Horse Whipping Kulongoski Would Be An Insult to Horses Everywhere

Back in the old days — you know the days in which we actually held people accountable for their acts — one of the things for which people were horsewhipped was public lying and cheating. After reading about Gov. Kulongoski’s faux State of the State speech, I think it is high time we bring back horsewhipping — reserved exclusively for lying cheating politicians. One of two things would happen. Either the lying and cheating would stop, or the line for punishment would be so long the government couldn’t get anything else done — I’m okay with either outcome.

The Oregonian reported:

“In his departing State of the State speech, Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski warned Friday that state government must “dial back” what it offers the public if Oregon wants to survive 10 years of looming budget deficits.

“Kulongoski, addressing a friendly, invitation-only crowd of about 200 at Portland State University, said the state has relied too heavily in the past on one-time bailouts and other temporary fixes that now threaten to undermine its financial stability.

* * *

“Kulongoski, serving his last of eight years in office, is calling for a “reset” of state government to shrink costs and at the same time stabilize the money the state takes in. Without offering much in the way of specifics, he said his handpicked “reset cabinet” will offer a series of recommendations for cutbacks to the next governor and the 2011 Legislature.

“Those could include eliminating some state agencies and programs and “˜investing less in some government functions,’ he said.”

Kulongoski has spent over thirty years as an elected or appointed government official. Not once during that entire time did he find a state agency or program that he thought should be “eliminated” or even reduced. Despite two extraordinary recessions Kulongoski presided over double digit budget increases in each biennium. He increased the number of state employees during that period from 73,100 to 78,800 by the close of 2009 while sitting idly by as 66,000 Oregonians lost their jobs in his first recession and 163,800 lost their jobs during the current recession.

There is not a single instance to which Kulongoski can point in which he undertook a critical review of any function of state government or the personnel performing it. On the other hand, it would take an encyclopedia to chronicle all of the state programs for which he has promoted growth in cost and personnel. He has granted the public employees unions a “no compete” clause in which no function provided currently by a public employee union member can be “outsourced” regardless of the efficiencies or savings that could be gained.

He has watched the costs of the gold-plated Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) spin out of control mounting an unfunded future liability the exceeds the totality of the biennial budget and his solution was to announce that any attempts to reform the system were “off the table.” This guy is such a slug that he even declined to acknowledge, in response to a public document request, that he was even a member of PERS or that the state picked up the tab for his “contributions” to it.

He has virtually turned the Governor’s Office over to Oregon’s public employees unions hiring three of their former officials to the top three positions in his office. No person or proposal gets to the governor’s desk unless vetted by these former public employees unions’ officials.

Kulongoski has denied repeatedly that he knew of or helped cover up the repeated rape of a fourteen year old girl by his political mentor, Neil Goldschmidt. Yet his good friend, Fred Leonhardt, testified that he told Kulongoski about it on more than one occasion. Kulongoski’s equivocation about the events and even his long time relationship with either Goldschmidt or Leonhardt leaves one wanting to wash his hands immediately after meeting Kulongoski.

What sort of man spends his entire political life in such fashion and then has the audacity to suggest that the very system he helped build is not working. This is the moral equivalent of John Kitzhaber, after having failed to accomplish a thing during his two terms as governor, declaring Oregon to be “ungovernable.”

On second thought a “horsewhipping” is too good for Kulongoski — it lasts too short of time and the pain goes away too quickly. Kulongoski should be required to don a sign each month and walk the I-5 corridor between Salem and Portland carrying a sign that says “I AM A LIAR AND A PUBLIC HYPOCRITE” each time he picks up his handsome PERS check for the rest of his life.

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  • skippy

    The GOP has reached the end of its current trajectory and is a party with waning relevance. These crude meanderings are repetitive and offer no solutions. All 50 states are struggling with pensions and scarce dollars. Let’s not forget that over the last 30 years it has been the GOP who has been on a spending binge with GWB crashing the economy. How about a rant about how the GOP has left me…

    • Steve Plunk

      Skippy, How about you offering a solution to PERS? You mentioned no solutions so here’s your chance.

