Rep. Collin Peterson voted in favor of Obama's $3.5 trillion budget. This would not be noteworthy except that it contradicts the principles Peterson was elected on. His own Web site clearly states his opposition to deficit spending, "As a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats, my first priority is to make sure that any legislation that is passed out of Congress is within the budget ... and proceed with regular balanced budgets that include paying off the $9 trillion federal debt."
Not only does this budget not pay off any debt, it actually adds well over $1 trillion to the debt. Peterson's objection to the $800 billion stimulus was adamant, "Every dollar added to this bill will have to be borrowed from countries like China and Japan, because we don't have the money to pay for it ourselves. We will increase the national debt and send the bill to our children and grandchildren. This is what we've been doing for the last eight years and it's got to stop," he said in a statement dated Jan. 29.
Politicians are increasingly slippery, so it isn't Peterson's latest rejection of Midwest
principles that is surprising. What's confounding is that his Blue Dog stance was quite consistent as late as his "no" vote on the stimulus bill.
Yet after meeting with President Obama, just days before the budget vote, he turns tail and says he'll support it.
Maybe the president told him, "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother" as Obama admonished Rep. Peter DeFazio. Perhaps Rep. Peterson is no longer the independent voice for the 7th District he claims to be on his Web site. Perhaps Peterson now believes our kids should pay for the indiscretions of their parents. Perhaps his opposition was tempered by a Chicago-style offer Peterson could not refuse.
Perhaps Peterson should act in a way that reflects northwest Minnesota values: keep your word, pay your bills and stand up to bullies.