Saturday, March 31, 2012

The battle of the special K's

It's not surprising that the local daily newspaper is tailoring its coverage of the secretary of state race to favor local boy Knute Buehler, a Republican.

The daily, about 99 percent of the time, endorses the Republican over the Democrat, even when they are proven kooks.

And since Knute is an accomplished orthopedic surgeon with a CV that includes being a Rhodes Scholar, he's a natural for the newspaper.

The only problem is that he has no experience in running for office and has never held any public office.

The GOP likes these kind of candidates. It pushed former Portland Trail Blazer Chris "Airball" Dudley against John Kitzhaber and he damn near pulled it off in 2010, a bad year for Democrats nationwide.

But, Dudley didn't win.

Still, he raised a ton of money and Knute has too by using Dudley's bag-woman. He has more money in the bank than his opponent, current Secretary of State Kate Brown.

Money matters, but the problem for Knute, aside from being a Republican in a Democratic state, is that he gets his political cues from Fox News.

When Kate ruled that the labor commissioner race would be held in November instead of May since the race is not contested in the primary, Knute called this "Chicago-style machine politics."

Say what?

That kind of chatter excites the GOP wing-nut base, but means absolutely nothing to the average Oregon voter.

What Knute means is that the GOP would likely turn out more voters than the Democrats in the primary since the Republican presidential race is contested and the Democratic side is not.

It obviously makes more sense to hold the labor commissioner's race in November when the voter expects contested races to be held and will turn out accordingly. Republicans were hoping to sneak in a rare statewide win during a low turnout primary.  

Plus, Knute is running on another bogus issue: voter fraud.

Oregon Republicans can't win a statewide race so they grasp at ways to suppress the Democratic vote.

Voter fraud is so rare across the country, particularly in Oregon, that the GOP resorts to this cause because it's got nothing left.

In Texas, that state's high court threw out the voter ID laws because there is no evidence that it is a problem. In fact, after exhaustive efforts, the Texas attorney general found 26 cases of voter fraud over the past 6 years. The population of Texas is about 26 million.

It would behoove Republicans to turn off Fox News and go outside and check the political environment once in awhile.

A clear majority of Oregonians do not want the government to limit women's access to their own reproductive health. Oregonians do not believe in teaching "intelligent design/creationism" in the public schools. Oregonians know there is no evidence of chronic voter fraud in this state.

Oregonians believe in personal liberty, which is why we were the first state with a "death with dignity" law. And, Oregonians resent Republicans who seek to limit our freedoms rather than expand them.

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