon will be successful when we respect the opinions of others and instead lead by example. We don’t have to agree with everybody, we just have to show them there’s a better way. The Republican way. I’m willing to try. Are you?

    • Martha

      “Republicans in Oregon will be successful when we respect the opinions of others and instead lead by example. We don’t have to agree with everybody, we just have to show them there’s a better way. The Republican way.”

      I think the party is seeing just the beginning of a massive reordering of priorities. The party, the electoral process, and all of government has become so thoroughly corrupt that the only thing that will inspire the masses to come back to them will be a ruthless and exhaustive house cleaning, and a commitment to transparency and integrity backed up by consistent, long term demonstrative action.

      I also think its stupid to respect everyone else’s opinions. I have no problem respecting a person’s right to HAVE an opinion, but there are just as many stupid opinions as there are uninformed people, which is a lot. Treating everyone’s opinions equally assigns ‘opinions’ a value or merit they may not deserve.

      Next, how about instead of morphing the Gordon Smith republicans into domestic violence victims, please, maybe they would be more realistically compared to our long time neighbor who stubbornly refuses to realize that he ‘did wrong’ by pandering to special group interests because that allows him to work ‘with’ everyone. Working “with” people these days seems to mean a group of the pushiest groups get money for their pet programs in exchange for shutting up and supporting the legislator’s pet program. And then its up to us to pay the bill.

      And one last thing that really needs to be cleared up. Just because someone is in a minority, vocal or not, does not make him wrong, or right for that matter. Consensus thought gave us great ‘truths’ such as a flat world, or frogs being born directly from decomposing logs, and the migrating uterus thought at one time to cause all female ailments. I’ve heard the argument ‘your just going to have to accept that you are in a minority on your thinking’ as a means to justify absolutely anything. Does no one ever entertain a moment of self reflection when squealing this kind of vomit? ‘the majority’ has gone wacko with power and really seems to enjoy rubbing the minority’s face in how much and how often they ‘win’ over the minority.

      Please let it end. Please, we need to adopt a new paradigm.

    • Carl Strohmeyer

      Greg Walden, Bright? Well liked?

      The guy is a hypocrite of the first degree that as a Republican of 30 years that has only voted Democrat once before (against Gordon Anderson) will campaign for almost any Democratic candidate of him.

  • John Fairplay

    I think there’s only one sentence in this whole article that makes any sense – that Greg Walden stay in Congress. Next time the pendulum swings, he’ll be a committee or subcommittee chairman and that’s worth waiting for.

    The rest of it is re-hashed and obvious on its face. Not useful, not particularly insightful.

  • Anonymous

    I think Gordon Smith should run for Governor after his re-election to the Senate. When he wins, he can name Greg Walden his Senate successor and a good up-and-comer like Jason Atkinson can take over in the U.S. House.

    But more importantly, we need to rally around one Republican RIGHT NOW and that is Rick Dancer. He can win the Secretary of State race, if only we get behind him instead of lamenting the inevitable Kate Brown.

    • RinoWatch

      Dancer “can win”….??? Huh?

      Sorry, nice guy but absolutely clueless. Hard to rally around a fella who’s a no-show (Lars, Victoria, Oregon Catalyst, RinoWatch, etc.).

      Gordon for Governor? Puh-leeeeeeese.

      • John Fairplay

        If you think being on Lars’ show or that RinoWatch has any impact on winning a statewide campaign, it ain’t Dancer who’s clueless.

        • R. A.

          If I were RinoWatch, I would consider RinoWatch influential.

        • RinoWatch

          Fairplay, you don’t understand.

          If you think that I believe I have any “impact” on state races or any
          other race for that matter, you are clueless. RinoWatch is reviled, I’m sure.

          As for appearing on Lars, Dancer has already set the tone that he was clueless on Feb 25 and has made no attempt since to update his campaign.

          Did you happen to hear Dancer on Kremer & Abrams from Dorchester?

          Call me clueless, that’s fine – my skin is too damned thick…..

          • John Fairplay

            I’m reasonably certain no one heard Dancer on Kremer & Abrams. Regardless of who is clueless, being a frequent guest or a “no show” on any of the shows you mention has nothing to do with winning a statewide race.

  • KFC

    Much of what Huss said is true, but he and most of the commenters above are way off base on one reality that supersedes all the others. The social conservatives are the heart of the party, because they are also overwhelmingly fiscal conservatives, who strongly support private property rights and reasonably small business interests.

    It is easy to praise Greg Walden for his success, but don’t forget that he represents eastern and southern Oregon, where it is easy to be a conservative. Doesn’t take much guts or political skill, just stay true to natural resource issues. Walden is pro-choice, but stays in office because he doesn’t talk about the issue. Some who are excited about him running for governor seem to forget that he has only been successful running in the part of the state where conservatives always win.

    There is hope with Dancer, but he has to quickly get a serious education on issues that he ought to have grasped before he announced for SOS. He can win. The D’s nominated the one candidate that R’s can beat.

    As for Gordon Smith, it is his brand of Republicanism that has been historically successful in Oregon, and accomplished nothing.

    There is much that could be said about all this, but any politically savvy person should know that there is really one priority above all right now: Take back the Oregon House, where the count is 31 to 29. That would break the D monopoly. If R’s can do that, even with Bradbury’s grossly gerrymandered districting, they should be able to hold serve even if Brown wins SOS.

    Don’t forget that the Oregon Supreme Court allowed Bradbury to do all that partisan gerrymandering, something they would never have allowed, if the plan had come from a Republican SOS.

  • Dan E.

    Many of our Republicans have forgot a few basic tenents of politics, applicable especially when the numbers are close or not in our favor. We shall refer to these tenents as Dan’s Five Pillars of Electoral Politics.

    1. You can win as a fiscal conservative.

    2. You can win as a social conservative.

    3. You can win as a pro-business, pro-gun, pro-family values conservative.

    4. You can win as a fiscal and social conservative, even in an urban area.

    5. You just can’t be an angry, self-righteous, obnoxious, holier-than-thou ASSHOLE.

    Sure, the devil is in the details. Sometimes the numbers just aren’t there. But being a decent and forthright human being and treating people (especially those with whom you may disagree) as respectfully as possible will go a long way to improving success, both at the ballot box and in the elected office when it comes to achieving your goals.

  • dean

    When I moved to Oregon in the late 1970s the state was run by moderate Republicans (McCall, Hatfield, Packwood, Atiyeh) working alongside mostly moderate Democrats (Straub, Godschmidt). Those were the days just before “movement conservatism” (outlaw abortion, bash gays, roll back the welfare and regulatory state, dismantle unions, cut taxes on the rich, and get agressive on foreign policy) took over the Republican party nationally.

    This national change, which reflected the shift of Republican power to the former Confederate and interior west states, never was a good fit for places like the West Coast, New England, and the industrial Midwest. And given current demographic trends (browning of America, liberalism of the Millenium Generation,) it never will be.

