I decided Claire might be better than just the “lesser evil” (despite her pathetic acceptance of the Republican framing on foreign policy) when I started reading her agriculture policy. I grew up in a small town with friends and relatives who were farmers, and learned some of the problems of trying to save a small farm in a world of factory farms and near-monopoly distributorships. I suspect few local progressives have spent more than a few minutes on a working farm, and very few understand how farm policy might impact their own lives. I will be clear: Food grown sustainably on a small farm sustains life, while food grown on a factory farm will (in my humble opinion) lead to malnutrition and degenerative diseases. So I want to see small farms thrive against their big money competitors. And they (and we) need politicians who will take the side of the small farmers over the plutocrats.
And Claire is ready to come out against factory farms:
Claire will fight to end taxpayer subsidies to CAFOs
Umm…ohhh, “Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations”…(wish she had said that…)
And she is against NAIS:
Claire is opposed to NAIS at both the federal and state level and believes no public money should go towards funding the program.
Um, NAIS means animal identification tags, where even the smallest operations (even hobbyists) would have to spend much money for even a few chickens, but huge operations can get away with minimal expense, once again giving huge factory farms an unfair advantage over small farms, enforced by government decree.
Claire will fight for stricter enforcement of existing antitrust laws, reform captive supply contracts, including a ban on packer ownership of livestock and call for increased transparency and accountability in agriculture contracts. Claire also supports USDA finally instituting Country-of-Origin Labeling as called for under the 2002 Farm Bill.
And still more…
She supports strengthening agriculture co-ops, promoting more direct-to-marketing opportunities for farmers (such as farmers markets or school cafeteria programs) and expanding conservation programs.
This is good stuff. The Problem?
I see rather little to complain about in her agricultural policy. The only real problems I see here are stylistic. Claire needs to learn how to bring the Democratic political base on the Left together with the (growingly disaffected) Republican political base on the Right. Here is an excellent area to do it. All the aging Hippies on the Left who want to get back to the land, who want slow food rather than fast food, who are looking away from uncontrolled growth toward sustainability, are right there beside rightwing Fundamentalist Christians who are seeing the same problems and looking for the same solutions. This is an ideal area for Claire to bring the Left and Right together, to secure her base and to peel away the Republican base, and get them to combine against the Corporazis who control the Republican Party and much of the Democratic Party.
So why the hell didn’t she get someone to spend a couple more sentences to spell out all that alphabet-soup jargon so the folks in the suburbs and cities could understand what the issues are all abouit, instead of just speaking insider language to just the farmers?
So Claire gets a double where she could have hit a home run. But it sure beats striking out.