Dear MultCo: I'm just not that into you. Love, Elizabeth

Carla Axtman

To hear Elizabeth Hovde tell it, the only people who voted for Governor-elect Kitzhaber were the residents of Multnomah County:

Dudley was a great test case for realizing the extent of Multnomah County's liberal devotion. He's a former Trail Blazer with name recognition. He was a union man. He is a wealthy dude with connections and a likable personality. The guy could raise money -- and did to the tune of more than $10 million. Dudley enjoyed strong support from the business community and steered clear of the social conservative agenda that often drives Multnomah County voters straight into the arms of any Democrat -- even one who declared the state ungovernable, which was sort of like telling Oregonians not to let the door hit them on his way out.

Dudley's lack of social conservatism and independence from tea party types didn't cost him votes, either. As Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bob Tiernan is busy reminding everyone, registered Republicans turned out at a higher percentage than registered Democrats. Republicans in Oregon were just as energized to vote as they were in a lot of other places in the country, but they didn't see the same results because they are simply outnumbered. In Multnomah County, Dudley lost more than 70 percent of the vote.

Dudley also lost Benton County by 21 points and Lane County by 16. These rural counties apparently didn't figure in to Hovde's rich fantasy life, so they go unmentioned.

Hovde goes on to berate Oregon's liberal "urban core", as if Dudley simply couldn't win because Multnomah County is holding the rest of the state an electoral hostage. The "hipster-cool" of Portland just cannot be overcome by the obviously better looking, smarter, olfactory-pleasing GOP, as they toil away while reading George W. Bush's new book..or something. They're the real Oregonians, dontcha know.

It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that Dudley performed miserably in the only televised debate he bothered to show up for, could it Elizabeth? Or that the bleeding hearts in say, rural Oregon farm country in Benton and Lane were appalled when Dudley couldn't name a single place in Oregon that needed to be protected from development? Or that "hipster-cool" Washington County (where Dudley also lost--and many other GOPers won) wasn't exactly warm to the idea of a governor whose only solution to the economic issues we face was tax cuts?

It's an odd analysis that blames the voters for wanting things that Dudley didn't have. It's even more odd to not notice, much less take pride in, the many successes that the GOP did have in Oregon this cycle.

I get that this is Hovde's salvo to get more conservative Oregonians riled up about the alleged rural-urban divide. Making them feel like victims of a system that won't play fair has its perks--not the least of which is stoking up more "Portland sucks" hatred from other parts of Oregon. Diminish Portland in the eyes of the rest of the state and create such a vast division that perhaps policymakers will be pushed to embrace conservative policies to make up for it.

Or maybe I'm simply over thinking Hovde's intent. Perhaps this is her way of showing we liberals in order to bring us closer to conservative Oregonians, we simply must toss aside our strongly held values and deep commitments and do it their way. Cuz according to Hovde, they have no interest in seeing us as anything but dirty hippies. Its probably just meant to get us to Kumbaya.

  • (Show?)

    What a deadning dichotomy. According to the U.S. government, 80 percent of Americans live in an urban setting.

    Lots of us blend the city and the country - existing in two worlds.

    We moved from Portland to Medford 4 years ago. I can see my favorite band, "Pink Martini" at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, take winery tours, raft the wild and scenic Rogue River, enjoy several farmer's markets, see S-Festival plays at cut rate prices, ski Mt. Ashland 35 minutes from my house,stay wired and be in San Franciso or Portland in 4 hours.

    There are lots of city slickers living among the Jackson County (sterotyped) country bumpkins.

  • (Show?)

    Nicely put. This whole myth that Multnomah steals elections is maddening (and lazy journalism). We need to find ways to be less divided, not more. I wrote about this (with help from BlueOregon data) on my husband's blog:

    • (Show?)

      Indeed we could. Driving in the Portland area, it was easy to predict the types of cars that would have Dudley stickers on them--Hummer, Lexus, Escalade, late-model BMW and Mercedes (not a hipster-driven '80s model with a Biodiesel sticker, of course!).

      Easy to make the conclusion, "I'm rich, and I'll vote for anyone who says they'll cut my taxes." Even if that person is an empty suit with nothing but platitudes and talking points.

      I guess we're lucky it's one person, one vote, not one dollar or one acre.

      • (Show?)

