Oregon: We love dreamers. We couldn't have picked a worse campaign slogan. Oh, I know, it's not really a campaign slogan, but it may as well be in this post-partisan gubernatorial showdown. Oregonians have been spinning in ether and flinging about a multitude of dreamy "boy, wouldn't it be neat" if's.
Boy, wouldn't it be neat if we didn't have a two party system. Nevermind that we do. Nevermind that the system is structurally set up as a two party system and the revolution ain't happening in our lifetimes. Nevermind that even if we didn't have a two party system, we would still have to get to a majority in order to govern, and then there would still be a majority and a minority even if you labeled them something other then Democrats and Republicans.
I don't think the two party system is the greatest thing in the world, but it's what we've got, and if we're going to work the system then we have to work in the system. I'm a Democrat because I agree with that party's fundamental beliefs more often than I agree with Republicans, and I want to be able to vote in the party primary to choose what candidates will step up for the party that I've chosen. I don't think this makes me a sheep, or beholden to the boogeyman of partisan politics, I think it makes me active and interested and willing to participate.
Boy, wouldn't it be neat if we had an open top-two primary. Boy, won't that be the magic bullet that will end partisanship. Nevermind that it excludes all minority parties. Nevermind that it protects incumbents and rewards candidates with big bucks who can spend as much on the primary as they spend on the general. Nevermind that it's probably unconstitutional. And nevermind that it's biggest fan, Phil Keisling, and most of the electeds that endorsed it, would not have been elected under its constraints.
The type of primary election system we use does not cause partisanship. Changing the primary system to magnify the role of money, disenfranchise minority parties and limit voters choices will not end partisanship.
Boy, wouldn't it be neat if an "independent" candidate like Ben Westlund would make us feel all warm and fuzzy about being above partisan politics. Nevermind that Ben has always been a Republican. Nevermind that if he draws from Ted, we end up with a Republican governor (be that Saxton or Mannix). Nevermind that even if he wins, he still has to deal with a legislature full of a Republican party that he betrayed and a Democratic party that he looted, neither of whom are going to be itchin' to cooperate.
Even after two explosive impacts with Nader, Democrats still can't seem to get the bull sperm out of their eyes. Careful, that causes tearing and discharge.
Boy, wouldn't it be neat if the Democratic candidate was as crazy liberal as you and me. I'm going to break form here for emphasis. Ted has not been my favorite governor. I think he missed some serious opportunities, but I also think people don't give him credit for the good things he's done. That said, this Democratic primary is not about who's going to win, it's about how we look coming out of it. Jim Hill and Pete Sorenson are neat, they're smart people, they're good Democrats, but they're not going to win. You could log a protest vote under the theory of "boy, wouldn't it be neat if Ted were more like Jim and Pete," but that's only going to hurt our chances for keeping Republicans out of statewide office. There's some magic number, and I don't know what it is, between the headline that says, "Unpopular Governor Limps Out Of Primary," and the headline that says, "Kulongoski Makes Strong Showing In Primary." That first headline drags us down to a Republican governor; the second means our state has a Democratic future.
I would like for Oregon to remain part of the reality-based community. I believe that it's important that we have a Democratic governor, even if Kulongoski is just a guy who's trying to do what's best for the state and not the Platonic ideal of a Democratic governor. I hope that we can all clear our vision, get grounded, take account of the system we have, and vote like we want to win.