Howie Rich refuses debate; Team Kulongoski responds

Earlier today, Governor Ted Kulongoski challenged Howie Rich - the millionaire/libertarian who paid for Measure 48 - to a debate.

Now, the Kulongoski campaign passes along the response from Howie Rich:

"I'm happy that I could help out the local group in Oregon--they've faced a real uphill climb against public employee unions and special interests. The fact is, though, that the local group has done all the heavy lifting, and the result of their hard work is that voters will have a say in state spending in the fall. It sounds to me like the Governor is afraid to debate local leaders like Don McIntire, or face up to the 162,000 Oregon voters who have already signed the petition."

And the Kulongoski campaign's response:

The heavy lifting? Howie did the heavy lifting by writing the big checks that got it on the ballot. He purchased this ballot measure for Oregon, and he ought to be willing to defend what he bought.

McIntire has had his say on spending limits before – last time with Measure 8 in 2000, which the voters rejected by more than 10 points (56-44). He’s a Johnny one-note on this issue. No need to debate him. We want to debate the guy who put it on the ballot.


  • Silence Dogood (unverified)

    Trying to make it personal like this is an extension of the angry vote-blocker mentality of the petitioning phase. It shows that the gentleman in front of the curtain is merely a puppet.

    Measure 48 is not even running for Governor. If voters want to put state government on a reasonable growth allowance, create Rainy Day funds, and reserve overspending decisions for themselves - a Gov. Nesbitt worth reelecting should be able to deal with that like any effective executive.

    Now Gov. Nesbitt, remember that under Measure 48, if you just present your spending plans to the voters, and we agree, then there is NO LIMIT AT ALL on how much you can spend. That's right - you can't force us anymore, but if you are persuasive enough - you can still SPEND Oregon into the Dark Ages!

  • Greg Diamond (unverified)

    Dude, nobody forces anyone to spend anything. We elect legislators to come up with a budget and run the state. That's their job. If you don't like what they're spending money on, vote for legislators who will spend less. That's pretty much what Oregon's been up to since '94.

    If you really want to have a statewide vote on every road project, every bond issue, and every emergency funding request for the state police, move to Alabama. That's how they've been doing business for over 100 years now. And my, just look how they're doing...

    Or you could wise up like Colorodo did, and realize that failing to invest in infrastructure, education, and health care is a much quicker path to the dark ages than a responsible budget.

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    then there is NO LIMIT AT ALL on how much you can spend.

    Sure there is. We have a balanced budget requirement. You can spend only as much as there is revenue.

    Measure 48 is not even running for Governor.

    Yeah, but Governor Kulongoski will have to govern under Measure 48 -- so it makes perfect sense for him to campaign hard against it. Duh.

  • Michael (unverified)

    But does the spending always make sense? Probably not. JUst look at the drug issue. Lots of people go thru the court system and many end up in prison over drugs. And no one questions it. Just compare the percentage of women in the prisons to men in prisons over drugs. That's just one example of many. Michael

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    Examples of what?

    The voters of Oregon mandated with Measure 11 prison building and tougher sentences, not the government.

    My advice to the voter? Beware sweet sounding initiatives that promise to cut spending, and cure all the ill's of Oregon society by drowning government. It's a poison pill...

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    The Governor knows he would get his clock cleaned by Don McIntire.

    What the Governor fails to mention is that even before M48 made the ballot at least $2 million dollars flowed into Oregon from out of state Union sources for political purposes.

    So it makes perfect sense that Don McIntire would want to debate the man behind the curtain. Tim Nesbitt.

  • Becky (unverified)

    As nice a guy as McIntire is, he's a LOUSY debater. If I was a proponent of Measure 48, which I most certainly am not, I'd try to find someone else to do the debating for the measure.

    Of course, Howie won't come out and debate. He hates the media. His response was entirely predictable. I'm anxious to see whether the Governor sinks into snarkiness or takes this opportunity to tell the public what is really wrong with the measure - and to begin to educate teh public about what government is and why it is important.

  • Brenda (unverified)

    This says it best. And those who are afraid of debate the most are those, like the Governor, who fear the public voting on measures they don't like. Instead of pursuasion, blues prefer to prevent voters from voting by attacking the petitions and the intitiative system. Once measures make it to the ballot they demogogue the issue, and trash the sponsors, insult the 1000s of Oregonians who signed the petitions and use out of state money and influence themselves to combat what the public clearly wants to vote on.

