The decision in the U.S. Senate race in Oregon is as close to a no-brainer as it can get. Ron Wyden has given us 14 years of distinguished service in the Senate, and his opponent, Jim Huffman, has given us no reason that he should replace him.
Wyden's campaign slogan says he's "Different. Like Oregon." While he's not a wild-eyed maverick by any means, Wyden has been willing to buck the Washington majority, and his own party, when conscience and common sense said he should. He voted against the foolish and unnecessary invasion of Iraq and against both Wall Street bailout bills - the first one proposed by President Bush in 2008 and the second one backed by President Obama.
Described by Huffington Post blogger Sam Stein as "one of the most innovative voices in the health care debate," Wyden offered his own, stronger alternative to the Obama administration's mingy health care "reform" bill. While he failed to get his own bill passed, he did manage to get Congress to include a provision allowing states to adopt their own reform packages, and is pushing for Oregon to create one.
Wyden has been a consistent defender of women's reproductive rights, a champion of clean and renewable energy development, and an opponent of oil industry efforts to drill in environmentally sensitive areas like the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and the Oregon coast.
Jim Huffman, Wyden's Republican rival, takes his positions on the issues straight out of the Tea Party playbook. His "solutions" to the current economic mess are "permanent extension" of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, creation of a "flatter tax system" (i.e., the rich pay less and everybody else pays more) and more deregulation of business - in other words, more of the same idiocy that created this debacle in the first place. On health care, he wants to repeal the Obama plan, but offers no effective alternative to it.
Small wonder that even in this season of anti-incumbent fever, Wyden is ahead by more than 15 points in the most recent polls. We support Wyden for Senate - there's no other rational choice.