By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Polarization thrives in American politics

Public impeachment hearings this week dominated national news, the Democratic presidential candidate debate and front pages of media outlets around the world. The drama appears headed toward U.S. House action to impeach President Donald Trump followed by a trial before a jury of 100 U.S. senators.


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

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So far, both Democrats and Republicans are staying on-script.

Democrat inquisitors, setting aside past Trump controversies, are razor-focused on 2019 administration actions related to Ukraine. They allege Trump attempted forms of bribery by withholding foreign aid and a valued state visit unless newly elected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announced an investigation intended to help the president’s re-election campaign.

Republican responders, dripping with outrage and invective, call it “a circus and a hoax” that continues the three-year conspiracy against Trump. That conspiracy, they say, includes the Democrats, the left-wing media, and a shadow government of bureaucrats and agents who despise the president and would do anything to drive him from office.

Witnesses testifying this week before the House Intelligence Committee confirmed the believability of Democratic claims … and proved Republican arguments that impeachment efforts are a political fraud. It all depends on your point of view.

Those alternately riveting and tedious hearings produced shades of Alice in Wonderland as political foes dove into several rabbit holes. They debated — well, actually, squabbled — about Trump’s motivation in seeking a Ukraine investigation of rival Joe Biden, his son, Hunter, and the theory that Ukraine sought to influence our 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump’s request itself is undisputed, as per a transcript of his July 25 phone call with Zelensky. Republican defenders say it was just a friendly favor asked of a fellow world leader; Democrats say it was tantamount to extortion for personal political gain.

News coverage and commentary have become a major part of the story.

“The themes advanced by conservative commentators,” wrote Forbes, “have been wildly supportive of the president and hostile toward impeachment, often painting an alternative reality of a brutal, bullying, illegal and unfair plot against Trump.”

Republican leader Devin Nunes, describing impeachment coverage by “the top news outlets in America,” said, “This is the same preposterous reporting the media offered for three years on the Russia hoax.”

For more cerebral thoughts about the media’s role, I’d suggest

Meanwhile, the political polarization that swept Donald Trump into office three years ago is not only alive and well, but apparently thriving. To what should be everyone’s dismay.

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



Hi Jeb,

In regards to "...and the theory that Ukraine sought to influence our 2016 presidential campaign..."

So you are aware, Ukrainian efforts in 2106 have been widely reported. I'm not sure why it's all of a sudden some sort of conspiracy theory, especially since John Durham is investigating the extent of the interference in regards to the Russia investigation. The links date back to 2016 and are in chronological order. There are stories but I kept this list restricted to more mainstream sources.

Links to Ukrainian election interference related stories

Financial Times



The Hill


Don Dix

Trump asks a favor and the Ds go ballistic -- where was this outrage when Biden (Joe) threatened to withhold $1B in loan guarantees if Ukraine didn't fire the state prosecutor investigating his son (Hunter) and corruption.

Either both are 'quid pro quo', or neither are.

The blatant, facetious, tunnel vision exhibited by both parties is certainly good enough reason to disregard either, IMO.


From the minute Trump beat Hillary the Dem's have been out to get him. Us regular, run of the mill Americans perked up when the dems first announced this crisis and outrage. In very short order we could see that there was no there, there. Just petty dems still in denial that trump is their master. Now, no one on either side really cares about impeachment (except for the 40% of the public that has nothing to do but sit around all day watching cable TV news).
Dem's are finding out that when everything is a "crisis" and an "outrage" pretty soon nothing is a crisis or outrage.

Jeb Bladine


Those long articles include a lot of criss-crossing claims. Whomever one believes, we at least know what the president is accused of: Allegedly withholding foreign aid and a state visit until the Ukrainian president publicly announced intent to investigate the Bidens and shadowy Ukrainian political activities in 2016.

Perhaps you could provide an equally simple synopsis identifying Ukrainian leaders who tried to influence the 2016 election; those who solicited their help; and what they are accused of having done.


