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First take

An Oregonian letter to the editor notes that the recent resignation of John Kitzhaber as governor, and replacement by Secretary of State Kate Brown, leaves the state with its two top offices held by people who weren’t elected to them. That in turn prompts the question, why is Oregon one of just five states without a lieutenant governor? In answer to the first, the same is true – two top offices with people not elected to them – in states with a lieutenant governor, the same thing happens (the governor’s office is filled by a former LG, and a new LG has to be appointed). In regard to the second question . . . the question often arises: What do we need a lieutenant governor for? In fact, quite a few LGs have themselves asked that question, and some have even campaigned for abolishing the office. Short answer: Oregon’s system seems to work.

Jeb Bush was always going to have trouble with Iraq (as long as he’s running for president, which he’s still doing only unofficially). He can’t walk away from his brother, or father for that matter; and he’s remarked too many times that his brother is his top source of foreign policy advice. Problem is, of course, that George W.’s central foreign policy initiative – the war in Iraq – has long since been regarded broadly as a disastrous mistake. So, was his brother’s main foreign initiative a good idea (or, alternatively, would you do it knowing what we all know now)? Jeb Bush hasn’t been easily able to deal with that. And now his prospective Republican opposition is weighing in; Chris Christie of New York suggests, “I think if you’re considering running for president you need to answer the question.” It won’t go away.

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