      This state is not in the shape it’s in because of GOP governance. It’s in a mess because the public employee unions have corrupted the legislature and every other elected body in the state. They have influenced them to overpay them and to promise benefits we cannot deliver. They have failed to deliver services important to the state and they continue to harass business. Those unions are also the darlings of the Democratic party.

      Take a look at what GWB had for deficits and then compare those to what Obama is giving us. The huge increases in deficit spending will send inflation higher and ruin the economy. Ignoring those increases while blaming Bush for smaller deficits is partisan ignorance meant to misdirect the public from the real facts.

      Sleepy Ted should be ashamed for not saying anything about controlling costs until he’s on the way out. Calling him a coward would be too good for him. He and his cohorts in the legislature have already run us off that cliff he talks about but he doesn’t even know it.

      I have worked with local government as a volunteer for nearly twenty years and have come to the conclusion it works for itself rather than the citizens. It is structured in such a way we have lost control and it has lost the consent of the governed a good portion of the time. I’ll be resigning as a committee chair soon so I can work against government rather than work with it. It has become that bad. Government has become that corrupt.

      • eagle eye

        Steve, maybe you’re right, maybe it’s time to hang it up.

        If you can’t persuade people in Medford — Medford! — of the rightness of your views, it’s probably hopeless anywhere west of Sisters and larger in size than, maybe, Fossil.

        What exactly are you going to do to “work against government”? Are you going to go into the city council meeting with your horsewhip? I doubt it — I don’t think Larry is serious, either — but what then do you have in mind?

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Let’s not forget that over the last 30 years it has been the GOP who has been on a spending binge

      And lets not forget BO and Democrats in Congress have been on an even bigger spending binge than all the previous presidents combined.

      At this point in the game the Democrats own the deficit for a generation. They have spent far and above anything ever conceived of before. With BO care they will totally collapse the US economy unless the CBO numbers are spot on – a collosal chance to take considering the historic record on entitlements.

      Please, at this stage of the game it is ludicrous for you to be raising spending as an issue against Republicans.

      • valley p

        “This state is not in the shape it’s in because of GOP governance.”

        Actually it is Steve. This is a national recession brought on by the fiscally careless policies of George Bush and a Republican congress, that started an unnecessary war, cut taxes, and expanded unfunded entitlements. The state budget is based on incomes, and incomes are down. Yet we still have the same number of kids to educate, prisoners to house, roads to maintain, sick people to care for, and so forth. There are no magic ‘savings,” and no programs that could be eliminated that would make any appreciable difference to the budget.

        “And lets not forget BO and Democrats in Congress have been on an even bigger spending binge *than all the previous presidents combined* .”

        That is a statement you keep making Rupert, and it does not get any truer each time. Obama has been in office 1 year and has submitted a single budget. That budget is during the worst recession in US history since the Great Depression. Get a grip. He has not spent money 7 years in advance. He is, to a great extent held hostage by the fiscal follies of George Bush and the Republican congress that preceded him.

        You can keep claiming the democrats own the deficits they inherited, but the only president to run a budget surplus (4 of them) in the past 30 years was a Democrat. And I’ll predict here and now that the next president to run a surplus will be a Democrat, and yes he will raise taxes to help accomplish this.

        The economy is now growing, employment is growing, previous tax cuts will soon be rescinded, health care cost increases may finally abate, and the budget deficit will start to close. And you will be left flapping your gums, raging at an uncontrollable reality.

        • Steve Plunk

          Ignorance is bliss to most Dems isn’t it?

          The only president to run a surplus in the last 30 years did so on the back of a hot economy made possible by his predecessors low tax rates and under pressure from a Republican controlled congress.

          Bush was not the perfect president but he did face a war brought on by Islamic extremists and the countries that harbored them. His decision to invade Iraq was approved by congress and the American people. His stewardship of our own economy was fine until the housing bubble collapsed, a housing bubble created by the likes of Barney Frank.

