Draft Kitzhaber

Jesse Cornett

John_kitzhaber
I've been hearing about another potential candidate for governor for a couple weeks now. I didn't personally speculate too much, even though I was told that this was more significant than all of the other entries. The Oregonian is reporting today that there is possibility that another Democrat will enter the race to replace Ted Kulongoski: Dr. John Kitzhaber, Oregon's most recent past governor. Kitzhaber, the article says, is being urged by those around him to give it another shot.

Political lore has it that this is how it happened the first time Kitzhaber ran for governor. As a recent former Senate President, his advisors and others kept urging him to run a primary challenge against then Governor Barbara Roberts. He heard from enough people and made his intentions known. For whatever reason, Governor Roberts opted out of a second term, clearing the path for Kitzhaber in that primary.

This time around, he doesn't sound like a candidate yet, but he sure doesn't sound like someone ready to end their break and get back in the game.

In private circles, there is word that Kitzhaber is unhappy with Kulongoski, both for statements the governor has made about Kitzhaber's administration and for his handling of a number of issues, including increases in state-sponsored gambling, the deterioration of the Oregon Health Plan and a lack of action on environmental problems.

If Kitzhaber were to get into this race, he could clear the deck for a one on one matchup with the man he endorsed as his replacement. Stay tuned....

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I'd love to see Kitzhaber back in politics, but I'd rather have him run against Gordon Smith. Though the odds for that seem tiny indeed.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I would love to see Kitzhaber run against Smith, however.... 2 things about US Senate:

    Gordon Smith is up in '08

    Dr. John Kitzhaber would have to move away from his beloved Oregon and live in DC.

    Ted Kulongoski was supposed to be the gregarious governor who would have Kitzhaber's strengths but also socialize with legislators and others and be less of a recluse. That didn't happen in the 2005 session. Some wondered why he didn't give more public explanations for his actions, and sarcastic remarks have been made about that in private for quite some time. So this story is not a surprise to me.

  • What planet (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Oh yes, Kitzhaber is just the Mr. Fix It Oregon needs. A real creative guy, strong leader and marvelous uniter. Dr. Yes for Governor!

    But does he really live in a tax abated condo in the Pearl?

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Just talked to a Republican friend (wanted to tell her to make sure her husband knew about this as he had been predicting some surprise candidate would come in and startle everyone).

    She said "We don't want him again". I said "Sorry, have to disagree on that as I have known him for 20 years".

    For those who complained that it would be dreary to see a Kulongoski/ Mannix rerun, this would certainly be lively.

    But I will leave it up to Dr. John Kitzhaber to make his own decision. I am sure he will make the decision that is right for him.

    That's what earned good will is: people say gracious things and hope/ believe the person decides what is best for that person and for all concerned.

    Lesson to candidates and consultants: I said EARNED good will. No amount of money, speeches, commercials, etc. can buy that. Respect and good will can only be earned, not bought.

  • (Show?)

    Let's add a bit of context to the discussion. When Kitzhaber was the Guv, personal income was flowing and the economy was strong. His legacy is the Oregon Health Plan and saving salmon. Oregon is no longer flush with cash. Legislators spent dollars without establishing any reserves during Kitzhaber's 8 years. By now, we all know the Oregon Health Plan is unsustainable. As for Kitzhabor socializing with legislators, why wouldn't he? He was formally a legislator himself, hanging out in the back rooms.

    Kulongowski inherited an economy going south, a Republican controlled legislature and then a split legislature who couldn't get a damned thing done last session. Kulongowski lives in reality, fully understanding new taxes get voted down 6-1 or 8-1 over and over again by citizens outside of the Portland Metro area.

    Kulongowski needs to strengthen his staff and "kitchen cabinet." Bring back folks like Peter Bragdon. If Kitzhaber can beat Smith, more power to our state. Draft him for the 08" run against Smith. I'd happily vote for him.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Reminder: There is now w in the current governor's name.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    TYPO ALERT! There is NO w in the governor's name.

  • (Show?)

    Kulongowski inherited............... a Republican controlled legislature

    I hope whoever the Democratic nominee is strongly commits to two goals: his/her own election AND a Democratic HOUSE and Senate. Kitzhaber never got the opportunity to have a working majority in either chamber; keeping the Senate and adding some House seats will be critical for whoever gets the job.

  • (Show?)

    Democrats at all levels have an opportunity currently that you could drive a Hummer through--but they need to step up. Candidates at the state House level had better be in place, and in every district.

