Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’

Essential Congressional Race

Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
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From the Rapid City Journal…this boils it down to the basics: SHS essentially has the traditional progressive attitude that government action is the best way to deal with problems; while Kristi Noem has expressed a more Jeffersonian view that government often is a fearful master, that bears close watching at all times, and like kudzu vines, needs to be ruthlessly chopped back to keep it from taking over everything.

Split over stimulus defines candidates

WHICH DIRECTION?: Challenger Noem seeks to rein in government while Herseth Sandlin sees benefit of action.

THAT’s the real, boiled down averaged-out essence of the differences between them.

Chief’s call on this…tune in Tuesday night. I have a feeling that Noem will win…but it’s just that. (If you put $1 with it you can get a can of pop, and THAT’s for sure!)

Pelosi, NRA & Herseth-Sandlin

Posted: Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 12:58 am
By: RadioActive Chief
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Cory over at Madville Times, and on the KELO Blog is crowing about the NRA endorsing Stephanie’s re-election. It would be one thing if he thought that this was a positive thing, but the reality is somewhat less (or more, depending on viewpoint) than this.

I know it’s tough to make the leap, but really Cory, no one has given the NRA, or for that matter the GOP itself the right to confer an imprimatur of political orthodoxy for the conservative/libertarian movement. Therefore, exercising my own reformationist judgment, the NRA has proven itself unworthy of support and membership. With my membership up this fall, it will become a thing of the past, in favor of the Gun Owners of America, which is more consistent in it’s analysis of political ramifications, like the support that H-S has faithfully rendered for the Speakership Regime of SanFran Nan Pelosi. That, in and of itself is, IMHO, enough to render Herseth-Sandlin unsatisfactory as South Dakota’s sole Congressional member.

In spite of Cory’s crowing about the NRA endorsement (to attempt to give us a bad moment), and his moaning at other times about H-S making SOME votes that his progressive/liberal sensibility finds distasteful, note that in spite of such occasional discomfort, something, including presumably the prospect of continued support for Pelosi, leads Cory to continue to support H-S’s re-election, in spite of his expressed unhappiness.

For similar reasons, if one opposes the continuation of the Pelosi order of business in the House, then there is no reason to vote for H-S, no matter what occasional gestures she makes towards traditional South Dakota values.

So, Will You be Voting for Nancy Pelosi?

In light of all the recent news about Democrat candidates running as John Birchers, I felt is was finally time to call their bluff. We are in a very good position to take back the House, but there is some polling evidence that some of the red district blue dog frauds are still hanging in there. Keep in mind that there are 70 Dems in R rated districts. A handful of them are doing relatively well because they try to block out their party label, run against the liberal platform, attack their Republican opponent from the right, or tout endorsements from the NRA and Chamber of Commerce.

I think we need to start a campaign to call the offices of these clowns and demand that they go on record whether they would vote for Pelosi or Hoyer to be Speaker….We are sick of these frauds who trash Pelosi at home, but then vote for the liberal leadership, committee chairmen, and Democrat Rules Committee members who ensure passage of all the legislation that they claim to detest. However, if we can get them on record as declining to take a stand (that’s what most will do) we can help their opponents expose their fraudulent claims of being conservative.

From another source, this video shows H-S dodging this issue during an appearance. (H/T to South Dakota War College)

That above header hits the nail on the head. IMHO, that’s a key point to keep in mind when voting, whether early or on election day. Personally, I would no more vote for Pelosi than I would B.O., or for that matter, Herseth-Sandlin.

NRA Repeats: Vote for Herseth Sandlin

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Noem’s Misrepresentations “Unfortunate”

Repeat after me: The National Rifle Association wants you to vote for Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Conservative friends, if that really bothers you, feel free to declare the NRA an irrelevant bunch of Beltway elitists. Repeat that as often as you like. I know I will.

But Kristi isn’t saying the NRA is irrelevant. She’s stamping the NRA logo on her mailings like two big seals approval. Team Kristi is a whisper shy of a lie and they know it.

So does the NRA. From Roll Call:

“The one thing that is clear to our members in South Dakota is that we did endorse Stephanie Herseth Sandlin,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. “It’s unfortunate that there are efforts to try to insinuate otherwise” [Anna Palmer, "Herseth Sandlin Takes Issue with Noem's NRA Mailing," Roll Call, 2010.10.14].

