Wednesday, August 03, 2005


MN Congress Campaign issues - CAFTA

As opposed to offering brief bios of all the sitting Congresspersons and candidates, I've decided that issues are of more consequence in this context. You're a Kossack, you can find information about the people. I will say this though--Mark Kennedy, sitting Congressman in the 6th CD and candidate for Mark Dayton's Senate seat, really is a first class buffoon. He should serve as an example of what well-run DFL campaigns can do against Beltway-chosen empty-suit candidates from the GOP.

As I see it, CAFTA's passage should be a big issue at the Congressional level. The whole point of the Democratic FARM Labor Party is an alliance between urban workers and small family farmers, and neither group was very happy about CAFTA or the way it passed.

I recently attended a Minnesota Farmers' Union meeting (in Rollag, about as far into greater MN as you can get without hitting North Dakota) and several questions were asked about CAFTA and its impact on small farmers. Although a lot of ink and airtime has been spent on the sugar beet lobby, even socially conservative farmers are rightfully worried that other crops, especially corn and soybeans in southern MN, will take a price hit as well.

I believe, in the long term, that CAFTA will raise the spectre of its predecessor NAFTA, with one important difference - the party in power. With the relative unity of the House Dems on the issue, and widespread opposition in Outstate Minnesota, DFLers should have a good opportunity to capitalize, as long as they can frame themselves as Protectors of the Family Farm and GOPs as out-of-touch free traders who don't care about the little guy.

Speaking of that MFU meeting, while I was there I got to see my first farm auction, complete with MFU official doubling as fast-talking auctioneer. Being a city guy originally from the east coast, this was quite an experience.

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