LaMalfa, One of Us or One of Them?
by Red Smith
Dissatisfaction with Congressman Doug LaMalfa continues to grow among many North State conservative voters. With constituents still stinging from LaMalfa’s vote to re-elect John Boehner, a vote many saw as a direct betrayal, Doug LaMalfa has now again enraged his voters by voting not once but twice for the TPA/Fast Track Bill. The Congressman himself acknowledged that it had been a busy week and that the phones had been “lit up” by callers opposed to the TPA. When asked how many calls from constituents his office received supporting the TPA the Congressman did not answer and promptly deflected to a different subject. Despite the apparent overwhelming opposition of voters LaMalfa again chose to stand the party line, rousing the ire of key voting blocks and influential political groups.
To add insult to injury for many constituents who called to voice their opposition, LaMalfa Redding staffers reportedly attempted to lobby voters out of their position and continually implied that the voters were uninformed and incapable of understanding the TPA. In speaking to several of the callers the Shasta Lantern was told by many they felt, “intimidated” and doubted their stance on the vote was being given to the Congressman. One caller informed us that they reported the behavior of the Redding staff to the Washington D.C. office only to receive a return call from the Redding office demanding to know who they were. The caller stated they felt “bullied” and a “little shaken”. In another incident a current candidate for Shasta County Board of Supervisors reported calling the Redding office to express their opposition to the TPA and being promptly hung up on, the phones then being directed to voicemail for hours afterwords. To the further disbelief and frustration of voters the Congressman seemed to double down on the attitude of his staff suggesting that constituents opposed the bill are simply misinformed or only get their information from “hysterical websites”.
The TPA, whose opposition was fearful that it represented an attack on American Sovereignty, the Constitution, a watering down of Congressional authority and an unprecedented strengthening of executive control (RE: Whats-really-in-the-TPA?), passed twice,with LaMalfa supporting, in the span of a week. One of the major issues many seem to take with LaMalfa’s support for the Bill is that in his arguments defending his vote he does not once refer to any actual language in the TPA but defends his stance with talking points and email propaganda. Opponents of the TPA often have referred to and quoted specific language in the TPA to advance their arguments. When asked if the Congressman had read the TPA he stopped short at saying yes and deflected with a non committal “my staff and I weeded through it last week”.
LaMalfa’s failure to listen to constituents and his dismissive attitude towards their concerns have begun to foster a distrust among once loyal supporters and strengthened the misgivings of others. Some have even begun to question the Congressman’s true loyalties and motives and considering that LaMalfa received more than $315,000.00 in campaign contributions from groups demanding passage of the TPA they may be right to wonder. Others have commented on the TPA and it’s favorable treatment of Agriculture. Specifically the TPA declares:
(3) TRADE IN AGRICULTURE.—The principal negotiating objective of the United States with respect to agriculture is to obtain competitive opportunities for United States exports of agricultural commodities in foreign markets substantially equivalent to the competitive opportunities afforded foreign exports in United States markets and to achieve fairer and more open conditions of trade in bulk [i.e. Rice], specialty crop [i.e. Almonds], and value added commodities [i.e. Grain Based Dog Food]. Let it be up to you to decide whether our Congressman has an interest in selling bulk rice crops to Asia and if that interest could influence his vote.No matter what, there is no denying a growing discontent with the Congressman leading some to already promise to oppose him in the next election cycle.