Some Surprising Signs of Hope from Portlandia (The City, Not the Show)
Aside from beer, spotted owls, a decimated timber industry, and Stygian levels of leftist political corruption, Oregon is most culturally associated with the popular International Film Channel comedy about our largest city, Portland.
Beaver State conservatives with a sense of humor do find Portlandia funny, all the more so because the pointed satire of life in the core neighborhoods is not far removed from reality. This is a city that opted out of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
But the fact that Portland and two other Willamette Valley population centers—Salem and Eugene--have turned the state as deep blue as the water on Crater Lake is no laughing matter for the state’s overmastered Republican Party.
When the rest of the nation leaned right in the 2014 midterm, electing the most Republican-dominated federal, state, and local governments seen in decades, Oregon, again driven by concentrations of Democrat and Independent-Left votes, went the other way, and tipped what had been a more-or-less equally-divided state government over to Democratic control.
Since then, and despite the ignominious resignation of Portlandia Governor John Kitzhaber, state Democrats are moving quickly on their advantage, passing important education and voter registration, and gun registration measures along party lines.
Two recent high profile failures highlight a leadership vacuum that has cost state taxpayers in the billions of dollars. The collapse of the state health exchange website and Oregon’s subsequent retreat to healthcare.gov proved to be catastrophically expensive. Similarly, over half a billion was wasted on an interstate bridge proposal which, despite costing hundreds of millions in environmental impact reports and transportation studies, never got past the proposal stage, and was wisely euthanized by Washington State Republicans.
Portland’s former mayor became the target of bad publicity after hi-jinks with a minor in a City Hall restroom. Before he declined to seek a second term, there were decent odds that he would have won again.
Charlie Hales, the mayor who replaced him, faced an extremely low bar for improvement, and surpassed his predecessor largely by staying under radar while soft-peddling a failed street fee proposal that would have taxed citizens based on the traffic moving in and out of their driveways.
Down Interstate 5 in Salem, Governor John Kitzhaber is history, his progressive legacy (he stopped the state death penalty with a personal edict) derailed by his relationship with an environmental extremist who married an illegal alien for $5000, set up a pot farm, insisted that everyone call her “First Lady,” and took down a four term placeholder with alleged criminal duplicity and sociopathic overreach.
Newly installed Governor Kate Brown is scrambling to pick up the pieces, and, if anything, is more progressively liberal than Kitzhaber.
Oregon has been the recipient of numerous east coast and California transplants, and in the large majority of cases these émigrés did not bring conservative political identifications with them. Even in some rural and recreational areas, these leftists threaten to politically supplant the more conservatively-disposed native sons and daughters.
The closest Oregon has come in the last twenty-five years to electing a Republican governor was the 2010 49-48% near-miss of Chris Dudley, a former center for the Portland Trailblazers. The conservative midterm waves of 2010 and 2014 broke just shy of the three cities with the votes Oregon needs to break the Democrat stranglehold on statewide government.
The question becomes: Is there any hope that enough voters in Oregon’s blue-blocs will someday experience a revelation, reexamine their values, and cast a vote on the right side of the aisle? Call me guardedly optimistic.
A second question: What exactly is it that Portlandia needs to be saved from?
Here are three biggies right off the bat:
- Unproven climate change theory that seeks to punish western democracies with ruinous energy regulations while the rest of the world, including the developing world, continues to burn fossil fuels as if there were no tomorrow.
- Educators with questionable ethics and nontraditional sexual mores who seek to estrange parents from their children in the consequential area of developing sexuality.
- Centralized governments seeking to promulgate a socialized stack-and-pack, public transportation-mandated way of life in America’s communities, neighborhoods, and backyards, all in the name of unwanted, unsustainable, “green” environmental policies.
Enter now Portlandia’s ideological outskirts, where rogue conservatives attempt to save the Rose City, and by extension all of America, from an unholy trio of liberalism’s most egregious assaults.