    Matt Evans 19210 SW Martinazzi Ave PMB 820 Tualatin, OR 97062 (503) 720-4740 DON MCINTIRE OF THE RAINY DAY AMENDMENT COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO KULONGOSKI DEBATE CHALLENGE To Tim Nesbitt, AFL-CIO boss, and to his "yes" man, Governor Kulongoski:

    Thank you for your letter, which offers yet another reason for Oregon voters to support the Rainy Day Amendment. It reveals, after all, the fact that Oregon's Governor has no clue as to what's going on in his own state.

    I must say, though, you might want to check your facts before releasing such an error-ridden note to the public. It is an election year, and you clearly want to keep your job so that you can keep the big spenders in charge and the taxpayers quiet.

    Since it is apparent you are living on a planet ruled by special interests, not in the great state of Oregon, let me fill you in on some news: 162,000 Oregonian voters signed the petition for the Rainy Day Amendment. This fall, Oregonians will have the final word on whether or not to bring back responsible spending to our state. But perhaps that's what you're so afraid of--that hardworking taxpayers might just put an end to your government gravy train.

    We all know who pulls the strings here in Oregon, and forgive us, Governor, if we say publicly it's not you. Union bosses and special interests are openly running your campaign, so we, in turn, realize why you're doing their dirty work. You want to keep spending recklessly, and you want the taxpayers to just shut up.

    However, you might want to get a fact checker before you embarrass yourself further. A quick rundown of some of the errors in your piece:

    1. Over 300 local donors have already given to the Rainy Day Amendment campaign, and that list continues to grow. We're thankful to Howard Rich for helping us get our campaign off the ground. Unions--as you well know, Governor--have a whole lot of money to splash around to keep the special interests in charge. Out of state unions have already given $2 million to try and defeat the Rainy Day Amendment. We're working to put the people back in charge. Just whose side are you on? Here's a tip, Governor--or should we address this to you, Mr. Nesbitt?--you might want to keep it a secret that you're against giving the people a say in state spending.

    2. If you really want a debate, perhaps you should call up Governor Bill Owens of Colorado, who can tell you that Colorado's spending limit--which, as you can read in yesterday's Oregonian, is quite different than ours--was a smashing success. He's already done so in several op-eds across the country.

    3. "Anti-government"? We are for responsible government. The fact that you're threatened suggests a little about your governing style.

    4. The Rainy Day Amendment won't cut a single penny of government spending. It allows spending to grow every year - by at least $2.6 billion in the first two years alone. Look it up, Governor. And, no offense, but if you can't understand simple math, why should the voters trust you with a $45 billion budget?

    We expect more distraction techniques to come from the people who want out-of-control spending to continue. You don't care about the future of Oregon--you care about your own, taxpayer-funded paycheck and your kickbacks.

    As a Chief Petitioner, I accept the challenge to debate the real leader of the government class in Oregon - Tim Nesbitt, recent President of the Oregon AFL-CIO. I will debate Mr. Nesbitt as many times as he would like between now and election day. Oregonians would be well served to find out more about the "power behind the throne" in our state. I suspect such a series of debates would reveal much about what's really wrong in Oregon. If Mr. Nesbitt is unavailable or unwilling, I'd even take on the second in command, Governor Kulongoski.


    [email protected]

  • 17yearoldwithanopinion (unverified)

    I thought that Governor Owens was that one who fought to make sure that tabor was repealed in Colorado?

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    Yeah, based on that letter, Becky's right--McIntire would get waxed like a Safeway apple. He gets his first fact wrong! 162,000 Oregon voters did NOT sign the petition. They got 162,000 signatures. The number of actual voters looks like 109,000.

    McIntire lies and calls it a Rainy Day Amendment, when of course no rainy day fund is called for in the measure--and after admitting that to be true.

    300 local donors? Wow! So Oregonians are behind, what--20% of the money used to ram this down our throats? Excellent! Rich didn't just "get it off the ground," he's holding it up by himself.

    Don, does Grover know you're touting Bill Owens? Seeing as how he's called Owens political dead meat and persona non grata among Republicans:

    “One definite outcome of this election is the political death of Governor Owens. He was once touted as a possible presidential contender and by supporting a weakening of TABOR, regardless of this win, he has lost any chance of seeking higher office. This should send a message to any Republican governor that if you stand on the wrong side of the spending limit debate, you will have secured your inevitable political demise.”
    It was so successful the governor and voters elected to STOP using it! Nothing says success like repeal!