        The vehicles in most of Jackson County that supported Dudley would not have been Hummers (I doubt there's a Hummer here), Lexi, Escalade, late-model BMWs and Mercedes. Those would be among the vehicles in Ashland sporting Kitzhaber stickers. In the rest of the county probably a safe bet that pick-up more often than not = Dudley supporter.

        • (Show?)

          Two key components of the Republican base:

          That's all Dudley got, and that's why he lost.

          • (Show?)

            Well there are a lot of rich f**kers in Ashland who vote straight Democratic Party. (In fact, most of them.)

            (It was living poor in Portland and seeing how the DP actually worked that put me so off it originally. The idea that the Democratic Party is the friend of the have-nots or have-littles is a relic of some past.)

            Put that in your pipe and take a puff.

            One needn't disparage the values or motivations of voters to disagree with who they support or why.

            • (Show?)

              Sally, was it mild push back against huge tax cuts for the wealthy that convinced you that the Democratic Party is not a friend of the have-littles?

              Or do you have something more specific that convinced you of this?

              • (Show?)

                I don't understand your question about tax cuts unless you're referring to letting the Bush tax cuts expire. I opposed those cuts initially and still do.

                I paid a tax increase in Multnomah County when last I was there, a specific county income tax, very regressive at that. City governance in Portland is testament to the Democrats' friends. I think it's just a slightly different mix of developers, insiders and the rich.

            • (Show?)

              Sally, the point is that you seemed to be trying to make the case that people vote for Republican candidates because of a perception that they can move the state forward.

              My point is that, by nominating Dudley, Republicans showed that ideology trumps competence -- that they were willing to vote for someone with no experience, either in government or politics. His only civic involvement has been to work for people suffering a disease he has, and to support a coach accused of improper sexual contact. Not exactly a stellar record.

              • (Show?)

                I don't disagree at all, Michael, that ideology can trump competence or experience. And sometimes voters want a change. The country voted for hope and change over experience in the last presidential election. Sometimes people don't like the particular experience offered. (I think this was a weakness of Kitzhaber's, a serious one in many regards.)

                Some who voted for Dudley probably do think he and his party could better move the state forward. Others (including myself) believed the Democrats have done poorly by the state, and that state has fared poorly under their governance.

  • (Show?)

    One small point. I wouldn't classify Lane or Benton as rural counties. Nearly 2/3 of Lane's population live in Eugene and Springfield. Nearly 2/3 of Benton's population live in Corvallis.

    There certainly are substantial parts of both counties that are rural, but not much of the voting population of those places live there.

    • (Show?)

      Deschutes is generally classified as a rural county. I think it's fair to say that 2/3 of the population live in Bend and Redmond. Baker County is also generally classified as a rural county, but about 2/3 of the population live in Baker City.

      Are we to now no longer consider them rural, because a hefty majority of voters are concentrated in one area of those counties? Doesn't seem so to me.

      • (Show?)

        Been to Baker many times. I think living in downtown Baker still counts as rural living.

        With that said, thanks for the article Carla. This "Portland screwed the rest of the state" mantra really bothers me. Nice to see a thoughtful write up of this nonsense.

      • (Show?)


        It's really a very minor point -- I love your piece. But when a substantial majority of the county's population live in one or two cities in the county, it seems odd to classify them as rural when talking about how they voted.

        Would you classify Oregon, from a voting standpoint, as a rural state?

        • (Show?)

          Overall, yes.

          • (Show?)

            Again, I'm not talking geography, I'm talking voting population.

            If there's going to be any meaningful distinction between rural and urban counties (and I can understand those who say we shouldn't make those distinctions in the first place, but that's another issue), I don't see how Lane and Benton Counties can be classified as rural when 2/3 of the population clearly do not live in the rural parts of those counties.

            • (Show?)

              I think it's important to note that there are distinctly more liberal influences in moderate sized population cores that contain Universities, perhaps resulting in a more Blue skew. I'd love to see the comparative analysis: overall registration, population, pop. density, education variables, etc...

              But, I too think you're spot on in calling EH out, Carla. The perpetuation of the Urban v. Rural Myth does nothing to enlighten or inform the readers.

              • (Show?)

                In some cases, that may be true. In others, not. Take Linfield in McMinnville, for example. The presence of that liberal arts college in the core of the town isn't pushing them to vote blue. Nor is Eastern Oregon University in LaGrande.

