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Editorial: A kick in the pants for Walden

East Oregonian, Oct. 17, on Rep. Greg Walden’s vote:

A kick in the pants to Greg Walden, Eastern Oregon’s representative in the U.S. House, for his vote against the debt deal.

Pinned against a midnight deadline, Congress finally got past name-calling and blame-gaming to reach a deal. When the final terms were drawn up, Democrats got just about everything they wanted and Republicans got nothing. That should go to show who was playing with the stronger hand.

But despite pushing the country’s economic train to the edge of financial free-fall, many House Republicans still voted against the deal. If there had been enough of them, the country would have slid into default and sent that train off into the great unknown.

It is disappointing, but Walden was one of those 144 House Republicans. He joined the likes of Yoho, Labrador and every representative from the state of Texas — including Dr. Seuss-reading Ted Cruz.

We know Walden is worried about being outflanked on the right, challenged and possibly defeated by a tea party-backed candidate in the Republican primary. His vote may have been entered with one eye on campaign season.

But we find his vote preposterous and find it difficult to believe that if it really mattered — if the issue really came down to his decision — that he would have cast it the same way. This country could not afford default and we think Walden understands that, too.

Of course, there have been many politically motivated votes against raising the debt ceiling.

President Obama himself did it in 2006, when he was an Illinois senator, to show his displeasure with George W. Bush’s war spending and tax cuts.

But Wednesday’s vote was a case where it would have been helpful to put political showmanship aside in favor of doing the right thing for America.

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