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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Obsessing about Kroger

We're still reeling from the news that John Kroger is leaving politics at the end of next year, at least temporarily, because his health is not up to the task. His re-election to the attorney general's office appeared to be a cakewalk, with more than $300,000 in the campaign war chest and no real opponent in sight. He must be pretty darn sick not to be able to cruise through an easy campaign to four more years in office. Maybe he's worse off than he's letting on -- whatever a "significant but not life-threatening" sickness is supposed to be.

The conspiracy theorists are hard at work this evening. Maybe it's not his health. Maybe there's a scandal brewing. Hey, anything's possible.

But we're taking this one at face value. Our guess is that he is, in fact, ill, and that it would have become obvious soon. He may or may not make it to the end of his term, but for now he says he is going to, and he's probably going to help his good personal friend, Dwight Holton, take over after he's gone. He certainly isn't going to let his nemesis, Governor Retread, appoint his successor, which we believe is what would happen in case of a vacancy.

Whatever issues we may have with Kroger, we wouldn't wish career-busting illness on anyone. The guy's only 45 years old, and he's got a stepson. Get well, dude.

Beyond Holton, the only candidates we see are Greg Macpherson, whom the unions trashed when he ran against Kroger three years ago; and as a longshot, Marc Abrams, an experienced and politically connected Justice Department attorney who heads up the attorneys' union there. Next spring's primaries look potentially more interesting all the time.

Comments (9)

I think it's pretty obvious that some undisclosed, non-life-threatening medical condition isn't the reason Kroger won't be running for re-election.

After all, FDR had polio.

And what would Stephen Hawking say?

Kroger's stepping down gets him off the hook for now for who knows what. It also gets anyone else involved in who-knows-what off the hook. And it gets Oregon's dysfunctional mainstream media off the hook for not doing their job. But Kroger and the others will re-surface somewhere, at some point in the future.

It's just like having dandelions in your lawn. You can mow them down, but they'll just keep coming back until you finally spray them.

It's all speculation at this point, and anything's possible, but as I wrote, I think you're wrong.

There is a way to gauge the severity of this based on his own words.

He writes that it's bad enough that he has to reduce his hours, restrict his travel, and be careful of his health. That implies that his regular schedule could cause him great harm. I say why be a hero about it? Get out now. Oregonians will understand.

I bet this is the type of job where you can say you're going to cut back and take it easy but things come along that preclude you from doing that. Why chance it?

Health problems are the only major problems. Everything else is a distant second. You could say, "But what if you owed money to the Mafia?" That's a health problem.

If you compare Hardy Meyers with John Kroger, it's clear that you can have "kick-back-and-collect-checks" approach or a Tasmanian Devil approach to the job of AG.

To give Kroger the benefit of the doubt, my guess is he couldn't be the type of AG he wanted to be or he thought he should be.

John has always wanted bigger things. This office was just a stepping stone for something else -- governor, maybe, or Wyden's job. It's hard for some people to believe that he's giving all that up. Maybe he isn't.

Sounds bad. Brings two things to mind.

Like there might be a cure in the works, and he's making room in his schedule to pursue cutting edge therapies.

Or, he's avoiding stressors, which in some chronic diseases can act is triggers for exacerbations.

Either way, I'm saying a prayer. I always liked the guy, thought he had serious talent, and wished the Oregon electorate could measure up. Maybe they will yet.

I hate to even think about this, but what about uber DA Josh Marquis?

I think you probably hit it on the head Harris. Stressors. They are what set me off. So I am currently retiring from law practice to pursue something more mellow. Maybe he is doing the same.

If you don't have your health you truly have nothing.

I'm having trouble understanding why he doesn't just tell us what the health problem is. And if it's that personal, why didn't he say that he and his wife decided to pursue other plans as a family and therefore he wasn't running for reelection.

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