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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coffee with Knute

Knute Buehler, the Bend physician who's the Republican candidate for Oregon secretary of state, is in Portland a lot these days. It's not alien territory for him, as he spent several years here as a young doc at OHSU and Emanuel Hospital. At his invitation, we hung out for an hour or so over coffee this afternoon and got to know each other better.

Buehler is a bright guy, still practicing as an orthopedic surgeon part time and the holder of patents on some medical devices. But he says he's fed up with politics as usual and is running for political office to try to change the status quo. He's studied successful Republican campaigns in Oregon, and he's developed a smart campaign message. It's focused tightly on just a few prongs -- cutting red tape for small and medium-sized businesses, insisting on far greater accountability in state and local government, and election campaign reform. He's steering clear of larger social issues, and is not talking about incumbent Kate Brown's shortcomings in office unless you ask him about them.

It came out in our conversation that Buehler grew up in Roseburg, home of John Kitzhaber. One of Buehler's first experiences in politics was as a teenager, attending a house party for Kitz, who of course was also a doctor before he became the face card you couldn't burn.

We never thought we'd say this, but Buehler seems to have a credible shot at winning his race. Support for Brown seems lukewarm, and she's alienated the marijuana vote, which is fielding its own third-party candidate. With anti-Obama sentiment running white hot among the GOP faithful, Buehler's likely to pull in a lot of votes. He's a polished, young, moderate professional who doesn't immediately turn anybody off, even those to the left of center. It's going to be a most interesting race as it heads into the last two months.

Comments (26)

What precisely is meant by "election campaign reform," if you don't mind my asking, Jack?

Have known Knute for 27 years. He is the real deal. When Knute says he cares about Oregon and is running to make Oregon great, he means it to the core. He has been passionate about this for his entire life. We couldn't ask for a better candidate.

Tom Beer

And Kate Brown handily wins another election.

We'll see. I think you'll be surprised. The pot people are going to make a serious impact.

BTW, she didn't win so handily last time. It was 51-46-3. And that was before she screwed up the labor commissioner election and the Portland schools campaign abuse scandal.

I've seen his billboard down in Clackistan a few times. I figured he was a Tea Party crackpot. I'm no fan of Brown either. Maybe he's the moderate voice we need to divide the state government. Further research is required.

Gosh, if any of that is true, then why is he running under the same banner as Caribou Barbie, Michelle "hpv vaccine retardation" Bachmann, Paul "all your uteruses belong to us" Ryan, and Mitt "No See Um (tax returns)" Romney, who was for Obamacare before he was agin it and then decided he was for it again the other day (give him a break, he was so busy changing positions on abortion and climate change, he was positively exhausted)?

A guy who wants the best for Oregon would be a lot more convincing as an independent thinker if, you know, he didn't throw in with the party that opposes the entire 20th Century and gets its medical knowledge about contraception from medieval myths.

Just curious. What are your thoughts on him. Pro and/or con? You got a rare one on one minute or two with him? Not looking for an endorsement or rejection. Maybe a bit more of a feel for him after thinking about it for a while. I wish we ALL got more time like this with some of the candidates.

GA Seldes,

Gee, let's try for guilt by association will you.

But that type of attack is not based on an individual's positions or personal style, rather, it's the unsubtle attempt to generate a tribal reflex reaction.

None of the folks mentioned are even from Oregon.

Is that the kind of politics you support, GA Seldes?

Don't we need better than that?

Perhaps, Buehler wants to do the job of Secretary of State and insure fair elections in a non-partisan fashion.

I think a lot of folks are tired of the hyper-partisan approach to politics and simply want competence and sincerity, especially when it comes to insuring fair elections, which, by and large, is the major job description of the Secretary of State's role in Oregon government.

Maybe, this time around, folks will consider the person running for office on his or her individual merit and capabilities.

Because this tribal thing just doesn't seem to be working out very well right now.

I haven't had time to research this person, but do know I am disgusted with Kate Brown and am most interested in a serious and caring candidate. I am almost certain that most of the papers will tell the people to continue to vote for Kate Brown. When will people learn NOT to necessarily vote for the ones we are told to vote for?

Buehler seems sincere, he certainly has done a lot of homework, and he's campaigning with his boots on the ground. And he's a real doctor who seems to have dealt with a lot of real patients. I was impressed.

You can smear him with the Tea Party if you like, and they're surely going to vote for him, but Buehler came across as about as Republican as Ron Wyden. Maybe less.

