OR House: Strip bars, GOP leadership & Matt Wingard.

Carla Axtman

So I'm a live and let live kind of gal. If it's legal and among consenting adults, then I'm not so concerned about it. So Oregon GOP House Leadership....

.....Fly your crazy freak flag, boys!

(Michelle Cole, The Oregonian):

In January, Cameron, House Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna and five other Republican House members took a three-day golfing vacation to Palm Springs, where they also visited a bar featuring topless dancers.

No state or campaign money was spent on the trip. But the embarrassing details are surfacing just as Republicans are trying to win majority control of the House, or at least maintain the 30-30 tie that granted them equal power to Democrats in the past two years.

The other GOP House members who were on the trip: Republican whip Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg, Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, Rep. Matt Wand, R-Troutdale; and Rep. Patrick Sheehan, R-Clackamas and naturally, Rep. Matt Wingard, R-Wilsonville.

If your wives and constituents don't mind, then hey, knock yourselves out. But it's probably a good thing this story came out in August and not, say February, before the filing deadline. Otherwise there may have been a whole slew of social conservatives filing to run against these guys in the primary. But I digress.

The really juicy part of this story isn't the story itself, but why it came out in the first place. Apparently, a retaliatory threat by the disgraced, scandal-plagued GOP State Rep Matt Wingard was in the air:

With Republicans still reeling from the sex scandal involving Rep. Matt Wingard and a young female staffer, former House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron confirmed he abruptly stepped down last month, in part, because of a retaliatory threat that the public would find out about the night he and other GOP lawmakers -- including Wingard -- spent at a California topless bar.

After the scandal broke in which Wingard was accused of pressuring one of his staffers for sex, it fell to Cameron to decide Wingard's fate. More from The Oregonian:

After the news broke, Wingard stepped down as deputy leader on June 14. The next week Wingard announced he would not seek re-election.

Cameron says he was roundly criticized for taking too long to act and for not doing enough. He says others criticized him for overreacting to the allegations.

In the end, the responsibility fell on the Republican leader's shoulders.

"I made a phone call to Matt and said, 'If you don't step back from your candidacy, then I will have to publicly call for your resignation,'" Cameron said. "That did not go over well."

It was after Wingard had pulled his name from the ballot that Cameron said he heard talk in GOP circles that Wingard might go public about the men's' Palm Springs vacation.

"Matt never had any discussion with me directly about that," Cameron said. "There were rumors that he would do that."

Others who were on the trip said they'd also heard the rumors that Wingard had threatened to tell all. Freeman said he didn't believe it.

Right..a guy who would smack his child over the head with a screw driver is probably not going to be the guy to blackmail the leadership of his party. Good call, Freeman.

Weird how a bunch of the trouble among the Republican Party right now seems to lead right into the Matt Wingard vortex, eh? Makes that old adage, "When you lie with pigs--you get muddy" seem like very sage, if not late, advice.

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    Glad to see my State House Rep. (Gilliam R-Silverton) was in on the trip! Wonder what Becky thought? Ironically, his last local public appearance was scooping up horse apples in the Homer Davenport Festival Parade last Saturday...

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    As a Libertarian-leaning Republican, I believe social issues are not something that should be campaigned on. I apply laissez-faire to more than just economics. Therefore, it should be no-one else's business what kind of bar you frequent, what brand of beer you drink, and what you do for entertainment.

    The real issue here is the potential hypocrisy if any of these men campaigned on a morality, or social platform. If they did, they deserve the ridicule and censure. However, if they did not, then all this is about is another bit of "gotcha" politics that is far too common in today's society.

    Sure, some Republican voters would be swayed by this. Some Democrat voters would probably have a problem with indiscretion as well.

    But with all the serious economic issues facing the state and the nation, and with an ever more intrusive Government smothering job creation, this is all not very important.

    Just a little prurient game-playing. Entertaining, but harmless.

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      Indeed they campaigned on a morality platform.


      Vote for candidates who have family values, integrity and budget responsibility such Tim Freeman, state representative; Bruce Hanna, state representative; They all marked yes to the Oregon Family Council's eight questions as follows:

      1. Life — supports restricting abortion except for rape, incest, or life of mother.

      2. Gambling — supports only Indian authorized casinos.

      3. Decency — supports pornographic filters.

      4. Marriage — opposes overturning one-man, one-woman marriage.

      5. Religion — supports religious exemptions of faith and conscience.

      6. Marijuana — opposes legalization of marijuana.

      7. Education — opposes state licensing of private school teachers.

      8. Kicker — supports personal tax kicker.

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    At first I thought this story was funny. On reflection I have to wonder: how would any of these men react if it was their daughter who, driven by poverty, was the young topless woman being ogled by a bunch of drunken dirty old men?

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    What bothers me most about their behavior is that they patronized a club in California, instead of one of the many establishments in Oregon.

    Regarding the comment from the "Libertarian-leaning Republican": OF COURSE they campaigned on morality and social issues. If that's not obvious, he's either oblivious or trolling, or maybe both.

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      Well it is not obvious. Are you implying that because you run as a Republican, you must have run on morality issues?

      BTW, I have been posting here for four or five years. So much for your troll theory. As to the name-calling; I expect that from most of the crowd on here. That is why I respect Kari and others here who can argue intellectually, without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

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        Hrmmmm. I don't see any name-calling in my post. And your well-established presence doesn't imply that you're incapable of being a troll, only that you are well-behaved enough to not get banned.

        And yes, I am implying that, in my experience, most republicans run on moral issues, to one degree or another, "Family Values" being one of the more popular of those issues.

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        Ken, point is, if you don't run on right wing conservative morality issues, you don't get nominated by the GOP base.

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    How did Gilliam get a million dollar house in Palm Springs on $21K a year? His bio says that he does development work for non-profits as his day job. That can't pay that well.

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    Listen, if we can overlook Sam Adams sexual relationship with an 18 year old "adult", I don't think we should cry too loudly about middle-aged men who, on their own time and own dime, frequent a legal, licensed, tax-paying business establishment. Lousy strategy. Let's drop this one, shall we?

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      I think this post is more about the Schadenfreude than about condemning a legal visit to a business. As Carla stated in her post:

      "The really juicy part of this story isn't the story itself, but why it came out in the first place."

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    This episode highlights the glaring hypocrisy of the GOP. They make a claim to a higher morality based on conservative evangelical principles, while claiming "liberals" are responsible for the decline of America because of their bad morals. These "leaders" of the GOP legislature have slipped on their own banana peel and they should be called out on it.

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