    Won't cut a penny of spending, eh? Then why did the state auditors determine it would immediately cut either 2 billion or SEVEN billion from the next budget?

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    Tim Nesbitt, AFL-CIO boss

    Um, not anymore. That's Tom Chamberlain now. I know, facts are inconvenient things.

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    damn, I missed one. Thanks, Kari.

  • Silence Dogood (unverified)

    Once a union boss, always a union boss.

    I thought Gov. Nesbitt was running for Gov. of Oregon, against Ron Saxton. If he deserves the job, why does he run scared, run out-of-state ... is he angling for higher office where he can overspend recklessly at the federal level, and not just at the state level?

    Join SPEND Oregon. Vote NO on Measure 48. Don't save it for a rainy day. Spend it now.

  • Brenda (unverified)

    "ram this down our throats?"

    What knuckleheads you are.

    Is that what you call petitioning and voting?

    Good! I hope you feel well rammed when it passes like M37.

    162,000 Oregon voters did sign the petition. SoS Bill Bradbury shaved the signatures down to 109,000 to qualify the measure.

    Did BB ram this down your throat by not disqualifying enough signatures?

    Get back to work Torrid, you're a public employee.

  • LT (unverified)

    Silence, Apparently you think there are 3 groups of voters in Oregon: Spending limits advocates Union members all other voters either join one of those 2 groups or are spectators because this is at team sport between union and anti-union.

    And that spending limits/ anti-union people are open, but the elected governor is really nothing but a stooge for unions. So why did unions support candidates who voted their way on PERS reform, and why so many votes against Kulongoski in the primary? Could it be that life is complex (except to those who think there would be no problems in Oregon if only we turned the clock back to the days before unions? who would be their scapegoat then?).

    I have worked in non-unionized settings where people look at the McIntire/Sizemore types and say "You wouldn't last in my job for a day because it requires attention to detail and being courteous to customers/ clients. You've shown no ability to do either. Just go out in the real world and get a real job like the rest of us and shut up!".

    Some of these people were absolutely thrilled that unions had the resources to go after Sizemore, at the court ruling which gave store owners the right to shoo petitioners off the property (petitioners were bothering the customers, who complained).In many cases these folks voted no as the default position in 2000 simply as a protest against too many ballot measures.

    People working hard in the private sector often have no use for those initiativemeisters who make a living in the ballot measure industry. Did U'Ren think he was creating an industry when he started the init. and referendum about a century ago? Or was it supposed to be an unpaid citizen effort?

    But if those like Silence think the whole voting population is just union vs. anti-union, feel free to continue to live in that dream world.

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    Brenda, it's what I call astroturfing and misrepresenting, yes. It does not do what it claims, it does what it does not claim, and it would not exist on the ballot but for a single out of state individual who has no particular regard for Oregon.

    If 162,000 Oregon voters signed the petition, the number of valid signatures would be 162,000, wouldn't it? And yet it isn't, this we know.

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    Go away Brenda. Your lies won't work here.

    The 53,000 signatures weren't "shaved" by Bill Bradbury. They were found to be fradulent by bi-partisan workers who enforce the election laws of our State.

    That paid ballot petition companies encourage fraud is an open secret. They are still paying by the signature, offering bonuses for their runners who turn in more sheets, and the results are predictable: lying to voters about what they're signing, copying signatures from measures they did sign onto measures they refused to sign,copying names from other sources (such as phone books), etc, etc.

    The real problem problem isn't too much enforcement in signature gathering - it's too little. Every one of these 53,000 fradulent signatures had someone declare under penalty of perjury that they collected it properly. Yet it's unheard of that any of those jokers are ever prosecuted for election fraud. Why not?

  • Dave Lister (unverified)

    It seems to me the main bone of contention here is that out of state money, in this case from Howard Rich, was instrumental in getting measure 48 on the ballot. Fair enough. I propose that, after the election, we examine all the campaign reports and tabulate all out of state money spent on the campaign, both pro and con. I'm willing to bet there will be plenty on both sides.

  • Silence Dogood (unverified)

    SPEND Oregon already has a big lead in out-of-state money. Even The Oregonian reported that they brought in $2 million to fight against Oregon voters signing petitions. Gov. Nesbitt has lots of out-of-state connections and AARP is a new part of the team, so don't bet they will surrender the lead.

    On election day, according to the enemies of responsible spending, there will be two types of voters. Those who vote YES on Measure 48 and those who vote NO.

