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Herseth Sandlin: House GOP Leadership Responsible for Farm Bill Failure

David Lias posts the South Dakota Farmers Union's summary of former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's address to the group's annual convention Friday. She says the failure of Congress to pass a farm bill is entirely the House GOP's fault:

The reason we didn’t get a multi-year farm bill in the last Congress, five words: John Boehner and Eric Cantor, bottom line.... And it’s because they’re ideologically opposed to many of the programs that are in that bill. The Senate comes up with a product that saves $23 billion in taxpayer money, passes a bipartisan bill, the House Ag Committee passes a bill and John Boehner won’t bring it for a vote.

John Boehner had a responsibility as Speaker of the House to bring that bill, whether it was the committee bill or the Senate bill to the floor of the United States House of Representatives to make amendments in order and to let members influence that bill and pass the bill to the benefit of not just everyone in this room and everyone in agriculture but for the entire country that has been supported and sustained by the agriculture sector [Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, quoted by South Dakota Farmers Union, "Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Addresses SDFU State Convention," press release, 2013.02.15].

Note that SHS's five words do not include "Kristi Noem." But Noem shares the blame, given her greater attention to wealthy Big Ag interests and hypocritical political grandstanding.

SHS sees hope for the current Congress to get more done:

Thankfully (Senate Agriculture Committee) Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has convinced (Senate Majority) Leader (Harry) Reid to make the farm bill in 2013 at top priority and I hope that despite what we’ve seen on sequestration and the budget that the farm bill can experience the same kind of momentum, the same kind of bipartisan support, the same kind of commitment to pass it into law as I expect immigration reform will get in this Congress [SHS via SDFU, 2013.02.15].

Immigration reform? Ah, there's an issue closely tied to agriculture... and an issue on which Noem doesn't have much to say. I see no immigration measures on her list of "Legislation Kristi Supports," and no commentary among this year's press releases. She says she wants immigration reform that "work[s] well for our agriculture producers," but she's spent more time talking about the big imaginary platinum coin than about immigration.


  1. mike 2013.02.17

    Herseth or B Johnson could defeat Noem in 2014. The fear for dems is that they go at it in a primary. Herseth is the only one who could win against Rounds.

    Both could woop Noem.

  2. larry kurtz 2013.02.17

    SHS knows she has to run against SD's current US House member to regain the trust of our base. Brendan Johnson sounds like a gubernatorial candidate to these ears.

  3. Rorschach 2013.02.17

    I like Mike's analysis better than Larry's on this issue. But I feel strongly that the best opportunity for Stephanie is a run for governor. A race against Rounds would be a toss up. In a rematch against Noem, I'd give Stephanie the clear edge - but it's not a step forward from where she's been. With either of those races she'd be returning to a disfunctional congress. I suspect her husband still works in DC, so it might be good for her family life. But if voters see her primary goal as getting to DC and staying there (as was the case with Tom Daschle) then her resurgent political career will be short-lived.

    On the other hand, I think she could win a governor race. She could have a job where she can make a real difference and have some real accomplishments (unlike being in Congress). And when she's done being governor, she will still be plenty young to take a US Senate seat. What the Democratic party in SD really needs is a Democratic governor to show people the potential the state has been squandering for the past 10 years at least by electing GOP caretakers. (I think Janklow, unlike his successors, moved the state forward).

    For Stephanie I think there might be some additional options though. She would make a superb US Secretary of Agriculture if Tom Vilsack left midterm. She would also make a fine federal judge - although that would likely mean she has given up the dream of further political office. I don't think she's there yet in her mind. And she shouldn't be. Rep. Herseth Sandlin at age 42 is still younger than many first-time major officeholders. I think for her the best is yet to come.

    If you're reading this Stephanie, take my advice on the Governor race.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.17

    Very interesting, R. I can see the logic in thinking that running to go back to Washington might only play into one of the sentiments that led just enough South Dakotans to vote against her last time. Running for Congress feels like the same-old same-old; running for Governor is a different challenge for SHS, with no DC snark potential. Plus, that run would give South Dakotans a really feel-good story to vote for: we turned her down last time, but now we have a chance to give her a new job and get her to stick around the state. And maybe SHS will look at the dysfunction in Washington and realize she can get more done here (like signing us up for the Medicaid expansion right away!).

    Curious, though: how well would SHS perform as an executive? What has she done to show she has that skill set?

  5. Jana 2013.02.25

    Good catch Larry!

    Does anyone expect any real leadership out of the South Dakota Congressional Delegation?

    Parroting party platitudes doesn't count.

    Once again, we will see that the stench of politics will trump policy and governing.

  6. Rorschach 2013.02.25

    To the extent possible, the President should force Republicans like Thune and Noem to practice what they preach. If economy-crippling cuts are what's needed, then we'll start with GOP welfare states. No more disaster relief for routine annual weather events. No farm subsidies for wealthy farmers, or for any farmers when times are good. Ellsworth Airforce Base - on the chopping block. Thune & Noem want to cut till it hurts - o.k.

  7. Rorschach 2013.02.25

    Seriously, the White House ought to publicize an itemized list of potential cuts for each GOP welfare state, and ask the GOP hypocrite congress members from each state to put a check mark by each cut for their own state that they're o.k. with. Call their bluff. Expose their hypocrisy.

  8. Dana P. 2013.02.25

    So true, Jana. So true!

  9. Jana 2013.02.25

    Rorschach nails it!

    Dear SD media, there has been a great idea put forth by a citizen to help you do your job. Heck, there might even be a journalism award or two in it for someone with enough courage to an itemized list of potential cuts and ask the members of congress from each state to put a check mark by each cut for their own state that they're o.k. with.

    Great idea Rorschach! I amended it slightly to get everyone on the record!

  10. Bill Fleming 2013.02.25

    The sticking point seems to be around who is going to take the heat for making the cuts. Maybe the sequester is everyone's "way out?"

    I've heard some on the Dem side say "how else are we ever gonna get those kinds of cuts to the {bloated} military budget.

    And yeah, the Farm Bill (as per Rorschach)... how else will it ever get handled? Who in the GOP ag states is ever gonna vote to whack it?

    And while we're at it, why is the food program attached to the Dept of Ag anyway? Especially the considering the production of corn and sugar, which are ruining the nation's health. [see "Fat Chance" by Dr. Robert Lustig]

    Maybe the sequester can be a watershed and Congress can get back to work fixing things instead of making them worse?

    That could be refreshing.

  11. larry kurtz 2013.02.25

    Jana: Kristi Eaton of the AP tweeted that article. She's a goddess.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.25

    Itemized state-by-state sequester cut list: brilliant!

  13. Jana 2013.02.25

    Holy Cow! Cory did a great job of covering this back in December...which might be why he has the thinking person's blog of SD.

    I remember seeing that post and thinking there's no way that the sequestration bill that was passed would ever get to this point. I mean, they did make it so hideous and painful that no rational person would ever let something like this happen.

    My mistake was in thinking that there were rational people in DC.

    Nice job Cory! I for one will pay better attention in the future...and stop thinking that anything out of DC is rational.

  14. Jana 2013.02.25

    Gotta love Ms. Eaton! Maybe she will be the reporter to ask each of our elected Congresspersons these questions and then report if they don't have the courage to answer.

    Heck, maybe the AP could take that on as a nationwide project and get these fine people on the record. Go get 'em on the record @KristiEaton.

    Better yet, Johnson, Noem and Thune...why don't you just answer these questions yourselves. After do work for us...right?

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