|Since Betty McCollum Won't Answer This Question, I Will|
|Written by Douglas Bass|
|Monday, 04 October 2010 23:27|
Betty McCollum was asked a question by a constituent at the so-called "DFL Town Hall Rally" on September 13. I'm not reproducing it exactly, but it was something like this: the national debt was thus-and-such [$5.67 trillion] when you were first elected to Congress in 2000, and now it's $13.56 trillion. How much of the increase in the national debt do you attribute to your Congressional votes?"
I'm not reproducing Betty's answer exactly, but I did take notes. She said that at the end of the Clinton administration, we were looking at trillion dollar surpluses as far as the eye could see. She voted against the Bush tax cuts. When 9/11 came, she voted for military action in Afghanistan, but she voted for paying for it. She said she knew there were no WMD's in Iraq, she voted against the Iraq war multiple times, and the massive amounts of money spent on it. She said that there was a Republican administration for eight of those ten years. In short, she was proud of the votes she cast, and wasn't going to apologize to anyone about her votes.
I have already gotten the bile out of my system about Betty giving a boastful, buck-passing non-answer to a constituent. I don't think I'll ever be a Representative, but if I ever am, I'll never, never, never treat a constituent like that. Ok, maybe I haven't gotten all the bile out of my system about Betty's response. But I thought to myself at the time, "Hmm, that might be a good thing to investigate."
It has been pointed out by quite a few people of the strong ties between Betty McCollum and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They are ideologically compatible, and they bonded early in McCollum's House career when Pelosi asked McCollum in 2001 to give the speech nominating Pelosi for the post of Democratic Whip. Pelosi held the post of Democratic Whip from 2001 to 2003.
I'm seeing conflicting information regarding the position Betty McCollum holds within the Democratic Party. Betty's website says she "holds the prestigious position of Senior Democratic Whip within the House Democratic Caucus." But apparently that's a different position than House Majority Whip, currently held by James Clyburn. Betty is also not one of the nine House members who are part of Clyburn's Whip team. dKosopedia mentions her as a "Regional Whip." But the thing I want to point out from this is that Betty is not just your average Democrat Representative. Betty is part of the Democrat House leadership.
UPDATE: A gentleman at Betty McCollum's Washington DC office informed me that the Democratic party has roughly 30 whips, and Betty is a senior member of that group of 30 whips, even though she is not in the post of Majority Whip, and is not a member of James Clyburn's Whip team. Furthermore, while Betty was a Regional Whip in a previous Congress, she is no longer a Regional Whip, so the information at dKosopedia is no longer accurate
There is another thing I discovered about Betty that is probably not known by very many people. It is my understanding that Betty has served on the House Appropriations Committee since entering Congress, but I didn't know that she serves on both the the Appropriations and Budget Committees. The Wikipedia page for Betty McCollum says:
McCollum is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where she is the only Minnesotan. At the start of the 111th Congress, McCollum was also appointed to the United States House Budget Committee. Under normal circumstances, House Democrats aren't allowed to serve on another committee when they also serve on one of the chamber's four exclusive "A" committees--Appropriations, Energy and Commerce, Rules, and Ways and Means. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and committee chairman Henry Waxman granted McCollum a waiver allowing her to take a second committee slot.
This is more evidence to show that Betty McCollum is not your average Democrat Representative. Say what you will about Betty McCollum, call her clueless, call her a trained ideological seal, call her forgetful about the Pledge of Allegiance, she has been remarkably successful at the game of attaining powerful positions by being connected with powerful people, and leveraging those connections. She hitched her wagon to then-Democratic-Whip- candidate Nancy Pelosi's star, and she has been rewarded handsomely in multiple ways for her faithful service as now-Speaker Pelosi's handmaiden.
I'm writing all this to justify my answer to the stiffarmed constituent's question. If a piece of Federal legislation was passed with Democrat support anytime between 2000 and now, it is most likely Betty McCollum had a significant role in passing it, either through her actions on the Appropriations and Budget Committees, or her actions as a Whip. I believe they have more of an impact than her House vote on the legislation in question. Contrarywise, if a piece of Federal legislation passed over Democrat opposition during that same period, it is most likely Betty McCollum had a significant role in opposing it for the same reasons.
It's actually hard to put a numeric figure on the impact of someone's votes, because there are differences of opinion as to the impact of a piece of legislation. For example, if you asked Betty McCollum, she would most likely tell you that the Bush tax cuts made the deficits go higher. But there are other folks who argue with equal eloquence and passion that the Bush tax cuts stimulated the economy, which increased government tax receipts, which decreased the deficit from what it would have been without them. However, the pattern of deficits is quite different, depending on the party in power
Here's another way of looking at this chart...
Therefore, my answer to the stiffarmed constituent's question is "Betty McCollum was probably not all that responsible for the $1.5 trillion of deficits during 2000-2006, a little more responsible for the $600 billion of deficits during 2007-2008, and a lot more responsible for the $3.2 trillion of deficits during 2009-2010."
I was thinking this way after the meeting on September 13, but I hate it that I think this way. I was thinking "I'm not going to get a straight answer from Betty McCollum, am I?" At this point I'm thinking "Sadly, no." And why won't I get a straight answer from Betty McCollum? Because she's a Company Gal, she's part of the Democrat establishment, she's "The Man," and she didn't get there by giving straight answers, and she's not going to stay there if she gives any straight answers. My only consolation is that she didn't indulge in any of the "I'll go on my diet tomorrow" conversation that President Obama unsuccessfully peddled. So Betty, you go right ahead and be proud of your votes. I'll be proud of my vote for Teresa Collett in November.
If you are new to this blog, read how Betty McCollum denies God in Congress, supports the terrorist group Hamas and is anti-Israel. Or just ask yourself, with the recent revelation of voter fraud in St. Paul, why would Betty McCollum deny voter fraud is a problem? But more importantly, what has Betty done for MNCD4?
Remember, if you see me, please honk!