Wednesday, June 26, 2019

disturbing behavior from the right

I'd like to hear the other side of this story:

Oregon’s Legislative Chaos Has Senators Fleeing to Idaho and a Militia Threatening the Capitol:

Oregon’s state Legislature appeared to be on track last week to pass a sweeping climate change bill aimed at curbing emissions in the state. At least until Republicans in the state Senate decided to go to extremes to prevent a vote, making a move that resulted in the governor calling in Oregon State Police. And the drama didn’t end there: Democrats canceled a session Saturday over safety threats from a far-right militia group.

The bill would make Oregon the second state after California to adopt cap-and-trade restrictions and would dramatically reduce emissions by 2050, but Republicans argue it would drag down the state’s economy. Eleven GOP senators who opposed the bill went all out to prevent a vote, fleeing the Legislature on Thursday. Oregon Democrats have a supermajority, but they aren’t able to vote without a quorum. The move effectively halted the legislative process, and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown ordered state police to find the senators and haul them back to the statehouse. Some had fled to Idaho and other states, out of the jurisdiction of the Oregon police. Each senator faces a fine of $500 per missed session.

But there’s more. Senate leadership shut down the state capitol Saturday after receiving threats from far-right militia groups planning to protest that day outside the statehouse in support of the GOP senators. The Senate’s president, the entire Democratic caucus, and the building’s staff received threats, according to the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for the Senate president told the Washington Post that she feared the groups were connected to Idaho rancher Ammon Bundy and his militia, who in 2016 led an armed occupation and 41-day standoff with federal authorities at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.* Members of the Three Percenters of Oregon, a militia group that took part in Malheur takeover, said they would participate in the capitol protests.

Republicans in Oregon appeared to think the militia and threats to Democratic lawmakers were funny when they took to Twitter to satirize the situation. “Heavily armed militia lays siege to Oregon’s Capitol as Senate Democrats cower in fear,” the Oregon GOP tweeted. As the Oregonian pointed out, the joke seemed to be insinuating that Democrats were scared of peacefully protesting Oregonians, but the state police had deemed the threats against Democrats credible.

The above is from left-leaning Slate. I'll be curious to hear the right's opinion on this. If rightie militias really are threatening the Oregon state government, then I hope police action is indeed taken. I also find it shamefully pusillanimous that the Republican senators felt it necessary to abandon their state simply to prevent a quorum from forming. The proper thing to do would be to have the vote, lose the vote, campaign hard to win the next election cycle, boot out the Dems from the legislature, and then repeal the climate bill. If the local GOPers are convinced the bill, when it becomes law, will be bad for Oregon's economy, then they'll have proof, in a few years, of that failure, which will give the Oregonian GOP something to campaign on. That's how civilized people act. Fleeing the state is childish, cowardly, and about as cringe-inducing an act as I can think of. And all this comes on top of multiple accusations by GOP conservatives that Democrats are the childish ones. Yeesh.

UPDATE: Instapundit has some remarks from June 21 here. Keep in mind that several days have passed, and the story has evolved since then.


John Mac said...

Well, I take anything from Slate with a great deal of skepticism. Are they saying these so-called militias are using the same tactics as those "heroes" on the left, Antifa? And when Democrat Senators were fleeing from Wisconsin a few years ago to thwart labor reforms they were portrayed as brave fighters for worker's rights.

Just sounds like more political hypocrisy to me.

Charles said...

Right-wing militias have indeed said that they would defend the GOP senators "at any cost," which seems to pretty clearly imply that they would consider violence. Threats of violence began when one of the GOP senators said in a television interview that he told the superintendent, with regard to possibly sending state troopers after them, to "send bachelors and come heavily armed."

(I don't know if this is a source you trust, but here is a link from the Daily Beast:

I don't think whataboutism is very helpful here, to be honest. I'm not in favor of circumventing the democratic process, so I can't say I would have supported the 2011 protests in Wisconsin, either. The truth is that this sort of tactic has been used before--but that doesn't make it right. And it doesn't change the fact that what is happening now is happening now, and (unlike 2011) it is being accompanied by public threats of violence.

Kevin Kim said...


Interestingly, the article you linked to mentioned that this isn't the first time there's been a GOP walkout to prevent a quorum.

That Boquist sounds like a true believer, though, doesn't he. He's ex-military, so I don't doubt he'd be ready to kill or die for a cause, but I have to wonder about the GOP softies around him. Here's hoping the situation can be defused without violence. Violence would be a horrible capper to what is already a clusterfuck of a situation.

Kevin Kim said...

There's a "politics of Oregon" entry on Wikipedia. It makes for some interesting reading. 47% of the population lives in the Portland-Metro area, which does much to explain why the state currently registers as blue overall. The rest of the population is scattered out in the sticks and decidedly right-leaning. Some decades ago, Oregon used to be a thoroughly red state. The Wikipedia page is a good primer for understanding the patterns of kinetic energy we're now seeing.

Kevin Kim said...

Another thought: rightie and libertarian blogs aren't talking about this at all, whereas it's all over the left. I would never have known about this were it not for the fact that I'm surrounded by lefties at work, and for a while, this is all they could talk about. I'm bizarrely thankful, despite being surrounded, and I wish a rightie version of Tim Pool might emerge, i.e., a conservative who takes it upon himself to keep fellow conservatives honest, calling them out when they need calling out.