Gubernatorial Debate II

Tonight, the second and final gubernatorial debate happened on KGW-8. Watch the video here.


  • myranda (unverified)

    Hello, everyone. I watched the debate. I can't believe that Mr. Sorenson said that no Democrats voted to send troops to Iraq. Does he have a really short memory or does he simply lack a fact-checker on his staff?

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    None of the Democratic members of Congress in Oregon voted to send the troops.

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    My husband watched the debate tonight while I was away.

    He was impressed with Sorenson.

    He did not like Hill.

    And he felt that Kulongoski dodged questions, appeared to be lying, etc.

    While my husband is a registered republican, he does not vote the party line-- in the past he's voted for Blumenauer several times, Laurie Monnes Anderson, and Jim Robison was his favorite PUD candidate. He also liked Dean and would have voted for him, had he won the primary. He's more of the old-style Republican. He's a fiscal conservative, social liberal. He's not about cutting services and big tax cuts-- he's for managing the money right and fully funding needed services (police, schools, health care, etc.). I keep trying to talk him into re-registering at least as an independent.

  • LT (unverified)

    Only caught the closing statements, as was doing something else and forgot about the debate until almost too late.

    Pete may have had good content, but "I'm the only candidate who..." or "I see an Oregon...." remind me of campaigns decades ago. My friend who isn't thrilled with anyone running for Gov. except maybe Ben Westlund who he knows, said when I first met him a year ago that candidates needed a vision AND a plan to carry it out. We hear Pete's vision, but aside from corporate taxes, not much about the plan to carry it out. Not to mention that he should have looked at the camera more instead of seeming to have to read his notes for a closing statement.

    Hill did better on that score, and he's right that some debates seem to go on as if nothing has changed in the last 4 years. Some politicians do sound like that and if he's angry that nothing seems to have changed he has a right to express that anger.

    Ted doesn't seem to see the difference between rhetoric ("some want to talk, I acted") and explanation. He hasn't done a very good job of explaining to the public what he did and why. "I had to make tough decisions and do the right thing" should be followed by "this decision was the right thing to do because..." and then tell us what happened as a result. Not everyone who was employed when we voted for 2002 is in the same job--some are out of work or not working full time. Does Ted understand that? What is Ted's plan for schools, "I have a plan for schools"? Why didn't we hear about it last year, and is "Different percentage but variations on the Speaker's Plan for Education" the best he can do?

    They all look tired.

    Hate to say this folks, but those closing statements make Ben Westlund look good.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)

    I also watched the KGW debate and agree that the 'Guv was an expert at dodging questons while Sorenson answered each question straight up.

    For example, on the straightforward question of whether Oregon needs a sales tax, Sorenson clearly stated (more than once), "No."

    The 'Guv answered with the need for "stability" that may require some kind of "consumption tax," which Jim Hill correctly interpreted as Ted's endorsement of a sales tax.

    The problem with Sorenson is that his answers read fine in a transcript or if heard over radio. But on TV, he comes across as an angry fellow who failed to smile once in the hour-long debate. He had the best answers, but he isn't very "likeable."

    In the end, both Sorenson and Hill stressed the fact that their best credential for a primary victory is that they are not Ted.

    • Wes Charles
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    OK, folks, how about actually watching the debate before you comment on how the participants did.... Again, here's the video.

    My initial reaction (based on watching the whole thing, but only once) was that Jim Hill didn't quite seem ready for prime time.

    He was flustered when a reporter pointed out that two of his campaign policy ideas were already implemented by Kulongoski (at 6:35). He flailed when he (and Sorenson) called for the governor to bring Oregon's troops home from Iraq (at 14:40) - only to have Kulongoski point out that they already are home. He fumbled when he said the governor should have insisted that Warm Springs get only one casino (at 17:40 and 20:15) -- and it turns out that's exactly what's happening.

    I like Jim. I like him a lot. But this wasn't his best outing.

    [Disclosure: I built in 2002 and again this year, but I don't speak for the governor or his campaign.]

