“Values” voters, take notice: the Democrats are displaying a lot more charity toward their vanquished foes than the Republicans exhibited during their days in power.
So if you value Christian compassion (or Buddhist, Jewish, whatever) and adherence to the Golden Rule—do to others what you would have them do to you—the Dems deserve your support.
Today the Salem Statesman Journal had a front page story about State Rep. Jeff Merkley of Portland. He’s slated to be the next speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, blessedly replacing the Evil Queen, Karen Minnis.
When the Republicans had the majority in the House, Minnis ruled dictatorially. She bottled up legislation that she didn’t like, even if a bill would have passed if it’d been allowed to come up for a vote. She denied Democrats their fair proportional share of seats on important committees.
In short, she acted like a jerk. Along with the Evil Queen’s consort, then-majority leader Rep. Wayne Scott (he now is minority leader, proving that the tone deaf Republicans aren’t clearly hearing what voters sang at election time, “Clean up your act!”).
According to the Statesman Journal, Merkley is passing up the chance to do unto the Republicans what they did to the Democrats last session. Instead, he’s proposing to treat them the way they should have treated him and the other members of the minority party.
Jeff Merkley, the choice of the incoming Democratic majority to be House speaker, said he wants to consider House rules changes to ensure fairness to members and access by the public.
Ah, music to the ears: fairness, a virtue foresworn by Minnis and Scott. Merkley is planning to…
--assign members to committees according to their party’s share of the chamber
--guarantee that a bill will be debated if a majority of representatives want it
--guarantee a public hearing and a work session to a bill if it has two lead sponsors from each party
--return the selection of the chief clerk, who also is the House parliamentarian, to a vote of the entire House (under Queen Minnis, she appointed the clerk)
--have committees give 72-hour notice for public testimony on bills, up from 48-hours.
Part of me wishes that the House Republicans would have to suffer under the same absurd rules that the Democrats had to put up with last legislative session. But this revengeful side isn’t the best part of me.
Rep. Merkley, like his Congressional counterpart, Nancy Pelosi, is doing the right thing. He’s putting the broad interests of the public ahead of narrow political concerns. That’s what the voters said they wanted—an end to Republican corruption, cowtowing to special interests, never-ending political gamesmanship.
We’ll see how it plays in Oregon. I’m betting, just fine.