    A fiscally conservative, socially moderate, environmentally progressive Republican party could be competitive in Oregon. Any other construction is going to have a hard time winning anything outside of rural areas.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >A fiscally conservative, socially moderate, environmentally progressive Republican party could be competitive in Oregon. Any other construction is going to have a hard time winning anything outside of rural areas.

      Quite true, if one reasons based upon feelings rather than history. Reagan did carry Oregon in both 1980 and 1984. If this shift to “former confederate states” (nice slam there, I know you consider Regan a racist because of where he started his campaign) signaled some sort of poor fit for Oregon, then Reagan would hardly have won this state two times over.

      >And given current demographic trends (browning of America, liberalism of the Millenium Generation,) it never will be.

      Also true, if going on feelings rather than history. Younger generations have generally tended to be more liberal, so this is nothing new. In fact there is an actual Churchill quote that is relevant to it, but I am sure you know that one already.

      The interesting assumption here is in this “browning of America statement. What in the world does that mean? Is this some sort of Reverend Wright type thinking:

      “If you aint white, y’all vote alike”

      I had no idea liberal preference was based upon skin colour, but then again, one is never to old to learn.

      • Jerry

        I think he meant the browning of America in the summer from the sun. I know I am brown!

      • dean

        Yes, Reagan won in Oregon, and Bush came close. And Republicans had the Oregon House and Senate through much of the 90s. Some conservative backed initiatives (particularly tax limitations) were passed. But if you think a doctrinaire conservative can run on undiluted conservative policies and win statewide in Oregon now or into the near future, then go for it.

        I used former conferederate states to describe what they are. I never said Reagan was a racist, but did and do say he knowingly exploited racist sentiments and resentments in his 80 campaign.

        Your generation was not so liberal when young, and is not so liberal now. My generation was liberal when young and for the most part remains so. The Gen Milems may grow more conservative later on, or they may not. Given that their formative years have been during the great Bush/Republican/Conservative crackup, I think it will take a lot to move them very far in your direction.

        I used “browning” as shorthand for the gradual but unmistaken ethnic changes of America that has little to do with summer sun. It has to do with immigration and birth rates.

        45% of American children under age 5 are minorities. The total minority population of the US is over 100 million. Hispanic and Latinos are 1/2 the growth in the US population over the past several years. Do the math. Time is not on your side here.

        Also…as the population becomes more urban it gets more cosmopolitan and less conservative, particularly on issues like gay rights. And America is getting less religious by the year. Just about every major trend line is away from conservatism. The one trend in your favor is geography, with most growth in what have been red states (south and inter mountain west). But this may end up just making these areas more liberal over time.

        Liberal preference may not be linked to skin color, but minorities know which side of the aisle runs on nativism and indifference to or scape goating of poor and out of mainstream groups at or near the bottom of things. When the minimum wage is raised or a service workers union is expanded…who gains?

        Jerry (below) I have no idea how your skin browned up in this blasted weather, but Mazeltov to you.

        cc…”movement conservatism” is not my term. It has been used by many, including some at the Heritage foundation to describe the current (but rapidly fading thank goodness) wave of activist conservative politics that wants to roll back the welfare state, not simply slow or contain its growth. Bush’s attempt to roll back Social Security was 2nd the biggest mistake he made in his presidency.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >I used former conferederate states to describe what they are. I never said Reagan was a racist, but did and do say he knowingly exploited racist sentiments and resentments in his 80 campaign.

          Kind of a distinction without a difference, and the use of “former confederate states” was quite purposeful in its intent. To not own up to it is really a little weak. I really think that on matters of race, there is nothing more fascinating than the double think that the left wing mind is capable of.

          My impression is it starts out with the basic premise that all members of the opposition are to be presumed racist until proven otherwise, and all members of the left are to be assumed non racist no matter how incontrovertible the evidence.

          This then leads to some humorous and ridiculous conclusions, that Reagan exploited race (your words) because of where he started his campaign, and Reverend Wright is simply a charismatic minister (your words again). This the leads to some kind of taint to be ascribed to Reagan, where none attends to Obama, who sat and listened to what to anyone would sound like a Klan rally, for 20 years.

          >I used “browning” as shorthand for the gradual but unmistaken ethnic changes of America that has little to do with summer sun. It has to do with immigration and birth rates.

          And this would be a further example of the above.

          Here you are trying to deflect from your original statement, assumption of party affinity based upon skin colour, by re working it and answering something that was never in question – what you meant by “browning”.

          I understood what you meant by the term, and that was quite clear from my response. Yet you go on to explain what the term “browning” means as if that were the topic, rather than giving an explanation of obvious racism inherent in your statement.

          Somehow where Reagan starts his campaign strikes you as appealing to racism, yet your assumption of party affinity based upon skin colour makes no impression on you. Quite astonishing really, but not unexpected.

          This pretty much the same thing we see with Obama, who constantly makes these sorts of statements. Instead of simply admitting, yes, they were somewhat racist and he should not make them, his supporters get into this convolution of explanation that’s just absurd.

          In the words of Mr. Spock – I find it……..fascinating.

        • Joey Link

          “Your generation was not so liberal when young, and is not so liberal now. My generation was liberal when young and for the most part remains so. The Gen Milems may grow more conservative later on, or they may not. Given that their formative years have been during the great Bush/Republican/Conservative crackup, I think it will take a lot to move them very far in your direction.”

          I believe we’re from the same generation. We have never known a truly conservative government that adheres to the Republican platform.

          • dean

            Rupert….for a guy who often gets his knickers in a twist whenever someone questions or misconstrues what he said, you win the grand prize for being guilty of same.

            A recognition of race is not the same as gathering votes by appealing to a racial prejudice. Those at the bottom of society’s ladder because they were born brown or black are generally well aware of their skin color and all the advantages this has conferred upon them. And they tend to vote their interests. Which they see (large majorities anyway) as being with the Democratic Party. This is simply a fact. Bush and Rove recognized and tried to build an appeal to Hispanics, and it looked like they were on teh edge of success until the rug was pulled out from under them by the anti immigration hysteria. I raised it in the context of pointing out the demographic problem your party and conservative movement have. If you want to turn it into a discussion of who is the real racist here (i.e. Reverand Wright)…fine. Whatever. Talk amongst yourself.

            Joey (below)…are you saying Reagan was not a “truly conservative” government? And if you have not had such a government all these years, why would you think one is on the horizon when what has passed for conservatism is now in retreat? What aspects of the “conservative platform” do you think have majority support in this state and nation today?

          • Joey Link

            oey (below)…are you saying Reagan was not a “truly conservative” government? And if you have not had such a government all these years, why would you think one is on the horizon when what has passed for conservatism is now in retreat? What aspects of the “conservative platform” do you think have majority support in this state and nation today?

            No, I don’t consider Reagan’s government truly conservative. He cut taxes, but didn’t cut spending, among other things.

            When did I say I thought a conservative government is on the horizon? I actually believe the exact opposite, which is why I’m working to change that.

