Sen. Ron Wyden mailings seem frantic

By Dave Lister
Guest Columnist Oregonlive

Ron Wyden exhibited his usual adeptness as he fielded questions from the crowd. About 40 employees of a struggling light-manufacturing company had gathered in their cafeteria to express their concerns about the economy, pose questions about why certain companies had enjoyed federal bailouts while theirs had not, and ask for help. Wyden side-stepped the hard questions, offered platitudes on the soft questions and assured the workers that keeping him in Washington, D.C., was in their best interests. After the compulsory hand-shaking that preceded his departure, the dismayed crowd realized that they’d been offered nothing substantive to address their concerns.

That was in 1984. I was there. The location was Milwaukie. The failing company was Phillips Drill, a subsidiary of Oregon Saw Chain. The company that had enjoyed the bailout was Harley Davidson. Ron Wyden was then an Oregon congressman, seeking his third term in the House of Representatives.
My recollection of that long-ago gathering was spurred by a desperate plea for financial support from the Wyden for Senate campaign that showed up in my mailbox the other day. At first I thought it a little surprising that the piece would show up at the house of a registered Republican. But then I remembered that law professor Jim Huffman, Wyden’s likely Republican rival in the general election, had told me that most of the deep-pocketed Oregon Republicans had already been contacted by the Wyden camp and been advised that, if they weren’t willing to donate to Wyden, they should at least keep their checkbooks closed.

Wyden has been in Congress for 30 years. His prelude to elective office was the founding of the Oregon Gray Panthers, an advocacy group for senior citizens. That early career move was politically brilliant. As a group, seniors turn out to vote in greater proportion than any other.

Wyden’s campaign mailer, which sports a photo of the senator in blue jeans and an open-neck collar, states that “deep-pocketed, right-wing ideologues are working overtime to defeat me.” What’s interesting about that claim is that Huffman has raised just one-tenth of what Wyden’s camp has collected so far, $3.7 million. The piece also states that “far-right Republicans are pouring out-of-state money into Oregon and lining up a candidate against me.” If I were into texting, which I’m not, that would be cause for a LOL. Two-thirds of the money raised by the Wyden campaign has come from out-of-state sources, with over half a million coming from New York and a quarter-million from Washington, D.C. I’d call that an outpouring of out-of-state money, wouldn’t you?

While Wyden’s letter urges immediate action to “keep us from going back to the disastrous policies of the Bush/Cheney years,” an included glossy insert praises the senator for “reaching across the aisle” to Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to introduce tax legislation and for fighting the Wall Street bailouts. Republicans have been working for a simplified tax code for years, and only six voted to release the second round of bailout funding.

As far as the blame Bush/Cheney mantra is concerned, that’s getting a little old. The Democrats took control of the House and Senate in 2007. Democrats have controlled Congress for three years. Democrats controlled Congress when gas prices broke through $4 a gallon, and Democrats controlled Congress during the financial collapse. When will this Congress own up to its own mistakes? Will Democrats continue to blame Bush forever?

I will say one thing, though. Wyden still looks pretty good in blue jeans. I just didn’t know they sold them on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.

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Posted by at 11:24 | Posted in Measure 37 | 17 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steve Plunk

    Democrats will continue to blame Bush, it’s all they have. The socialist model being pushed by the Dems runs against the grain of American sentiment. It’s foolish to try and govern in such a manner. Free markets and small government made this country great and is the direction we should be headed, not toward the failed model of socialist Europe.

    Wyden needs to go as he is nothing but a cog in the Dem machine. A reliable vote for more regulation, higher taxes, and public sector largess.

    • a retired professor

      Dream on, Steve. Looks like a Dem sweep in Oregon this year again. (Except for the reliable Walden seat.) Only Dudley has polled well, and he seems to be slipping. Not surprising, given how he sounds when he talks, like a low-grade simpleton (which he isn’t, but that’s how he sounds).

      Don’t count on a big Republican national victory, either. Looks like it will be pretty even in Congress after November. Maybe enough to block Obama, but not enough to undo Obamacare. Not enough to keep taxes from rising, to cut back entitlements. Eliminate social security and medicare (which is what it would really take to have “small government” again)? Forget it!

      How are things there in Medford? Are they listening to ya at the school board meetings? Are they gettin’ ready to take on the unions? Are they going to annex the Rogue River? I was hiking down there recently, will miss it. (Just kidding on that one!)

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The Democrats have gotten everything they have wanted enacted. Their only complaint could be that things took longer than they thought, thus less of the total overall package has been enacted. However by and large there is no argument that they have run the country, they have gotten their way and it has largely been both against the will of the people (BO care) and against sound economic principles (the deficit).

    Ron Wyden can bemoan powerful right wing forces all he wants but the fact is the Democrats are in the trouble they are through no ones fault but their own.

    The public was against them and Republicans tried to stop them. Economists and anyone with sense yelled at them that increasing taxes in the middle of the recession was the wrong way to go – Aprils tax receipt numbers prove it.

