On TABOR, Ron Saxton does the funky chicken

DancingsaxtonchickenOne of the big campaigns of the fall election season will be a measure to limit Oregon taxes and ratchet them downward over time; a measure known as TABOR.

Of course, that puts GOP gubernatorial nominee Ron Saxton in a tough spot. On the one hand, with right-wing anti-tax supporters, he's gotta support TABOR - or risk disillusioning them or shoving them to anti-tax candidate Mary Starrett. On the other, he doesn't want to get elected governor - and then be forced to preside over massive spending cuts.

So, he dances the funky chicken - trying to signal support without coming right out and saying it; trying to signal caution without coming right out and saying it. According to the Oregonian:

A proposal to put strict limits on state spending has become a hot issue in the Oregon governor's race, posing a tricky question for Republican candidate Ron Saxton. ...

"I support the concept of a spending limit," he said during last week's debate with Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat running for re-election. But Saxton wouldn't say whether he supports the one that Oregon voters may be asked to decide. After the debate, he refused to answer questions seeking to clarify his stand.

His campaign manager, Felix Schein, said later that Saxton supports the proposed measure but finds it "imperfect." Then, in a follow-up interview, Schein backed off again, saying Saxton wants to see if the initiative makes the ballot before commenting on it.

"It's premature at this point to start a debate," he said. "We're really in a phase where we're trying to learn more about the pros and cons."

Read the rest. Discuss.

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    It's the "Saxton Shuffle" (ok I want royalties from everyone that uses this..say a nickle).

    Anyone willing to chip in to throw to together a music video?

  • Mary Starrett (unverified)

    I am a way better dancer. Plus,RS so dances like a white guy.

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    Editor's note: I'm verifying the authenticity of the above comment. Stay tuned.

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    That gif made my morning...

  • BobTucker (unverified)

    Has anyone asked Saxton if he signed the petition? Can his answer be verified? If he signed it, he supports it.

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    The graphic made my morning, too.

  • Rawn Saxton (unverified)

    Hello, Fox News? Yes, great spending cap, screw Oregon.

    Hello, Oregonian? Hmm, not so sure about the spending cap, ask me in December.

    Hello, Willammette Week? Schools, school, schools.

    Hello, Mary Starrett? I AM a white guy, and YOU dance like Eileen on Seinfeld. Your mama.

  • Stella (unverified)

    Kari: Looks like someone else already authenticated it.

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    Good catch on that one.

    That's pretty funny!


    Out of curiousity (and slightly off-topic), are you going to formally invite all the candidates to post a column later this year? Maybe in late September or early October?

  • Ross Smith (unverified)

    To set the record straight, the question of whether Saxton supports the spending limit initiative did not in fact come up "DURING last week's debate with Gov. Ted Kulonsogwsi," as the Oregonian's Harry Esteve wrote and you quoted above. In fact the question was posed by reporter Esteve in a journalistic question period AFTER the debate, as Mr, Esteve acknowledged to me in an e-mail dated today, 7-20. It is Mr. Esteve who has been pressing this issue, in two by-line stories appearing in the Oregonian in the past week.


  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Is this the kind of discussion that's supposed to let the candidates know that we take the issue seriously? He stands accused of acting like a politician. Really? You think that's possible? What news.

    How about actually debating the question, as in what he should have done/be doing on this issue. The lead-in piece correctly indicates the tough political spot this puts him in. Any suggestions, or is the point just that he squirms like a politician when cornered?

    Personally, I'm not disappointed by Saxton's acting like a politician. I had no hopes that he would act differently. It is more disappointing to see Oregon liberals acting like the "average Amerikan voter". Does ANYONE actually consider issues based on the facts, or is it universal that we decide, a priori what side we're on, then spend the discussion making sophomoric comments about the way the other candidate looks/dresses/some stupid (by highly valued by pre-cognitive primates) variable.

    If you want the politicos to stop treating us like a bunch of cretins, how about we stop acting like it?

    About TABOR, though. Just another attempt to legislate an outcome. Much easier than establishing a process that will produce the outcome. Much like "no child left behind" that way. For anyone that says they're interested in cutting costs in Oregon, show me anyone that will pursue cases of documented fraud and waste in state government, develop software standards for contractors developing the state's DP systems, and/or establish verifyable performance appraisals as the basis for promotion, and I'll think about it seriously.

    The 1060 hour limit on state contractor hours is a good example. Cut contracting dollars by putting a limit on the hours you can spend, per contractor. We want to spend less contracting dollars so we put a ceiling on them; problem solved. Except the practice is that department heads that don't want to follow the policy have found ways around it, or violate it flagrantly without consequence. No one was willing to discuss the culture that produces the results in the first place, only legislate an outcome. Besides not affecting the most egregious violators, it has put the departments that were behaving in a situation where their specialty workforce is always trying to get up to speed. I had a contract supervisor at DHS that said that they "don't expect anything, really, from a person until they've been here 6 months". Since that's about 1060 hours, the practice is that many departments now expect to get nothing for their contracting dollar.

    As a country we seem to have a landlord's attitude about our property, the government. We're constantly letting the tenants know that we've found a situation that we find intolerable, and we want it corrected immediately. Involve me again or make me think and you're a bad tenant. Except we never evict them in the end, or if we do we elect virtual clones for replacements. For our part there is no correlation between what we know and how loud we yell. Well, OK, maybe an inverse correlation. Like a bad landlord, we start with an unrealistic vision, don't put the necessary resources behind making it work, blame the participants for failure, and resort to loud, abusive and punitive behaviors in the belief that we are better than those people.

    How about, before suggesting reform measures, a movement ask itself the following. How would I act differently if I were in the situation? Why would that produce a better outcome? Why do people not act the say I want currently? If all the above can be reliably described, then how can government better reinforce and promote the desired behavior, while discouraging and punishing the undesired behavior? I suppose you'd have to be able to think logically to do that, and when all you are experienced at is playing games and deceit...

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    Ross, just a correction, at the debate Julia Silverman of AP asked the question, "Do you support TABOR and will you campaign for or against it?" I have a transcript if you are interested in the exact answer.

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    I hope there'll be no copyright violations if every progressive blogger in the state copies and uses that gif.

    With Saxton offering to give us the Big Bird, and Westlund positioning himself as a Pander Bear, we might as well characterize both well, visually.

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    Kevin, feel free to steal the graphic.

    Stella, thanks for that link. So, it's true - that was Mary Starrett, right here at BlueOregon. Go figure!

  • LT (unverified)
    <h2>Just out of curiousity, which Gov. candidate(s) have the link to Defend Oregon--the Our Oregon website--on their campaign website?</h2>
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