I am dismayed to read about Collin Peterson, the Minnesota Democrat who is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and was lovingly profiled by the Times a couple of days ago.
"Peterson says he does not set out to be a contrarian," the story says, but based on some of his comments, I begin to wonder if he sets out to be a bonehead, instead.
For instance, the 10-term congressman —10 terms, and a chairman! — says, "I look at things [from a business perspective]. I think a lot of people don't. They get this ideology in their head that if they just pass a law things are going to be this way. And in the real world, that is not always the case."
Sorry, congressman, but if you change the laws, that's the way they will be. Business has long operated within societal constraints, because before that, they proved they couldn't be trusted to do the right thing — minimum wage, child labor, pollution, ad infinitum.
Business has hardly been crushed by the advance of law, either. As the current financial morass shows, they just keep working to skirt it.
Here's another one: "We're having problems with the EPA because it's not practical -- they've been hijacked by some of these ideological environmental types, and that is why I am not going to go along with any system that has the EPA in charge of agriculture," Peterson said.
I don't know whom he identifies as "ideological environmental types," but he'd probably think of me that way, and maybe he'd be right. I believe in environmental protection. If you're not, does that mean you're for environmental exploitation? If you want to call that an ideology, knock yourself out.
Farmers depend on the environment — clean water, rich soil, dependable climate — for their livelihood, don't they?
Here's his tell, though, the tip-off of his level of understanding:
On climate change, Peterson has questioned whether there is enough data to support the need for cap-and-trade legislation, and noted that warmer temperatures might not be all that bad for his farmers.
"My problem this year is it's been so cold that the crops aren't coming up," Peterson told reporters yesterday. "And they're saying to us, 'Oh, it's such a big problem because it's going to be warmer than it usually is.' My farmers are going to say that's a good thing -- we're going to be able to grow more corn."
"Not enough evidence"? "Grow more corn"? The guy's a nightmare — he thinks he can make legislation for the nation, affecting the world, by sticking his head out the window! He's like Hannity, Limbaugh, and the other established boneheads who laughed when it was cold on the day climate-change legislation was introduced — "see, no problem here!" Coastal cities around the world might be inundated, but that'll be just swell for western Minnesota? Might get some more resort business? Are you kidding me?
It's not "global warming," it's "global climate change," and you'd get that if you could think beyond the label. In fact, since the science has been settled
for some time, what might the congressman be basing his positions on? Say, could he be one of those "ideological environmental types?"