Nathan Deal and the 2008 farm bill

Flip the calendar back to 2008. Aside from the stimulus package, if there was a single measure that split Georgia Republicans last year it was the vote over the $307 billion farm bill.

The bill was vetoed by President George W. Bush. Congress overrode it. Voting in favor of it were Saxby Chambliss — up for re-election — and Johnny Isakson in the Senate, and Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston in the House.

Opposing it were U.S. Reps. Tom Price, Lynn Westmoreland, Paul Broun and Nathan Deal.

At the time, the split was described as case of division by ambition. On one side were Republicans who had to run statewide, or had dreams of doing so.

On the other were those those could vote from secure GOP bases.

Within his party, Chambliss was derided for voting for the farm bill, its subsidies and its nutrition-for-the-poor programs. But many of the rank-and-file gave Chambliss a pass because of the bill’s general election implications, and because of the votes and money behind the ag vote.

Deal, the north Georgia congressman, hadn’t planned on running for governor last year. But he’s now the only Republican candidate with a recorded “no” vote on the topic who’s running statewide.

“Certainly we’ll be explaining to the agriculture community the reasons behind that vote,” said Deal spokesman Harris Blackwood.

Spokesman Harris Blackwood points to strong support for Deal among poultry farmers in north Georgia. But poultry isn’t as heavily subsidized as the row-crop areas of south Georgia.

And keep in mind that, for the first time in the lifespans of most Georgians, we will have an open race for state agriculture commissioner. Farming will be a significant topic in 2010.

Do Tommy Irvin’s votes shift from the Democratic column to the Republican one? And if so, where do they go in the governor’s race?

Said Blackwood:

“[Farmers] are going to find in Nathan a governor who is very pro-agriculture. He’s probably the only one who grew up on a farm.”

Blackwood promised more detail than most of us are likely to want. We’re going to learn that Deal’s daddy was a vocational agriculture teacher in Sandersville, and that Future Farmers of America award that young Deal won.

One easy prediction: Tractor shots galore.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

16 comments Add your comment

Georgia Farmer

June 30th, 2009
6:33 pm

As a constituent, I noticed Nathan’s stance on the Farm Bill last year. Deal has always been a friend to Georgia farmers. After checking my facts, the final version of the bill was bloated with excess spending that would not help a Georgia farmer like me. I commend him for being a man who stands by his convictions, rather than caving in to the liberal leaders in Washington. Until this vote, he had supported previous farm bills including those drafted by Saxby Chambliss. I stand by Deal because he stands by the farmers.


June 30th, 2009
8:02 pm

Must assume Mr.Jim didn’t like my tirade on the politicos. No problem. ‘Nuff said to state deal, isakson, westmoreland, chambliss, price & broun are useless, worthless, liars and represent no one but their own agendas.


June 30th, 2009
9:38 pm

With so many chasing the Governor spot, why isn’t anyone challenging Lt. GunBannrer Cagle?

Besides defending gun control, he also tried to raise taxes in this last session.

David in Atlanta

June 30th, 2009
9:55 pm

herbK said: “‘Nuff said to state deal, isakson, westmoreland, chambliss, price & broun are useless, worthless, liars and represent no one but their own agendas.”

And how does that separate them from other politicians?


July 1st, 2009
12:22 am

If Nathan “Bad” Deal say’s it, it’s got to be true. Farmers, assume the position. Thank you sir, can I have another?


July 1st, 2009
4:27 am

the blouted farm bill that was crafted by the democratic majority in congress needed to be voted against,but after we see the spending free fall with the new president and dems in the new congress, the previous farm bill pales in comparison.
nathan deal is the real deal who has proven himself as one of georgia’s better politicians.

he is one office holder who knows how to be to bring people together and gets things done.

he is definitely a consensus builder.


July 1st, 2009
6:39 am

“And how does that separate them from other politicians”

It doesn’t, David. THAT’S the problem. NO ethics, anywhere & no problem solving skills.


July 1st, 2009
7:17 am

Republicans were asleep when the towers were hit on 9/11, they created the war which they lost, drove a good economy into a wall, and continue to deny global warming though science proves them wrong. Why would anyone in their right(or left?) mind support any republican for anything? Republicans are problem makers not solvers, they whine and complain and offer no solutions, and what we need now are people who can clean up their messes. The party of No-Nothings had their chance and blew it big time.


July 1st, 2009
7:33 am

Good job Mr. Deal.
Now lose that big R after your name and you might get my vote.

Can I get an L. Or at least an I.


July 1st, 2009
7:54 am

Nathan Deal is one of the finest people I’ve known in my 66 years. If there were more folks like him there would be less need for labels of any kind. I was privileged to be at Mercer Univ with him for 4 years and have him as a role model…and what an outstending one he was and still is.


July 1st, 2009
8:04 am

Sounds to me (and probably to most of us) JDP , you don’t know many ‘fine’ people. We have plenty like deal right now, they are the crooks in both our state government & in DC. Perhaps you should consider changing your parameters in choosing friends.

The Snark

July 1st, 2009
8:52 am

That farm bill was full of greasy, rank pork fat. And don’t use it to tar the Democrats, both parties were equally involved in loading it up. It was a biparisan election year giveaway. I’m no fan of Westmoreland or Broun, but voting for that bill was the easy way out and the wrong thing to do. Score one for Deal.


July 1st, 2009
9:29 am

Sounds like Michelle needs a nap. Everyone was asleep when 9/11 happened and policies of the previous administrations caused our government to be asleep at the wheel on 9/11. It wasn’t Republican or Democrat, but our government all together.

In case you haven’t noticed, the war they created (Iraq) is now won and our troops are handing over security to the Iraqi government in stages.

Also, what science proves global warming exists? A UN report that has no scientific basis? Then tell me how over 600 scientists across the globe call global warming a sham and nothing but political hysteria. Michelle you need to get a right mind and go back and take some science classes. When you do you will learn that the Earth goes through warm and cool cycles and has since the beginning of time. Try to learn some real science instead of political hysteria that doesn’t exist.

Also ma’am, the Republicans are bad, most of them anyway, but the Democrats are no better. If you believe that they are then I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

Joe D in Marietta

July 1st, 2009
10:28 am

The basic problem with the Farm Bill is that only about 8% of the bill actually helps the farmers in America. Most people do not realize that 73% of the 307 billion dollars is for food stamps . . . that’s right, FOOD STAMPS . . . an entitilement program that has nothing to do with helping to level the playing field for our farmers to compete in the global economy. If our elected officials in Washington could come up with a true and pure “Farm Bill”, one that would help to protect our agricultual community from natural and manmade disasters and one that would help them to compete fairly with other subsidized markets, and one that was not loaded with astronomical spending that has nothing to do with our country’s agriculture, then I’m sure that Nathan Deal,Tom Price, Lynn Westmoreland and Paul Broun would have been among the first to totally support it. Lets’s get realistic folks, if you are knowledgeable with the way bills are written and loaded with everything imaginable, you would be less critical of folks who stand up for their principles. It’s a tragedy that our news media and our “columnists” don’t report what is actually in these bills.

party pooper

July 1st, 2009
3:16 pm

michelle is an idiot


July 2nd, 2009
7:36 am

Gary’s right on this one.