  • David (unverified)

    Here are my grades for tonight's debate:

    The Panel-C-How can you NOT ask a question about education funding, it is the proverbial elephant in the room!

    Sorenson: D+-Pete Sorenson seems to have lost himself in some strange dream world where Oregon's tax structure is stable, PERS never was going to have a deficit and seemed to prethink all his answers (e.g. the Casino gaffe on # of Casinos Warm Springs would have). Btw Pete, this is not Kansas, it makes no difference really if you're from here because all of these candidates certainly have proven records in public service IN Oregon.

    Hill-C+-For the first half of the debate, it seemed as if Jim Hill had been forced to take sleeping pills as he appeared very tired/ill-prepared. He recovered nicely in the second half but still failed to make the point of why he is better than Teddy K (except maybe on Econ. Development).

    Teddy K-B+-Very nice job by Ted on defending himself and his record. Particularly strong when it came to explaining why he now supports a sales tax (which actually many R's do too) when put in combination with an income tax reduction. He had good rhetoric and forward looking tone and did an excellent job of staying on point. He should have tried to be more on offense though and he appeared too defensive at times.

    In the whole, a fairly solid win for the Gov. None of the other two made any real case of why they would do any better (other than that they are not him).

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    I'm thankful there is video this time. I'll comment after I watch as Kari requested.

    A related sidenote: My overseas ballot arrived today in Korea. If anyone else is in the same boat, start watching your mail box.

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    I just finished watching the debates on the internet. My thanks to Channel 8 for making it available to those who couldn't see it on TV.

    My take on the debate:

    I think Sorenson pandered to specific groups right off the bat (if you don't believe me go back and watch the first seven minutes) when he gave his responses to the first few questions.

    Both Sorenson and Hill couldn't come up with a coherent answer what they would have done diffrently in terms of the casino issue. It seems like their answer were weak.

    Kulongoski's quote of the unemployment rate is something I question because often there are many people who have stopped looking for a job, moved out of state or moved out of the country.

    Hill must have mentioned how polluted our river was about five times.

    I'm not sure what the situation was on PERS, does anyone have a take on Hill's accusation that Kulongoski betrayed the state workers?

    I agree with Kari that Hill flubbed the issue of whether Oregon National Guard Troops were home.

    Sorenson's issue with funding this billion dollars on research is a non-starter. I don't ever see any govenor being able to get corporations to fork over that money.

    My favorate line was when Hill said, "Squirrel understand putting nuts away for a rainy day." He's such a nut! Yes, the pun was intended!

    I have to wonder if Hill's been out of the game too long (yes, I know it's only been four years) to know what's really going on.

    Hill has a really dry sense of humor, especially given his "I must have done something wrong in a previous live."

    Sorenson on the pondered to every group possible in his closing statment.

    Hill's closing statement just about put me to sleep. And Hill's plug of his campaign website actually made me laugh though. I think Hill also made it sound like Kulongoski sat on his butt for three years, which isn't exactly fair.

    Kulongoski sounded like he was preaching in his closing statement.

    In conclusion, Sorenson sounded like Mayor Quimby on The Simpsons, Hill looked and sounded like an African-American version of Al Gore (in that his personality was stiff as a board), Kulongoski sounded like Jimmy Stewart as a used car salesman.

    Even though I've been critical of all three candidates, I think I've decided who I'm voting for...

    but I'm going to sleep on it.

  • Robert (unverified)

    Watching the debates reminded me of watching George Bush.....Ted K. has the same arragance and "living in Kansas" attitude...."No problem leadership has been excellent".... Come on Ted...get real. You have been a terrible Gov.... Why do you think so many of your fellow democratics are lining up to get you out of Salem..... Jim Hill needs to get more "fire in the belly".....He would make a great Gov. for all Oregonians.....But came across sleepy and I felt his pain....The tv format is not his strong venue. I like Jim Hill.....I may vote for him, but I sure want him to get more expressive passion....I know he has the internal passion, but more external would be good. Pete was Pete.....What a great candidate. In the next few years Pete will get elected to a state-wide office, or a Congressional seat....Go are doing a great job.

