Lucky Thirteen

At the end of the movie “Patton,” Eisenhower and his chief of staff, Bedell Smith, fire the general because he refuses to denazify the German civil system. Patton argues that you’re not going to be able to restore the water supply or get the trains running if you don’t retain a few people who know how to do it.

Closer to our times, a similar argument occurred again when Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt allowed the Bathists to police their own in the Sunni Triangle, in Falluja. Once again, the purists caved to reality and Saddam’s ex-soldiers were allowed a place in the new society.

But closer to home, if the state of Oregon cleaned out everyone who knew or was associated with Goldschmidt there would be no one home, no one at all at …the utilities … the big public relations firms … the state departments… or…why even the governor’s office.

So how about these disciples of Goldschmidt? Should they be allowed a place in the new Oregon? There may not be a new Oregon yet, but there had better be one soon, because right now it’s a sad, demoralized place.

The story of Goldschmidt’s fall exposed more than immoral behavior; it also revealed the collapse of rotten, full-stench, one-party rule in Oregon. The Democrats, under Goldschmidt, have had a 20-year run in Oregon for. And as we’ve said before, every 20 years or so you’ve gotta flush the toilet. Otherwise, the abuses of one-party rule just get worse and worse. Think $40,000 phone calls and criminal secrets kept hushed for 25 years.

Should cleaning out the Goldschmidt house include throwing Gov. Kulongoski out? Before you get there, answer this question first: Do you think the governor knew about Goldschmidt’s rape of a 14-year-old before he appointed him to be head of Higher Ed? And, yes this is speculative, but, of course, the governor knew.

Everybody in the Democratic Party knew. Even Republicans knew that Goldschmidt had chosen not to run for a second term as governor because of …rumors about his personal life. It was a secret convenient for all in power to forget. Who would want to remember it?

We live in a state with no checks and balances, a one-party state. But arguing about when did the governor know and what did he know isn’t going to solve our problems or lead the state out of the country’s worst economy.

Therefore, for now, leave the Baathists in charge. Grant the governor amnesty. Move on. It’s time to solve Oregon’s other problems.

And Oregon’s biggest problem is the apparent lack of a Republican Party. The last Republican elected governor was Vic Atiyeh in 1982. In ’06, it will be 24 years since the state had a GOP governor. Think it might be time for a second political party in Oregon? After the foul haze of the last few months, couldn’t the state use a few checks and balances?

But to have a second party, Oregon Republicans need a candidate, an individual strong enough to build. Someone to be governor. Who could that be? Who could build that second party? Who could be governor in ’06?

The Lucky Thirteen:

1) Gordon Smith: The state’s junior senator, comfortably ensconced in his second term with his new seat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Upside—great politician (but not a big fan of partisan politics as proven during his tenure as Oregon Senate President). Odds: 25-1

2) Greg Walden: Solid stature as a rising power, soon to enter the Republican leadership in the U. S. House of Representatives. Upside—young, widely popular, from rural Oregon but accepted by urban insiders. Job is his for the asking. Moderately pro-choice. Odds: 3-1

3) Jack Roberts: Former Republican Labor Commissioner and currently Lane County Metro Partnership Director. Upside—talented political mind and outstanding orator. Well liked. Downside—not much stomach for the gritty side of politics; weak showing in ’02 gubernatorial primary. Odds: 10-1

4) Kevin Mannix: State GOP Chair who lost the ’02 race by a whisker. Almost certain to run again in ’06. Upside —shrewd and determined politician. Downside—likes to work alone and has already lost three statewide races. Odds: 6 - 1

5) Ron Saxton: Fiscal conservative and high-powered Portland attorney. Upside—Strong boardroom dexterity. Downside—clumsy on social issues with tin ear for party base. Professional ties to Goldschmidt won’t help, especially where Saxton is weakest—with the party base.
Odds: 9 –1

6) Lars Larson: Statewide audience of 100,000 listeners, ironically just about the number of votes needed to win primary. (Sen. Jesse Helms and Sen. Conrad Burns were radio talk show hosts in previous lives. Tom McCall was a journalist too). Downside—
tough to do a national radio show as governor of Oregon and Paul Allen won’t condone the moonlighting. Odds: 20-1

7) Karen Minnis: Speaker of the House has earned reputation as loyal Republican and hard worker. Should be positives but legislature held in low regard.
Odds: 20-1

8) Jeff Kropf: Ambitious Lebanon state representative. Might be stalking horse for Lars, especially since Larson and Mannix are not as close due to feud last fall partially engineered by Oregonian (hate) columnist, Steve Duin. Downside—lacks depth.
Odds: 20-1

9) Rob Kremer: Intelligent candidate in ’02 school superintendent race. Upside—two degrees from the University of Chicago and admired by grass roots for building a dozen charter schools in Oregon. Energetic, brainy, talented, big-hearted. Downside: Suffers fools…not at all, likes to work alone.
Odds: 12-1

10) Russ Walker: Statewide anti-tax activist, leader of Citizens for Sound Economy. Upside—gained prominence as the voice that defeated Measure 30 (tax increase). Recently appeared on the Jim Lehrer News Hour. Downside—youth.
Odds: 35-1

11) Ray Davis: Nevada native. Dynamic Umpqua Bank CEO busy building largest regional bank in Northwest. Upside—no nonsense, charismatic, solid leadership skills. Downside—very busy with day job.
Odds: 40-1

12) Charlie Denson: NIKE President, grew up in Corvallis. Father-in-law Gene Tims served in Oregon legislature representing Burns, Ore. Upside—knows rural Oregon, knows international business, plus annual NIKE sales of $13 billion equivalent to state of Oregon’s General Fund. Downside—golfing with Tiger Woods much more fun than working with Oregon Legislature. Odds: 100-1

13) Judy Peppler: Feisty Oregon CEO of Qwest, growing solid reputation as anti-tax, anti-regulatory infighter at the Portland Business Alliance. Upside—brains and strong public presence. Downside—PBA does not have solid reputation. Odds: 50-1

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