Disgusting. Horrible. Shameful.
Those are the non-profane words I can use to describe how Governor Brown, Senate President Courtney, and House Speaker Kotek caved in to the walkout of Senate Republicans without putting up any fight at all.
That walkout prevented the Senate from having a quorum, so no business could be accomplished.
According to a Salem Reporter story, "Tough choices, closed door deals result in Senate returning to business," Courtney didn't want to do what Wisconsin governor Scott Walker reportedly did in 2011 when Democratic legislators walked out: use the state police to bring them back.
Courtney has been Senate president since 2003. He has the power to ask the governor to call out the Oregon State Police to bring wayward senators back to the Capitol for a vote, and he exercised it in 2007 when Republicans attempted to boycott a tax vote.
This time, Courtney chose not to send state troopers after the missing Republicans, saying that would have been “a nightmare.”
“I don’t have to conquer or win,” Courtney said. “I like it when the institution works.”
OK, I'm now moved to profanity: that's fucking insane, Courtney. You're an embarrassment to Democrats everywhere.
The institution of the Oregon Senate didn't "work" when you and other Democratic leaders agreed to kill the vaccine and gun control bills in exchange for Republicans returning to do the job they were elected to do: take part in Senate proceedings.
Actually what happened here is that Democrats gave in to a ransom request by Republicans.
Not surprisingly, we can expect that since the GOP ploy worked, they're going to try it again. So says a Statesman Journal story, "Education funding bill passes Senate as Republicans end walkout."
Senate Republicans returned to the chamber floor Monday after securing major Democratic concessions, ending their four-day walkout and allowing Democrats to pass a multi-billion dollar education funding bill.
...In the end, Republicans secured through their extended absence the death of House Bill 3063, which would have removed the non-medical vaccine exemption for schoolchildren, and Senate Bill 978, the session's omnibus gun control legislation.
Lawmakers pushing both proposals expressed frustration that their legislation wouldn't be moving forward this session.
...Despite negotiations for most of last week, Senate Democratic leadership gave credit to Gov. Brown for jumping in on Sunday and providing the framework for the deal that brought Republicans back into the building.
This victory of sorts caught the eye of House Republicans embroiled in a slow-down of their own, and raised the possibility of a similar walkout in the lower chamber.
The House of Representatives clerk has been reading bills in full for a week and a half — ever since the education funding bill came up for a vote and eventually passed.
"My caucus doesn’t tend to want to walk. They’re very comfortable with reading the bills and slowing it up. Yet, on the other hand, I’m sure they’re tantalized in seeing what walking can do," House Republican Leader Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, said.
"Any time you see something like that, it’s instructive," he said. "It makes it more likely to be considered."
Sure, why not walk out, House Republicans?
The Democrats will give in without getting anything in return, because we have a Governor and legislative leadership who seem to have forgotten that Oregon voters gave Dems a supermajority in both the House and Senate so they could act like Democrats -- not like frightened little mice who screeched eek! when Senate Republicans dared Dems to call their walkout bluff.
I'm beyond disappointed.
Until now I've had the fantasy that while Republicans control most of Washington, D.C., allowing Trump to carry out his authoritarian agenda, here in Oregon we have a reassuring island of progressivism -- since the Governor's office plus both the state House and Senate are in the hands of Democrats.
Sadly, Oregon Democrats don't know what to do with power once they have it. What happened today was that the Dems surrendered their power to Republicans without a fight.
Tomorrow, or some day after that, the Oregon GOP is going to push Democrats into another corner, even though it should be the Democrats doing the pushing.
Usually I hate it when Republicans gloat about a victory over Democrats. But you're entitled to not just a little gloating, Oregon Republicans, you're entitled to a lot. You kicked Democratic asses with your Senate walkout stunt. I bet you never believed it would be as successful as it was.
I didn't either.
I had confidence that Gov. Brown, Courtney, Kotek, and other Dem leaders would stand up to the Republicans. I was wrong. And now I feel like shit, because Oregon isn't a refuge from Republican attempts to subvert democracy.
Instead, Oregon Democrats are happy to cooperate in that subversion.