Last week, I wrote that the real problem for the Obama administration on climate change came from regional rather than partisan splits. Politico today confirms that analysis and reports that the challenge may not be limited to Barack Obama’s pursuit of cap-and-trade. Rural Democrats have begun rebelling against a wide swath of Obama’s domestic policies, claiming that the administration has no idea how rural and exurban Americans think:
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.”
Cardoza’s critique was aimed at Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, but it echoes complaints rural-district Democrats have about a number of Obama administration decisions.
Rural Dems want to know more about the closing of dealerships by the Obama administration and its task force, too:
In rural America, especially, the looming closures pose a dire threat. Car dealers are not only an economic linchpin of many county-seat towns but also offer support for institutions and a way of life that can’t be easily replaced.
“In rural jurisdictions, your dealerships are pretty big employers. If you knock out four dealerships, the ripple effects of that are substantial,” said Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.), who represents a largely rural Eastern Shore district and is co-sponsoring a bill that could force the auto companies to honor their contracts with the rejected dealerships. …
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) questioned how independent owned and operated businesses have any financial impact on automakers.
“None of us can quite understand why they consider dealerships a drag when they are the ones that buy the cars, that take the financial risks. Many of the dealerships that are being closed are profitable.”
Call this the Road to Damascus moment for the Blue Dog Democrats. They got elected in part by promising more honest government than Republicans had presented but not big shifts in policy for conservative constituents. That was a fairly easy promise to keep while George Bush (or any Republican) occupied the White House. Divided government kept Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in check from imposing hard-Left policies, and the Blue Dogs remained popular.
Now that Obama has opened the floodgates — and Treasury — to every sort of nationalization, Blue Dogs suddenly feel very, very vulnerable … and they should. Rural and exurban voters who depended on car dealerships, as an example, for industry and employment suddenly face the threat of localized depressions. Farmers now face the threat of insolvency due to restrictive agricultural policies under cap-and-trade. These same resources helped elect the Democrats in the first place, and even without counting the anger that disillusion creates in elections, those resources will not exist in 2010.
Big-city Democrats get their money from Big Labor, which has also almost gone broke electing them. They’re not concerned with rural America any more, if they ever were. The Democrats want to impose their Ivory Tower elitism on the entire country, especially on the rural voters they succored in 2006 just to sucker them in 2009.