And I'm not exaggerating. I'm absolutely floored. I don't think I've ever seen a politician say something so politically inept before. I never thought I'd see the day where a North Dakota politician would say--with a strait face, in public, on the radio to be broadcast across the state for everyone to hear, what Kevin Cramer said recently on Scott Hennen's show:
I think I don’t sense a great urgency at the moment that if a Farm Bill gets passed, or doesn’t get passed, it’s going to change the world. It won’t, because of course we have very high prices, we have great yields this year, at least in North Dakota, we have good crops, we have probably record sugar beet crops, we have a near-record wheat crop, we have, the row crops look awfully good, as long as we can get them up, unless hail or something should happen, that could be a problem. But I think he’s right in the sense that now, we probably can weather not having a Farm Bill.
WHAT!?!?! If you don't believe me(honestly, I didn't believe it myself), here's the tape.
Amazing. Just amazing. Is Kevin Cramer operating in the same space-time continuum as the rest of us? Is he reading the same news as the rest of us are reading? We're in the middle of the worst drought in decades. North Dakota may have good crops, but nearly everywhere else in the country is doing very badly in terms of crop quality. If somebody told you, "I think I can weather not having homeowner's insurance for a little while," you'd tell them they were nuts. Someone could break in tomorrow and rob you blind. What's even crazier is that in the span of a couple of sentences, Cramer actually makes my point for me. A hail storm could go through and destroy the record crop. A series of tornadoes could do the same thing, and that's just in North Dakota. What about the rest of the country? The farm bill also expires in the middle of hurricane season. He's not worried about those farmers? Absolutely amazing.
I've seen politicians say a lot of dumb things, but this has got to take the cake. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of stuff in the farm bill I don't like. I think we need to make some serious changes to the way subsidies are handed out, and I get that there are people who don't like food stamps, which are a major sticking point to the bill. Those people are wrong, but that's another story. None of those programs can just drop dead on September 30th. Our country needs to have a farm policy on October 1. Farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, grocerers, and consumers are depending on it. If you want to send the markets into a tizzy on food prices, this is the way to do it.
North Dakota's number one industry is still farming. In 20 years, when the oil boom is over, it will still be farming. If Kevin Cramer thinks that it can just run on autopilot when October 1 hits, he had better worry about what happens to him on November 6.