Jack, you're right of course. Rick Dancer was such a terrible candidate and even worse if elected that I forgot how close he came to beating Brown.

I still think Brown will be beat Buehler especially with an R after his name. He should have challenged her in the primary not the general with that platform.

The fear that a none progressive might get elected may be the only reason for the tribe to support Brown.

Independent was a choice, and he didn't choose it. So, yes, I think he's a republican partisan and supports the election of republicans.

Of all the positions, sos is where an independent would get a lot of support, because it's essentially what the job should be, nonpartisan. But I've seen this movie before, and it's got partisan republicans trying to fly under the radar, talking soothing pap and "compassionate conservatism" and then voting lockstep republican bs right down the line. Gordon Smith is epitome.

I'm not a Democrat but the Oregon GOP sure makes me vote like one far too often.

I would just like to point out that Buehler was nominated by both the Republican and Independent parties in Oregon. Under Oregon's fusion voting, a candidate can be nominated, and appear on the ballot, by up to three parties.

GA Seldes, this is the nonpartisan, independent SOS you describe.

Oregon doesn't have fusion, since all votes cast for a multiply nominated candidate are lumped together and not counted as votes associated with the individual party affiliations. Oregon has an anti fusion law called fusion, a classic mind-screw as Jack might put it, since it lets the major two corporate parties defeat the intent of fusion, which is allowing voters to express support for something other than the right wing party or the completely insane right wing party, and have that support made visible.

If Knute doesn't want to be seen as a republican, don't run as one.

Meantime, perhaps as a doctor he could ask the gop party hacks helping him campaign about this:

GA Seldes,

It is simply irrational to disqualify any and all candidates if they have a R next to their name.

Your response to Knute is proof.

There is a full spectrum of Rs covering quite a varied ideology.

This may be tough for you to grasp but
nearly every active R I know more closely resembles Jack Bogdanski's political and fiscal ideology than any of the disqualified boogeyman Rs with social ailments.

Knute Buehler is not a Tea Partier. He is
Oregon State Universities first ever Rhodes Scholar, he has a Masters Degree in Politics and Economics from Oxford University. Additionally, he is a pragmatic thinker with common sense solutions to Oregon's problems.

M. Seldes, it is hard to think of more than a handful of Republicans anywhere who are as rigidly unyielding as you. You're playing Ayn Rand to Stalin. Become what you hate.

^^^ What Sally said.

Why on earth would a Rhodes Scholar want to have one of the most boring, technical, and bureaucratic elected offices in state government? I guess only as a springboard to something else.

Good luck with that.

Why on earth would a Rhodes Scholar want to have one of the most boring, technical, and bureaucratic elected offices in state government?

It may be that he cares enough to want to make a positive change. I would say insisting on far greater accountability in state and local government and election campaign reform might be a great motivator.

But he says he's fed up with politics as usual and is running for political office to try to change the status quo. He's studied successful Republican campaigns in Oregon, and he's developed a smart campaign message. It's focused tightly on just a few prongs -- cutting red tape for small and medium-sized businesses, insisting on far greater accountability in state and local government, and election campaign reform.

Knute appears to be an excellent alternative to the status quo. About time someone with "VISION" stepped up.

GA Seldes you seem so angry, but weird isn't working as the bumper sticker puts it. Kate Brown has already proven that she is not up to the job. Time for a change. Don't worry Kitz will find a nice cush corner hiding spot to boost her PERS.

It may take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out how to beat this tribe mentality of the D's we have had here far too long. To be clear, I am not a fan of the R's or D's here, but we need something different happening, it won't just be an exodus out of Portland, but out of the state if this lock step chock-hold continues. This has been way too U N B A L A N C E D!

Knute, whom I have known for many years, is a good and decent man. For those folks who reject him just because he is an R or try to link him to something bad that someone in the R party has done outside of Oregon - it's sad to see.

The reality is that we need two competent, decent, and dedicated parties to choose between to govern Oregon. We are not better off if all we have is the D party and a marginalized opposition that shouts from the sidelines. Without two vibrant and positive parties, we don't have democracy.

Knute is the sort of leader that that brings decency, integrity, and a deep intellect to the table. If there are folks that won't take a serious look at him just because he is an R, I would hope those folks can look in the mirror and admit to themselves that they are hopelessly partisan. If you can't give Knute a chance, you are not open minded.


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