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Oregon GOP Parties Like It's 1992

The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes, blogging from the Republican National Convention, writes that it was déj vu all over again when Oregon GOP Vice Chairman Russ



The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes, blogging from the Republican National Convention, writes that it was déj vu all over again when Oregon GOP Vice Chairman Russ Walker ripped into environmentalists yesterday.

"It was like a blast from the past being at breakfast [Monday] morning with the Oregon delegation to the Republican convention. Delegates heard from a speaker blasting the 'radical environmentalists' who were fixing to destroy the economy.

"It made me feel like I was back in the timber wars of the early 1990s, when rural Republicans were furious at environmentalists for the spotted-owl protections that caused big reductions in logging on federal forests."

The difference is that this time Walker isn't going after owl-huggers, but conservationists who oppose energy development projects.

In addition to his Republican Party duties Walker is the director of the Oregon chapter of Freedom Works, a national right-wing organization headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas that supports a flat income tax, privatization of Social Security and offshore drilling, among other things.

Addressing the Oregon GOP delegation Monday, Walker said opponents of energy development "truly are the flat-Earthers, the cave men of our society."

"He's aiming pretty broadly," Mapes comments. "He takes on critics of liquefied natural gas plants, surfers worried about a proposed wave energy facility near Florence and folks who have fought wind farms and geothermal plants.

"Walker said his group's polling shows that Oregonians side with increased energy development, even when it involves such things as drilling off their coast (which has not attracted much interest from the oil companies). But it remains to be seen how far he'll get trying to paint opponents of energy development projects as radicals."

The Eye has always wondered why the right thinks environmentalists want to "destroy the economy." Don't they live in the economy too, with mortgages, 501(k) plans and utility bills to pay like the rest of us?

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