Hi Jeb - I'll give it a shot though its not as brief or eloquent as yours. I had to add in more detail.

During the 2016 American presidential campaign, news of an investigation into Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Ukraine broke in the New York Times on August 14 2016 (see 1st link). The allegations stemmed from an alleged 'secret ledger' listing payments from a pro-Russian political party to the campaign chairman whom would resign a few days later on August 19 2016. A Ukrainian-American DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa, worked with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington DC to facilitate dissemination of this and other information related to Paul Manafort (second link).

The investigation into in Paul Manafort in Ukraine was later dropped and no charge related to the alleged ledger was brought against Manafort as a result of the Mueller investigation. In 2018, Artem Sytnik of the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, issued a statement in court that the Ukrainian prosecutor's public release of the alleged records “resulted in meddling in the electoral process of the United States in 2016." (see third link).

tagup don’t see the difference between those “favors”? is self serving....I’m not convinced there is proof of Biden’s motive when the calls for removal of the Ukrainian prosecutor also came from many European leaders and Obama..There is also no proof that I have seen that young Biden had been corrupt (only accusations)....too bad our President can’t say the same....bottom line...if you don’t like Biden’s (alleged) activities how can you possibly accept trump’s that have been corroborated....

Don Dix

tagup -- so you don't think Biden's threat (to Ukraine) was self-serving, but Trump's was? -- seems to me that's what Jeb pointed out when writing, 'So far, both Democrats and Republicans are staying on-script.'

Once again, without a partisan filter, either both are quid pro quo, or neither are.


At the very case is proven and one isn’t.....I’ll leave you to decide which is which.....


The leftists started getting mean and nasty when Bush Junior was in office. I remember being with some friends of mine who happened to be public school teachers from McMinnville and Salem say unbelievably hateful things about him and conservatives back in 2001 after the towers came down. Leftist vitriol has reached new levels since that time. They won’t stop until they’ve put in Marxism in America.


Pretending that the nastiness of political debate is the fault of one side may make you feel better .....but it’s not you not remember the comments made toward Obama and his family?....I suspect you do....

Christmas has Talons

Trump's Presidency has been very freeing for me though I did not vote him the antics surrounding his presidential term has solidified my vote for him in 2020. I personally can't stand Donald Trump the businessman, Donald Trump the showman, Donald Trump the victim or Donald Trump the victimizer but like him or hate him he has forced the fringes to illuminate themselves which has been great for America. People, newspapers, media, agencies who have always pretended to be non partisan or non biased are now having to take more and more extreme positions and actions to satisfy their "constituents/clients/followers/fans. Trumps Presidency has exposed movements like #metoo# for what they really are instead of the feminist group they pretend to be. #Metoo wants regret to equate to rape and sexual choice to only work one way in the favor of the woman. never before would the same unraveling group of lathered up man haters put themselves so far out on the fringe "defending women's rights" that they will gladly call a man dressed as a woman a woman if they will take on their narrative. These are just two of the groups throwing away any semblance of rationality to fight against Trumps agenda. Yeah I think I'll keep him.


Wow!....hard to believe the #metoo movement would have a bias against trump agenda given his history of harassment , infidelity, and statements demeaning women....

Jeb Bladine

Thanks for a great synopsis, RobsNR.

One addition is that people debated whether the prosecutor's release of those records actually violated Ukrainian law.

There also is an important overview element: Ukraine has been at hot war with Russia since 2014 following centuries of conflict. I assume they were aware of some 2016 background issues described in a Time magazine article entitled, ""Donald Trump's Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia:"

So, understandable that Ukraine leaders were concerned about prospects of Donald Trump becoming our president. That doesn't excuse intervention into our election, to whatever extent that happened ... just adding perspective.

Who would have thought, a year ago, that we would see such an explosion of focus on the intrigue surrounding Ukraine/U.S. relations?

It's going to be quite a story when all the historic dust settles.

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