    Why did the Governor only agree to two debates? What is trying to hid... And, what is up with the SALES TAX........Nice try Ted, but it will never fly.

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    Kari, thank you for your factual notes and the review by Randy Stapilus. Ted Kulongoski is bold and right. We absolutely need a consumption tax coupled with a reduction of personal income tax. His plan doesn't necessarily mean more money for the state, what it does do is provide more boom and bust years under Ted's plan. And when are Hill and Sorenson going to reveal their bold plans????

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)

    Last night was the first time I had seen Sorenson live. What a pipsqueak! I am absolutely baffled that the guy I saw on TV is the same guy I've read about time and time again here on BlueOregon. I'm sorry peeps, the guy sounded nasally, grumpy, and whiny. I don't ever see the guy appealing to a full Oregon audience. After a half hour I was just wishing they'd skip over him.

    Jim "Oh Governor" Hill, did someone check his pulse before he came on stage? What was with the HUGE HILL campaign pin? I think "deer in headlights" best describes his performance.

    For those that said TeddyK didn't answer questions, go back again and view the casino question. Both Hill and Sorenson were complaining about gambling, didn't think it should be close to the city, blah, blah, blah, but both of them were willing to allow it in closer-in Hood River. Come on, Kulongoski had two choices, he answered it clear. I also don't think Kulongoski was dodging the sales tax question. He has been the first in I don't know how long to speak candidly to the public. He could have said, "look, the revenues are up, we are going to expand our programs." Instead he commented that now is the time to reform our taxes before we bust again and fall much harder than the rest of the nation. In my opinion, a consumption tax is different than a sales tax. A consumption tax could be targeted to specific items. Fast food, jewelry, electronics, etc.etc. where as a sales tax is more broad, possibly excluding grocery store food and meds, but usually applicable to everything else.

    Again, it was up to Sorenson and Hill to give me a reason not to vote for TeddyK, they provided nothing but a few laughs at their pathetic attempt. Their must have been better democrats out there to actually put up a challenge to the K-man, if not, I don't see a reason to stay with this party...Hill...SEIU are you friggin CRAZY?

  • myranda (unverified)

    Hi, everyone. If Sorenson meant to say no "Oregon" democrat voted to go to war in Iraq, then he should've said that. Coupled with his assertion that the Warm Springs tribe currently has two casinos in Oregon, well, I felt as though he is clueless (or factless) about some major issues. If you think Westlund looks good, please remember that he was Mannix's campaign organizer in 2002. I sure don't understand what's lookin' good about him. Two debates is plenty enough time for Sorenson and Hill to send forth some message to voters about their priorities and plans. Instead they just whine and doze (respectively). I definitely don't need to see any more of those two!

  • Robert Harris (unverified)

    Sorenson: First time I've seen him "live". Didn't connect with him or his positions that well. Particularly didn't like his closing statement, which actually turned me off. (I've only lived in Oregon for 18 years, am I allowed to vote?) Don't think he presented particularly well. Thought more liberal party members would like him.

    Hill: He started very very slow and got a little better later.

    Kulongoski: I thought made the points he wanted. Clearly won the debate with his engaging manner. Which makes it all the more sad that he couldn't be this personable and persuasive when we needed him. news for you, you should have been making these points and leading our state before and during the 2005 legislative session, not a year after. You should have shown engagement for the past three years, not just now (as Hill pointed out). You should have presented your tax reform proposals 18 monts ago, when the economy was picking up steam and before the kicker was announced, not now when people can say that .... revenues are rising, the kicker works for me and things are fine.

    One tip to the gov. Don't call for "some type of consumption tax". Opponents will label as a sales tax. But while I understand your position not to be pinned down to specifics on tax reform, a gross receipts tax on business, or a Business and occupation tax may just fly. And while businesses may just claim they will pass the cost on to customers, the fact is, prices are market driven and the businesses probably will have to eat some of that cost.

    Looks like I'll be watching Westlund closely.

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    If you think Westlund looks good, please remember that he was Mannix's campaign organizer in 2002. I sure don't understand what's lookin' good about him.