    I was only back to OR soon enough to catch the last year of Kitzhaber's helm--I liked what I saw. Kulongski is minimal, just too minimal. I keep seeing Kitz around town with his son; I don't see a guy ready to step away from that again. But I think he'd be favored if he did.

  • Peel Nender (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Nein! Nein! Nein! Kitzhaber ist verboten! Mein Furher, vat ve do???? Candidate Kitz sprechen zie in Oregon Summit! Oy vey! I knowwww nothing!

  • Gordie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kitzhaber would certainly help bring our the Republican vote. Of course, that might not matter if the Republicans don't find a strong candidate.

  • Doran (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I thought Kitz was term-limited. If not, why didn't he stay on? Can you be term-limited but return after a term off and start the clock over again?

    Also, I prefer him for taking down Smith, which he told me personally a year ago he would consider.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I thought Kitz was term-limited. If not, why didn't he stay on? Can you be term-limited but return after a term off and start the clock over again?

    The limit is 2 terms in a row. Few if any have done the two terms, sat out for a term, and come back.

    Kitzhaber against Smith would also be good.

    But someone needs to shake up the Governor's race.

    If not Kitzhaber who? Ben Westlund? That would certainly shake up Republicans.

  • (Show?)

    Nearly anything would be a relief from Kulongoldschmidt, but really, the good doctor may have accomplished little of lasting import. With all the money the state was awash with at the time, and all the cooperation he had in the legislature for a while, he left with the current train wreck on the tracks and rolling. No school plan, no rainy day fund, no basic deal between the valley and everybody else, PERS disaster, SAIF disaster, lottery out of control, and as has already been noted, an unsustainable Medicaid setup. It could have been worse, but it wasn't great.

  • (Show?)

    OK, I had promised myself not to mix it up with Jack for a while, but seriously... "all the cooperation he had in the legislature for a while"...

    Kitzhaber took office in 1994 - the only non-incumbent Democratic Governor elected in the nation as Gingrich-mania swept from coast to coast, including right here in Oregon. The Governor never had a majority of Democrats in either house.

    The speakers he worked/tangled with were: Bev Clarno, Lynn Lundquist, Lynn Snodgrass, and Mark Simmons.

    The senate presidents he worked/tangled with were: Gordon Smith, Brady Adams (twice), and Gene Derfler.

    Cooperation? Hardly. They called him Dr. No at the time.

    (And no, I'm not working for Kitzhaber - and never have.)

  • (Show?)

    A question for all:

    Is there an award for sick post of the week? If so, does "Peel Nender" win it?

  • (Show?)

    Kulongowski inherited an economy going south, a Republican controlled legislature and then a split legislature who couldn't get a damned thing done last session. Kulongowski lives in reality...

    Really? I remember hearing Kulongowski saying how much he accomplished during the session.

    Now...if he'd actually said "I can't get a god-damned thing done unless the Senate gets its shit together...now get over here and listen!" I'd at least feel he was "trying" to exert some leadership.

    But Kulongowski? Leadership? Umm...not so much.

  • What Planet (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Wasn't Kitz rated the worst Gov in the country at the time?

    From my observations he failed to lead in everything he touched.

    His appointments to boards were particularly bad.

    Perhaps the good doc is just "weird enough" for many so that's good enough.

    He sure didn't tackle any problems or provide any sustainable progress.

    He did "challenge" Oregonians to do things. $$$$$$

    Unfortunatley it was like asking for more rowing while ignoring the rudder and the leaky hull.

    Good thing the challenges were never met. The State would have been fully bankrupt by now.

    Hmmm? Maybe that would not be a bad thing.

  • (Show?)

    The State would have been fully bankrupt by now. Hmmm? Maybe that would not be a bad thing.

    And that, ladies and gents is really Republican economic policy in a nutshell. Almost like you would want...... to reduce the size of government to where it could be drowned in a bath tub. Points for honesty though.

    You should be thrilled with the Republican Congress and Bush's economic policy then. Debt for as far as the eye can see. Pork in every R district. And an economy which fails to create decent jobs and revenue to cover vital services. Good luck with that. And God effing help us.

  • (Show?)

    The State would have been fully bankrupt by now. Hmmm? Maybe that would not be a bad thing.

    And that, ladies and gents is really Republican economic policy in a nutshell. Almost like you would want...... to reduce the size of government to where it could be drowned in a bath tub. Points for honesty though.

    You should be thrilled with the Republican Congress and Bush's economic policy then. Debt for as far as the eye can see. Pork in every R district. And an economy which fails to create decent jobs and revenue to cover vital services. Good luck with that. And God effing help us.

