The Oregon Senate's top priority should be to hold Sen. Brian Boquist accountable for his unambiguous threat to kill Oregon State Police officers. The Republican walkout was hardball politics, and so was Gov. Brown sending the State Police to retrieve them — both actions are legitimate even if distasteful.
But there is no legitimate strategy, political ideology, or governing philosophy in which any kind of violent rhetoric is acceptable, much less a direct threat to law enforcement.
And this is not an isolated incident: Sen. Boquist has engaged in two other episodes of intimidation and threatening behavior in just the last six months. I understand that it takes two-thirds of the Senate to vote for censure or removal, and the Democrats assume the Republicans will continue to shield Boquist from responsibility. But that should not deter them from pursuing formal discipline. Who knows, maybe the Senate Republicans will do the right thing. And even if not, Oregonians have a right to know which senators will stand against reprehensible conduct and which will not; and which senators will stand up for law enforcement officers, and which will not.
This is not a Democrat-Republican, left-right, urban-rural issue — this is about Oregon values vs. a new level of dangerous and ugliness in Oregon politics. To excuse, rationalize, diminish, or ignore Boquist's conduct would be grossly disrespectful to Oregon State Police, and would debase the Senate even further than this latest episode of idiocy already has.
Corvallis (June 28)