The headline in The Politico reads: “Rural Democrats differ with Barack Obama.” That’s pretty straightforward, and so are the first few sentences in the article by Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Martin: Angered by White House decisions on everything from greenhouse gases to car dealerships, congressional Democrats from rural districts are threatening to revolt against parts of President Barack Obama’s ambitious first-year agenda. ‘They don’t get rural America,’ said Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley. ‘They form their views of the world in large cities.’”
The problems rising between the Obama administration and rural reps (both Democratic and Republican) are familiar to readers of the Yonder. Farm state legislators don’t like Obama’s climate change legislation because it disadvantages biofuels. General Motors and Chrysler benefited from bailouts backed by the President, but when it came time to shutter dealerships, rural communities were hit the hardest. (Dealerships in rural communities were closed with little explanation.) Strictures on coal-fired power plants would land the hardest on rural electric cooperatives, which get most of their power from coal.
The University of Kentucky’s Al Cross says the conflicts between farm state Democrats and those leading the climate change legislation “could resonate beyond the beltway.” Simply, unless Obama can win rural Democrats, he won’t pass many of his more controversial proposals. Meanwhile, some top Democrats say that “Obama hasn’t paid much attention to the rural states since he’s been in office,” according to The Politico. “We’d love to see him out in rural America more,” said Sen. Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat (above).