          Obama’s own budget projections show huge deficits for years to come so don’t hide behind the fact it hasn’t yet been spent. The programs are in place and the money will be spent like never before. Health care costs will continue to rise as the health care reform bill did nothing to address costs. As with most government programs the likely costs will far exceed estimates. If budget deficits close anywhere near Bush’s deficits I’ll not only eat my hat but I’ll change my party affiliation to Democrat. Your statement regarding deficits is fantasy.

          Vally p, I have to put you in the same spot as skippy, how can you not recognize the damage PERS and public employee unions are doing to this state and states around the country? Ignoring this issue undermines credibility and makes liberals look foolish. Our state budget problems have everything to do with these two things and nothing to do with previous Republican governance.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >The only president to run a surplus in the last 30 years did so on the back of a hot economy made possible by his predecessors low tax rates and under pressure from a Republican controlled congress.

            Well, and lets also not forget that Clinton did not want a surplus, he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to it.

            When Republicans took congress in ’94, Clinton submitted $300B deficit budgets for as far as the eye could see. His tax increase had been in effect for over two years by that point, so even Clinton didn’t think the tax increase was what brought about the surplus.

            In fact the surplus was largely due to two things Clinton had zero to do with – falling interest rates made our debt expense lower, and there was less money needed to counter the Soviet Union military threat.

            Clinton did wind up with balance and surplus, but it was attributable to circumstances rather than any major action on his part. Clinton’s own actions prove that.

            Lets also not forget, most of the current mess we find ourselves in is pretty much due to the Democrats. The subprime crises, directly attributable to the loose lending policies established by Democrats is the essential core of the problem and most economists agree on that fact. Alan Greenspan just testified to it.

          • valley p

            The alternative realities expressed here always amuse me. Steve and Rupert, you both can never escape from the fact that its was Clinton and only who ran a balanced budget. All these so called conservative presidents piled deficits on deficits.

            Crediting the Republican congress in the 90s for the surplus requires ignoring that after Bush was elected the very same Republican congress aided and abetted his deficits all the way. And the Clinton RAISED TAXES without a single Republican vote. During that debate the Republicans claimed that tax raise would destroy the economy. You can continue to live in denial here, I can’t help you.

            Steve, you ask how I cannot recognize the damage PERs has done, and you think you are putting me in a “spot.”. Here is my answer.

            1) PERs is a single aspect of the state budget. In focusing on PERs, you ignore the property tax limitations that shifted the burden of school funding from local (and largely business) property taxes to the state. Had that not happened we would have no PERs crisis.

            2) Yes PERs is a problem. But as has been pointed out numerous times on this blog every time the subject comes up, there are legacy PERs recipients, who paid in under a contract that has to be upheld. And there are newer state employees, who are in a different, much better funded and less generous retirement plan.

            3) Your PERs complaint is I believe rooted in a wider complaint about unions. As private sector unions have declined, public sector unions have “held the fort” for working people. The rights complaint about PERs and public unions is (I believe) part of a strategy to weaken working people. You want to divide non union private sector workers from unionized public sector ones. Rather than cutting public sector benefits, I prefer to work the other side and try to improve private sector benefits. And to do that we need Democrats, and thus we need public sector unions.

            4) Get used to the idea that our taxes are going to go up 9especially on wealthier people,) both state wide and nationally. We have binged for decades, thinking that tax cuts would magically result in government cuts that never followed. It isn’t plausible that we are going to cut schools, health care, and old age pensions or the military deeply enough to avoid the need to raise taxes. We have the 4th lowest tax burden in the OED. Only Mexico, Turkey, and S Korea have lower taxes. Modern economies and modern people want and need a wide range of high quality services from their governments, including economic security and education. In America we also want the strongest military in the world. You do the math.

            “Our state budget problems have everything to do with these two things and nothing to do with previous Republican governance. ”

            Well…we are not going to agree on that for the reasons I stated.

            “When Republicans took congress in ’94, Clinton submitted $300B deficit budgets for as far as the eye could see.”

