Upper Left Coast

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

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bill Sizemore is a liability

If there's any question about whether Bill Sizemore has a continuing and effective role in the Oregon initiative process, that question should be put to rest by the kerfuffle between the Oregon Education Association and the folks supporting Measure 65 on the November ballot.

According to the Oregonian's Steve Duin, the OEA sent a mailer to its members urging them to vote against eight ballot measures (including Measure 65) on the ballot because they're sponsored by "Bad Penny Bill." Never mind that Sizemore is only the chief sponsor of five measures (58, 59, 60, 63 and 64).

Measure 65 is the Open Primaries bill sponsored by former Oregon secretaries of state Phil Keisling and Norma Paulus, and when they found out that the OEA listed their measure as a Sizemore creation, they went into damage control overdrive.

"Linking us to Sizemore is blatantly false, cynical and offensive," Keisling said. "I can't believe OEA's political bosses are so afraid of losing power that they would knowingly lie and mislead their own members."

He added, "Don't tell me this isn't intentional and designed to denigrate. It's as intentional a deception as anything I've seen in 20 years."

Those comments from Keisling should tell you everything you need to know about Sizemore and his ability to effect change in the state's political process. From the position of the M65 supporters, Sizemore's name is such poison in Oregon politics that they had to nip this in the bud. Immediately.

And we know the position of the OEA -- there's not an ad that comes out from them that doesn't show an unhappy, shady Bill Sizemore and trumpet his name as the malevolent force causing the OEA to spend millions more of its member dues to fight off this assault. If you don't think the OEA has polling data showing that evoking Sizemore's name causes an immediate and significant drop in favorability, think again.

Yes, Sizemore has had a few victories, and he's forced the legislature to deal with issues it would rather have ignored. But really, has the legislature's attempt at appeasement in, say, the Measure 37 re-write resulted in anything positive for center-right Oregonians?

And his attempts at targeting the union crowd have backfired. Badly. Yes, he's forced the unions to spend tens of millions of their dollars to defeat him, but big whoop. That's like taking a cookie from a toddler, but leaving the full cookie jar open nearby -- there's plenty more where that came from. He's also been credited with bringing out enough union voters to elect Bill Bradbury for secretary of state. And we see how well that's worked out, especially in the redistricting process.

When we see how badly Keisling and Paulus want to distance themselves from Bill Sizemore, it's clear that Sizemore is a liability to his own causes. At just 57 years old, Sizemore still has many more productive years ahead of him. They should be in something other than politics.



  • At 10/25/2008 12:35 AM, Blogger T. D. said…

    He's only a liability because such as the Oregonian unfairly targets him--as you or I would be if we were similarly targeted.

    It's unfair to blame Sizemore for being a victim. The real corruption of politics comes not from Sizemore but from those like the OEA which asks voters to vote for or against a measure not on its merits but because of its backers.

    If we buy into that, we deserve to lose our initiative, referendum and recall system and be controlled by Chicago-style political and organization bosses.

  • At 10/27/2008 8:50 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    TD - I mostly agree with you, though I think Sizemore has done a few things to stir the pot. But guess what? It doesn't matter, because the media caricature is already complete. That's why the OEA can get away with avoiding the issue and painting his name in the mud. It's too late to worry about whether "we buy into that" -- sufficient people have bought into it, and that's why those measures will likely fail.

    Bill Sizemore can put measures on the ballot until he dies of old age, but he will be no more able to push them to success than Neil Goldschmidt would be to fight for anything.

    If he can work in the background and continue to fight for the things he believes, that's fine, but I even have doubts about the success of that tactic. If the OEA and its union friends see (for instance) a merit-pay initiative four years from now, they will paint it as a Sizemore issue regardless of whether they can find his fingerprints on the signature sheets.

  • At 10/30/2008 10:57 AM, Anonymous Sam L. said…

    So far as I can tell, Sizemore is a liability walking. His name on an initiative is a pretty good reason for me to be against it--though not a sufficient reason. But open primaries strike me as a truly bad idea, and a top-two run-off isn't palatable, either.


Post a Comment

<< Home