Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Note Passed From GOP to Small Town America: "Do You LIKE ME-Like Me? Check The Box Next to 'McCain.'"

Several posts ago, I explained my anti-Farm Aid stance. To briefly sum it up: if rural and small town voters want to vote on religious and cultural issues even though it will be to their economic detriment, that's cool; however, to them I say: do NOT expect anyone to come to your assistance when the economic consequences of your voting rear their ugly head, and you:

(a) lose your family farm,
(b) lose your job,
(c) lose your house, or
(d) suffer some other financially or economically devastating event alone or in combination with any of the above.

Simply put, if you LIVE for the culture wars, be prepared to accept the fact that there will be casualties. And, frankly, if the past seven or so years have reinforced nothing else, it is this reality.

What irks me about Farm Aid, among other things, is that it is the rural and small town culture warriors extending their hand for assistance (be it from the government, the public at large, or (gasp) a community organizer). In doing so, they are, in point of fact, asking to be relieved of the consequences of their decisions.

Well, I for one am not going to enable these people. If they make a knowing decision to let their life crumble into ruins just to advance an anti-gay agenda, or to have Roe v. Wade overturned, then they deserve to live in the world they've made for themselves. I know I sound like a Republican here, but I am simply done with people who are putting their personal social agendas ahead of thiking about what government should be doing for them and voting in their best interest, and by extension, the country's best interest.

So, that's my anti-farm aid position.

Now, of all the crazy things, the Wall Street Journal (??!!) is actually pulling back the curtain, and showing that there is some merit to what I'm saying. The Republican coalition depends on the votes of small town America, and once the Republicans are in office, they systematically screw the citizens of ..... wait for it ..... small town America.

Thus, when small town America sees Sarah Palin, they get excited because they see "one of us." A fellow culture warrior given a field promotion to Four-Star General in the Army of the Moral Majority. So blinding is their glee that they don't see that "one of them" will soon be putting "some of the rest of them" out on the street; or out of a job; or off their farm.

Money Quote from the WSJ:

Leave the fantasy land of convention rhetoric, and you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.

And eventually you will ask yourself, how did this happen? Did Hollywood do this? Was it those "reporters and commentators" with their fancy college degrees who wrecked Main Street, U.S.A.?

No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town's mortal enemies.

Without raising an antitrust finger they have permitted fantastic concentration in the various industries that buy the farmer's crops. They have undone the New Deal system of agricultural price supports in favor of schemes called "Freedom to Farm" and loan deficiency payments -- each reform apparently designed to secure just one thing out of small town America: cheap commodities for the big food processors. Richard Nixon's Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz put the conservative attitude toward small farmers most bluntly back in the 1970s when he warned, "Get big or get out."

A few days ago I talked politics with Donn Teske, the president of the Kansas Farmers Union and a former Republican. Barack Obama may come from a big city, he admits, but the Farmers Union gives him a 100% rating for his votes in Congress. John McCain gets a 0%. "If any farmer in the Plains States looked at McCain's voting record on ag issues," Mr. Teske says, "no one would vote for him."

But of course, McCain is doing his damnedest to make sure no one is looking at issues. Only personalities.

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