            Wow, I must say, I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t read the Republican platform in a while. Last time I read it (probably 2003), it wasn’t written in support of George Bush. Majority support? Here are a few:

            – Sealing the border & ending benefits to illegals
            – Reducing taxes, especially for the lower class
            – Reducing wasteful government spending
            – Less government involvement in everyday life

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Rupert….for a guy who often gets his knickers in a twist whenever someone questions or misconstrues what he said, you win the grand prize for being guilty of same.

            I never get my “knickers in a twist” over someone questioning or misconstruing what I said. If they question it, I argue my point back, if they misconstrue, I explain with greater clarity. In general, that’s not what happens with you though, as the childish “knickers in a twist” comment clearly shows.

            My writing is fairly clear, but nevertheless, you have a tendency to make up words never said by me and then argue against a point never made by me. That’s not misconstruing, that’s literary masturbation. When it is pointed out, most would admit error and move on. You don’t, as, at least in this forum, you can not admit error gracefully. That’s a common human failing, but to then go on and impart the same to me because of your inability is really odd.

            As for the argument at hand, I’m bowing out. Anyone who assumes voting preferences based upon skin colour, and combines it with some sort of cabalistic reasoning that Reagan appealed to racial prejudice by virtue of where he started his campaign is simply not within that sphere of thought that includes logic and reason. It shows a hair trigger partisanship regarding race issues as concerns the opposition, with no serious introspection of ones own attitudes, or that of ones party.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >But this may end up just making these areas more liberal over time.

          Actually I would quite agree with you here. This follows the basic tenet of “that which is not explicitly conservative will tend to move liberal”

          Liberalism is, to my mind, the default government, although conservatism is the default rationality of the individual.

          I know many would disagree with me, but the basic premise of liberalism, playing to the avarice within all people, is ineluctable to the people as a whole. This was portended by the words that democracy was doomed once the people realized they could vote themselves money. That is where we are now.

          Contrary to the group, for the individual, conservatism is the default. People simply will not work twice as hard so their neighbor can have more free time willingly.

          Thus while individual conservatism is easy it is a much harder road to hoe on a national scale, it requires effort. It will always be easier to for the many to seek to steal from the few, and there will always be politicians willing to exploit this. For the majority of individuals within a country to go through the effort to provide for themselves what life normally expects of them is vastly more strenuous than the apparent solutions the left offers.

          Liberalism, while intrinsically evil, is also incredibly powerful. The narcotic of seeking power over others lives is the draw for some, while the ignorant bliss of giving up freedom in order to shirk responsibility and the cares of the day is the draw for others.

          This is the state of affairs as it exists in human nature. It is unfortunate, but should be recognized.

          • dean

            Fascinating. I think you put your finger on why “real conservatism” is not a 50% plus one politics, other than very occasionally. And even then (Reagan, Gingrich, Bush) it can’t succeed in breaking apart the welfare state. Too many people, darn them anyway, like the welfare state because it makes MODERN (note emphasis Rupert) life more secure, easier, better.

            Which supports my initial point that becoming “more conservative,” or “really really conservative this time,” is not going to resurrect the Oregon Republican Party. “I’ve got mine, go get yours” is just not an appealing theme to build an enduring majority around.

          • Joey Link

            And you think it’s good to promote this mentality that we don’t need to work for what we want and that the collective people will take care of us, should we fail? Who needs to work hard when the government will ensure that you’re always ‘alright’?

            I bet Thomas Jefferson would punch you in the face.

          • dean

            Joey…Thomas Jefferson was a civilized man. He would not try to punch me out. We would discuss our disagreements over a glass of fine French wine from his cellar, served by one of his hard working house slaves. Maybe even the one he impregnated.

            My view is that we are all on this island together. Everyone should contribute to the kitty, and at the same time we should grant each other a lot of personal space. It takes a lot of collective cooperation along with individual effort and initiative to build and maintain a highly technical, complex modern society. trying to boil it down to EITHER individual initiative OR socialism is a foolish proposition. We need both, we have both, and we will continue to tug on the rope, you on one side, me on the other. It is our fate.

          • Joey Link

            That sounds nice, and although I disagree, I can see and respect your point of view. The reason I consider that flawed logic is this: What mechanism(s) is/are there in your philosophy to ensure each is pulling his or her weight and not living off the kitty?

            And please don’t discount the question, I want an honest answer.

          • dean

            Joey…a good question. The short answer is that the mechanism in my madness is the democratic process, acting itself out within our constitutional framework. There is no question that individuals can always choose to not pull their own weight. Two examples include: Paris Hilton squandering her dad’s pile on the one end, and on the other the street guy who asked me for money last week, was offered Sister’s of the Road Cafe scrip (good for a meal) an refused it because he really wanted money for a drink (an honest man, Diogenes can rest).

            Through the pull and tug on the rope, society adds or subtracts benefits and requirements in response to changing circumstances. If my Democrats prevail in the next election for example, we are likely to see a wider availability of health insurance, paid for in part by cancelling out some of the previous tax cuts on wealthier Americans. In the 90s we had a cut back on welfare benefits by a bi-partisan agreement to limit how long one could collect. one hand giveth, and the other taketh away.

            Even in places like Sweden, Germany and France, which have far greater social benefits than we do, most people work and pull their weight. And in recent years these nations have cut back on benefits that had grown unaffordable. Tug and pull. That is the mechanism. It requires conservatives and liberals to play our respective parts, and most critically for independents to shift their support away from whichever side has gained too much power to help the other regain balance.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >And even then (Reagan, Gingrich, Bush) it can’t succeed in breaking apart the welfare state. Too many people, darn them anyway, like the welfare state because it makes MODERN (note emphasis Rupert) life more secure, easier, better.

            I absolutely agree with you Dean.

            Id like to note that for the record – I absolutely agree with Dean on this point.

            Well, except for one thing – Bush was not, under any understanding of the term, a conservative. Bush was a moderate.

            Other than that, I totally agree with you.

            Once a welfare state is established, it is extremely difficult to dismantle. The ugly truth of the matter is that theft and sloth, the tools of the welfare state to empower the elite, are easier aspects to appeal to than the hard work required of the individual to maintain his own freedom. It is truly an ugly state of affairs, as liberalisms appeal to that which is the worst in man, is enticing, but doomed to fall under its own weight. This will happen in the next generations time, not ours, as David Walker, comptroller general attests. The fact that no reasonable person disagrees with him, and yet there are those for whom the power they have is not enough and thus want to expand the welfare state, is truly horrifying.

          • dean

            Yet again – Rupert’s two pillars of truth:
            “Throughout history, there has always been someone (David Walker?) making a buck predicting the end of the world.
            Virtually everything tastes better wrapped in bacon.”

          • Joey Link

            Like Al Gore? 😉

    • cc

      As always. dean has an explanation for everything. Just accept his personal prejudices (oops, premises) and it all makes sense. It also helps if you don’t refute his pontifications with pesky “facts” like Reagan’s wins here. However, if you’d like to hear hateful mischacterizations of some convenient group whom dean terms “movement conservatives”, he’s your guy. And please note the fact that using catchall and subjective terms like “conservative” (“movement” or otherwise), “moderate” and “progressive” are perfectly OK for dean. If anyone else uses them he hypocritically squeals like a prig at their imprecision and over-broadness.

