Under the Big Top
Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! We're proud to welcome each and every one of you to the quaint, the colorful, the fantasmagorically grimy little circus known as Oregon Politics! You think you've seen it all down in California? Nonsense! Today we have all three rings in full operation to thrill and delight children of all ages! We guarantee you will not believe your eyes and ears!
In the far ring, we have POTUS! Imperial Wizard of the Electoral College! It's George W. Bush, visiting us here in "Little Beirut" to talk about his, um, accomplishments, and to pick up some campaign dough (the latter being his only undisputed accomplishment). Just the kind of thing that happens in North Portland all the time. Then he's off to central Oregon to brag about cutting down some of the trees that the environmentalists hold the most dear. Most of the smoke you'll see and smell, circus-goers, will be coming from the forest fires over there, but there'll also be a good deal coming from the Commander-in-Chief himself. Under this man's leadership, the entire free world is operating in extreme danger, without a net! Wave those circus lights at him!... Huh? Oh. For reasons of homeland security, don't wave the circus lights. But ladies and gentlemen, what do you say? It's a banner day for pepper spray!
Next! In the near ring, we have the Masters! Of! Fiscal! Disasters! The Oregon Legislature! Wait 'til you see how many gaily clad Republicans can climb out of that tiny anti-tax agenda! Yesterday, the State Senate passed an income tax surcharge, whereupon several legislators, including the Speaker of the House, immediately vowed to invalidate it by circulating public petitions to bring a referral ballot measure to the voters. That's being a good sport!
You'll see these zany lawmakers disappear, but then, lo and behold, they'll be back again come November or January. And why's that, you say? I direct your attention to that gentleman in the black cape, over on the edge of the ring. Yes, it's Bill Sizemore, peddler of lame ballot initiatives, who says he'll tell anyone who asks how to overturn the new tax! What's his secret, ladies and gentlemen? No one knows for sure, but last I heard, it was fraud and racketeering! He'll show you how to do it, but are you brave enough to try?
And who, ladles and jellyspoons, who is that grinning man flip-flopping all over the ring? It's the governor, Ted the Chameleon! Watch him as he changes from "I won't raise taxes until we've proven we can live within our means," right over to "If you don't like it, we'll have to close the schools" -- all in a split second, right before your eyes! How does he do it? And wait! Joining them all in the ring now are the Multnomah County Commissioners, who swore they'd "consider" repealing their new county income tax if the state increased its support for schools and social services! Will they defy political death and keep the local tax in place? You'll gasp in astonishment, folks, as they find new ways to spend your money! Ways you never dreamed of when you voted for the tax!
And last but not least! In the center ring! The State Senate decides whether the "Really Big Show" -- Major League Baseball -- will come to the Beaver State! The crucial vote could come today, it could come tomorrow, but for sure it's the bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and here comes the 3-2 pitch! The governor wants it! The mayor of Portland wants it! The real estate developers who run Portland want it! The Little Leaguers want it! The Pony Leaguers want it! (The current minor league team, the Portland Beavers, don't know if they want it or not, but don't heckle them about it or they'll come up there and kick your a*s.) So is Sammy Sosa going to be eating at La Sirenita next spring, or not? Watch as the Cranky Old Coot from Ashland and his Crew of Smalltown Naysayers try to team up with the Big City Earnests to stop it!
What a week! What a state! What fun! And so without further adieu, circus fans, it's on with the show!