    He's looking pretty good to the R's right now. In fact, him making the ballot is their best chance to put Saxton into Mahonia Hall based on the polling. I've seen tons of folks speaking up for him here at Blue Oregon, but to folks who spend more time on these blogs... has anyone seen him get any play on the R blogs?

  • dooger (unverified)

    I never expected to say this, but Sorenson won. In fact, he hit it out of the park! He delivered concise answers with passion, and the content will play really well to your average voter. I'm still in shock.

    I agree with the person who wrote Hill was on sleeping pills. Wow! What a different performance from his appearance at the Steamfitters debate!!! He was totally out of it! I know TV studios can be intimidating, especially KGW's with all it's arrogant stuffiness, but he was REALLY off the mark.

    Kulongoski came off as angry. Passion and anger are too different things. He came off as angry and defensive. I wasn't getting the "Governor" vibe. Not to mention, what was up with his stage make-up? He looked like he'd been on a binger the night before and forgot to shave.

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    [Admin note: Looks like we're having some server trouble here in BlueOregon. Comments are working just fine, but the home page isn't getting updated - and the comments pulldown isn't updating either. We're on it.]

  • JHL (unverified)

    That was kinda interesting how Kulongoski went ahead and basically endorsed Westlund's tax plan there...

    Does this guy show up six months late on everything?

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    I did watch every vibrant minute.

    I'm liking Ted a little better each time.

    Sorensen finally "Drove the Wedge" for tax revenues at "publicly held companies with at least 75 shareholders" with 2/3 of that group paying no taxes last year"

    That's a lot better than what he's been saying for the past 18 months, which was totally correct, but scooped up too many voters to have a prayer of electability.

    Hill's accusation of betrayal of the unions by Ted was a "he said, they said" wash. BTW: The union rank and file are far from lock step with the "get revenge on Ted" meme.........

    Sorensen's and Hill's attacks re Casino siting were disingenous at best and Ted did point out that he had two choices. Period.


    I came out of it kinda bemused with the old "Where's Ted" idea. I'm thinking that the Ted that showed up looked a lot less wooden and seemed more able to alternately turn on the "Aw shucks" and the passionate advocacy than has been my perception in the past.


    The hit has been that he hasn't done anything but maybe he's had some pretty crappy PR as far as what he's been doing for the past three years, and he's catching us up now. Not my prefered style of information gathering, but.........aside from the Sales/Consumption tax, which he's just wrong on (Sorensen's got this one right) I'm more inclined to support Ted than I was pre-debate.

  • DifferentSalemStaffer (unverified)

    ...maybe he's had some pretty crappy PR as far as what he's been doing for the past three years...

    It's not PR, it's the fact that he's been a chronic no-show the past two legislative sessions. Nothing he signs reflects any effort on his part. But don't take my word for it -- ask any legislative staffer from '03 or '05, R or D.

    Having said that, I will give him credit outside of the building for selling Oregon's business climate outside of the state. He seems to work very well outside of the Capitol Building. Maybe there's an office he's more suited to that doesn't focus so much on legislation.

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    Pat Ryan's correct about the unions not being in lock step with Hill. Some of Ted's best stuff has been delivered to shop stewards and the like without press present. The "O's" coverage of Governor Kulongoski has been sorely lacking. I don't know how many press releases from the Governor's office detailing his accomplishments have been just plain ignored by the "O." I know I have a small stack that never made it into print. I have wondered if the cuts the Governor made in his own, now lightly staffed office, have prevented the word from getting out. Just curious Pat, what kind of tax structure do you dream about? I like the idea of a consumption tax tied to a reduction in personal income tax because it brings stability to the state budget process, instead of the boom/bust climate Oregon struggles with now. It's important to remember Ted's plan does not mean more money necessarily, just stability.

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    Clarification, "without press present at the Union's request."

