Fallin'... yes they are fallin'...

Carla Axtman

Republicans running for office in Oregon, in many cases, appear to be wed to one thing: tax cuts. No matter what the problem, tax cuts and spending cuts are their solution.

If only we could drown the gubmint in the bathtub--completely disable it--then all of our problems would be magicially solved.

For some reason, pondering these notions caused this song to scratch out of my head:

Yeah, they've fallen alright. And at least some of them can't get up.

Take Vic Gilliam, for example. At his campaign website, Gilliam has an audio clip--a speech--where he articulates what he wants to do for Oregon:

First we should stand for a deep, game-changing cut in overall state government. A minimum of 10% in the next session.

Okay..10%. The Oregon budget for the 2007-09 biennium is $48 billion. So Gilliam wants to lop $4.8 billion out of the state budget, off the top, at minimum. That's indeed a bold statement. So this speech must include at least an inkling of what Gilliam wants to cut, right?


Gilliam falls for the same, tired Republican rhetoric of spending and tax cuts--but hasn't the courage to go into exactly what he'll cut. That would make what he's saying actually real to people. And Gilliam doesn't want to lose his race, so he won't go that far.

The speech continues....

How can citizens trust a state government that willingly wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars to wrench a single deer from a protective family?

Gilliam is referring to Snowball, an injured doe that was found five years ago by a Molalla family. The family kept the doe--which bred--and sired a male which had grown to adulthood. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife seized both animals, causing a public outcry.

Even if you agree with Gilliam's take on the Snowball story--it seems odd that this would be part of the centerpiece of his campaign. Our state is in an economic downturn, we have hundreds of vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with problems and needs, hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon need access to quality healthcare, etc. And the top priority is the fact that the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife followed their rules?

Not to mention Gilliam's accounting of the costs. In his speech, he claims that the state wasted "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on the removal of the deer. Yet in an LTE to the Statesman Journal, Gilliam's total cited expenditures for the situation total $117,785.

Gilliam's speech continues:

Family and property rights are under a withering attack. They need people absolutely committed to their defense.

Which "family rights" are under attack, exactly? And for that matter, which "property rights" are under attack? Gilliam again lacks specifics. These vague references and boogie man language are little more than scare tactics.

I wonder when the paper of record in the area might actually interview Gilliam and demand an accounting for his budget cuts? When might they ask Gilliam why the Snowball numbers in his web speech don't match those in his LTE? And why the vague, scary language instead of real, proposed solutions?

  • Lupita Maurer (unverified)

    Carla, I just love seeing your articles in BlueOregon. They are witty, refreshing, and interesting.

    Keep up the good work!

    Lupita Maurer WCDCC Chair

  • sick of jackasses (unverified)

    I wonder what Gilliam and the Snowball crusaders would think if, instead of a dear, that family had helped an injured, undocumented, Mexican immigrant back to health and provided food and housing to him/her for five years?
    I expect the anger at the state for enforcing the law would be non-existent.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    I wonder what Gilliam and the Snowball crusaders would think if, instead of a dear, that family had helped an injured, undocumented, Mexican immigrant back to health and provided food and housing to him/her for five years?

    What, and if they tried to keep the immigrant as a pet and teach "it" to do certain tricks and chores around the house? Oh, I think there might well be some outrage about that after all. Just a guess.

  • LT (unverified)

    The way to "call the bluff " of those like Gilliam is to ask where we can read their list of suggested cuts and see that it actually adds up. For instance, cuts to make up for $4.8 billion had darned well better add up to more than $3.9 billion---most such efforts fall short that way.

    More importantly, what are Democrats at all levels doing to help the Democratic nominee in District 18? Or do they only help candidates in districts where the Democratic registration is in or close to majority, as if voters outside major parties can't make a difference in legislative races?

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    I have a copy of John Lennon: In His Own Write on my bookshelf even now. I guess that makes me - what - old? (Also probably explains why I can't figure out how to create the title in italics).

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Carla (and the great article, as well)

  • MCT (unverified)

    Great post....loved the Beatles! Listened to the whole thing and I still know all the lyrics.

    As far as I can see the only family rights under attack are the rights of a family to work two full time jobs and earn enough to own a home, not be buried in a bad loan or be taken advantage of by credit card companies who change the rules mid-stream. The rights of a family to make enouugh to afford a decent quality of life, health, food, and a bit of leisure, as well as educate their chidlren and save for retirement, without worrying about corporate entities raiding their pensions and 401k's. Is it too much to ask that our elected officials move to ensure these simple securities in exchange for our vote and our tax dollars?

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    great post, Carla. Between the "gimme shelter" reference in a prior post and now this, I think you are the classic rock songstress of BlueOregon.

  • Gus Frederick (unverified)

    Great article, Carla!

    As a Silverton resident, we seldom see our State Representative in town. Instead, we usually spot his fancy truck, parked for extened periods around town as kind of a mobile lawn sign. Indeed, most folks wonder if maybe we should be voting for Vic's Truck since it seems more "real" than the man.

    I did hear him at a joint town hall meeting with Roger Beyer, (our former Senator who resigned in time so that can become a lobbyist) and Roger's successor Fred Girod.

    All three we big on property rights, (read: against BM49). But all three fell silent when asked if those same property rights should be upheld in the face of a string of right-of-way annexations for the proposed LNG pipeline being run through our district.

    Gilliam is big on the hydrogen hoax, but silent on continued fossil carbon use. At least to the public. But at least he has a cool truck!

    Gus Frederick Silverton, OR

    Full Disclosure: I was Gilliam's opponent Jim Gilbert's campaign manager in 2006.

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    Carla wrote: "Republicans running for office in Oregon, in many cases, appear to be wed to one thing: tax cuts. No matter what the problem, tax cuts and spending cuts are their solution."

    Worse than that by far!
    1. They lie like carpets when they try to scare people by saying Democrats want to raise taxes on "the people." The facts are that Obama wants to cut taxes on the folks in the middle and raise compensatory amounts from the folks in the > $250,000 federal adjusted gross income category and that Jeff Merkley supports such a plan. In other words, Democrats are NOT going to raise taxes on "the people."
    2. Especially with regard to within Oregon, the tax system is so completely dysfunctional that "the people" bear 95 percent of the tax burden and Republicans are absolutely frenetic about not forcing wealthy profit-making corporations to bear a greater share of the overall tax burden. Republicans blab about cutting taxes on "the people" but absolutely refuse to consider compensating for tax cuts for "the people" with an increase in the high end corporations tax brackets or to insist that beer and wine producers bear any significant Oregon tax burden. 3. With regard to spending cuts, Republicans absolutely refuse to recognize that there is a huge spending cut staring them in the face and they resolutely refuse to even consider it. We all know that we are wasting a billion dollars a day, more or less, and buckets of blood, on Iraq. They love their precious war and are willing to bankrupt the United States by refusing to pay for it. At the same time, they absolutely refuse to consider what they are doing to the people of this country by bankrupting safety net functions built into the social and economic fabric of the country and the states.
    4. Like Marx and Lenin, the Republicans think that they can force the government to wither away and that this is perfectly proper. Their approach to this destruction of government is to starve it to death. Once this is done, the people are on their own -- to fend for themselves in a dog-eat-dog battle in an economy where the price of labor is constantly undermined by trickle in of cheap labor and trickle out of jobs (usually paid for by tax benefits to those businesses which perpetrate this outsourcing). So, when they prattle on about cutting taxes and spending, remember that what they really want is the destruction of government and the cheapening of labor.


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