Oregon voters, except those in Multnomah County where Portland sits, can be bought. Not something to be proud of, but at least it took $12 million to do it. No cheap you-know-whats here. As reported in The Oregonian, the tobacco industry spent that and more. The industry's strategy was to convince voters that using a constitutional amendment to add an 85-cent tax to a pack of smokes was like putting a butt out on a Founding Father's forehead. Shocking, mean-spirited, just plain wrong. The anti-Measure 50 commercials were very good – simple rhetoric that made the viewer feel smarter, more measured. The other side, those who wanted to tie the tax to health care for Oregon's underinsured kids, failed to argue effectively that amending the constitution is neither wrong nor unusual. (Oregon voters have taxed cigs before, so that makes the defeat all the more dramatic.) So Measure 50 went down on a 3-2 vote, with the campaign spending ratio telling a more precise story. Tobacco's $11.8 mill vs tax supporters' $3.4 million. That's being outspent 4 to 1. The proposed health care plan was far from perfect. Questions about projected revenue from this proposed tax were valid and worrisome. But in the end, little of the discussion was about the issue of keeping children well. Too bad the whole $15 million (and countless volunteer hours) couldn't be redirected. That would be a good thing for the worried Oregon parent who, right now, is weighing the wisdom of taking her sick kid to the emergency room again, or waiting to see if he gets a little better on his own.