If Congress can be depicted as a hell-hole, the Oregon legislature might fairly be described as a friendly campground. And two of the campers have posted their homegrown video.
Reps. Bill Post, R-Salem, and Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, sit on opposite sides of the political aisle, but in their video they sit side by side in comfy chairs. Their YouTube video starts off by discussing how to pronounce Philomath, a timber town in Rayfield’s district.
Post and Rayfield don’t share much in terms of political ideology, but on video they look like best of friends. And they might be.
The shrill partisanship that seems to consume Washington, DC is largely absent in Salem. There are strong disagreements, political ploys and occasional obstruction, but mostly there is respectful comity. Friendships transcend politics. That’s the point Post and Rayfield make in their video. The general public thinks Republicans and Democrats are waging wars in the hallways, when instead they trade jokes on the stairs and look for common ground in committee rooms.
For people familiar with the Oregon political scene, this is not new. But it is news that the tradition has by and large continued.
When former Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, revealed his diagnosis of ALS, the legislative colleague who took the new the hardest was Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem. Representing neighboring House districts, Gilliam and Clem became good friends, with friendships that extended beyond the Capitol grounds. Clem has pledged to pitch in to help Gilliam as his physical condition ineluctability deteriorates.
The Post-Rayfield bromance video is intended to give a “behind-the-scenes” look at the 2017 legislative session. For example, they trade thoughts on how to deal with legislation suggested by constituents, even if it seems creepy. Post wondered what to do if the bill represented an opposing political philosophy. Rayfield said he tries to provide counsel to constituents on how to lobby their own bill or find an alternative solution.
If you watch the entire video, you come away with some additional knowledge about camellias and marijuana, but mostly with a sense that bipartisanship continues to thrive in the Oregon legislature.
In terms of snappy entertainment, the Post-Rayfield video lacks the punch of tweets by President Trump or press briefings by Sean Spicer. But it is a reassuring affirmation that the world has not gone totally mad, which makes the video very entertaining, even without Snapchat filters.
Future videocasts promise more Capitol history, including a dissertation by Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, on the origin of Hawaiian Shirt Friday. We can hardly wait.