  • Jeremiah L (unverified)

    I saw and heard exactly what I expected to see and hear from both Sorenson and TK, but I was shocked at the sloth with which Hill was speaking. I agree, he was definitely not prepared for prime time in this debate. It was like watching a dress rehearsal; most of what's going on seems alright, but there are so many messups and slowdowns, you wonder what it will look like on opening night. And this was the first time I have actually seen Sorenson as I heard him, and his voice and mannerisms totally matched my mental impression of the guy (not good). He should maybe employ some sort of coach to make him more friendly to the senses. I liked what he was saying, but man oh man, it's how you say it.

  • JHL (unverified)

    Paulie --

    Good to hear your support the common-sense tax plan. Just two errors...

    1. When you write "Ted's plan," it should read "Westlund's plan," because -- let's be real -- this has been on Westlund's website for a while. Ted's such a copycat.

    2. It does raise more money... a cool billion dollars.

    (P.S: You're letting your Kulo talking points slip out ver batim again.) :)

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    As I imagine is true with you, I don't "dream about" fair taxes, but:

    I said that I think Sorensen's on the right track. He's using a line similar to Tim Nesbitt's:

    No new taxes. Let's start collecting on the "old taxes".


    Whatever kind of lipstick you put on the pig of sales/consumption/value added taxes, it still comes down to unfair tax burdens on the bottom of the working class.

    So, return to progressive taxation, make the Really Big Boys cough up their share, eliminate the corporate kicker (leaving the individual kicker in place, not becuase it's fair, but because you can't Git 'Er Dun any other way) and get a rainy day fund in place RFN.

    When the rainy day fund reaches some predetermined figure, say 30% of current state budget obligations, then we can start with all of the Castles in the Air stuff.

  • michael (unverified)

    Let's stop kidding ourselves.... Ted wins, because Pete and Jim will split the other votes. Time for Pete to be a 'team player" and drop out of the race. He will be the spoiler. Remember, a vote for Pete is a vote for Ted. Jim Hill can win this, but not while Pete is still in the race. Come on Dems.....Vote Hill. Or, we get four more years of Ted. Depressing.

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)

    "Jim Hill can win this"

    Not only did he not win the debate last night, he didn't show up. It only gets harder from here. Right now I don't even think Hill could win statewide against Katz. (I love ya Vera)

  • JTT (unverified)

    from Ted's website: The Difference Between Talking and Doing: Kulongoski Debates Primary Opponents Ted's idea of real leadership is listening to Ben Westlund's proposals and taking credit for them?

    Alternative Energy? Check. Children's Health Care? Check. Cigarette Tax? Check. and last night... Fundamental Tax Reform? Check

    Perhaps Ted should take a dose of his own 'messaging' medicine and stop being such a hypocrite

    That's the difference between talking and doing. Ted talks about the genius of Westlund's tax stability proposal, while Ben Westlund is actually at the table, introducing the legislation and talking to the press and public.

    So Ted and spokes(wo)man Paulie, what was that you were saying about the difference between talking and doing???

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    Hell hath frozen over. I absolutely, completely, agree with Pat Ryan. His observations are so cogent, he's left me with nothing to add.

    I don't know about Pat, paulie, but the Tax Structure I dream about isn't really too far away from what we already have. I love Oregon's income tax, where the State is financed by the people who can afford it. The only problem the State has is the "kicker" - it cuts taxes when we have an unexpected upswing in the economy, but does nothing to cushion the downswings.

    If I had dictatorial power for a day, I'd rewrite the "kicker" to not "kick" back to the taxpayers, but rather into a "Rainy Day fund" that could only be legally spent by the Legislature when the State had a quarter of negative growth. (Spending, in this case, would also include Tax Expenditures - meaning a rebate check for all Oregon taxpayers.) That would insure that it wouldn't be used except in a real threatened recession.

    Doing this would address the volitility problem in our tax system without resorting to regressive schemes that only hurt the poorest Oregonians.

  • myranda (unverified)

    Hi, everyone. Some of you are misinformed. For example, Different Salem Staffer says that Kulongoski has "been a chronic no-show the past two legislative sessions." In fact, he put together the transportation improvements that have saved our bridges and roads, and thus created hundreds of good-paying jobs. He fast-tracked the industrial sites on which Google, Yahoo!, Lowe's, and others are building businesses (more jobs). He expanded financial aid for low-income students (future jobs). He cut prescription drug costs for older low-income Oregonians through bulk purchasing. That's a great record and it's only part of what he's done. You don't get those results by being a "no-show."

