Jonathan Riskind commentary: Art of compromise gets a workout

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Jonathan Riskind commentary: Art of compromise gets a workout

The Columbus Dispatch – Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is a firebrand progressive still relatively new to the U.S. Senate after his 2006 victory elevated him from a House member.

Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich is a fiscal hawk and occasional party maverick about to retire from the Senate next year at the end of his second term.

But both of Ohio's senators enjoyed success last week in advancing their political agendas.

As so often happens in Washington, achieving that success meant exercising some pragmatism, willingness to compromise and even some modesty — none of that easy for any member of the world's most exclusive club.

Brown has been a leading Senate proponent of including the strongest possible "public option," government-run insurance plan as part of the Democrats' health-care reform bill.

Brown's public-option passion has been chronicled in The Dispatch and other Ohio papers, but he has won national prominence on the issue, too.

On Nov. 16, Brown was highlighted in a New York Times story about liberal senators who met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to demand a strong public option be kept in the health-care bill. Brown made it clear that he wasn't happy with the decision to let states opt out of a federal public-option plan and wasn't willing to sign off on more compromises.

"We figure on the public option there has been enough compromise already," Brown told the Times.

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