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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tea Party Candidate Howie Takes $278K in Farm Subsidies

Oh, the humiliation. South Dakota gubernatorial candidate Gordon Howie has discredited the Tea Party movement better than this blog ever could. Yesterday he admits he has failed to pay $58K in property taxes after getting in too deep on land speculation. Now I learn from the Dakota War College comment section that Howie has accepted $278K in federal farm subsidies over the last 15 years. $22K of that is disaster payments.

Update 07:05: Mrs. Howie is also pulling her weight. Over the last couple years, Connie L. Howie has raked in another $33,579 in farm subsidies. These subsidies appear not to be connected with Connie's puppy-ranching operation.

Now Gordon's take is only a ninth of the welfare haul claimed by another Tea Party fave, U.S. House candidate Kristi Noem. Where, oh, where are the true conservatives? Where are the politicians so principled in their opposition to the soul-sapping power of federal handouts that they have refused to take advantage of the status quo?

The only other gubernatorial candidate who appears to have cashed in on farm subsidies is rancher Ken Knuppe from Buffalo Gap. His take since 1995: $43,046, all disaster payments disbursed in four years. Of course, his dad Ray and some other Knuppes around New Underwood have hauled in more of those federal dollars.

I might try to be charitable and say that the prevalence of farm welfare payments even among notable conservatives simply demonstrates how much the current agribusiness system relies on government support, from which you may argue that we need either to radically restructure the Farm Bill or to acknowledge that Tea Party talk of getting rid of government is empty, impractical windbaggery.

But Howie deserves no charity. Consider: in the last two years alone, Howie has taken over $113K in farm subsidies. That's almost twice the amount that he has declined to pay on his property taxes over the same period. Wow. This behavior shows he is no principled politician. He is a shyster, an opportunist, a land-grabbing, tax-dodging, welfare-slurping salesman willing to do anything to make a buck, including cheating the taxpayers.

But hey, welcome to the real face of the Tea Party. It's not about the common man. It's not about the Constitution or God or fighting communism. It's about big business putting on a puppet show to distract you from their casino capitalism.

Gordon Howie is a personable guy who also happens to be so far off between Saturn and Pluto that we, as South Dakota voters, would be irresponsible to allow him to hold office again. And, Republicans would be foolish to advance his candidacy. Gordon's primary issue is bringing God to government. His God [Michael Sanborn, "Governor? Part Deux," Decorum Forum, 2010.05.26].

1 comment:

  1. Posted this on SDWC but thought I'd ask it here as well.

    I gotta tell ya, I'm confused. Is Gordon in charge of the Tea Party, or is somebody else? I thought he was the man. No? Should he resign or stay in, Tea Partiers?

    Seems like the Democratic and Republican Parties have established mechanisms for handling such things. Typically a question like this would go to the state central committee, which could ask the candidate to resign and would have the power to put another in his place. There is an established process for who gets elected to that committee. It's incorporated. etc.

    Does the Tea Party have any such formal machinery for un-endorsing a candidate, or for that matter even endorsing, candidates. If so, who controls it? Is it the Lautenschlager family? Is it Bob Ellis? Is it Gordon? Sarah Palin? Rand Paul> Or is it just whoever shows up for the rally on a given day? Do they have an organized committee? Who's on it? What are its powers?

    In essence, is the tea party controlled by the grassroots or by consultants who make money selling it logowear?

    And beyond all that, what should my old buddy Gordon do? I can't tell on here who's a Tea Party commenter and who's not. Is that good? Or Bad?


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