The short answer to the question in my title is…Ron Wyden is a hard-core liberal senator the hard-core liberals of Oregon first put into office in November, 1980. There’s nothing else to see here so move on. Well I’m just a persistent cuss who does want to look at Oregon a little longer. I want to see a few more details than just the conventional wisdom of political pundits.

The Ron Wyden some Portland Oregon hippies sent to Washington, DC in January 1981 is a different guy than the Ron Wyden running for re-election in 2010. Look at the photos below.

Ron Wyden then

Ron Wyden today

Hmmmm? Who else does that same pose?

So I have to ask myself if these hard-core liberal Oregonians are his political base. Are they really excited and enthusiastic about Ron Wyden? From lurking over at Fire Dog Lake and Huffpo to read some of the obscene comments, I am left with the impression that Ron Wyden is NOT their darling at all. For them he is just a typical compromised politician who betrays progressives. Ron Wyden is not even the same guy they last elected in 2004. In 2005 he married Nancy Bass, owner of New York’s famous Strand bookstore. With this marriage Ron has now cracked its “50 Wealthiest List,” with a net worth of at least $5.4 million. It appears to me that the political base for Ron Wyden is in Washington, DC with the establishment politicians in the US Senate club. Sen. Ron Wyden has built his reputation by splitting differences, nurturing compromise and working with Republicans. He did it with Gordon Smith and with Republican Sen. Robert Bennet on health care. He’s currently working with Republican Sen. Charles Grassley to stop senators from anonymously blocking legislation and Sen. Judd Gregg on major tax reform. This may be pleasing to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, but the voters don’t get excited about this bipartisan facade.

Digging a little deeper into who is financing Ron Wyden I discovered Oregon Voters’ Voice and this excerpt:

If Ron Wyden’s primary political backers are in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, then does he truly represent Oregonians? 
No, he does not! 
Ron Wyden cannot truly represent Oregonians if the majority of his financial support comes from wealthy donors outside of our State.
In 1994 Oregon Voters passed Ballot Measure 6, which banned the use of out-of-State donations by political candidates. Two Federal Judges decided that our law was unconstitutional and refused to uphold it. 
We have already told Ron Wyden that taking out-of-State money is against our laws, but he isn’t listening. 
If your money isn’t good enough for Ron Wyden, then he doesn’t deserve your vote either.

And finally I found a blog about how Ron Wyden tries to have his cake and eat it too with this little tidbit in the comments section

Carmen | September 12, 2010 at 8:53 am | Reply
Wyden’s current (millionaire, heiress) wife and current children live in New York. Home is where the heart is, so I believe New York has three senators and Oregon has one. 

Wyden is trumpeting that he voted against the bank bailout TWICE. Problem is that THIRD TIME when he was the deciding vote to pass it. 

One of Wyden’s top five campaign contributions ($20,000) came from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

The bottom line is that in a tidal wave election year, 2010, an incumbent like Ron Wyden can be defeated. The man that can defeat him is an Oregonian living in Portland. His name is Jim Huffman, and he looks you in the eye instead of looking down his nose at you. Oregonians who desire to have a US Senator representing Oregon have got to GOTV. When people meet Jim Huffman and watch him debate they will like what they see and hear.