    By the way, has anyone been to the wonderful magazine, tobacco and gift shop in New York City known as "Nesbitt's"?

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    Dave, that'd be a fruitless pursuit. Rich and his friend Grover hide their money as they pass it through. And if that were the only major problem with 41 and (particularly) 48!!

  • Dave Lister (unverified)

    torridjoe: Not to be argumentative, but if Rich hides his money how is it he got outed on the 1.1 million?

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    Just because there is money that is openly accounted for, does not preclude further money sent via laundry...that said, Norquist is much more of a flimflammer in that regard than Rich.

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    And I should add that the principle remains the same, even if and including situations where "progressive interests" do the same thing.

    Up front though, Loren Parks and Howie Rich are in for 2mil just by themselves, right? And we can't count union money, since the unions are in-state. Ditto for party money--even if the money flows from the national, the party apparatus exists in Oregon, as do the unions.

  • Becky (unverified)

    Dave, it's far more than a matter of where the money comes from. The fact is that a clear agenda is being pushed on more than a dozen states all at the same time by some libertarians who are attempting a coup, in a sense, because our elected representatives, having studied the proposals far more than the average citizen, have refused to implement their extreme ideas. Oregon is one of the states in which this agenda is being pushed. It includes tightening the belt on local governments through an extreme spending limit so they can no longer function in the capacity of providing social services, including public education (yes, these same people are feverishly working on that subject, as well as elimination - excuse me, privatization - of Social Security), limiting terms so that those with experience in these matters will be pushed out of the legislative system, leaving a perpetual crop of inexperienced people to try to figure out what these guys are up to, and to gut land use laws far more than our Measure 37 is accused of having done by cloaking extreme compensation clauses inside seemingly innocent eminent domain measures. Dave, if you are going to argue any of these measures in isolation, you are destined to miss the point entirely. They are each a facet of a much larger effort, one that some certainly do support, but the majority do not.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Becky -

    It is significant that the efforts by Howie and his small band of followers to wreck the governments of folks in other states where they may be just a little more cynical, and a little less willing to assume the best about people as we are here in Oregon, have had much less success. Howie's shameless, predatory strategy of taking advantage of the inherent decency of the people of Oregon, who don't like to have to accept the ugly truth about self-serving hucksters like him, demonstrates just how much contempt he, and you, have for us.

    It is quite sad really. Particularly since efforts like this, which actually are much more rooted in the un-American, power-grabbing, anti-individual civil and property rights, community-destroying goals of the neo-cons rather than Libertarianism, really also besmirches and distorts the significant and noble aspects of true Libertarianism.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    My apologies to Becky. My previous post was addressed to Brenda not Becky.

  • LT (unverified)

    Ask, I don't understand your post. distorts the significant and noble aspects of true Libertarianism.

    What does H. Rich have to do with Libertarianism? Isn't he just a guy putting money behind a ballot measure he doesn't want to defend publicly because he just wants to buy an election?

    Seems to me that Rich & Co. have something other than ideology to worry about. I'm talking about the folks who are of the "don't follow politics" school of thought. The ones who may be thrilled when an actual candidate (or volunteer) comes to their home. "Gee, first I have heard of this person" and don't recognize the name of the other person is more common than some people realize. In my recent experience, these folks don't know the election the volunteer at their door is involved with pits 2 elected officials against each other--never heard of either one.

    My friend Cathy got fed up with politics after decades of activism because there are a small group of current and former activists who know the names of all the players and talk about politics in their spare time. Too many of them claim to "know" that if they just do X,Y,Z they will win because theirs is the superior ideology, or they have the best consultants, or whatever.

    She said that group is no more than 5% of the population, but some of them think they alone decide election results. She said "but the people who really decide elections are the other 95% who don't follow politics on a daily basis".

    Think about it--if campaign professionals are convinced every voting Oregonian reads every ballot title (no matter how many measures there are) but actual voters think the measures are out of touch with their own lives and reading them cuts into their scarce spare time, voters have the right to say ENOUGH, ALREADY! as people I knew did in 2000. Unless someone they knew had strong feelings on a measure, their default position was to vote no without even reading the ballot title or anything else in the voters pamphlet. I realize that it comes as a shock that not everyone has an ideology.

    I was reminded of this today when I was in the state capitol, on the last day to turn in voter pamphlet statements.

