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.
If there is any metropolitan area that exemplifies the global warming-climate change buy-in, it’s Portland. The unassailable conviction that anthropogenic atmospheric change is real permeates the very foundation of collective consciousness. Countering that consensus requires a willingness to absorb a protracted public pillorying.
Gordon Fulks, PhD holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, Laboratory for Astrophysical Space Research. He is the Rose City’s highest profile climate change skeptic. His Oregonian op-eds never fail to generate heated debate and scores of denigrating comments, as if the temerity of offering an opposing climate perspective is tantamount to fiddling heresy while a planet burns.
Articulation of climate change skepticism is made in baby steps in these precincts; recently the Oregonian announced that such phenomena would not be on the editorial agenda for 2015, leading to a storm of protests.
Could it be that polls informed the Big O’s editorial decision; polls showing that prioritization of alleged climate issues appear on the public concern-o-meter somewhere between gender inequity and whether or not to close Gitmo?
Lori Porter is a teacher in the Metro area, and so got a firsthand glimpse at the kind of sex education children at all grade levels were getting in the state public school system. What she saw inspired her to join with other parents and educators to form Parental Rights in Education, a grassroots organization which went public with revelations about something few parents were aware of, the Adolescent Sexuality Conference, held annually in the coastal town of Seaside.
Porter’s group brought to light highly-questionable materials disbursed at the conference, which customarily included student attendees, and exposed instances of suspect sexual agendas which undermined the parent-child bond, and flew in the face of traditionalist morality.
Even lead Oregonian columnist Steve Duin, no conservative, let go with a broadside.
When PRIE succeeded in raising sufficient alarm, KOIN, Portland’s CBS affiliate, launched an investigation into the conference. After the lengthy segment aired, school districts across the state withdrew from the conference.
Porter told investigative reporter Carla Castano, “If we were talking about consenting adults, we would not be having this conversation.”
On Monday, March 9th a press release from PRIE told the tale:
“In a letter dated March 7, 2015 the Oregon Teen Pregnancy Task Force announced the cancellation of the controversial Seaside Adolescent Sexuality Conference, scheduled for April this year.”
Next on PRIE’s to-do list: inform Oregon parents about School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), which allegedly bring the curricula of progressive sex-conferencing home to neighborhood schools.
East of Portlandia is a place called Clackamas County, the most conservative county in the Metro area. There lives a species of political activists known as the Clackastanis, a people who have racked up estimable wins against the encroachment of Portland’s tax-and-spend, “sustainable,” Agenda 21-driven developmental ideology.
Galvanized by President Obama’s election and a county commission populated by leftist politicos falling over themselves to throw down a red carpet for a Euro-socialist regional government, Clackastanis took to the streets and front doors, installing three Republican commissioners over two election cycles in the process.
When emissaries from Portlandia asked Clackamas County to pony-up a vehicle registration fee upcharge to fund the rehab of a bridge wholly within the boundaries of Multnomah County, Clackastanis raised such a stink that the fee was resoundingly voted down. The bridge got built anyway, and is now millions over budget.
When the Koch brothers’ political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity recently pulled out of Oregon to concentrate action in states the organization felt were more winnable, the affiliated conservative avengers in the Clackamas County Chapter–which had been declared state chapter of the year two years running for its successes–stuck together and renamed themselves Americans for Freedom and Prosperity.
That’s not to say that the Clackastanis don’t have heated internecine struggles. With the very soil under their feet at stake, committed frontliners are passionate about perspectives on how best to govern a county which has so far evaded incursion from the progressive architects to the west. When state conservatives talk about the future, it is Clackamas County that provides a convincing template for progress.