Mark Pocan has shown, despite his largely liberal views, a capacity to work on bipartisan issues. He told the Wisconsin State Journal, “I can still throw a grenade if I have to, but I throw them more sparingly now.”
That’s the kind of statesmanship the nation needs when the national budget is in dire need of reform and essential programs are at risk of being cut. Rep. Pocan, D-Madison, needs to carry his liberal, Madisonian roots into what is now a largely conservative Congress.
But Pocan needs to push for the innovative solutions to budgetary problems he ran his campaign on. He understands the need and benefit for green jobs and infrastructure and can bring them into effect if he couches them as bipartisan issues. Pocan has largely stayed clear of fracking, which is a no-go issue for liberals, and throughout his debates, he has framed the energy debate in terms of boosting jobs within Wisconsin.
The same can be said for his views on Obamacare. Medicare and Medicaid are under constant threat from conservative budget hawks, and Pocan needs to remain adamant on keeping prescriptions affordable for Wisconsin and protecting them from big pharmaceutical interests.
Pocan’s progressive values cut through the super PACs that run amok in Washington, D.C., and he has time and time again attacked the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative nonprofit that has fueled a number of hyper-conservative attacks on labor across the country. If Pocan carries his anti-ALEC knowledge to Congress, he can call out Republican candidates on the legally questionable behavior they engage in with the organization. But if Pocan uses his ALEC infiltration to a knowledgeable extent, he won’t come out swinging.
Pocan has the unique advantage of his bipartisan tendencies. Congress is short on representatives willing to reach across the aisle instead of radicalizing to the point of no return. If his time in the Wisconsin state Assembly has shown anything, it’s that Pocan has the propensity to bring meaningful change representing Wisconsin while remaining true to his progressive roots; he will throw a grenade if he has to.