Monday, September 03, 2012

Palin and the Portland Problem

Oregonian photos: Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith
The Oregonian's Beth Slovic points out that Portland's mayoral candidates have real personal and moral problems.

Former City Commissioner Charlie Hales voted in Oregon while claiming residency in Washington avoiding the Oregon income tax which Washington does not have. He also claimed credit for actions done while he was out of office, plagiarized from the Oregonian in a letter submitted to another Portland newspaper and said he was on a tour that never occurred. Tax evasion and lying.

Meanwhile, Representative Jefferson Smith has had his driver's license suspended seven times since 2002 for not paying fines and failing to appear in court and has been removed from two sports leagues for "roughing up opponents". Lawlessness, irresponsibility and brutality towards opponents.

This is nothing new to a region whose chief claim to modern political fame is Neil Goldschmidt, Bob Packwood, David Wu and Sam Adams--in short, out-of-bounds sleaze even by Portland's low standards.

One looks around at the larger political scene. Is there any national political figure who is known for going after political corruption? There are the smattering of former prosecutors and attorney generals, but anyone who risked their careers by attacking top politicians of any party, let along their own party?

Governor Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin is the only top political figure who comes to mind. From the Wall Street Journal:
"Enter Mrs. Palin. The former mayor of Wasilla had been appointed by Mr. Murkowski in 2003 to the state oil and gas regulatory agency. She'd had the temerity to blow the whistle on fellow GOP Commissioner Randy Ruedrich for refusing to disclose energy dealings. Mr. Murkowski and GOP Attorney General Gregg Renkes closed ranks around Mr. Ruedrich—who also chaired the state GOP. Mrs. Palin resigned. Having thus offended the entire old boy network, she challenged the governor for his seat."
. . .
"The GOP machine has crumbled. Attorney General Renkes resigned. Mr. Ruedrich was fined $12,000. Jim Clark—Mr. Murkowski's lead pipeline negotiator—pleaded guilty to conspiring with an oil firm. At least three legislators have been convicted. Sen. Ted Stevens is under indictment for oil entanglements, while Rep. Don Young is under investigation."
Yet Palin is one of the most reviled political figures of our time. This says a lot about why Portland's mayoral candidates, as well as candidates and office holders around the country, are of such a low personal and professional level. There is a price paid when punishing those who fight for clean, honest government and looking the other way in the face of dirty tricks, dishonesty and worse.


Ten Mile Island said...

There are politicians I know that fall under the rubric of clean government: Jim Hoffman comes to mind, as does Lew Barnes, Sal Esquivel, to name just a few.

In years past, I could have named some Democrats, like Howard Cherry. Mike Schaufler comes to mind, as an incumbent Democrat. But that's a pretty short list.

So, go to youtube and listen to some Sandpipers tracks. The world is not as we knew it in younger days.

MAX Redline said...

Having met Hoffman on several occasions, I concur with TMI - he's got ethics, not snow.

It's worth remembering that "Streetcar" Charlie quit the Portland City Council to go peddle streetcars around the country, so in addition to lying and tax evasion (while voting as an "Oregonian"), he can't be counted on - when the going gets tough, he gets out.

JefferScam Smith held a job for about a year in a Portland law firm, after which it was "mutually decided" that he should leave. He also "forgot" to pay required fees. His famed "bus project" (started for him by his daddy) has encountered issues involving drugs and alcohol. And his "bus project" offices are down the hall from his campaign offices and his "legislative" office, and there appears to have been substantial co-mingling of funds among the three, though JefferScam denies that.

Just continuing the Portland Democrat tradition of electing child molesters, liars, and thieves. This place is actually worse than Chicago: Chicago dominates Illinois state politics, as Portland does here. Both are run by Democrats. Both are corrupt as hell. There is, however, one glaring difference:

In Chicago, the occasional corrupt official actually goes to jail.

I lived there; I've seen it.

T. D. said...

There are ethical people in politics. Good list, TMI. And, as you point out, Max, people are actually jailed in Chicago, but not by people who become major political stars because of that.

Interesting to me is that I cannot think of a major modern American political figure, other than Palin, who has actually cleaned up politics in a way that resulted in members of his/her own political party going to jail.

Jimmy Carter was known for being Mr. Clean but not for sweeping out political corruption. Ronald Reagan was great on policies, but not known for outing corruption. Maybe the closest is Ralph Nader, though I don't think he has been responsible for any politician going to jail.

I was just thinking how exceptionally clean government Palin is--and how exceptionally reviled as well. Though, the reviling is because of her political potential not her reformer record. Still no one gives her a political break for having cleaned up part of Alaskan politics.

Which is, of course, why politician political reformers are almost as rare as the passenger pigeon. It doesn't pay. The reverse pays, which is why Hales and Smith beat out their less slimy opponents.

MAX Redline said...

Streetcar and JefferScam were anointed by out local media. Better candidates were deliberately omitted.

T. D. said...

Exactly right, Max. The Oregonian, which is now wringing its reportorial hands over the "flawed" candidates, endorsed Hales.

For the Oregonian "executive experience" counts more than honesty or paying taxes.

MAX Redline said...

Yes, TD - and it's amusing to watch them squirm. However, Hales has this one in the bag, as the FON are backing him all the way. Friend of Neil Ted Kulongoski just endorsed him. Of course, Teddy was going to put Neil in charge of vegetation until Jaquiss blew the whistle on his pedophile past.

Ted's response: hide in a pile of polo shirts and pull a Sgt. Schultz: "I know nothing; NOTHING!"

T. D. said...

Hmm. The powers that be didn't get the note from Smith that he is the new rising star.

Hefmier said...

I don't visit here that often as I used to. However, I have just read your article, and it was great. I am both a Palin supporter and a nearby resident of Portland, and I concur Palin is solid but reviled. A lot of politicians like the ones that you named a like puddy, but are almost celebrated, for their actions.

T. D. said...

Hefmier, this has been a busy summer, and I haven't followed the comments at C4P, but I always appreciate the quality content of your comments there (and here :-). Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.