      Subtle, latent, patronizing racism is quite common among dean’s “peers”.

      His misspellings, though, are my favorite – sometimes quite telling:
      *God* schmidt” – priceless!

  • Anon

    Wasn’t it in the ’90s, after the “right wing” took over the Oregon GOP (after Lutz almost beat Packwood in the ’86 primary) that Republicans took control of both the Oregon House and Senate for the first time in about four decades?

    Yes, a different GOP breed than Hatfield, Paulus or Frohnmayer (who joined Barbara Roberts in gay rights parades and helped raise money for NARAL to defeat Denny Smith), but it is inaccuate to suggest wholesale ineffectiveness by movement conservatives.

    County after county registered GOP majorities for the first time in the ’80s and ’90s.

    The failure of statewide and congressional candidates resulted at least partially from the the Packwood wing of the party refusing to fund and support conservatives who won Primary races. The moderates intentionally defunded conservative GOP candidates and the party organization once they were no longer in control.

    The fundamentalists (right wingers) and the funders (business moderates) must pool their resources (passion and piggy banks) to build a successful party.

    My enemies’ enemy is my friend.

  • Coyote

    Anon #10 hit the nail on the head.

    The Republicans took control of both houses in Oregon on the heels of some hard fought (and won) battles that conservatives instigated.

    Actually Frohnmeyer would have been elected governor had he not intentionally shoved beans in the noses of conservatives.

    Many folks may not know this but there was at least one meeting (maybe two?) between some of the social conservatives and the Frohnmeyer camp. The SoCons were willing to take their lumps and if not back Frohnmeyer at least not OPPOSE him (with the exception of the Salt Shaker gang).

    All he had to do was commit to not fighting them and working for the other side (NARAL in particular). The Frohnmeyer camp said no dice. They would not only not be cordial but they would be down right hostile to the right.

    THAT is where the big split started. The conservative movement was on the march in Oregon and winning or coming very close on many issues both social and fiscal.

    It was the “moderates” like Frohnmeyer who busted it up and since he lost they have never wanted to play ball again.

    A great case in point is that when Ron Saxton lost his first run for governor his campaign manager Elaine Franklin left the party. Again the moderates just could not play nice with the majority of the party.

    Remember that Kevin Mannix very nearly won that election.

    Yet time and time again we have seen where the movecons have been willing to bury the hatchet and support the moderate. (It should be noted that folks like Frohnmeyer actually give the word “moderate” a bad name. They are what I would call hysterically moderate.)

    The movecons (I lump the social conservatives in this group in Oregon) were willing to back Jack Roberts for governor. Until his appearance with Kitzhaber that is.

    The movecons came in line and supported Saxton.

    The movecons have…cough cough… actually stayed in line and supported Sen. Smith.

    So this idea that it is the movecons who are the problem is nonsense.

    If Republicans are going to make a move again in Oregon then it is the hysterical moderates who need to suck it up and get over themselves.

    There is a chance at taking back the House. Although some of the hysterical moderates seem to be staking their reputations on folks like Matt Lindland and Matt Wingard losing.

    Ther is a chance that Dancer can indeed win the SoS race. I mean look at his opponent! Wait til the TV ads start running.

    Oregon you have a unique opportunity to really upset some liberal Democrat apple carts this cycle. You really do.

    Now just do the right thing and point your guns to the left… and fire.

    Oh and Larry H? As one commenter suggested… It might be more helpful if you got in the game and quit sniping from the sidelines and trying to kill good ideas in the boardroom.

    Put your talents to work on the field of battle. As tough as we sound sometimes, believe it or not if you did that you would be welcomed. Especially in a season such as this.

    yip yip

  • Delia Lopez

    Well I hope you’re right and a pro constitution, pro gun, pro family, fiscally conservative but socially liberal Republican can win. Because I ‘m running and I want to win. I Loved Bush’s 2000 platform, when President Bush said ” Let us have an American foreign policy that reflects American character. The modesty of true strength. The humility of real greatness”. I was sold. We need a strong national defense, not bases around the world costing us 1/3 of the federal budget! That is all federal income not just Federal Income taxes. 1/3 of the cost of every item you buy is going to pay the Taxes the company pays. Companies can not pay taxes they are always paid by the consumer. To police the world, a truly unconstitutional activity. We secure the borders of countless other countries while ours is left open. Millions come over our borders and abuse the systems we have, to care for our disabled and senior citizens, bankrupting them and leaving our needy wanting. How many hospitals must close down before we stop the invasion.

    Delia Lopez
    US Congressional Candidate Oregon #3
    [email protected]

  • Agreed

    True, they must pool resources to be effective: money and people. You can’t win without them. But those two factions must stop blaming each other for the overall failure, and for nothing more than putting their own issues first.

    I don’t really give a rip about abortion or gay people. But I know Republicans can’t win without motivated social conservative voters showing up to the polls. So I think we can find some common ground and I can be supportive (if not outspoken) on their issues.

    Likewise, if my business isn’t successful in what can be considered a progressive, D-leaning state, I won’t be able to write a big fat check to get R’s elected. Therefore, maybe the social conservatives can cut me some slack and not run every candidate through an idealistic litmus test, only to lose to Democrats that regulate and tax the crap outta me.

  • Anon #10 again

    Thanks for having my back Coyote. Sadly, Dave Frohnmayer’s arrogance created Al Mobley and split the party. Conservatives could have helped the better half of the Frohn-Tones win, even though the distinctions between Dave Roberts and Barbara Frohnmayer were hard to find for many of us.

    Instead of offering an olive branch, Frohnmayer offered conservatives Hemlock. Now, it is coming home to roost as his equally arrogant brother, John, is just too good and too smart to fit within either party.

    From the day Mannix beat Saxton in the Primary to the day Kulongoski squeaked out an undeserved victory, I can’t even count the number of Republicans who talked openly about how Mannix was too conservative to win and they weren’t going to waste their reputations or their money unless the nominee was within the “mainstream” of the party like that shoo-in Goli Ameri (woman, pro-choice, ethnically diverse, just what the GOP needed to win in the first congressional district after Republicans mistakenly nominated conservatives like Witt, Bordinaro and even Charles Starr — who polled better than Ameri in the General).

    Packwood’s “get out of my party” speech at Dorchester in ’87 followed by Frohnmayer’s “you’ll vote for me because you don’t have a choice” attitude in ’90 make any carping from their side about “litmus tests” and “big tents” both sad and laughable for those of us with battle scars not from blue staters standing against us, but from red staters standing behind us with GOP blood on their swords.

    I’m voting for McCain and Gordon Smith in November. I’ll work hard for them both between now and then even though they make me nervous. My enemies’ enemy is my friend. This year, John McCain and Gordon Smith are my friends because I KNOW Merkley, Clinton and Obama are opposed to most everything I hold dear.