  • DifferentSalemStaffer (unverified)

    myranda: which legislative office were you with last session?

  • Robert Harris (unverified)

    Myranda: The fact that the Gov. facilitated Sen Bruce Starrs bridge and road plan in 2003, which included tax increases, just goes to show his lack of leadership.

    While we spent the better part of 2003 cutting school days, closing our courts and letting meth addicts run free, throwing people off the OHP,and terminating state police officers, he was willing to allow a republican plan to raise taxes to benefit truckers, AOI and construction companies go get enacted. And he now brags about it.

    Why didn't he tell the senator from the Business Business Alliance that before we raise taxes to repair bridges, we've got to raise revenue to repair our social safety net,public safety and our schools. After we address those issues, we can address bridges.

    He sees the bridge bill as a victory? I see it as one more example of him rolling over and a lack of gutsy leadership. Oregon business asked the legislature to raise fees and taxes for their benefit and he got absolutely nothing in return.

  • Disenchanted (unverified)

    Yes, the debate was not the best for any of the candidates. Even the questions from reporters missed the mark. How could education not be a top issue?

    What shocked me was that Ted once again confirmed his idea of solving the health care crisis by letting the Fed's handle it? What? Is he serious. All of you who are supporting Ted will have to explain that answer to me because I don't get it. It looks like Ted is just passing the buck again - NO LEADERSHIP! That's why he has a contested race. I'm not feeling very confident!

    So ignoring the debate for a moment, let's look at the record. Just the record. Facts baby! Facts. What do we as a blue state stand for? Land Use? Makes us proud - right? Ted pushed a amendment to measure 37 that made the land use issue even worse in Oregon. Don't trust me, call 1000 Friends. Education? Ted introduced a lower education budget than even the Republicans proposed. Is Ted really our education leader? Water quality - Oregon is a green state. So Ted rejected the elimination of toxic mixing zones which poison our waters. Ted says he would rather deal with the big picture than just toxic mixing zones. What? This is our water guys. You would vote for Ted knowing that he is allowing toxins to be poured into our rivers and streams? I am appalled as a Blue Oregonian.

    So Jim put you to sleep? Better than being awake and being Ted. Look at Jim's record. His record is exemplary. He's got a solid record for the environment, a solid record for education. As Treasurer, he did more for education than Ted has as Governor. Jim saved over half a billion for education by proposing and passing the school bond guaranty act. He developed a program to invest in Oregon (economic development) which put an additional $1 plus billion into our economy. that is real dollars. He put the College Savings Plan into play helping families send their children to college.

    Sorenson is a good soul. He wouldn't have so much fodder if Ted didn't keep handing it to him. Did you know that Pete met with the Dem. Chair of Senate Ways and Means and asked him if Ted ever talked with him about the State Budget. The answer was no. Missing in action.

    If we are a blue state, why don't we elect people who represent our values. Look at the record. Then vote. Jim Hill has the best record. Ted's record looked good at the beginning but went down hill as soon as he became Governor. I'm ready for a change! Because I am really blue

  • David (unverified)

    What Kulo actually said about health care is that while the state could do a lot in the short term, the longterm fix needs to come from DC because Oregon will never have the market power to do more than dabble at the margins. He's absolutely right.

    Oh yeah and on education Teddy played a bit of game by showing such a low number and was trying to demonstrate how bad it was.

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    Governor Kulongoski pledged to ensure health coverage for every child in Oregon, paid for with an increase in the state's tobacco tax. His plan will provide coverage to an additional 118,000 children according to Erinn Kelley-Siel, health policy advisor. A state survey found half of the 50,000 children who are eligible for the Oregon Health Plan are not enrolled. Kulongoski has also pledged to simplify the rules for families to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan.

