Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio’s alleged “moderate” Republican senator,  has perfected the remarkable achievement of  the  ancient oracles.  As you  know, they often provided equivocal answers  that could be interpreted in whatever way that pleased you.

Portman often fashions  his inoffensive words with such confusion that no matter how he casts a nasty vote, they always have a feel-good soft landing for the unsuspecting voter.

He wants you to know that he was “disappointed’  that a certain bill did not turn out as he would have preferred even though he agreed with parts of it.

For example, on the gun reform bill in the Senate, he “explained” why he voted with the Republicans who killed it, telling the Plain Dealer:

“Initially, this was a supposed to be a place holder, replaced by a consensus bill or at least a bipartisan bill.  That didn’t happen.  For me, I was just very disappointed in the underlying bill and the fact that the Democrats did not move to a more consensus product that had bipartisan support.”

Go figure. Place holders and consensus products,whatever they might be,  when people are being  shot every day with guns?

And now, with a critical bill on the line  that would provide basic survival for people through an extension of jobless benefits, Portman, of course, voted against it.

But wait! He could explain his objection to an act of  economic mercy. He told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he hoped the killer vote would not be the end of the process, but “rather unfortunately just getting us off track temporarily.”  (After all, he did vote to bring the bill to the floor, didn’t he? )

His obfuscation gets better.  He said  that indeed he wants to do the “right thing”.

From the Enquirer:

“He said he hoped talks would continue ‘so we can get back to work determining how do we do the right thing…for those constituents we represent who are long-term unemployed, who are not getting the assistance that they’re  looking for and  they need through the current unemployment insurance program’.

How absolutely  benign of this fellow to extend the search for the “right thing” long  after the extended insurance has expired. But maybe you read into those same words that he was a genuinely nice guy.