            Again, you keep repeating the same crap thinking it will be truer. Budget projections are based on current policies and assumptions about growth rates. The economy grew faster than had been projected, and government spending was held lower, thus previously projected deficits became surpluses. Clinton submitted surplus budgets to Congress from 1997 on. He did not submit deficits. Bush never submitted a balanced budget to congress. Nor did his dad, nor did Reagan.

            Previously you claimed the surplus simply dropped into Clinton’s lap. You are reality challenged Rupert. You can’t accept that it was his policies that resulted in a surplus. Because then you would have to accept that it was the policies of Republican presidents that resulted in deficits.

            But if you want to continue to make your argument then you have to acknowledge that the deficit Obama faces “dropped into his lap.” That way when he eventually closes it you can say the same thing.

            “Lets also not forget, most of the current mess we find ourselves in is pretty much due to the Democrats. ”

            Take responsibility for heavens sake.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >you both can never escape from the fact that its was Clinton and only who ran a balanced budget.

            And you can never escape the fact that over two years after the Clinton tax increase, Clinton himself projected nothing but $300B + deficits far past his eventual second term. Try as you might, even Clintons own budgeting gives no credit to the tax increase for balancing the budget.

            >Crediting the Republican congress in the 90s for the surplus requires ignoring that after Bush was elected the very same Republican congress aided and abetted his deficits all the way.

            No, it simply requires facing the fact that the republicans totally lost their way on spending and it became out of control.

            That fact has never been ignored by conservatives.

            Really the only ignoring here is being done by you.

            It has been endlessly pointed out to you that every notable conservative criticized the spending of both Bush and the Republican congress as years went on.

            That’s a major difference that you simply cannot comprehend, thus your continued ignorance of it. Some have the ability to criticize members of their own party when such criticism is due.

            You, on the other hand, can never criticize party members, Thus your continued ignorance of the fact that no one out there would deny Republicans totally shifted on spending and were roundly criticized for it from within the Republican party.

            >And the Clinton RAISED TAXES without a single Republican vote.

            Yep, and had nothing but deficit projections more than two years after the taxes went into effect. Thus any contention that the tax hikes were the source of the surplus immediately falls apart, as the Clinton projections confirm.

            >the Republicans claimed that tax raise would destroy the economy

            No, the republicans claimed it was unnecessary and would slow growth. After more than two years it was clear that they were right and were voted into congress in part because of their opposition. The deficit was not on a path to zero more than two years after the tax increase and that in no small part helped them win congress.

            You might not like that, but it is hard to argue the resounding success of the tax increases when your party loses a 40 year reign of power in the very next election and spending was no more under control than before the tax increase

            >You can continue to live in denial here, I can’t help you.

            Thank you. Some might want to live in your partisan dream world, but I doubt most.

            Face it, Clinton had nothing but deficit projections long after his tax increase and rightly lost congress to a party that promised, and did deliver for a few years, more fiscal restraint and less aspirations to massive spending like Hillary care.

            If you don’t want to learn that lesson now, you will learn it at the end of the year. You guys are currently looking at a blood bath in November over this exact same thing.

            >>”Lets also not forget, most of the current mess we find ourselves in is pretty much due to the Democrats. ”

            >Take responsibility for heavens sake.

            Sorry, just repeating what Alan Greenspan testified to.

            The history is pretty clear, Bush warned congress twice about Fmac and Fmae, and Barney Frank was saying both were on sound footing a month before the collapse. The record is clear on who gae warning and who tried to cover it up. That was the seed of what got us in this mess and whether you want to face that or not does not change that basic reality.

            We just had the most successful chairman of the FED in recent memory testify to that very fact.

            You cant ever criticize your party so you wont ever deal with the Democrats culpability. No one is saying that Democrats were solely to blame, but it is clear they were largely to blame for the sub prime aspect of the financial meltdown.

            You cant ascribe any blame whatsoever to Democrats, on any issue, let alone this one. You live in a simple world of “its all Bush’s fault” where your reality is only what exists on the DNC fax machine.

            Thanks, but for those who actually put some thought into the issue, your solution of Republicans always bad, Democrats always good is really a little absurd.

