Well, that's that. There's no way that Greg Walden can possibly run for Governor now.
On the floor of the House on Wednesday, he loudly and angrily opposed the County Payments bill brought up for a vote by Peter DeFazio. (They ended up delaying the vote one day. Stay tuned on that.)
Yes, you read that right: Greg Walden opposed the County Payments bill. A bill that he once co-sponsored. A bill that would keep local governments from going bankrupt throughout Oregon (including in the 2nd). A bill that had a solid funding source to pay for it (resolving the GOP's previous objection.)
And he didn't just do it quietly. He went nuts. From the Oregonian:
The House exploded in a spasm of angry, fist-waving debate Wednesday with one Oregon lawmaker accusing another Oregon lawmaker of bad faith and deception over federal aid to depressed rural communities.
The flash point for what one representative called "a tornado of words" was a bill sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., to extend county timber payments for four years. Wednesday's debate was part of a last-gasp effort to renew the program, which has sent money to 33 Oregon counties and served as the primary paycheck for rural areas.
What exactly did Greg Walden get so angry about? DeFazio's bill pays for the County Payments program by charging Big Oil a bit more for drilling off-shore for oil and gas.
While renewing the payments has unanimous support among Western lawmakers, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and other Republicans launched a blistering attack on DeFazio and his bill Wednesday. Their argument, which got louder and more emphatic with each speaker, was that DeFazio broke his word by bringing the bill to the floor with a funding source -- oil leases -- that he promised to remove. ...
DeFazio said those opposing his bill are more interested in protecting oil companies than providing money "for hundreds of teachers, hundreds of deputy sheriffs, road workers and public health."
"It's a tough choice for some. Not for me," DeFazio said from the House floor, his voice rising and fists shaking.
Of course, Greg Walden (and Gordon Smith) could have passed their own County Payments bill anytime in the last six years -- when their guys ran the House, the Senate, and the White House.
But they failed. Miserably. Cue DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer:
"I think he got crosswise between his constituents, big oil and the Republican leadership and he's in a very tough spot. And I'm sorry he's trying somehow to attribute it to me," DeFazio said. "I got a bill to floor. He never got a bill to the floor when the Republicans were in charge. They let the program expire." ...
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said he understood Republican frustrations. "They should be frustrated because they were in total control for six years . . . and allowed it to expire."
If there was ever any doubt - and there shouldn't have been - it's clear now: Greg Walden is only giving lip service to the County Payments problem.
And there's no way that dude is running for Governor now. Even if he does learn how to use a telephone.