  • Richard Brown

    Fist of all I do disagree with much article you correctly point out the problem but woeful short on the solution,, First the base at the precinct person level is when on might find the conservative base, the leadership always been center right moderate. Thanks to Outside activism (as la religious right, talk radio and blogs) has pushed the conservative movement outside party politics; furthermore, conservative has abandoned it principals of indicial liberty, free markets and limited government.

    We also do not have a leadership pool to draw creditable candidates.

    My solution is to drop all these secondary issue of abortion and immigration, and cultural statism for one base in individual liberty, capitalism, strong national defense, and limited government. Draw for rational economic and cultural conservatives and leave the fringe, i.e Limbaugh, Lars Larson and Victoria Taff, in the dust. In 2010, we need principled volunteers as Republican precinct person and they can elect principled leadership with in the party. I not call for a conservative takeover but a now movement within the party willing to stand against talk radio if necessary. Next we need principal leaders to run for local offices like school boards and city council this is how we build a pool of candidates for higher offices.

  • Aj5226

    Of course a Governor’s race would be high risk for a Republican in Oregon. Walden should run for Gov. and Atkinson can take his Congress seat. I would say Atkinson would be at least as good a Congressman, and besides, who else could win the Governorship?

  • Joey Link

    I sure wish I would have known about becoming a PCP before today. I think from here on I’m going to focus my political efforts on improving the Oregon GOP. Up until now I’ve worked for candidates who’s ideals were in line with mine, but I think my skills would be much better utilized trying to rebuild some leadership here in the state. I’m really happy this article was posted, both because Larry made some good points and because this is really something Oregon Republicans need to be talking about if we want to save this beautiful state.

  • PCP

    Good luck with being a PCP. You still have to battle the Marylin Shannon crazies who were recruited in the early 90’s for the SINGULAR PURPOSE of supporting the OCA. Just be prepared to be marginalized and endlessly debate which circle of hell gay people will be condemned to, or play the classic game of one-upmanship – “How Many Unborn Children Have *You* Saved Today?”

    They would rather fight each other and martyr themselves than be an effective ground force against Democrats. It’s all about the ideological purity tests instead of finding the common ground.

    • Another PCP

      If former State Sen. Shannon is a “gay-basher” than I can only assume that PCP will admit that s/he is a “Christian-basher” based on the vitriol s/he has spewed on this thread so far. Right, PCP? If Shannon is so bad, why aren’t you trying to embrace her as Jesus would?

  • Joey Link

    I’m up for the challenge. We have to start taking back the party somewhere, right? I don’t know anyone formally involved with the Oregon Republican Party so I’m hesitant to talk bad about them, but they’re obviously ineffective. We all have opinions on various issues, and these issues are just going to continue to drive us apart unless we get back to the basic fundamentals of conservatism. If that can’t be explained to these people, then we need to get new blood into the inner workings of the Oregon GOP so maybe the party can make something of itself. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but I’m sure I could do a better job.

    There’s no way to become a PCP before 2010 now that the deadline has passed, is there? Can the party appoint PCP’s to open seats?

  • PCP

    Joey, despite my cynicism, I really admire your attitude. That’s exactly what it will take to make our party effective. For that alone, you have my support. You have to be a PCP for 180 days before you can vote on anything, if I recall correctly. This means that you won’t be able to participate in any votes about party platforms, leadership or delegates for quite some time. However, the ORP can appoint people to open PCP spots, and even to adjoining seats if there is not a vacancy in the one you live in. I’m not sure if there are any functional differences between elected and appointed PCP’s, beyond that, if appointed, you would appear on the next ballot for that position.

    If I am mis-stating anything about the process, I encourage someone to correct me so we can get the right information out there.

    • Davis

      1. You have to have been a member of the party for 180 days prior to becoming a PCP, whether by appointment or election. Plus, you have to have been a member of the Republican party 180 days prior to being elected as a “bonus” delegate to the state convention (one did not have to be a PCP) which will be held next weekend in Salem (all counties have by now formed their delegations to the convention, so this is moot). So appointed PCPs are immediately eligible to vote on any matters of business before the county Central Committee.
      2. At the Congressional District conventions which will be held the first weekend in *July* only those PCPs elected in *this month*’s primary (emphasis because the time period is less than 180 days and many will be first-time PCPs) will be eligible to vote for the state party’s delegation to the National Convention in September. Beyond this one time, there is no functional difference between appointed and elected PCPs unless a particular county chooses to set one in its by-laws. BTW, the state party has no role in appointing PCPs; that is strictly a county party function.
      3. One must file for election as a PCP with one’s county clerk in much the same way as any person wishing to run for any elective office. It is not automatic. Usually, as the filing deadline approaches, the county party chair or other delegated officer will encourage all PCPs to “re-up” for another two years. Usually the county party will attempt to place at least one person in every precinct, taking advantage of the rule that allows people to serve in adjoining precincts, so in some rare circumstances one may find oneself elected to a precinct different from where one lives and/or was last serving.

  • Joey Link

    Thanks for the support, I appreciate it 🙂

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to read that there’s still hope of becoming a PCP before 2010 (via appointment). I’ll have to send some emails and see what I can find out. There’s a Clackamas County Republicans meeting tonight which I’ll be attending, so maybe they can give me some info as well.

    I’m surprised this information isn’t more readily available, and I think a campaign to get the message out about what conservatives can actually do to change things would help us immensely. I won’t even start on how horrible the state and county GOP websites are compared to those belonging to the other side of the aisle. It’s enough to make me want to brush up on my web design skills. People around my age (25) are so visual now days that I wouldn’t be surprised if potential conservatives were turned off by the old and out of date image of the GOP. We really need to re-invent ourselves.

  • Anon #10

    So, people of faith are “crazies” yet you espouse a “big tent” philosophy. So you see the problem we face.

    By the way, after intentionally defunding the state GOP after the “crazies” took over, do any of you remember who the big tent crowd endorsed to bring fiscal sanity back to the party? Click on the link below. And, by the way, he left the party deeper in financial debt than when he started.

  • PCP

    Careful with the “re-invent ourselves” talk. Some people think they are perfect just the way they are, and if someone needs to change, it should be the other guy.

    When people hear “re-invent” they immediately assume that means to moderate positions or to sell out/pander. That’s a shame, since you wouldn’t expect a business with plummeting sales to continue with the same marketing plan, insisting that their customers just need to adapt to them.

    That’s what this is – it’s a business and we are selling a product. And we are in a tough market, no doubt about it. We can’t just appeal to the 30% who register Republican….because that doesn’t quite make it to 50% + 1. We need to be able to appeal to other voters, or to start with, not scare them away. It doesn’t mean you have to sell out and start pumping out “New Coke”, but at the very least, it means we need to have an honest and open examination about who we are, what we want, and where we want to go. Self-righteous indignation isn’t exactly making our stock go through the roof.

