This is another of the articles recommended to me by RichardH. The Last Bipartisan by Bill Keller about Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon.
I once asked a Wyden aide whether the senator ever showed signs of despair at the increasingly toxic climate. “You know,” the aide replied, “I’ve been trying to figure the guy out for about six years now and I honestly think that while the stuff that goes on here makes the rest of us tired, angry and cynical, it just makes him that much more determined to find a way to fix it. Seriously, after taking a three-year beating trying to push bipartisan health reform, he walks into my office and says, ‘Great, now we’re going to do bipartisan tax reform.’ I admire the hell out of him for it, but sometimes I want to throw things at him.”
As a resident of Oregon from 1994 to 2006, I voted for Ron Wyden a number of times. So I have been trying to figure him out for more than just 6 years. As his aide says, “but sometimes I want to throw things at him.”
Ron Wyden wants to win some minor battles while slowly giving up enough territory to lose the war. It didn’t take President Obama quite as long to figure out (I think he might have figured it out), that giving an inch to the opposition is a losing strategy. It is not even a winning tactic anymore.
For Ron Wyden to come up with a bill that he and Paul Ryan could agree on required Wyden to accept the false Ryan premise that the problem is in the level of social benefits and not in the tax and regulation give-aways to the wealthy. If you start with the wrong premise, you will inevitably lose the war.