By editorial board • 

Maybe it's time to revoke governor's poetic license

We hope Gov. Kate Brown is better at creating bipartisanship than she is at inventing metaphors to describe it.

The governor risks having her poetic license revoked after a headscratching Valentine’s Day attempt to compare Oregon Republicans to ... what, train engineers?

“When you see a train coming down the tracks, get on that train, see if you can move it in your direction in a way that you think makes more sense,” Brown advised GOP lawmakers.

First, hopping onto a moving train isn’t such a hot idea. Don’t listen to her, boys and girls. That would be incredibly dangerous.

Second, trains move along on what railroad professionals call “tracks.” The direction is determined by rails firmly fixed in place, not people jumping on at random points.

Politically speaking, the Democratic supermajorities in the House and Senate laid the tracks and set the train in motion. Inviting Republicans to jump on is downright mean under the circumstances. It wouldn’t do them any good, and it could lead to serious injury.

Brown launched her metaphoria by telling reporters how she had been outvoted by a stepdaughter who wanted a dog. It seems the girl got the dog, which went on to bite the police chief of Enterprise.

The moral of that story? Your guess is as good as ours.

Is she saying Democrats are voting for an agenda that, like the dog, will turn around to bite people in the who-knows-what? Or is she saying Republicans should keep voicing their opinions so Oregon still gets a dog, but one that isn’t so nippy?

That seems to cast Democrats in a bad light. The governor should take some marketing classes. At the very least, she should refrain from metaphoria, settling for stating facts simply and plainly.

Simply and plainly, Republicans have little influence this session. They should stick around Salem because, what the heck, they have nothing better to do. Maybe, just maybe, they might get to tweak a bill to their liking here and there.

Oregon is a one-party state with Democrats controlling the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature. Brown’s attempt to sound cordial ultimately appears patronizing. Republicans know where they stand, and it’s in the back of the room.

Pity, as true bipartisanship would be in everyone’s best interest. But all of America is polarized. Compromise, once the hallmark of sound governance, is seen as weakness or surrender.

Even the slightest compromise seems impossible in an age when elections are no longer won by playing to the middle, only to the fringes, reducing choices to one-party rule or gridlock.

Once upon a time, when Oregon was led by a bunch of flaming moderates, Democrats and Republicans shared the same train. Now it’s a race to the margins, each side in reaction to the other.

Democrats have no intention of giving an inch, even bypassing public participation on bills they plan to ram through this session. If the tables turned, Republicans would likely be doing the same.

That’s not effective government. To continue Brown’s odd railroad metaphor, that’s a train wreck waiting to happen.



'metaphoria' wow. i love that place. i think its a little place in th coast range. not far from mist. some odd people live up in there.

Don Dix

Mike -- Nice! But don't you think 'metaphoria' could also be near Downtown Portland -- you know, the place where young people go to retire! A whole passel of 'out there folks'! I certainly don't love that place!

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