By editorial board • 

Here’s hoping Demos learn value of restraint

As baseball legend Yogi Berra said in one of his frequent malapropic moments, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Our reference here is to Oregon’s 2019 legislative session, opening Tuesday. And credit for the framing goes to Randy Stapilus, dean of Northwest political pundits, who explored it in last Friday’s Viewpoint cover piece.

Flashing back 10 years, Stapilus noted, finds Oregon Democrats riding high as they opened their triumphant 2009 session.

You could perhaps forgive them their hubris, as they were coming off a 2008 general election that gave them virtually unassailable supermajorities in both chambers. In the Senate, the count was 18-12; in the House, 36-24.

If those numbers sound familiar, it’s for good reason. This year’s balloting gave the legislators in blue counts of 18-12 in the Senate and 38-22 in the House, returning them to supermajority status following a 10-year hiatus.

But as philosopher Jorge Santayana famously warned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s come down to us as, “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Democrats should pay heed, as the aphorism is as true today as ever. But it appears more likely they find themselves as swallowed up in big ambitions as their prideful counterparts of 2009, which didn’t work out so well.

During the 2009 session, Democrats passed the sweeping Healthy Kids Act, came up with $192 million for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass and showered money on all manner of other causes. They funded their agenda, of course, by concocting an array of new tax and fee gushers.

They reaped their political reward the following year, in the 2010 general election, and it didn’t bear much resemblance to what they were expecting. They not only lost their supermajority in the Senate, but even their majority in the House.

They suffered such a drubbing in the lower chamber, where all the seats were up, that the lineup went from 38-22 Democratic to 30-30 joint control. That’s a swing of a full eight seats.

Gov. Kate Brown did her best to hide her party’s ambitious 2019 agenda from prying public eyes until the ballots had been tallied. Less than two weeks later, she unveiled a budget seeking to drain taxpayers for another $2 billion for public education; instituting a tax plan to close a $623 million Medicare funding gap; allocating $2 million to fund legal challenges to the Trump administration, $2 million in legal assistant to undocumented immigrants facing deportation and $2.7 million to cover the postage for mail-in ballots; and creating a new agency called the Oregon Climate Authority to battle global warming.

You can also expect an assault on the Oregon kicker rebate; a carbon tax dressed in new “cap-and-invest” garb, replacing the shopworn “cap and trade;” another huge hike in the cigarette tax; and yet another raid on business profit margins.

Before they drink the Brown Kool-Aid, Democrats should take a look back at the disintegration of their most recent previous set of supermajorities. It might do them good to reflect on some relatively recent history.



LOL. I think you're asking too much. They will behave like drunken children, and will hopelessly damage the state before they learn a thing.

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