A bitter harvest for Democrats
David DeGennaro, agriculture analyst for the Environmental Working Group, offers an interesting take on support of farm subsidies and the results of the 2010 mid-term elections.
The Environmental Working Group, by the way, is best known for its farm subsidy database, which tracks recipients of 90 million government agriculture program checks and has (in EWG's words) "shaken up the debate over continuing wasteful subsidies to big agribusinesses."
DeGennaro writes that EWG's election analysis "shows that for besieged rural Democrats, their votes for the 2008 Farm Bill and its lavish farm subsidies for the largest and wealthiest farm operations in their districts did not shield them from the Republican wave. There is clear evidence for this with the news that at least 15 Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee lost their seats, including ardent subsidy defenders Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota and Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota. Meanwhile, Democrats who voted against the Farm Bill were largely unscathed."
His argument is that the election results "refute the notion that blind service to agribusiness guarantees re- election. If anything, they are a loud signal that there is negligible political benefit to toeing the agribusiness and subsidy lobby line."