    I was talking to a woman who appeared to be a tourist who had never visited the capitol before. She was from a rural small town and had never seen petitioners or heard the names most here are familiar with. As we were talking, some men walked by and I pointed out one of them as Don McIntire. She asked "who is he?".

    I smiled and said he was a major ballot measure sponsor----and she asked what that meant.

    Just like any other public figure, someone may be in the news on a regular basis, but will only be noticed by people who pay attention to news. I know people who are too busy to do that very often, so when they comment on a news item I take notice--must be a big story if they express an opinion on it.

    It is all well and good here to debate political philosophies and people/measures that will be on the ballot. Just remember that there are those like this nice woman I met today who may be voting in the general election. Might be mobilized by a candidate (from Gov. on down) or a ballot measure, or something local on the ballot. But may be ignoring all news coverage and only discusing the elections with friends. Those votes county just as much as the votes of activists who are already discussing the upcoming election.

  • Becky (unverified)

    What does H. Rich have to do with Libertarianism? Isn't he just a guy putting money behind a ballot measure he doesn't want to defend publicly because he just wants to buy an election?

    Rich and all those who surround him are Libertarians who are committed to imposing their philosophy on the country. They have spent years working to dismantle public education, social security, the social "safety net," land use laws, and government regulations of all kinds, with an eye toward privatization and free markets. If you are a Libertarian you won't see this as a problem. If you are anything else, you should be very concerned, because they represent a small percentage of the population and they are poised to have a far greater impact on public policy than is warranted or healthy.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    LT and Becky -

    Although I'm not a "big L" Libertarian, neither are Rich and his associates. They practice a cultish distortion of Libertarianism that Becky describes. The press and too many opponents find it inconvenient, to the detriment of their respective goals I believe, to make that clear. People can look up the history for themselves, but at one point Rich and his group left the Libertarian Party.

    True Libertarians are as much concerned about civil rights, and such things as the rights to not have one's communications tapped, not be imprisoned without charge or access to supposed secret evidence against one, to make your own decisions about your own body and your own death, etc. Things that progressive "big D" Democrats would do well to spend more time honing our intellects, building a message, and pressuring our backsliding Democratic Party about, by the way. I think you get the picture.

    What's amusing about these cultists is that Howie Rich (you have to chuckle at the irony of the name) reportedly made his money on urban real estate in NY city. In a very real sense, he is a predator who made his money by freeloading off all of the civil and social infrastructure, the "commons" in economic parlance, the people necessarily and collectively build and maintain in an urban environment. Things like roads, water systems, public transit, law enforcement, courts, etc.

    Which was my real point. I think folks here inherently have traditional American "libertarian" values and generally think the best of others. We believe that people should work together to provide the basic physical and civic infrastructure of our towns and our state. And we put as much emphasis on civil rights and keeping government out of our personal lives. This is what makes Oregon a good place to live. And why we really don't have too many homegrown self-serving hucksters like Howie Rich.

    People in other states who may not have quite the same basic "libertarian" values as Oregonians have seen Rich for the cultist who is attacking true American values that he is, and rejected him. In a sense, our decency as Oregonians is our weakness when it comes to quickly recognizing freeloaders and predators like Rich and their followers, and just as quickly sending them packing.

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    You know we hit a nerve when the Republicans start posting on Blue Oregon. Thanks for the good words, we are working hard to run a campaign you can be proud of, but we need your help. Ron Saxton could set new records for the amount of money spent by a candidate for Governor so we can not let up.

  • LT (unverified)

    Jim, the way to have this come true, "we are working hard to run a campaign you can be proud of" is to have Ted out there talking with the ordinary folks, doing strategically smart things like making public his views on ballot measures, and (when he has the chance) answering questions people have about last year's legislative session.

    Saxton is a vague idiot, many people may vote no on most of the ballot measures, and this debate idea was a stroke of genius. But if people still harbor doubts about unexplained actions last year, they may spend more time and energy on legislative campaigns and ignore the Gov. election.

