Much has been written about “voter backlash” at the polls in Oregon and elsewhere. There’ll be some. But I believe those who say they’re so terribly mad at government should calm down, take many deep breaths and count to a very high number.

Aside from the “decisions-made-in anger-are-usually-bad-decisions” advice, there are some very serious political implications to blindly casting ballots of retribution against one party or the other that should be considered very, very carefully.

There’ll be a lot of new names on our ballots this year. We won’t recognize some. While there appears to be some very good, serious rabbits in the running, there are also some that could be more aptly described as March Hares. Voters will be more pressed than usual to cut the bad ones out of the herd to find those to take seriously.

It’s not likely Republicans will take over both houses of Congress. Maybe one. Maybe neither. They’ll make some gains. That’s fine. Winds of our democracy alternatively blow left and right which is why it works over the long haul. Whichever way it goes, the Northwest has some very big stakes.

One of our congressional hired hands is Mr. DeFazio. If asked, he’d be first to tell you I’m probably the least likely person to be his campaign manager. The least. But his situation precisely makes my point. We know his politics. His Republican opponent is Art Robinson whose distinctly conservative statements may match yours. Again, that’s fine. I’m not trying to pick a rabbit here; just illustrate a point.

It’s fair to say Robinson sees through a very, very conservative lens. Few in Congress have the same views and the election is not going to change that outlook to a majority. So the platform on which he would stand would be a minority regardless of party. Minority members are notoriously unsuccessful legislators in our system of longevity.

DeFazio, on the other hand, is now and likely will be, in the majority with 28 years seniority giving him access to prime committees. If he wants to shake the money tree for the O&C funding, for example, he stands high enough near the top of the ladder to shake the tree further up. Where the money is. If he wants to introduce legislation benefitting his neighborhood … that’s us … he’s got assistance where those decisions are made. Power of incumbency and majority. He’d have clout in a minority, too.

Again, I’m not advocating one hare over the other. You choose. For whatever reasons work for you. My thesis is electing someone to higher office this time around is more than a matter of name recognition or how you felt about his last speech. It’s more than whether you or I are unhappy with the day’s news. Selecting someone to office 2010 style … whether congressional, legislative or local … will require more than the usual casual approach to voting.

“Politics is the art of the possible.” That’s the truest political statement ever made. All of us have fine ideas about how this and that should be. Some of us may be right and some of us dead wrong. But to accomplish what we need now to get us out of our huge economic pit, we must face the reality that the problem is larger than any other source of possible rescue except government. The engine may be the private sector but the only fuel source large enough to keep that engine fired up right now is government.

We’re running up record deficits. We’re borrowing ahead. We may be sending bills to our kids. But what kind of world will those kids have if we don’t get it working now with whatever tools we need to do the job?

It’s not hard to make decisions in good times when lives are stable. But in today’s conditions, we need careful, more informed thought leading to more deliberate choices whether that means going without some things around the house or sending somebody into the political swamps to battle alligators. It’s hard choice time.

Northwest unemployment is very high. How to fix that alone … how to deal with just that … should weigh more heavily on our voting choices than blind party affiliation or someone’s idea of fringe political utopia.

It may mean swallowing hard and marking a ballot differently than we would in better economic times. Bitter medicine. But necessary.

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