President George Bush’s “recess appointment” of controversial Tom Dorr as undersecretary of agriculture for rural development, after the Senate Ag Committee refused to recommend his confirmation to the full Senate can only, in my view, be termed a vulgar abuse of power.
He is now Undersecretary Dorr simply because he is a proponent of powerful corporate agriculture and a prominent fundraiser in the president’s campaign.
It was clear to all, even the Republican members of the committee, that the Tom Dorr the public came to know would have no chance to be confirmed by the Senate.
His anti-family farm vision of rural American including his admiration of corporate hog production in North Carolina, his disparaging remarks about ethnic and religious diversity, and, last but not least, the official record of his cheating taxpayers by fraudulently avoiding farm program payment limitations surely would make no one proud of his appointment.
Grassroots supporters of family farm agriculture, led by groups like the Ohio Family Farm Coalition and the National Family Farm Coalition, along with 165 concerned groups across the nation, worked hard to elevate the importance of a healthy rural economy and to make the contrast with Dorr’s offensive vision.
Nevertheless, much like Secretary Veneman’s refusal to acknowledge hog farmers’ vote against the pork checkoff, this administration and the agribusiness commodity group leaders’ stubborn support for Dorr has heaped contempt on the public’s heartfelt and scientific concern for the future of family farm agriculture and rural America.
The recess appointment of Tom Dorr fits into an all-too-familiar pattern of scandal and public disregard in Washington.
The Ohio Family Farm Coalition, and I hope the citizens of this nation, will not take this insult lying down.
(The writer is chair of the Ohio Family Farm Coalition.)