          • valley p

            Boy Rupert, when you latch onto a set of erroneous assumptions you hang onto them for dear life.

            “No, the republicans claimed it was unnecessary and would slow growth. *After more than two years it was clear that they were right* and were voted into congress in part because of their opposition.”

            There was no 2 years. Democrats voted for the Clinton tax increase in late summer of 1993. It did not go into effect until fiscal 1994. Republicans were elected the following year. Clinton’s economic policies were in effect 1 year, not 2. Get it?

            “Face it, Clinton had nothing but deficit projections long after his tax increase”

            Wrong. Clinton’s state of the union address in 93 proposed the tax increase and said it would reduce the federal budget deficit by $500B over a 5 year period. Since his first year had the $290B deficit left from Bush senior, where in the world do you get these $300B deficit projections? You made them up in your head? The deficit fell steadily every year after Clinton’s tax hike as he predicted. The economy boomed, averaging 4% growth over his 2 terms. The budget went into balance and then the largest surplus in history. Republicans were WRONG, and once they regained power they blew it.

            “The history is pretty clear, ”

            It is to everyone except yourself apparently. Or maybe I should say it is “clear” to you, but clearly wrong.

            “Sorry, just repeating what Alan Greenspan testified to.”

            Alan “its not my fault” Greenspan? That is your mentor? Well you appear to have learned from the master Rupert. Mazeltov. You and he can live happily in responsibility denial land.

            “You cant ever criticize your party so you wont ever deal with the Democrats culpability.”

            Culpability in what? The meltdown of the US economy? Clintons agreement to repeal Glass-Steagel, pushed by Republicans, and his unwillingness to regulate derivatives (he was forewarned) were both huge mistakes that opened the door for bankers to run wild. But Bush and the Republican Congress had plenty of time to correct those mistakes. They failed to see a train coming right at them all through the housing bubble. I imagine there were some Democratic inspired policies that contributed to the great depression as well, but Hoover is the man in history, and you can’t spin Bush out of his record.

            “You cant ascribe any blame whatsoever to Democrats, on any issue, let alone this one. ”

            B.S. On this blog it takes all my efforts simply to hold reality up to your nose. Little space is left for critiquing Democrats, nor is there any need given 99% of the posts here.

            The day you and Republicans take an ounce of responsibility for what you just did to the American economy is the day we can talk about me helping you attack the other side.

            Fundamentally, the problem is that Republican economics failed spectacularly. Tax cuts, budget deficits, unfunded wars, unfunded entitlements, and anti-regulation regulators added up to a slow growth economy followed by a serious disaster. Now you have the gall to sit there and whine about “Obama’s deficits.” Its laughable when it isn’t stomach churning. It is going to take him 4 years to get back to even if we are lucky. You don’t want to give him a chance to succeed because lets face it, if he does so then his successful record will have followed Clinton’s and your party will be cemented as the economic joke it deserves to be. You will have to close shop and make up a new name. Tea Party? Why not.

            Economic malfeasance. That is what Republicans have wrought. Until you realize that you will keep calling for a return to the exact policies that failed.

    • eagle eye

      Skippy, don’t you see that these guys know which way the wind is blowing? With Bill Sizemore as our prophet and Larry as our ground leader, electoral victory is just around the corner.

      After all, we’ve been winning a lot lately, haven’t we?

  • Bill Sizemore

    Here was the real eye opener for me, Steve. When we put the PERS measure on the ballot in 1994, it appeared that it was likely to pass. How did government respond to what would be the expressed will of the people? During the month before the election and the month after the election, a period during which the measure had passed but could not yet take effect, 242 local governments and school districts across Oregon, and these are just the ones I knew of, opened their contracts with public employees and amended those contracts so as to nullify the will of the people and reject the savings the measure brought to them and their local taxpayers.

    These actions made it crystal clear to me that all of these taxing districts, including cities and counties across Oregon, exist first and foremost for the benefit of government employees, not the people they are supposed to serve. The Oregon Supreme Court sent the same message when it voted to overturn the measure on phony legal grounds, effectively creating an “implied” contract where none had existed before and locking us all into a state of virtual bankruptcy.

