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Noem Supports More Farm Subsidies, Sounds Sour Note for Conservatives

Last updated on 2011.10.31

Here's why Democrats have a 50-50 shot at knocking off incumbent freshman Rep. Kristi Noem in 2012. She has a chance to delight conservatives by saying she's cutting government, and instead she tells them to get on board with more special interest subidies:

Rep. Kristi Noem thinks fellow House conservatives will go along with a new farm bill even though it continues subsidies to growers and cuts spending less than even the Obama administration proposed.

"At the end of the day, I think conservatives will get on board, recognizing the importance of generating a safe and reliable food supply," said Noem, who is part of the House Republican leadership as one of two representatives of the freshman class [Philip Brasher, "Noem Thinks Farm Bill Subsidies Will Survive," that Sioux Falls paper, 2011.10.27].

Brasher reports that Congressional leaders are hunkered down behind closed doors figuring out how to enact $23 billion in cuts to the Farm Bill while creating a whole new grain subsidy program.

Noem's message can't be playing well with the conservatives who elected her and whose favor she's been so desperately trying to win back as the election year approaches. Yet she keeps heeling to the GOP leadership's call and trying to convince her conservatives back home that big government spending is actually good for them. I don't mind hearing Kristi Noem acknowledge that government has a proper role in our lives. But how must it sound to South Dakota conservatives to hear Noem tell them they wouldn't have any food on their tables if Uncle Sam didn't maintain its corporate welfare for Big Ag?

Senators John Thune and Tim Johnson joined a large majority of their colleagues last week in passing Senator Tom Coburn's amendment to prohibit farm subsidy payments to anyone making over one million dollars a year in adjusted gross income. On an issue where Tea Partiers could find common ground with Occupiers without getting any hippie stink on themselves, Noem has done worse than remain silent; she has consistently voted against stronger income caps on farm subsidies. Move to Trash

Noem's myth-making about farm subsidies reveals her lack of commitment to anything other than her self-interest. Conservatives can see her inauthenticity as clearly as liberals. Those conservatives won't rush to vote for Jeff Barth or Matt Varilek or any other Democrat who may jump into the race. But when Noem refuses to be a voice for true conservative ideals, those conservatives may well sit on their hands or leave one line on their 2012 ballot blank.

Update 2011.10.31 06:55 MDT: The pseudonymous Republican writing Dakota War College questions Noem's take on the farm bill. Rabid wingnut Ed Randazzo says Noem's subsidy support "sounds like it's right out of the progressive liberal handbook and it is pure donkey dust."


  1. Roger Elgersma 2011.10.28

    With as much excellent farm land as we have do we really have a problem having a safe and adaquate food supply. If the ethanol plants and most of the animals were not raised we could feed ten times as many people from the same land with the same crop yeilds. That safe and adaquate food supply arguement is so old and never needed. But it works for special interest group that when I was a farmer was a part of. We did not thrive on subsidies. They just made the cost of land higher so the kids had a real hard time starting.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.28

    You're right, Roger. If we really believed this "stable food supply" argument, we'd trot it out to justify subsidizing other industries that produce vital items, like clothing and computer chips.

  3. Stace Nelson 2011.10.28

    CAH, Are you against subsidies as a principle or only because of Congresswoman Noem?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.28

    Principle! Show me what the free market won't solve in the food industry that requires government support. And show me why anyone making over a quarter million dollars needs any check from the government.

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