If Knute Buehler is elected, Oregon would have a Governor prone to misdiagnosing problems and offering solutions that won’t work.
Dr. Knute Buehler claims to be a problem-solver. But, doctors have been known to exaggerate the need for their services. When we look at his record, we find he has a habit of misdiagnosing problems and offering solutions that won’t work.
Knute’s diagnosis of the Medicaid expansion passed last year by Oregon’s legislature prompted him to ask Julie Parrish to circulate petitions seeking the consultation of Oregon voters on this issue. The “consultation fee” for putting Measure 101 on the ballot cost Oregon $3 million. With so many “red” states now voting for Medicaid expansion, it seems the only benefit Knute sought in having Measure 101 voted down was to create more financial problems for his opponent to deal with.
In his debate with Governor Brown, Knute said he would add clarity where there was confusion. Then he went on to explain why he voted against Oregon’s Transportation Budget. He said it didn’t allocate enough money to deal with the problem, and he objected to charging drivers tolls to pay for the completion of a bridge they would be using. Meanwhile, he says he would solve this problem without raising or passing new taxes. Why does this confuse me?
Though he cites suicide as a major problem in this state, Knute voted against a bill authorizing the court to prohibit suicidal individuals from owning guns,” because it denied these people their day in court. When it comes to gun safety, Knute prefers using the “bully pulpit.” In a televised debate, when answering children’s questions about how he would deal with teen suicide, he referred to his wife’s efforts to bring “Lines for Life” east of the Cascades. The fact is Patricia Buehler only joined the board in 2016, and services have yet to be set up in Bend. When I spoke to the person in charge of the statewide “youth line,” she said “Lines for Life” would benefit from support provided by the infrastructure Governor Brown has been trying to put in place—efforts Knute characterizes as “political theater,” lacking any substance.
How does Knute propose to deal with what he calls “Oregon’s greatest crisis,” our low-performing schools? He would redirect funds away from those “entrenched special interests” supporting Governor Brown—the union that represents teachers working in the trenches to improve student outcomes. As if he were performing knee-replacement surgery, Dr. Buehler would replace the dysfunctional PERS system, which pays teacher retirement benefits, with a 401K, tying everyone’s future to the success of the stock market. This is not unlike the cure Republicans offered for our nation’s Social Security system before the crash of 2007.
But, according to nationwide study conducted by TeacherPension.org, dedicated to “fixing an unfair and insecure system,” these problems are nationwide, caused by states being unwilling to adequately fund education. Surprisingly, most state teacher retirement systems are more in debt than ours. With all problems taken into account, Oregon has the second highest rating in the nation! Still, Buehler’s criticisms of PERS ring in my ears like a faulty car muffler. Just as I would be making a mistake to get rid of my car, Oregon would be making a mistake to let Dr. Buehler operate on PERS.
So, how would Knute raise student performance without raising taxes? In The Bulletin, he proposes “bringing a four-year university to Central Oregon.” Since Phil Knight, who has donated $2.5 million to Buehler’s campaign, is rebranding his company with team uniforms for colleges sporting the Nike logo, maybe Knute could cut a deal. Would that just do it?
If you find the stances taken by this independent Republican to be mysterious, they’re really not. Just follow the loot and you’ll find Knute. The only thing that qualifies Buehler to run for governor is, as an orthopedic surgeon, he has plenty of practice pulling people’s legs to make money.