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    Just when Ted Kulongoski inspires us and offers us a bit of courage and creative rhetorical flourish in challenging Howie Rich, he steals back his business-as-usual cowardice from the jaws of imagination and wimps out in not being willing to debate Don McIntire. This is precisely the sort of action that has caused soooooo many thoughtful progressives to be thoroughly and hopelessly dis-spirited by our governor. I don't know whether it is his handlers or him, but this just strikes me as another missed opportunity to show his mettle. (His initial volley on the kicker was another example). Ted is a great campaigner, and I still believe he can be a very good governor. He has the right personality, he's smart, and he could be an effective advocate for much needed reform to our public finance system, but too often he just simply does not use the pulpit. He could kick McIntire's fanny in a debate, and it would be a good debate for Oregonians to have, plus it would highlight who is really running the Republican Party. It ain't Ron Saxton who would have absolutely no capacity to discuss TABOR and any number of other issues intelligently since he has been become an anemic, craven pawn of the knee-jerk right. McIntire et al has arguably had more lasting influence on our state than the last three governors combined. Gov. TK should take on DM and reveal him for the naked emperor that he and his demagogic ideas are. It's time to bury the emperor, and Ted should follow his first instinct and debate him. Really, what has he to lose?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I'm not so sure Ted's response is off-base, Chris. The point of debating Rich is to expose the outside funding for the M48 effort. Debating McIntire won't accomplish this. Such a debate would raise Don's profile, even if he screws up the discussion. Not many Oregonians would actually see and hear the debate, but most would learn that it occurs.

  • Hart Williams (unverified)

    Interesting, the Usual Suspects (crypto-libertarians, not "Republicans" note) use the usual arguments: "Hey! We're for the PEOPLE!" (when funded almost exclusively through a NYC millionaire), and do the Ann Coulter shuffle, screeching about SECRET UNION BOSSES pulling the strings (in other words, when you can't debate, conflate), and creating a false equivalency that debating Don McIntyre (fresh from the ALG conference in Chicago, where he met with Howie Rich, and staff from the newly-minted "Center for Union Facts" who, coincidentally, opened up a $1 million ad campaign in four TABOR states attacking .... UNIONS) why, debating Don McIntyre would be the same thing, right? Right?

    The "talking points" will remain the same: somehow these out-of-state zillionaire endowed "populists" will represent the (allegedly 300!) people in Oregon willing to put their money where their mouths are, while the unions will represent "SPECIAL INTERESTS" swimming in "OUT OF STATE MONEY." (Those gosh-darned Union elitists! Not like our humble, self-effacing and anonymous millionaires and billionaires!)

    The hypocrisy reeks all the way to California, Idaho, Nevada and Washington State -- where, coincidentally, the friends of Howie Rich are all-but-solely sponsoring putting "people back in charge" initiatives without having bothered to ask the "people" there, either.

    Nothing funnier than oligarchs and one's self-appointed "betters" talking about "the people."

    (I guess a boat off the Oregon coast would be the only place to get upwind. The smell IS getting overwhelming.)

    Oh yes, it's about the ISSUE, not the issuer. Talking about political whoring for cranky East Coast zillionaires pushing Frankenstein legislation isn't cricket! And the crocodile tears flow.

    There's an old saying in politics: When the law is on your side, pound on the law. When the facts are on the side, pound on the facts. But when you don't have ANYthing on your side, pound on the table.

    TABOR-touters sure pound on the table a lot.

  • William Dodds (unverified)

    Mcintyre-Za-Punk! He has nothing to offer a debate but more poppy-cock. He will go down in the slow thinker hall of fame along with the likes of Dan Quailand & 'W'. Steal from the poor give to the rich, his clairon call. Let'z give Big Biz more Oregonian cash. To hell wit the workin man! The Gov. has more important things to do than debate people like Mcintyre who would deliver Oregon to big Biz, wrapped up in bunting, with a bow on top. Keep Oregon Oregon! Bill Dodds

  • LT (unverified)

    Just when Ted Kulongoski inspires us and offers us a bit of courage and creative rhetorical flourish in challenging Howie Rich, he steals back his business-as-usual cowardice from the jaws of imagination and wimps out in not being willing to debate Don McIntire.

    McIntire proved in a small college debate (did he really think he'd get a receptive audience from college kids in 2000 given that they'd been in public school classrooms in the 1990s?) that in the words of that great line from A Few Good Men, he "can't handle the truth". Most people live in a world where they have job and family responsibilities which they consider more important than ballot measures. He wants everyone to think Oregon revolves around McIntire measures, and a Gov. debating him would only enhance that idea.

    It isn't McIntire's money behind this measure. If the provider of the money won't debate, the Gov. has more important things to do than debate McIntire. For instance, the Gov. could arrange Q & A with ordinary citizens in cities and towns outside the Portland/ Eugene area. Ordinary citizens would come up with more intelligent questions for the Gov. than McIntire who just wants to insult people.

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