This is a political non-surprise. Totally predictable.
Today every Senate Republican in the state legislature walked out for the fourth time in two years, denying Democrats the two-thirds quorum needed to do anything.
And why wouldn't they?
Like I said in a 2019 blog post, "Oregon Dems surrender to Republicans like scared little mice," rewarding the GOP when they behave badly virtually guarantees that the bad behavior will continue.
Every parent of a young child knows this, but not Democratic leaders. Here's what I said in 2019. The "you" refers to Senate President Peter Courtney.
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.
Which Republicans did. In the 2020 short session, there was another GOP walkout in protest of a climate change bill. The only good news this time was that Democrats didn't make any deals.
The session simply ended, as I described in "Make Oregon Republicans pay for their anti-democracy walkout."
Problem is, so far as I know there weren't any negative consequences for those who walked out, failing to perform their duty as elected officials. No fines. No attempt to revise the 2/3 quorum requirement. Nothing.
Now Senate Republicans aren't walking out in protest of legislation proposed by Democrats.
They've walking out because they don't feel listened to by Governor Brown after demanding that Oregon schools open up immediately for full in-person instruction, among other Covid-related demands.
But all 11 members of the Republican caucus signed a letter to the governor in which they insisted she “immediately reopen schools because science says it’s safe” and increase the amount of COVID-19 vaccines available to older Oregonians, especially in rural areas.
“Our previous efforts to bring these issues to your attention have gone unacknowledged,” the 11 Republicans wrote in their letter. “Thus, we are protesting today’s floor session. In this show of solidarity with Oregonians who are being failed by the current direction of your policies, we hope this action conveys the importance of these issues.”
Republicans in Oregon hold no statewide office. They aren't close to controlling either the state House or Senate. They have no real platform other than professing eternal loyalty to Donald Trump.
Voters keep saying NO to what the GOP is offering Oregonians.
Instead of changing their right-wing policies to appeal to moderate voters, which would be the reasonable thing to do, Oregon Republicans persist in acting like babies -- having a tantrum and spilling the legislature milk because they aren't being allowed to get their way by the Democratic parents who run the state Capitol.
The only thing Democrat leaders in the legislature should do in response to Republican walkouts is simple: nothing.
Meaning, give the Republicans nothing. No attention. No rewards. No conciliatory talk. If the GOP wants to grind the legislature to a halt, fine. Have a daily press conference with a chart showing how much the Republicans are getting paid while shirking their oath of office.
"Best of my ability" doesn't mean walking out on the job whenever you don't get your way, politically. The minority party shouldn't expect to control things in Oregon.
That's the reward a majority party earns for winning elections. Win more elections, GOP. That's the way to get back in power, not by walking out in hissy fits.
Oregon Republicans are acting like Congressional Republicans, a majority of whom voted to overturn Joe Biden's free and fair victory over Donald Trump. Likewise, our local right-wing extremists basically are trying to overturn recent Oregon elections that gave Democrats healthy majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
As I've said before, democracy is threatened by what the Oregon GOP is doing. If Republicans cared about democracy, they wouldn't be acting the way they are. Keep that in mind, voters.