Oregonians with short memories may think Gore’s endorsement of Bradbury in Oregon’s Democratic gubernatorial primary is a singular act of political love for Oregon’s ex-secretary of state.
But that misses an intriguing subplot.
Gore’s move is in one respect the continuation of a decades long feud with Oregon ex-governor Kitzhaber, Bradbury’s leading primary opponent, dating back to Gore’s bitter battle against Kitz’ innovative Oregon Health Plan when Gore was a U.S. Senate.
John K. won that fight, but he never forgot his nemesis from Tennesse; when Gore ran as the presumptive favorite for president in 2000, Kitz conspicuously backed Bill Bradley. Twisting the knife, the Guv criticized the Clinton Administration — and implicitly Gore, the “green” VP — for inept handling of the NW salmon crisis.
After 20 years, the Bradbury candidacy gave Gore the opening to stick the knife back.
From my friend Bill’s gubernatorial supporters, I can already hear howls of protest over these words. It’s true their man made common cause with Gore on climate change in the last several years. It’s true that he took “Inconvenient Truth” training at Gore’s ranch in Tennessee and has proselytized effectively about the issue. It’s also true that his green credentials are a factor in Gore’s endorsement.
But it’s equally true that Gore and Kitzhaber can barely stand each other. It’s also true that Kitz is one of the strongest environmentalists in any of the states; on NW salmon, alone, he went far beyond Gore in advocating the breaching of the Columbia River’s fish-killing dams. It’s also true that on green issues generally, differences between Kitzhaber and Bradbury are negligible.
I’ve known and liked each of these guys for years. I Just think informed consumers should know the subtext of a political event. This one’s a lulu.