Oregon Republicans used to comprise a sane lot of politicians, folks who actually knew how to govern and they did it well.
The late Gov. Tom McCall, a Republican, is a legendary figure in Oregon. So is the late Sen. Mark Hatfield, another GOP stalwart. Oregon had a Republican secretary of state, Clay Myers, who was known to work well with Democrats.
These days the Republican Party in Oregon — the state where I was born and spent the first 34 years of my life — has gone bonkers.
They comprise 12 members of the Oregon Senate. The rest of the 30-member body comprises Democrats. The Oregon Senate needs 20 members present, a quorum, to do business.
The state’s Republican Senate caucus dislikes a cap-and-trade bill — an environmentally friendly bill that aims to cut carbon emissions — that they all have disappeared. They aren’t reporting for work. The Senate can’t do any business.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has dispatched the state police to look for the missing senators. She wants to round up enough of them to force the Senate to vote on the emissions bill.
Here is where it gets really weird, man. At least one GOP senator, Brian Boquist, is threatening to kill any trooper who seeks to take him into custody to bring him back to work.
As CNN reported on what Boquist told a Portland TV station: “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.” Yep. There’s an implied threat of violence there, right? Of course there is!
I began my journalism career in Oregon in 1976. I didn’t get to cover the Legislature in those days, although I certainly reported on the impact of legislation on the community I served as a reporter and later an editor. Nothing like this ever occurred.
Then again, that was a time when Republicans and Democrats actually worked together in state government and actually got things done for the benefit of those of us they served.