Local Republican Sleaze

Russ Steele

I am sure that you have heard Sam Aanestad’s latest ad by now. If not you can find a copy HERE

I was shocked by this ad that was long on sleaze and short on substance. Rather than tell us what he would to improve the lives of citizens in CA District 1, we heard an attack on Doug LaMalfa for taking farm subsides, trying to tie it to our huge growing debt. The add implies that the only reason that LaMalfa is running for congress is to protect his farm subsidies.  Let’s examine some of the facts that the ad left out.

When you look at the other farms in the Congressional district the LaMalfa farm is not even in the top 20 of the farms that get subsidies.  Was Sam suggesting that the LaMalfa farm should have rejected the subsides on principle, when all the other farms in the valley took them? If that is the case, Sam does not seem to understand basic economics.

The LaMalfa family has been growing rice in the valley for three generation for over 80 years. Long before the current farm subsides legislation was in place. Doug La Malfa was not in Congress to when it was passed. He was farming, with little influence over the out come of the legislation that provides subsides for wheat, rice, cotton, tobacco, dairy, soybeans, minor oil seeds, peanuts, sugar, honey, wool and mohair, vegetable oil, and other crops including corn for ethanol. Congressional farm subsides are the way the US has chosen to do agriculture business.  It may not be the best way, but that is not Doug LaMalfa’s fault?

If Sam does not like farm subsides then he needs to run on that platform. Let’s hear how he will be providing food security in a chaotic world, without loosing our competitive advantage in global markets. He needs to explain why food prices will soar without the subsides.  He needs to step up and stop the sleazy attacks.

More on food security HERE.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

13 Responses to Local Republican Sleaze

  1. I recall in the primary of 1992, the Assembly race of which there were seven R candidates, someone attacked Bernie Richter as a pornographer because he rented R rated movies at his video store. Bernie got elected.

    Regarding farm subsidies. It has always been my position that as a people, we unfortunately need to have food subsidies in order to keep food prices from becoming volatile in the country and the world. I remember the Fed sued a farmer many years ago for not taking them and the Fed won.

  2. Barry Pruett says:

    It is not the subsidies per se that is the problem with LaMalfa. The question is how can he with a straight face advocate for smaller government (advocating against subsidized high speed rail) and at the same time take almost $5 million in subsidies himself. It seems a little hypocritical doesn’t it? I would rather have somebody who is not on the take advocating for smaller government. I would rather have someone with more experience than LaMalfa.

    I think that Bee did a good explanation today (which illustrates that Lamalfa is not ready for the big time) when they endorsed Aanestad.


    LaMalfa seems like a nice guy, but he is not the principled type of conservative leader that we need right now. He is an establishment candidate. If you want someone to vote with Boehner, ten out of ten times, then I guess that LaMalfa is your guy. I want an independent thinker (independent of lobbyists’ money) who will stay true to his principles. Aanestad is that person.

  3. Brad Croul says:

    I like Jim Reed as a candidate. He is an attorney and tax expert that is concerned about inequalities in the tax system.

    Jim or Sam would both be OK in my book.

  4. gjrebane says:

    The farm subsidies issue against LaMalfa is a red herring, but apparently effective. As Russ points out (using different words), the ag subsidy program is one of many ‘commons’ that the federal government operates (see ‘commons’ and Garrett Hardin on RR). With an established commons, those eligible who don’t consume it are immediately punished. LaMalfa’s argument is doubled in that he also pays taxes for the ag commons and countless other federal and state commons.

    I have for some time now encouraged our Nevada County jurisdictions to ‘Just Say No’ to burdensome regulations and mandates that come with federal and state monies to fund various local service and infrastructure programs. They are a set of commons for which all jurisdictions constantly bid to maximize their take at a cost to their peers. Why doesn’t one jurisdiction just drop out and say ‘enough is enough’? The answers are obvious. None can do it until a critical mass of participants refuse to continue funding the beast and then begging for crumbs from its table.

    To call one individual a hypocrite for not sacrificing his family’s business for the sake of publicly pissing into the wind is a bit over the top, besides asking voters to doubt the candidate’s sanity and ability to deal in a pragmatic world.

  5. I recall many years ago a dentist in Truckee would not do medicaid patients and they had to travel to Reno to get work done. It became public knowledge the dentist had used taxpayer student loans to pay for his education and was in arrears. I made a recommendation to strike a deal where he would treat medicaid folks for a reduction per patient of his student loans. The professional community was outraged and it never came to pass.

  6. Bob Hobert says:

    Thanks Russ, I was looking for a little balance on this. I think Sam is a good guy with poor ad producers. My friend who farms in Iowa once told me that while he did not agree with continued farm subsidies he would be a fool not to take them and thereby be non-competitive. Let’s not blame folks for surviving under bad government as best they can. Both Sam and Doug are good people.

    • I was expecting the sleazy ad to be by one of the unaccountable PACs, but was surprised when Sam came on said, “I approve this ad” At that point I began to wonder about his judgment.

  7. Michael Anderson says:

    This has been a great collection of comments, a very enjoyable read. Hail pragmatism!

    I too found the Aanestad ad to be ridiculous, and a good example of reductionist politics, when I first heard it on KNCO last week.

  8. Brad Croul says:

    Are those who are saying LaMalfa should get paid by the government to not grow his crops, or grow his crops with a government paid bonus on top of the price he gets for his crops, saying this represents Tea Party values?

    If LaMalfa’s subsidies are fine and dandy, what is wrong with all the “green” subsidies?
    What is the difference?

    • Russ says:


      For one thing, “green subsides” for renewable power raise the cost of power for home owner and business. Ag subsides reduce the cost of food at the market. So far the investments in green energy has resulted on a long list of bankrupt companies that produced very little, verses the investment in Ag which often produces surpluses.

  9. ggoodknight says:

    Jim Reed might have had a chance with one more try against Herger in a Democratic sweep year, but this is not that year.

    I chatted with him for a quarter hour a few months ago after he flew a dog-slow Cessna into the Nevada County Airpark to suck up to the NC Democratic Central commissars who were a little late to pick him up. Nice enough guy.

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