Oregonians, for the love of God, please vote for Kate Brown


I mostly talk about politics in broad strokes. I so happen to live in Oregon, a state where a zillionaire fake “moderate” who blocks even gentle criticism, who won’t talk to even slightly critical press, and who is running patently false ads with gendered criticism…is somehow still in this Governor’s race. Despite the fact that Trump is trying to roll back the meager Federal protections LGBT people have and he has declared a full-on war on basic reproductive rights, Dashing Duke of Doublespeak Knute Buehler claims to be pro-choice on one day as he swears fealty to forced-birthers with his votes.

Oregonians, for the love of God, imperfect though you may find her, vote for Kate Brown if you care about gay rights, reproductive rights, trans rights, and, oh yeah, things like therapeutic courts and keeping the faith on Oregon’s staying free of a pesky, regressive sales tax. I know you think she’s messed up one education, when in fact pretty much everyone who’s peed in the Capitol Building, Governor Brown and Dr. Buehler-Trump included, is at fault there.  The gendered, gross “overwhelmed” ads that Buehler echoes Trump’s meaningless yet scary-sounding claims of illness and “low energy”; they’re designed to promote the idea that a woman plum can’t handle the job. The coincidences aren’t just familiar, they’re outright uncanny.

So here’s why you should be *really* scared of Buehler: he’s not just running the same sorts of ads as Trump, he’s all over the map on what he’ll actually do.  Though we can all agree that he is a-ok with “gay marriage”, the reality is his record on LGBTQ rights generally is nonexistent, and asking even the most vague questions about what Buehler intends to do to protect the basic rights of LGBTQ citizens if Trump pushes for greater restrictions on our basic rights, you’ll get this:

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 7.40.53 AM

…blocked. If this is what Knute Buehler-Trump does when someone asks what he’s going to do to protect us in the event of greater Federal interference in our lives, I think it speaks volumes about his disdain for talking about gay people in any sense besides marriage. Does marriage matter? You bet your bippy, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of basic rights for queer people, and if he’s the moderate who supports our rights, why is he terrified of being asked where he stands on our humanity? If he’s such a “moderate”, why is he unwilling to take a public position on queer rights?

Well, it gets worse. See, those same soft-focus ads that show Dr. Buehler having deep-seeming conversation with blonde-haired, blue-eyed women (I’m sure it’s an accidental oversight that they’re all blonde-haired blue-eyed white women…) tell us he’s “pro-choice.” And he is…you know, if I’m the Dutchess of Sussex. I mean, we’re both mixed-race women, we must be the same, right?  So, uh, turns out no group concerned with abortion rights in Oregon agrees. It may come as a shock in allegedly oh-so-liberal Oregon, but the Pacific Northwest is often where new and changing concepts of regressive law get introduced. It’s pretty easy to get a referendum on the ballot, see…direct democracy and all.  Direct democracy got us legalized weed and gay marriage and that ruled. It got us better governmental oversight and better public records laws, too!  However, direct democracy also allows pretty simple access to the ballot, and as a result we end up with candidates who often say they support one thing and they actually support another.

With Buehler, this hypocritical decision comes with the terrifying Measure 105, which seeks to repeal Oregon’s ancient law against using local cops as the long arm of the Federal immigration enforcement complex. (We’d love to know where he stands on the Measure 106 backdoor ban on abortion, but he, once again, is mysteriously without comment. How very “pro-choice.”)  Buehler unashamedly supports this SB1090-like measure which is essentially legalizing racial profiling…which a non-trivial portion of law enforcement opposes. There’s good people who oppose this pro-profiling law on both sides of the aisle…the one time “both sides” matters, but there’s a lot of folks like Buehler who support it with no clue how to pay for letting the Feds have yet another unfunded mandate and no idea how to make any of this work.  The reality is if you’re convicted of a violent crime or a felony in Oregon, just like anywhere else, the Feds get a cut at your immigration status. They shouldn’t get one the you’re just walking down the street, and it’s literally giving cops more impetus to claim race as probable cause. Buehler is for it, but claims he’s not campaigning for it or wants it on the ballot…so why are you voting for it, sir?

One of Buehler’s linchpins is the vague “do something about the homeless” that he claims Brown has done nothing about. Has Governor Brown done enough? Hell no. But to single her out as the problem when plenty of politicians just kick the can on homelessness is a bit facile. Again, Dr. Buehler had plenty of time to raise appropriations bills in the House during his time there. He hasn’t done anything in terms of providing solutions, but he sure runs a lot of really negative ads. In what might be really telling, unlike any other candidate for Governor since Street Roots has existed, he just blew off the homelessness issues questionnaire. The refusal to talk to any media that might be so much as slightly critical is the worst hallmark of Trumpism, the ideal that only “good media” gets answers, and that the secretiveness is somehow deserved if you don’t fall in lock step. Lest you say “but that paper would be critical of any Republican”, multiple previous GOP candidates for Gov have talked to Street Roots. Including Dennis Richardson, who showed an almost disarming level of candor even if we didn’t agree, Chris Dudley, and…well, all of them since SR has existed. Except Dr. Buehler.

We could go into the other terrifying parallels with Trump: won’t release his tax returns, won’t stop trying to claim that Brown’s office somehow did something involving the Cover Oregon mess, won’t stick to any one thing, because like Trump, the story changes depending on the day and who he’s telling it to. You don’t get to be one person in Bend and another in Beaverton, and having some pretty intimate knowledge of Buehler’s communication style, I can tell you with great confidence he isn’t the “moderate” he claims to be. Not just because his votes say otherwise and his back-room promises show otherwise, but because his idea of “leadership” is much like Trump’s: sow chaos and try to profit off the results. Everything about his similarities and overlaps, from refusing to talk to slightly critical media to blocking someone for asking him to commit to LGBT rights when Trump comes at us…these are not the acts of a moderate. They’re the acts of someone who believes they should be beyond reproach and who sees mild criticism as an “attack.” Don’t be fooled.

Knute Buehler is just too risky in these times. A Governor who can’t even decide if trans people should have basic rights and who promises forced-birther zeal one day to one bunch while claiming to be pro-choice on TV is not your friend, and he’s not going to lead in any “progressive” manner. He’s as pro-LGBTQ as Trump himself, and similarly uses shifty language to say nothing’s going to happen to you…but he refuses steadfastly to say he has our back.

Knute Buehler is no moderate, nor will he ever be. He’s a living embodiment of Trumpian politics in a time when we can’t afford that. And if you ask him if he’s willing to stand behind LGBTQ people in these troubled times for us…you get blocked.

Sounds familiar. Too familiar. Don’t fall for it, Oregon.

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