“Revenge,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown told a Politico reporter, “is a dish best served cold and slowly.”
The governor apparently plans to be true to that idea by vetoing bills or spending — or both — favored by Republicans in the state Legislature. What’s slated for defeat is being kept under wraps, perhaps to heighten the suspense or forestall pressure about her choices. She’s blaming the GOP’s departure from the Senate in the last days of the 2019 session for the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation she favored.
Most simply, it’s wrong because, walkout or no, Democrats themselves could not provide the votes to approve the cap-and-trade bill in the Senate. Three of them made it clear they’d vote against the legislation, and without at least one of those votes the bill was dead.
Worse, though, is the way the governor is handling her veto.
There should be a legitimate public policy reason to veto a bill or a project. Revenge is a powerful, emotional motivation. As a justification for public policy, it’s abhorrent. That would be a woeful exhibition of leadership.
Brown may not only be seeking revenge on those who dared cross her, but she has also refused to identify what she plans to veto. Her spokespeople told The Oregonian’s Hillary Borrud Tuesday that Borrud could file a public records request if she wanted further information. This from the governor who pledged to create a new era of transparency for state government?
Brown could be a champion of good and open governance. Revenge and withholding information are a leap toward a miserable legacy.