The NRA spokesman could have stopped with that first sentence. That second sentence suggests that the NRA’s endorsement of Herseth Sandlin is more than mere pro forma adherence to its “incumbent-friendly” endorsement policy. If the NRA really had its fingers crossed behind its back for Noem, it could have withheld any endorsement. And it could have withheld that second sentence, a pretty clear slap at Team Kristi’s marketing trickery.

The NRA is a single-issue organization that distracts us all with John Wayne fantasies (and Constitutional misreadings, and outright lies) from discussing real solutions to real problems. Their endorsement of Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin doesn’t make me like her any more.

But Kristi Noem’s counterfactual insinuation that the NRA actually prefers her makes me like Noem even less. Watch out, Kristi: the NRA may feel the same way.

—————————————

Update 2010.10.15 08:50 CDT: Eager reader Jim Hock takes time to find, read, and list all of the concrete policy reasons the NRA considers SHS a stronger defender of the Second Amendment than Noem is.

NRA 4 SHS — Noem Nets Nut Nod

Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:54 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Here’s the endorsement the Noem campaign desperately tried to to distract you from yesterday: the National Rifle Association has endorsed Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in South Dakota’s U.S. House race.

“The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund supports Stephanie Herseth Sandlin because she has defended the Second Amendment freedoms of law-abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen in South Dakota and across America,” said NRA-PVF Chairman Chris W. Cox. “On November 2, I urge all South Dakota NRA Members and gun owners to vote Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for Congress” [Michael O'Brien, "Key House Dem Snags NRA's Backing in Reelection Effort," TheHill.com, 2010.09.28].

In a September 23 letter, the NRA’s Political Victory Fund informed Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin that the NRA was endorsing her and maintaining her “A” rating.

NRA-PVF endorses Herseth SandlinNRA endorsement of Herseth Sandlin, 2010.09.23. [click to enlarge]

The Noem camp responded by touting an endorsement from a gaggle of South Dakota gun owners for whom even the NRA isn’t nutty enough about guns. Her gun-owning endorsers include the likes of Second Amendment Sister Nancy First, who thinks we should let everyone carry guns in kindergartens, courthouses, and bars.

The Noem peanut gallery is desperately trying to spin the NRA’s endorsement of Herseth Sandlin as insignificant. Some commenters are crying that the NRA is required by its by-laws to endorse incumbents. Not true. While the NRA-PVF’s endorsement policy is “incumbent-friendly” (a logical position for an organization interested in maximizing leverage via seniority in Congress), the NRA is still free to withhold endorsements from incumbents it feels aren’t doing its bidding. For example, the NRA is not endorsing incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. If the NRA thought Herseth Sandlin was bad for its interests, the NRA could easily send that message.

Now I don’t consider an NRA endorsement cause for celebration. Just a few weeks ago, I gave some poor telemarketer an earful for reading Wayne LaPierre’s scripted lies to me over the phone in a push poll (don’t these people keep track of past calls?). The NRA’s gun-worship distracts us from solving real problems. I look forward to the day when someone who gets an F from the NRA can win an election in South Dakota.

But I can also acknowledge the political climate for what it is and revel in watching conservatives now blaspheme their usual electoral God. Gun advocates, you may think Kristi Noem is your little Annie Oakley, but the great and powerful National Rifle Association recognizes that Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is the right choice for making sure no one comes to pry your guns out of your hands.

Extremist views, ill-considered publicity stunts, sinking poll numbers, failure to grasp practical policy… Kristi Noem is turning out to be nothing more than Bruce Whalen in cowgirl boots.

SHS Buys Local; Noem Buys Texas

Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 9:11 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Where candidates get their money is important. But this morning, let’s look at where candidates spend their money.

Hit the Federal Election Commission website, and you can download loads of info on our Congressional candidates’ campaign finances. Right now the data is current through Quarter 2 of this year. Let’s compare where South Dakota’s main Congressional candidates, incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Republican challenger State Representative Kristi Noem, have spent their campaign cash:

Herseth Sandlin Noem
State Total %
State Total %
AZ $376 0.1% CO $5,000 1.8%
CA $2,400 0.4% DC $700 0.3%
DC $114,167 20.5% IA $2,305 0.8%
GA $2,329 0.4% IN $1,000 0.4%
IL $19,199 3.4% MN $17,383 6.3%
MD $5,176 0.9% SD $91,142 32.9%
MN $6,708 1.2% TX $152,300 55.0%
NV $1,342 0.2% VA $6,994 2.5%
NY $1,746 0.3% Grand Total $276,824
OH $254 0.0%
SD $395,921 70.9%
TX $4,755 0.9%
VA $3,724 0.7%
Grand Total $558,097

Funny: Noem’s supporters like spinning the lie that Herseth Sandlin actually lives in her husband’s home state of Texas, yet Noem is the one spending a majority of her money on Texas ad-makers (and getting lackluster ads from folks who I hear have trouble with deadlines). Meanwhile, Herseth Sandlin has spent almost 71% of her campaign dollars right here where she lives, in South Dakota.

