By editorial board • 

Gubernatorial hopefuls uniformly fail to inspire

In our endorsement editorials, our four-member editorial board tries to analyze races, assess candidates and build a reasoned case for the candidate found to possess the most merit.

Readers, of course, are free to accept or reject our line of thinking. We have no problem with them weighing our arguments and finding them wanting.

Unfortunately, we are so divided on this year’s three-way governor’s race that we are unable to fulfill the second half of that function. We can offer assessments, but not an endorsement.

We find all three candidates lacking in important, almost disqualifying, ways. In response, we plan to split our private votes among candidates not really to our liking, and hope for better choices next time.

Let’s start with Democratic incumbent Kate Brown, a former legislator and secretary of state who inherited the office after ethical lapses led John Kitzhaber to resign.

Brown falls sadly short on leadership, transparency, vision, independent thought, bipartisanship, political courage, rural outreach and practical grounding.

She favors empty and expensive ideological gestures, like a carbon tax, over practical measures like PERS reform. The state’s PERS shortfall is casting an increasingly ominous shadow over its future, but she has joined other union-beholden Democrats in looking the other way.

She seems to have fallen captive to a small cadre of advisers from party and union ranks, who hold narrow personal agendas not consistent with a broad plan the electorate as a whole could embrace. She has proven more responsive to her re-election prospects than Oregon’s yearning for real leadership.

But is Republican state Rep. Knute Buehler the answer? Does the Bend physician generate the kind of principled cross-party appeal that swept Republican colleague Dennis Richardson into the Secretary of State’s Office? If so, we’ve seen precious little indication of it.

He amassed a commendable and hopeful record of moderation in the House. But he veered right to fend off more conservative challengers in the primary, and seems unwilling or incapable of credibly recapturing the center.

Either he was fabricating himself before or he’s misrepresenting himself now. And that raises questions of character.

In the right circumstances, that could open the door for the Independent Party of Oregon, whose ranks have swollen to the point where it has achieved major-party status. However, we judge its standard-bearer, Brownsville cabinetmaker Patrick Starnes, unready for prime time.

Starnes falls too short on civic experience, political acumen, name familiarity, public stature and broad political and financial support to offer a credible alternative. He seems better suited for a House seat, which could serve as a valuable political and governmental training ground, than the governorship.

What’s more, while we like his call for campaign finance curbs, PERS reform and greater transparency and accountability, we find his agenda too narrow.

regon demands leadership encompassing a broader spectrum.

We can’t, in good conscience, recommend him to voters as disaffected by the Democratic and Republican candidates as we are — not even as a credible means of lodging a protest vote.

Comments

Don Dix

From the article -- 'Brown falls sadly short on leadership, transparency, vision, independent thought, bipartisanship, political courage, rural outreach and practical grounding.'

'She favors empty and expensive ideological gestures, like a carbon tax, over practical measures like PERS reform. The state’s PERS shortfall is casting an increasingly ominous shadow over its future, but she has joined other union-beholden Democrats in looking the other way.'

The list of failures doesn't leave many positives, unless there's a unmentioned unicorn story. The unions own Brown and most of the Ds in the legislature. It appears Brown won't do diddly squat without union consent, which seems to introduce new taxes or higher fees to feed the PERS monster at every opportunity.

That Brown has few, if any, redeeming qualities that make her fit to govern, causes one to wonder who of the 4 (editorial board) even considered Brown the proper choice. Otherwise, the article clearly places Brown at the bottom of the pile, and points out zero reasons to vote for her.

Oregon needs a new direction, because Brown's path is an old, tired, and financially destructive direction the state has traveled for over 30 years. Even though the editorial couldn't come to a consensus, there is a better way, and Brown isn't it!

Lulu

Brown is one of the most horrible governors Oregon has endured. She must go.

Don Dix

Lulu -- looking at her predecessors, Kulongoski and Kitzhaber, sadly Brown is 'a wash, rinse, and repeat'. Her latest term has accomplished the impossible -- proving a negative.

Lulu

When can Oregon stop being embarrassed by its governors?

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