Sunday, February 12, 2006

Jim Hill

Jim Hill was in studio for an hour on my show today. Nice enough guy, but I was less than impressed.

His calculation seems to be very simple: I get union money instead of Ted, and it makes me competitive. He may be right. The way he was talking, the unions might well throw their considerable funds behind him.

To say he is a status quo guy is to understate the fact by quite a distance. He thinks PERS has been solved, and he couldn't name any government function that he would do away with.

He's a government guy, plain and simple. He said right out front that the government doesn't have enough money. The only difference between his and some other more purely socialist mindset is that Hill realizes that only a strong economy can generate more dollars for government programs, so he wants to grow the economy.

He doesn't however, have any real understanding of how to do so. He spoke of international trade being key, but said nothing about tax structure, land use regs, transportation, or anything else that might release private sector energy in the form of capital formation.

His answers were ponderously unfocused, filled with tangential pathways, and almost entirely lacking specificity.

He got angry with me right off the bat when I challenged him on PERS. It was really quite funny. He said "The problem has been solved." I wrote the statement down right then, and challenged him, saying "You're sitting there telling me the problem is solved when schools are paying 23% of payroll into PERS?"

He then said "Don't insult me. I didn't say the problem was solved." I asked "You did just that. And how does it insult you to read your words back to you?"

It was interesting how unprepared he seemed for this kind of pushback. This guy has won statewide campaigns, and ran for governor before, yet he seemed really astounded that I would take him on directly by challenging his answers. And he didn't handle it well - he got mad. Not good on the radio - especially when you're arguing with a guy like me who actually likes that kind of conflict.

None of this matters, however. He is going to shill for the unions, and if he gets their $$ he'll have the resources to mount a credible campaign. With the widespread disenchantment with Kulongoski, he could get the nomination.

I'm supporting Saxton. I can only hope like hell that Hill beats Kulongoski in the primary, because Saxton would walk all over Hill in the general.

All in all, Hill is a government guy. His world view is "government is good." He may not have noticed, but that view is a little out of tune with the times.


Jack Bog said...

Hill doesn't have a prayer.

Kulongoldschmidt vs. Neil Saxton -- that's our future? Zzzzzzzz. Either way, an aerial tram ride deeper into mediocrity. More of your state tax dollars flowing into deep pockets at the Arlington Club.

We'd be better off with Mannix or Atkinson. At least they might shake things up enough to wake us up out of our stupor.

Rob Kremer said...

I think you miscalculate how serious Saxton is about shaking things up.

Kari Chisholm said...

Question -- if Oregon already has the 41st lowest tax burden, how come we don't have the 9th best economy?

Will lowering taxes further improve the economy (or, as you called it "release private sector energy in the form of capital formation") ?

Rob Kremer said...

41st lowest tax burden, if you narrowly construe taxes. Fees are high here, as evidenced by the fact we rank high in per-capita gov. expenditures.

Overall burden is high, not low, which is consistent with a sluggish economy.

Jim Evans said...

Yes, specifics were few even when Jim Hill was asked point blank to give specifics. But as you say, Rob, when you are a status quo candidate there is only so much one can say that will not offend public empoyee unions. I'm not sure why he is running after hearing the interview.
By the way, old Jack doesn't seem to have high hopes. I think he is a Democrat, no wonder he seems so disillusioned. I believe Saxton is truly hungry to lead and has the energy and skill, plus the agenda: limited government, new agency heads(let the heads roll, break up the group think and flush the toilet.), and correct priorities like transportation.

steve schopp said...

"""His answers were ponderously unfocused, filled with tangential pathways, and almost entirely lacking specificity""""

Sounds like Steve Clark coudl be his campaign manager.

Editorial: Area livability is tied to economy

Anonymous said...

Rob - I couldn't agree more. I heard about 20 minutes of your interview with him and in that time he didn't say ONE THING of substance. But I did hear him say, probably 3-4 times, that we have to stop bashing public employees. That tells you right there which side his bread is buttered on... And when you asked what gov't functions could be eliminated or privatized, and gave the OLCC as an example, he had NOTHING intelligent to say. Only something along the lines of "well, if someone brings me an idea that could result in more efficiency/savings, then I'll look at it." Wow. Now THAT'S leadership. In the words of Bill the Cat, "Ack."
Thanks, great interview.

Anonymous said...

On PERS and unions you must take the perspective of Tier-Three (and future Tier-Four) into perspective.

They have liberty interests that are denied not by the OEA but the legislature's unlawful creation of classes of citizens.

There is a logical incompatibility of arguing from the local level that PERS is a state matter and from the state level that benefits and bargaining are purely local.

Tony said...


That was a great interview. Jim Hill sounded like it was his first day in politics, speaking in sweeping generalities.

Then you nailed him with his own words and he got not only offended, but really emotional. It reminded me of Atkinson's interview with Lars a week earlier - really emotional and not able to handle confrontation.

As for Saxton, well, you know my point of view. He isn't going to shake up anything. Well maybe. Depends on what day you ask him. He is a flipflopper and I think you are trusting someone's words over their past actions and statements, which should speak much louder than words.

But I digress.

Jim Hill embarassed himself on your show, and enshrined himself in the annals of Oregon also-rans.

Great job

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