    Those districts (and by extension all of us) are collectively in the hole now for more than $13 billion due to PERS, a problem that may get a lot worse.

    This the primary reason I am running for governor. My decision has nothing to do with personal ambition. The public employee unions are destroying this state and either we break the stranglehold they have on the state or our future will be a bleak one.

    No one else in the Republican Primary is saying that. The others are all promising things that they positively cannot deliver until the unions are dethroned. If nothing else, I hope to get that message out to as many people as possible, including the other candidates in the race, who are hearing me say these things to much applause in every forum.

    Unfortunately, Chris Dudley is no longer attending the conservative forums with other Republican candidates, which means poor Chris will from now on get his education from Gordon Smith’s advisors and we all know what that means for Chris and the rest of us, if he wins: A lot of disappointment and dashed hopes.

    • neutral observer

      “This the primary reason I am running for governor. ”

      Maybe so, but the secondary reason must be that you are delusional. Even before you crashed you drew less than 40% of the vote for governor. Your present candidacy is that last thing that would convince anyone to join you in fighting against unions. It just reminds people to be careful about what fights they pick. Rightly or wrongly, you are badly tainted, and not more than a handful of diehards will rally behind you on this or any other issue.

      Word to the wise Mr Sizemore. Get your own house in order before you ask to be put in charge of the state house. Re-enter politics when you can present yourself as an older and wiser person who learned valuable lessons. People love 2nd chance stories, but you have to allow some time and space to bury the first story.

      Chris Dudley is a nice guy, but a joke politically. So what does it say about your party that he is your best chance?

  • Bob Clark

    Bill is spot on. Government employee unions own this state, many other states and now Obama has put the National Labor Relations Board under government employee union direction. There is no countervailing force to the government employee unions in this state. Kulongowski probably wouldn’t be governor today if he had tried to defang the government employee unions. So, eventhough Kulongowski’s alarm ringing speech is irritating, I am not sure it could be anyother way. Teaparties may be our only hope to begin anew. Teaparties are not afraid to recall judges and elected officials.

  • Rob DeHarpport

    “Sleepy or Sleezy Ted” was/is the most inept leader in our States history. He leaves behind a legacy of unsustainable government growth. Union cronyism. A legacy of “heavy handed” back room bully tactics when anyone opposed any of his rediculous enviromental schemes; i.e. the Waldo Lake memorandum of agreement with the USFS courtesy of AG John “Fake Transparency” Kroger and his “strong arming” of OSMB Director Donheffner and the Marine Board. Oh, let’s not forget how he swept State Climatologist George Taylor under the rug for “disagreeing” with Teddy.
    Couple the unsustainable growth, wacked out enviro policies, sleezy tactics and last but not least the most unfavorable business and tax climate in the country that he was culpable for and presto!!
    Just look at us now!
    Great job Ted, hope your really proud!!

  • retired UO science prof

    Great! The conservative/tea party movement under attack for supposedly being redneck, racist, violence prone, seditious. Then the Virginia Republican Governor proclaims Confederate History Month! Seems to think that the Civil War maybe was won by the wrong side. I guess it wasn’t enough to have prominent conservative writers suggesting that FDR was really a fascist. Perfect for winning over the people in the middle that you need to win elections!

    Now Larry wants to bring out the horsewhip for — the twice legally elected, very popular (OK, a lot more popular than Saxton, Mannix, Sizemore …) Governor Ted.

    Do you guys think this helps your cause?

    Where is Jerry? He was a much better spokesman than Larry! Bring him out of exile!

  • matthew vantress

    im sorry the pers contract does not have to be legally upheld.if the state wanted to they could bankrupt the whole pers system and their is not a darn thing the public employee unions could do about it either.legally the unions cant stop the state from bankrupting the pers system.the liberals and their do nothing arrogant attitude about our still double digit unemployment rate show how much liberals really care about the average private sector oregon citizen.

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