Writings and observations

“How Congress would behave in a parallel universe”

With all the talk about Montana Senator Max Baucus leaving Congress at the end of this term, there’s talk in some quarters about his prospective replacement as chair of the Finance Committee: Ron Wyden of Oregon.

It’s a little remarkable, since the senator Wyden replaced – Republican Robert Packwood – also held the job, and waited longer for it than Wyden has. It made Packwood a major-clout senator, and would do the same for Wyden (considerably more than his current chair, significant as it is, at energy and natural resources).

What might that mean? There’s a fine Ezra Klein (Washington Post) blog entry from a year and half ago, newly re-posted, profiling Wyden, that gives some sense of that.

It keys off his account of a joke Wyden staffers periodically tell each other: “You got a problem? Ron Wyden has a comprehensive, bipartisan solution to fix it.”

Further down, Klein’s observation: “Wyden’s office is a small outpost where the natives imagine how Congress would behave in a parallel universe.”

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