This state has slipped and fallen. School funding is below the national average. Oregon is near the bottom in public support of universities. The number of troopers patrolling highways is only half of what the state mustered 30 years ago. Oregon's system of public finance is a mess, and Oregon, virtually alone among states, has no rainy day fund.
Which leads them naturally to endorse the man who will exasperate all of these problems.
Kulongoski is not a great Governor. He seems unwilling to use the Governor's office as a bully pulpit and all too willing to throw up his hands, point at the Republican controlled state house and claim he can't do anything.
But Saxton? He's clearly not interested in adequately funding state schools, refuses to say where he stands on the number of state troopers Oregon maintains (House Republicans would actually like to REDUCE the number of troopers) and continues to support the kicker which is the biggest obstacle to a rainy day fund.
But on a larger sense we simply can no longer afford to elect Republicans to any office. The party - as it's currently constituted - is simply too regimented and too wrong on the important issues to allow for the individual conscious of it's candidates. Paul Krugman writes today in the New York Times that "...this is a one-letter election. D or R, that's all that matters." I wish I could disagree.
I also wish Fred Stickel and the rest of the editorial board at the Oregonian understood that.