Further evidence of the nonpartisan nature of support for agriculture subsidies emerged yesterday, when Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga published a story showing that of the 10 biggest subsidy-receiving counties, 9 of them voted for Mitt Romney (friend of subsidized agriculture himself, it should be noted):
“Farmers vote Republican but they like Democratic programs,” said former Representative Charles Stenholm of Texas, who served as the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee while in office and is now a lobbyist. “They consider themselves to be conservative, and if something is important to them, then they don’t consider that liberal.”
…Farmers “tend to be more conservative” in general than other voters, supporting less regulation while still wanting to maintain a safety net for food and livestock producers, said Robert Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the biggest U.S. farmer group. Still, the farm vote shouldn’t be dismissed by the White House, he said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t large numbers who supported” the president, he said.
Mr Stallman clearly knows which side his bread is buttered on, doesn’t he? No need to alienate the most powerful man in the free world just because of a few pesky votes!
This is not the first time Republicans have exhibited hypocrisy on farm subsidies. In the aftermath of the 2010 congressional elections, a few “tea party” Republicans voiced support for farm subsidies, even though they are a terrific (in both senses of the word) example of all that is wrong with the bloated federal government. But now we have evidence based on voting records that—as I guess is supposed to be the case in a democracy—our congressional “leaders” are really just giving the voters what they want.
And giving it to them good and hard.