    • Joey Link

      I do believe it’s possible to re-invent yourself without changing your principles or positions, as that’s just one part of everything. The part of that piece we need to deal with is where each principle and position lies on our list of priorities. In that respect, we definitely need to re-write our list. Two others are leadership and image, which both badly need a makeover.

      I agree with you about the people who think they and the party are perfect and that the problem is with others and the way they think. Those type of people do much more harm to the party than good. Your example with the failing business is spot on.

      Now, I’m not the type to lay into these people and tear the party apart. I would much rather include these types in the conversation and at least attempt to show them a better way of thinking, especially if they’ve been able to retain 30% of the vote (though I’d be surprised if 10% of those voters actually supported their agenda). If one were to go into this situation with the blame guns blazing, I’m sure they wouldn’t get too far and it would just drive a larger wedge in the party. The goal is to unite and rebuild, and to do that we need to get away from all these ‘issues’ and focus on what we have in common.

      Generally, even most Democrats and Republicans share the same values, and most want the same thing. Where we differ is which path to take to get there. Honestly, who doesn’t want a good job, a decent place to live, some money in the bank, a good education, good health, etc.? These are the things we need to focus on.

      • dean

        Amen to that Joey.

  • PCP

    …and for Anon #10

    You can’t put lipstick on a pig. Suddenly, Marylin Shannon and her gay-bashing acolytes are now just “people of faith”?!? Humble, salt-of-the-earth folks that clasp their hands in prayer at mealtimes and love their neighbor as themselves?

    I would no sooner refer to Shannon as a “person of faith” as I would Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

    Jesus embraced the tax collectors, the lepers, the prostitutes and those who needed forgivness and compassion more than anyone else. Marylin Shannon’s actions speak volumes about her priorities.

  • Yes, and Jesus also threw the money changers out of the temple and called the “religious” leaders of his day vipers and bags of dead men’s bones. Jesus was a radical, a revolutionary.

    Lest we forget, our Founding Fathers started a bloody revolution because they disagreed with the Crown’s tax policies (no taxation without representation). Today, someone uses the initiative system to advance a principle and people decry the “radicalism” and “zealotry” of activists. Truth be told, today’s activists would have been scorned as weak and lackluster by our founders!

    As far as people of faith go, I guess God has given you a gift He has not given the rest of us, the gift of judging others. My Bible teaches me I can’t judge the hearts of others. I am opposed to abortion, but God has never called me to chain myself to an abortion clinic door. However, I would never tell someone else that God has not called them to that civil disobedience. God doesn’t call on us to judge the calling He has put on others.

  • PCP

    Matthew 7:20 “And by their fruits you will know them.”

    We are all accountable, in the end, to something greater than themselves. You call on me not to judge, and yet Shannon and her ilk get a free pass because they invoke the name of religion to push their agenda? I know I am a flawed and prideful human being, but I won’t be giving that scorpion a ride across the river.

    • Davis

      It is obvious that you do not know Marylin Shannon and basically believe the MafioSi Media’s (MSM) caricature of her. Having worked closely with her in Marion County Republican activities as well as the shamefully rejected referendum efforts against Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007, I can unequivocally attest to the genuineness of her Christian faith. Until you can cite even one instance where she in any way harmed a homosexual man or woman or any one of their supporters, you really should reconsider your harsh opinion of her and actually get to know her.

      I do not know any Christian who could be convicted of “gay-bashing”, if by that you mean causing injury to one’s person. Stating my conviction that sex between two people who are not husband and wife to any person, whether normal or homosexual, does not harm that person. Opposing by any and all legal means those efforts to validate in law immoral practices is the epitome of Christian love in action, striving to protect society from itself. It is ALWAYS the homosexuals and their supporters who make this struggle personal.

      Read the Gospels again; you will see that “Jesus embraced the tax collectors, the lepers, the prostitutes and those who needed forgivness (sic) and compassion…” *as they came to Him* acknowledging their sinfulness and desire to follow Him. He always admonished them to “Go and sin no more.” You say, “We are all accountable, in the end, to something greater than” ourselves. John 3:18 puts it this way: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

      As it has been since its birth in 1854, the Republican party is the most willing to put its neck on the block for the cause of moral justice. That is why those whose religious convictions compel them to oppose such moral insanities as slavery, abortion on demand, terrorism, etc., gravitate to the party as the vehicle to implement public policies to check our worst impulses.

      Because we don’t have the big bucks to spread around to buy influence, you will find us filling the PCP slots which then turn into delegate slots at the State Convention, drafting the party’s platform and electing the state officers (for better or worse). So, PCP, although I do not know from which county you hail, I’m sure you are rubbing shoulders (uncomfortably?) with us at every county central committee meeting. If you would like to dilute our influence, between now and November (when your county party will organize for the next two years) you had better recruit more like you to become PCPs and perhaps even thrust yourselves forward into leadership.

  • Jim Stair

    The Republican party is a rotting corpse intent on looking as much like the even more corrupt and depraved Democratic Party. Would our Founding Fathers even recognize our political process –much less our value system? Money, and those who have it, now control the outcome of elections. If everyone –for as many elections as it takes– voted his conscience, (assuming there are enough people with consciences still alive today) perhaps they would take a look at the impoverished “third parties” and force some much needed reforms on our current “two-party” monstrosity. As for me, I saw this coming and switched to the fastest growing and least publicized third party, the Constitution Party, 8 years ago, but I am enough of a realist to know my action will have little effect unless millions of others do the same. Those eternal optimists who always vote for the lesser of two evils, will only succeed in electing an even more evil government every election.

  • NotYourDaddy

    Conservatives may disagree on social issues, but we all agree on smaller government, lower taxes, and more personal responsibility. If we could table the social agenda, we could reunite the party on the core principles on which we all agree. We need to do this. Splintering off into third parties and splitting up the conservative vote only weakens our chances of ever getting a conservative administration. Is it really worth giving up _everything_ just because you can’t have it _all_?

    I wrote a blog post about this yesterday.

    Conservatives need to take back the Republican Party. When I say conservatives, I mean fiscal conservatives. The social issues, from my perspective, are not really the province of government. The legitmate role of government is to protect its citizens. That’s all. Everything else can, and should, be handled by the private sector. The social issues are best left to the institutions of church and family. That’s not what government is for.

    If we can just get candidates who are true fiscal conservatives, — who believe in limiting government, not expanding it, lowering taxers, and enforcing the laws that are already on the books, — I believe we can *win* both local and national elections. What’s so wrong with that?

    • Joey Link

      This is exactly what I was getting at above. Great post 😉

      • dean

        So you guys are okay with gay marriage and abortion rights?

        • Joey Link

          While I certainly have personal opinions on the subjects, I don’t believe the government should play a role in either of them – especially the marriage topic.