Now Noem does get a larger proportion of her individual contributions from in-state than does Herseth Sandlin (86% versus 64%… and that doesn’t include all the political committee contributions, where the bulk of Herseth Sandlin’s money comes from, and which spigot Noem only just opened post-primary). But from a pure economic development perspective, Noem is exporting our cash, while Herseth Sandlin is bringing cash into South Dakota’s economy. Way to go, Steph!

Stay tuned for the Q3 reports.

Noem Bumbling Unites Dems, Splits Base, Loses Indies

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 at 5:50 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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South Dakota’s Republican candidate for U.S. House, Kristi Noem, suffered a remarkable reversal in the Republican-run Rasmussen Reports September poll. While Noem’s campaign manager looks up momentum in the dictionary (or is he searching CareerBuilder.com?), consider these numbers:

  1. In the July poll and the August poll, incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Noem each held about 3/4 of the vote from members of their own party. In the September poll, Herseth Sandlin’s in party support rises to 82%, while Noem’s drops to 66%.
  2. In July, Noem beat SHS among indies 50-35. In the August poll, Noem’s indie advantage was nearly two-to-one. The September poll shows Herseth Sandlin now leading slightly among indies.

If you believe, like Noem, in Rasmussen and one-month “trends,” the above numbers suggest the following conclusions:

  1. Noem’s bad debating, habitual lawbreaking, and tone-deaf arrogance and persistent excuses are making her base nervous.
  2. South Dakota Dems are defying their fractious nature and uniting behind Herseth Sandlin.
  3. Now that folks are paying attention, the honeymoon with Independents is over.
  4. Senator Al Franken comes to South Dakota, points out the obvious logical conclusion of Noem’s Pelosi line, and SHS takes the lead. Either Franken really is a genius, or Team Kristi is so inept that it swamped Franken’s supposed gaffe, which promised plenty of propaganda mileage, with its own ineptitude.

Herseth Sandlin vs. Noem: Who’s the Princess?

Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 7:58 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Madville Times Feature: South Dakota State Fair U.S. House Debate, Sunday, September 5, 2010
1. Opening Statements
2. Farm Bill Cuts
3. Ag Lending
4. Cut Ethanol Subsidy?
5. Indirect Land Use Penalty
6. Renewable Energy Standard
7. Most Critical Issue
8. Creating Jobs
—————-
p.s.: Marking Time

I thoroughly enjoyed the debate between Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Kristi Noem at the State Fair in Huron Sunday (well, except for the silly partisan chest-thumping and sign-waving from the crowd—I’m with B.-Thom on that). When done right (and contrary to Dennis Daugaard’s opinion), a debate is the best format available to test candidates ideas and abilities side by side, to pull candidates off their scripts and teleprompters and challenge them critically analyze and explain issues.

As I mentioned in my opening post on Sunday’s debate, the State Fair tilt between our Congressional candidates provided me with one major revelation: Stephanie is not our princess; Kristi thinks she is.

Noem demonstrates her princess attitude in her arrogance and inattention. We have seen Noem’s arrogance and inattention toward the law in her court record. She disregards traffic laws. She has yet to straight-up forswear her behavior: instead, she continues to include excuse-language in her “apologies,” mentioning her “nature,” her desire to “get things done,” and those “flat, empty country highways.” Six times she has skipped court dates, as if she’s just too important to deign to appear before a judge like some common citizen. Twice that arrogant inattention has earned arrest warrants. And apparently this same arrogant disregard for the law runs in the family: Noem’s husband, two brothers, and her mother, who have a shared total of 84 traffic citations over the last two decades. (Remember, the Noem campaign opened up candidates’ family court records as a campaign issue. Thank Josh Shields for another bonehead campaign move.)