                It seems way too easy to me to write off Ashland, Corvallis and Eugene as an "urban vote" simply because there's a university or that there's a high percentage of voters in the town vs the rest of the county. The same demographics can be cited for LaGrande, Salem, Pendleton and McMinnville and they aren't generally considered rife with "urban" voters.

                To me, its shallow thinking to consider those who vote blue to simply be "urban" voters and those who vote red to simply be "rural" voters in Oregon. And to write off an area as "blue" simply because there's a college there or more people, just doesn't add up to me.

                • (Show?)

                  Carla, we're in complete agreement about not writing off voters.

                  But I do think that people who live in rural settings will tend to have different concerns than those who live in cities, because their lives are different.

                  Someone who lives in Mapleton or Florence or Blue River is going to have different concerns, and a much different life, than someone who lives in Eugene.

                  For that matter, someone who lives in Eugene, Salem, or Corvallis may have much different concerns than someone living in Portland.

                • (Show?)

                  It's never just one thing, but if you add the hi-tech influence of Hewlett Packard to Corvallis and the Shakespeare Festival and related arts influence in Ashland to explain why voting patterns are different than LaGrande, McMinville or Salem.

                  The distinction is much more cultural than simply geographic, but looking at the map of the country by congressional district should make it clear that there is a clear urban/rural split between the parties today (and there wasn't 50 years ago).

      • (Show?)

        The real difference between Deschutes and either Lane or Benton Counties is the presence of the UO and OSU in the latter, respectively. You should look at the precinct breakdown in Lane and Benton county if you doubt the significance of those two institutions.

        For that matter, compare Ashland voters (with both SOU and the Shakespearean Festival) with Medford voters to see that their is more to being an "urban" voter than the size of the city.

        • (Show?)

          I don't see SOU and OSF as the definitive cultural markers in Ashland. It's the combination of new-agers, left-leaners, the socio/enviro "consciousness" class and moneyed Bay Area refugees.

      • (Show?)

        Jack's distinction about universities is important, but I also think there's a big difference between counties with cities over 50,000, and where those cities (or, in Lane County's case, two cities) make up over 2/3 of the population, and counties like Klamath, Douglas, and Coos, where the largest city is 1/3 or less of the population, and sparsely populated counties like Lake, Harney, and Grant.

  • (Show?)

    I am offended by the continuous characterization of Dudley as a "union man". He is not & was not a "union man". During the campaign, I felt this was done to pander to blue collar workers. (Much like Sarah Palin and Michael Steele are - IMO - nominated/elected to pander to certain goups...) That being said, while I agree there are progressive voters all over the state and we should recognize there is a concentration of voters in urban areas, when you consider a campaign at any level, who do you focus on? LIKELY VOTERS! If Multnomah County has a record of good turnout, regardless of party or issue, and there is a high concentration of GOTV there, then so be it. If the other parts of Oregon feel their votes are drowned out, then they need to get off their apathy and encourge folks to register and vote!

  • (Show?)

    What struck me was the third paragraph, about moving beyond the governor's race and focusing on the economic challenges facing the state. There was a certain incongruity between that and the rest of the column...

    • (Show?)

      Please don't assume that people vote Republican because they think only of their own pocketbooks. They may well be thinking of the soaring state budget, unemployment levels, foreclosure levels, school system rankings and the like. They may think Oregon Democrats might not know how to move the state up -- and forward.

      • (Show?)

        And nominating an unengaged cipher like Chris Dudley shows that Republicans know how to move the state up and forward how?

        • (Show?)

          Read for meaning, please. The comment was not about a candidate.

          • (Show?)

            Yes, you were commenting on why you think people vote Republican. And I provided an example that shows that doesn't really make a lot of sense.

            I'm frankly sick of the tactic used by people on the right who, when challenged, try to divert attention with an off-the-wall parsing of their own words.

            • (Show?)

              You can take issue with what you see as the end point of what other people do, but you are off base maligning their motives. That is what I was speaking to.

              I wasn't diverting attention. I was offering you a bit of expansion. You might do well to take it in.

      • (Show?)

        Well, if you're concerned about those things, you shouldn't vote R because:

        --Tax cuts for the wealthy make the state budget deficit worse AND do nothing to reduce unemployment

        --While neither Dems nor Repubs have been aggressive enough in protecting homeowners, in general Dems are way ahead when it comes to consumer protection. The GOP's position is to blame the homeowners.