          I think the fact that the government recognizes ‘marriage’ in the first place is wrong, no matter same or opposite sex. If the government wants to recognize two people are together for tax benefits or something, they should issue ‘civil union certificates’. The two people can then take that to their church or wherever else they choose and get ‘married’. That way, we take the issue of gay marriage out of the government equation, and it becomes an issue between religious institutions, which is what marriage is, after all. Don’t like it? take it up with your church or switch.

  • Anon #10

    What!?! The way to reunite the winning “Reagan” coalition is to ask social issues conservatives to ignore the very reasons they are compelled to political action because we “all” agree on the rest of it?

    You were writing in jest, weren’t you?

    Table morality? Table right vs wrong as long as my taxes are low? You may be fiscally sound, but you are morally bankrupt if you are willing to sacrifice right and wrong for a few more pieces of silver.

    Would you capitulate if I wrote that we should table fiscal issues until the social ones are resolved? Would you agree to fund campaigns and support social conservatives who support higher taxes and bigger government just because they are pro-life?

    If not, then don’t you dare ask us to support candidates who don’t value life or the sanctity of marriage just because they oppose an increase in the corporate minimum tax or an increase in the gas tax. Join you in supporting candidates on which we agree? Sure. Hold our nose now and again to achieve and maintain majorities? Sometimes. Place our values subservient to yours? Never.

    A moral government, a just society are the highest “core” principles of all! LIFE, liberty and the pursuit happiness.

    Reagn succeeded by uniting the disparate groups (socials, hawks, fiscals), not asking any one of them to stand down.

    “Social issues are not…the province of government”? Really? No laws against abortion, gay marriage, polygamy, prostitution, gambling, drug use? These are all societal value judgments on both right vs wrong and good vs bad.

    An amoral goverment is an immoral government. There is no such thing as staying out of sociall issues. To try to do so is to say there is no such thing as immorality or wrong decisions.

    My enemies enemy is my friend. It’s getting harder and harder to figure out which one of those options some of you want to be for social conservatives.

    • NotYourDaddy

      Anon #10, I don’t think you understand my perspective on this. There are many things that I believe are important that I do not believe it is the legitimate role of government to control. I think it’s important that children are properly raised. That doesn’t mean I want the government raising everybody’s children. I believe charity is good and moral. That doesn’t mean I want the government to take it upon itself to provide charity with my tax dollars. (That’s where entitlements come from). I believe health care is important, but I really don’t want the government involved in it. I also don’t think the government should mandate religious practices. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-religion. I just don’t think that’s the role of government.

      Just because I believe in something doesn’t mean it’s the proper role of government to mandate, enforce, or provide it. I want smaller government, not bigger government. I believe in individual freedom and individual responsibility.

      It’s common among liberals to insist that, because everybody agrees that something is good, that means government ought to provide it. Likewise, if something is bad for us, government ought to regulate or prohibit it. Liberals tend to believe that government should be in the business of protecting everybody from their own poor judgment. In other words, they see government as the Daddy. Most conservatives (including me) do not agree with that.

      That doesnt mean we don’t believe in morality. We just don’t believe it’s the government’s role enforce it — _unless_ the behavior in question violates the rights of another individual. Then it certainly _is_ the role of government to protect those rights.

      I believe the whole issue of gay marriage is a red herring intended to distract conservatives from the issues that really matter. What percentage of the population is homosexual? Less than 10%. What percentage of homosexuals actually want to get married? Probably a very small percent. So we have an issue that affects perhaps, at most, 1% of the entire population, yet it gets more publicity than the genuine issues that impact every one of us. Why are so many resources diverted to that silly little issue whan there are real issues at stake that are costing us all? All it is is a distraction.

      You mentioned life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. That’s a good point. However somebody defines happiness, and however they want to pursue it, is really none of my (or the government’s) business, unless it violates my rights or someone else’s. And if their pursuit of happines violates somebody else’s rights, they should be prosecuted like any other violator.

      The government exists to protect our rights. That’s all it’s for. That’s all I want it to do. I don’t see the need to grant it any more power than that.

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead for Congress

    Here are some of my Conservative articles if anyone is interested. I will be running for David Wus job in 2010. My website can be seen at

    Check it out if you have an interest!!!!!

    The IEVGB The Better GI Bill(05/29/2008)
    A Cost effective New GI Bill(05/27/2008)
    Hillary plays RFK card for a reason(05/27/2008)
    Obama Voting record apathetic(05/27/2008)
    Jim Webb votes "yes" on everything(05/27/2008)
    Reconsidering Costly New GI Bill(05/26/2008)
    Hillary plays RFK card for a reason(05/26/2008)
    Reconsidering Costly New GI Bill(05/25/2008)
    Jim Webb lacks fiscal "Common Sense"(05/25/2008)
    New GI Bill ridden with excessive costs(05/25/2008)
    Hillary plays RFK card for a reason(05/25/2008)
    New GI Bill almost perfect(05/23/2008)
    Obama plays Social Security Card(05/19/2008)
    The General and the Peter Principle(03/10/2008)
    Duncan Hunter rejects Air Force proposal(03/05/2008)
    Air Force to buy foreign made aircraft(03/05/2008)
    VA expands education benefits(03/04/2008)
    Medicare Commonsense(02/21/2008)
    Guardsman Kliroy gets the shaft(02/15/2008)
    Bill Clinton discounts Mike Huckabee(02/04/2008)
    Duncan Hunter’s Platform Emulated(02/02/2008)
    Chicken Skin and the Flat Tax(01/28/2008)
    Mormons, Quintessential Conservatives(01/27/2008)
    Why Duncan Hunter Will Be in the Cabinet(01/22/2008)
    Duncan Hunter, the Patriot’s Best Friend(01/17/2008)
    Update on State-Funded Tuition for ANG(01/09/2008)
    Duncan Hunter wins big in Wyoming(01/07/2008)
    Duncan Hunter and the family doctor(12/15/2007)
    Giuliani is skewered on “Meet the Press”(12/09/2007)
    Duncan Hunter and Healthcare(12/07/2007)
    Hillarycare, Rangel & the Baby Boomer(11/13/2007)
    Duncan Hunter new GI Bill(11/05/2007)
    A good look at Duncan Hunter’s platform(11/04/2007)
    Duncan Hunter and the Wyoming ANG(11/03/2007)
    It Depends on What the Meaning of ‘Is’ Is(10/30/2007)
    Duncan Hunter Guard/Reserve GI Bill(10/30/2007)

  • Murphy

    Please indulge a Liberal Portland Democrat’s perspective on all of this blood letting in the GOP. After getting over a brief attack of schadenfreude, two thoughts came to mind: first, get your act together, guys, because single party rule is unhealthy for any society, and your internecine war threatens just that. The last thing the Democratic Party needs is a GOP so impotent that the only elected office it holds is water commissioner in Malheur County.

    Then — ask yourself what caused all this folderol. Let’s see, in the past, what brand of Republicans won elections in Oregon, hmm? Here’s four examples: Tom Mcall, Mark Hatfield, Norma Paulus, and Bob Packwood. They were all moderates, worked across the aisle to solve problems, didn’t try to inculcate an ideology on folks, and anticipated problems and then tried to solve them. They also saw government as a force for good not the root of all evil. Yet the latter is now Republican dogma. How do you expect citizens to trust you to govern when you make it clear you detest the very idea of government?