Noem’s princess attitude was clearly on display at the State Fair debate. She carries herself with dour hauteur… though if I were entering a debate ill-prepared to talk issues, I’d probably come across sour and restrained as well. While moderator Michelle Rook huddled with the candidates before the show to discuss the debate rules and format, Noem drifted away to chat with someone in the audience. During the debate, Noem ignored the two-minute limit twice, rattling on even after Rook called time. And most tellingly, Noem didn’t pay attention to the questions and failed to respond to what specifically was asked.

Noem’s campaign is based on emotion and image. Even her advocacy of repealing the estate tax is couched in the emotional story of her father’s death and her personal sacrifice. She doesn’t answer the practical policy questions of just how rich the Arnold family had to be to qualify for the estate tax in the first place, how much estate tax they actually owed, why they were paying it at all when Mrs. Arnold was still alive to own the farm, and the extent to which the over $3 million in farm subsidies they received helped ease that tax burden. (Hey, Noem has brought it up, so she should answer those questions.) She just trots out the story and expects us to get all weepy and vote for her. I get weepy for all sorts of people, but that doesn’t mean I pick them for Congress.

Noem wants this race to be all about who she is. Herseth Sandlin wants this race to be about what she does. Where Noem spent half of her opening statement on Sunday talking about how wonderful the State Fair is, Herseth Sandlin mentioned her family and then got straight to business, talking about specific programs and votes. Throughout the debate, Herseth Sandlin piled her answers with specific examples of what she’s worked for in Washington. Throughout the debate, our Congresswoman did not speak like someone who feels she’s entitled to the job just because she’s a nice South Dakota girl: she spoke like an eager job applicant, working hard to convince us to hire her based on her record of proven performance. Noem seems to think we should elect her because she’s… well… Kristi Noem.

At numerous points in the debate, Noem said, “We need someone in Washington who…” and then filled in the blank with something relating to her life. Someone who understands the ethanol industry, someone who understands farms, someone who’s been proactive on the issues, someone with real-life experience…. Latent in those Noem lines is the suggestion that Noem’s life experience is somehow more real, more valid, than Herseth Sandlin’s. Everyone lives a valid life. Everyone learns from different struggles. Suggesting that farming or running a business is somehow more valid experience than teaching or lawyering or other public service is elitism, and it stinks.

Saying you’re smarter because you live in Castlewood is just as offensive as saying you’re smarter because you went to Georgetown. You don’t hear Herseth Sandlin saying things like “We need someone in Washington who has made life choices like mine.” She doesn’t feel the need to downgrade anyone else’s life choices to prove she’s the right person for Congress. But Noem apparently needs to validate her own life experience by invalidating the life experience of others.

In other words, Noem thinks she’s special. She thinks she’s the princess. She wants us to hand her the crown as a prize for being the wonderful person she is.

Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin wants us to hire her for the work she’s done for South Dakota. I may not agree with all of the work she’s done, but at least she’s not asking me to hire her on emotion and image. Princesses don’t get my vote.

SHS Beats Noem on Indirect Land Use Penalty

Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:42 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Part 5 of the Madville Times’ South Dakota State Fair Congressional Debate analysis

Question 4 at Sunday’s debate: what will you do about the international indirect land use penalties to protect biofuels? The indirect land use penalty is the idea of discounting the greenhouse gas emissions savings achieved by biofuels based on the carbon released when farmers convert forest and other previously unplowed land to cropland.

I know that now, thanks to Google and Wikipedia. I didn’t know it Sunday, and from the sounds of the answer, Kristi Noem didn’t know much about it, either. Noem said we need someone to promote a competitive market and avoid detriments to farmers’ income. She said we need to pick the candidate who’s been proactive on issues, gone forward and carried tough issues and fought for people.

Maybe Noem just assumed that the ag-heavy crowd already knew what the indirect land use penalty was. She certainly didn’t explain it. Not one thing she said indicated she had a specific plan for dealing with it. Her answer was pure campaign-speak.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin sensed he advantage and pounced. Her first words were a direct response to the question and to Noem’s tactics: “By continuing to fight with the facts.” Herseth Sandlin said Congress has already worked bipartisanly to change the definition to protect the use of woody biomass in the Black Hills. She addressed Noem’s general call for “leadership” by pointing out that we’re making progress now, because the EPA hasn’t used the bad indirect land use definition. The USDA is doing its own calculation pushed by bipartisan work on the House Ag Committee.

