Sunday, November 4, 2012

Betty McCollum - Four reasons to reconsider before you mark that box

Wrong on the essential issues facing our nation

1) The Threat of Al Qaeda and Muslim Extremism
Security seems not to be one of the top three concerns for voter this year.  But unforeseen events (unforeseen by some at least) often reset those hot buttons.  Two years ago Representative McCollum told us that Al Qaeda was no longer a threat to the United States.

It was a wrong and dangerous answer then, and I believe current events in Benghazi and elsewhere have borne that out with resounding clarity.

And in fact that mistaken belief was directly addressed in a recent speech given at the 2012 BGA Annual Luncheon, where CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan said
"I knew we were being lied too, and I know the American people were being mislead".

Lara Logan's speech in its entirety.  It is a speech that demands being listened to
Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.
…“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”

In front of the Chicago audience, Logan contended that the terrorist presence in Afghanistan is continually understated. She scoffed at the numbers routinely used by many in the government and think-tank communities to describe the Taliban’s presence in country.
At the start, she lauded her 60 Minutes boss, executive producer Jeff Fager, for providing the admonition that she seek the facts on the story and let them lead her to a conclusion, rather than go out to prove a preordained thesis.
Hmmm, preordained thesis, the media sets the agenda rather than letting the facts set the story.  Oh well that's for another story.  Maybe CBS did learn something after Dan Rather.

2) Extreme on partisanship
Partisanship can be expressed in many ways.  It is does not require an unpleasant attitude, or screams and shouts. It can be simply a softly immovable demand to hold the party line (she is Nancy's chosen house whip), carrying the party water, and never considering options presented by non-supporter of that party line.  If you listen to the presentations from Representative McCollum you will hear the constant refrain of that party line.  The Obama slogan of "Forward" and "Not going back to those failed policies".

She, like Obama, does not refer to the last four years under the mantle of Obama, but to those prior years before Obama took office.  That flies in the face of studies at the Fed: Doing the math: Obama recovery still the worst in decades
In fact, an October 2011 paper by the Atlanta Fed concluded that “U.S. history provides no support for linking low employment and high unemployment in the current recovery with the financial crisis of 2007—2008.” 
But playing the blame game is number one in the current game plan.

If your hot issue this election is "working together to get things done", and it is for many many Minnesotans, then I suggest voting for Tony Hernandez.  Rep Betty McCollum may simply not want to work together with Republicans as shown in her depiction of "Tea Party Republicans who want to destroy our economy".  Regardless of whether you also believe that to be true, does it bode well for an ability to work with Republicans to "get things done", beyond limiting Military Bands?

3) Economy
Remember the housing crisis, and Freddie and Fannie leading the charge into the failed loans?
When the Bush Administration was working to get some oversight and control of the problems in 2004-2005, Betty McCollum signed on to a letter, June 28, 2004 telling President Bush
We have been concerned that the Administration’s legislative proposal regarding the GSEs would weaken affordable housing performance by the GSEs, by emphasizing only safety and soundness. While the GSEs’ affordable housing mission is not in any way incompatible with their safety and soundness, an exclusive focus on safety and soundness is likely to come, in practice, at the expense of affordable housing.
Or Betty McCollum's view of how to manage a budget, its just a piece of paper, its the appropriations (spending, that which we all know we are doing to much of) that counts.

Whether it's rejecting "too big to fail" or getting our debt in control, Betty McCollum has had 12 years in Congress to work on it.  Having debt go up nearly triple (2.86 times), and unemployment double, the track record during Betty McCollum's tenure, combined with her attitude toward the budget, tells us she  has not been an effective voice for economic recovery.  See the State Fair debate for reasons why Tony Hernandez would provide better leadership on the avalanche of economic issues heading towards us with the impending fiscal cliff.

4) Environmental Extremism
When asked by The MN Daily U of M
"Can the U.S. achieve energy independence? If so, what steps do we need to take for that to happen and how long do you think it will take?"

Betty McCollum responded with:

But clearly the U.S. must reduce its dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels in general by greater domestic production of energy that is clean and abundant — wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric power and bio-fuels.

Tony Hernandez

Also alternative energy — I believe we have to advance our research and development on the university system level to explore alternative energy methods and also to find ways that they can be marketable and successful.

As someone who does work in research and development (though not in this field), I have great interest in development of "alternative" energy systems (I have for 35 years).  However as most any scientist will tell you, and the recent spate of market failures has demonstrated, we are nowhere near a point of simply turning them on and replacing all or even a large portion of our energy needs.  They may become important sources with research and development (and there are a lot of exciting possibilites out there).  But simply rushing to production with them has resulted in enormous losses for the tax payer and the economy, and ultimately could setback the advancement of alternatives badly.  Abundant is something (even though we are called the Saudi Arabia of air) that  will take significant developments that have not yet occurred, to exploit.  Not understanding that is a severe impediment to make good decisions.

This is another case where if you are looking for the candidate who will be most effective, you should look at Tony Hernandez.

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