Oregon’s Options

Tonya Harding's questionable legacy lives on

By Kasey Cordell May 19, 2009 Published in the June 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

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Poor Tonya Harding. First she was a lauded local superstar. Then a fallen hero and a punch line for bad jokes. In Portland this spring, she was even the subject of a musical. And now her name has been co-opted by the murky political world as a type of strategic maneuvering: “The Tonya Harding Option.”

In March, ABC’s senior news correspondent Jake Tapper reported on the newly minted term, which he’d heard a Democratic Party official use to describe Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Barack Obama. “It implies that Clinton is so set on ensuring that Obama doesn’t get the nomination, not only is she willing to take extra ruthless steps, but in the end neither she nor Obama win [sic] the gold,” Tapper wrote in his blog, “Political Punch,” on March 25. And, continues Tapper, in this case, John McCain is Oksana Baiul.

But why pick just on Tonya? There are plenty of other Oregonians who’d make for perfectly fine political fodder. To that end, we offer these other “options”—terms that might come in handy as Oregonians ready themselves for this summer’s political season.

THE D.B. COOPER OPTION Collect $200,000 in public funds to run your campaign, then skip town on a Boeing 727, never to be heard from again. If you get caught, this becomes the Emilie Boyles Option.

THE THOMAS BEATIE OPTION Begin your political career as a Republican, then change into a Democrat. Once elected as a Democrat, give birth to legislation that removes gun control, provides tax breaks for the rich, and eliminates environmental standards for power plants.

THE RAJNEESH OPTION Gather 7,000 of your closest friends and a few reams of orange fabric; then set up camp in a town so small, you can take over the city council. Oh, wait…

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