        --While, you're right, the GOP probably does care more about "school system rankings," Democrats care far more about effective education--"is our students learning" vs. what are the test scores. Dudley, as one example, supports punishing teachers and schools, expanding low-accountability charters, and increasing high-stakes testing, NONE of which have been shown to improve student outcomes.

        On the national scene, GOP policies have resulted in the destruction of the middle class over the last 30 years, and since their proposals on the state level consist of the same general ideas (government bad, tax cuts good, spend more on defense/prisons and less on helping people), anyone who thinks the GOP knows "how to move the state up -- and forward" must think that up is down and forward is back.

        • (Show?)

          Oregon cannot tax the rich out of this recession, which is worse here than most places. The only thing we're growing is government. It's going to explode and implode. The state needs tough talk and action, not nicey-talk and action consisting only of growing government programs. A whole lot of areas of state personnel growth and spending need to tackled down to the mat. Dennis Richardson knows more about the state budget than anyone. He & Allen Alley are the best hope Oregon has.

          • (Show?)

            "The only thing we're growing is government." Wow. That's a substance-free talking point if I've ever heard one!

            The only parts of government that are growing are growing because people's NEEDS are growing. You WANT government spending to increase in a recession because it softens the blow and puts money in the pockets of people who will spend it. Tax cuts for the wealthy don't do that--they don't stimulate. Ultimately, the recession is more a matter of a national tax and income disparity problem, but it is one that Republicans have caused. But cutting back state and local government programs that help people is the LAST thing you want to do if you want to help the economy. That's why Obama's stimulus had back-filling state and local government revenue losses as such a key component. And it worked. Only we could use another round, which we won't get because of the new Republican's in Congress.

            Anybody who votes Republican because they want to improve the economy has it exactly backwards. And we have 30 years of experience to prove it.

            • (Show?)

              Try this for a substance-free talking point:

              "The only parts of government that are growing are growing because people's NEEDS are growing."

              Or this:

              " is one that Republicans have caused.

              Or this:

              "Anybody who votes Republican because [insert anything here] has it exactly backwards."

              • (Show?)

                Unemployment insurance, low-income health-care (including but not limited to Medicaid), all of these expenses go up in a recession. State and local government costs always go up in a downturn.

                Republican policies DID cause the massive increase in income disparity between the 1970s and now. Even David Stockman thinks so.

                There is plenty of proof that Republican policies have made most of us worse off and the very, very wealthy very, very much better off. Expecting those same policies to improve things IS exactly backwards, and there's PLENTY of substance behind that, none of which you seem very comfortable looking at.

                • (Show?)

                  I think that you, Jay, are very uncomfortable looking at Oregon's budget crises which have not been cause by Republican policies or party.

                  "Even" Ted Kulongoski notes them now.

                  • (Show?)

                    Well, let's see...

                    Unfunded mandates for prisons (M11, etc.)

                    Tax cuts

                    Tax cuts


                    Tax cuts

                    2/3 requirement for raising revenue

                    I think without these state-level Republican-supported policies and initiatives, our budget problems would be a heck of a lot more manageable than they are now.

                    But the biggest factor is the fact that almost all 50 states are having similar budget problems, which are thanks, primarily, to the Republican Great Recession. Sally, you seem very uncomfortable discussing this. "Even" Ronald Reagan's budget director acknowledges that Republican policies have bankrupted the country.

                    You can say that you are personally opposed to this policy or that policy, but until you can find a Republican who is willing to repudiate the policies of Reagan and his ideological and political successors, I maintain that it does not make sense to vote for a Republican if you want the economy to improve. I know you want to blame the public sector and public employees for Oregon's budget woes, but the fact is that it is GOP policies at the state level have crippled state government's ability to deal with a problem created by GOP policies at the national level.

                    • (Show?)

                      Nope. Oregon's personnel costs are bankrupting its budget. It's an in-state problem, similar to some others, worse than most. And "tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts" doesn't play, Jay. On the state level taxes and so-called "fees" (just about every one of them, in huge percentages) have gone up.

                      Revenues (income tax dependent) are in freefall together with high unemployment and state spending is on a high increase.

                      You can show me Democrats who want to increase state spending even more -- than the nearly 50 percent increase over the last two budget cycles -- but you cannot show me one who can make it work.

