Rep. Bill Post built his name locally as an entertaining, sometimes bombastic talk radio host who delighted in aggravating the left and affirming the right’s beliefs. These skills put him in a position to run for the Oregon Legislature, but it was in many ways his less prominent qualities that allowed him to be taken seriously as a potential lawmaker. Like many entertainers, his demeanor off the air was quite different—thoughtful, open-minded and willing to acknowledge hard truths even if they contrasted with party orthodoxy.
This ability to channel his inner class president helped allow Oregon’s at-least-superficially-genteel political establishment to overlook Post’s occasional clownish tendencies. As Keizer’s representative, he has had mixed success balancing these competing personalities. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be learning on the job, and may be backsliding, as his recent actions caused House Speaker Tina Kotek to remove him from the House Judiciary Committee as punishment. (Kotek also removed Rep. Mitch Greenlick, a fellow Democrat, from a powerful committee chair perch for his own less-than-civil comments.)
It is primarily Post’s social media presence that has caused him unwelcome headlines. There was his mocking of sexual assault victims, doxxing petition organizers, and more recently referring to a fellow lawmaker as “cray cray.” By comparison, the tweet that broke the camel’s back—a call for gun rights activists to show up at a rally encouraging tighter gun laws —wasn’t so bad, but was the latest in a pattern Post seems unable or unwilling to break.
Post may be earning retweets and atta-boys, but he’s not doing Keizer or District 25 any favors. Republican influence is at its nadir in Oregon due to the Democratic supermajority, but individual relationships still matter, as does the ability to be taken seriously. His credibility when advocating for his district is diminishing even as his seniority rises.
Like a young pitching prospect with a mean fastball, Post got to the big leagues of state politics with quick wit and a veteran broadcaster’s keen understanding of his audience. It’s past time to diversify his skill set. Unless his aspirations end at being a minority-party backbencher, we would all be well served if Post channeled his inner 1 Corinthians 13 and put away childish things—which in a modern edition might translate as “delete your account.”
And if all we ask of our elected leaders is entertainment, what right do we have to demand actual solutions for what ails us?