Advice to governor either bad, or good!

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Perhaps, governor's decision not to resign cautious stems from cautious deliberation

Thursday morning deadlines for a Friday editorial section make it difficult to dive into the middle of a multi-directional, rapidly changing political firestorm. But here goes, anyway.

Gov. John Kitzhaber’s apparent decision to resign from office — accurate by all accounts but his own — reportedly was reversed Wednesday after he received professional and personal advice that was either very bad, or very good.

It was bad advice if, based on a belief that the inferno engulfing Kitzhaber will burn itself out, letting him complete his historic fourth term at the state’s helm with dignity and a measure of final accomplishments. That scenario disregards a core reality, that being a commitment by major media to pursue, report, judge and comment on every pathway through the political maze fabricated by Kitzhaber and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes.

(Yes, the English language can be quite accommodating in providing a word like “fabricated,” which simultaneously means “assembled” and “counterfeited.”)

Lest anyone forget, on Oct. 4, The Oregonian endorsed Kitzhaber for governor despite his “flawed third term” and “fringe environmental policies.” They could not abide challenger Dennis Richardson’s “anachronistic views on meaningful social issues.”

On Oct. 8, Willamette Week unveiled its original bombshell exposé of the economic and political mischief created by Hayes in recent years by intermingling her roles as first lady and paid political consultant, not to mention her significant moral and ethical lapses as she scaled economic and political ladders, rising ultimately to the governor’s mansion.

The Oregonian quickly shed its catch-up role with pre-election stories and commentary, but it was too late to derail the Kitzhaber campaign. The governor stonewalled all public records requests, allowing the Hayes story to unfold slowly through relentless investigative reporting and confirming our belief that the cover-ups were worse than the alleged crimes.

But back to that advice to the governor:

Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Perhaps it suggested more cautious deliberation on how a resignation decision should evolve; perhaps it advised careful negotiations with the replacement governor and others on crafting a resignation accompanied by an end to the investigations and high-cost defenses; maybe it proposed a structured leadership change that could be presented and perceived as a gift to Oregonians already suffering from “Kitzhaber fatigue” in the news.

Given the alternative of a 2015-or-longer political circus, that would have been very good advice indeed.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.

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