                      • (Show?)

                        I'm sorry if you think it "doesn't play," but it happens to be history:

                        Kicker (1980) Measure 5 (1990) Measure 47 (1996) Measure 50 (1997) Measure 86 (1999)

                        All tax cuts or limitations, all supported by Republicans. The vast majority of these cuts have benefited corporations (many out-of-state) and the wealthy. The middle class? Not so much.

                        Budgets for education and programs that actually help people (children, seniors, the disabled, the unemployed) have been cut year after year as far as I can remember. "Fully funding" education (K-12 and higher ed) was a rallying cry in the early 1990s--now parents and kids just hope to reduce the magnitude of the cuts. (Remember, we're the state that's the laughing stock of the nation for cutting school days, at the same time that American education is being asked to "close the gap" between ourselves and the rest of the world.)

                        I know you just want to beat up a bunch on government employees and if we just cut their salaries and benefits everything will be fine, but it won't. The total tax burden at the state level has been shifting away from business and towards lower- and middle-income individuals for almost as long as it has on the federal level. (Also Republican policy, BTW.) Fix that and you fix the problem. Period. (And you'll get a healthier economy as a bonus. Cutting back jobs, pay and benefits only cuts back the spending of middle-class teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc. Which tanks the economy more, which cuts revenues more, etc. Bad for everyone.)

                        • (Show?)

                          How can you leave out ALL the tax increase measures?

                          And budgets for programs "that actually help people" may be a necessity to some point, but they are not a good thing -- or an end -- in and of themselves.

                          Oregon was the "laughing stock" of the nation for its shortest school year at the very same moment it went totally unrecognized that Oregon's teachers' salaries were near if not at the very top, and the benefits likewise.

                          You talk about "cutting back jobs, pay and benefits" as if it is a bad thing. It is a bad thing. And it has been happening -- in spades, in the private sector, which has lost 150,000 jobs while the better-compensated public sector (per OLMIS) has added a few thousand.

                          This is the reality that cannot logically continue its run.

                          • (Show?)

                            I think you have spelled out why you and I keep going around and around: irreconcilable differences.

                            "programs "that actually help people" may be a necessity to some point, but they are not a good thing"

                            I believe that helping people is the primary and most important role of government. Not just a good thing, it's the BEST thing.

                            "You talk about "cutting back jobs, pay and benefits" as if it is a bad thing. It is a bad thing. And it has been happening..."

                            Yes, I do think it is a bad thing, for anyone below the top 2%, to have their jobs, pay and benefits cut to benefit the top 2%. Public or private employee doesn't matter. It's not what I want. The solution to too many job and pay cuts in the private sector is not to do the same to the public sector. It won't fix the problem and it IS a bad thing.

                            But as long as you think it is a bad thing to have government programs that help people and a good thing to cut public pay and benefits whenever the private sector does, I don't expect we'll be able to have a lot of influence on each others opinions.

                            • (Show?)

                              Irreconcilable differences? Yippee! 20 years ago we could have used that for a divorce! :)

                              But you may have zeroed on in where we are fundamentally apart. Unlike you, I think the first and foremost role of government is to provide infrastructure and national security rather than "help people" (presuming we're not going to play word games). It has saddened me to see the state's infrastructure suffer even as more and more human service components of government grow.

                              As I suggested, some of those are necessary, essential even. But I regard that as a "safety net" because something else is failing, not a good unto itself.

                              Fundamentally, government is a consumer and the private sector is a producer. The government cannot exist without the private sector. That is at the root of our current dire straits in Oregon. The private sector has shrunk; the government (even on a good day imo) has overgrown.

                              I think honest fiscal conservative types would say that at some point (and a point Oregon has reached) the government is draining money off of what should be spent to invest in a productive private sector that benefits us all.

                              If you think government spending to help people is a fundamental good and the best thing government does, I think private enterprise is a fundamental good and the best way to increase the wealth and health of society and all its members.

                              Is that the "difference" we agree is irreconcilable?

                              • (Show?)

                                Why, yes, I think so.

                                "I think private enterprise is a fundamental good and the best way to increase the wealth and health of society and all its members."