Herseth Sandlin said the Ag Committee is fighting the attorneys who want to deep-six the ethanol industry. She said they are fighting this administration as much as the last to protect ethanol. She said the USDA is our ally and that her willingness to fight has prevented the bad indirect land use definition from being implemented. Fight, fight, fight… Herseth Sandlin was forceful, passionate… oh, but I suppose those are bad qualities, right, Pat?

Wrong. It could be that Herseth Sandlin sounds more passionate in these debates because she’s more confident than the woman sitting next to her. Noem knows she’s in deep water and her Fox News talking points will only float so far. She’s terrified of real hard questions. On this hard question, Herseth Sandlin recognized Noem had just buffaloed the audience and missed the facts. Herseth Sandlin thus swung hard, owned the question, and owned the stage.

Assessment: Advantage Herseth Sandlin. Without a doubt.
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p.s.: Big scary Speaker Nancy Pelosi was backing Herseth Sandlin on this issue. In ACESA, the climate change bill, she supported an agreement with Reps. Waxman and Peterson to tighten the requirements for imposing any indirect land use penalty for biofuels. Under the ACESA provisions, USDA would have had to agree to any definitions along with EPA and DoE. The American Coalition for Ethanol loved this agreement and wanted the Senate to follow suit. Advantage Pelosi!

Noem Losing Driving Record War

Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 6:36 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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What impact do you think Noem’s criminal record will have on her standing with South Dakota voters? Vote now in the newest Madville Times poll!

Joel Rosenthal tells the fumbling Kristi Noem campaign to put on the big-girl pants and get back on message:

When the story broke and confronted by KELO, Kristi Noem did the right thing. She said she was not proud of her record, was working to improve, and wanted to talk about important issues other than her driving record.

The Noem campaign and Republicans now need to move on. Quit talking about driving records, theirs and others. Don’t make this a two day or two week story. Democrats will try to keep ginning this story but the candidate has answered and must resist all impulses to keep talking about it [Joel Rosenthal, "Kristi—Get on Message," South Dakota Straight Talk, 2010.08.30].

And what do we get from the Noem campaign? More driving records. They go after Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s dad for speeding tickets. They go after SHS’s chief of staff for a Brookings DUI.

Now as Rosenthal calmly notes, opposition research is par for the course in serious campaigns. But let’s make clear three points about the driving-record narrative and why it still tilts in Herseth Sandlin’s favor:

  1. The “family values” Republicans appear to value their opponents’ families as negative campaign targets. Noem attacks Herseth Sandlin’s husband and now her dad, just as Thune’s people gleefully attacked Daschle’s wife in 2004.
  2. Noem’s crimes aren’t just the traffic violations themselves; they are six failures ot appear in court and two arrest warrants. Everybody cited in these burgeoning attacks has broken the law; Noem demonstrated even greater arrogance by skipping court, as if she was just too good to show up before the judge and take responsibility for her crime.
  3. KELO launched the driving record story… and they even opened with the gubernatorial candidates’ tickets, which dings Dem Scott Heidepriem slightly worse than GOP Dennis Daugaard. The stories about Lars and chief of staff Gould are coming straight from the Noem machine. This part doesn’t matter quite as much to me, since facts are facts regardless of the source. But I hear enough Noem apologists making the baseless claim that the Noem-warrants story came straight from the SHS camp that it’s worth pointing out the lack of equivalence.

Back in June, I said it was a bad sign for the Noem campaign that they were hiring Josh Shields as their campaign manager. Josh Shields—you know, the guy who helped Blake Curd burn up more money than Noem and Chris Nelson combined to come in last.

And now Josh “she was trying to make up time over flat country” Shields is doing everything he can to turn another rising star into a lump of coal. If she wants to regain her momentum, Noem had better send young Shields over to Rosenthal’s house for some schooling, fast.

But in the end, why yes, we are left with a long list of lawbreakers. We’re all in glass houses, and we’re all throwing stones. If you’ve sent either Kristi or Stephanie money, or if you’ve so much as shaken their hands, you’ll probably see your criminal record published in the newspaper by November 2, too.

So let’s be consistent. Require Herseth Sandlin’s chief of staff Tessa Gould to resign from the campaign over her infraction. Require Lars Herseth to resign from being Stephanie’s dad. Require Kristi Noem to resign from her position as state legislator and from her campaign for the House.

And require Josh Shields to resign for driving another Republican campaign into the ditch.