  • Sam (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kitzhaber inspired people and fought the tough battles against an opposition legislature. His ideas and policies had energy, and his personal intellegence and willingness to make the arguements for a different future is the difference between him and other political leaders.

    The Oregon Health Plan, The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, birth to age three screenings for at-risk child and families, a juevinle crime prevention program that was working, defeating big Pharma, and his defence of the environment and enacted sustainability policies -- just a few of his funded and fought for prorities...against an opposition legislature!!!

    Did you forget what five special session were about at the end of his term? They were about facing up to limits. He supported raising revenue, but demanded the budget be balanced without cuts; he even tried to use administrative powers to make the cuts himself in the face of a listless legisalture that would not make cuts, nor raise revenue. They borrowed up a storm after he left office and the temporary income tax measure failed on the ballot. By the way, we are paying for it today.

    John Kitzhaber is a leader in every sense of the word. His personal conviction and intellegence were good for Oregon. He made us proud to be Oregonians when he was Governor, and if he wants to do it again, I'm with him.

  • What Planet (unverified)
    (Show?)

    John (Sam), Nice fictional biography.

    <h2>The shinning light or reality reveals this to be a list of total failure and waste.</h2>

    Just some of the many adverse effects of your first two terms.

  • Wintson Wolfe (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I love all you tree hugging, left-wing, Democrats. I really do.

    I will fight for you guys anywhere, anytime.

    But do me a favor, please:

    COME BACK TO REALITY! WE WILL NEVER BEAT GORDAN SMITH...EVER!

    I don't care what candidate you run against him, what is going on in national politics, or if there are photos of him performing at a Tijuanan Donkey Show. It is impossible to de-seat an incumbent two term US Senator when the conventional wisdom of his state is "he's a moderate.”

    Start talking about that seat when he’s 106 and got two feet in the grave, cause then...we might have a shot.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
    (Show?)

    My recollection of Kitzhauber is that he was actually more effective in the legislature than as governor, especialling in working with Vera. So I'd rather see him in the Senate than back in Salem. And he could beat Gordon Smith.

    One reason Kitz had to deal with a Republican legislature is that he didn't get out and campaign hard for Democratic candidates, just as he didn't schymooze enough with legislators to get his agenda through. My impression of him is that he has very strong principles and a lot of vision, but he doesn't want to get his hands dirty playing politics.

  • (Show?)

    "They used to call him Dr. No"

    He was and is a total urban liberal in temperament and behavior. Hypocritical, arrogant and dismissive of any fool who doesn't see it his way.

    One especially rankling incident for bikers was his vetoing of the helmet choice law passed by both houses, while he pursued his own favorite sport of whitewater kayaking sans helmet.

    <hr/>

    We know that a fair percentage of the Bus Project guys have drunk the Kool Aid as he is prominent at many of their events. He is in fact, the keynote draw to the Bus Project's upcoming "Rebooting Democracy" gig in Welches. (By a not so strange coincidence the venue is about two miles from the home of potential rival Rick Metsger.)

    So thanks for the post Jesse. Things are a bit clearer now regarding the necessary ingredients for the Boot Work to succeed. With Dr. No as the field marshal, how can we go wrong?

    BTW: I would have posted a link to the Bus Project thingy, but it's by invitation only. Not having received an invitation myself, I heard about it through a forwarded email.

    As the evil and cowardly French like to say, Bon Chance all around.....

  • (Show?)

    total urban liberal...

    Oh no! Lock up the silverware!

    As the evil and cowardly French...

    Mon Dieu! Guess who's not getting an invite to MY next Bastille Day party!

  • (Show?)

    there are 2 parts to politics: the practical and the inspirational. kitz was a winner on both counts. as kari notes, he did his work with some of the most contrary Rs possible. he and vera katz led the oregon legislature to some tremendous breakthroughs, not by running roughshod over people but by forming coalitions and finding ways to get people to work together. more importantly, he inspired people. john kitzhaber is one of those rare leaders who truly inspire people to want to do their best. i love the idea of him back in public life, although i'm not sure running against ted is a great idea; talk about a divisive primary. oy. i'd be happy to see him wait til 08 and then unseat smith -- and he could. don't forget: we'll be electing a democrat as president that year, and that excitement will help our blue state really turn the tide.

    but kitz in 06 -- interesting. good gossip, if nothing else

    ps

    we have really lame trolls in here. they can't even get a good spark going, much less a flame. how pathetic.

