Early last week, Congressman Greg Walden, who represents Eastern Oregon, proved his loyalty to common sense – and to House Speaker of the House John Boehner. Walden voted with the majority when the House passed the compromise deal 257-167 to sidestep the pitfall known as the fiscal cliff.
That put him in the minority with the Oregon congressional delegation (Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader voted against it, with Suzanne Bonamici supporting the Joe Biden-Mitch McConnell compromise).
It also put Walden on the wrong side of the Tea Party wingnuts in the Republican Party.
“We now have 85 members of the House who have shunned their noses at us,” said Dustin Stockton, a Texas- and Nevada-based operative and the chief strategist of The Tea Party.net. “Our job now is to recruit and inspire and motivate people to run against those Republicans who did it.”
But Walden, Oregon’s lone Republican, refused to blindly drink the bitter swill brewed by the tea partiers. He obviously doesn’t – and shouldn’t – feel threatened by a potential opponent. He serves this district well and represents the views of its constituents.
Instead, Walden preferred the milder Boehner-Obama brew. Its formal name is the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Political nitpicking aside, Walden did the right thing. Walden’s vote was certainly in line with, if you believe polls, what a majority of Oregonians – and the nation – wanted.
There are numerous other details of the deal that will irk taxpayers – for example the elimination of the 2 percent payroll tax cut. But overall, we believe the passage of the fiscal cliff deal was a sensible step away from immediate danger.
Rep. Walden, Speaker Boehner and President Obama may be strange bedfellows, but their midnight machinations at least postponed an uncertain financial pitfall for our nation.