Wild and crazy can be fun.
But not in politics, not now, because there's too much extreme'ish freaking out going on in both Congress and state legislatures. So thank you, 2011 Oregon legislature, for showing that Republicans and Democrats can still work together productively to serve the public.
The Oregon Legislature wrapped up business Thursday, putting final touches on a no-frills budget and heaping praise on each other for what they called the most congenial, businesslike session in many years.
..."We have been blessedly boring all session," summed up Rep. Vicki Berger, R-Salem.
Yes, there were some partisan spats, especially over education policy. But the session was largely devoid of drawn-out meltdowns and bitter disputes, such as the one in 2009 that led to a narrow approval of income tax increases.
"We can feel pretty good about getting the people's business done in a workmanlike and statesmanlike way," Berger said, shortly before the gavels came down in both chambers at 2:49 p.m.
Amazingly, the legislature was able to pass reapportionment plans for both the state Senate/House and Congressional districts. The budget also was balanced without tax increases.
And some important steps were made toward education reform (though unfortunately Oregon's hugely wasteful corrections system was left mostly untouched). Public school advocates aren't happy about a bill encouraging online charter schools, but my progressive sense of outrage isn't much worked up about this.
Hey, that's how compromise works: you win some, you lose some. Right and left extremes get blurred into a fuzzier middle ground. Political purity gets shaken and stirred into a mixed legislative drink.
I can't resist, though, shouting out a Democratic-leaning "I told you so." I voted for John Kitzhaber last November largely because Republican Chris Dudley was untested. Also, excessively rigid.
Kitzhaber proved that he was able to get along with interest groups from all across the political spectrum. Even business lobbyists, one of whom called him "tremendously engaged." Dudley likely would have been a much worse performer as Governor.
In Minnesota state government functions essentially have shut down over a budget dispute between a Democratic governor and Republican legislature. Compared to other states in similar screaming-match situations, Oregon looks like one of the adults in an increasingly childish political room.
And summer has finally arrived! Forecast is for high 70's/low 80's and mostly sunny the next five days here in the Willamette Valley. Local life is good, for the moment at least, both politically and climatologically.