    Sen, Wyden – You will probably be re-elected and we all know it. But please, don’t blame any nefarious right wing forces for your difficulties. Your own policies are indictment enough.

  • Bob Clark

    Wyden isn’t especially effectively for grey hairs like me anymore. He worked several years on health care reform, only to be runover by Obama Care bearing little resemblence to his proposal. Obama Care’s unspoken goal is to cut the federal government’s unfunded Medicare and Medicaid obligations to baby boomers, and it is going to do this in at least two ways: Longer waiting times and a panel deciding what procedures are “uneconomical.” Then there is your friendly death panel folks combined with Wyden’s Doctor Assisted Suicide support.

    Lately, Wyden’s promoted work on tax simplification. Yet you see some headlines recently he is seeking a special reduction in taxes for home brewers. Simplication and special exceptions taken together seem rather oxymoronic.

    Time to make Wyden a house husband in a New York penthouse. Jerry Seinfield wears blue jeans, too.

    • Scottiebill

      And now Wyden, along with his sock-puppet, Jeff Merkeley, has now come out pushing for a permanent moratorium on any off-shore drilling anywhere on the West Coast, because of the oil spill off Louisiana. That is about as sensible as declaring that all automobiles should be banned because of one fatal accident anywhere in the country. If the voters in Oregon have any common sense at all, they will dump Wyden in November.

      I continue to notice that Jeff Merekeley is more and more to Wyden like Igor is to Dr. Frankenstein. Whatever Wyden says, Merkeley says, “Yes Master.” If Wyden were to ever turn around suddenly, Merkeley wuld get his neck broken.

      • a retired professor

        Beam me on up, Scottie!

        Yes, Wyden would be real smart to campaign for oil drilling on the Pacific Coast, the Oregon Coast, Oregonians would love it. His campaign should hire you as a consultant!

  • Jack

    Wyden can be defeated

    • Rob DeHarpport

      Yes he can be beaten. As a senior member of the Senate who sits on some very powerful committees including; Senate Special Committee on Aging – 2
      Senate Committee on the Budget – 3
      Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – 3
      Subcommittee on Energy – 3
      Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests – Chair
      Senate Committee on Finance – 7
      Subcommittee on Health Care – 5
      Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth – 4
      Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness – Chair
      Senate Select Committee on Intelligence After reviewing the Committees and subcommittees he influences, ask yourself one question…Is Senator Wyden part of the probl;em or is he part of the solution. I believe he is part of the problem.

  • K L Adams

    How many nights has Ron Wyden spent in New York vs. Oregon in the past two year? Is he still an Oregonian in reality? Just would like to know.

  • cecil

    It is long past time for Wyden to go. He is Senatorial deadwood. He could not even pass his bar exam and after three tries he gave up. The man is a BS artist whose incumbancy is the only thing that has sustained him in office. GOGOGOGO RETIRE!!!!!!!!!! Face it Ron, you have done ZILCH for ORegon except to accumulate a fat retirement.

  • Ron Marquez

    Steve, Rupert, and Bob have laid out all the reasons Ron Wyden and his fellow Dems should be returned to private life. I, for one, will be casting the votes to make it happen.

    • an onymouse

      *I, for one, will be casting the votes to make it happen.*

      You’re planning to vote more than once? Talk about voter fraud!

  • Harry

    Good piece Dave. I agree that Wyden, D-NY needs to stay in Manhattan where he lives, and stop vacationing for votes in Oregon.

    Hey, is UofO on another SpringBreak, or did the idiot UofO student, UofO Prof, and retired UofO Prof all get their free University Internet service disconnected?

    Dave, you lucked out… the usual lefty trolls are on holiday the last couple of days.

    • a retired professor

      Gratifying to know you missed me, Harry. You know, I don’t usually post from UO (when I do, I post from non-academic ports that are open to anyone in the public). Did you know that internet sites, including wireless are pretty widespread?

      Lefty troll? Is that anyone who doesn’t drink the kool-aid here full time? I guess being an ex-Republican makes me some kind of commie or something?

  • Criminal

    Dump the liberal hair lip!

  • a retired professor

    For someone who’s supposed to be such a loser, Wyden has done pretty well in politics!

    He’s wearing blue jeans? Where he did he get them, you ask, Fifth Avenue? Sounds a lot like Huffman. His original photos had him in his law professor bowtie. Looks like Bozo! Later, he adopted the Oregon look — bluejeans, outdoorsy guy shirt. Doesn’t look bad! But I’ll bet he didn’t look like that all those years as Law School dean.

    It looks like another good year in Oregon for the Dems. The only one who looks to have a chance now is Dudley (and see articles about how he’s slipping in the primary polls).

    In my congressional district, there are two far-right Repubs running against DeFazio. He is going to slaughter whoever wins the primary!

    How do the Republicans manage to come up with these freaks?

  • Reper

    For goodness sakes, if your a politician don’t send mail to Dave Lister. Lest you want it scrutinized like a curmudgeon and spread over the planet.

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