    And that’s the catch then, isn’t it? Most folks want to think their government is looking out for them, but that tough to do when day after incessant day, Republican stooges and lackeys in the media like Larson, Limbaugh, Hannity and Taft (sounds like a real bad law firm) and right-wing blogs hammer home the message that government is not only the enemy, but categorically villainous. Then, you whine because folks don’t want you running things. It might dawn on you eventually that voters don’t like either your policies or your rhetoric; then again, it might not.

    I know this isn’t going to sit well with the folks who run the rino-hunting safari, but you know, it’s hard to win elections when you’re on the wrong side of issues, — and how can you craft a majority when you’re only appealing to the margins?

  • Anon #10


    We probably agree more than we know. I’m no fan of entitlements. However, you acknowledge the proper role of government is to protect our rights from being infringed by the actions of others. The most obvioue three rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I note we do not have the right to happiness, only the right to pursue it. But we do have the right to life and liberty.

    But you dismiss pro-lifers when their objective is to protect the right to life. Abortion is one person infringing on the rights of another in its most basic form (ignoring for now the rights of fathers who may not even know they are fathers). They deny thousands the RIGHT TO LIFE, which is a prerequisite to the right to liberty and the right to pursue happiness in its various forms.

    Does legalized gambling, prostitution, polygamy or drug use interfere with the rights of others? Libertarians would argue it does not (as long as you don’t drive or work while impaired). So, where would your ideal Republican Party stand on those “social” issues?

    Whose rights are violated in polygamy? Prostitution (as long as both parties are of legal age)? Should parents decide at what age their kids start smoking or drinking, or do you support laws mandating a structure on parenting regarding those issues and others?

    I know it is a slippery slope and a camel’s nose, but I can’t agree on abandoning government’s role in establishing a moral and just society in the name of absolute liberty and freedom. We must be vigilant in not allowing government to push us too far down the slippery slope.

    You and I could probably agree on eliminating hundreds, if not thousands, of “nanny” laws. But you won’t find me backing away from the most vital of all rights, our right to Life. As long as you dismiss that right as outside the purvue of governing, we will not be able to unite inside the same political party.

    • NotYourDaddy

      I think abortion is a gray area. (I recognize and respect that you don’t see it that way.) The reason I believe we can safely leave abortion out of most political campaigns is because it’s an issue that most office holders, particularly in local politics, have no control over. I believe it should be left up to the states. In our present system, that’s not the way it is. Until and unless that changes, there is very little that any politician can do to change the current abortion laws. However, it is a very divisive issue that tears the party apart, splitting the conservative vote and making it almost impossible to get any conservative elected. From a purely practical perspective, I think that divisiveness over an issue over which a politician has no influence anyway can only harm our party and keep conservatives out of office. It cannot, at this point, do any good (except for the liberals who win elections because the conservative vote is fractured).

      As for laws regarding prostitution, drugs, smoking, etc. Each is a different case. For example, legal recognition of polygamy would wbe a practical impossibility. All the legal benefits conferred by the government on married couples relate specifically to the fact that there is one partner. When someone dies intestate, their spouse inherits. But, supposing there were multiple spouses, there’s no way for the government to determine who gets how much of what. Imagine the complexity of having separate tax tables for every possible combination of married to one person, married to two people, etc. It would be impractical/impossible for the government to recognize polygamous marriages.

      Before children reach the age of majority, there are certain rights and priveleges that are not granted. I’m OK with restricting smoking, drinking, marriage, etc. until someone is legally responsible for themselves. I think the legal age in each state should be determined by the states.

      I tend to take a libertarian view of victimless crimes, including drugs and prostitution. I do not believe it makes sense to have unenforceable laws. The oldest profession is never going away. If it’s legal, prostitutes can be regularly tested for AIDS and other STDs, and it can be taxed. (Why should their income be tax free when everybody else has to pay?) Again, this comes down to a question of individual responsibility. People make their own choices. People have to take responsibility for their own lives. If they don’t violate the rights of others, it is not up to the government to save their souls. It’s up to them. We can’t force someone else to be moral. But we can and should protect ourselves and others from those who would do us harm.

      • Joey Link

        We need more people like ourselves in the Oregon GOP.

  • Coyote

    You can’t entirely table the social issues. You don’t have to run on them as some kind of cause celeb but to send a message to a major voting (and working) block of your party is not the way to win elections.

    The only reason that some of the “moderates” won statewide in the past is that there are some in the liberal wing of the Republican party who decided that since they were in favor of abortion rights then THEY were going to make a major issue of them in the primary elections.

    And then when they did not win they took their baseball gloves and went home.

    If the social conservatives played the game the way the liberals do then you would not have the one state-wide Republican in office you have now.

    Taxes and land use are HUGE issues to Oregonians and the initiative process runs a close third. A pro-life Republican who runs on limiting taxing and spending and reforming the land use system and win statewide and certainly win enough seats to take back both the house and the senate.

    The question is: Will the moderates stay and play some team ball?

    You can’t confuse electoral politics with the squabbling that takes place within the party structure itself. Too many elected Republicans could give a rip about what the “party” has to say. That is unfortunate but it is the truth.

    And with that in mind you can’t allow yourself to be taken out of the game (no matter what side of the issues you come down on.) because of the inter-party fights.

    It is ok to have such fights, however it is important that after you have those fights that you decide do bury the hatchet and advance the ball forward.

    • NotYourDaddy

      Coyote, I agree. It’s fine to have differences. But we need to unite behind the most conservative candidate for each office. Hopefully, that will be a Republican. But it isn’t always the case.

      In Josephine County, we have two positions on our BoCC up for election in November. There’s a Republican running in each race. One is an incumbent. But it’s an unfortunate commentary on the Republican Party that, in both of these races, the conservative candidates are not the Republicans. One is an independent and the other is a member of the Constitution Party. As much as I want to support and reunite the Republican Party and, as much as I’d like to vote for the Republicans in these two races, I have to vote my conscience, not my Party. So I’ll be supporting the other guys.

    • NotYourDaddy

      If that sounds like a contradiction to what I was saying before about reuniting the Republican Party, it is and it isn’t. I registered Republican so I could vote in the Republican primaries and work at the local level to get the _right_ Republicans on the ballot. Once the ballot is determined, I’m going to vote for the candidate who best represents my interest, whether that candidate is a Republican or not. In a presidential election, chances are it will always be the Republican. McCain represents my interests a lot better than Obama or Clinton do.

      However, in a local election, when a left-leaning Republican runs against a true conservative, I’ll vote for the conservative. If enough people do that, and the left-leaning Republicans start losing to real conservatives, sooner or later, the party will get the message. — But that only works if the opposition is more conservative than the Republican. If a more liberal candidate wins, it sends the opposite message. That’s what we have to avoid at all costs.