Wasted efforts for nothing

The La Grande Observer

Our View: Wasted efforts for nothing

from The La Grande Observer, 10/16/2019

Two efforts to recall Gov. Kate Brown stalled Monday, sending the clear message that while many voters are dissatisfied with her performance she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Both efforts — one organized by the Oregon Republican Party — failed by substantial margins.

There are a lot of things that make the state’s recall system important — in fact, crucial in some respects — but this latest recall effort was in a real sense a waste of time.

A lot of voters in Oregon don’t like Brown. They don’t like her policies or her political philosophy. Especially east of the Cascades, the governor’s popularity isn’t as high as she or her supporters would like.

In other sections of the state, the governor doesn’t face that problem and her policies are considered sound.

Our political system is designed where fractures in public opinion are common and rarely does a politician gain the kind of widespread popularity they seek.

The recall system in Oregon is needed, but it should be utilized only in the most serious circumstances. Simply disliking the governor isn’t sufficient ground to launch a recall effort. We concede anyone can be recalled for any reason, but that should not be a blank check to settle political grudges.

The recall tool is a necessary one, but it should be reserved for those who abuse their office or commit crimes or blatant breaches in ethics.

If one does not like the current chief executive of the state or the nation, there is already a process instilled into our system to change it. It’s called elections.

Republican Party leaders, especially, should have stepped into the recall effort and squashed it. Not because it was wrong — we’ve already conceded recalls are sometimes necessary — but because it was a waste of time.

If Republicans really want to change leadership in Oregon, they should work hard to find a candidate that can beat a Democrat for the governor’s slot.

That isn’t as easy as it would seem — just review the last two elections for proof — but it needs to be a priority.

There also remains a host of serious political issues impacting our state right now that deserve the undivided attention of GOP leaders. Spending time and resources on a failed recall effort isn’t a viable method for the future.

We in Eastern Oregon don’t live in a vacuum. Generally, the region is a conservative Republican stronghold. But other portions of the state lean in a different political direction. We may believe our conservative values are paramount, but we — and the Republican Party — must convince the rest of the state.

Wasting time on a recall effort isn’t going to get us there.