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Posts published in November 2011

Carlson: Where are the leaders?

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

In talking with newspaper editors about running excerpts of the book of reminiscences of my years working with and for Governor Cecil D. Andrus, I often encountered the question “where are today’s Cecil Andruses?” Or “why can’t we produce leaders like Cecil Andrus, or Dan Evans or Mark Hatfield any more?”

In other words, “where have all the leaders gone?”

Cecil Andrus reflects leadership to the core of his being. While there are many definitions of leadership, and Andrus would fulfill most, it is one of those things you just know when you see it. As long as people have known Andrus they will tell you he has always possessed the quality that says “I’m leading; I know where I’m going. Follow or get out of the way!”

As Andrus Center President Marc Johnson points out in his fine introduction to the book Cecil Andrus: Idaho’s Greatest Governor, Idaho’s only four times elected governor and the state’s first ever cabinet officer would have emerged as the leader in any situation life might have placed him. He possesses the talent and ability to run any size organization, public or private, including the presidency of the United States.

There’s a reason why no less a talent than President William Jefferson Clinton, while still reeling from the early challenges he was fumbling and rumors were circulating that he might face a primary challenge, sent an operative to Idaho to check out speculation that Cecil Andrus might be recruited to mount that challenge.

The book takes a swing at trying to shed light on how Andrus emerged from an ordinary background and became such an extraordinarily successful public official. Through anecdotes and stories it sheds light on his leadership style and the political rules he followed, often encapsulated in witty colloquial phrases. (more…)

Oregon steelhead

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.