    Governor Kulongoski helped with the creation of the Oregon Prescription Drug Program, making prescription drugs affordable to low-income Oregonians age 54 or older. The Governor created two health care programs targeted to employees of uninsured small businesses. Over 200,000 are potentially eligible through the Children's Group Plan and the Alternative Group Plan. I'd say Kulongoski is working on both short and long term health care solutions for Oregonian's.

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    As to those who say there was a clear "winner" in the debate, I think your wrong. While I had narrowed my focus to two of the three candidates, I don't think any of them made a better impression then before this debate.

    As I said, I'd sleep on it. Because I'm an overseas voter, I have to pretty much decide in the next week. Barring something happening in the news, I've made the decision.

  • JHL (unverified)

    I'd say Kulongoski is working on both short and long term health care solutions for Oregonian's.

    Kulo's plan to insure kids is a cheap knock-off version of the Family Health and Wellness Act. Plain and simple.

    While I hope that it passes no matter who gets credit for it... I just don't have any faith that when it comes down to it, Kulo will be there for it. Where was he for the Act during the 2005 session? Give me one example of an action he did to try and get that passed.

    Wake up, Kulo-bots... every single thing Kulongoski is promising you now is something he turned his back on last session.

  • myranda (unverified)

    Hi, Everyone. Kulongoski's plan to provide health insurance for children is not a cheap knockoff. Because the original Oregon Health Plan didn't include the "employer mandate," it was destined from the beginning to be perceived and operated as another "government handout" for poor folks--and there was not deep support for that especially in a recession. By providing health insurance for ALL children, the issue of health insurance becomes important to everyone with children--poor and middle class alike. It's an excellent way to keep the health plan operable and broaden its support. Mr./Ms Disenchanted says "If we are a blue state, why don't we elect people who represent our values." We are not a blue state. I plan to vote for the candidate who has worked hard to create jobs, clean up the Superfund site on the Willamette River, fix the roads, and provide leadership in alternative energy: Ted Kulongoski.

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    Well, it's taken me a while to respond, partially because I had to wait for the damn thing to download (did anybody else find it glacially slow, or was someone swamping my T1 at work?). Anyway, I don't feel like anyone won my vote last night, but one guy sure lost it.

    My god was Jim Hill pathetic. Was there a single question he didn't stumble over, dodge or divert the entire night? I was stunned. He seemed completely unprepared. I mean, it's not like the questions were coming out of left field (though maybe he spent all his time practicing answers to the education questions that were shockingly absent). I didn't feel like he had a coherent answer that actually addressed the question asked all night (note to nitpickers: I said, "I didn't feel like;" I'm sure he did answer some of the questions directly or competently, but it sure didn't seem like it).

    As for Ted, he waffled along with the same old message, "look at how great the economy's been on my watch." He augmented this with a few ideas which, as JHL and JTT pointed out (are you guys related?) sound a lot like a certain independent candidate who will remain nameless. I think our anonymous staffer and Mr Harris have summarized his lack of legislative leadership better than I could, so I'll leave it with them.

    Pete was to one who pleasantly surprised me. He seemed competent, and less mean-spirited than at the last debate. He actually came out with a few decent ideas, though I didn't notice any [realistic] thoughts on how to pay for them, and he totally whiffed on an opportunity to suggest something better than Ted's "some sort of consumption tax" (I'll take "How to avoid the phrase 'sales tax' for $1000, Alex"). The tax structure of this state needs more help that throwing $100M a year from the corporate kicker into a "rainy day fund." In case you haven't noticed, it rains every year in this state.

    I feel like Pete could still redeem himself, but Jim has joined Ted on the list of candidates who no longer have any chance of getting my vote. Ted lost me 'round about the middle of the '05 legislative session, and Jim lost me last night. Those two are just hopeless. But I refuse to give anyone my vote by default, especially when there's a perfectly decent progressive floating out there in Indie-land so I guess we'll just have to see what Pete comes up with credibility-wise, if anything, over the next five weeks...

