Bob Tiernan, the Oregon Republican Party chairman, invited all the Republican aspirants for the governor nomination to a "unity lunch" on the Thursday after the primary.
Bill Sizemore's response, in essence: "Shove it."
Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian's political blogger, got hold of a copy of Sizemore's e-mail reply to Tiernan's invitation. It's such a classic display of childish petulance that it deserves to be reproduced in full:
Thanks for the pep talk and the invite. In the final analysis, I am not sure whether it matters whether I make the event or not, win or lose. If by some miracle I win, I doubt very much that the [Chris] Dudley machine would support me even for a moment. They don't have much use for conservatives. Besides, this whole unity thing is probably a rather unilateral kind of unity, if you know what I mean, and depends very much on who wins the primary.
Furthermore, as chair of the Republican Party you have taken every public opportunity to run me down as a candidate and as a person since the day I announced that I was running. Your behavior has hardly been becoming of a Party Chair and has not particularly endeared me to the Party. If I attended your luncheon, I would have to pretend to be positive.
Finally, I am not so sure that your unity luncheon is a proper place for someone with so many of those legal issues you always like to bring up to The Oregonian. It might be better if your candidate was not tainted by any connection to me, so I think I will skip your unity luncheon. If I won the primary, you'd probably cancel it anyway.
In view of all his legal problems, Sizemore's probably right when he says the GOP would be better off if it wasn't associated with him.
But I'm having trouble understanding why he thinks Chris Dudley and his team "don't have much use for conservatives." Dudley supports tax cuts for business and increasing timber harvests, among other classic conservative positions. I guess to qualify as a conservative in Sizemore's book you have to want to burn all members of public employee unions at the stake.
How much damage Sizemore's attitude will do to the eventual Republican candidate is hard to predict, but it can't help. In spite of all the scandals surrounding him, Sizemore still has a hard core of followers. And the Republicans are going to need every vote they can get if they want to have any chance of knocking off Bill Bradbury or (more likely) John Kitzhaber in November.
Sizemore's behavior is one more example of the split between the right wing and the extreme right wing that's bedeviling the GOP all over the country. Early this month the Tea Party gang tossed out Bob Bennett, a four-term Utah senator, for committing such unpardonable sins as working with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden on a health care reform bill.
I don't know who said this, but he or she was very smart: "A growing political movement is busy welcoming converts, and a dying political movement is busy purging heretics."