By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Civility set aside in state’s political war

A Viewpoints editorial today urges the “return to moderation and civility” in political discourse. So, what about the caustic message last week from state Sen. Brian Boquist to Oregon Business & Industry President and CEO Sandra McDonough?


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Boquist this week continued his political war with OBI, which, surprisingly, has been largely ignored by Oregon media.

The Oregonian cited his “scathing e-mail” in an online story with a sanitized quote, but deleted all mention of Boquist’s outrage from its print newspaper story. Only the Portland Tribune published a full story and reprint of Boquist’s message.

McDonough took the helm at OBI last year with this challenge, as described by Oregonian reporter Mike Rogoway:

“She inherits an organization trying to find its way after last year’s troubled merger of two disparate organizations. OBI then struggled to bring together the left-leaning membership of the Oregon Business Association with the old-line companies that comprised Associated Oregon Industries.”

I had a front-row seat to that well-intentioned merger. Organizational mechanics were complex. Unfortunately, efforts to fuse divergent political philosophies appeared to be ill-fated from the beginning.

November’s election of Democratic super-majorities galvanized anti-business fervor. The Democrats flexed, and OBI blinked.

As a result, McDonough last week acknowledged an OBI-approved deal to accept a $2 billion gross receipts tax on business. OBI also conceded on paid family leave, but supposedly managed to block an employer health care assessment.

The deal lacked any guarantees to reform PERS, end the governor’s raid on SAIF reserves, or prevent a Democratic overreach on carbon cap-and-trade.

Boquist went ballistic, calling OBI’s deal a sellout by big business. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans took to the foxholes to delay voting on the business tax.

Boquist’s e-mail said, in part: “OBI and you intentionally attempted to circumvented the legislative process, lied about your actions, and think a few socialist oligarchs can cut a deal in secret that will be implemented blindly by what you obviously think are peon lackeys from rural Oregon ... It is time for you to butt out of the Legislature.”

One political observer described Boquist’s frustration this way: “He’s in effect yelling to the public because Democrats no longer need to listen because of their super-majority … so if you are Boquist, a hard-working, smart and honest guy toiling in the trenches, and you’ve had your support and relevance stripped away, what else are you going to do?”

Oregon politics are in turmoil. This wasn’t an exercise in moderation and civility, but don’t look to Sen. Boquist for apologies.

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


Don Dix

All this BS has one root -- the consistent and unending search by the D majority to tax, fine and fee any aspect of Oregon life.

How many times have the voters rejected a sales tax? And the legislature has attempted several 'end runs' to thwart the will of the people, but naming those attempts anything but a sales tax.

It amazes me that so many voters keep the same money grabbing, tax and spend liberals in office as the state itself struggles to keep afloat. It seems those making the decisions are the only ones not struggling. Could that observation have anything to do with who is pulling the strings?

The Oregon legislature D majority has only one master -- the public employee unions -- and until that changes, Oregon is destined to exist on the brink of insolvency. And it's mostly the same faces that are to blame (Brown, Courtney, Kotek, etc.) So maybe it's time to vote what's best for Oregon instead of blind partisanship.

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