  • michael (unverified)

    Nate: I appreciate your insight.... On Hill.....I would rather have a Gov. that lacks luster, than have a stupid Governor.....and that's what we have now. I really like Jim.....I do hope he is able to get a little more "fire in the belly".....but he has a chance to become a great leader in Oregon..... Of the three choices right now, I have to say I am for Hill.... I really like Pete....and there is a future for that guy....Ted is just horrible... Hill gives me hope in the party, in state goverment, and in Oregon. His track record as State Treasurer is very impressive....I don't know why he doesn't talk more about his record... Anyway, thanks Nate for your thoughts.

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    I didn't notice it at first but I'm beginning to sense a pattern here. It seems that each of candidates has a serious caveat that keeps people from voting for him, and then another "faux caveat" that his supporters think is the reason he's not getting any support. For instance...

    Ted's supporters all seem to be saying Ted's the best if only he would promote his accomplishments better. Those who oppose him suggest the real reason no one supports him is because he hasn't done anything and all the things he's proposing now he would've done in the last three years if he was really serious about them.

    With Jim, his supporters think he could win if only he showed a little more passion. His opponents are less worried about passion and more worried about the fact that he's the only person running who's done less for Oregon over the last three years than Ted, and his absence from the political landscape seems to come through in his tenuous grasp of the issues. Also, he still hasn't come up with a particularly good reason to vote for him except that he's not Ted.

    In Pete's case his supporters think he'd be the runaway favorite if only the media (and the Democratic party) would accept him as a serious challenger. The rest of us want to know what his campaign has been doing for the past year that we are only now starting to get to know him. Also there's that little issue of how to pay for everything. I'm still waiting for a credible answer to how he plans to stabilize revenue moving forward.

    Contrary to what I said in my last post, I haven't actually ruled out voting for any of the candidates, however I've lost confidence that either Jim or Ted are actually going to tackle their major, glaring weaknesses. But any of the three could still win me over (and probably many other fence-sitters) if they'd stop sniping at each other long enough to address voters' very legitimate concerns.

  • JHL (unverified)

    Nate, for the record, I dunno who JTT is (that kid from Home Improvement?), but I like his thinking.

    For Kulo's "leadership" on health insurance... providing health insurance to kids saves money, since the amount of emergency-room uncompensated care decreases (which the taxpayers end up paying). If Kulo couldn't find "deep support for that," then it is his responsibility as governor to lead on that issue.

    Instead, he just waits until he's in a Democratic primary to move on the issue? That's not only lame -- that's playing politics with children's health care.

    And I'd sure like to know when Ted Kulongoski ever provided leadership on alternative energy, because I didn't see him up front on solar, biofuels, hydro, geothermal, or the Apollo Project... I heard him whine about an RPS, but never saw him actually do anything about it. Maybe if he's so hot about the issue, he can sign Ben Westlund's Apollo petition.

    Myranda -- Maybe you can explain the differences between the Family Health and Wellness Act that the governor ignored last session and "his" current plan?

  • Riverine (unverified)

    Hills statement about rivers being "more pollutted" was just completely false.

    It was pretty pathetic actually, seeming like an attempt to discredit Kulongiski's efforts on the Willamette River because of a failed bill in the last legislature to phase out mixing zones. The failure of that bill had a lot more to do with AOI than anything else.

    While Kulongoski didn't challenge Hill on that statement, Hill's staff clearly did not research that issue before providing him the comment. According to the Oregon Water Quality Index, river conditions have improved on Kulongoski's watch.

    Kulongoski didn't tout the work he has done to improve the ecological condition of the Willamette, nor the funding he secured to finalize the cleanup of a heinous site in Portland Harbor.

    It seems Jim Hill would be better served making sure his staff actually researched this stuff before he puts innacurate comments forward in a public debate that "Oregon's Rivers are Dirtier etc."

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    I agree, Hill's campaign is not firing on all cylinders. Someone is not doing their job in terms of preparing him. I honestly think Hill is probably a smart guy (though I've never met him), but he comes off as loveable as a brick wall.

    Honestly, Hill was the one I was hoping would come out with some decent ideas and run a campaign that would attract my vote.

    <h2>Unfortunately, he's failed on that account.</h2>
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