Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Regrets, I've had a few...

Back in February when Jason Atkinson had his falling-out with the Mouth of the Northwest, I wrote a piece suggesting that those people who were concerned about Atkinson's position on immigration should check with the campaign and use some discretion before jumping to conclusions. Here's what I wrote:
Rather than making demands, spreading rumors or immediately pulling my support, I would rather:
  • Contact the campaign directly and ask, respectfully, if he can clarify my concerns;
  • Hold off on snap judgments;
  • Listen with discretion to those who share my passion, but don't necessarily have all the facts.
Flash forward three months, and unfortunately, I find myself not following my own advice.

On Wednesday, I wrote of my displeasure with Oregon Right to Life because, in my opinion, they were giving Ron Saxton a pass on his pro-choice positions because he agreed to a few pro-life agenda items. I'm still not happy with ORTL, and stand by many of my criticisms from that post.


As a Christian, I believe in the Holy Spirit, and believe he sometimes nudges me with a troubled heart when I've wronged someone. Usually with me, I will feel the troubled heart long before I realize (or sometimes am willing to address) the cause for the nudge.

I've had that troubled heart since not long after I hit "Publish Post" on that piece. And I've realized that I wronged Oregon Right to Life.

Tops on the list is the headline of that post: "Caving in on principles." On my blog and at Northwest Republican, "Andy" took me to task for that phrase, calling it "outrageous and only calls THEIR dedication to the cause into question."

I know my own heart and am satisfied that my dedication to the cause is not questionable. I also believe in ORTL's dedication to this cause. But I can understand Andy's reaction: it's the same one I might have if I were in his shoes. That unfortunate phrase suggested, as I said in the comments at NWR, "that they were making a deliberate, malicious decision in conflict with pro-life principles." I went on to say that I don't think it was malicious or even deliberate. But the damage was done.

I know one person at ORTL well enough that I can contact her. When I read the Oregonian article that prompted this whole imbroglio, I should have called her. I believe she would have given me as much information as she felt she could, within the bounds of confidentiality.

Instead, I reacted. I jumped to conclusions. I acted like, well, a stereotypical blogger, not the reporter I used to be.

So here's the bottom line: I wish ORTL would simultaneously fight for their endorsed candidate and fight against pro-choice pretenders, and yes, I think Ron Saxton is a pro-choice pretender. I believe Ron Saxton met with ORTL because he feels he was hurt in 2002 by ignoring them, and he made a few concessions with them in the hopes that they would leave him alone. I believe ORTL is going too easy on Saxton. (And by the way, I obviously wish the endorsement went to Jason Atkinson, but the ORTL post really wasn't about Atkinson at all -- it was about the relationship between ORTL and Saxton.)

But among the things I didn't consider or didn't give sufficient thought: maybe ORTL didn't want to oppose Saxton because they wanted to avoid negative politics (which is why, much to my chagrin, they apparently told Kevin Mannix not to use their endorsement against Saxton); and maybe ORTL chose not to put a lot of money into the governor's race because their priority is gathering signatures for a parental notification measure they hope to put on the November ballot.

I reject the idea floated by one of my commenters that people on the same team shouldn't have disagreements and shouldn't fight through those disagreements. But I recognize in hindsight that I should have done more homework before airing this disagreement in public.

So to ORTL, I apologize.


  • At 5/05/2006 1:00 PM, Blogger terrance said…

    Excellent, Ken!

    It's fine to disagree with ORTL's (or Oregon Family Council's) assessment on Saxton. But, their commitment and principles on right to life should not be in question.

    Thanks for your thoughtful reevaluation on this and willingness to apologize.

  • At 5/05/2006 2:48 PM, Anonymous your friend at ORTL said…

    Thank you Ken.

  • At 5/05/2006 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you're a bigger man then some, and it's appreciated.

    i think it was unfortunate that ORTL explained/defended its decision to make a sole endorsement in the governor's primary by saying it was based solely on politics - "who has the best chance to win." as recent poll numbers have shown, they are probably on the wrong horse. because the decision was based on politics rather than prayer, ORTL has hurt its ability to be effective in the future. there's no reason, for example, for republican legislators who may aspire to higher office to worry too much about compiling a strong right-to-life voting record. what's important is whether they can win, not their support of the unborn. it was a mistake for ORTL to not support all the friends they had in this primary and i predict it will cost them.

  • At 5/05/2006 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please don't misunderstand my comments. Disagreements are fine and good. We shouldn't be in lock step with each other. Healthy debate and dialogue are good - isn't that why we all blog? The problem at times is that we are too quick to jump on our friends without giving them the grace to a)make a mistake or b) be misunderstood. That's all.

    Also - your comments here are exactly the kind of thoughtful, even in hindsight, response that is appreciated. Thank you.

  • At 5/06/2006 11:56 AM, Blogger David said…

    Still, conservatives should not be within a mile of Ron Saxton. I found something big yesterday that I'll post about later that shows-up his deceitful tongue to the world (AND in audio too).

    I don't blame people for not knowing better though. He has put a lot of effort into looking conservative.


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