It's not easy being red (in a blue state)

Carla Axtman

(With a nod to Kermit)

My Republican friends (don't look so shocked, I have a good number of friends who affiliate with the GOP) have had a tough road in Oregon for years. It's seemed to me that as a group, they've been truly reticent to seriously reflect on why voters in our state tend to deny them statewide office, as well as their inability to gain traction, as a rule, in urban areas.

But now, it seems like at least some of them are getting serious.

James Owens, Huffington Post:

I think it is important to note that I am not a conservative voice for the freedom to marry and other LGBT causes because I think the issues need my help. I am a conservative voice for these issues because this party is in serious trouble. The freedom to marry will pass here in Oregon in 2014 and throughout the nation within the next five to 10 years, and it will pass with a very healthy majority. The GOP leadership will seemingly continue to be our roadblock, the stubborn elephant on the wrong side of a clear civil rights issue. Young conservatives like me will stop pounding on the doors of the RNC saying, "Let us in! We're the future of the party, and we want to help!" No, we will slowly walk away from what was supposed to save us from being the bankrupted generations that we will now become. And why? Because the far-right relics refuse to get out of the way.

Dear GOP leaders, it is time to step aside. You have clearly demonstrated that you will continue to reflect the views of the old and reject the concerns of the young. Unless you read your own memo and start taking notice that things are rapidly changing, and changing for the better, you will kill the only chance that young conservatives have at inheriting a formidable party.

Owens is in a tough spot. I would imagine he's a Republican because he generally believes in the party's stalwart stance on shrinking government, low taxes and perhaps even some other social issues. But it's pretty clear that the drivers in his party aren't ready to have the wheel of power wrestled away, and according to him, any articulated changes by the GOP on this issue are little more than window dressing:

Prior to last month, I believed that the Oregon GOP leadership was standing in the way of positive movement that would align with the RNC's new "Growth and Opportunity Project," because their archaic positions (and language) stymy the party's overall ability to reposition itself. But since the meeting of the RNC in April, I now realize that the so-called autopsy wasn't meant to change policy at all but was an exercise in repackaging an already damaged brand. And if that isn't bad enough, they have their state organizations out there setting unrealistic, and frankly absurd, goals. Chairwoman Gallagher set a goal of 200,000 additional new Republican voter registrations in Oregon over the next two years. Since November 2012 the number of registered Republicans in Oregon has declined by over 5,300 people. People aren't walking away from the party; they are running. The only way to reach the 200,000 growth number is through magic.

I feel for ya, man. That's gotta suck. And from out here in the cheap seats it sure looks like change isn't coming soon.

Or at least, it's going to be tough.

Then you've got this guy, jumping down Congressman Greg Walden's throat for sticking his finger in the wind against cutting social security:

This could be viewed as just another example of Representative Walden’s penchant for being a big-spending Republican. (He has a lifetime score of just 62 percent from the anti-spending Club for Growth.) Or perhaps it was just reflexive and mindless partisanship. Anything President Obama proposes, Republicans must oppose (and vice versa, of course).

But in many ways, Walden’s remarks illustrate a problem with the current Republican party as a whole. Too many Republicans don’t really want to cut spending — or, at least, not spending that benefits their own constituencies.

Tanner's not the only one, either. Walden's been pilloried throughout the rightspeakosphere for daring to talk about it. And please, when was the last time Tanner spent any real time in Oregon, if at all? What does he know about our "constituencies" and what we want? Please.

This crew makes it very hard to be the one that steps out of line, and they've got a (literal) choke hold on the Republican Party. Oregon's GOP is no exception.

And back to Owens a moment: he's right. Marriage equality is coming to Oregon. If the elephants choose to road block it, the steamroll may push out what little air is left in them. And that's not a good thing for Oregon. A healthy opposition is important in a free society, even if we don't like it when it's happening.

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