                                I fundamentally disagree with that statement, because the private sector does not have as its mission, goal, objective, measure of success, or anything else, "to increase the wealth and health of society and all its members." A private enterprise has one, and only one mission and reason for being: to increase value and generate profit for its owners. This absolutely can be done in such a way that it benefits "society and all its members," but since private enterprises are not accountable to anyone but their owners, it is only through the rule of law and the power of government to enforce the law that any benefit to society (or reduction of harm) can be enforced. I do consider that to be "helping people," in addition to direct provision of social services (which I also think we will always need, not because the private sector is "failing," but because the private sector cannot and will not provide for everyone's needs--that's like expecting a farmer, if he's a really good one, to be able to be able to manufacture his own tractor).

                                I also fundamentally disagree with your statement, "the government is draining money off of what should be spent to invest in a productive private sector that benefits us all." A "productive private sector" creates more wealth for its owners--sometimes that "benefits us all," but it is by no means a guarantee--a lot of the time, it only benefits the owners and their pals. Making sure the success of private enterprise does, in fact, benefit us all, is also an essential function of government, as far as I'm concerned.

                                • (Show?)

                                  That's a great post, if only to continue to delineate the differences between our viewpoints.

                                  But if the private sector cannot be blindly counted on to operate to the general public benefit, can the public sector, either? I truly think the public sector increasingly operates for the benefit of its own employees -- and not the benefit of the public writ large.

                                  So if you contend that the danger of the private sector is profit for the benefit of the "owners and their pals," is it not equally, even provably, fair to say that the danger of the public sector is operating for the benefit of the public employees? Their unions' only mission is the welfare of public employees; it has no concern whatsoever for public benefit (which I would suggest is in increasingly clear view).

                          • (Show?)

                            It's also I think worth pointing out that, of all US states, Oregon ranks 39th in total state tax revenue per capita and 38th in total state tax revenue as a percentage of personal income, per capita. (Based on 2007 data:

                            Given the low business taxes (especially property taxes) in this state, and the relative lack of progressivity in our income tax, it's pretty clear our state budget problem is primarily a revenue problem, not a spending problem. (Though I'm certainly not in favor of the Measure 11-style unfunded mandates that funnel so much of our tax dollars to the prison industry.)

                            • (Show?)

                              Well we did find a point of agreement: that Oregon's income tax is not progressive!

                              I would trust this website over Wikipedia for tax burden. It has Oregon right in the middle:


                              Oregon does have a spending problem. Witness: PERS, and the fact that it is the only state in the nation where state employees pay not a penny toward their medical coverage. Neither of those are "sustainable" and both are burdensome.

                              Government spending has also grown almost 50 percent in the last two budget cycles. Can't we at least get rid of the Liquor Commission??!!

                              I was flabbergasted that even this year another prison measure passed.

                              I think it' a general consensus, at least among people who are halfway dispassionate, that Oregon's two-legged stool (property and income taxes) is not working well for revenue. Unfortunately, this year the DP did as much as possible to poison the well of a future sales tax. And I say this as a native who has previously voted against all of them. But it's time to rethink and review.

                              I truly think, Jay, that Oregon, and its largely-controlling Democratic Party, need to develop more respect for and partnership with the private sector that makes the whole boat float.

          • (Show?)


            Where were you when the debt nearly doubled during the G.W. Bush administration? Where were you when it tripled during the Reagan administration?

            Where were you when Bush started two different wars, which were promised to be short and inexpensive? Where were you when those of us who opposed the wars were called unpatriotic for pointing out that they were likely to be neither short nor inexpensive, and would likely create terrorists?

            G.O.P. leaders were perfectly happy to go along with the fiscally disastrous policies of their Presidents.

            • (Show?)

              Opposed Bush's debt-doubling. Opposed most everything about Reagan. Opposed Bush's wars for a variety of reason and opposed (and still do) unfunded wars. I oppose most everything "unfunded" because it is either passing the buck or the generation.

              As far as "fiscally disastrous" goes, I have never seen anyone worse than Alan Greenspanm and I have never thought or said anything different including through all of his cult-status years.

  • (Show?)

    the blame that multnomah county sways statewide elections is shared by King in Washington and Jeferson in Kentucky. Dense city populations in low population states have this effect without really trying.

    So be it. hovde should stop complaining and do something about it next election cycle. I didn't vote for the winner, but certainly do not blame (or condemn) Multnomah county.

  • (Show?)

