When Doug LaMalfa was running for Wally Herger’s congressional seat and I would see his campaign posters alongside Highway 99 into Chico, it was hard not to feel a certain revulsion for LaMalfa’s slogan, “He’s one of us.” Here was a guy born the heir of a whole lot of prime agricultural acreage out in Richvale, a guy who has been the recipient of government subsidies since he was in diapers, and a guy who hypocritically preaches self-reliance for people who didn’t enter the world with his ticket to ride the gravy train. He’s about as corrupt as they come, and as duplicitous and phony—so to have him advertise himself as “one of us,” and then get elected to congress by “us” just makes his constituents look like a bunch of ignorant hicks, too dumb to know when they’re getting snookered by a snake.
I’m one of those constituents. I didn’t vote for LaMalfa, but I did write some lines of editorial-page copy urging others not to vote for him…not if they wanted to send a man to D.C. who gave a fuck about the working people of his district (a gerrymandered hunk of real estate carved out to ensure that Republicans could never lose, no matter how braindead or corrupt the candidate they put up). After all, ol’ Wally Herger got re-elected for well over a couple of decades, though no one ever caught Mr. Herger ever saying anything that would have challenged the intellect of pocket lint, or doing much that improved the lives of the majority of people in his district.
But Herger looks almost like a statesman of stature compared to Congressman LaMalfa, a guy whom even the Wall Street Journal recently held up as a scoundrel in a piece that detailed how LaMalfa, the foe of “big government,” has been spending all his energies working to get bills passed that would put even more money into the pockets of guys who grow exactly the same kind of rice he grows out there on his Richvale holdings.
If you watch or read the news, you may have noticed how many really stupid Texas politicians are getting themselves elected to Congress—guys who then go on to make news precisely because they are either spectacularly venal, spectacularly stupid, or both. LaMalfa fits with that company right down to his hat and his boots. Dumber’n dogshit, but just smart enough to do what’s needed to line his own pockets.
“One of us?” Jesus Christ, I hope not.