The Oregon Republican Party has a problem with how Gov. Kate Brown is doing her job. That’s no surprise, considering that she’s a Democrat and has pursued priorities that conflict head-on with the values of social and fiscal conservatives.
But disagreement over priorities is not a legitimate reason to launch a recall effort, as the state GOP did earlier this month. Specifically, state Republican party chairman Bill Currier cited a new business tax, passage of a bill providing driver’s licenses to people without proof of citizenship, and Brown’s pledge to pursue goals of a failed climate-change bill through executive action as reasons for the recall, The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Hillary Borrud reported. While it remains to be seen exactly how Brown plans to pursue carbon-reduction strategies, nothing the governor has done suggests she has misused her office or engaged in corruption or behavior worthy of a recall.
Certainly, Republicans — not to mention Democrats, Independents and many others — have valid complaints about Brown’s leadership, from her dithering on the public pension system’s unfunded liability to the continued dysfunction at the Department of Human Services.
She has done little to mend the divide between urban and rural Oregon, a cultural clash that is all but killing the “Oregon way” that once fueled cooperative, groundbreaking policy. And “transparency” is largely a buzzword in her administration rather than a genuine ethic.
But those are flaws voters accepted when they decisively reelected her — over a credible Republican opponent — in the November 2018 election. The ballots were in a long time ago and there’s no value in trying to force a redo.
If Republicans want to ward off legislation, they should either use established channels of challenging laws or focus on winning more elections. Seeking a recall of the governor is both a waste of time and a self-inflicted wound to the GOP’s credibility — something the party can ill afford after Republican senators staged two walkouts this past session in protest of Democrat-backed legislation. While such chest-beating may trigger a short-term gain in Republican party unity, the party’s dwindling share of the electorate in Oregon show what a losing proposition that is.