    One person, one vote. That's democracy. Just because we live in the city doesn't make our votes or our opinions less valuable. Hovde is just digging up an old rhetorical tool.

    If you look at our State economy, everything revolves around Portland. But, I wouldn't say that we live in a city-state like the one that Marx described, sucking the energy out of the surrounding countryside. I think a better description is that Portland is the connector between rural Oregon and the rest of the world. So, contrary to Hovde's marxist argument, I think that the whole state benefits from having a city like portland. Kitzhaber's win is no exception.

    • (Show?)

      Well, one person one vote on the local level. For the Presidential race there is the Electoral College. And of course the Super Delegates in the primary contests.

  • (Show?)

    About the one-qualified-person, one vote, point: Kari's excellent population map of the election dispels the illusion created by a state land map filled with red. I'm still thinking about the maps used on TV that show big blotches of red in the great plains states that seem to dwarf the blue edges of the two coasts and the great lakes. Except that the blue areas are where most voters live. Hovde is trying to build more divisiveness upon the illusion.

    Kari: Please find a way to make the corporate media use population maps for reporting elections!

  • (Show?)

    What concerned me most about Hovde's piece was her stated criteria for what qualified Dudley to serve as Governor, and should have made him the first choice of everyone else in the state, including those living in Multnomah County. "Former Trail Blazer", "union man" (not in any union I was ever a member of), "wealthy dude with connections", "likable personality", "(can) raise money" (was this supposed to suggest he would use those skills and hit up his wealthy donors for the money necessary to balance the State budget?), the old saw "support from (some of) the business community", and finally, "steered clear of the social conservative agenda" (which of course means made himself unavailable for questions). That's it!?! That is Hovde's view of the extent of what is required to govern the State of Oregon. That is what supposedly fired up the Republican base and was supposed to inspire us all. Nothing about demonstrated skills and knowledge. Nothing about policies and program initiatives. I searched Dudley's Web site high and low for any glimmer of his proposals for addressing Oregon's health care funding crisis. (An issue particularly important to me and my business.) Nada, nothing, zip. Kitzhaber has plenty, it all makes sense, and he has a demonstrated ability to make it happen. According to Hovde we're supposed to ignore all that Kitzhaber offers because Dudley is a nice, tall guy with rich friends who can keep himself hidden. I find no evidence Dudely is a commercial pilot. Would Hovde hire him to fly her across the country? Hey, he's a union man and pilots have a union. Her piece suggests that there is little or no actual skill or knowledge required to govern, and I find that profoundly disturbing and insulting to the citizens of Oregon.

  • (Show?)

    I hope we're not going to have to keep reminding Republicans that we have a one person-one vote system of democracy, and that empty spaces, forests, crops, sage brush, jack rabbits don't get to vote.

  • (Show?)

    So was Elizabeth Hovde's central point wrong?

    "Multnomah County's liberal supermajority owns the outcome of any gubernatorial contest."

    I'm reading a lot of explanations, justifications, elaborations, etc. around it but I think her central point simply stands.

    • (Show?)

      Yes, her central point was wrong.

    • (Show?)

      Her point was wrong. As I wrote in my post today, if Washington County had merely voted the same way Clackamas County did, Dudley would have come within 2300 votes. A few more wiggles here and there, and he wins. Nevermind what Multnomah County does.

      • (Show?)

        Kari said it better than I could as he had the data available and I'm in an airport gate and too lazy to look it up ;)

      • (Show?)

        If the Republican party hadn't faced a split vote to the right, he might have won. How's that for wiggles?

        • (Show?)

          That's one. Or, if there had been a split vote to the left.

          • (Show?)

            But there WAS a split vote to the right, close to 40,000 votes as I recall. And no splitters leftward.

            • (Show?)

              Mmmm...that's presuming all of the Libertarian votes automatically would go to Dudley.

              • (Show?)

                Not really. Going from memory the Constitution and Libertarian parties tallied up about 40,000 votes against Kithaber's final 22,000 lead. Hard to see a significant percentage of those going to a Democrat.

                • (Show?)

                  It's a bit under 40,000--about 1/2 of them from the Libertarian Party. It's possible that Dudley could have garnered all of those votes, but I would expect Kitzhaber would take some of them (especially from the Libertarian side), Dudley would take some of them and a good chunk of them would also not vote in that race at all.

