Oregon is moving to the left. The Democrats hold both houses of the Legislature, a Republican presidential candidate hasn't carried the state since 1984, the Republican Party hasn't elected a governor since that same year, and according to the Oregon Secretary of State's office, Democrats turned out at a higher percentage than Republicans this year for the first time in history.
So what do some Oregon Republicans think their party needs to do to make itself competitive again? Move to the right, of course.
Soon-to-be-former Sen. Gordon Smith is being talked up as a promising potential GOP candidate for governor in 2010. He presumably would have more name recognition and more appeal west of the Cascades (where most of the votes are) than 2nd District Rep. Greg Walden, the other leading contender in early speculation.
But Ted Piccolo ("I Am Coyote") of the NW Republican blog wants no part of Smith:
"Gordon Smith would be a freaking nightmare of a candidate but I wonder if he could actually win the primary. He is a social conservative and fiscal liberal who hates ... no HATES talking to people in the base of his party. "I feel sorry for Oregon Republicans if Gordon Smith does decide to screw things up and run for governor after getting killed in his Senate run."
Well, actually, although he did lose to Democrat Jeff Merkley, Smith did considerably better than Republican presidential candidate John McCain did in this state. But "Coyote" also thinks Sarah Palin would make a swell presidential candidate in 2012 - enough said.
Piccolo/Coyote also is supporting Bob Tiernan, a Lake Oswego businessman who was one of the most conservative members of the state Legislature during his two terms there in the 1990s, for the job of Oregon Republican Party chairman against the incumbent, Vance Day. "Tiernan ... has great street cred with the movement conservatives and the base and also cred with many in the political class," Piccolo writes. "He understands the relationship between the two and understands that in order for the party to be a successful organization you need to actually have something more than just a name, but you also need a real product."
It appears to The Eye that the Oregon GOP's problem isn't that it lacks a product, but that most Oregonians don't like the somewhat dusty and flyblown product - gay-bashing coupled with anti-labor, anti-worker taxation and other policies - that it's been peddling.