  • JTT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    He was and is a total urban liberal...

    Um...except that Douglas and Jackson Counties (where he served as a Legislator) are hardly “urban” nor bastions of liberalism. It’s pretty hard to get any farther outside of the bubble of elite Portland/Willamette Vally-centric liberal thinking than Southern Oregon.

  • Lefty Fitzpatrick (unverified)
    (Show?)

    What's a Tijuana Donkey Show?

  • CIM graduate (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "he and vera katz led the oregon legislature to some tremendous breakthroughs"

    Yes indeed. CIM-CAM comes to mind. That useless broken idea somehow got through. And it's still broken and we're still stuck with it.

  • (Show?)

    From the State Archives:

    Kitzhaber was born in 1947 in Colfax, Washington. He grew up in Oregon and graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1969, he attended the University of Oregon Medical School, earning a medical degree in 1973. He practiced emergency medicine in Roseburg, Oregon for 13 years.

    In Oregon, Eugene qualifies as "Urban". I'm not disputing the historical fact that he was elected from a rural district.

    I'll also offer kudos for his good work on the Oregon Health Plan and I believe that if he gets into the race, he immediately becomes real factor and could easily win.

    Doesn't change my opinion of the Governor's attitude and style. Come to think of it, Phil Barnhardt and Peter Courtney both seem to share the contemptuous Urban intellectual stereotype as well.

    Must be something in the Eugene water supply..........

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As someone who remembers a Salem City Councilman named Peter Courtney, and who has known him for decades and never considered him contemptuous, I have to respond to this:

    Doesn't change my opinion of the Governor's attitude and style. Come to think of it, Phil Barnhardt and Peter Courtney both seem to share the contemptuous Urban intellectual stereotype as well.

    Must be something in the Eugene water supply..........

    In what way would the Eugene water supply affect people in Marion County (Courtney's district covers areas of rural Marion County if you had not noticed)? Or is this just someone being sloppy?

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pat: sloppy is being too nice. You're ignorant at best!

    Lefty: As for "What's a Tijuana Donkey Show"...If you don't know I'm not going to tell you!

  • pliny (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yes indeed. CIM-CAM comes to mind. That useless broken idea somehow got through. And it's still broken and we're still stuck with it.

    Take it back under the bridge little troll. I was a student in one of the CIM pilot programs. It was broken by the people who implemented it, not the people who passed it.

  • CIM graduate (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pliny said "I was a student in one of the CIM pilot programs. It was broken by the people who implemented it, not the people who passed it."

    That's completely irrelevant.

    It's worthless crap and a waste of time and money.

    Why haven't our D's thrown it off a bridge?

  • Trolling along (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Why haven't our D's thrown it off a bridge?"

    They are too busy fighting o keep it.

    The Democratic Senate killed a CIMCAM repeal bill passed in the House.

    Every house Denmocrat voted to keep CIMCAM and Senate Democrats would not even allow a vote.

    "Would not even allow a vote"

    Sound familiar?

  • NSGN (unverified)
    (Show?)

    During his time as governor, John Kitzhaber indeed made some brave, if not always popular, stands, including his stand to cut school funding by $317M if revenue couldn't be raised, to not commute the death sentence of F. Douglas Wright in 1997 (or the sentence of Nadas the dog in 1996, for that matter), to breach the Snake River dam, etc...

    While he was seen as a maverick in many areas, he was certainly not an effective governor in his last 2 years and he was never really able to engage rural Oregon as a governor, Roseburg background, jeans, cowboy boots and good ole boy manner notwithstanding. In fact, since leaving office, it seems he's become more and more what age, upbringing and status would have him be, the son of academics, an ivy leaguer and West Hills doctor who keeps his kid in private school (while Portland schools continue to suffer), dates women 20 years his junior, travels around the country staying in glamourous hotels, commanding sky-high speaker fees, etc... Except for his admission that there are 45,000,000 uninsured Americans, Kitz seems increasingly out of touch with the plight of most citizens in this state. Oh sure, he's still out there stumping for health care and the environment, but where has he really been these last 3 years...?

    <h2>Kitzhaber is very well-liked in this state, something of a teflon governor, it would appear. But his myriad achievements in his passionate senate years circled the drain in his last years as governor and, if he truly wants to make a difference, I'd suggest he lasso some of that old fire and become a great and revolutionary activist, not simply a politician, even one still capable of winning the popularity contests that pass for elections these days.</h2>

connect with blueoregon