In Oregon, legislative Republicans - who had equal control of the House and were short but one seat in the Senate - were in the last session productive legislators, and despite the opportunity did almost nothing that could be called obstructionist. Without abandoning their core ideas, they raised no major hackles among independents and Democrats this year. The Republican highly likely to win the Republican primary for the 1st congressional district next week is the one denounced by Tea Party-style Republicans. Earlier this year, the state party outright rejected pursuit of a number of social issue party stands they'd previously included.
Something different is going on in Oregon - can you imagine any of these things happening in Congress, or even in most other states? (In fairness, Washington Republicans haven't been so terribly different this year, either.)
Add to all this ideas expressed by the new party chair, Allen Alley (a 2010 gubernatorial candidate), in an interview with The Dalles Chronicle, out today.
"If we let national policies define us in Oregon, we won't win," Alley said. The key to returning to statewide office (none of which the party has held since 2008), he said, is to attract the support of more independents and even Democrats.
When they say Oregon is different, believe it.