(A special note of thanks to OregonConservative.com for posting the article from which I’ll be quoting. God bless you for your great work.)
In the wake of last week’s primary, mainstream moderate Republicans are all giddy over Saxton’s win. In fact, some media outlets are looking forward to the battle for Mahonia Mansion.
A recent article n the Eugene Register-Guard from Thurs. May 18th written by David Steves, makes me wonder what on earth are some of these reporters and various others smoking or drinking to come up with some of these ludicrous conclusions. Take for example the headline of the aforementioned article.
“Republican Saxton Leaves Primary With A Unified Party”
Huh? That right there immediately made me suspicious. First of all, given recent blog postings by several conservative bloggers in the region, there are serious questions about whether Ron Saxton is even Republican. Then ever more deluded is the idea that the party is unified. I’ve seen no evidence of it, especially in conservative Republican circles. Many conservatives I’ve spoken to personally aren’t even considering voting for Saxton at all in November.
A combination of Mr. Saxton’s flip-flops on issues such as illegal immigration during the primary, the shabby treatment of Senator Jason Atkinson by talk radio personality Lars Larson, and the growing disdain and disgust of social conservatives feeling like they’ve stitting in the back of the political bus for years has led to a pressure cooker effect among Reagan conservatives that’s about to explode in the Oregon GOP’s face if they’re not careful.
One portion of the article that I found interesting and mildly amusing was this:
“Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, Ron Saxton, appears better positioned than any of his predecessors have in two decades to unite his party and threaten the Democrats' five-term hold on the Oregon governorship.”
Really? Given what I just mentioned in the previous paragraph, Mr. Saxton has a long way to go before anyone can announce he’s unified the Republican Party. If the more staunch conservative elements of the party can’t be convinced to support him, then Saxton has some serious Republican undervote issues to deal with and overcome. President Bush lost Oregon in 2000 by less than 7,000 votes and there were 11,000 Republicans who didn’t even turn out to vote that year. You can’t tell me that in a close race, turning out your own party base doesn’t count for something.
Republican consultant Chuck Adams, when quoted in Mr. Steves’ article, reached another fascinating but deluded conclusion:
“Saxton had several factors on his side. His closest and more socially conservative rival, Kevin Mannix, endorsed the nominee right away Tuesday night. The biggest factions of Republican-voting activists - abortion foes, anti-gay marriage activists, anti-tax groups and property-rights supporters - were behind Saxton.”
Again I would say HUH? Getting support from fiscal conservatives and property rights advocates is easy, but if Saxton was so liked by pro-lifers, then why didn’t he receive any endorsements from Oregon Right To Life or any other pro-life groups during the primary? Kevin Mannix’s endorsement was certainly the gentlemanly thing to do, but it doesn’t guarantee that Saxton will get all of Mannix’s supporters. Saxton is certainly not getting too many of Atkinson’s.
Any support from gay marriage opponents was fairly simple. All Saxton had to do was take the position of House Speaker Karen Minnis and say the people had spoken in 2004, which is the safe road and probably garnered some support from the faith community with the help of supposed pro-family advocates. However, the question of whether or not Saxton would support any kind of civil unions bill is still unanswered in spite of what he may have said in the past. (Saxton’s website’s issues page is being updated, but that’s another issue for another post.)
I do believe Mr. Adams even got in a backhanded insult when he was later quoted in the article when he said:
“Considering he's going up against a Democratic incumbent in a blue state, Adams said Saxton had the best chance to win since Dave Frohnmayer's 1990 gubernatorial bid was spoiled by an independent conservative candidate.”
(Translation: Those *&%#* religious conservatives are ruining the party and they need to be stopped or marginalized before they screw it up for Saxton.)
It may be a reach when I say that Adams like many other self-styled moderates, have a certain contempt for social conservatives, but that’s a reach I’m willing to make given personal experience and hearing the experiences of others throughout the state. It also fuels the fallacy that only a moderate can beat a liberal. All you have to do is go back to Goli Ameri’s 2004 congressional bid to discover the flaws in that theory.
To add more fuel to the fire of social conservatives is a quote in the article from Tim Nashif of the Oregon Family Council:
“Saxton's bread-and-butter issues are the economy, holding the line on taxes and squeezing more efficiency out of government services. But he's done enough with his opposition to gay marriage and support for abortion restrictions, such as parental notification, to satisfy social conservatives, said Tim Nashif, a Portland Republican strategist and head of the anti-gay marriage group, the Oregon Family Council. Nashif said he expected little pressure from social conservatives for Saxton to bring up their hot-button issues in the fall, when independent and Democratic voters would be more likely to see them as reasons to vote against him.”
Nashif, who has had some highly questionable associations and a less than sterling reputation along with more than a few turbulent relationships with many other social conservatives, is perpetuating the perception that Saxton is a pro-family candidate. It’s more like pro-family lite given we have no voting record to go by. At least Mannix and Atkinson do.
This is part of the reason why social conservatives are potentially going to stay home or vote for other candidates in protest because many feel disenfranchised and continually betrayed by party leaders including those who claim pro-life, pro-family views.
When all is said and done at the end of Election day, will we have a new governor or will Oregon be subjected to another 4 years of business as usual politics? If Mr. Saxton were smart, he’d start bridge building with social conservatives because if the election is close, those potential Republican undervotes could easily be the difference between victory and defeat. Reagan conservatives are refusing to take a back seat anymore. Please Mr. Saxton for the sake of your candidacy, work with us and not against us.