There's been lots of talk over the weekend about ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber. He's rolling out his plan to Change the Face of Medical Care in the United States, which he's talking about possibly trying to get onto the November ballot here in his home state. And he's still talking about running for a third term as governor, but only if he decides that a ballot measure isn't the way to go on health care. He says he couldn't imagine running for office and spearheading a voter initiative at the same time.
The cynic in me isn't buying a lot of this. I have no doubt about the good doctor's sincerity in wanting to lead radical health care reform. But from a coldblooded political perspective, as I've discussed here before, his supposed candidacy for elective office looks like a ploy to get rid of State Sen. Vicki Walker so that Governor Ted can sew up the Democratic nomination. And in return, Dr. No would get to run OHSU for well north of a half million a year plus free use of the Playboy mansion.
If that's the strategy, it appears to be working. When last I heard, Walker was still telling folks that her still-"exploratory" run for governor depends on what Kitzhaber does -- and precious time keeps slipping away. She's got to decide whether to give up her senate seat, and if her fundraising is really on hold, she'll be way behind the eight ball for the primary, which is just a little more than four months away.
I haven't seen anything about this angle in the local press. In The O interview with Kitzhaber published over the weekend -- which they assure us, golly, was an hour long -- nobody said a peep about Walker and OHSU. Which is why this town needs bloggers, I guess.