                  It's certainly not impossible that this makes up the deficit for Dudley..but in no way is it a sure thing.

                  • (Show?)

                    I agree it is in no way a sure thing, but it's impossible not to wonder about. The last best Republican gubernatorial candidate in Oregon was ruined by a spoiler, losing to a weak Democratic candidate. The effect of the spoiler candidate then was clear.

                    Dudley was a move towards more moderate Republicanism but I would agree far from fielding one of the best. There's a premium on physical attractiveness (seen in national races also) that was repeatedly cited as the reason he was chosen ... by whoever put him before the voters.

                    Here's another great imponderable: why would any top-notch potential candidate ever want one of these miserable jobs. I think that gets truer by the decade.

  • (Show?)

    I intend to write an editorial about how "'rural Oregon' gets in the way of the will of the majority of Oregon's population." Somehow I don't think it will gain much traction and I'll probably be called many names.

    • (Show?)

      Excellent idea. As supporting documentation you could use what happened with Treasury Dept. aid to "struggling communities" earlier this year as well as the federal funds intended for high unemployment and foreclosure counties, where the rules were rewritten in Oregon to exclude the hardest hit counties (including mine) and redirect the aid to Multnomah County. They made sure "rural Oregon" (if we are rural!) didn't get in the way of their money-grab.

      • (Show?)

        Sally, could you provide a link on that story? I'm curious about the details.

        • (Show?)

          Here are links, Kari, from our local paper, the first of which hits on both of stories. These issues generated no small controversy (or bitterness?) hereabouts, including at least one editorial, a letter to the editor or two (second link), and a Board of Commissioners resolution. Ashland also joined in.

          I appreciate your interest. Southern Oregon often feels like one of the redheaded stepchildren (not to malign redheads or stepchildren!).

          • (Show?)

            I don't see where the rural counties were "excluded." Also, shouldn't you, as a Republican, be happy you didn't have to rely on that mean nasty old government?

            • (Show?)

              ok, the first one is actually not opening for me so perhaps that is where the "exclusion" happens

              • (Show?)

                There was an exclusion. And on the second program, a "sharing" that left harder-hit counties with substantially less than what was ostensibly intended.

                But as one of our County Commissioners said, "There has got to be a better answer than the federal government always being the answer."

                I couldn't agree with that more -- and my county has the resources if only they were allowed to be used as originally designated (for sustainable timber harvest with revenues to the county replacing what would otherwise be taxable land mass).

                By the way, I am not and never have been a Republican (or a Democrat).

                • (Show?)

                  if it is a handout and you don't agree with handouts, why are you clutching your pearls? are you just looking for something to complain about and that supports your fictitious rural/urban divide?

                  • (Show?)

                    The urban/rural divide is not fictitious, the economic impact of our county's inability to sustainably harvest timber is not fictitious, and I don't know what the hell the "clutching your pearls" adage is about except first or last you BlueOregonites have this clever little way with insults.

                    I was asked for links and then for an explanation of one and I provided them, getting naught but some insult in response.

  • (Show?)

    I think there is a central mistake that the Dudley campaign made: His numbers transparently didn't add up: $700,000 state shortfall+600,000 tax break+ x in "educational investment"= broke state.

    Republican voters are sometimes extremely simplistic in their understandings, but it would be inaccurate and unfair to also say they don't usually stand by their core beliefs.

    I think the fact that Dudley's budget numbers were written in crayon really hurt him on the right. I know Republicans that knew they couldn't respect themselves in the morning if they snuggled up to him as he whispered sweet nothings. His "plan" was nothing more than bullet point salad when you actually read it, and I really think a lot of folks did.

    Take away? Websites really have changed the way people vote more than we might realize. In times of crisis, if the numbers and policies are super accessible and simple people will find the time- or at least ask their friends who they know do.

    Kitzhaber wasn't nearly as charming (as so many folks made hay of in the the mix of it), but he didn't treat the voters like idiots either.

    You can make what you want of that, but I think it says something about Oregon. Red and Blue Oregon...

    • (Show?)

      "Republican voters are sometimes extremely simplistic in their understandings ....."


      And you would say this about Democrats, too, I trust.

    • (Show?)

      $700,000 state shortfall+600,000 tax break+ x in "educational investment"= broke state.

      Just add the magic asterisk and it'll all add up. Everybody knows that! :)

connect with blueoregon