SHS Wrong on Monsanto Alfalfa. Et Tu, Noem?

Posted: Monday, August 23, 2010 at 8:15 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Sure, I’ll let the right-wing occasionally drive my blog coverage. Dakota War College tries to stir up some anti-Herseth Sandlin grumbling among Democrats by pointing out the Congresswoman’s wrong-headed support for Monsanto’s effort to seize control of the alfalfa market.

On this issue, Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin and 74 colleagues are clearly smoking ditchweed. Their July 19 letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack urges USDA to permit the use of genetically modified Roundup-Ready alfalfa “while the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service completes its final Environmental Impact Study.” Wait a minute: use it while the government completes the impact study? What?! Aren’t we supposed to study the environmental impact before we turn these seeds loose on the environment?

Dakota War College, of course, doesn’t really want anyone to stand against Monsanto. DWC surely isn’t standing up for the organic farmers whose crops are threatened by genetic contamination from neighboring Monsanto crops. DWC never says boo about the public university in its backyard being controlled by a Monsanto employee; when South Dakotans protest the corruption of independent public research such corporate infiltration could cause, DWC makes fun of the South Dakotans. DWC will never stand up for the small farmers Monsanto is trying to put out of business with lawyers, lawsuits, and gross intimidation. DWC will never protest Monsanto’s efforts to deny that the Agent Orange it produced ever harmed American soldiers or Vietnamese children.

And DWC most certainly does not care about the dangers Pat Trask points out about Monsanto’s genetically modified alfala:

The genetically modified forage has the potential to destroy the certified organic and conventional alfalfa industry because it will genetically contaminate and alter those crops, according to Trask.

…When the USDA deregulated Roundup Ready alfalfa, [Oregon alfalfa seed producer Phil] Geertson warned Trask that if its planting and production were not stopped, the production of conventional alfalfa seed industry and organic industry would be gone immediately and permanently.

Unlike other Roundup Ready crops, Roundup Ready alfalfa is a perennial plant that emerges every year. In addition, alfalfa relies on cross-pollination usually by bees or the wind to produce seed. Preventing the cross-pollination of Roundup Ready alfalfa with other alfalfa varieties is not realistic, according to Trask.

“Containment of gene flow is virtually impossible,” Trask said [Andrea Cook, "Frankenfood fight: Alfalfa grower opposes genetically engineered crop," Rapid City Journal, 2010.08.11].

(I have yet to meet a Trask I don’t like.)

Trask understands that Monsanto’s GM alfalfa is just another effort to monopolize the seed market for Big Ag. It will work just like other crops: farmers plant a little Monsanto alfala; it corss-pollinates with neighboring fields growing non-Monsanto alfalfa; then Monsanto sends in the lawyers to sue the pants off neighboring farmers for violating Monsanto’s genetic patents—in other words, for committing the crime of growing plants without paying Monsanto for the privilege.

Another important point Herseth Sandlin misses: Monsanto’s GM seed is bad for small farms. Farmers who want to protect themselves from genetic contamination and Monsanto’s lawyer-goons will have to buy more land to insulate themselves from the GM fields. That’s one more pressure that drives small farmers out of business. Gee, thanks, Stephanie.

DWC does at least provide some comment space for occasionally sensible folks like rancher and legislator Charlie Hoffman, who points out that Monsanto’s alfalfa is just plain a bad buy: natural alfalfa can already withstand a fair amount of Roundup, so why incur the extra legal obligations of using Monsanto’s product?

DWC carefully avoids comment on the actual issue of corporate domination of agriculture, but I won’t: Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin is wrong to support Monsanto and genetically modified alfalfa that has not yet been properly assessed for environmental impact. And unlike DWC, if anyone can show me that the candidate from the other party is willing to take the right position on this issue, I will shout it from the rooftops. Candidate Noem, I await your press release on your opposition to authorizing the use of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready alfalfa.
————————-
Bonus head count: Signal #1 that Herseth Sandlin is on the wrong side of the alfalfa issue: the 75 Congresspeople urging Vilsack to permit Monsanto’s alfalfa include teabaggers Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Their thin letter is all about business costs.

An opposing letter from 56 Congresspeople, including Senator Tester from Montana, Senator Feingold from Wisconsin, and Representative Kucinich from Ohio, makes a much more detailed argument about the scientific evidence that shows huge potential for genetic contamination (exactly what Monsanto wants) and harm to small and organic farms.